Jody Cross: In 2008, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I spent most of the year undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
As I completed my treatment, I looked towards my future. I asked myself: what’s next?
My daughter, Lydia, was was nine years old at the time. She too experienced the distress of my illness. Our relationship yearned for joy and rejuvenation. Though my doctors’ aftercare instructions included intensive bed rest, my intuition disagreed with them. I knew Lydia and I needed a great adventure -- together -- to restore our spirits and enrich our bond.
I found Rancho Las Cascadas, a guest ranch in Mexico, while searching on the internet. The ranch accommodated all ages and levels of riders. I contacted the owner, Uschi, and told her about our challenging year and how vulnerable we were.
“Come,” she replied, “we will take care of you.”
We arrived at the ranch the first day after my last radiation treatment. As Uschi’s driver pulled to a stop in front of the lobby, we marveled at the blooming pink bougainvillea and a massive terra cotta waterfall. Uschi emerged from the lobby’s entrance and greeted us with open arms. Her embrace was generous and full-hearted.
"Hola!” She said,“I'm Uschi. Welcome to Mexico!"
Later that afternoon, Uschi invited Lydia to visit a local farmer. I needed to rest, but Lydia was delighted to go.
I awakened to the sound of a truck outside. I walked to the door and opened it.
I watched Uschi driving her pickup truck with Lydia by her side, wearing a Mexican sombrero and beaming from ear to ear. I waved and Lydia leaned out of her window: "Look mom, we bought this horse! Uschi said I can name him!"
I followed them to the stables, breathing in the fresh mountain air. I hadn’t seen Lydia that happy in a long time. I knew we were exactly where we were meant to be.
During our week at Rancho Las Cascadas, the staff cared for our every need as if we were family. We went horseback riding together in the stunning countryside, bathed in cleansing waterfalls, had a mystical, healing experience with a local shaman, and delved deeply into the Mexican culture while visiting the local villages with the rancho guides.
Our restorative week of healing and adventure surpassed my greatest expectations.
Upon departure, I told Uschi of my vision to return with many more guests to receive their own healing and restoration.
Professionally I spent years facilitating intensive therapy focused on trauma reprocessing work with individuals and couples in some kind of life crisis.
I now wanted to offer a more holistic experience of embodied wellness that included the best practices in emotional and mental health.
In 2015, I held the first Epona Retreat at the rancho. Lydia worked on staff as Communications Coordinator, and has worked as staff for every Epona Retreats in Mexico since. We've held over 10 retreats at the rancho, and have expanded to other locations around the world including Morocco, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
I invite you to join us.
Our next retreat at the rancho is scheduled for February 26 - March 4, 2022.