Do you feel stuck in the day-to-day grind, distracted by things that don’t truly matter to you? Do you wish you had the time and space to explore and deepen your relationships -with yourself, your partner, and beyond? A spiritual retreat might be what you’re looking for.
Let’s first consider what it means to be spiritual. Often time the word spiritual is understood to be synonymous with religious, but this is not accurate. While they do overlap in some ways, they are two separate things. Religion commonly refers to an institution that has a set of organized practices and a structured belief system shared by those who are members of that community. Spirituality, on the other hand, is about one’s inner self, discovering and honoring one’s personal beliefs to achieve a better life. A religious person can consider themselves to be spiritual, but a spiritual person may not be religious.
Retreats of any kind are designed to help us get away from our familiar atmosphere where we tend to operate on overdrive. The word “retreat” is rooted in Latin and means to “take a step back”. Retreats allow us to push pause and breath and see things from new perspectives.
In general, a spiritual retreat is a safe space where you can experience complete renewal and gain a high level of self-knowledge. For those who believe in God or any other higher power, it can be the perfect setting for a sincere meeting with it.
During a spiritual retreat, you’ll be secluded in a distant place, usually surrounded by nature, away from noise and distraction. Everything is planned out for you so that you only focus on your well-being. You’ll be guided by committed professionals or experienced practitioners to help you through unique spiritual practices aimed at calming your mind and nourishing your soul.
Spiritual retreats are all about taking us out of the everyday routine of life so that we can step away and focus on fundamental things like love and happiness. Spiritual retreats give us the opportunity to discover and know our inner selves. Self-exploration is needed to be part of a long-lasting relationship. Spiritual retreats for couples promote deepening the connection with your partner, with yourself, and beyond.
Spirituality is subjective and looks very different for each person. Therefore, spiritual retreats do not fall into any box or follow any set of rules. Each retreat is different and each person on it will have a completely unique experience. Spiritual retreats usually involve activities and ceremonies to help you along your spiritual journey. While they can largely vary, they may include any of the following:
Attending a spiritual retreat can be a life-changing experience. Participation can open you up to new perspectives and ideas that might not have otherwise had. You can walk away with more knowledge about yourself, your relationship, and life in general. Spiritual retreats can improve your well-being in many ways.
In fact, researchers from Thomas Jefferson University found that individuals who attended a spiritual retreat for 7 days experienced changes in the dopamine and serotonin systems of the brain, which boosts the availability of these neurotransmitters.
Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and accepting any feelings, thoughts, or actions that come along, without judgment. Many studies have shown the positive impacts mindfulness can have on an individual’s well-being. Mindfulness has been associated with lowering stress, anxiety, and depression, reducing pain, lengthening one’s attention span, avoiding burnout, and quieting the mind in difficult moments. In addition, mindfulness has a specific positive effect on intimate and romantic relationships. One study on romantic relationship satisfaction found that “higher levels of mindfulness are associated with higher levels of relationship satisfaction”.
You may be feeling worn down from the many responsibilities you have. You may be battling with demons in your head. If it’s not peaceful in your mind, things will spill out and negatively affect you and your relationships. You’ll be exposed to teaching that will have you both question your thoughts and help you make sense of them. You’ll be equipped with the tools you need to live a more peaceful life. A spiritual retreat can offer you the chance to slow down and find an inner peace that you can carry with you long after the retreat has ended.
Never underestimate the power of relaxation. When we allow ourselves to unwind, we can operate much more efficiently. When our heart rate slows down and we are still inside and out, we can find true happiness within. When we are calm creativity is boosted along with compassion and empathy. When we’re not trying to do multiple things at once, we can listen better. We can hear our own thoughts along with what our partner is really trying to say. Although it might not be possible to stay on the beach, in the mountains, or at any naturally relaxing location a retreat might offer, you’ll practice relaxation techniques that can serve you wherever you are.
Detoxification is the act of ridding your body of harmful toxins it has built up over time. Sometimes the detox is literal - clean eating, other times it’s a detox of the mind. A spiritual retreat can help you remove negative thoughts, feelings, behaviors, or habits that you’ve been collecting. This clear space for the good stuff.
So many of us operate with a head full of clutter, unable to see or think clearly because there’s no room. We then end up putting an abundance of time and energy into things that may not be fulfilling us. A spiritual treat aims to reduce the mental clutter and make space for us to dig deeper and determine what we really want.
Spiritual retreats will help to deepen your connection with yourself. In doing so, other connections will grow. You and your partner will develop a closer bond. People report an improvement in just a day. This is the power of undivided time and attention. In addition, other connections will be formed or nurtured. Whether it’s your connection with nature, the universe, god or gods, it will not be the same as it once was.
Spiritual retreats come in many shapes and sizes. Here are a few of the options:
Religious retreats will vary based on faith, but they typically involve worship, prayer, and reflection. The focus is on strengthening your relationship with God. For example, Christian retreats often have a theme with a schedule that follows that. There are usually sessions devoted to Bible study.
Healing retreats are intended to remove blockages that are keeping you from discovering your full potential. What that looks like depends on what the individual is seeking. There are many kinds of spiritual healing retreats with options especially tailored for couples. They might be focused on meditation, massage, or counseling for example. Healing retreats may also include personalized yoga instruction, Reiki, sound healing, couples deepening sessions, and more. A more intense healing option is a silent retreat, where participants take a vow of silence for an allotted time.
Nature retreats are a form of spiritual healing that uses the natural environment to awaken us to new truths. You can explore your inner self alone or with a partner through activities like hiking, forest bathing, or camping.
Tantra is an ancient practice that allows for integrating our spiritual self with our sexual self. A tantra retreat can be a transformative way to gain intimacy with yourself and with your partner. You’ll learn how to tap into your innate sexual-spiritual energies to experience and open yourself up to more pleasure and creativity.
Spiritual retreats are open to anyone regardless of demographics. However, those that get the most out of spiritual retreats are people who are open to new experiences and are generally curious individuals.
Retreats are for anyone who:
A retreat is a great way to work on your relationship with yourself and your partner. However, it shouldn’t be viewed as a substitution for the constant work required to maintain a healthy relationship. Nor should a retreat be used as a replacement for therapy or any other treatment you’ve been receiving. Think of it as a way to enhance your connections. Not ready to devote the time a retreat requires? Love Made Simple offers weekend workshops and online courses for couples. Start experiencing what it feels like to really connect and know each other.