My next door neighbor’s crew is still drilling concrete and pounding nails in a remodeling project that will take months, if not years. My nerves frayed, I wanted to go someplace in the U.S., where I would not feel compelled to experience culture like theatre and museums (think New York). I love those things under other circumstances, but this time I wanted a different kind of nurturing environment. No concrete sidewalks, taxi horns or screeching subways. I decided to splurge on a three-day retreat at Cal-a-Vie Spa near San Diego.

Cal-a-Vie  (http://www.cal-a-vie.com/) did not disappoint. Upon arrival, I met with a woman who assessed my fitness level (not so great) and goals (any day I move is a good day). “Do you want to lose weight, maintain or gain?” she asked. I said maintain (for fear of starvation and because I wanted to experience the meals prepared by Executive Chef Curtis Cooke and his staff in all their yummy splendor). In fact, every meal was delicious and I never felt like I was on a diet. Nutritionist May Tom was on hand to answer questions and provide classes on handouts with additional information.

Each morning at the end of breakfast, guests were given a card, prepared by staff with a personal schedule of activities—in my case, things like crossfit at the gym, gentle yoga, water aerobics, and meditation.

I wanted to take all the “easy” classes, like Sumi watercolor painting and guided meditation, but I forced myself to attend more active classes and was glad I did. Some pushed me a bit farther than I thought I could go, but the instructors were excellent and most classes ended up having just one to four people in the group. Many of my instructors worked one-on-one with me.

The exercise interrupted my thinking about everything on my “to do” list. I counted reps and minutes on the exercise bike, instead of minutes of drilling and pounding construction and countdowns to writing deadlines.

Meals were the primary social time, as we sat at group tables. Most of the time was “alone time,” which I enjoy, but not unoccupied alone time. We were in exercise classes or having massage or beauty treatments. Pampering broke my obsession; it certainly busted stress.

Writing prompt

Write about whether you exercise. If you do, how does it help you? If you don't, why not?

Copyright (c) 2016 by Laura Deutsch

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