Golden and Dark Shadows: A Buddhist Shadow Work Retreat

About This Event

“If we want to become more than we think we are, we have to become what we are not. Come join us.”  Doug and Catherine


Why Shadow work?

By doing the work of reclaiming the shadow, all the energy that has been invested in suppressing the parts of ourselves we have pushed away, flows back into our lives and becomes available to serve our growth and evolution as human beings.


Does this sound like you?

You have an ongoing meditation practice and yet still notice your reactivity when things are not as you wish.

You have tried plant medicines and experienced deep insight but still feel stuck in old patterns.

You’re in a time of transition where what has worked in the past no longer seems effective and you are looking for a different way forward.

You have an inkling that this is a ripe time to explore the unknown parts of yourself,  like the iceberg, most of which is hidden underwater.

Embracing the Shadow

Integrating our shadow is one of the fastest ways to evolve as a human being, and reduce our suffering.

What Freud called the subconscious and Jung called the shadow are the buried aspects of the psyche that were suppressed due to family and societal conditioning.  The shadow is a symbol for everything in us that we do not wish to see. Our spiritual awakening involves making this unconscious aspect conscious.

Transforming the shadow is what medieval alchemists symbolically called turning lead into gold. We  consider it top-quality psychic composting.

It’s important that we are clear and honest: by its very nature, shadow work is not fun or pretty. It takes courage and fortitude to see the parts of ourselves that do not fit our self image. Yet by turning towards those aspects of our experience that we have pushed away,  we learn to bring care and mindful attention to the old sources of separation that have been hidden within us.


Benefits of doing this work:

Mindfulness  then becomes a pathway to attend to and care for what has been hitherto rejected. Expanding the scope of our practice, and creating an internal environment of loving kindness toward all of our experience.

Learning with Doug and Catherine

The potency of this retreat derives from the skillful interweaving of buddhist teaching and western psychology shared with humour and insight. Doug and Catherine invite participants to step outside of the either or duality that often frames perception.They are  lineage holders in the Namgyal tradition which is part of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu lineage.  They teach and reside at Clear Sky Meditation Centre near Cranbrook and also offer retreats worldwide  Their newly released book, Wasteland to Pureland will inform many of the teachings they will offer on this retreat. There is no instructor fee for this retreat. Doug and Catherine follow the ancient Buddhist tradition of not charging a fee for their teaching. Support for the teachings and their work is provided through the practice of Dana, which is considered the Buddhist practice of generosity. Participants are encouraged to support the teachers and the teachings through  generous giving. Find out more about the practice of Dana here.

What to expect:

daily classes with the teachers

individual and group meditations

Traditional buddhist empowerment and blessing rituals

individual and group exercises to explore and integrate the shadow

All accommodations and meals



“This retreat was right on the mark, a perfect blend of focused inner work along with space for reflection in a trusting and comfortable setting. The teachers were wonderful, insightful, humorous and extremely attentive to our individual needs for understanding. The journey has opened access to undiscovered strengths and I could not be more thankful.”

Ryan Gies, Manager of Software Engineering


“Catherine and Doug skillfully apply insights from their years of spiritual practice to the critical issues of modern life. Their book challenges us to explore what is truly needed to live a fulfilling life and to make a contribution that is larger than ourselves.”

-Susan Skjei, Ph.D

Director, Authentic Leadership Center, Naropa University


Venue Highlights

-There is a peace and calmness that is present here at our Centre, in the built environment of the round archetecture of the lodge and dharma hall, in the beauty of the forest landscape, and gardens, that invites our guests to find their own natural rhythm and drop into the deeper intelligence of the right brain and body.
- We have a network of trails that lead into the West Arm Wilderness park that gives our guests access to great huckleberry picking, to pristine beaches on Kootenay Lake and wonderful vistas of Nelson and the Selkirk mountains.
- We have a large organic permaculture garden that supplies our kitchen with delicious nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.
- Our wilderness location is only 3 kilometers from the City of Neson. Giving you access to one of Canada's premier alternative arts, adventure, and wellness centres


Main lodge (9 Private Rooms)
1) Master bedroom with full ensuite bathroom and lounge space.
2) Private room next to master bedroom ensuite space has a double bed
3) 5 private rooms with a queen bed
4) 2 private rooms with a double bed
5) 3 full bathrooms with shower and 1 common washroom are accessible to the private room guests

5 Shared and private cabins
1) Hermitage cabin with a queen and double bed. Has a deck and separated downstairs bathroom with shower, vanity sink and compost toilet.
2) Upper cedar log cabin with a queen and double bed. Has a deck, washroom with vanity sink and compost toilet in the same space.
3) Lower cedar log cabin with a queen and single bed. Has a deck, washroom with vanity sink and compost toilet in the same space.
4) Firewood cabin with a queen and double bed. Has a deck, washroom with shower, vanity sink and compost toilet in the same space.
5) Homestead cabin with a queen and double bed. Has a large deck, kitchenette, shower, vanity sink and septic toilet in the same space.

Forest camping
- 7 camp sites with 2 outhouses


  • Free Wifi
  • Towels
  • Free Parking
  • Kitchen
  • Hot Tub
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Yoga Studio
  • Ceremony Space

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Pescetarian
  • Meat
  • Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free


We offer you healthy gourmet meals, fresh picked from our organic garden whenever possible, and locally sourced. Our typical retreat menu will provide you with delicious vegitarian meals along with naturally raised poultry and wild fish. We are able to provide gluten free and dairy free menu options when necessary.


The West Kootenal regional airport in Castlegar BC is 40 minutes from Nelson and has daily flights connecting to both Calgary and Vancouver. From Nelson, Mountain Waters is accessed via Svoboda road which connects the West Arm Park to the eastern part of the city
which is known as Fairview. Taxi service to Mountain Waters is available from Glacier Taxi.

Reviews     To review this event, visit the page for the venue or retreat leaders (above).

  • Antonios Asimakopoulos   February 17, 2020

      Unique and amazing teachers!

    Doug and Catherine are the real deal - and they run fun retreats :) They teach together effortlessly and with great humor, a perfectly flowing combination of energies...and they're both very warm and very accessible around the centre during retreats. I travel across Canada at least once a year to do retreat at Clear Sky with them; it's not always easy for me to budget for travel like that, but I do it. I practice at home year round, but it was retreats that pulled me in and it's retreats that make those "big jumps" happen, and really inspire me. My entire outlook has changed in the past 3 years, and everyone in my life can see it. I credit Doug and Catherine... they're doing great work, and they're pretty much thinking about teaching all the time :) Even when watching movies (and there's often a movie night at the end of most retreats...Doug in particular loves movies)... and these screenings turn into great teaching sessions too!

  • Simon Vine   September 23, 2019

      Beautiful place, powerful experience.

    I recently attended a Men's retreat at Mountain Waters, and had an amazing experience. The place is absolutely stunning, the staff were all super friendly and attentive, and the food was excellent. I found the retreat to be balanced, at once profound and lighthearted. Richard and Andrew who led the retreat, offered wisdom, counsel, and created excellent opportunity for introspection and soul-searching. Al in all, a fantastic experience.

  • Ken Trudeau   September 18, 2019

      Men and the Water of Life

    Following the completion of a five day couples healing retreat with my wife at Mountain Waters called Keeping Love Alive, I was hoping the opportunity would present itself to go back there for more healing. My wife and I were felt so blessed from our experience, from the lush retreat grounds and cozy buildings, to the delicious and nutritious food, it was nurturing and it felt like the oasis we needed to do our work. We were so a blown away by Beth, Yogita and Richard, by their skills, wisdom, and heart. So when I saw the the offering of this men's retreat, I was confident this was going to be just as comprehensive, thoughtful, healing, and fun, and it was. The timing of its occurrence was impeccable and just what I was needing at that moment. The Men's Retreat was transformational. I had so many moments where I was pleasantly overwhelmed by pure tears of release and gratitude. Whether it was a hike down to the lake for a swim, sharing a meal, doing some yoga enhanced by healing sounds, sitting in a circle of men sharing, learning, laughing and crying, it all felt very sacred. The facilitators Richard, Andrew, and Kirkland were exceptional and Sebastian's accompanying healing sounds were grounding and playful. Jessie's food was delicious and James' presence on the grounds as always reassuring. As someone who works as a clinician in public health in mental health and substance use services and does a fair share of group facilitation, I have been so impressed by the quality of facilitators at this retreat centre. I have found Richard to be highly skilled and attuned to the groups he leads. I appreciate his training in not only in the somatic psychotherapy of hakomi, and other techniques, but his deep wisdom, groundedness, non-judgemental approach, his laughter, playfulness, his boundaries, his thoughtful use of self and self-disclosure and sharing of his lived experience. Mostly I am impressed and grateful for his humanness and how safe and respected he helps me to feel there. The sweat hut ceremony was one of the most profound experiences of my life and something I will hold dear forever. I am forever grateful to have been a part of, and bare witness to, the men who showed up and shared their strengths, wisdom, hurts, joys, anxieties, humour, and hopes as well as their commitment towards greater accountability to their own lives, their families, and their communities. I am forever grateful for having had the opportunity through this workshop Men and the Water of Life of sharing and holding space with great men in vulnerability, openness, and empathy. The cost of this retreat was so reasonable; thank you Mountain Waters, I will be back! Ken Trudeau

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

It would my first vacation in the mountains. I think getting away and beginning a new routine would be good for me and a friend. Dianne

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We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.