The Pause That Refreshes at Sparkling Hill

You need the practice of mindfulness to bring your mind back to the body and establish yourself in the moment…

Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Oprah Talks to Thich Nhat Hanh

Springtime is the best time to renew your energies. I was feeling on the verge of collapse mentally and physically with everything happening in my life when I came across a simple phrase:

The pause that refreshes

It comes from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. The short section talks about becoming more aware of how certain events can preoccupy your mind and letting go to be in the moment. The work/life balance is the main focus of it, which is difficult for me to relate to since I have no clear separation between the two (I work from home, not in an environment outside of the house.) Working on that separation between the negative events in one area not effecting the other area, made me realize that I needed something more. Not neccessarily a vacation, but some kind of break.

I thought about trying to find a place to escape through AirBnB. There were quite a variety of places to choose from that were secluded or in a town I had only driven through. Many of them were quite appealing, but time was a factor as well. Do I want to be sitting in a car for three or more hours to reach my destination? Instead, I turned my interest to a place more local, that I had been to before, and that just happened to send me an email announcing a great deal for locals.

Sparkling Hill Resort is a place that words have a hard time describing. Reading back through my first experience there over four years ago, Beautiful Sparkling Hill, I was as impressed now as I was then. I found myself looking forward to rediscovering the little gems hidden around the complex, as much as I was looking forward to relaxing in the saunas.

Located a short 30 minute drive from Kelowna, it’s a convenient getaway for locals. Its location high up in the hills overlooking the surround lakes make it the perfect retreat - away from the busy city centres, but close enough if you’re needing somewhere else to explore during the daytime.

After hustling through Friday afternoon traffic and checking in, I put on my running shoes to get geared up for a hike in the hills. A few kilometres through the woods, a relatively steep incline over granite rock faces, brings you to a gorgeous view of the Okanagan valley.

I was fortunate enough to time the hike so I reached the peak shortly before a storm started to blow through. The winds were howling when I was standing at the peak, dark clouds rolling in. I was thankful that the descent through the hills was covered by thick woods, followed by a quick walk back up to the sanctuary. An hour and a half in the hills was more than enough to get me ready to have a meal and retreat to the saunas to recover.

The saunas1 were more memorable to me this time. I remembered several of them from before, but I had forgotten or never had a chance to experience some of the other ones. There are seven saunas to enjoy, ranging from a high and dry heat (90C with 10% humidity) to extremely humid saunas that have you dripping in sweat after a few seconds. An hour of alternating between the saunas, the outdoor infinity pool, and the hot tub, had my body melting away. It was wonderful to sit in there and not think, about work or life.

The next morning was a continuation of Friday evening. Woke up with the sun shining through the window early in the morning. I generally sleep in on the weekends when I don’t have my daughter, but that day, I was up and downstairs for breakfast by 7:30 am feeling quite refreshed. A full breakfast buffet is included in the room rate and offers everyone what they need to start their day.

Afterwards, I retreated to the saunas once more. They were slightly busier than the night before as people tried to relax more before departing. I took a moment afterwards to lay down in the Tea Room, a relaxation room, enjoying the sun, the view and a cup of jasmine tea.

One night is more than enough time for me to recharge myself and be better prepared for the coming weeks/months. This will definitely not be the last time I take a break at Sparkling Hill, though I will make sure I go there a little more frequently than once every four years. My one night there was a reminder of how good it feels to take a break, not look at my phone or other device, and do nothing. Absolutely nothing.

How beautiful it is to do nothing and then rest afterwards

Sparkling Hill Resort

  1. Images of the sauna and relaxation room are from their website. No cameras are allowed in the spa area, partly because of all the moisture in the air, but also because after 9pm is a European hour - clothing optional.