Then & Now… Spiritual Growth

These 2 photos were taken around 20 years apart. When I look at them what I notice is profound showing me spiritual growth.

by Leslie Blackwell

Then… 20 years ago, I distinctly remember taking the left photo so excited about finding yoga. I needed to have perfect hair and make-up, tanned skin and exterior beauty. Eyes wide open to show off my new world.

Over the 20 years, I’ve discovered so much inner beauty and strength not only in myself but in others. I’ve learned how to see people as souls all wearing a different drag from our human birth and worldly experiences. But, seeing each soul as the same. Working on my conscious level is what has truly evolved. To go beyond the physical, and be within.

Now… the photo on the right is most recent. At first glance you will notice no make-up, no tan, no perfect hair. I see myself just going within, embracing that moment, practicing Santosha by being content in stillness.

Noticing my detachment from who I thought the world wanted me to be back then. I’m not saying you need to give up make-up, nice hair or other things that make you feel pretty. I’ve learned to not be attached, that if it falls away naturally all is still perfect. This prevents tremendous suffering.

I do notice how yoga has sustained me physically with good health. That shines in these photos and the ability I’m given each day to serve others. The proof is in the pudding. When you do the work, you reap the benefits. But I truly believe finding spiritual growth with great faith is first and foremost to carry you into supreme physical health.

My reverence for God, respect for all beings, and unconditional love for all remains the same. Strengthened with each lesson from life. Through yoga I’ve learned how to find the true self (still working on it daily) which helps me realize what is real.

When you run across old photos, don’t criticize what has physically changed. Aging is a given. Experience it with grace and love. Evolve spiritually, learn from your mistakes, practice forgiveness for others and especially yourself, be in the moment, and love everyone.

I’ve figured out over the years that service work helping others is much more important than servicing an ego. We are all born to serve a purpose. Through yoga I’ve discovered my purpose. I am forever grateful. Whatever your path is, discover your purpose, be a shining light of love, be free from worry fear and doubt, and love God with all your heart.

My deepest love to all. May all beings be free from suffering.

Om Shanti Shanti Shantih