Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Mii Amo, a Retreat to Return to

February 18th, 2023
Sedona, Arizona

For anyone who likes the idea of a luxurious spiritual retreat set in awe-inspiring nature where the food is healthy and delicious and you can do as much or as little as you like then the newly renovated Mii Amo resort in Sedona, Arizona is definitely for you. It certainly was for me.

Tucked away in a horseshoe-shaped canyon surrounded by giant red rocks. Mii Amo (which means journey in a Native American language) is set on 70 acres of private land surrounded by endless protected park. Known for its vortices (energy fields) Sedona attracts top alternative therapy practitioners. So, if you like seeing a psychic every year, or perhaps have a numerologist on speed dial, or are going through a serious life change then this place is for you. Actually, even if you’re a New Age sceptic, the hikes are so stunning, the treatments so nurturing and the food so deceptively nutritious and tasty that you’ll still want to visit. There’s a state of the art gym, bike trails, swimming pool, in short plenty to do. Or you can just read a book by the fire.

My interest in Mii Amo was first peaked when I heard that Melissa Biggs, founder of  Indagare, has visited this spot almost every January since she launched her successful premiere travel company in 2007.  So about six months ago I signed up for Indagare’s Insider Trip to Mii Amo in January, 2023. As D-Day approached, a Mii Amo coordinator sent me the menu of spa options. While Mii Amo has plenty of conventional treatments, – straightforward massages, facials, wraps – it was the more out there ones that caught my eye. Chakra Balancing, Soul Consciousness, Past Life Regression, Reiki Healing, Hypnosis. When in Sedona …

A few days before my flight to Phoenix, I got another email. This time listing the 40-odd women who had signed up for the trip. I scanned the list and didn’t know a soul. Dread replaced excitement. There was more news. Our guest speaker Elizabeth Lesser, one of Oprah’s favourite spiritual thinkers and the author of several books as well as the founder of the Omega Institute in upstate New York, had gotten sick at the last minute and couldn’t come. A last minute alternative was found. Plus snow was forecast in Sedona. And of course, it was the warmest January in New York on record. So much for escaping the snow.

There were a few more hiccups when I checked in. Mii Amo had literally opened after a two year renovation the day we arrived. And not everything was as it should be. People were grumbling about that and about Lesser not coming. I heard one disgruntled guest say,

It’s like signing up for Elvis and getting John Denver.”

But even with these setbacks, Mii Amo’s unique setting, warm, talented staff and fabulous cuisine, plus the group dynamic made it a great trip. While I was nervous about going solo, I soon relaxed. At dinner the first night I sat across from a gorgeous woman who told me she had co-founded a huge tech VC.

Jesus, I thought, that’s not really my conversational forte.

But it never came up again or if it did, it wasn’t to boast but to discuss the struggles of juggling a career with being a single mother. The women who attended this trip weren’t there to discuss their own so-called achievements or their children’s/husband’s achievements. They were there to talk about the stuff that really mattered, the struggles we all face in this up and down thing called life.   People let their guard down at the daily group sessions and beyond, speaking honestly about their fears, stresses, hopes and challenges.   Some came to heal from a trauma, others wanted to set intentions for the year ahead. Everyone’s story was unique.  Generally, people were active in the morning and then attended talks and had treatments in the afternoon.  Meals were fun with my new buddies. We tooled around in sweats or bathrobes. This was no fashion show. By day four when it was time to go home, I felt fully refreshed and focused.

In Elizabeth Lesser’s excellent book, Broken Open,

she writes about when she spoke at a conference full of scientists and tried to get them to really talk to one another about what mattered to them. One conference attendee  had been so inspired by Lesser’s ability to get the group to open up that she later wrote a poem and sent it to Lesser who published it in her book:

When They Revolutionize The Cocktail Party? By Marilyn Sandberg

“Hello, what are you afraid of?”


Me too

When you hear a Mahler symphony?

No, when I wake up in the night.

Me too

Nice Meeting you

Same here

The same honesty happened on this trip. Pretences dissolved, strangers smiled, new friendships were forged in a matter of days because of the trusting, open nature of the group.

I think Mii Amo makes an ideal girl’s trip, whether its with 40 or 4.

Every morning before my hike I walked over to the dimly lit Crystal Grotto for a sacred ritual led by a healer named Kim.

 She instructed us to walk barefoot around this circular space with its earthen floor and domed ceiling,  a pedestal of petrified wood and quartz crystal in the center. She told us to decide instinctively where to sit based on where we thought we were on our life’s journey.  Then Kim would approach each of us individually, ask us to stand with our eyes closed  and she’d waft some burning sage around us.

Let these red rocks cradle, nurture and ground you.”

Then we’d meditate for a bit. It’s easy to be cynical. But it’s much more rewarding to smell the sage, wiggle your toes in the sand and set your intentions for the day.

February, 2023

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