Wanted to share this email from my editor Melissa Shattuck who was meant to come on my Italy retreat but couldn’t.
“Italy. These were my first thoughts today as I woke up and saw my calendar. Italy is still written there. Originally this was the day I was going to leave so I could have a couple of days to walk the streets of cities I dream of being in!!
And so I know I will never totally be a part of the group that is going as that is such an intimate space……but I already feel like I am on my way there:):)
You are going to be great Miss Jennifer Pastiloff. I know it. And you will message me and tell me it’s the best group you’ve ever had! And I will be so happy for you. Sending you lots of love and energy as you change lives….as you inspire….as you empower people to live life to the fullest. Love. I didn’t write this for you to share necessarily if you were not called to…instead I wrote it for me to go to that space in my mind of courage I experienced in Maui.
To those in Italy.
Less than a month ago I was laying in bed one night pondering what would happen if the call came that a deadly cancer had spread further than they could remove in my body. And though I didn’t reside there for very long as I have discovered many times over nothing good has ever come to me from swimming in fear, I am grateful for the thoughts that arose in that space. Being reminded of how precious each moment really is. And though I hid much of it well from my children, the truth is we all know that they knew and they felt what I was experiencing. And I know the idea that something could happen to me took it’s toll on all of us. And the idea that they need me to be here for them right now played into my decision to stay home with them this time.
With that said, part of me is right there in Italy with you. I close my eyes and feel myself in a room of bravery, courage and love. A room of people who are about to embark on an incredible journey.
Some of you have been on such an experience with Jen before, but some of you have not. And you have no idea what is about to happen for you. Everyone has a unique experience to be sure, but there is no way you will leave the same person you were when you came. And I already have tears of joy for all of your transformations, all of your growth, all of your courage, all of the love you can open to in your hearts.
There is no grade given. But if it were possible to fail at such an event, why could that be. I know for me before daring to open to all that is possible at such an event I can tend to fall into old patterns and habits of thought. I can sometimes believe that perhaps I made a mistake. Maybe this is meant for everyone else but not for me. Or maybe I fall into some idea that I already know it all and so I’m ready to find a little bit of fault. Maybe I walk into the room the first day and start comparing and judging myself to and against everyone else. I sometimes might try to gauge where I fit….or if I even fit at all. And most of the time I don’t feel that I do. Not right away. My fears begin to show up and the walls start to build a little around me.
If this sounds like anything you might do, do it different this time. Take the invitation. Accept the opportunity to let the walls crumble to the ground. Look around and see the faces and know now versus later in the week that these are your sisters and brothers. Trust yourself to open in whatever way that presents itself to you. Release any need to put on any mask. Feel the layers of past masks melting away. Be open to touching that space within you that holds the truth to who you really are beneath all the stories and conditioning and expectations and judgments and all the things we should or shouldn’t have done.
Breathe. Always breathe.
Hug. Don’t forget to hug.
Be real and Authentic. If you forget, Jen will call you on it. Oh yes she will.
And if you are tempted to hide in the corner like I was, that is when you most need to come forth and let yourself shine in the center of a room filled with acceptance. The most acceptance maybe you have ever known in your entire life.
Who are you in the midst of complete acceptance and being seen? Are you willing to take that in and find out?
I close my eyes as I begin my morning meditation…..And I send you love for who you are and who you will become.
PS I have not been able to run or do much yoga since my surgery to remove melanoma on my thigh that now looks as though someone or something took a large bite:) And so I ask you one thing. Please run through a field in Italy for me……a dream of mine to do one day.”
ps leave Melissa a comment below and she will reply. She is our editor and we love her.
Oh Melissa! I love you! I love that I know you and call you friend. Just because you are not able to go to Italy or any other place doesn’t mean you aren’t part of this community and I think at is the best part. No matter if you have gone on a retreat with Jen, read her writings, maybe never comment, doesn’t mean we aren’t all connected. That is the awesome thing about this tribe or community she has built. It is a safe place for all of us to put our guard down and be authentic. We are all hurting and need comfort and support. There are so many lessons I learned or should I say unlearned on that fateful week. It has proven to be a pivotal point in my life. I know that anyone that opens themselves up to all that is presented in Italy will come back forever changed. love you!
Bless you Melissa. A hard decision to know where to be, with your family or away in Italy, obviously one trip on your Bucket List. My thoughts are with you.
Moved is an understatement. I’m sitting in my car waiting for my husband to finish his errand- trying to keep from sobbing in front of my children. So many, many prayers and so much love to you, Melissa… For your continued healing and strength, for whatever you need for the journey– may it find its way ti you. thank you for sharing your profound insight witnessed through your beautiful writing.
I wish you were coming…love this.
I am sorry I will miss meetingyou in person. But I promise I will do what you suggest. I am ready to take another step in my transformation and embrace this journey I am on to my Authentic-Soul.