Friday, December 5, 2008

Haven of Life

A couple of weeks ago I spent five days in "The Haven of Life". Chiva Som is a two and a half hour drive from Bangkok and is one of the most beautiful places on earth. This is my sixth visit and I always stay in the same room every time, room 303 – The Chamomile Suite. I love this room that overlooks the pool, palm trees, yoga pavilion, and ocean. It is a place where I recharge my batteries for the year-end and take time out to refresh the mind, body, and spirit. I dropped 8lbs. by following a 5-day Classic Cleansing diet comprising of vegetable juice, potassium broth, wheatgrass, and lots and lots of water.

I combined this with a daily massage (including my first ever facial) and a brilliant 5 Element Massage using hot and cold stones. I also worked out every morning, played tennis with Tam every day (four wins out of four – 3 in a tie-break and one 7-5). I had a water aerobics class daily and at least one hot tub and steam every day. I didn’t speak to anyone except the tennis pro for the entire five days and it gave me time to focus on positivity and replenishment.

In the hectic business life we all lead nowadays, I find the person we most often neglect is ourselves. Instead we spend lots of time worrying about the business, our clients, and our people.

“If your thoughts are always positive you will be at peace with yourself and all around you the world will smile.” Joy is one of the great motivators of peak performance. Reminding ourselves to find the joy in every situation by making people smile is not only a great equity position for Crest toothpaste (where healthy beautiful smiles for life are the order of the day), but it is also a highly inspirational code to live by.

Chiva Som was only 40% full when I was there and it was mainly women. In fact, I only saw three male guests during the five, which meant the men’s spa was always empty. Perfect.

Chiva Som is a favorite among celebrities like Elizabeth Hurley and Sarah Ferguson, and you’ll find lots of Thais and expats from Bangkok taking a weekend break. Women were using the time away from husbands, family, and work to pamper themselves, mothers and daughters were bonding, and a few couples were getting in shape (spiritually and physically) together. I was the only person there on the Classic Cleanse; everyone else was enjoying the health spa lifestyle and food which is delicious. I wrote about Chiva Som last year but it really does get better as the pace of life gets faster.

I did lots of reading during the five days and was also reminded of one of the core tenets of a good life: “It is always good to grow in the spirit of forgiveness. But we must also learn to forget.” Instead of going over many wrongs that may have happened to us in the past, let us forget them and live in the present.

I almost forgot to tell you about the work part (oh, yes, that too). I spent three hours a day in the library keeping things whirling. I did this with my iPod on, with total tranquility all around, and wearing only a t-shirt and shorts.
The news everyday wasn’t too hot, with American Express laying off 10% of their workforce, people’s 401K funds in the U.S. being hammered, and job losses wherever you look. And it was happening in businesses as varied as Chrysler and Yahoo!. Once again, though, my readings helped me, “Conditions are always good, never bad; we need to know how to make good use of them. The man who waits for conditions to improve may have to wait for eternity”.


bruce said...

I assume that you also worked on your 100 day plan.What were you reading and if you were asked to name the top two books this year,what might they be ?

Joy Meredith said...


Beautiful image and great post. I wanted to share my renewal ritual with you, especially since you mention: "Joy is one of the great motivators of peak performance."

At the beginning of each year I take a look at my life- not goal setting per se- but an actual map of my life. I figure out where I am and where I want to go in the upcoming year. And declutter what isn't working and enhance the areas that need attention.

This was such a powerful way to take on my life that I created a basic website to share the technique ( (Working on WE Mapping for couples and businesses for the near future.)

A trip to Chiva Som might work too, but I can only imagine if you combined the two. . . you might be unstoppable!

Thanks again for sharing!

Warm Wishes,

Jesse said...

Wow. I'm surprised you came back to "civilization". With all of the stress and uncertainty of today's business climate, it's good to take some time out for yourself and recharge away from the negativity.

Kudos Kevin!

Piotr Jakubowski said...

I wouldn't leave from there!

Nothing beats a hot stone massage. But the combination of all that other stuff sounds fantastic - except for that diet. Though I know it's not meant for being enjoyed.

Kevin Roberts said...

Bruce, you’d be right. I also worked on ‘Winning Ugly’ – the framework for 2009’s recession. The two I enjoyed more were Rome 1960, David Maraniss and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Roiz.