February 24, 2014

F*ck It List: Manifesting In the Berkshires. ~ Kathleen Emmets {Adult}

Kripalu lake winter

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Read F*ck It List 2.0: Seattle

When what we fear the most in life occurs, what else is there to fear?

The answer is: Nothing.

A year ago, I was cancer free and on my way home from an amazing workshop run by Jennifer Pastiloff at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. During those three days, I discussed my fear and anger and hopes for my future (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?

Seems as though, 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.”

This month, I returned to Kripalu for another of Jen’s workshops; this time a little slower due to the chemotherapy I’m back on. I debated whether I was up for it. If it would be too much for me to endure, given the medication I’m taking. Then I remembered last year’s promise to myself, “No more excuses.”

During her retreats, we are asked to write down all of the excuses we use…”I am too busy, I’m a mother, I have cancer” then take that list, tear it up and throw it in a pile—the “Pile of Shit.” This pile is where the “Fuck It List” was born. I no longer had any excuse to not live my fullest life. I left that shit in a pile on the floor. 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.

But I was there.

Jen’s openness and vulnerability make me want to be my most authentic self. Her writing prompts have us digging deep and cut right through the bullshit. There is no hiding when she comes close and looks into our eyes. When we have given all we 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 us get to the other side of it. I love that smile.

So there I stood, in front of 40 women, speaking my truth. There is nothing quite like knowing that every single person around you supports you and has your back. The room was filled with, not sympathy, but compassion. Love, honesty, sisterhood. So many moments moved me to tears; big, fat “my heart is breaking for you” tears. And then, together, we began to heal.

When prompted to write about what we wanted to ask for in life, without fear of the word “no”, I thought long and hard about what I really wanted.

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 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 to help others through life’s difficulties?

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.

During the workshop a quote was read from A Course In Miracles…

“If you knew who walked beside you at all times, on the path that you have chosen, you could never experience fear or doubt again.”

I know who is walking beside me—40 incredible women.

And for that, I am grateful.


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Editorial Assistant: Jennifer Moore/ Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant media archives


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Kathleen Emmets