Coaching: Sarah Brightwood

Sarah Brightwood is President of Rancho La Puerta. On the website, you'll see that it's a destination fitness spa and resort, a family legacy of tending to the same land for almost 90 years. What may be harder to see is Sarah's dedication to her role as a healer; her profound connection to the land of the ranch and stewarding both the people and the flora/fauna with a spiritual touch; her desire to ensure fairness and equity ripple outward from her business and touch everyone they engage.

This is the story of our work together.

Who are you?*

My name is Sarah Brightwood. I'm president of Rancho La Puerta, which is a destination Fitness Resort and Spa in Baja, California, Mexico. 

The issue: why this work?

I'm in the transition from overworking to shaping a more balanced work and creative life. I'm 63 and I've been concerned about the fact that I'm working more rather than less each year, and was having a really hard time reversing that trend. 

With my body, I wasn't able to deal with the lack of sleep. Also, the stress of having to take care of an aging mother and transitions in various aspects of the business at the time. There just wasn't enough vital force, energy or hours in the day for all of those. So I sacrificed to show up.

It was very hard for me to feel so depleted, to have a sense that my self care had fallen to that level, that my digestion was no longer functioning. It was a big wake up call for my body. I only picked up my guitar maybe twice in the last year. And I’d stopped meditating.

It was a process of wanting to reclaim part of myself. I felt myself wanting to get closer to a manageable and rewarding life in a personal and spiritual way. In many ways, my life has felt like it wasn't my life. It was in service to the land and the organization and finding new projects, all of those things. I think I was also making taking a stand for being able to choose something for myself. 

What parts of the work “worked” for you?

All of it was useful and very impressive. Your structure and capacity to hold space, meditations and presence. I would say the whole container was magical and full of discovery. The pacing [allowed] my curiosity to be completely engaged, and when I felt uncomfortable I was met and centered with you.

I really I love the SPIRE ( a spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational and emotional check in, a tool of 10th Dot Transformations) check in as a way of arriving. I so appreciated your deep dive into Reflexive Integration (a tool of 10th Dot Transformations). It allows this exploration where you're moving through [centers of energy] in the body, physically embodying universal concepts and then allowing the spiritual guidance to arise out of that. Discovering links between concepts that I had never put in close proximity [like the relationship between non-violence and truth] suddenly created this whole new pathway of understanding for me. 

The Results

There's more calm and steadiness. I've always been a calm person, but I feel as if there's an added gravitas as well. And in an interesting sort of way, because you are so much younger than me, I think I feel I've been able to embrace the role of the elder within me also by seeing how you hold it. That has been an extraordinary thing. It’s been very precious.

I feel how [our work together] lives in my resilience or where I go with challenges. In my workspace it's been a time of upheaval and death and loss and all these challenges. Those moments when the vessel nearly capsized affected me very much. In all the extremes that have happened these past few months, I haven't really been afraid. I guess that's it. There's less fear [about] the stress. I'm watching it and modulating it. 

Who’s right for this work?

One part of me wants to say I would recommend this work to someone in transition. I think that this would be really valuable work to do during a time of change, when the [energy] is about change and [you need to practice] adapting and letting go and surrendering.

But there's another part of me that wants to say actually, this is really good work to do when things are really stable. You're able to look at those things in you that that don't change that maybe need to. Sometimes those places of comfort where growth isn't happening are really rich and fertile ground as well. But for me, I chose this at a time of transition, at a time I have a great deal of stress in just about every direction in my life. And it's been very helpful.

Thank you. Gratitude and blessings on your work and hope that I can keep integrating.

*Interview edited for length and clarity.

Nikki Silvestri