With its natural beauty and high spiritual energy, Mt. Shasta is an ideal place for a retreat. Every summer, thousands of people come here to renew themselves in body, mind, and spirit. Before I moved to Mt. Shasta last here, I came for a retreat almost every year since 1978, even the many years I lived in Washington, DC. Early on, I discovered a simple three-step model for retreats, which has served me extremely well. It is my pleasure to share it with you.
Start your retreat with rest and relaxation. Particularly if you are tired and/or stressed, it is very helpful to give yourself as much time as you need for this phase. Let your body sleep as long as it needs to. Spend some leisurely time by and in one of the beautiful alpine lakes close to Mt. Shasta. Perhaps go for a gentle hike. Take an afternoon nap if you’re tired.
In the next phase of your Shasta retreat, combine intensive spiritual focus with physical activity. Spend time meditating, praying, singing, decreeing or whatever helps you connect deeply with God. Intersperse this with hiking, swimming, biking, or other physical activity. Alternating the exercise and spiritual practice will help you ground whatever new energies and realizations you tap into it. If you can, spend some of this phase up high on Mount Shasta. The energies of Panther Meadow, Squaw Meadow (now officially known as South Gate Meadow), and surrounding areas are exceptionally supportive of spiritual awakening. But, you can’t go wrong anywhere on Mt. Shasta. This is truly a sacred mountain. Spend as much time as you can on this phase, but make sure to leave at least a few hours for the critical third phase of your Mt. Shasta retreat.
After you’ve deeply communed with God, take some time to look at your life from a nonjudgmental, clear space. Notice which areas of your life are already in alignment with your highest purpose and vision. Also, note areas where there’s room for improvement. Write down action steps which can bring these areas more into alignment with the fresh inspiration you’ve tapped into doing your retreat. Make sure that some, if not all, of these action steps are simple and easy to do (i.e., making a phone call, scheduling a meeting, etc.).
When you arrive home, do at least one of these action steps the first day you’re back and as many as possible the first week. Also, make sure to spend time in nature and some time doing the spiritual practices you used on the retreat. This will help integrate the gifts from your Mt. Shasta retreat into your daily life. Do your very best not to get so busy catching up on everything that you get overwhelmed and stressed out. By choosing to go on retreat you demonstrated a strong commitment to your wellbeing. Honor this commitment and the time you invested in Shasta your retreat by truly making a new beginning in your life.