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Footsteps to Follow

By: Lois Hince
Posted: July 23, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
meditation on rock

page 4 of 8

In the very early days of the Szekely’s camp, breakfast consisted of fresh raw goat’s milk, whole-grain bread from homegrown wheat and wild sage honey. Lunch included goat milk cheese, a homegrown tomato, sprouted wheat with watercress and green sprouts from the sprouting room. Legumes led the way at dinner and were accompanied by whole-grain cereal, an ear of corn or a baked potato, green salad and fresh fruit for dessert.

“Most of this vegetarian bounty came from our gardens, just as the gardens and orchards at Rancho La Puerta supply our guests today,” writes Deborah. She continues, providing an insight into the chores at the camp. “Everyone took part in the do-everything-from-scratch kitchen detail.” In addition to helping her husband with the camp’s administrative duties, she also ground wheat, watered sprouts, made cheese—and the beds. “I would certainly have set the communal table, had we possessed one. Instead, we tagged every plate and placed it on a shelf in a large bin, and guests retrieved their own,” she writes.

Guests were then encouraged to go off on their own to eat without interruption, and with each breath and mouthful they were to reflect on what they ate and consider the vitality it supplied—enhancing their oneness with nature. “Today, you would call this meditation,” writes Deborah.3

Spreading the word

Eventually a newsletter was published, and by the end of World War II there were more than 100 members in six countries who made sure the Szekely’s annual six-week summer camp was fully booked. In fact, the newsletter was printed on a mimeograph machine set up under one of the two arching oaks that formed a natural doorway at Rancho La Puerta. In a few years there was enough income to purchase a small printing press that turned out a monthly bulletin, and books and pamphlets written by Edmond, many still relevant today.

When word got out about the camp and the fact that a person could shed pounds while gaining inner serenity, it attracted more people and the Szekelys began accepting guests year-round. By 1950, the rates were increased to $25 per week. And because Deborah was so busy running the camp, she had little time for interruptions, prompting her to make up guest schedules. This was the beginning of the spa schedule used at spas and resorts around the world today.