Why have a regular spiritual practice? (Practical reason #2: it helps you let go of the stuff you don’t actually have to do)

Last week I shared 3 tips for how to slow down and listen to your soul, even when you’re really busy. This week, I want to loop back and talk with you about why you might want to do that. 

Like, seriously, why would you actually set aside structured, consistent time to check in with your soul? What’s the payoff?

Wait, is that a weird question? 

I mean, isn’t it obvious? 

Or is it? Personally, when I try to explain exactly why I do my regular shamanic journeying practice, I get a little tongue-tied. It’s hard to get at the heart of it. 

But let me try. 

I could start by saying, my spiritual practice helps me feel better–mentally, emotionally, and physically. That’s definitely true. For example, every night, I do a little clearing ritual with my rattles where I imagine myself releasing any energy I picked up during the day that isn’t serving me, and replenishing myself with fresh, healthy energy. If I forget to do that daily clearing, I tend not to sleep as well. 

I could also say, it helps me figure out problems and confusing situations in my life. That’s also true. If I’m unsure what to do about something, I’ll often do a quick journey to ask for some guidance. 

Here’s a small example: a while back I was really frustrated with myself because I just couldn’t get motivated to fix a few small chips and dings in the kitchen counter. I’d gotten as far as watching a few Youtube tutorials, and it didn’t look too hard–just a few coats of epoxy. 

But that’s where I stalled out. Weekend after weekend went by, and I made absolutely no progress. A year later (a year!), the counter was still chipped. 

So I did a journey to ask for help getting it done. And here’s what I heard in the journey: You don’t actually have to do this. The kitchen counter is fine as it is. Just let it go already! Whoa. Not what I expected to hear. But what a heady sense of permission and relief! I did indeed just let it go. And yes, the counter is fine, chips and dings and all. 

All that practical stuff is good.

But here’s a deeper reason why I journey: 

It helps me feel more at peace, even in this world which so often feels tragic and dangerous and bewildering. When I journey on the really big questions that haunt me, I don’t always get the answers I want. Sometimes I just hear, You’re not ready to understand that yet. And I can respect that. But sometimes I hear something that breaks open my narrow perspectives. 

Once, when I was feeling deeply sad about climate change, I journeyed to ask for help and understanding. What I heard was: Yes, it’s happening, it’s coming, and we will help you. On earth, spirit forms emerge for a time, materializing as living species, and then cease to materialize. But everything continues to exist in spirit. 

That doesn’t make everything better here on earth. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our absolute best to stave off the worst consequences of climate change for the living beings right here.

But it does give me a strange sort of hope. That even if the worst happens here–even then, on another level of reality, everything is still OK and will always be OK. 

And I find I need that hope to keep going.

But looking even deeper than that, the ultimate reason I continue to practice is simple. 

When I journey, I feel and know myself loved. Over and over, I hear: We love you. Not just in a general all-human-beings way, but you particularly. We love you and we delight in you especially, particularly, and always. And feeling myself loved and appreciated and delighted in–well, it’s just everything to me. It’s freedom, and permission, and possibility, and joy. 

I hope that whatever your spiritual practice looks like, it feeds you too, in all these ways and more. And if you’d like some help figuring out what works for you, please reach out and let’s talk!

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