I was hiking last week, as I am prone to do, and I observed how others hiked.
Some sprinted up the steep hill like it was nothing.
Others huffed and puffed, stopping every few feet.
I fell somewhere in between.
I did not judge myself for not being fast like some. I did not applaud myself for being more fit than others. I realized: we're all on this this trail of life. How quickly we get to our destination (which is WHAT, by the way??) is irrelevant. It's about the journey.
Let Go of Comparison Poison
As humans, our natural inclination sometimes is to measure ourselves against others.
"She looks better in that dress than I do."
"Why can't I run on the trail like him?"
"I am so much more spiritually-evolved than them!"
Why do we put ourselves through this? Why do we drink the poison?
If you've ever taken a yoga class, you've likely heard your teacher tell you to keep your focus on your mat. Don't look over at the 20-year-old contorting like a pretzel because then you'll be thinking about why you aren't flexible.
If you keep your focus within the parameters of your mat, you're better able to focus on YOU.
No two people are the same, whether we're talking about yoga, hiking, or the spiritual journey. So comparing two disparate things? A waste of time.
You've also probably observed in yoga class that the poses your body loves today might be different than they were last week. Sometimes our hips are tight and we can't even sit cross-legged easily. Some days we can stay in Downward Dog forever.
Let go of comparing yourself to yourself, too. Every day may be different, depending on how you slept and what you're thinking about.
Look How Far You've Come
I am so excited for what my spiritual journey has yet to teach me, but sometimes, I'll admit, all that I DON'T know is daunting.
I'm trying to find the grace these days to remember how far I've come. I used to have more of a temper. I'm a lot more chill now. I can talk about woo things more concisely and explain the things I'm into so that people get it (more or less). I am owning my authenticity. I'm more open. I am more aware when my ego steps in. I'm working on pausing before giving my opinion when it's not asked for.
Ten years ago, I couldn't claim any of this. So clearly the work I'm doing is paying off!
I invite you to do your own retrospective. What has changed for the better in your life? Can you take a moment to congratulate yourself on the trail you've already covered rather than stressing about that hill you have yet to conquer?
And while you're on that trail, stop to smell the roses, the sage, the wildflowers. Sometimes we get so bogged down in wanting to rush through our spiritual journey (remember: there's no destination) that we don't actually enjoy and put to good use the tools we collect along the way.