How often do you hear in your inner circle of family and friend – I need a retreat! I am stressed out and I need time for myself, I need to replenish my body and soul. Life can be chaotic and sometimes it feels that more you do the lesser you accomplish. We’re surrounded by technology, by all means, phone, email, voicemail, television, social media and our mind, body and spirit tend to wonder places without our permission.
Traditional retreats would start with you lying on the sandy beach, looking at the blue sky and turquoise ocean, sipping on ice-tea doing nothing but enjoying beautiful weather. Sure, this could help you recharge, but you need something with more depth to it, something that will help you find the way to relax every day, no matter what life throws at you.
You need a serene place to discover yourself, to discover your strengths and your weaknesses. Place to improve yourself– you need spiritual retreat!
What is a Spiritual Retreat?
There are a ton of retreats out there, but a spiritual retreat can be defined as time spent on a serene location with purposes of spiritual healing, personal growth, soul awakening, self-discovery, renewal and optimism boost. All this can be achieved by praying and connecting with God.
Spiritual retreats are organized with different topics in mind mostly religious one (often called religious retreats). The idea is to re-connect with God and find self-awareness and self-acceptance thru religion and spiritual direction.
Type of Spiritual Retreats
Length of Retreats
Spiritual retreats have different lengths. Most popular are one day and weekend spiritual retreats. These are the perfect break for everyday routine. Take your Bible and spent a quiet day on your own at the local retreat center. Weekend retreats include two nights usually with lunch. They are affordable thus most popular type of spiritual retreats. Many retreat centers pay special attention to weekend retreats. Some call it a Weekend Getaways. If you have retreat center near you use the weekend for mass, prayer and personal reflection.
Individual and Group Retreats?
Sometimes retreat can take for several days. They usually last for one week or so and are organized for small or large groups. As you can see you can attend retreat individually or in a group. Small groups are up to 10 persons.
Both, individual or private retreats and group retreats have their benefits and it is all up to you and your preferences. Sometimes we feel like we want to be alone with the Bible, pray and grow spiritually, to focus on individual goals, achieve a balance and redefine our life priorities. It’s not about isolation here, it is about introspection. Group retreats give us an opportunity to meet people with the same interests, people that want to learn same things as we want, that share same fears and same hope.
Most of the retreats that last for several days are directed or guided. What does this mean?
Directed or guided retreats involve one or team of spiritual/retreat directors (mostly professors of Theology) that lead or guide the retreat according to the retreat program. Usually, the programs are related to the theme of the Bible.
Silence and Solitude Retreats
Some want to have a spiritual retreat in silence or full solitude. There are different levels of solitude. Many visitors of retreat center book single rooms while staying over but some want to be alone even on a lunch break.
Retreats can be also gender specific. Very popular are women spiritual retreats and workshops. The modern woman is a mother and a wife, with so many duties at home and work. They need time for them self, to be alone, enjoy silence or spiritual direction. Every spiritual retreat center includes retreats for women in their calendar.
Many married couples are going for marriage retreats. They are perfect chance for partners to spend some time together, to discuss marriage issues, communicate, learn to identify and overcome specific problems in their marriage. To learn to forgive and bring back serenity and positive energy from the early days. All this can be achieved during the retreat.
An important part of spiritual retreats and Meditation Retreats. Meditation, especially Christian consists of praying, study and practice Holy Bible, having in mind just one thing – to increase relationship with God. It is all about thanksgiving, gratefulness and God adoration. Regular meditation practice brings benefits to your body, mind and soul. A place for meditation can be a small room, chapel, even private garden. All that matter is that you are in silence and not distracted by other visitors at the retreat center.
6 Tips To Find Spiritual Retreat That is Right For You
Tip #1 - Find a Place
Simply do a search on the Google “spiritual retreat near me” and you will get a decent list of local retreat centers. Go thru their websites and look for the retreat you need. Remember, you seek spiritual guidance, pray and a place to enjoy quiet days reading a book or Bible.
When you find a retreat that suits your needs check online reviews and recommendations. Social networks are a great way to read testimonials from those who have already visited retreat center. If you are willing to travel don’t restrict yourself to your county. There are some magical retreat centers across the US.
You should pay a special attention to spiritual directors and those who are responsible for retreat program. Always check their professional background. Do they have knowledge and experience?
If you have a private retreat in mind, then you need to check guest amenities - retreat center grounds, rooms and food service available.
Tip #2 – Silence is What You Need
A spiritual retreat is all about self-improvement, rest and introspection. In the beginning, you should arrange silent retreat and stay away from other people in the center. All you need at this point is the Bible and optionally mentor that will guide you through the process of getting in touch with yourself. Arrange private sessions with the spiritual director but the rest of the time try to consolidate your thoughts with prayer, especially in the morning and during long walks.
Tip #3 – Stay As Long As You Need
Take your time. Sometimes we need more than just one day or a weekend to get away from a daily grind. If your retreat is a mixture of participating in talks, long walks, prayer and meditation you will definitely need several days to accomplish your mission of spiritual renewal. Stay focused and try to enjoy every moment.
Tip #4 - Seek Spiritual Guidance
Sometimes we need help from others to develop a connection with God. Spiritual retreats guided by professional spiritual mentor or director are the perfect way to start developing that connection. Who are spiritual directors? They are trained and educated staff with necessary experience to assist and give us advice during our spiritual journey. Private sessions are wonderful opportunity to have someone to listen to you and provide you with clear direction for your prayers. Remember, event saints had their spiritual directors.
Tip #5 – Stay Within Your Budget
While browsing retreat center website check program and event prices as well. After all, this all makes sense only if it fits your budget. Most popular individual retreats are affordable. One-day retreat with private guestroom and a boxed lunch cost around $30. Weekend retreat cost from $75-$100 (lunch included). If you want to participate in directed retreat experience prepare to pay more. Some retreats that last for 7 days can cost up to $700.
Tip #6 - Define Solitude Level
Define level of spirituality while you are on a retreat. Are you looking for individual solitude retreat or group retreat? If your focus is on soul awakening and self-discovery it is obvious that you will choose individual retreat in solitude. If you want to stay an active and have a decent social experience choose group retreat or event. This is all about your personal preferences and the things you want to achieve.
Now Imagine This
Striking white facade, willow trees and plenty of benches to sit - beautiful imagery all around you. Imagine rose gardens and statues from Biblical stories. Water fountains, large trees making a perfect shade, headstones from different areas showing California glory, old pepper tree where you can sit and enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze. Imagine a place where you can take your family to be in silence and enjoy each other.
Or Better, Answer These Questions
Are you looking for a peaceful and tranquil place? What do you think about spiritual retreat center located on a hill overlooking a peaceful valley? Can’t find a great place to contemplate life? Place for quiet moments and unique spiritual experience? A place that is rich with history and beauty? Is old Church and nice chapel for praying in silence good to start the spiritual journey? A place where time stands still for just a bit when you are there. Looking to go somewhere to forget urban life, collect your thoughts and enjoy the essence of the space?
Stop Imaging, This Place Do Exists
Nested in the hills of Oceanside, CA white gleaming Old Mission San Luis Rey is the place you are looking for. Old Mission San Luis Rey retreat center hosts hundreds of retreats and events and guided by California leading professors of Christian Spirituality, Spiritual directors, teachers, and Friars.
Schedule a Quiet day or book a weekend private retreat and enjoy peaceful walks, prayer or meditation in private gardens of California hidden gem. Gorgeous and well preserved Old Church from 1789 is available to all guests of Mission’s retreat center.
Take a unique opportunity to spend spiritual retreat at California history landmark, call (760) 757-3659 or contact us here.