A year ago today, I was cancer free and on my way home from an amazing weekend retreat at Kripalu run by Jennifer Pastiloff. During those three days, I discussed my fear and anger and hopes for my future (even though I was scared to death of what the future might hold). Even with no evidence of disease, cancer still controlled my life.
Four months later I learned the cancer was back. Life, once again, had to be put on hold.
Or did it?
When what you fear the most in life occurs, what else is there to fear? The answer is: nothing.
Seems as if along with some tumors, I grew a pair of balls. I made plans for my future. I traveled. I laughed. I wrote. I loved and I lived. I realized every time I used the phrase, “I’ll be happy when..” I was allowing fear to control my life.
“I’ll be happy when my next scan is clear.”
“I’ll be happy when I’m in remission for over five years”
Life doesn’t work that way. There are no guarantees that anything will happen, except life itself. It will always keep moving, keep changing.
Be happy now.
Don’t wait for someday, some person, some job, some thing. Now. Right now. No matter what you are going through there can be joy found somewhere. Find it.
As Jen says: Be a beauty hunter.
I returned to Kripalu again this weekend for Jen’s workshop; this time a little slower due to the chemotherapy I’m back on. I kept up with the yoga moves as much as I could; sometimes falling into child’s pose when my body began to give out.
Jen never pushes you physically, I love her for that. Emotionally though? She draws it out of you. Her own openness and vulnerability make you want to be your most authentic self. Her writing prompts have you digging deep and cut right through the bullshit. There is no hiding when she comes close and looks into your eyes. When you have given all you can give, she smiles that knowing smile. It is the smile of someone who has been there, who has experienced pain and wants to help you get to the other side of it. I love that smile.
Jen is a firm believer in asking for what you want. She prompted us to write about things we wanted to ask for in life, without fear of the word ‘no’. Here is my list:
1. Hey, God, can you finally rid my body of this cancer once and for all?
2. Dr. Kemeny, can I come off of the chemotherapy yet?
3. Can I be loved in the way I want and need to be loved?
4. Can I continue to have these amazing orgasms…but, with someone else in the room?
5. Can someone help me make my ‘Fuck It List’ a platform I use to help others going through difficulties in life?
I’ll wait and see if the Universe answers these questions for me. What I won’t wait for, however, is my happiness. That will come regardless of the answer.
Thank you, Jennifer Pastiloff, for all that you are and all that you do. I know who is walking beside me; 40 incredible women from this retreat. Much love to you all.
Note from Jen: I am humbled, not only to read this, but to know Kathleen. Please send her love on Wednesday as she has her next scans. Oh, and fuck you, Cancer.
ps, what’s on your Fuck It List? Post below!
Don’t you love the Fuck It List idea? Let’s help her make it viral! Connect with her here. Say I sent you, k?