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Reflect | February 23 2023


I AM Inspiration

Celebrating Our Colleagues

Get to know Miraval Austin’s Equine Specialist, Paula Basden, and learn how she inspires people to grow into—and show up as—their best selves. She firmly believes that growth takes place in the context of relationships and that we can elevate our interactions with others by observing how we relate to horses.

Tell us about your journey at Miraval Resorts.

My first position with Miraval Austin was as an equine specialist, and I was the first one they hired. Before that, the wranglers at the farm did a great job of giving guests time with the horses. I have loved seeing the program grow and expand to what it is today!

What do you enjoy most about being a Miraval Resorts colleague?

The people—both colleagues and guests. The spirit of Miraval Austin, both in people and property, supports living a well-balanced life. I especially like the way the practices taught and discussed are done so in a way that you can apply them to your daily life. We give hope—to our guests, colleagues, and ourselves—to make changes that will benefit both our personal lives and the world as a whole.

Miraval Resorts does this in a way that balances challenging people to live their best lives with holding space for where they are personally and spiritually when seeking answers to the changes they want to make.

I love horses. I always have. My training in equine-assisted therapies allows me to spend time with these animals in a way that is truly amazing. I love the herd of horses here at Miraval Austin. They are unique personalities that provide opportunities for growth for me and the guests who come for classes.

There is a feeling of “there is enough sand in the sandbox for everyone.”  There is also an overall feeling of expansion and sharing—not a competition to outdo anyone else in this space. I like the support given to the many paths of wellness that are available today. I like knowing that if a guest or colleague is struggling, there are resources to refer them to that can help navigate those challenges.

We also, as colleagues, receive encouragement and incentives to continue our education in our specialties.

What brought you to Miraval Resorts & what keeps you here?

I heard about Miraval Arizona many years ago when I first started working in equine-assisted therapies. I read Wyatt Webb’s book It’s Not About the Horse and was blown away by the ideas represented by his work. That book inspired me to continue my training in equine-assisted therapies. I never dreamed I would work at the same place that Wyatt made famous through his work there!

I stay here because it allows me to use my gifts to help people. I feel supported by management,  I enjoy and respect my colleagues, and I get to be a part of a team whose goal is to make the world a better place. I love the team spirit at the farm. I have fun at work and go home feeling I got the better end of the deal!

What have you learned from your time at Miraval Austin?

Wellness and balance can be verbs as well as nouns, and striving for them is a process, not a point of arrival. A balanced life is like the North Star—where we point our compass—and when we get off course, we begin again, knowing that the part of our journey that we thought was a tangent was simply our path. I believe the universe is rigged in favor of our growth.

What is the best part of your day?

Getting to know the guests on a personal basis. The horses allow a space to open with people that is unlike any other I have ever observed. I love watching people as they get to know our herd and then their surprise when the horses show them how they are showing up in relationships. They get to see what gets in the way of getting what they want and need from the people they most care about. And all this is done in a non-judgmental and non-threatening way that is actually fun!

I love the first few minutes after I arrive at the farm and see which horses we will be working with for the day. It’s a great feeling to know that the work done with these magnificent animals will be exactly what the guests need.

How does Miraval Austin help you create a work-life balance?

Management is good at listening to our needs as colleagues and then supporting us as we work to serve the guests that come to us. Scheduling time off is respected, as is the need to increase our offerings when needed.

When classes are full and schedules are tight—as it often is in the hospitality industry—we always get extra support to carry the heavy load. Respect is given for medical and family situations that require time off from work. Everyone on our team pitches in to assist in challenging times.

What is your Miraval “i am” word, and why did you choose it?

My “i am” word is Inspiration.

I chose this word because I have found inspiration through equine therapy for creating a life in balance for myself. My goal is to help people go inside to find the answers they are seeking. I like to help people find their way back to themselves. I don’t teach as much as I guide people to remember the strengths they have within themselves.

Would you like to share something about your ancestry, family, culture, or background?

My background and culture is in helping people. I learned that from my parents and then pursued a degree as a registered nurse. Now I get to do the same, only in a different form. I assist guests in seeing how health and wellness can come from paying attention to not only physical and nutritional health but also emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

Is there a story you would like to share that people at work might not know about you?

I once helped deliver a baby in an elevator!

I am an outdoor girl through and through. I love being in nature, but the next skill I want to learn is how to play the piano—a totally indoor activity.





Stay tuned and keep checking back in this space for an ongoing celebration of our Miraval Resorts colleagues. We are excited to shine a light on our colleagues’ “i am” statements in the upcoming months as we share the stories of their unique talents, passions, and personalities. Learn more about how their word informs and balances their work and personal journeys.