Everyone needs a nemesis once in awhile

By virtue of my own resentment (if that phrase isn’t a paradox in itself), I’ve changed in ways I could never have imagined. And, happily, I think the changes are for the good.

Think about a time when you really wanted to do or be something, and you were told NO. And then you took some steps to get closer to that goal: went back to school, retooled for the new Millennium, learned new tricks, did whatever you thought it would take. And then you were told NO again, maybe even that the rules had changed. And so on. Repeatedly. Over several years.

Strangely enough, this is partly how I became a yoga teacher. The short version of the story is that my life has been changed by studying yoga. Several years ago, I knew this enough to want to immerse myself, dedicate myself, and teach. I really wanted to teach in a particular way, in a specific place. I was told (notice the passive voice here) that I would need RYT certification in order to teach.

In fact, at the time this wasn’t true, but even so… after some initial resistance… lasting a couple years… I did it. There were a lot of side trips along the way, various dashed hopes, anger, and despair, and what started forming in me was a general stubbornness.  At some point, I started thinking of the source of the repeated refusals as my nemesis.

Wikipedia defines nemesis as, “…the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris, vengeful fate personified as a remorseless goddess.” Nemesis is a goddess!

Yes, the stubbornness at times came pretty close to pride, or hubris. This hubris basically is what ensures divine retribution, or gives birth to the nemesis — what I like to think of as a practical and spiritual roadblock. We create our own nemeses, with our pride.

On the other hand, I have to say that hubris is what has kept me moving along. The hoops I jumped through were also rings of fire that burned and transformed me. And I mean this most literally: Some of the fiery yoga asana that I “hated” practicing have become the most interesting.

The process also affected me to the point where I have been able to (mostly) let go of my original desire, in favor of following my passion and intuition. To experience the world and people in ways I wouldn’t have welcomed before. And to develop the skills of mindfulness that help me better see when pride and grasping are leading me into stubborn resistance or persistence — or when persistence is skillful, and when it’s not. Namaste.

Oh, and it turns out that the RYT training that I did at The Yoga Loft was incredibly valuable. The certification is definitely coming in handy, and opening up many new teaching possibilities for me that would not have been there otherwise. I believe that the original nemesis has said its final NO, and it doesn’t really matter anymore.

So today, at least four years after her “birth,” maybe longer, I can honestly say that I’m grateful for this nemesis. For giving me something to push against, even if it really has been more like shadow boxing. And, as I continue to release her, my intention is that my practice will be guided by the energy of what I love rather than so much what I resist — to allow love to guide me along the way.

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