Over the past 15 years, Ronda LaRue’s work as a spiritual teacher and guide has gained a growing global following. For more than ten years, people have traveled from all over the world to work with Ronda one-on-one and in small groups at her Ojai California-based Center for SoulArts, or in small group retreats across the United States. We asked Ronda if there is a role for travel as a healing tool and a stepping stone into what she defines as The Art of Living Your Destiny.
Editor: You often speak of the need for renewal “leading to a life of awakened purpose, peace and passion” as you help people take steps to recover from personal challenges and hard times in their lives. Do you believe that travel can serve as a healing component in such a renewal process?
Ronda: There is no doubt that certain kinds of travel can play a significant role in that creative and ongoing process of self-renewal. Once a person has begun addressing what is keeping them from achieving a life of meaningful purpose (obstacles such as depression, self-doubt, relationship problems, a health crisis, addictions, to name a few), I have observed that stepping away from familiar surroundings, familiar people and the mental chatter of daily life can lend tremendous perspective to the past, while allowing a new sense of creative spaciousness for discovering new ways to embrace the future in a happier, healthier way.
Editor: Would you consider travel with a spiritual theme or a dedicated health and wellness focus to be the most beneficial vacation option?
Ronda: Beneficial in truly living one’s life, yes, I am an enthusiast of that kind of travel, and there have never been more amazing choices all over the world than there are today.
There are tours and cruises with a religious or spiritual theme, no matter what your faith or spiritual orientation; there are physically-challenging pilgrimage walks such as northern Spain’s Camino de Santiago, incredibly popular with every age range; and there are in-depth spiritual or health and wellness programs at destinations in many countries.
Obviously, it is important to research what is offered with great care, including asking for references from past participants, so as to get what you are seeking in the way of a meaningful holiday. (Editor’s note: For a wide variety of ideas, see Travel with a Challenge’s collection of Wellness and Spiritual Travel articles).
Editor: What are some other travel options that you believe could promote healing and strengthening of mind, body and spirit while building a can-do kind of confidence for the future?
Ronda: A favorite option of mine is volunteer service travel which embraces many meaningful, inspiring facets ranging from service in nature and conservation to community service in orphanages, building homes and schools, and teaching English in local schools, to name some popular options.
This can offer people one of the most self-healing protocols I know: to step out of their comfort zone, to recognize fresh skills and see how much their presence is appreciated and needed in a very up-close and personal setting.
In fact stepping in to be of service to someone or some cause (regardless of the cause itself) serves to kindle one’s own inner flame of passion, wellness, and wisdom. There is an old adage that says: “If you want to learn something, teach it.” (Editor’s note: For a variety of ideas and organizations, see Travel with a Challenge’s collection of Volunteer Vacation articles).
Editor: Can you suggest an action plan for our readers as they consider which destinations and travel themes they wish to pursue?
Ronda: Here’s what I have come to see as the unique experience of any vacation travel intended to offer true self-discovery and renewed lease on life. Next vacation, before selecting a place to go or something to do, first stop and pose this question to your inner self: What is my body/mind/soul seeking in a vacation at this time? (excitement, new insights, pampering rest, cultural experiences or something else?). Then ask yourself these deeper, more challenging questions:
What qualities are missing in my life right now?
What does my heart most long for at this time in my life?
In what places and circumstances do I feel most alive and in touch with myself?
What is the most important value of my life?
What is the legacy or message I’d like my life to leave behind?
After candidly engaging in these life questions and contemplating how much time and money you have to spend, you can add an element of mystery by noticing a chance comment from a friend or clerk at a store who just came back from an unusual experience; an advertisement that grabs your eye as you are reading a magazine; a place that just keeps coming to mind. Then do the necessary homework to affirm that choice (though a little bit of “daring” when something or someplace calls to you is really part of the adventure, isn’t it?).
There is a story I like of a man who went to see his old friend, a Franciscan Priest, “Father,” he said, “I am burned out, please speak to me of exhaustion.” The priest replied, “My dear friend, exhaustion is not restored by rest. Exhaustion is healed by fulfilling the heart.”
As a spiritual healer, I am certain that fulfilling the heart is how all healing renewal arrives. So become a spiritual adventure traveler … one who consciously steps into the unknown mystery of the journey and allows the surprising twists and turns, seeming accidents and detours, to reveal what destination travel can truly offer us. Possibly it is time to reject predictable patterns and play-it-safe destinations, and awaken to the mind-expanding, heart-inspiring, radical aliveness and healing renewal that is an outcome of being fully engaged in each new creative moment.
Remembering Who You Really Are
by Ronda LaRue
A lyrically written, profoundly insightful
sharing of what it means to know and
awaken to one’s authentic being.
US$11.67 paperback (also on Kindle)
154 pages ISBN 9780984704439 or
Also available on Amazon.
The Art of Living Your Destiny
by Ronda LaRue
A companion guidebook using Ronda’s SoulArts Process of Awakening Guidance in the form of seven home exercises.
US$11.13 Paperback (also on Kindle)
61 pages ISBN 9780984704408
Also available on Amazon.
Ronda LaRue is an internationally-regarded author, teacher, artist, and visionary guide in matters of perceptual breakthrough, self-healing shaman arts, real life transformation, and spiritual awakening through everyday creative meditation. Ronda shares her SoulArts Process of Awakening™ – a unique method of finding and following the language of your own soul’s wisdom – in private individual, private couples, and small group retreat apprenticeships at her artisan home spa in Ojai, California. www.SoulArtsRetreats.com.