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  • Writer's pictureDiana Scalia

Santa Barbara

Debby has become such a dear friend in addition to my writing coach, and we’ve been immersed in each other’s lives - here on earth - for going on two years now. I say that because our souls have known each other forever.

She arrived Thursday afternoon for our travel together via train on Friday morning, for a special luxurious retreat in Santa Barbara. I was overjoyed to finally host her in my home for the night. We had a simple dinner, I got her comfortable as best I could, and we went to sleep relatively early.

Friday morning, we got a very early start which gratefully allowed time for breakfast at Philippe the Original near Union Station. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet, and a must-do when in LA. With full tummies, we parked at the train station after some minor confusion at finding our way there ... and we landed in our first-class train seats just in time.

My new friend Al – a long-time dear friend of Debby – met us at the station and was our concierge-style greeter and driver extraordinaire. Debby intends to host more retreats in Santa Barbara, and Al is apparently willing to star in this esteemed role for future parties. We arrived at our Upham Hotel Bed and Breakfast to drop bags for later check-in, then Al drove us to Goat Tree café for a light lunch.

Our retreat was off to such a delicious start, first with Philippe and now at Goat Tree. Debby had a salad with mimosa vinaigrette – how fabulous was that – and I had a creamy dreamy yogurt fruit plate with lavender honey. It all hit the spot, we then carried on by foot to do some shopping.

We later settled into our rooms, and mine was a cozy little cottage. I enjoyed a little snooze before we dolled up for dinner for which Al joined us, at the hotel’s resident Louis’ American Bistro. We had such a fantastic meal, wine, and so much wonderful conversation and laughter. Debby arranged for this first retreat day to be about luxury and relaxation and, yummy food!

Saturday morning, after a nice light continental breakfast, we started our program with a session on The Heroine’s Journey – which I will inevitably be expanding on in future Magenta posts. My favorite takeaway from this was that I can safely imagine my Goddess Self having already gone before me to arrange my glorious future, including the grand success of my new cookbook, and beyond. That Goddess is now a few steps ahead of me on my path of gold, luring me her way. I can trust that it is entirely safe to step forward, and I am divinely guided for certain.

Next was an introduction to the Enneagram, an ancient Greek oracle that reveals insights from something like a spiritual psychology test. This was a very significant part of my retreat experience, as Debby is quite expert on Enneagram and could guide me regarding the results of my test. We studied my life path as a SEVEN on the points, with SIX and EIGHT as my wings. This is all kind of beyond my scope at this hour and, I am taking another class in July in London to study further. Some of the best Enneagram stuff was about to come for me, however, as soon as Sunday morning.

Saturday afternoon we walked to a lovely metaphysical bookstore, Paradise Found, where Debby got re-acquainted with the charming Alejandro. We all spoke about my being a featured author for events in the future. This was all such a beautiful thing in its entirety, and I adore the idea of returning to Santa Barbara for this kind of exciting experience!

That evening we had dinner at Bouchon, for very yummy French this side of Paris and, we decided that it was too noisy to stay for dessert. We were very happy to return to our hotel to revisit Louis’ Bistro for what tasted like the best gelato and sorbetto in town. More great conversation and laughter. Debby and I always have so much to talk about.

Sunday morning was about energy work. Before we had brunch at Louis’ Bistro (we just loved that place!), we settled cozily in my cottage for this very important session. Debby very gently and lovingly guided me in a meditation that has been recorded, to instruct me on leaning into my SEVEN lifepath on the Enneagram. It’s beyond the scope of this post to explain it all, so let me just say that it felt like the most gorgeous love song – ever, in the world - had been divined and gifted to me ... it was kind of like that (and it was in spoken words, not actually sung). I have been listening to it at night before sleeping.

In time to catch our train, Al drove us to the station on Sunday. I regretted having to leave our idyllic hotel with its gorgeous garden settings and a happy staff that was so very friendly, kind, and welcoming.

Our train ride back to LA was fine except for two annoying children onboard for whom we cared very little ...

This weekend and its profound experiences will stay with me for a while. It’s still anchoring in my body, mind, heart, and spirit as I write these words. I will definitely be sharing more in future posts.

Stand by.

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