On my drive from Tucson, where the retreat was held en route to the airport in Phoenix, I saw a spectacular rainbow–in Arizona! Over the desert. Not what you’d expect. That pretty much sums up my fabulous experience at Miraval with 100+ MORE readers plus the magazine’s editorial staff and publisher. To say it exceeded my expectations would be an understatement.

The facility is magnificent–a resort built at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains–with lavish accommodations and multiple athletic, spa and spiritual offerings to please any patron. But the true value of my experience began during the Meet the Editors welcome the first evening there. I sat in the front row and was immediately extended a warm welcome by the woman seated to my right, Natalie Caine.

Within two minutes it was clear that I was in the right place. I’m going to speak at Rancho La Puerta next month, and Natalie had just returned from her own speaking engagement there. Now, really. What are the chances of that serendipitous alignment of stars?! We became fast friends and had breakfast together daily.

The highlight of Day 2 was participating in the Equine Experience¬†where I was well instructed on how to groom a horse including getting him to lift his hooves for me to clean. After that I was taught how to have my horse go from a walk to a trot and change directions in the ring simply by directing my energy core towards his and setting my intention. I’ve got the pictures to prove that I was able to accomplish this amazing feat. Amazing to me, anyway.

Throughout these experiences and meals I kept meeting remarkable women from all over the US. Conversations were spontaneous and quickly intimate, which I loved.

When I got back to the ‘main campus’ after the horse experience, one of the women I’d met in that group spotted a jeweler, Marybeth Johnson, she’d previously encountered who was exhibiting her work in the Miraval shop.I was immediately drawn not only to the beauty and spirituality of this woman’s pieces, but also to her gentle and loving energy. We had a couple of wonderful conversations, as I had already walked the path she was currently on and could lend some thoughts and advice for her journey. She was a receptive audience, and we became fast friends.

My original intention for going to this long weekend event was to meet Barbara Bigford whom I’d written about after she’d been featured in MORE. Her story is truly inspirational, and what I admired most about Barbara, who shared her story at lunch on Friday–“From Idea to Barcode”– is her willingness to go to any lengths for her business in a low-key, tenacious and graceful way. She shared her wild success, but also her steep learning curve and mistakes made along the way. Employed as a dental hygienist before becoming a business mogul, you can imagine how inspiring her story was.

The day after her talk, Barbara and I met up for a morning walk and talk about retirement co-sponsored by MORE and Wells Fargo. We hiked the grounds of the resort, then assembled by a bonfire to hear about financial planning and share our concerns with the Deputy Editor of MORE whose focus is personal finance and work–Jennifer Braunschweiger.

I could go on… It was filling, inspiring, nurturing, fun and important. Join me next year!

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