By Jen Pastiloff.
I am on way my to London to lead a workshop and I couldn’t be happier. I do two a year in London (back doing one there Oct 10th), which, truth be told, is a friggin’ dream come true for me. Manifesting.
Making Shit Happen is how I define manifesting.
Please check out a list of my workshops soon as I have them coming up in Massachusetts (retreat there next week in The Berkshires), NYC in March, Atlanta in March, Princeton, Philly, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Tuscany, and more! Post in the comments section if you are attending one soon or would like to.
You do NOT have to know any yoga at all. Just be a human being. All workshops listed here.
To anyone who may be disappointed that my retreats or workshops are not enough “yoga,”I refuse to apologize. I won’t back down with my mission and the beauty mark I intend to leave.
I want to remind you not to put yourself in a box. That you can make something up and put it out into the world ( I did it!) with one intention and it will work. But do know what that intention must be? Every time? No matter if you are doing this or that or writing or yoga or nursing or mothering or serving veggie burgers?
The intention must be love. My go to saying- At the end of my life, when I ask one final “What have I done?” let my answer be, “I have done love.”
So please, if you want to come to a workshop of mine, know that I may not have you do 39 handstands. I may not have you do 100 vinyasas (although sometimes we do do a lot) but I will try my damnedest to create a space of love. I will do my best to help you not forget who you are in the world.
I just led an incredible retreat last weekend in Ojai, California, with one of my favorite authors and humans, Lidia Yuknavitch, called Writing and The Body. We are doing it again over Labor Day weekend 2015. Book here.
A woman in a room is crying, but it’s not what you think. The salted water brings her home, but it’s not what you think. There is another home in her, an ocean of lives lived alongside others. Look in her eyes. Look differently. Look at how her eyes are worlds. Some of the bodies carried life, some of them carried death, some others, both. There are bodies who have starved or needed more than the open mouth of an infant. There are folds of flesh redefine your puny words, “wife,” “mother,” “daughter,” other. If you listen with your whole body, you can hear our skinsong. A beautiful thunder. Even death begins us. Begin again. ~ Lidia Yuknavich after our Writing & The Body Retreat.
I spent the weekend in Ojai at a yoga and writing retreat led by two goddesses — Jen Pastiloff and Lidia Yuknavitch. I want to tell you about this workshop, about the glorious women I met there and the intense lives shared. I want to tell you how my body aches in the right places because of the yoga positions I strove to achieve, positions that I haven’t bent toward in many months. I want to tell you that I wrote very little but was much inspired, that I cried more tears than I’ve cried in years. I want to tell you that I went with my friend Jody, that we shared a room and that one night we laughed as hard as I’ve laughed in a long, long while. I want to tell you that I’ve been slayed, gutted and cleansed, that if someone were to devour me tonight, I would taste rich with blood and fat and marbled muscle. I want to tell you that I felt paralyzed by fear last night when Henry called to tell me that he’d had a headache for two days. It’s been nearly ten days since he was innoculated with the MMR vaccine, the second vaccine that he’s received in the last six months and the only two he’s received in his sixteen years. You know the story, and if you don’t, you can read it here. You know, too, that those of us who chose not to vaccinate our children on the recommended schedule have been paraded in the public eye the last few weeks, have been called immoral and irresponsible, have been called out by prominent publications, have been threatened and bullied, unfriended and lectured about our stupidity. My son Henry, about as perfect a specimen of humanity as you could imagine, a young man who has weathered colds, flu, ear infections, chicken pox, who has never been on an antibiotic, who saw an osteopath one week after he was born and regularly for the next sixteen years and who was not vaccinated until this year, his seventeenth, got an MMR vaccine and developed a reaction to it. I want to tell you that yes, I felt a numb panic when he told me this over the phone last night, as I walked in moonlight in Ojai back to my room where the sun slanted in each morning. I want to tell you that even as the pediatrician said It’s probably just a headache, all the justs and the rares and the statistics show and the scientists prove, I went there and there and there, way over there, the pathways in my brain dug out and laid twenty years ago, inoculated once (disease introduced), covered in leaves, the earth rich and dark from the rot, ready to be trod upon. I want to tell you that in that moment, if devoured, I would taste rich with blood and fat and marbled muscle but tough, shot through with adrenaline and cortisol. You’d spit me out.
I want to tell you that there’s nothing but story. I want to tell you that we are bodies, intricate and terrible. I want to tell you that the heart is a muscle and something inexorable, unfathomable.
Tammy Delatorre wrote:
I wanted to thank you all for a wonderful and transformative weekend. Since I first heard Lidia read from The Chronology of Water, I’ve been a huge fan, and I’m so grateful that I finally had the opportunity to stalk, I mean, spend time with her. One thing I found amazing was getting to experience an author, whose work I admire, write along side us and read her writing – I’m talking fresh wet ink. To experience her drawing from the same Source, made me feel it’s possible, we can all birth our stories, our books.
Thanks also to Jen for creating this nurturing retreat and drawing out one of the most heart-wrenching love letters I’ve ever written.
Lorna Murday Doomun says:
Thank you, thank you, thank you Jen Pastiloff and Lidia Yuknavitch and all of you Goddesses for a weekend that our souls created way before our bodies gathered in Ojai. Your love, your beauty, your courage broke my heart open and filled it up…filled me up. I am honored to have shared this magical time and space with you.
We are doing it again over Labor Day. The Feb one sold out in 48 hours so please email us asap (firstname.lastname@example.org and put Writing & The Body in subject line) if you want to book this one and we will get you on list as soon as it is open for registration! Space is very limited as we want it intimate.
Here is what Pema Rocker had to say about it, after she attended.
So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff Taleghany’s Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing.
Kenna Conway said:
I can’t stop thinking about all of you and what we created this weekend. I drove back to LA yesterday with the windows down and the music blasting. Feeling happy and in the moment, like how it’s supposed to be. So moved by the stories and the wisdom and the poetry and the love that swirled around Ojai, in us, through us, from somewhere up above. I came to the weekend with pain in my heart and left with something else. The sadness had evaporated with the tears and only love remained. If anyone is ever doubting their greatness and beauty, please reach out and I will gladly remind you. I love you all so so much. How good it is to know and feel this sort of thing. This magic. This beauty. This all encompassing love.
Janet Graham said:
Me? I thought it was you Jen Pastiloff who were/are ‘fucking amazing’. I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU and the space you made for all of us hungry women to be so close to ourselves in your Writing and the Body Ojai Retreat with the stunning gorgeously introverted,Lidia Yuknavitch. your energy! the way you sit on top of whomever you’re listening to, the way you crawl inside people to understand them, the way you hold us in your attentiveness, your voice booming off the walls echoing in our hearts. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me see myself and others in such beautiful light.
As soon as I come back from London I fly to Massachusetts for my retreat at Kripalu in the Berkshires. Then off to Atlanta and NYC. I truly hope to see some of you in the next few months. Nothing lights me up more. And I am so excited that Lidia and I will be joining forces again. There is nothing greater than women coming together to create magic. Email soon if you want to be a part of it. Love, Jen