no more complaining

positive thinking

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” ~ Groucho Marx

#KeepYogaWeird

So many incredibly challenging things have happened this year, and yet I have felt happiness like never before. The ups and downs and highs and lows that accompany a life-threatening disease are many, but the gratitude that floods your soul when your appreciation of life deepens is  immeasurable. If we can reframe the way we see life’s challenges, truly we have the power within us to take any tough situation and make it a positive one. When we start focusing on the positive we attract even more positive people and events into our lives.

Since making the mental shift that my breast cancer diagnosis has ultimately been a positive experience, all kinds of amazing things have started to happen in my life. Recently, I won the #KeepYogaWeird photo contest, $500 and two tickets to Wanderlust Austin’s weekend long Yoga + Music Festival!

Appreciating the power of positive thought, and that like attracts like, I’ve decided it will be interesting to take this premise one step further: so for the next 3 days, I will try to avoid articulating a single negative thought. It sounds easy, but I know it will require vigilance and dedication.

This weekend I am going away for a reason other than cancer treatment for the first time in 8 months! Which also means it’s the first time I’ve left the state of Massachusetts in as long.

I am headed to New York City for the night with my partner, where I will practice with my teacher Elena on Saturday morning.  I haven’t seen Elena since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in March. I also haven’t taken a vinyasa class since my emergency port-removal surgery last Saturday night (more on that coming out on RebelleSociety.com this Monday). I am looking forward to a dose of my old town and an infusion of Elena’s elegant gracefulness and potent energy.

Saturday and Sunday night we will be in CT for a dear friend’s wedding. And then on Monday morning it’s up to Boston to see my oncologist to discuss the next stage of my treatment. (okay, so part of the trip still involves cancer…but hey, it’s the new normal).

It might get dicey here and there. I might be tempted to complain, or voice an anxiety. There will certainly be opportunities to worry about what to wear, or how I look. It might be hard for me to practice in a room full of strong and healthy bodies, while I am slowly healing from surgery and navigating my way around my still tender new boobies. But this is where the challenge will get juicy.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” ~ Anthony Robbins

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{Let’s be Friends}

Pretty: It’s All in Your Head

I’m going bald.

Many of us have had that classic anxiety dream, you know, the one where your teeth fall out? According to Dr. Oz it’s one of the 5 most common dreams. Your teeth falling out of your mouth is likened to your emotions falling out of control and is said to represent the worries and anxieties that surround us in life.

If you dream of losing your teeth, it has to do with ‘loss’ in general such as loss of youth and all things associated with our anxiety of getting older.

~ Dictionary of Dreams

Today is April 25th. It’s been one month now since I was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. It’s a big day, there’s a lot going on and a lot to be grateful for, so when I sat up in bed to enjoy my 6 am cup of coffee, I was feeling pretty excited.  I opened up my digital datebook to check the schedule of todays appointments, and reached up to scratch and itch. Then it happened – a snowfall of hair and flaky skin, and it rained down, all over the glowing screen of my iPad. A faint gasp and then a sob… grief.

Hey, I knew this was coming. I’ve been preparing for weeks. I’ve taken steps all along the way that I thought would help me to feel empowered and in control.

Back on April 1st, I threw myself a hair cutting party. I celebrated cutting off all my thick locks, and had my dear friend Darya free me from the long hair I had identified myself by for the last 19 years. Then on the 10th my friend Anne cut it even shorter. I still felt in control, and I was managing my anxiety about going bald just fine. Thank you very much.

Ice Pack Head: April 14th, 2013

Ice Pack Head: April 14th, 2013

But last week my scalp started to itch something awful. The skin on my head began to feel hot – so hot in fact that I started wearing Granny-style ice packs on my head at home, and I started having the dream, except it was my hair falling out, not my teeth. In my car on Sunday afternoon I noticed a disproportionate amount of platinum blonde hair on my steering wheel and car seat. It was enough to make me pause.

So really, it should come as no surprise that on my one month Cancerversary I am facing the anxiety that accompanies hair loss. Scheduled, no less, to confront it tonight while I teach class, up on a stage, in front of 80 yogis and yoginis at the Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center. I lived in Chicago for 5 years, where they have a saying, “Go big or go home”. This has never felt more apropos.

Yogis have a practice called Satya.  It is one of the five restraints, or moral codes of conduct, and is basically the belief that we must always tell the truth.

As much as I would like you to think I’m above and beyond feeling upset at the loss of my hair, the truth is I’m not. I can get on board with being bald, but  I am not beyond grieving the loss of my hair. I am not beyond feeling naked and raw. I am not beyond the pain and humility of this exposure. One month and 4 chemotherapy infusions in, my face is broken out, my chest and back are covered in red splotches and eruptions of localized break-outs, the tops of my hands are scaly and bumpy and itchy as hell. I am struggling to feel attractive, feminine, and sexual.

Blast from the past

Back in junior high school there were a couple of boys who’d taunt me and call me Pimple Face. I spent many nights in tears, struggling with a tube of Clearasil and my raging adolescent hormones. Those experiences left deep emotional scars and I worked hard in college to overcome the self-hatred that accompanied my teen years. Now that my skin and hair are being challenged by chemotherapy I am reminded how fragile and vulnerable my relationship to my body can be. And how diligently I have to work to keep loving myself.

The truth is that since surviving adolescence, I have enjoyed the privilege of being pretty and I’ve taken it for granted. Like many women I have wasted countless hours of my life comparing myself to others and have felt disdain for the the body I have been gifted with. I have worried and wondered if the men I have been involved with would find me attractive enough to continuously love me.

I have betrayed the beauty that I have been blessed with by longing for someone else’s. But I have never been traumatically scared, or chemically burned. I haven’t suffered an amputated limb or genital mutilation. I am fortunate enough to have a symmetrical face, and a strong physique. And now, on the brink of finally appreciating that, I have to stand idly by and watch my body morph into something I recognize even less. It is ironic. It is humbling. It is painful. But, it is also a gift.

It is an opportunity for growth.

Yesterday my friend and teacher, Elena posted on FaceBook that “Vulnerability is the best medicine”. If she’s right, I am getting one really big hit of medicine right now. Hopefully I can learn from this vulnerability and use to heal myself; not only from cancer but from the dark, ugly truth that I have not been appreciative of my body.

It’s time to embrace adage that bald is beautiful. In fact, both the men I’ve married in my life have been bald. Never mind that the first one died of cancer. He’s probably having a good laugh at me (or with me) right about now.

I don’t know if I continue to let my hair fall out naturally, or if when I go to Darya’s this morning for my pre-benefit pedicure I’ll ask her to shave it all off. There’s probably still enough hair on my head to spend one more night amongst the Hairy, but I’ll make that call in a few hours.

To all the women who have faced the loss of their hair, I bow to you. To all the cancer survivors who have showed their vulnerability and bravery, I bow to you. To all the BEAUTIFUL baldies out there – let me get down on my knees and bow. Thank you for showing me the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, you have breast cancer.

Dear Friends, Students & Clients,

I have Breast Cancer…

On Tuesday, March 12th I went in for a routine mammography. Even though it’s not recommended to start getting annual mammograms until you reach 40, I’ve been getting them since May 2011, when I found a suspicious lump in my right breast. This particular exam was a follow-up to the last one, which was done 12 months earlier.  After having a mamo every 6 months (following the watch and wait protocol) it was decided that the mass was nothing to be worried about (you have cystic breasts with fibrous tissue I previously was told), so I was floored when it was suggested on the spot that we do a needle biopsy.

On Friday, March 15th, 2013, I went up to Mass General Hospital with my dear friend Megan. Things unfolded in both slow motion and fast forward from there on out. The pathology from my needle biopsy arrived just 9 minutes before we walked into the exam room, confirming my Cancer, and when I was told “So, you have breast cancer” for a hot dizzy moment, I thought it was the end of the world. Bone Scan

I was in shock. I was freaked out. I was scared sh*&less.

But 10 days later I feel very differently. As weird as it may sound, I am confident this is the beginning of a bright new chapter of my life. I’m no hero, and I’m not going to say something inauthentic like “I feel blessed” that I have Cancer, or “It’s a gift”, but I do feel like it’s an amazing opportunity for growth. As my teacher, Elena Brower, says, we choose our parents, we choose our life lessons, “We pick them perfectly”. So following this, somewhat Buddhist train of thought, I must embrace the fact that I have chosen Cancer too. This is the new reality for me, one I have chosen so that I may learn from it, so that I may teach from a place of deeper wisdom.

That’s the new plan. The total and compete acceptance of Cancer as my new Guru.

You will be hearing a lot from me, over the next 14 months. I plan to blog. I plan to write. To document. To teach. To inspire. To bring awareness to Breast Cancer in the under 40 population. To make sure my Strong Girls know that self-breast exams are mandatory. That we are our own best health advocates… that no matter who tells you your self-detected “likely benign” LUMP is not worth further investigation, should your intuition tell you otherwise it is. I plan to stay around for a long, long time. To love my family and friends, to nurture my partner and to parent my son.

Flight Like A GirlWhen I first found out I was sick, I preemptively took a leave of absence from teaching and massage therapy. But now that my treatment plan has changed quite a bit, I am hoping to teach as many of my regularly scheduled classes as possible. I am lucky that my chemotherapy treatment will not be scheduled on days I would normally be at the studio, and I will have several days after chemo during which I can recover without missing classes. So for those of you who would like to know as to whether or not I’ll be at The Yoga Room on any given Monday or Tuesday evening, or Sunday morning, please just consult TYR’s online schedule. I am forever grateful to my TYR colleagues for accommodating me and my last-minute needs.

Teaching has always given me strength. Walking away from it completely, would feel like a surrender, and I am very much a fighter.

Some logistical stuff:

Many people have asked me how they can best support us through these challenging circumstances. For those of you who would like to contribute financially my friends Jason Bridges and Emily Molden have set up the Caitlin Marcoux Charitable Fund at Rally.org. This is also where I will post medical updates from here on out, instead of on FaceBook, as it is a more appropriate platform.

And for those of you who would like to contribute domestically, my friend Kristen Lewis has set up a SignUp Genius campaign, where you can sign up to deliver a meal, volunteer to help with my son’s childcare (pick-ups or drop-offs to school, or playdates*) or help out around our home. *Please note: Griffin will really need some small friends to run around with on Thursdays and Fridays after school, even if it’s just for an hour. This is probably the best way anyone can help us.

I know that I can’t do this alone. And I am so very, very grateful to both my local community and my global yoga community for all the ongoing support. I can’t think of a better place than Nantucket to have Cancer, and I couldn’t be in a better place both spiritually and mentally to survive it.

I am a lucky, lucky girl.

A few special Thank-Yous to the following people who have helped me through this initial phase of my cancer treatment (many more thank-yous to come):Health Alter

Thank you to Shannah Green and Elisa Allen for facilitating an amazing and much needed retreat at Kripalu this weekend. To Alison Alpert for coming with me to my first needle biopsy. To Megan Soverino for being there now and always,  but especially for being there to hold my hand when I got the news at MGH on March 15th. To my parents Joanne and Steve, and my sisters Ariel and Grey. To my ex-husband Paul Budzynski, for being a rock at a time of need, for accepting me once again despite my mistakes and with all my faults, and for taking such good care of our son Griffin. To my friends Jason Bridges, Emily Molden and Kristen Lewis for setting up, in record time, all kinds of online support. To Amber Hinds, my web-designer. To Jenny Bence, owner of The Green, for making me drink way more wheatgrass than I ever would on my own. To Darya Afshari of Dayra’s Salon, for helping me feel pretty (sister, you will be shaving my head soon). To Elena Brower for being an ongoing source of wisdom and support and bad-ass coach. To my friends Kate Greer and Richmond Dickson for giving us a warm bed to sleep in and nurturing food to eat on Wednesday night, March 20th. To my beautiful yoginis in crime Caroline Pope Peavy and Juliet Loranger, for coming up on Thursday night, March 21st, to hold me after a long day of bone scans and blood tests. To Rebelle Society for giving me a place to write (the words are on their way). To my son Griffin, who inspires me to be the very best mama I can be. And of course to my partner, Burr Tupper, who is always, always, always there for me.

Confessions of a Jealous Girl

Originally published on elephantjournal.com
January 27th, 2013
 

©2009-2013 ~7Roses1BrokenHeart

I have always loved the word pathogenesis. It’s got that sexy Latin sound, so well used in academia, and an open-ended, story-to-tell kind of mystique.

The word refers to the mechanism by which a dis-ease is caused; in yogic terms we might call it the “path” a condition took to manifest. It’s a strong word with gritty possibilities. Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, third edition, defines it as:

“The development of morbid conditions or of disease. Includes the study of the relationship between the cause and the lesions, and that between the lesion and the clinical signs.”

I like to use the word quite liberally.

So when I came up against my least favorite feeling—jealousy—again recently, I decided the best way I could move through it, and the eruption of ugliness that came along for the ride, was to understand its pathogenesis better, both in emotional and biological terms.

We were at dinner, in a New York City restaurant, somewhere in the LES, celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday…

(Now, the caveat to sharing this story is the reality that I live on a tiny island and there’s a good chance the people involved in this story will remember exactly what I’m about to describe. It’s entirely possible that I am throwing myself under the bus. But I’m ready now to hold myself accountable and tell the nasty, stinky, ugly truth of it all.)

So, back to New York, and back to dinner.

When we walked through the door to the restaurant, I was feeling pretty good about myself; I had been practicing a lot of yoga, going regularly to therapy, digging into my work with the Handel Group and taking some pretty big steps in my relationship with my partner. I had just taught a workshop in Providence the night before, and I was excited to be in NYC for the weekend with my boyfriend. I was feeling on top of my game, happy and grateful.

The chef’s table at Sauce was crowded with wine glasses, bubbly, gifts and friends, most of whom had traveled quite a distance to be there to celebrate my partner’s BFF. I was just as game as anyone to revel with her, if perhaps less integral to the group’s many years of friendship: a newcomer to the fold, if you will.

In any event, there was much celebrating and many toasts. I was genuinely impressed by the outpouring of love this woman inspired in her friends, and was beginning to let my guard down when something absolutely awful happened.

My partner got up to speak.

Within a few moments my palms were sweating, my heart was in my throat and I could feel a persistent shaking in my legs. I won’t attempt to reiterate the contents of his speech; suffice it to say that it was one of, if not the most beautiful spontaneous speeches I’ve ever heard anyone give in another person’s honor. One might argue that my partner is naturally gifted at this kind of thing, and that this speech was no different than any other he might give in a similar circumstance to someone of similar value.

Unfortunately, though, there is no one else in his life whom I perceive to be of similar value, except maybe me.

Though I could have gracefully absorbed the sweetly nostalgic references to their romantic history, boxing their consummated courtship comfortably into a rear partition of my brain reserved for all-things-past, the sincerity and depth of my partner’s love for the birthday girl as it existed in that moment ignited a flame of jealousy that unexpectedly overwhelmed me. No sooner had he said, “You are one of the most beautiful women I have ever been lucky enough to know” (or something very similar) than I was thrown into a painful experience of myself as unequal and under-deserving.

“Jealousy injures us with the dagger of self-doubt.”

~ Terri Guillemets

Photo: sea turtle

Questions ensued: Why was his toast making my heart race? Why was I feeling so insecure? WTF kind of yogi was I anyway? And why weren’t the tenets of my practice supporting me in my sincere desire to be happy for this woman and the friendship she has shared with my partner for almost 20 years?

The answer: I was in the midst of an acute attack of what biologists refer to as emotional jealousy, and it was fucking ugly.

Not only did I feel jealous, I was seething with self-contempt for feeling it.

Jealousy has been defined as “a complex of thoughts, feelings and actions which follow threats to self-esteem and/or threats to the existence or reality of the relationship, when those threats are generated by the perception of a real or potential attraction between one’s partner and a (perhaps imaginary) rival” (White & Mullen, 1989, p.24).

It’s a complicated mouthful.

After riffing on his shared past with his friend, and on her amazingness, for what felt to me like an eternity (probably three minutes), my partner sat down and put his hand on my thigh. I saw myself shrink away and flinch before it even happened. I backed my chair away from the table. He, of course, asked immediately what was wrong and I, of course, taking a big swig of wine, protested that nothingwas in fact wrong at all.

Lies.

Looking around the table, I could see that my partner’s display of affection for his former girlfriend was uncomfortable only for me. Only I was feeling threatened. Only my stomach was doing flips beneath my napkin. Only I was thinking of her as the ex-girlfriend. And I was the only one who was no longer at the table. I was far away—stuck in some deep dark place in my head.

Source: toppics.mooo.com via Aimee on Pinterest

 

Was I in the middle of experiencing an attraction between my partner and his ex? No. Was I in the middle of a situation that was threatening my sense of self-esteem? Absolutely, and for a few hot seconds I watched myself grapple with doubt and self-worth all over again. How disappointing it was for me, and probably for my man too.

“Jealousy would be far less torturous if we understood that love is a passion entirely unrelated to our merits.”

~ Paul Eldridge

According to an article by A.M. Pines and C.F. Bowes, published in Psychology Today (March, 1992), jealousy, one of the most common human emotions, is a biological defense mechanism that’s triggered when a person perceives a threat to his or her relationship. Additionally, their study showed that the majority of people who experience jealousy hate the way they act when they feel triggered.

It’s comforting to know I am in good company.

Yogi or not, everyone has suffered romantic jealousy at some point in their lives.

According to these guys, it’s part of our biological make-up.

While that may all be true, we shouldn’t need to read up on the biological imperatives of the female mammal to secure financial and emotional support through the employment of jealous power mechanisms in order to justify our unseemly behavior. We are an evolving group of mindfulness practitioners, yoga teachers and spiritual aspirants, damn it—and I’d be damned if I was going to ruin this woman’s 40th birthday party with my petty insecurities.

When the speeches were over, I excused myself from the table for a few moments and gathered myself in the ladies’ room. At first I tried to talk myself out of what I was feeling, but then I just surrendered to the feelings and allowed them to run their course through my body: not denying them, but not holding onto them either.

I returned to see my partner eyeing me with an uncomfortable mix of worry and despair. Silently, we put the moment on hold, knowing we’d revisit it later. A short while later, feeling relatively back in the game, I took his hand in mine.

This brings me back to the pathogenesis of jealousy.

Unlike envy, the roots of jealousy lie not in the wanting of something else, but rather in the fear of losing what we have or perceive we have.

My jealousies, the ones that keep biting me in the proverbial ass, are all rooted in the same backstory of betrayal, abuse, breaches of trust, the sudden death of a husband—and fearful projections of similar betrayals or losses into the future. They live in a place of deep insecurity and fear of abandonment, which I have been working to heal for some time.

“Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution.”

~ Deepak Chopra

Healing.

I think the first half of the healing process comes when we study the relationship between the cause and the development of our jealousies, and acknowledge them as part of who we are rather than denying them. Understanding where our darker patterns come from can help us release them.

The second, and perhaps more important, half comes when we hold an intention to cultivate a stronger relationship with ourselves—when we cultivate self-love. This will help us to feel more whole, and less inclined to look for love and validation from our partnersAadil Palkhivala describes it this way:

“We must shatter the tabloid myth that another’s love is necessary for our survival. Only the love that comes from our deepest Self is essential. True love in a relationship is realized only when two people, each connected with his or her deepest Self, unite. Now we have a synergistic—not a draining—relationship. We love one another not because we need love, not because the other needs love, but because love overflows our cup and we must share. Then, rather than fall in love, we rise in love.”

Rise up.

If I accept that the path I’ve been on my whole life has brought me to my current partner, it is my responsibility to learn as much from him as from any of my other teachers or spiritual guides. Like Deepak says, the Universe has brought us together for a reason.

Photo: Kate Ter Haar

Our partners, like our family and friends, are mirrors, reflecting back to us the things we need most to examine. In my case, as perhaps in yours, I am still learning the art of self-loveAs yogis, we have made a commitment to working towards self-realization for the sake of liberation (moksha) from suffering (samsara). In the process of learning to love ourselves more deeply, we begin to struggle less to hold tightly to others. When we find our true Self, through self-study, meditation and asana, we can feel the bliss that has been living inside us all this time.

“If you love someone, set them free.”

~ Sting

My partner has been involved with some pretty amazing women—strong, creative and beautiful—and most of them are still in his life. It is a testament to the kind of person he is that, despite the break-ups, they are still his friends. He’s a great guy, and it just so happens that he gives big, beautiful speeches that leave his subjects feeling bathed in warm, loving light. I know firsthand how good it feels. How could I not want that feeling for everyone?

“If we are in a relationship with another without being in a relationship with our Self, the relationship with the other will be a dharmic distraction. However, if we avoid a relationship because it exposes our vulnerabilities and discloses our fears, we are avoiding that which can reveal to us how far from Self we are. Nothing can stunt our growth like a relationship, yet nothing can help us blossom more.”

~ Aadil Palkhivala

Let’s step back from the fear of losing what we already have, return to the table, raise a glass and enjoy the celebration. In doing so, we can celebrate each other and our Selves.

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caitlin marcouxCaitlin Marcoux is a yoga teacher, workshop producer, mother, dancer, massage therapist and writer. A former modern dancer, she fuses her passion for music and modern dance with yoga, keeping her flow creative, playful and fresh. Caitlin lives on the tiny Island of Nantucket, MA, year-round with her partner and 3 year-old satguru Griffin. She is an advocate of prenatal yoga, midwifery, elegant tattoos, rockin’ music, living mindfully and “eating like you give a damn.” She teaches a variety of regularly scheduled classes at The Yoga Room and has recently begun teaching workshops in the greater New England area. Caitlin blogs about her practice on and off the mat on her website, and you can find her on Facebook and on Twitter.

Unworthy

 
Originally published on elephantjournal.com 
December 20, 2012
Caitlin Marcoux, Yoga teacher, writer

Shit Happens.

There have been many times in my life when I have felt grounded and strong, confident and full. I’ve had important jobs and respectable earnings. I’ve had fulfilling friendships and passionate romances. I’ve had critical acclaim, glowing reviews, approved applications and positive survey feedback. There have even been times in my life when I’ve had all of these things simultaneously and have felt a deep sense of fulfillment from both within and beyond. I’ve liked where I was, who I was and what I was doing. I was enough.

But my late 20s were a tumultuous time. I left my life in New York City after 9/11 after an 8 year stint in Brooklyn, and moved to Chicago. While I was there, my best friend died suddenly and inexplicably back home. We were 25. When I was 27, my boyfriend of 2 years and husband of one month was diagnosed with a rare cancer and died 8 weeks later. I was grief-stricken and bereft. Self-doubt crept into my heart and my I’m-going-to-take-on-the-world self-confidence dried up. A few months after Aaron’s death, I found myself snorting cocaine off the back of a toilet in a dive bar in Chicago and severe self-loathing took hold. I made some half-hearted attempts to get back onto my mat, but lost, I found myself spending more time drinking in a toxic relationship than practicing yoga with my friends.

Three years later, fleeing from Chicago, I returned to my hometown and rushed into a second marriage, still full of grief over the last one.  My self-esteem plummeted when just shy of 2 years, that marriage ended divorce, and for a myriad of reasons I began to think myself simply unworthy of true happiness, love, or santosha (contentment).

Then in late 2010 I found myself unexpectedly falling in love again, and the hole in my heart that I had been trying to plug since Aaron’s death felt temporarily full. Of course, it wasn’t long after the flush of fresh love began to calm, that I started to doubt my worth again. Inevitably the high wore off and the emptiness and doubt returned. I started to worry that my new partner didn’t think I was smart enough, successful enough or spiritually evolved enough. I began to judge myself through the harshest of lenses: I didn’t meditate enough. I hadn’t traveled enough. I  wasn’t a global activist. Blah, blah, blah…I stopped talking at dinner parties, and began resenting people for their own exciting stories, careers, adventures and vacations. I began to believe I didn’t have enough to offer my partner, my students, my son or my friends.

I doubt that this is a unique experience. Change the details and substitute names and locations, and any number of people I’ve met in recent years could plug themselves into this story. We’re human. We make mistakes. Shit happens and then we’re faced with choices. Sometimes we make good choices, some times we don’t. If we’re lucky, there are teachers near by who can guide us, or friends who can help us, or family members who can support us.

This time I had my yoga practice to guide me, so in the summer when the doubt started to choke me up again, I made a pact with myself. I would believe myself worthy of being enough. My yoga practice bore witness to this promise, and there was an almost immediate shift. I realized that through the same diligence I was applying to asana I could dedicate myself to the practice of of worthiness.

We can all do this practice. So often we put our faith in external things; belief systems, iconography, cultural identity, religion, and science. Why not instead or in addition to, put our focus on ourselves and start cultivating faith in our own worthiness. Let’s start believing that we are enough. When we do the world opens it arms to us, and love and compassion envelop us. When we love ourselves, faults and all, we are more lovable to other and we can bravely love others right back.

We are more than our past failed relationships, our divorces and losses. We are more than our up-in-the-middle-of-the-night worries. We are not our traumas, we are survivors. We are full of stories that don’t end badly. And even the ones that do, are stories we can choose not to run from, but to learn from.  We are capable, loving imperfectly perfect compassionate beings. When I started believe this (and it’s still not every day) I began to see that I am – and you are- more rich in beautiful experiences than tragic ones. Let’s start identifying ourselves more with the former than with the later.

When you doubt it. Say it out loud. Write it down. Stare at it. And believe it.

You are enough.

You are enough.

You are enough.

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IMG_2030Caitlin is a yoga teacher, workshop producer, mother, dancer, healer, and writer. She is nationally certified in massage therapy and has been studying yoga on and off for over 13 years. A former modern dancer, she fuses her passion for music and modern dance with yoga; keeping her flow creative, playful and fresh. Caitlin lives on the  tiny Island of Nantucket, MA. year-round with her partner and 3 year-old satguru Griffin, where she is an advocate of prenatal yoga, natural childbirth, midwifery, elegant tattoos, rockin’ music and eating like you give a damn. She teaches regularly at The Yoga Room and has recently begun teaching workshops in the greater New England area. Caitlin blogs about her practice on and off the mat on her website, www.caitlinmarcoux.net and you can find her on Facebook and Twitter