I’ve watched you walk into this place wound up tight, and leave days later somehow lighter. Like magic, or clockwork, maybe. Lips unfurl and creased brow-lines relax, subtle smile lines return. Sinewy muscles in cricked necks lose their muster against the world and everything that fights back, hard. Lackluster skin catches the sunshine, and I wonder if you know you’ll never be the same.
Stuck with the muck of cities, the stress of modern life, the symptoms of systems we harden ourselves against so our souls might feel safe, somewhere deep inside bodies we’ve forgotten how to care for. I sit across from tired eyes over a healthy lunch on the balcony, wondering if you see the depths of the valley in the postcard-worthy vista before you, or if it’s just all too much to bear when you’re filled to the brim with everything you’ve come to leave behind. From my hiding spot in polite smiles and practiced nods, I see you.
I don’t blame you for your heavy presence when you forget to chew before you swallow medicine in the form of food grown with care, just steps from your plate. I don’t judge you when you’d rather escape to your smart phone than chat with your fellow guests, whose own stories might provoke an emphatic overwhelm beyond your emotional threshold for casual conversation. My sensitive skin finds the hardened presence of your ‘before’ hard to sit with; like a mirror of everything I also once chose to leave behind, I choose to keep my distance, sometimes for the length of your stay.
You might not see me, but for ten years, I’ve watched you transform. Like a spy on the wall, you can’t hide from me the skins you’ve shed. You aren’t the same when you leave here. Held in a space created for your healing, you feel safe enough to drop your defenses and let the good stuff in. You drink wine, you do yoga, you meditate, you hike, you waterfall, you get touched by intuitive massage therapists and healers, you detox, you cry, you watch a movie, you sunbathe poolside, you read a book in the hammock, you eat gourmet in the jungle among the birds and bugs. You stop complaining and start singing, sometimes. You drop the mask and get real.
And I watch you break free from the strangling confines of your cocoon, too tight now for wings. And your shoulders settle and your smile doesn’t look like a chore. I watch you transform, and wonder if you see you, too.
It’s not coincidence. It’s not magic or rocket science, either. But it is something special. This place is the space where you come home to your true self. And that’s no small thing.
I see you from my window.
This isn’t shameless marketing for my family’s business. This is homage to the beautiful humans who gave me life, whose passionate creations manifest in a healing space of transformation and evolution for the benefit of the thousands of happenstance souls who have blessed AmaTierra with their presence over the years. This is thank you to the place they’ve dreamed into reality, a sacred space that vibrates with an energy both theirs and all its own. This is congratulations on ten years and counting of their impossible dream come true. This is gratitude for the transformation they catalyze in the hearts of those who meet their presence on the special land, the beloved earth, they’ve chosen to call home, work, play andAmaTierra.
And still, gratitude seems too small a word.
Tara Ruttenberg, M.A., is a writer, surfer and graduate student of sustainable surf tourism. To read more of Tara’s work, visit her website at www.tarantulasurf.com and follow her on Instagram: @tarantulasurf.