Begin Again: Tessa Prieto-Valdes Went on a Year-Long Healing Journey After A Chapter in Her Life Closed - LA Lives

It’s like a tsunami happened, and I’m going back to shore, then see the devastation.

To her peers and even her 104,000 Instagram followers, Tessa Prieto-Valdes is a head-turning and scroll-stopping personality who preaches positivity—a quality she attributes to growing up with lots of love and laughter. 

READ ALSO: What We Can All Learn From Tessa Prieto-Valdes’ Bout With An Instagram Hacker

She’s maintained this image even while her marriage with her husband, Dennis, of 26 years was ending. “If I didn’t have this total positive attitude, I could stay in that dark hole forever,” the philanthropist says while on a trip with her kids in Australia.

Prieto-Valdes and Dennis enjoyed a whirlwind romance, as she describes it. The couple got married after six months of dating, celebrated their crystal wedding anniversary in Africa, their 20th in a Game of Thrones-themed party, and their 25th with a safari motif. 

“But we evolved. We evolved; in my mind, I thought we both progressed equally in our same dimensions. But you can’t really tell,” she shares. 

While entering a new chapter in her life, the columnist admits she got impatient with her recovery. However, Prieto-Valdes realized she was trying to control things “only God could handle.”

New state of being

“I had to be patient and be focused on the forward path helped me create a new state of being! I had to remind myself to take my time and not pressure myself into any deadline,” shares the triathlete of a year-long healing journey. 

In 2021, Prieto-Valdes packed up her bags and spent four months in America. While in Arizona’s Miraval Resort, she practiced equine therapy to connect with nature and practiced mindfulness through the wellness center’s Seven Pillars: being non-judgmental, staying patient, maintaining a “beginner’s” mindset, trusting one’s intuition, being present, practicing acceptance, and letting things be.

“We get super caught up in a world that compulsively and relentlessly marks our experiences as either good or bad, happy or sad, triumphant or tragic,” she shares from her restorative experience. “Imagine how liberating it is to pay attention to a moment without judging it; to experience it for what it is without trying to turn it into anything else.” 

In addition, Prieto-Valdes signed up for Floating Meditation and challenge courses. The former has participants hoisted on hanging silk, which the mother of four says “has room for only tranquility, calm, and peace.”

On the other hand, the challenge courses are a master class on learning how to trust through physical tasks like climbing poles and jumping off platforms. “It made me feel like I could trust my intuition to tell me when it felt okay to say yes or no to the activity at hand,” Prieto-Vades shares. “I learned to trust that my feelings would be honored, no matter what I chose to do or not do.”

Bigger picture

Visiting Miraval was where the TV host slowly learned how to let go, “that gave me more clarity because I also feel that time and getting away from ground zero super helps. Like being here in Australia, I’m not where it happened.”

After all, Prieto-Vades credits traveling with gaining a better perspective on her situation. “It’s like a tsunami happened, and I’m going back to shore, then see the devastation. But if I look at it from afar, [through getting away], it becomes a matter of clearing the debris—instead of wondering how I can possibly rebuild.” 

Now, the co-founder of The Red Charity Gala says she has the tools to reconstruct her life, “with what I’ve learned, I can help other people also. With more love and compassion and clarity.”

Her other avenues of healing include regular Bible studies, Vinyasa Yoga with teacher Francis Flaviano, and exercises with her kids such as golf, scuba diving, pole dancing, Zumba, and retail therapy. “Money can buy happiness, even if it’s temporary,” she says with a laugh. 

And of course, leaning on her friends, family, and support group helps her refocus on love and release hate.

After a whirlwind romance that lasted 26 years, Prieto-Valdes underwent a whirlwind year recovering from the relationship’s ending. 

What’s next

“When something is no longer meant for you, it hurts more to hold onto it than let go. After going through all the emotions, and all the crying is done, I deliberately changed my mindset to get all excited about all the new memories to come,” Prieto-Valdes muses. 

She believes that a meaningful life encompasses one’s impact on their immediate family but in how one can impact the world. “Always make sure that what you do is something that’s worth the legacy you wanna leave behind,” Prieto-Valdes advises. “That creates meaning.” 

But above it all, the definition of the interior designer’s life is her children, Bryan, Tyrone, Jordan, and Athena.

After her healing period last year, Prieto-Valdes considers that chapter closed, and she’s on to the next. “My mindset for 2022 is opportunities out there and what direction I should go,” she says, “Coming from this really jump-started my relationship with my kids. This is my priority.” 

This story first came out in the June 2022 issue of Lifestyle Asia.

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