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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.