August 18, 2011

Hide-and-Seek With Myself. ~ Stephanie Spence


Photo: F.C. Photography

The struggle we go through as human beings is ever present in my mind as I am accepted into the program at Vista Caballo Innovation Ranch in Dove Creek, Colorado.

Vista Caballo is a 160-acre self-directed personal and leadership development experiential center for those wanting to become their best selves. I had heard amazing stories about Vista Caballo before I arrived. All of the graduates of the program spoke of the life changing experience that they had there, so I went full of anticipation for the same.

Photo: Ken Lund

At the time I went I was stuck. I needed answers. I was smack dab in the middle of a mid-life adjustment. I had closed my successful publishing company, gotten a divorce and moved across the country. I’d created a thrill list (that sounded better than bucket list to me) and was furiously working on that. I’d just learned to fly a plane and was settled into co-ed life at Arizona State University.

Still, something was missing. Peace, joy and true calm understanding of my place on the planet eluded me.

Sure, I had “worked” most of my life on striving towards those elusive things. I’ve practiced yoga for over thirty years, which keeps me healthy, grounded and feeling blissful. I’m a Buddhist, an ever-evolving study which resonates with my sensibilities. Workshops, retreats, therapy — you name it, I’ve worked it. Still, something escaped my understanding and acceptance. The something was elusive and frustrating.

The work at Vista Caballo is unique to everyone who goes, so it is impossible to write about. I can share, though, part of my experience.

One of my goals was clearly identified by the ranch’s facilitator, Lisa Arie: I needed to learn how to trust my intuition. This was a skill I don’t think I ever developed. Some have it as a child and lose it. I never had it. Don’t misunderstand; of course I knew what intuition was, but yet not in the definition that I presently understand.

As I was deep into the work on day two of my three day one-on-one experience, I learned what it meant to find, listen to and dwell in the understanding that has been with me

Photo: Nature's Dawn

all the time.

As far back as I can remember I would see an old Native American woman on a white horse in my dreams. While awake, usually in Shavasana at the end of my yoga practice, I would see her slowly riding towards me. I never spoke to her. She would always come my direction and sit regally atop her horse and patiently wait. Why did I never speak to her? She had a calm presence, but I did not even attempt a conversation.

Working with Hakomi (one of the four horses on the ranch) in the safe guidance of Lisa, I saw her approach me and all of my vulnerability and fears came colliding into my consciousness. So much so that I thought I was going to throw up. Lisa suggested I go with that and the old woman on the horse moved closer to me.

Her name popped into my head: Spirit. It’s as if I had always known that. As she moved even closer I looked into her face. This was the first time in over forty years that she had been close enough for me to really see her. It was me.

Photo: Boniface Plymouth

The old lady on the horse was me! Imagine, I’m on a horse witnessing myself in the same position, almost like a mirror into another consciousness. I had been seeing this wise old woman my whole life and never spoke to her. Spirit is my intuition and my guide. She dwells in my open heart and consciousness and I exist in a state of understanding that I Am. The I Am that had eluded me my whole life.

The I Am that I now dwell in is full of peace and calm and joy. Of course I’m still a seeker, but with new eyes.

Vista Caballo is not just change, but forever change. It is an exclusive, self-educating adventure, a visceral and interactive journey incomparable in its ability to inspire significant life changes. Access is by invitation or referral only. If you are ready for an intense personal and very private experience that will give you the clarity, conviction and renewed vitality to find and stand on a new edge, you can Evaluate Yourself at Vista Caballo’s website here.


Scottsdale, Arizona based writer Stephanie Spence is the former publisher of the award winning monthly wellness lifestyle magazine in Pennsylvania, Health & Fitness. Spence Communications, Inc. published numerous magazines and produced a short documentary film. Stephanie has worked in TV, films and radio and recently graduated from Arizona State University. This mother of two spends her time writing, traveling and teaching yoga. Her philosophy and approach to yoga are unique and powerful drawing on her vast life experiences. She is a living example of living life with an open heart. Practicing yoga for thirty years has given her the great gift of balance, humbleness and creative freedom and her focus is on guiding her students in a meaningful way for the sacred exploration of authenticity, truth, wellness and love. Her blog is an expression of that love of yoga and love of life, one-with-life.com. Stephanie is currently working on a book about yoga and learning to scuba dive.

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