Inspired by the human longing and journey to become whole in body, mind, heart and spirit, Stephanie Ludwig, Director of Spiritual Wellness at Canyon Ranch Tucson, uses the world’s ancient wisdom traditions, grounded in sound contemporary research, to ensure guests receive exceptional spiritual care and guidance through innovative program offerings and experiences.
WHAT MAKES YOU A CANYON RANCH WELLNESS ARCHITECT™?
Leading our Spiritual Wellness department necessitates that I “walk the talk” of spiritual self-care. The whole-person focus of Canyon Ranch keeps physical, mental and emotional self-care at the forefront of my awareness, along with spiritual self-care. The daily time it takes to eat well and exercise reaps benefits that far exceed the time sacrifice.
My mornings begin at 5 am with a cup of hot black tea with cream, and a journal. I reflect upon my dreams daily to gain self-awareness and spiritual insight. Then I complete a writing practice that may include responding to inspirational reading. Breakfast is followed by a trail run or brisk walk in the canyon near my home. Starting the day with things that feed my soul prepares me for a full day of responding to the unexpected! My mornings have a definite rhythm that both grounds and inspires me.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A FOUNDATION OF WELLNESS IN A HIGH-STRESS CAREER?
Building a career on the whole-person foundation of wellness – body, mind, heart and spirit – is necessary for ensuring that we stay anchored in a strong sense of who and what we are as a human being (not just a job title), and what matters most to us, as we navigate the inevitable uncertainties of life.
Keeping purpose at the center of my life helps me practice taking a “hawk’s-eye view” or “mountain top view” of situations that could evoke stress. That means internally seeing what I am facing from a higher vantage point and situating it in its proper place, rather than reacting habitually to a perceived threat. When work and life get really difficult, being able to make meaning from those messy circumstances, seeing the opportunities for learning and growth, is also a powerful skill.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CANYON RANCH PHILOSOPHY FOR YOU IN YOUR BUSY LIFE?
Connection is at the heart of Canyon Ranch, in the sense that all of our pillars ultimately point toward creating and strengthening connections with self, others, nature and spirit through an abundance of transformational experiences. Each day I seek to practice connection in each of these areas, and I encourage others to find ways to connect that are genuine and fulfilling for them. It’s what we long for as human beings, and we can gift it to ourselves with ease.
HOW DO YOU TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF AND UNPLUG FROM WORK?
Immersing in nature, reading and writing, solitude and spending time with loved ones are the daily ways I replenish my energy.
Long walks are my favorite way to take a self-care “deep dive” and I regularly schedule time for hiking and backpacking. Over the years, I have backpacked the Tahoe Rim Trail, walked the Camino de Santiago, sections of the Appalachian Trail, into and out of the Grand Canyon multiple times, around the Tetons, through the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, and other places of wild beauty. When I turned 45 this year I committed to completing the 800-mile Arizona Trail in sections. That is the ultimate self-care blueprint for me!