WRITTEN BY:Tracy Hornik
What does investing in yourself really mean? I’ve asked myself that question many times over the years. Jessica and I recently did a vlog on how important it is. But when it really comes down to it, I have a hard time putting my money where my mouth is. Why do we shy away from spending money on ourselves, such as getting a massage, taking a day off, or as I just did, going away for a week to a wellness retreat in Mexico? Are these frivolities or necessities?
A few weeks ago I visited Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, in Mexico. I’d wanted to go for years but the price always stopped me, as well as thoughts around worthiness. How could I spend so much on myself instead of investing it on a trip with my family, paying off my Line of Credit or simply saving for a rainy day. I received an unexpected tax refund at the beginning of May and with a little bit of guilt decided to immediately book that trip to the Ranch before I changed my mind.
Well I can’t say enough good things about my trip. Firstly, Rancho La Puerta is beautiful. Set in the mountains of Baja California, Rancho La Puerta’s 4,000 acres include 40 miles of hiking trails, 32 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, and an organic farm with a cooking school. I could go on and on about how incredible the place is but that’s for another vlog. What I want to write about today was what the experience gave to me on a more esoteric level.
When I left for the trip I expected to go to the Ranch and get fit, eat healthy food and maybe meet some interesting people. I’d been experiencing a lot of back pain, headaches and colds that I couldn’t shake that quickly and really needed a break. What I didn’t expect was to feel loved and more importantly, feel part of a community.
While men do visit the Ranch, most of the guests are women. This beautiful community of women supporting women was incredible. Meeting women from all over the world who were taking care of themselves too was the highlight of my trip. From the moment I arrived and was greeted by the docent, Linda, to the the moment I sadly said goodbye to my new friends, the trip was one of love and support. Women of all ages and different fitness skills hiked together, danced, meditated, exercised and ate together. The feeling of acceptance and community was overwhelming and filled me with joy. As we set off on our early morning hikes women from all walks of life shared their stories. We talked about what we did, what our struggles were and where we were from as we huffed and puffed up the mountain. We learnt about each others families, our joys and our sadnesses. Confiding in women you don’t know well can be cathartic and freeing too. From young women in their 20s to women in their 80’s we became one big family.
The hiking as well as the variety of different exercise classes I participated in felt amazing too. I ate healthy delicious food and even treated myself to a massage and a facial. It was WONDERFUL.
That week away was something I could never put a price on. The first few days back in Toronto I was shocked to wake up feeling rested and with no back or neck pain. I was re-energized and looking forward to seeing my friends and family and had a renewed enthusiasm that fed into my work. A month later I still feel fantastic. My headaches and back pain are gone and I’m walking now every morning in Toronto and keeping in touch with some of the amazing women I met. When I’m having a dark moment I remember the smiles on the faces of every person that walked by me at the Ranch and visualize our early morning hikes in the beautiful mountains.
Why did I take so long to go? Why did I feel I wasn’t worth it? What I’ve learned is that if we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t take care of anyone else. And most importantly, that a sense of community is so vital to our happiness. I thought about She’s on Top while I was away and realized that this is what Jessica and I are trying to do. We want to create a community of women supporting women. It reinforced the idea that you can’t put a price on taking care of yourself. And just like my week at Rancho La Puerta, She’s on Top is a place where I want to celebrate and connect with women. Because that really is investing in myself and all the wonderful people (men and women) in my life.