When I got to New Mexico, that was mine. As soon as I saw it that was my country. I’d never seen anything like it before, but it fitted me exactly. It’s something that’s in the air—it’s different. The sky is different, the wind is different.

— Georgia O’Keeffe

Inspired by the paintings and life of Georgia O’Keeffe, I’ve had Santa Fe on my list of places to visit for the longest time, and finally had the chance to see its charms during a long weekend for a girls’ getaway.

Santa Fe surprised me with unexpected treasures at every turn. The sky is brilliantly blue— no descriptor could adequately convey how mesmerizingly transformative it is, particularly as a backdrop for the southwestern landscape. With the adobe buildings against the sky, I felt as if I was seeing the world through O’Keeffe’s eyes.

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Santa Fe is an art lover’s paradise, with galleries abundant throughout the city. But beauty isn’t found just in buildings with white walls, it is embedded in everyday life.

Murals pop up in unexpected places…

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…art hangs out with you on the street…

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…residents express themselves with welcoming doorways…

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…and even mailboxes have an artistic flair.

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But perhaps my favorite art fix of the trip was to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

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The exhibit chronicled a sampling of paintings from her New Mexico days, working from her Ghost Ranch home in Abiquiu, about 50 miles outside of Santa Fe.  As an artist who remained fully herself throughout her life, she is an inspiration for anyone seeking to live more authentically.  At least she has been for me.

Of course, no girls getaway is complete without a spa day. Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-inspired spa, greets you with a sign:

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With a message like that, you know you are in for something special.  Which is confirmed by the buddhas that greet you in hidden corners:

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As we waited for our massages, we soaked our feet in the hot foot bath. Relaxation heaven.

My massage therapist, Gaia, greeted me at the foot soak and escorted me to our private hut for my massage. As we chatted, she told me she was from Minnesota, so I asked her why she moved to Santa Fe.

“It called me,” she said.  You can’t get away with a sentence like just anywhere, but spiritual callings are ingrained in the essence of the New Mexico culture.  As Georgia O’Keeffe said, “the country seems to call one in a way that one has to answer it.”

We talked about energy and how immediately grounded one feels here.  Then she grounded my city-weary muscles with an outstanding massage. Afterwards as I walked back to the locker room, peace had taken its rightful place in my soul.

As one who was called to Santa Fe, I felt embraced by the spirit of artistic beauty and the grace of soulful energy.  Among the vibrant colors and the buddhas and the wind, I left with this unmistakable knowledge:

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