Life Vision Retreat
Life Vision Retreat
What is the highest vision for my life?
What choices will make me the happiest a year from now?
How can I connect with the source of the most inspired vision for my life?
For the life stage I’m in right now, what’s the perfect combination of circumstances?
In what ways might I most meaningfully change and grow in the year ahead?
What place in consciousness holds my most elevated possibilities?

Each year, I ask myself these profound questions. I set time aside to become truly still, entering a mental, physical and spiritual place in which I can hear the answers. I let go of all the past visions of self, the distractions from being fully present, and my old ways of being. I create sacred space in which a new vision of self can be born.

These questions can’t be asked and answered during a morning spent journaling at a coffee shop. They need space and time, the opportunity to plunge deep into the awareness that lives beyond the surface self, and ask questions from the most profound possible place. Clearing out all the clutter of distracting thoughts, and entering a state of oceanic peace, in which you connect with the wisdom of the universe, brings the most meaningful insights.

Where Are You in Your Evolution Today?

Last year’s highest vision for your life isn’t necessarily this year’s. We change and grow. Our lives evolve. We face fresh challenges. We have to cope with recent losses and disappointments. New opportunities also arise every season, as we enter new life stages and leave old ones. So the vision that worked for us last year isn’t necessarily a fit for this year. The choices we make today determine our happiness tomorrow.

As the old year draws to a close, and the new year approaches, I set time aside to create the best and most inspiring vision for the year ahead. I take a week off, and enter a place where I’m not distracted by the demands of everyday living. I meditate daily, stilling my mind, and practicing the most profound state of inner peace.

Entering “High Mind”

In this receptive state, I become progressively more aware of the music of the universe. With a calm heart and mind, I can hear the song it is singing for my future. I call this state “High Mind.”

Using writing, art, time in nature, meditation, guided imagery, music, contemplation, and inner focus, in High Mind all the time, I draw together the elements of the most inspired possible future.

I emerge from this process with a powerful vision of the year ahead. It doesn’t originate from my limited human mind; it springs from the consciousness of the universe in which I have immersed myself during my life vision retreat. It isn’t “little me” visioning my future, it’s High Mind visioning through me.
During the three decades I’ve been doing this, I’ve had many people ask if they can join me. I’ve always said no, because it’s such a deeply personal time.

However, for the past couple of years I’ve experimented with leading small groups of people through this process, and the result of this group work has been profound. We all go to an even deeper space than is possible as individuals.


Research shows that the states people reach during group meditations produce greater changes in the brain than those achieved by individual meditators. When we come together to envision our highest possible future, we spark each other. We lift each other up into High Mind, and together we emerge from the process with a truly inspired vision for the year ahead.

Prepare Your Mind and Heart for a Revelation!

This year, I’m again opening my New Year’s Life Vision retreat to a small number of hand-picked people. I’ve drawn on 30 years of experience, and 7 scientific studies of deep transformation, to design a remarkable experience. It begins with three days of mental and emotional cleansing. Using meditation, journaling, and self-inquiry, we strip away all the old self-concepts and limitations that encrust our everyday self. 

We practice getting into High Mind, together and individually. The pinnacle of the cleansing phase is a New Year’s Eve midnight labyrinth walk.


Preparing Your Consciousness to Live Your Highest Potential in the Year Ahead

The next three days are all about tuning in to your guidance. You learn to get a physical signal indicating when you’re completely in tune with the universe, and with your deepest intuitive guidance.

You also get a physical “yes” and “no” signal that your guidance will use to direct you to your best choices throughout the year ahead. You create art, poetry, body language and prose that expresses your highest life vision. You learn to bring High Mind into your everyday activities such as walking, eating and sleeping.

In High Mind, you far transcend the thoughts you have in ordinary consciousness. You then create a completely different future based on this elevated perspective.

A Road Map for the Most Inspired Future Possible

You emerge from the retreat with the most inspired road map imaginable. What you create from this high place in consciousness infuses your life with the magic from which it was born. You then go into the world fearlessly, co-creating the most wonderful possible future in sync with the universe. Starting the new year in High Mind, you initiate a consciously lived year.
The retreat is carefully structured to allow you to let go of old patterns of thought and behavior and experience High Mind. In one of the most gorgeous places on the planet, you immerse yourself in beauty and transformation.

Retreat participants journaling from High Mind, in sync with the universe.
We will emerge from this seven-day “womb of creation” with renewed:
Connection with your highest version of self
A vision for your most inspired possible future
A road map for the year ahead
The Skill to tune into High Mind daily
Renewed energy for your journey into your greatest future

You’ll find all the details of the retreat below. If you’d like to participate, you’ll find a link to the application form at the bottom of the page.

A Special Time: The Temporal Gateway to the Future

Each year I schedule the Life Vision Retreat between two ancient symbolic temporal doorways: the Winter Solstice and the first week of the New Year. Ancient cultures believed that a window of possibility opens during this period. With this opening, reality becomes fluid and leaps of imagination moves easily into reality.

In this magical time, change is much easier than at other times of the year.

In the season of “peace on earth and goodwill toward all” the old boundaries of consciousness soften, new possibilities emerge, and we renew our minds and bodies.

I like to make full use of this special week to release the past, to tune into my guidance, and to create a new vision of the highest possibilities for my future. That’s why the timing of this retreat week is so special.

Elevate Your Consciousness to the Point of Inspired Creation

When you create from the level of your local mind, with your existing history and past conditioning, you may aspire to a better future, but you are locked in the mindset of what you already know. You can dream only of conditions you’re able to conceive from your current paradigm.

When you learn to liberate your consciousness from that existing paradigm, to invoke your highest guidance, and align yourself with the wisdom of High Mind, your dream changes. You no longer create out of your history. Instead you create out of the highest possible cadence of being. A future that is not conditioned by your past and is unlike anything you could imagine while stuck in your old paradigm unfolds before you.

Rather than dreaming your future from inside your old dream, you’re immersed in High Mind, dreaming your future from inside the highest possibilities in the universe. The dream that the universe has for your life is vastly greater and more significant than anything you can conceive at the level of your ordinary consciousness.

At the retreat we will practice letting go, especially for the first 3 days. We’ll practice being in High Mind in meditation. Then we’ll practice with our eyes open. After that, we’ll learn to stay in High Mind while eating, walking around, and doing the daily activities of life. Finally, we will create a vision of the year ahead from this elevated perspective.

A Special Place: Magical Spaces on the Face of the Planet

My wife Christine and I pick the location for the Life Vision Retreat carefully. Just as we create sacred inner space, it’s important to us to create sacred outer space. We look for places that will support the “womb of creation” in which a new consciousness can be born. Past retreat locations have included San Diego, California; Kailua Kona, Hawaii; Nosara, Costa Rica; Sedona, Arizona, and Poipu, Kauai.

For the the Life Vision Retreat we return again to one of our favorite places, San Diego. We’ll be at the gorgeous Rancho Bernardo Inn, one of the premier resorts in the area. It’s rated by Conde Nast as #4 among the Top 25 Resorts in Southern California. We’ll be enjoying the resort’s many facilities, such as:

  • Salt Water Spa
  • 21 Fountain Tour
  • Apple and Honey Body Renew
  • Adults - only Pool
  • V Boutique
  • Cafe Granada
  • PGA Golf Course
  • Avant School of Cooking

Retreat participants will be in in our own secluded building at the resort, so that we can stay close together and maintain our sacred space. This “sanctuary” will be our “womb of creation” for this sacred time of rebirth.

Shamanism, Energy Psychology, Art and Healing

Thousands of years before the development of modern religions, ancient tribal healing traditions used sacred times and places for renewal. Archaeological sites show that solstice rituals were common in many parts of the ancient world. During these significant points on the calendar, shamans believe that the “doorway between the worlds” opens and that extraordinary healing and transformation are possible.

Besides techniques drawn from energy healing, neurofeedback and shamanic journeying, we will be using symbolic and nonverbal processes to invoke creative breakthroughs from deep within. These include writing with your non-dominant hand, invoking your power animal, finding your symbol of life renewal, and communing with your guidance while drawing a sacred mandala.

Art resacralizes symbols from spirituality and religion.
Invoking Sacred Space

Along with sacred time, we will invoke sacred space during the Life Vision Retreat. We will perform a labyrinth walk for the New Year, other ceremonies of transformation, and a walking meditation to sense the energy flows in nature.

We will also seek reconnection with our religious and traditional roots. Many people have ambiguous experiences of the religion in which they were raised, with positive mixed with negative history. We will focus on harvesting the good from our religious traditions while releasing those aspects that have held us back.

Meals at the retreat are part of the creation of sacred space. We’ll practice blessing each meal before we eat. We’ll use an invocation shown by research to change the molecular structure of water, the main ingredient in food. We’ll eat breakfasts in silence, right after the morning’s meditation. Meals will be simple buffets with vegetarian options, as we tune in to what our bodies really want for nourishment.

Reshaping Our Brains with Leading Edge Technology

During elevated states of consciousness, the brain functions differently. In the words of neuroscientist Andrew Newberg in his book How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain, “the brain that returns from such a state is not the brain that entered the state” (Newberg & Waldman, 2017).

During the New Year’s Life Vision Retreat, we hook participants up to EEGs and neuroscience experts measure energy flows in the brain. As you practice High Mind, your brain function changes dramatically, and you’ll see it right there on the screen in front of you.

You’ll learn what it feels like to evoke High Mind, and once you identify the patterns, you’ll be able to take this experience into your daily meditations all day long.

Combining cutting edge technology with ancient meditative practices.

Meditation research by legendary investigator Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin shows that meditation retreats change the brain more than solitary meditation does. Meditating alone is beneficial, but Davidson observed the greatest changes in the brains of monks who had done a substantial part of their meditating during long retreats (Goleman & Davidson, 2017).

Prior research on my EcoMeditation method shows that it improves health markers such as cortisol and heart rate (Groesbeck et al., 2018). So does EFT tapping (Bach et al., 2018). Combining the two produces dramatic shifts in brain function. Here is a quote from the “Conclusions” section of one EEG study (Pennington et al., 2019):

“EcoMeditation produced extraordinarily high levels of Gamma Synchrony. In just two days, many participants acquired elevated brain states that normally take many years of meditation practice to attain. They were subsequently able to carry this consciousness into daily life with eyes open.

“The practice was associated with the ability to induce and sustain the alpha brain waves characteristic of high-level emotional, mental, and spiritual integration. Participants showed increased amplitudes of delta, theta, and gamma frequencies, which stimulate many health-producing cellular changes.”

The researchers commented in the paper that it would normally take accomplished meditation practitioners many years to attain these elevated states of consciousness. This retreat will take you there on day one. And that’s just the starting point of our journey together!

The Creation of the Tribe of Transformation

The object of this Life Vision Retreat is to bring together a small group of people in a special place at a special time for a special purpose. The composition of this group is essential to the magic process. It includes people who can leap together to a new level of functioning that will propel their lives to the next level of insight, service and joy. We are the Tribe of Transformation!

For this reason we have a selection process. If this retreat calls to you, we ask that you fill out an application. The application is as much about what you will bring to the retreat as what you will gain from the retreat. We aren’t asking for perfection! But we are asking for contribution. A group of true contributors will uplift each other in a Tribe of Transformation. For this reason, we limiting attendance to 99 hand-picked people.
Building the Experience

The retreat is very carefully structured to provide you with the most positive experience possible. Each day has a theme and the themes build on each other.

  • Dec 29: Clearing and Cleansing
  • Dec 30: Connection With Place and Body
  • Dec 31: Deep Intuitive Self-Transformation
  • Jan 1: Renewal and Integration
  • Jan 2: Anchoring the Vision
  • Jan 3: Completion, Connection and Closure
  • Jan 4: Carrying the Fire
Free Time and Optional Activities

Though the retreat program is intense, it’s also structured to give you a lot of free time. Most of this is during the second half of the week, from the afternoon of January 1 to the morning of January 4. Most of these days you have the afternoon and evening free.

There are many Optional Activities available in San Diego. During free time, you can either stay at the retreat center, book an activity, or visit one of San Diego’s many sights. Among them are:

  • Whale Watch Dinner Cruise
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • Seaport Village
  • Old Town San Diego
  • Birch Aquarium
  • Local Wineries
  • Stone and Glass Blowing Studio
  • North County Hiking Trails
  • Safari Park
  • Tijuana River National Estuarine Reserve
  • Naturopathic treatments
  • Neurofeedback sessions
  • Massage

You can also elect to stay in San Diego for a few days before or after the event to sight-see and experience the many captivating activities available there. We have obtained special room rates from Rancho Bernardo inn for those wishing to extend their stays.
It Starts Today

New Year’s Eve might seem like a long way off. Yet ancient traditions described a period of many months of mental preparation leading up to a significant life event. If you place regular intention into an upcoming event, you infuse it with significance.

We will begin the process of mental preparation immediately. Each month, I’ll be recording and sending you a meditation to plant the seeds of transformation. We’ll have group webinars and meditations where we practice High Mind as we build the momentum for a radically transformative time together at the retreat.Here’s one meditation to start with. Please download it and let it speak to you:

The Three Phases of Transformation: How the New Year's Visioning Process Makes Decisions Easy All Year Long

Click to Play the meditaiton
Guest Faculty

We are fortunate to have distinguished transformational leaders serving as Guest Faculty. They include Andrew Vidich, PhD, author of Light Upon Light, an inspired book about the lives of the great spiritual masters. Andrew is a longtime friend to whom I turn for spiritual vision and inspiration. Andrew and I will be sharing our wisdom on the most effective methods of meditation, the lessons we can all draw from the lives of the great masters, and other topics.

Another wonderful guest faculty member is Judith Pennington. Judith is an internationally published journalist, speaker, and life strategy coach, as well as an EEG biofeedback meditation therapist. Her practical yet profound teachings on consciousness and integrating science and spirituality awaken people to their peace, wisdom, and higher awareness.

Donna Bach, ND, is a naturopath and gifted healer. She was raised in Central America where she learned indigenous shamanic rituals and healing methods. In her practice she combines her vast knowledge of nutritional and herbal natural healing methods with gentle physical manipulation.
The retreat includes optional private sessions with naturopaths, neurofeedback experts, and massage therapists.

Andrew Vidich, PhD

Judith Pennington

Donna Nach, ND

Please note: Guest faculty alternates may present in place of those above.

Costs and Payment Plans

We’ve lavished time, care, and preparation on this special retreat. We’ve also endeavored to make it affordable and all-inclusive. The rates include the entire program, activities, accommodations, time with guest faculty, and all the meals.

We have reserved the entire retreat space with a deposit. Participant spaces are limited; each person guaranteed a space means that space is not available for anyone else. Therefore a nonrefundable deposit of $1,000 is required to reserve a space. 

I will personally review your application. Your credit card will not be charged your nonrefundable $1,000 deposit unless your application is accepted. The full cost of the retreat is as follows:

Shared Room
Private Room
Registration CLOSES
September 24
November 12
December 1

You will indicate your preference for a room share on the application form. If you’re planning to go with a friend, register together. Otherwise we’ll match you up with a share. If your room share is with your spouse or significant other, please indicate that on the application form.

The remainder will be charged to your credit card at the rate of $1,000 on the 1st day of every month after you register. Any remaining balance will be charged Dec 1. Refunds of payments made after your nonrefundable $1,000 deposit will be provided only in the event of a documented medical emergency.

The retreat will sell out, so if you know in your heart that you’re meant to be one of the 99 people there, please apply today. Once the retreat is sold out, we will maintain a waiting list. If space becomes available and you are on the waiting list, you will be notified immediately.

The meals at the retreat are designed to be simple buffets with a protein plus vegetable dishes, allowing our bodies and emotions to tune in to what nourishes us most. Each meal will include a vegetarian option. For those with special dietary needs, the resort restaurant is available. If you choose to eat at the resort restaurant or off site rather than at the retreat, you are responsible for the costs of those meals.

The nearest airport is San Diego (SAN). After registration you will receive regular updates regarding teleclasses, travel, meals, meditations, optional activities, and retreat details via email.

We’ve experienced the transformative power of the New Year’s Retreat now for many years. We know that doing this magical practice with friends can create a transformational year for you. The months of mental preparation leading up to the retreat will condition your mind and spirit for a remarkable year ahead. We look forward to spending this time with you!

See you at the retreat!

Dawson and Christine


Bach, D., Groesbeck, G., Stapleton, P., Banton, S., Blickheuser, K., & Church, D. (2019). Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) improves multiple physiological markers of health. Journal of Integrative Evidence-Based Medicine, 24, 2515690X18823691.

Goleman, D., & Davidson, R. J. (2017). Altered traits: Science reveals how meditation changes your mind, brain, and body. Penguin.

Groesbeck, G., Bach, D., Stapleton, P., Banton, S., Blickheuser, K., & Church, D. (2019). The interrelated physiological and psychological effects of EcoMeditation: A pilot study. Journal of Integrative Evidence-Based Medicine, 23. doi:10.1177/2515690X18759626.

Newberg, A., & Waldman, M. R. (2017). How enlightenment changes your brain: The new science of transformation. Penguin.

Pennington, J., Eichman, L., & Church, D. (2019). EcoMeditation and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) produce elevated brainwave patterns and states of consciousness: A case series. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 11(1).