Spirituality and Creative Arts - The Next Frontier in Health & Wellness

By Tracey Anne Latkovic Corporate Vice President / Sales, Canyon Ranch | July 20, 2014

In today's fast-paced, over scheduled and hyper-stressed world, it's not easy to find the time to slow down. In the past, activities like a quiet visit to a coffee shop or well-deserved appointment at the spa allowed you to quiet the mind. Not so anymore. The traditional spa experience may not even allow the separation needed to slow down the pace. At day spas everywhere these days, guests are seen carrying their cell phones and iPads and even continuing to use them during their treatments. With this frenetic pace, people are not slowing down enough to ask important spiritual questions: Why am I here? How can I contribute to what is needed in this world? How can I find peace? And one thing is for certain, you aren't going to find the answers to those questions at Starbucks or on your smart phone.

So what do we do? Well, one thing is for certain, we can't sustain a healthy life that is superficial and frenzied. Our health and wellbeing depends upon finding those times when we can explore and connect more deeply with what brings meaning, value and purpose in life. Human beings are naturally imaginative and creative, and utilizing these innate skills is a powerful way to connect to our inner self. "Spirituality is the core of who we are," says Julie Haber, Director of Spirituality at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. "It's an exploration – going deeper inward and discovering who you really are. It's a way to be your best self and gain a sense of peace in your life as you connect with something larger than yourself – whether it's nature, God, love or kindness. Spirituality is about unity, living your personal values and bringing out the best in yourself and others." With this in mind, Julie is spearheading the effort to bring spirituality into the lives of Canyon Ranch guests to help them heal and clarify what they want to accomplish on their life journey. They are actively creating new programs and developing new physical spaces at the destination resort properties to give guests the opportunity to get in touch with their inner desires, find new meaning in their lives by doing and exploring things that they've never done before, and discovering new passions or reconnecting with old ones.

You can reconnect with yourself wherever you are. Spirituality and creativity are essential elements of health, and more deeply opening to their presence in your life is the next chapter in the evolution of comprehensive holistic wellness. Without leaving your hometown, you can engage in spiritual practices and creative arts to promote healing and clarify what you want to accomplish in your life. Give yourself the gift of an hour or an evening to reconnect with yourself. This little commitment may be your opportunity to get in touch with your inner desires, find new meaning in your life by doing and exploring things that you've never done before, and discover new passions or reconnect with old ones.

I know what you are saying right now. You don't have time or it can wait. I have personally experienced this in my own life. For many years, I lived every day at a pace that was unhealthy. It's true, as I often joke with my colleagues at Canyon Ranch, that I am a recovering workaholic. When I was young, I used to be actively creative and in tune with my spirituality– spending time every week participating in activities like writing poetry, painting, listening to music, reading or doing ceramics. All of that abruptly stopped when I became a workaholic. How did that happen? It wasn't a conscious decision. My life somehow was swallowed up. Like everyone, the stress-filled details of life took me sun up to sun down. But even the admitted workaholic made a change.

Fast forward 20 years or so, I had moved to Tucson for the second time in my life. On the corner of a well-known intersection by a church was this little sign – the kind you see for a real estate open house. It was unassuming and white with simple black lettering that said "Pottery Classes" with a phone number. In my first half a dozen years in Tucson, I passed that same sign three times a week or more and thought to myself "someday that would be nice." But this time, when I passed the sign something was different. This time, something told me to call the number. And I did. Turns out the voice on the other end of the phone was someone I knew! Tim Ballingham and his wife Pam had been teaching pottery classes at that same church for nine years. All it took was one phone call to reconnect me to myself. Through clay and the guidance of Tim and Pam, abundant creativity and joyful spirituality are back into my life. During their classes, they encourage it in a special way. "A 'candle circle' during each class encourages mindfulness, relaxation, and creativity," says Tim Ballingham. "Each person lights a candle silently for a loved one or a personal intention. The Circle sets a "tone" that makes these classes special and meaningful." And I can tell you, the "circle" is just the icing on the cake.

Voilà! A creative and spiritual ritual is produced. And, if you don't happen to live in Tucson, here are a few tips to bring spirituality and creativity into your life:

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