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Eat, Sleep, Pray In Santa Barbara:

For years, my friends have told me to spend a weekend by myself. A weekend to clear my head, focus on and create what I want to do for the rest of my life, and get spiritually centered.

When I read the book “Eat, Sleep, Pray” I was inspired. And a little jealous. Really?

Who has the time and money to leave everything behind to find themselves? I certainly didn’t.

Even a weekend was tough for me. Weekends were for errands and seeing how many I could get done in a 48-hour period. Endless weekends of laundry, grocery shopping, Costco, Trader Joe’s, washing the car, doing work left over from the week, company bills, personal bills, and a few naps, beauty treatments and massages thrown in for my sanity.

My friend Aiden, who had just moved to Montecito, invited me to visit and stay in his guesthouse on the new property. Finally, I committed to staying one night.

After doing a half-day of errands on Saturday, I threw some clothes and other stuff into one of my empty, recyclable grocery bags (fresh from unpacking it) and jumped into my SUV at 3:30 pm. I made it to Montecito by 5 pm.

I parked in the circular driveway, and walked around the perimeter of the rustic home, surrounded by fruit trees, flowers, eagles’ nests, hummingbirds, and butterflies. I was in paradise!

Aiden warmly greeted me and led me to my guest quarters. It was a beautiful little jewel of a room, with a full shower and bath, a mini refrigerator, a wine opener, wine glasses, and a coffee maker. Oh yeah, and a bed. Outside the room, a patio table and chairs invited me to sit and take in the landscape. I needed nothing more. Ever.

After I was settled, Aiden, his lovely mother and I took a ride to a little known meditation temple, run by women monks since the 1970s. We meditated while they chanted in a language I could not understand. It was a beautiful, spiritual way to kick off the weekend.

We then drove down to Butterfly Beach, taking in one of the world’s most famous shorelines. The beach was across from the elegant, historic Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel. As we walked around the stunning grounds of the property with the sun slowly setting, we looked up at the sky. There was one cloud in the sky. And this cloud was special – it was in the shape of a beautiful angel. I felt so blessed.

After a delicious meal of Fajitas, chips, and guacamole from a popular Mexican restaurant in the adorable Montecito town center, we came back to the house. I settled in to my peaceful room, and fell asleep within minutes. It must have been the healing blessing that Aiden gave the room prior to my arrival.

I woke up, fully rested after sleeping for 10 hours. Something I haven’t done in years. Aiden knocked on the door.

“We’re going for a walk on the beach,” he announced.

I jumped out of bed, and was ready in a few minutes.

The invigorating beach walk was truly inspiring, and I felt like I was washing away years of stress and anxiety. An hour and 15-minute walk felt like seconds.

When we got back to the house, Aiden and I went into his beautiful, light-filled healing room. Aiden led me through a series of meditations to focus on what I truly wanted from life, while I held a crystal to “program” the positive energy into the crystal. Then he conducted a powerful healing ceremony for me. When we were done, I felt much lighter. Really.

We then headed to the Santa Barbara Pier for lunch, feasting on local fish and chips at a crowded hole-in-the wall spot, people-watching whiled we ate. When we were done, Aiden asked me to pull out my crystal. He requested I bury it in a beautiful place. We promptly returned to the spot where I saw my angel. I buried it in a secret garden, where I first saw the angel.

We returned to the house, where I had a luxury mid-afternoon nap, in my little hideaway in paradise, before heading back to L.A. It was an amazing 24-hour experience.

Take the time for your 24-hour experience. It will change your life.

Barbara Bishop is President of Santa Monica-based BBPR, Inc. For comments or suggestions, email barbara.bishop@bbprinc.com.

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