Any spiritual teacher I admire, whether I have been their student, read their books or watched them interviewed, have all embodied a childlike exuberance. A twinkle in their eye. Smile lines, visible compassion, an understanding of the playfulness of the cosmos, a deep-seated and unshakeable joy.

When I realized this, I stopped taking my existential questions so seriously. I lifted the burden of judgment and shame I carried with me. I let go of the self-flagellation that had become the foundation of my spiritual explorations. I stopped saying things to myself such as: ‘Katie, you are spiritual, you should know better than to think/say/believe… ‘Katie, that is such an un-evolved way to think/talk/act.’ Why can’t I judge less? Why aren’t I more disciplined? Why am I failing at living ‘from the heart’? ‘Why can’t I tolerate more, protect myself less, learn my lessons, step into my greatness?’ and so on, and so on. It was only once I relaxed into myself and trusted that my path was unfolding just as it’s meant to, did I begin to understand that this adventure is meant to be light and full of laughter! So, as a lighthearted exercise today, I took stock of all the ways in which spiritual practice has changed me and the areas in which I have stayed stubbornly unenlightened! Check it out:

Yoga/meditation practice have improved my:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Appreciation of the breath and how it can instantly ground me
  • Patience with myself
  • Appreciation of my body and what it’s capable of
  • Connection and compassion for others
  • Appreciation of my inner struggles and the struggles of my loved ones

Yoga/meditation have NOT improved my:

  • Tendency to eat my lunch (ok, breakfast and dinner too) while driving
  • Ability to stay calm while inserting a car seat
  • Patience with others
  • Ability to stay calm while on the phone with a BELL representative
  • Length of time I stop (ok, pause) at a stop sign
  • Tendency to skip dinner the night before a yoga tv or photo shoot so that my stomach will appear flatter

These lists are inexhaustible. Try making lists of your own and see what you come up with! It’s humorous to realize that no matter how many countless hours we spend meditating on a mountain top in a loin cloth, in some ways, we will always just be OURSELVES. And that is worth smiling at! 🙂