How to Reboot Your Spirit

I spent most of last week with Don Miller and a few friends at Bob and Maria Goff’s lodge in British Columbia. Don wrote about this magical place in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It was stunning. It gave me the opportunity to reboot my spirit.

A Large Triple Waterfall in a Forest - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #10908076

Photo courtesy of ©

For two-and-a-half days we ate, played, and shared our stories. We laughed and cried. We hiked up mountains, walked through waterfalls, and sat on the deck, listening to the surf and gazing at the stars.

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I think we all felt a little like Frodo in Lord of the Rings when he arrived at Rivendell, wounded and in need of rest, some perspective, and encouragement. It was a little scary to me how perilously close I had come to bailing out of the trip altogether.

Even though our time at the lodge was brief, I returned home more rested than I had felt in months. I found this curious, and decided to deconstruct the experience, so, hopefully, I could replicate it in the future.

Here are my journal notes for “rebooting my spirit.” I listed five elements:

  1. Go someplace beautiful. The Goff’s lodge is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. There is also something about being in the great outdoors that connects you more directly to God and to your place in his world. It provided me with much-needed perspective.
  2. Be fully present. I discovered a week before I left on the trip that we wouldn’t have cell phone or Internet access. I thought, No way. I cannot be offline right now. I have too much going on. As it turned out, this was exactly what I needed. It allowed be to be fully immersed in the experience without the temptation to be somewhere other than where I was.
  3. Have deep conversations. I am an introvert by nature. I don’t naturally seek out people I don’t know. Yet, here I was in the wilderness with twenty people, most of whom I didn’t know—at all. Yet, I found endless delight in hearing their stories, comparing notes, and crying when I left them to come home.
  4. Spend time alone. The retreat had the perfect balance between structure and spontaneity, group time and alone time. Periodically, Don shared with us his thoughts and then asked us to spend some time on our own reflecting on a specific question. All I had was my journal and a bottle of water. I prayed, wrote in my journal, and just enjoyed being.
  5. Have an adventure. The first afternoon, Bob took us to Chatterbox Falls, located at the end of Princess Louisa Inlet. After a brief hike, we squeezed behind the waterfall, in the slim corridor between the solid rock wall and the falling water. The sound was deafening; the water was freezing. Then, at Bob’s invitation, we walked through the falls, feeling the full force of the water as it pummeled us from above. I cut and bruised my leg but it was so worth it. The experience was exhilarating!

Gail and I are already planning our next vacation. We are both fully committed to incorporating these five elements into the experience.

Question: What about you? What reboots your spirit?
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  • Gary Walter

    You have just described my perfect vacation. I've always said that listening to the wind blow through the trees from the top of some mountain is how I "reset my clock" or, "reboot my computer."

    The ocean works, as does an isolated stream of babbling water.

  • Suzie Lind

    This was the perfect post for me to read today. We leave Saturday for a 7 day trip to Yosemite National Park here in California. I'm looking forward to unplugging and retreating with my family. Thanks!

  • Justin and Trisha

    I just got back from a trip to Nashville.
    It was great meeting with people and seeing downtown franklin.

    Spending time with people and having great conversation over coffee is exactly what my soul needs.

  • Charlene

    Great post. Thanks you!!!

  • BarbaraBoucher OTPhD

    Excellent de-construction, Michael. I might fail on the adventurous aspect if it called for the risk of slipping off a falls. I've done many-a religious/organized retreats over the years – all to some re-charge effect. My primary complaint about the retreats I have been on is over-planning and not enough time for sleep. -That's for the church ministers who read here. ;)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Agreed on the over-planning. This one had the PERFECT balance.

  • Chris

    Brilliant. You guys were in one of the most incredibly beautiful corners of our country. I have been out there a few times, taking the ferry to Sechelt and then a private boat further up the coast to a Young Life camp called Malibu. I have been to Chatterbox Falls and every visit out there has been memorable.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Bob’s place is about a 15-minute walk from Malibu. Incredibly beautiful.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I can’t believe that I had never heard of Malibu Camp. It is outrageously beautiful.

  • Jim Martin

    Mike, reading your reflections of your trip helped me think about why I am so refreshed after a yearly gathering (3 days) in October with a small group of people on a ranch in the Texas hill country. I could echo some of your thoughts regarding the beauty of the place as well as being fully present.

    It helps me, also, to be fully unplugged in terms of technology. No internet or phone service here. For some reason, unplugging seems easier if everyone else in the group is unplugged as well.

    • Michael Hyatt

      It is always difficult to unplug. It takes an act of faith. Regardless, I do it a few times a year, and I am always glad I did.

  • aubradford

    Great post! It makes me happy just to think about having an experience like that. Accomplishing the things you mention are challenging for my wife and me right now, particularly with three kids under the age of four. We're learning to be fully present and to make our family times rich and meaningful. Having been down the parenthood path, any tips for how someone in this season can reboot his/her spirit?

  • Fred McKinnon

    Sounds like an awesome time, Michael … I'm envious, and would love to do something similar! Curious – did ya'll have some cook for you, or did you prepare your own meals, etc … I find that "meal-time" … breaking bread … can be a special time to get to know folks .. it's one of my favorite parts of re:create over the years …

    • Michael Hyatt

      The Goff family and some of their friends did all the cooking and serving. They believe in radical hospitality—and practice it!

  • John Richardson

    I'm glad you got a chance to get away. It's so hard to find time for a vacation much less find a place that you have to be offline. I had a similar experience a while back. When I wrote my first book, I based the start of the book about a vacation that my wife and I took in Cambria, a great little town on the central coast of California. The story included places we had experienced, including an old hotel, restaurants and a lighthouse. As the story developed, it moved offshore to one of the channel islands. Having never been to the islands, I did some research and looked at photos, maps and satellite views to get a feel for the offshore wonderlands. As I wrote about the island experience, I created pictures in my mind of the island and the characters who lived there. My main character was an older man named Tor, who was a tour guide in the story. He had a grey beard and a huge amount of common sense and wisdom. This was a character that changed the lives of all the other characters in the book. After self publishing the book, most everyone who read it said they enjoyed Tor's character and the island adventure.
    A year after publishing it, my wife and I got a chance to go out to one of the islands on a half day cruise out of Ventura, CA. The most amazing thing happened right after we got on the boat. An older man named Marty with a great smile and a grey beard stood up at the front of the boat and said he would give a free tour of Santa Cruz island to anyone who wanted to follow. This guy was a spitting image of Tor. As we got to the island, we followed Marty around for over 3 hours. It was like I was reliving the book. The island was so close to the way I had written about it, the buildings, the dock, and the incredible view of the mainland. And Marty had a down home wisdom and intelligence that only an experience tour guide could have. The story cumulated with a steep rocky hill, just like the book. Some people turned back, but those of us that kept going were treated to a view unlike any other. It was a magical day. After the cruise, I wanted to give Marty a copy of my book, but he had disappeared. But this was an adventure I'll never forget. If you ever want to take a memorable vacation, the Central Coast of California and the Channel Islands are a great place to go. Just be sure to look up Marty on the Island Packers tour.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That sounds like a scene out of inception. Was it a dream—or was it real? ;-)

      • John Richardson

        I haven't seen Inception yet, but it kind of reminded me of Jones in Andy Andrews book, The Noticer.

  • Timothy O'Dell

    My Annual trip to the family condo in northern lower Michigan (Lake Bellaire). But somehow after reading this I think I will get a purer reboot this time… Thanks for Sharing Michael

  • April Roland

    Great post…I myself had a rebooting last week. I went home and spent time with good friends and family…and spent time in prayer asking God what He is doing in my new stage in life. I just moved away from everyone I know, doing a new ministry job. So, I just know I need to reflect on what He is doing, and spend time with people who know me well, and actually asking them to pray for me….which is hard to do sometimes. I am realizing I need to reboot a lot more than I ever thought….and connect with Jesus.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Agreed. I think all of us need it more than we think.

  • Eyvonne

    My husband's a pastor. Once a year the two of us rent a cabin in the middle of the woods in Tennessee or Kentucky. We take a huge library of books with us and read, eat, and rest. It's become a requirement for both of us. We leave our 3 kids with family.

    For me, the best vacation involves a cabin, well-stocked fridge, a Bible, and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That does sound like the perfect vacation. My wife and I are looking for that kind of setting now in North Carolina.

      • Mary Beth

        I live in Asheville NC ….. I am sure there are many of these cabin adventures here in the mountains of WNC. I would want to meet ya'll if you two came this way though :) … have inspired me in so many ways. :) Life changes are happening in my life b/c of your blog.

        Oh you want a pretty place with nothing to do but get away you could check in a cabin in Little Switzerland, NC right off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • Lindsey_Nobles

    Sounds absolutely amazing. Got to hear Anne's thoughts on the experience on Friday night. And how you need to say yes to things.

  • marydemuth

    As a many-time Malibu (Young Life) attender and leader, just hearing about Chatterbox Falls makes me long for that place. I truly believe it's the most beautiful place on earth (and I've been to the Alps!) I'm thankful you had time to rejuvenate and rest. Oh how I need that!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Mary, I have to say it’s the most beautiful place I have ever been. You must go back!

      • marydemuth

        My hubby and I both read Don's latest. It sparked him to climb his first fourteener in Colorado this month. Changed his life. If you see Don, please convey our thanks to him.

  • Keith Jennings

    As a husband/father/introvert, have you found that there were seasons in life when you struggled to reboot your spirit due to family responsibilities?

    Backpacking reboots my spirit. Like you, I'm an introvert. There's something very spiritual about the long drive to the trailhead, and a day or few in the woods.

    However, as a husband and father of three young children, my desire to be constantly present for my family is very strong. It's been years since l backpacked overnight. I've not really found other activities that "reboot my spirit" the same way. I've just chalked it up to being a season of life, and as my children get older, I can get back on the trail and bring my kids along (if they want).

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, definitely. However, it MUST be a priority. Your family deserves your best YOU.

  • Kelly

    Excellent, excellent. What reboots my spirit? The Caribbean, especially when at sea. I marvel at God's majestic creation….the earth's curve on the horizon, the innumerable stars, the blues and greens and grays and whites of the sea, the occasional curious sea turtle….there's just something about the humbleness and humility that comes along with the reality of how small I am, and how Great He is.

    Knowing that He created and hung every star in the sky, that He knows every drop of water in the ocean…and yet He created me, He counts every one of my tears. How can I be so significant to the One who is so Mighty and Majestic and Splendorous? More than any other place, being at sea reminds me that in my weakness–my smallness and fallibility–He is strong.

  • @KeithRLocke

    Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your experience Michael. I am looking forward to Colorado this fall and will be keeping this in mind.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Gail and I are going to Colorado in a few weeks. We do this every year with a few other coupe-friends. This year—unlike past years—I am going to completely unplug. It makes all the difference.

  • Elizabeth Rose

    It is so hard to disconnect (no cell, no internet), but it is so refreshing for the spirit. It's hard to remember how to be quiet and "BE"…but once you do, peace and clarify come. I'm typically able to do this walking alone on the beach, early in the morning. Thank you for sharing this post!

  • Michael Hyatt

    I love the idea of going for a long run around the surrounding neighborhoods. I did that in Boston recently, and it was awesome.

  • Sit. Desk. Write.

    Great reminder and inspiration. Thank you!

  • PatAlexander

    My husband and I spent 4 days in Yellowstone in June. No internet and very limited cell coverage there too. I was a bit freaked out like you, but I decided I should use that to my advantage. Luckily I only have 3 active clients. I let them know the day I would be unavailable, set up an email responder and appropriate voice message on all phones. Once I did this my mind was just cleared of memory. I put my phone in my backpack, enjoyed the quiet, nature and quality one-on-one time with my husband. I had my laptop for some planned writing, but I ended up not evening opening that until after we left yellowstone. I am trying figure out the next such adventure and when. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Kristen

    YES! YES! YES! strong points.

    this summer, in an effort to save money, I chose a domestic getaway. I had the opportunity to stay with friends and a family in the middle of farm country Ohio with beautiful green corn fields that stretched so far, fireflies danced across the grass like a million lit candles, and the backyard pond where we frolicked made for the most exquisite cloud-reflecting photos. It was all these things. I also experienced a day "working" on the farm – what an adventure. It's a much simpler life these friends lead, and with the kindest spirits. I witnessed the most precious country wedding of a cousin we had never met, as we "city girls" were welcomed with open arms.

    Amazing how God has all these treasures He shares with us in his places.

    Great list as I consider how I spend my off-times. I will need a little more work on the disconnecting part, unfortunately att service was just fine mostly.

    ps. how does a girl get invited on the goff trip. silly how jealous I am and I don't even know you people!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kyle Reed

    I just got back from a trip to Nashville.
    It was great meeting with people and seeing downtown franklin.

    Spending time with people and having great conversation over coffee is exactly what my soul needs.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Amen to that!

  • colleencoble

    It sounds incredible! Love the picture of the falls. Kauai is the place that lets me totally relax. My internet is usually kind of spotty which is distressing but maybe that's good. :-) My other favorite thing is walking in the cemetery behind our house. It's peaceful and tree-lined and reminds me that problems here really don't matter.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I double-dog dare you to completely disconnect from the Internet and your cell phone during your next vacation. You can thank me later. ;-)

      • colleencoble

        Gulp! B-but that would mean no email from Ami or Allen. LOL I live to hear from my TN buddies! :-) How about we compromise and I only check it at night? LOL

  • matthewdbenson


    I can empathize will this entirely.

    I recently returned from a hiking/climbing trip to the Dolomites – a beautiful place I'd not been to before, and a fantastic activity to an extent beyond what I'd done before. The trip was all the better for being spent with a good friend who I've not had the chance to spend enough time with recently. I didn't manage to entirely free myself of office contact, but enough to the extent that I felt refreshed. The drive home (alone, as my mate was joining others elsewhere) on a Sunday gave me some personal thinking time without work calls.

    Thanks for posting, and causing me to once again reflect on a great trip.


  • chrisshaughness

    The beauty of nature connects us back to God, our Spirit. I find that doing anything outdoors with my dogs or just being around animals will re-energize me. I also like to explore new places. I'm heading to Vermont soon and can't wait to see the beauty I have heard so much about. Wide opens spaces where I can breathe and escape from crowds and noise.

  • @jasonbentsen

    Great Post! Thanks for breaking it down. Speaking of vacation, we just got back from Grand Cayman. It was AMAZING! I'd highly recommend it for your vacation. It was everything you speak of. Beautiful. It did have wifi, but we didn't have to use it. My wife did a better job than I, but I mainly tweeted what I saw snorkeling. It was just my wife and I so we could have good conversations. We were in a remote part of the island, so we were often the only ones on the beach. Great Adventure as I snorkeled…A LOT & diving was great too!

    • Michael Hyatt

      We have been to the Bahamas a couple of times. Loved it!

  • Anne Marie

    Being alone recharges my batteries, reading, writing my book which just happens to be, among other things, Frodo. Please pray for it! How nice to see him mentioned here. :) Rivendell was such a wonderful place. But since I can't go there, I sit out on my balcony. It's like being at home and on holiday at the same time, as Sam said of Lothlorien.

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie :)

  • Brad Harris

    Great post! Hearing about this sort of thing makes me happy. My wife and I are in a challenging stage of life right now with three children under the age of four. While we're learning to make our family times rich and meaningful, this season makes it challenging to go on vacation (strollers, high chairs, pack-and-plays, etc.), find alone time (when I don't want to sleep) and do some of the other things you mention. Having walked the parenthood path, any thoughts on how parents of young kids could facilitate a reboot of spirit?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think you still have to make time for just the two of you. Even if it is only for a few days. Barter with another couple or leave the kids with relatives, but get away and just focus on God and each other.

  • Jeremy Burton

    Thanks for your post. I know (and my wife knows) that I have the most trouble with being fully present. I have gotten better but still have some miles to travel on that. Your post was very encouraging to me on that front. I am glad you had a wonderful time.

  • Men's Battle Plan

    Vacations stress me out!

    I look forward to it for so long and I'm spending so much money that I want everything to be perfect. I can't relax because I feel like I should be doing something different.

    Next week we are going to Hilton Head, SC and I'm hoping I can relax. I think this week it will be good to think about what I can do to have deep conversations, get alone and prepare at least 2 big adventures. Maybe deep sea fishing? Sailing? Snorkeling?

    I'll let you how it turns out. Thanks for the Twitter add.

    -Men's Battle Plan

  • Matt Harrell

    I think the hardest one is #2. You HAVE to go completely unplugged! This is a hard thing to do.

    • Michael Hyatt

      It is. But after the fact, you think, “That was SO worth it!”

  • Israel

    This sounds like a wonderful experience, especially the one about being offline, disconnected from the world at large but engaged with your surroundings. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Being unplugged was, I think, the best part.

  • scottvandam

    I am so grateful that our creator God took the seventh day off when he created the earth (even though He doesn't get tired or needs a rest) What an amazing gift!

  • Daniel Decker

    Sounds amazing. A lot to be said for full immersion into an experience that can allow you to lose yourself in it.

    • Michael Hyatt

      The phrase “full immersion” is spot-on. You can’t do this while plugged into the Matrix. You have to unplug, let go, and dive in.

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  • Kimberly

    True to the heart, thank you for sharing! Standing in my back yard, eyes to the heavens always brings me peace. Plus, what is more wondrous than taking a moment to look through the trees into the skies and feeling the blessings that are imparted to us each and and every day!?

  • Kevin

    As an introvert, unplugging is essential. I'll be bringing my wife to Boston in late September, and it has already been a discipline to not fill up our trip with activity.

    We might even stay at some Amish place, to totally "unplug".

  • Julie-Ann

    What a lesson to share! In life and business both, we all have to take a little time to unplug and refresh to gain a new perspective. While focus and dedication matter for success, you can’t have these things if you are burned out. As this article ( points out, there’s a need to serve yourself, too. Thanks for sharing your great insight!

    • Michael Hyatt

      So true. When I get tired, I lose perspective. And perspective is hugely important to getting through life.

  • Sue McQuay

    I was part of a 2-day mountain retreat recently, but felt unable to fully enumerate the benefits; you've got all the points here! Now I know that the 'attack' by Rainbow Lorikeets who wanted (and got) the sugar sachets on the table at the outside coffee shop was the 'adventure' helping bond our small group of five.

  • Josh

    Hi Michael,

    First, great blog post. I have always found Henri Nouwen's book, The Way of the Heart helpful to rebooting the spirit. Nouwen really seems to focus on your element of spending time alone in prayer. I always seem to find my way back to that book. Also, there is a great prayer retreat, Lebh Shomea, that a contemporary monk shared with me. Not quite Malibu or Pacific Coast, but the staff is incredible.

  • Bryan Sherwood

    Looks like a beautiful place! Silence and solitude tend to be pretty underrated today but I find them more and more important.

  • Johnny

    reboot should take place every Lord's day when the Gospel gets proclaimed in the sermon and the Sacraments are administered, if this doesn't do it then something is seriously wrong. The Gospel is for the Christian too.

  • iluvceleb

    i have to agree that staying with beautiful place could lift somebody else spirit. People should have to spend time alone with themselves away from their busy schedule and pressures from their work. What a beautiful photo!

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  • Andre J.C. Bor

    Thank you for this blogpost. I just had a similar experience on my holiday in Sweden (the place to be to hang out in the greatness and quietness of nature). We spend our time mostly without the advantages of the western culture. No flowing water, no electricity, no gas, no TV, and almost no internetconnection. We made a decision to make this a regulary habit at home :-)


  • Kerry Dexter

    silence, and music — both playing and listening. as a writer, I spend quite a bit of time alone, and I like that, but I also find conversation with good friends, or just being present with them, refreshing too. thanks for the post, Michael.

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  • Anonymous

    I also fear (and shy away from) retreats that include cutting myself off electronically. That said, my husband and I are on a team leading just such a retreat in February. And I’m absolutely looking forward to it. It doesn’t have all of the elements you describe here (in part because we’re leaders, not participants) but Alleluia! for the opportunity to commune with others in their faith walk and to provide witness to my own experiences.

  • liz

    music always reboots my spirit

  • Troy M Stirman

    The mountains, always the mountains…Ouray County, CO, Jackson Hole, WY, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park. He always speaks to me through the powerful wind that embraces those pine boughs at the tree line. Hoping to add Denali Park to my list soon…

    Dallas, TX

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree. It’s no accident that God often meets people in the Bible on mountains.

  • Clbetters

    Are they running another retreat soon? My wife and I need this badly. We are ministering here in DE. I am a concert pianist, Executive Director of a large church, lots of exciting things going on–but we need to get away. Also…what conferences do you recommend? If you could only go on two or three–which ones? Thank you for your work. It actually made me cry tonight.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love two conferences: the Catalyst conference and the Building Champions Experience. Both renew and refresh me.

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