I Began to Think of Myself as Unworthy of “Santosha.” ~ Caitlin Marcoux

Via on Dec 20, 2012
Photo: Caitlin Marcoux
Photo: Caitlin Marcoux

Sh**t Happens.

I made a pact with myself: I would believe myself worthy of being enough.

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. After an eight-year stint in Brooklyn, I left my life in New York City after 9/11 and moved to Chicago. While I was there, my best friend from back home died suddenly and inexplicably. We were 25.

When I was 27, my boyfriend of two years and husband of one month was diagnosed with a rare cancer and died eight 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 my husband’s death, I found myself snorting cocaine off the back of a toilet in a dive bar in Chicago.

Severe self-loathing took hold.

I made some half-hearted attempts to get back onto my yoga mat, but I lost. I found myself spending more time drinking and in toxic relationships than practicing yoga with my friends.

Three years later, I fled 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 two years, that marriage ended divorce.

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 my first husband’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, sometimes we don’t. If we’re lucky, there are teachers nearby who can guide us, friends who can help us or family members who can support us.

This summer, when the doubt started to choke me up again, I had my yoga practice to guide me. So 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 the same diligence I was applying to asana could be dedicated to the practice 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 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 its arms to us, and love and compassion envelop us. When we love ourselves, faults and all, we are more lovable to others and we can bravely love others right back.

We are more than our 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 with the ones that do, we can choose not to run from them, but to learn from them.

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 latter.

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.

 

Caitlin MarcouxCaitlin 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, Massachussets year-round with her partner and three-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 and you can find her on Facebook.

~

Ed: Stephanie V.

 

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28 Responses to “I Began to Think of Myself as Unworthy of “Santosha.” ~ Caitlin Marcoux”

  1. Samantha says:

    The emotions in this article are ones we can all relate too. Well done.

  2. livingfrombalance says:

    beautifully written caitlin! I really needed to read this today!! namaste

  3. Sherry says:

    Reading this today struck me in such a beautiful way. After spending days and nights feeling completely stressed and unworthy, the way I usually feel during the holidays when I realize I’m not able to give in the way I’d like to, connect with my family of origin who are emotionally unavailable to receive, or just simply laugh with reckless abandon but feel so little real joy that I’m unable to even fake it, I realize that my core belief of “not being enough” needs some looking in to. I’m not the only one out there that has struggled and I’m not the only one who feels the way I do. As Caitlin has so eloquently reminded me, I AM worthy of love and I’m enough to be able to love fully and completely. Thank you for the reminder!!

  4. Chelsae says:

    Absolutely beautiful Caitlin! We are enough, no matter what stage or state of life. Thank you! Namaste yogini.

  5. Katie says:

    Just beautiful.

  6. [...] Published today on elephantjournal.com [...]

  7. Erin says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I recently filled out an application to a second yoga school and I want you to know how much of an impact you’ve been to me, this is a part of what I said….

    “Out of the many, many teachers all over the country I have been to, what drew me to Caitlin’s classes was the passion and belief I saw within her, I am big on body language and eye contact and watching her teach, made me believe in her practice. She has a soft balance of confidence and knowledge that evenly flows into a blissful practice. Not only did I dramatically strengthen physically, but mentally, her words of practicing non-judgment and letting go of whatever may be holding you back imprinted in my mind. What she also has is this fire…she has energy that you can feel she can’t wait to flow into her practice and to give to her students.”

    I thank you greatly for that and look forward to returning to Nantucket for another season to practice, grow, and learn more, because no matter how many certifications I am getting this winter one person can achieve, the world of yoga offers a limitless ability to explore so many angles.

    “Out of the many, many teachers all over the country I have been to, what drew me to Caitlin’s classes was the passion and belief I saw within her, I am big on body language and eye contact and watching her teach, made me believe in her practice. She has a soft balance of confidence and knowledge that evenly flows into a blissful practice. Not only did I dramatically strengthen physically, but mentally, her words of practicing non-judgment and letting go of whatever may be holding you back imprinted in my mind. What she also has that has made me comfortable with being myself, because I feel I have the same within me, is this fire…she has energy that you can feel she can’t wait to flow into her practice and to give to her students.”

    I thank you greatly for that and look forward to returning to Nantucket for another season to practice, grow, and learn more, because no matter how many certifications one person can achieve the world of yoga offers a limitless ability to explore so many angles.

  8. Emily says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Caitlin! I know that I must believe in my own basic goodness and worth in order to engage fully with the world and with others, and to work through obstacles with grace. I also know that doing so will be an ongoing practice for the rest of my days…it can be daunting and lonely, but your commitment truly inspires!!

  9. Ieva says:

    What a candid and poignant article. The transformation of the human spirit is truly one of the most beautiful things. In a society where we are taught to consume and live by fear, this is a beautiful reminder- we are enough.

  10. Christen says:

    We are certainly our own biggest obstacles in life on our path to self discovery and happiness. I continue to be proud of you as a mother, a teacher, a yogi and as a friend. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  11. Patricia says:

    Love this– here is possibly no greater gift to self than to let go of measuring, and to become the tender witness of both the wicked and the wonderful.

  12. Leslie says:

    Namaste Caitlin!

  13. Frances Hickey says:

    Thank you Caitlin! This is so honest and beautiful and I can identify with these feelings, especially recently. I really needed this and am so grateful for your sharing this with us all! Let us move into the 'new world' with more awareness and compassion for ourselves and others. We are worthy, we are enough, we are love.

  14. Tatiana says:

    What a well-writte, stunningly transparent, achingly relatable post. Thank you, Caitlin…

  15. Thank you for sharing! But I have to say – You forgot one very important thing in this short description of the richness of your life! Don't forget the inner strength you found in choosing to do things your way and giving birth to Griffin at home! (-:
    Love, me

  16. Jami says:

    Truly inspirational. Caitlin you have shown us you are just as strong on the inside as you are on the outside.

  17. Jessica Douglas says:

    Beautiful!

  18. julie hilberg-hunt says:

    love it!

  19. Sunny says:

    Strong and beautiful. Just like you.

  20. Francesca says:

    Thank you for sharing-beautifully inspiring and on point, much needed reminder!

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