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Vision Retreats

At Wild Doves Rest - May through November

Wild Doves RestWild Doves Rest is a place of retreat for “wild doves,” those rare human beings who take risks, leaps of faith, in pursuit of their visions, in answer to their calls.
Perched at 4,000’ elevation on the side of a mountain, Wild Doves Rest is a mountain chalet hidden in a Sierran forest. No lights other than starlight, no sound other than the wind ... and the cooing of wild doves. The chalet is close to Yosemite in Mariposa County, California’s only county with no traffic lights. No traffic! Yosemite, one of God’s most beautiful gardens, is a 45-minute drive along the Wild and Scenic Merced River.

Risk and Vision

Paolo Coelho (The Alchemist - sold more than 65 million copies in more than 150 countries)

There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something [vision], it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth.

Every human being has a personal legend [vision] to be fulfilled, and this is our reason for being in the world. This personal legend manifests itself in our enthusiasm for the task.

You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.

Steve Case (Founder, America Online)

I find it interesting that in America, even though most people are more optimistic and most people around the world do view America as the city on the hill and more entrepreneurial and more risk taking and less traditional, still in America most people don't take risks, and most people are pretty traditional. It's actually a relatively small number of people that really are those risk takers, and a relatively small number of people that end up really having an impact on the world, [vision] and it doesn't take a lot of people. It just takes a few people who really care and stick with it [risk] ...

Leo Buscaglia (USC Professor - taught Love 1-A)

To try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard of life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, and love [vision].


Peter said to him, "We have left everything [risk] to follow you [vision]" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields)—and with them, persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Mark 10:28

And if we risk: “Take my yoke upon you [risk] and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [vision] Matthew 11:29

Description of the Vision Retreat

In one edition of The Alchemist, a writer summarized the philosophy of the book: to achieve our personal legend, he wrote, we must first (1) disinter our vision, buried because we listened when people, often those dearest in our lives, said it couldn’t or shouldn’t happen. Then we must (2) find people who love us and our vision. Next, we must (3) take the risk of making our vision real. When we do this, the Universe conspires to make our dreams come true. Take the risk, Coelho believes - you will always have more successes than failures!

Half DomeThe Vision Retreat is an opportunity to go to an incredibly wonderful place, far, far away, and allow ourselves to be embraced by the beauty and wonder of the forest, the river, the mountains, by the Universe created by the God we all know loves every one of us. And in this realm of wonder, we may dream, once again, our visions. And to reflect on our call, our personal legend. And to gird ourselves to embrace the risk ... and open the door to God’s beckoning new adventure. It is an opening, an invitation, an opportunity to go, literally, to the mountain top and see what visionaries always see on mountain tops ...

Facilitator: Paul Weiss A published author (Touching The Rainbow Ground), Paul’s life has been about visioning and creating the new. He spent 30 years directing over 100,000 volunteers and supporters in two international children’s nonprofits he created. Paul led unique, social justice retreats for over 20,000 participants at Rancho Justicia at the Mexican frontier.

His most recent project, Wild Dove Productions, is based on a new vision, to share what he and others have learned about visioning and the struggle for social justice. Wild Dove Productions will publish and distribute the works of Paul and others in books and dvd’s. Paul also authors a blog, On The Journey, and, yes, he can be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/paulweiss.wilddove

Taught by the Jesuits at Canisius College, Paul later spent 7 years as a community member of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. He is an award-winning videographer and has been published in the Washington Post and Sojourner’s Magazine. He divides his life between the Sierra Nevada and Buenos Aires.


7-Day Vision Retreat - 2 days travel time

Day 1
Fly to Fresno - pick up van - drive into the mountains - dine at Wild Doves Rest

Day 2
7am CP (Centering Prayer) / Morning walking meditation along the Wild and Scenic Merced River - picnic lunch - afternoon hike along Lewis Creek

Wild & Scenic Merced RiverDay 3
7am CP / Yosemite National Park - Ahwahnee Breakfast - hike to Vernal Falls - Glacier Point for meditation and lunch - hike to the mountain top (Sentinel Dome)

Day 4
7am CP / Silent retreat at Wild Doves Rest

Day 5

7am CP / Silent retreat concludes with worship

Day 6
7am CP / Hike Mariposa Grove in Yosemite (Giant Sequoias),

Mariposa Grove

then Chilnualna Falls and,

Chilnualna Falls

finally, dinner in the Gold Country - Closing worship

Day 7
7am CP / Fly home

3-Day Vision Retreat 1-6 hours driving time

Arrive Thursday at 1:00 pm - leave Sunday at 2:00 pm

Walking meditation along the Wild and Scenic Merced River

7am CP / Yosemite National Park - Ahwahnee Breakfast - hike to Vernal Falls - drive to Glacier Point for meditation and lunch - hike to the mountain top: Sentinel Dome, to look down on Half Dome and Cloud's Rest (in distance).

Sentinel Dome view

7am CP / Silent Retreat - concludes with worship

7am CP / Mariposa Grove (Giant Sequoias) - coffee, scones and final prayer in Oakhurst.


You are encouraged to work with these books before the retreat:

Life of the Beloved - Henri Nouwen
The Alchemist - Pablo Coelho
Touching The Rainbow Ground - Paul Weiss

If you order these books from www.lulu.com you benefit Wild Doves Rest. Lulu has all 3 books, usually ships in 1 day and has good pricing.


Size: The retreat is intended for 6 (min) to 12 (max) persons

Meals: The group plans, shops, prepares all meals but two (The Ahwahnee breakfast and, for 7-day retreatants, dinner in the Gold Country).

Sleeping: the chalet has 3 private rooms: 1 room with a queen bed, 1 room with a double bed, 1 room with 2 single beds. A double futon is also available in a semi-private room. Sleeping bags (deduct 15% from lodging) will make retreats of more than 8 persons possible (4” foam cushions are provided). Tents are a possibility. Also, there is an excellent B&B nearby with 3 rooms - 10 minute walk through the forest.

Transport: If you need to rent vehicles at Fresno airport, a 7-passenger van is needed for each group of 6 (whatever vehicle is rented, one seat needs to be saved for a guide.) Park Admissions - $20 weekly per vehicle.

Estimated Budgets - 1 person

7-Day Retreat
Fly to Fresno International (FAT)

Rent 7-seat van - $75 - Food $55 - Breakfast at Ahwahnee, Yosemite $20- Dinner in Gold Country $15 - Lodging (6 nights - week rate) $400 - TOTAL $565

From California - 3-Day Retreat

Food $35 - Breakfast at Ahwahnee, Yosemite $20 - Lodging (3 nights) $240 - TOTAL: $295

Contact Paul Weiss to work out the details of your Vision Retreat.

Or Do Your Own Retreat

Bring your retreatants to Wild Doves Rest for your retreat. Fix your own meals or dine out. Three nights lodging (minimum) - $750 + 11% tax + $100 cleaning fee. Total: $932.50. Do the math: that's $39 per person per night for lodging. Add a workshop fee, food and transportation. There is a lovely B&B within walking distance to house an additional 6 persons. Book your time at: Wild Doves Rest Vacation Home