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Embracing Routine

“I didn’t ask for this.” “Why does everything take so long?” “What’s the point of life?” These are statements common to those in resistance to the care required by the physical body in time and space. Although it does not always feel like it, we did request the opportunity to learn by living on Earth. The physical form, though, can be frustrating because it operates differently than spirit. While there are many differences, let us focus on the idea that physical bodies love routine, while spiritual expressions love spontaneity.

The human being’s experience of navigating the physical needs of body care and the spiritual needs of creative expression are analogous to a parent’s experience of caring for a child. There are three common relational models at play in the relationship between body and spirit (as well as between parents and children): cooperation, dominance/submission, and abandonment. Most people wish to develop cooperative relationships generally. However, when things go awry, people may resort to domination or submission, or simply abandon that which seems overwhelming (including care for a child and/or the body). Notice that the need for routine and the desire for spontaneity can pull in opposite directions, and we must choose a relational model to best balance them.

Consider the illustration of the parent tending to the needs of the child. The parent requires uninterrupted time to organize an independent life, while the child requires (many) assurances of safety. In this instance, cooperation does not entail treating both of these requirements equally; rather, cooperation between a parent and child is established by privileging the survival needs of the child. When the child’s needs are met, the parent is free to pursue more personal aims. For instance, if the parent creates a comforting routine for the child, the child can better handle the parent’s nights out. In this way, prioritizing the child’s care facilitates the parent’s ability to act independently and establishes a harmonious relationship.

Likewise, when a spiritual being elects to experience a physical body, s/he assumes responsibility to care for his/her body. Bodies function best on regular schedules: sleeping, eating, exercising, expressing, grooming. All body care works best when it occurs regularly! When these routines are implemented, the person cultivates a strong body and clear mind to explore more creative ventures. Again, by tending to the body first, the person frees up time and energy to pursue his/her dreams.

Body and/or child care routines, though, can feel stifling to one’s spiritual self. We are afraid that if we spend time on body care (and/or child care), that we won’t have time to develop what we wish to create. The opposite is true: if we do not spend time on body care (and/or child care), we will not have time for what we wish to create.

What does it look like if a child’s basic needs go unsatisfied? When a child is uncertain (or hungry), s/he is likely to cry and seek his/her parent’s attention; the parent will have difficulty accomplishing anything apart from calming the child. And, the child is likely to feel less secure as a result of the incident, which can increase the demands of the child for parental attention (as well as the parent’s probability of becoming frustrated).

Similarly, if the body is not tended to, bodily needs will call out. Not only is the body likely to become exhausted, but also, when the body is not satisfied, a person has more difficulty being present, focusing, and accessing sensory information, including memory. Without the body’s support, the embodied spirit will struggle to build his/her dreams. Resisting caring for the body imperils one’s ability to meet both physical needs and spiritual desires. What seems stifling— i.e., taking the time to address the present needs— is actually liberating.

The trick is to find a way to let the body feel safe enough to allow one’s spirit to pursue his/her dreams. Luckily, it feels good to take care of our bodies, just like it feels good to take care of our children. When the body is cared for, we do not desire to override it. We are able to bring our full awareness to our sensory input, making informed decisions in our lives that fuel both our physical needs and our spiritual dreams. Body and spirit can work peacefully and cooperatively.

Try implementing a routine that pleases your body…

Written by Heidi Szycher, a staff member at the Boulder Psychic Institute. Check out her personal site at

Emotions & Self-Care

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