I was raised Catholic by a deeply devoted mother who during my early years worked as a director of religious education. My childhood was accompanied by "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets, cartoon movies depicting the lives of the saints and my classmates calling me "church girl."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, college led me to question the faith that I was raised with, and, eventually, I discovered the practice of yoga. Now for a dance major who had spirituality virtually embedded into her DNA, this was an obvious transition. The practice of prayer through movement felt purposeful and connected me to faith more strongly than the Sacraments ever had. I inevitably found my first career path and calling as I found a spiritual home in the practice of yoga.
My initial yoga training brought me closer towards yogic philosophy and farther from the movement practice. I began to dedicate myself to practicing one element in particular: Karma Yoga: the practice of intentional, unselfish action.
Through this practice, I spent my early adulthood dedicating myself to questioning my choices and actions. With every decision I made I'd ask myself, "what do I need?" "why do I need it?" "can I live without it?" "do I need it to feel satisfied?" All of these questions led me to embrace living an intentional life, one filled with accountability for the practice I'd chosen to follow. It was only then that I ultimately found myself asking, "What Would Jesus Do?" every time I held myself accountable for a choice. All of these questions I ask myself on a daily basis are my personal practice of finding Jesus. It was not through Catholicism, and it was not through yoga, but through intentional living that I found spirituality. These questions connect me with an authentic life. And my authentic life connects me to God.
Maggi DeJesus-Wilson is the daughter of Associate Lori Wilson. Her views expressed in this article are her own and not that of the USC Province.