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Rancho La Puerta Transitions

Rancho La Puerta
Contemplating life’s transitions on the labyrinth at Rancho La Puerta


Rancho La Puerta is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s a lovely fitness and health resort just over the Mexican border  from California on the Baja designed to revive, to restore and to rejuvenate. I’ve gone there nine times over the years and can’t wait to go again.

I’ve always thought of it as a place to retreat, rest, exercise, jumpstart a health eating plan and best of all, reconnect with a long time and dear friend. I’ve also enjoyed terrific experiences with my husband and with my daughter.

Recently I made the trek to celebrate my friend’s significant birthday (The Importance of Place: Rancho La Puerta) and enjoy time with ours daughters and daughters-in-law. But, while I was there I had a interesting conversation with another guest that got me thinking. She said she was there to assess a possible transition—leaving her husband and hooking up with a new partner.  She planned to use her time at the Ranch to think about what that all would mean for her family and her life.

I commented that for me going to the Ranch as a place to contemplate a new direction in life was a new idea. She said, “Oh I think it is a wonderful place to gather a new perspective. I need to think things through and see how I feel about them. I can’t do that in the busy-ness of my daily life.”

So, with the words transitions and new directions lingering in my mind, I started to see the Ranch and its stunning grounds in a fresh way. As I meandered with my camera, doorways, archways and  pathways all seemed to speak to me representing the twists and turns–sometimes unexpected and unplanned–that our lives take. Like the paths at the Ranch, our lives rarely go in straight lines.  Sometimes things look different on one side of a doorway than the other.  Some times we think in terms of “before” and “after.”   Many times we face critical forks in the road.

I’ve gathered some interesting quotes to pair up with my images of the grounds which encourage you to contemplate life’s changes and periods of transition.   I hope you enjoy and share your thoughts about transitions and heading in new directions in the comment section below.

Rancho La Puerta
“Look on every exit as being an entrance to somewhere else.”
― Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Rancho La Puerta

“I’ve always believed there are moments in our lives which can be defined as a transition between the before and after, between the cause and the effect.”
― Benjamin X. Wretlind, Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors

Rancho La Puerta

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” Isaac Asimov


“Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink,  prioritize, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.”

Kristin Armstrong



“20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain


“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”

Deepak Chopra

“Most people do not resist change. What we resist is transition. Change is a situational shift. Transition, on the other hand, is the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become. In between the letting go and the taking hold again, there is a chaotic but potentially creative “neutral zone” when things aren’t the old way, but aren’t really a new way yet either.”

William Bridges

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

I particularly liked these images of the door to the welcome center at the ranch taken by Rhiannon Warren. Look at the difference between the inside and outside. This is a wonderful symbol of how transitions in life  look so different when viewed from opposite perspectives.

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Jan Kerr
    Aug 8, 2016 Reply

    Thoughtful and beautiful.

  2. posted by
    Margaret Idema
    Aug 8, 2016 Reply

    Thank you for this walk down memory lane, Susan…as you recall, I was dealing with “transitions” and “new directions” when I was at Rancho La Puerta. It was a perfect way to sort things out so that I could move forward into my new life while shedding the old “me”. I will always be grateful for your recommending the ranch!!

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Aug 8, 2016 Reply

      I am so glad that the Ranch was such a great spot for you in your own personal transition.

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