Since June of 1940, guests looking to enhance wellness arrived on a land originally belonging to the Native Kumeyaay at the base of Mt. Kuchumaa, a sacred peak historically protected by shamans. This earthly temple rises above Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico. In those early days, guests traveled to listen to Edmond Szekely who was considered a forward-thinking proponent of natural wellness. Szekely spoke on the exploration of human potential and introduced the thought that humans are not simply a brain, a body, an organ or a spirit.  He noted that a human is all these things, and each should be their own caretaker.

Living Wellness with Jennifer

During a recent visit to the ranch, my meditation instructor recited words from a poignant composition before guiding a group sit. The poem by John Roedel is titled, “My Brain and My Heart Divorced.” The writing shares, “Now my head and heart share custody of me; I stay with my brain during the week and my heart gets me on weekends. They never speak to one another.” Eventually the author takes a break from the brain and heart to spend time with his gut. A meaningful conversation in the deep cavity of the gut encourages the author to pack a bag and spend time with his lungs. Since the lungs do not lament about yesterday or tomorrow, it is the perfect place to be – a place to just breathe.

There is a palpable energy and conduit to peace on this historic property. It is a place to synergize head and heart. It is a refuge to breathe freely – a haven of organic, fresh food from the earth. Vegetables are picked from a diverse garden on the land. It is a sanctuary to explore human potential and escape from life’s pressing expectations. 

From the myriad of selections offered, one can explore an abundance of wellness choices. Sometimes the best approach to crafting one’s day is to say yes to new adventure. Gyrokinesis was my new choice and opened an experience to breathing and spinal mobility. It is gentle movement performed on a stool, undulating the spine in all directions with emphasis on figure-eight movement. The instructor explained energy pathways, sharing that the first organ to form in the body is the heart. It forms on the spinal column and two nubs appear as initiation points for the arms to grow. It was a beautiful takeaway explaining the heartfelt action of hugging. 

The entire time spent at the ranch provides “Aha” moments encouraging “Siempre Mejor,” the motto for the ranch meaning “always better.” Today, Deborah Szekely is the matriarch of her husband’s wellness vision. Turning 100 last year, her message is to find those things that are life enhancing and covet them. The ranch is one way to experience a direct dose of wellness. We can also find these experiences in our communities. When we start to feel vibrancy in every cell of our body, we know we are amid a life enhancing experience. May we strive towards an “always better” approach, as the journey towards wellness is one of never-ending exploration.

Jennifer Di Francesco is a wellness explorer and desert adventurist and can be reached at

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