Washington D.C. is getting quite the treatment today as spa leaders across the nation join together for the annual Washington Spa Alliance Symposium at the newly remodeled Watergate Hotel. Here, spa industry innovators and leaders come together to celebrate the different techniques and findings to connect spiritual and inner mindfulness. The Washington Spa Alliance has a mission to “act as a knowledge center, connecting spa professionals in the nation’s greater capital region. WSPA works to promote the exchange of education and innovation in the field, and to ensure that the highest ideals of spa are met through policy and interaction.” Deborah Szekely, the honorary president of Washington Spa Alliance, is a principal leader in the spa industry and regular attendee of the symposium, although she could not be in Washington this year. She pioneered the modern-era spa industry through her destination spa Rancho La Puerta, a fitness resort dedicated to creating a nature-based space where the mind, spirit and body can rediscover their connections. We’ve gathered 10 inspirational wellness-wisdom quotations from various appearances by Deborah herself that encompass her outlook on wellness of the body and soul. Enjoy...and be inspired!
My guests ask what are the three most important things about life that I’ve learned. I answer, there are five.
First of all: friends and community. Gerontology studies indicate "blue zones" (areas where people far outlive an average lifespan) that all feature a strong sense of supportive family and community.
Second : the environment: it has to be pleasant, agreeable, and protected from the ravages of man-caused pollution.
Third: food. As food writer Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Fourth: oxygen—or the brain, body and spirit. This can be summed up in two words: KEEP MOVING!
And finally, none of the first four are valuable without faith and peace of mind.
So how can we stay healthy? First, it takes a great deal of self-awareness and knowledge. It starts with the realization that the wonderful body in which we live knows how to heal itself, if only we would help it do its job...But even those in the purest state of good health are under attack...If we begin life assaulted by man-made chemicals, I shudder to think what the “body burden” must be for each one of us who, for all our lives, no matter how healthy we try to be, have been exposed to smidgens of untested chemicals.
Every leader is a better leader if he or she is healthy. Leadership is a matter of stamina and reflection. You must maintain your health in all aspects of life. It can’t be a just a matter of stamina alone; it involves a special kind of energy in true abundance that enables you to do your work and at the same time step back and look at the big picture. To redefine and reinvent—two things always expected of good leaders—takes health, flexibility, and resilience.
Believe...trust...in yourself. And the fact that you can do whatever you set out to do. I have an inordinate sense of confidence in this. When I was 11, I set out to read everything Charles Dickens ever wrote. Today I look up from my desk at the top shelf above me at a hundred-year-old set of his complete works, and smile.
When I share ideas about why we in wellness do what we do, I must confront others who automatically think, “How is this going to make money?” I have NEVER been driven by the thought, “Wow, this is going to be a money-maker.” The global spa movement is not simply a business. It is a cause. A necessity. Without our health we will never have the energy to pursue innovation…the energy to change the world, for the better!
Whatever your state of mind, remember that the basic concept is the same: to be outdoors, in the open air, more than you ever have the chance to be back home. Get away from the city. Get away from the cement—literally. Nature helps you rebuild. We’re made from the clay of nature.
The mindful person is resilient. When things don’t go as you wish, the mind can lead you back to normal. You can dwell in dark places, but it’s much more fun to dance again in the light. I have no patience with the shadow world.
Strangely enough if you examine each of your lives, you discover how well prepared you are to be innovators in the future of wellness. I was. And I think most of you are, too, because you have excellent powers of observation. It’s the hallmark of our service business. Observation leads to innovation. You see a need. You walk in someone else’s shoes—especially if they are unhappy. And you make changes.
I see you all as an endangered species. I honestly believe that you are all being poisoned by an increasingly industrialized society dedicated to replacing natural foods with man-made foods. Innocent people of all ages are usually not aware that being in good health takes a great deal of self-awareness and knowledge.
Alone, we cannot do what needs to be done. Only with your help--and the thousands of spa-goers...can we stop the continuous degradation of the health of our people and our planet. Only then can we begin the process of healing our planet and ourselves.
Deborah Szekely is a prominent figure in the wellness industry and has proven herself time and time again of her dedication to the cause. She has devoted her life to supporting and influencing wellness awareness. To this day, she stands at the frontline and is looked up to as an inspiring individual.
If you have some wellness wisdom you would like to share, leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!