It was the morning of the 17th October, 2017 of our YTT. It was the infamous ‘week 3’ and we were all suffering – I was in the ‘god knows what’ stage of my chest infection, which had turned into a glandular infection, as well as suffering from what turned out to be a hip bursitis (thanks to an ambitious hand stand attempt that landed smack bang on the tiled floor of the yoga space… Ouch). In addition, a lot of my peers on the course had varying degrees of ‘Bali belly’. It was gruesome.
Nico, our teacher, had an amazing knack for how we were feeling at the time. After the standard beginning of the practice – bringing the 5 elements of Tadasana into action – Nico stated that:
“The poison is your remedy. Whatever is in your way is the way. So dedicate your practice to whatever is in your way.”
I was stunned. How could he know what was exactly going on inside my head at that moment? Having reached rock bottom, I was ready for the course to finish. When I look back at the transformation that has taken place since, this was certainly a defining moment.
Nico explained that this ‘poison’ is there so that you can grow, to make you understand; that to ‘lean into the resistance a little’ can ultimately be the path to liberation.
The context of this teaching and the focus for the morning practice was the complex yoga pose ‘vishwamitrasana’ and the story of Vishwamitra, the legendary sage whose perseverance and patience was ultimately rewarded with success. This pose is beyond myself (right now), however with dedication and persistence, I may one day be able to skilfully get into it.
Whilst the readers of this blog may not be yoga practitioners – the lesson of Vishwamitra is applied to any scenario in life: As you plan your new year’s resolutions and goals, it may seem like achieving those goals requires some effort. It may be painful, you may want to give up. But the achievement of anything in life requires hard work. “Nothing is for free” in this world, as they say.
In this regard, keep going with whatever you want to accomplish. If it’s meaningful, it’s likely that whatever you want to change or achieve is important to you – because you may have reached rock bottom and something’s got to give.
My own brush with a poisoned chalice happened recently at work at the bank – a task I was given, a tight deadline and mountains to climb meant that the very process of completing the job required a lot of grit and determination. But my patience and bulldog spirit were rewarded in the end – a new network, deepened relationships and a reputation enhanced. Having just had c. 6 weeks off, this was the perfect ‘gift’ to get my corporate life back on track…
Short change ain’t going to buy you a cheap ticket to ride – it’s about wanting it so badly, but patiently taking all the shit that goes along with it. Once you do though get to the other side, whatever was in your way, will be utterly transformed.
“You can handle any challenging situation by leaning into it. The way out is in.”