"No bliss between yoga studios." This was the title of the article that appeared in the Southeast Texas Record several times over the last year about the lawsuit between Beaumont Power Yoga and Golden triangle Yoga.
After 14 months of answering questions about the very serious allegations against me, I was, at last, vindicated by a unanimous jury verdict on Friday. Before trial, my husband, Michael, was non-suited since the plaintiff admitted to never having met him.
After the plaintiff rested, the judge granted a motion for directed verdict against the Golden Triangle Yoga, finding that no evidence had been offered to support damages. And at the close of all evidence, the jury found, unanimously, that I did not breach any fiduciary duty to Nicole Chance.
It is surreal for this to finally be over. Kind of like when you step out of a hot shower...you know there is a reflection to be seen, but for a brief time, there is still steam on the mirror. And this is where I am now: standing at the sink, waiting for the foggy image of myself to emerge.
As I linger here, I reflect upon this idea of "bliss or "no bliss" between yoga studios, and it occurs to me that, really, this has not been the point. This suit hasn't really been about two dueling yoga studios, but it HAS been about bliss. More specifically, my bliss, my decision to either remain in a place of strength, committed to values of compassion, courage, wisdom, truth and peace or to succumb to the strong, familiar undercurrent of fear and self doubt.
A few people commented to me over the past months that a lawsuit is so "un-yoga". I tended to agree. After all, yogis are supposed to be all about peace and love, right? Well, yes. But, we are human too.
Upon further reflection, I am convinced that a situation such as this is exactly what my yoga training has been about. You see, yoga was originally (thousands of years ago) the path of the warrior, a practice designed to enable soldiers to move with more stealth, clarity, focus and agility on the battlefield.
Indeed, the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most revered yogic texts/teachings, takes place on a battlefield. Arjuna, the main character, didn't want to fight, but he was called upon to take action, to follow his destiny and to restore balance.
I am reminded of so many great men and women of history who inspired changed and healing. Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, even FDR and MLK were all persons of action. The reason I remember them today is because they all had the courage and commitment to hold strong to their values, regardless of what others said, in the face of great adversity, many of them even unto death. And in so doing, they found their bliss.
No bliss between yoga studios? No bliss in your home? Finances? Relationships? Again, I know this isn't the point. The real lesson is to find bliss on the inside. And you do this on the battlefield, the battlefield of your mind. The Bible says: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph: 6:12).
When you are in your dark place, do you let circumstances trip you up, sidetrack you, and hold you back from God's best vision for you? Do you allow the emotions of anger, resentment, guilt and fear to capsize you? Or do you pick up your shield and fight anyway? Can you stay committed to values like compassion and courage, realizing that many times people don't know what they're doing? They are just reacting out of their own hurt and pain.
Remembering your ability to forgive and making the decision to remain in a place of humility is what allows us to emerge from these dark places with a deeper understanding of what bliss truly is. The presence of God will unfold and the fog will clear, revealing to you the reflection of yourself that you are meant to see.
I am sincerely grateful to my family and to so many students, friends and colleagues who have supported me throughout this process. A special thanks to my teacher, Tracie for her encouragement and to David and Cade Bernsen who are, likewise, no strangers to the battlefield; warriors in their own rite, champions and friends.
Wishing you all bliss this Christmas season,
Jessica L. Depew
Owner/Director of Yoga Studies
Golden Triangle Yoga Studio