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I was talking to someone after my class last night who is going through a hard divorce. She said something to the effect of, “It’s like, you never know. What life will bring. You never know what the future will hold.” And it might seem like, “Duh, lady.” But it’s true.

You don’t. You have no idea what the future will bring.

It’s hard when you are IN something, or WITH someone, to think that it won’t ALWAYS be THIS way.

You may be really enlightened, (or more enlightened than me), but it’s sometimes hard for me to grasp that I won’t be here forever. Or that my mom won’t. Or that things might change. (They will!) No one is owed anything.

We have glimpses of it. My friend, comedian Steve Bridges, dropping dead suddenly was one such instance. I got really really clear that there are no guarantees.

Recently, I went through an ectopic pregnancy and experienced the worst physical pan of my life. I became incredibly grateful, not just for my health, but for my life in its entirety. At least immediately after the ectopic happened. Immediately after Steve died I was as present as I’d ever been. Barring these things happening, or people dying, we have to trust that nothing lasts forever, that things might and can and will change.

We have to trust that being present is the absolute only alternative.

I was reminded of this talking to that woman last night when she said “you just never know,” because, truth be told, I think I take some things for granted.

I am not owed anything. Neither are you.

I always promise real talk in my writing here on Positively Positive, and in my classes, retreats, etc. and this is as real talkish as it gets. The truth is that Yes, it’s hard to sometimes accept that things won’t always be “this” way; whether “this way” is: good or bad or any of the other adjectives we use to describe our situations and lives.

The truth is that we “never know what the future will hold.” Never. @JenPastiloff
(Click to Tweet!)

And you can wish all you want and pray and manifest (to use my own word of choice ) but really, really? At the end of the day? All we have, all of us, is: the right now.

Last week I led a retreat at Kripalu in Massachusetts. There was a woman named Kathleen Emmets there who had also been at my retreat the year before. She sent me the following words after this last retreat.

***

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 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. 

***

So, I hope you all enjoy your lives now. Your amazing orgasms and your cups of coffees and your moments of quiet and your children’s Lego designs (even when you step on them and nearly break your leg.) I hope right now you are fully soaking in whatever it is that you are giving your attention. I hope that we all remember that all we’ve got is right here. This coffee mug, this Lego, this moment of quiet.

ps. Send Kathleen a little love, would ya? She’s just had her latest scan. Like two days ago kind of recent. Let’s put her in our thoughts.

pps. I am headed to London for a workshop Feb 15th and I know many of my Positively Positive tribe will be there. cannot wait to give you all a real hug. In the meantime, here’s a virtual one. xo jen 


Jen will be leading a Manifestation Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and her annual retreat to Tuscany is in July 2014. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this Positively Positive post to understand what a Manifestation retreat is. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Jen and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. 
**image courtesy of Simplereminders.com