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manifestation yoga retreat

Beating Fear with a Stick, cancer, Gratitude, Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

What’s On Your F*ck It List?

February 2, 2014

By Kathleen Emmets

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.

Kathleen at Kripalu.

Kathleen at Kripalu.

***

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?

I asked everyone to draw picture of what they wanted their life to look like and Kathleen drew this. The caption said, "Look, I'm a rockstar, Jen!"

I asked everyone to draw picture of what they wanted their life to look like and Kathleen drew this. The caption said, “Look, I’m a rockstar, Jen!”

Kathleen Emmets is an avid music lover and yoga enthusiast. She believes in seeking out the good in all things and being her most authentic self. Her articles have appeared in MindBodyGreen and Do You Yoga. She writes about her experience with cancer in her blog, cancerismyguru.blogspot.com. Kathleen lives in East Norwich, NY with her husband, son, 2 cats and dog. She does not necessarily love them in that particular order.
March 13 NYC! A 90 minute class for women, girls and non-gender conforming folks (we encourage teens 16 and up) and all levels that will combine flow yoga, meditation, empowerment exercises, connection and maybe, just maybe, a dance party. This will be a class to remind you that you are enough and that you are a badass. It will be fun and empowering and you need no yoga experience: just be a human being. Let’s get into our bodies and move! Be warned: This will be more than just a basic asana class. It will be a soul-shifting, eye-opening, life-changing experience. Come see why Jen Pastiloff travels around the world and sells out every workshop she does in every city. This will be her last class before she has her baby so sign up soon. Follow her on instagram at @jenpastiloff and @girlpoweryouareenough.   Jen is also doing her signature Manifestation workshop in NY at Pure Yoga Saturday March 5th which you can sign up for here as well (click pic.)

March 13 NYC! A 90 minute class for women, girls and non-gender conforming folks (we encourage teens 16 and up) and all levels that will combine flow yoga, meditation, empowerment exercises, connection and maybe, just maybe, a dance party. This will be a class to remind you that you are enough and that you are a badass. It will be fun and empowering and you need no yoga experience: just be a human being. Let’s get into our bodies and move! Be warned: This will be more than just a basic asana class. It will be a soul-shifting, eye-opening, life-changing experience. Come see why Jen Pastiloff travels around the world and sells out every workshop she does in every city. This will be her last class before she has her baby so sign up soon. Follow her on instagram at @jenpastiloff and @girlpoweryouareenough.
Jen is also doing her signature Manifestation workshop in NY at Pure Yoga Saturday March 5th which you can sign up for here as well (click pic.)

 

 

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany Sep 17-24, 2016. There are 5 spaces left. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com asap. More info here. Must email first to sign up.

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany Sep 17-24, 2016. There are 5 spaces left. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com asap. More info here. Must email first to sign up.

Inspiration, Manifestation Retreats

What Happens When You Admit Out Loud You Are Scared?

October 23, 2012

I am just back from my Manifestation Retreat. My biggest retreat to date. 47 people.

Our mantra: Be Fucking Amazing! 

And we were.

Last night, as a true testament to my retreat, about ten people from the retreat came to my yoga class at Equinox. They hadn’t seen each other in less than 24 hours and couldn’t bear to be apart.

Maybe this is my gift, after all? This power of connection, of being a connector? 

So after class we all go out to eat and it truly was the most inspiring group dinner I have ever had the pleasure of being part of in my whole life.

I came home to this email, which was sent to two other people. It was brave and it broke me. I was so touched.

With permission I am sharing. My request is that although the name remains anonymous, you comment below and let this person know that they are not alone in this. Not now.

Not ever.

Here is the email:

So I came home and cried tonight.

I went to one of the best yoga classes I have ever taken…surrounded by all of my new, fucking amazing friends. There was laughter, there was connection, there was love. It was truly a magical moment in time that I wanted to hold onto forever.

But at dinner afterwards, everyone started opening up about their feelings, and their struggles, and their experiences. It was so incredibly touching to see people who were strangers 3 days ago sharing their hearts. And, yet again, I couldn’t do the same. I couldn’t say “I’ve been there too”, or “My family is broken as well”, or “I’ve lost people I loved”. Even though all are true. I couldn’t open up.

I don’t know how.

I don’t know how to be vulnerable.

I don’t know how to tell people when they hurt my feelings.

I don’t know how to ask for help.

I don’t know how to not take everything so seriously.

I don’t know how to receive love.

I don’t know how to not be the person I have been for the last 34 years.

Where do I even start? 

Do I admit that I’m scared all the time? Of being alone, of not being accepted, of failure? Or that I can’t stop criticizing myself–when I look in the mirror, when I can’t do a yoga pose, when I don’t bring in that extra page of business? Or that I don’t think my family will ever really heal from everything we’ve gone through? 

What happens if I start saying these things out loud?

I really don’t know. But I want to. I don’t want to be the one on the outside looking in. The one who can’t truly connect past the surface level. The one who won’t let herself cry in front of other people.

I don’t want to be that person.

Maybe by telling 3 people, I will start to not be her.

photo by Joe Longo and poster by Jenni Young of Simplereminders.com. Both are fucking amazing!

So I ask you this. What happens when you admit out loud that you are scared all the time and all the other questions that were posed in this email?

Just watch the outpouring of love and support.

Just watch.

Post your comment below.

Keep being fucking amazing, xojen

Guest Posts, healing, Wayne Dyer

Tapestry. Guest Post by Sommer Wayne Dyer.

October 18, 2012

The following guest post is by my good friend Sommer Wayne Dyer, daughter of my beloved teacher Wayne Dyer. I am honored that Sommer will be assiting me in Maui for my Manifestation Retreat in Februray 2013! Yesterday, she sent me a text of what she had been working on for my blog. (Much like her dad, she writes everything by hand. A foreign concept to me.) She sent me the following picture via text message and I shared it on my Facebook because I thought it was utterly brilliant.

F*ck the margins! I loved the idea so much that I used it as a theme in my yoga class last night. She then texted me, “Who decided that we need margins anyway?”

Sommer is a gifted writer and yogi. It is my great pleasure to introduce her to my tribe. Hers is a story that many of us can relate to. Be it addiction or struggles with weight or self-love, Sommer’s piece will most likely resonate with some “Aha moment.” I won’t share too much of it. That’s her job, her work. Plus, you can come with us to Maui and her hear give a lecture or take her class. Here is however, a sneak peak…

Tapestry by Sommer Wayne Dyer.

I am where I am today in a brand new way.

And it keeps getting better, this road that I travel.

I am so grateful for the feelings I am now experiencing.

I thought I had depleted all the good feelings.

I was wrong.

I am humbled by mistakes.

They are mine and I stand by them.

They stood by me, my mistakes did, for entirely too long.

For quite a while I let my mistakes and choices define me.

I was always looking to feel something else, to want more,

to be different than the way I am.

For years I was altering the person who is naturally me.

I’m not sure why since everything I’ve been looking for was already inside: the soul that is me. 

But life blocks it sometimes.

Sometimes things wound us in a way that we are forever different.

Sometimes I just wanted to be numb.

So I made sure of that.

But those years are in my past, my “story”.

Now I’m finding the ride no longer bumpy, but noticeably smoother.

I am in a space that I want to be in.

I am humbled.

Issues with the body, the vessel I reside in.

Injuries and medications.

And the weight and the way I allowed my appearance to define me.

The weight lost, the weight gained. Either way it’s a new perspective.

I don’t care what anyone says.

It’s mental and emotional and physiological and biological and physical.

And it’s all rational to my bewildered mind.

It can be anything: money, body image, weight loss, exercise, sex, drugs, gambling, any obsessions, goals, or lifelong dreams.

Anything that consumes you completely that you think of daily, sometimes constantly.

An urge you must accomplish.

But it’s also ethereal. It exists, yet no one knows.

It can consume your waking moments

And no one knows.

It causes moods to shift from the lowest dwelling imaginable to the most elevated levels of peace.

It’s an ally. Trust me. This insatiable urge inside of me, for whatever I was doing at the time, always got done.

And so it continues.

But from completely different motivators I am taking action.

I am improving.

I am not only losing weight. I am losing fear and doubt. I am gaining strength and passion. But I have no regrets or shame.

Everything I’ve gone through had to happen just as it did for me to be here now.

And right now, I’m loving it.

I like myself enough to listen to my intuitions.

I trust myself enough to know that I can do things gracefully.

I love myself enough to be careful with myself.

I want to write. I am ready to share what I saw on the roads and trails where I meandered.

I am ready to share a story about what I’ve put myself through.

It’s unbelievable that I sit here. My choices have illustrated this tapestry of my life that is tragic, yet beautiful.

A struggle we all have in this life, and one that we ultimately overcome.

When that struggle becomes your purpose you know that you are your own ally.

Make something big out of it.

Whatever it is that nags you or pulls your heartstrings every so often.

Let that purpose become your passion.

And the passion I have for what I feel is my purpose is palpable.

I’ve gone through a lot of shit to get where I am today. I survived a lot. So yeah it drives me.

So I no longer sit with a pen and a heavy heart and wilted soul. I write with pride and amusement. I write with integrity.

Even though my insanity was blissful in a way.

I had long ago abandoned myself in search for someone else.

But the person I was searching for was the potential me.

The person I knew that I could be and one day I would be.

And that day has come.

The time has arrived.

I choose to mindfully do my best.

I choose me.

Therefore I am free.

I am that I am.

Sommer and her beautiful mom.

Sommer Wayne Dyer 10-18-12

***To join Sommer and I (and special guests) in Maui please put a deposit down by clicking here. We will be at Lumeria the new Luxury retreat center with The Travel Yogi. My retreats have been selling out very fast and we only have a few spots left so book soon. This will be a life changing retreat. Email jen@thetravelyogi.com for more info. http://thetravelyogi.com/adventures/hawaii/

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

A Testament to All Things Italian.

September 3, 2012

The following is a gorgeous post by my dear friend Sara Lieberman of the upcoming The Handbags Tale. I met Sara last year when I taught my Manifestation workshop in NYC (where I am heading next weekend again) and she joined me on my Italy retreat this past July. This post is a testament as to what goes down at one of my retreats. I could not have written it better myself! It’s such an honor that she wrote this. Thank you Sara. Thank you. See you all in Italy!

Awe & Wonder 2012 by Sara Lieberman

 

It’s just about two months since I returned from Jen’s Manifestation retreat in Tuscany, and as summer 2012 officially comes to a close, I find myself more frequently reflecting on the sweet, sweltering days of the past season. Among the other activities I participated in and experienced during these always-long-awaited dog days, the week I spent in Tuscany is among my most treasured. When I see Chianti Classico on a wine list back here in the West Village, I am instantly transplanted to our first day of wine tasting at the rolling vineyards of Chianti. When the sky turns pink and orange and the sun is going down, I am reminded of the nightly sunset at Ebbio, when all of us would hoist ourselves up to the roof and watch as the sun slinked behind the cypress trees. But mostly, these days my memory is triggered in yoga.

 

When I close my eyes in pigeon pose, I take an inhale and there I am, hot and sweaty, roaming the streets in Siena with Elyse and Regan, where we eventually stumbled upon a mysterious-looking delicatessen.Two hours later, we left having indulged in prosciutto, porchetta, salumi, formaggios I can’t pronounce, and two bottles of house red wine. We were hungry and thirsty for new friendships and left hooked on each other.

 

When I close my eyes in a seated spinal twist, I take an inhale and there I am at this wacky medieval festival in Montereggioni across the street from Ebbio, where all the girls purchased flower headdresses and the men silly jester hats so we could fit in with the costumed locals as we drank sweet (and cheap!) red wine out of ceramic goblets.

 

In supported bridge pose, my favorite, I inhale and I am happily cooling off in the Tyrrhenian sea with Jen, getting to know each other as we wade in the clear waters just before a big jellyfish kisses my arm causing us to swim a shore in a nervous frenzy.

 

As I inhale and expand my breastbone to the sky in upward dog, I am in San Gimignano waiting online at the World Champion gelato shop, salivating from an orange creme cup of goodness and laughing hysterically with Stef over something neither of us probably remember.

 

In forward fold, I inhale and there I am on a bike, huffing and puffing up yet another Tuscan hill, the glaring sun at my front, back and side, with Rich encouraging me to “keep going; it’s not that much farther, really!”

 

I close my eyes in tree pose, trying to keep balance at the silly thought of playing Connect Four with Andrew late at night in the common room at Ebbio. “OK, just one more game,” we’d each say after one of us beat the other, and then we’d continue to drop the red and black pieces while going through my iTunes library, playing favorite songs.

In Warrior two, my eyes open and gaze forward, I sink deeper into my hips and smile as I remember belting out “We Are Young” during Kylee’s class; The joy was infectious as I caught a glimpse of relief on her face and the pure giddiness in her movement after realizing she had created a real “moment” during one of her first group classes.

 

And as I lie in savasana, and my breath slows, I see us all navigating the sunflower fields, trying to avoid the bumblebees, wiggling in between the tall, sturdy yellow flowers to stand still with them, a smile growing from our faces for the click of the cameras.

 

The common theme in all these memories is people. Wonderful characters and personalities that I feel so lucky and blessed to have met. When I signed up, as an independent single gal from NYC, I anticipated the week being a more solitary journey where I’d read and write and practice yoga and read and write some more. While I did enjoy some time alone, and the group was such that if you wanted to go off and do your own thing, it was always respected, I continued to feel a pull toward being an “us” as opposed to a “me.” It was an unexpected “adjustment” from what I know and live, and will forever be thankful for the friendships I made, and the manifestations I set forth with Jen in Tuscany. #Awe&Wonder2012

 

Click here to join Sara on Twitter

People have already started signing up for Italy next summer. Please click here to sign up or to learn more.

Click here to sign up for my Sep 9th Manifestation Workshop in NYC. Just a few spots left!

Thanks Simplereminders.com for this poster!

Guest Posts, How To, Inspiration

Breathe Free! Journey to Becoming Smoke-Free

June 4, 2012

My sister Rachel, who I am so very proud of, just got published on the fab MindBodyGreen. Couldn’t be happier! Her article is about her journey to being smoke-free. She hasn’t lit up in 3 whole months after years and years of being a smoker. I am so happy! Please take a moment and read the post and comment to support her.

My Journey to Breathing Freely

By Rachel Pastiloff

I don’t know if it was the wrinkles in my face. Or maybe it was the smell on my clothes. Or maybe, just maybe, it was that I am 34 years old now, only 4 years younger than my dad when he died. He smoked 4 packs of cigarettes a day. No I didn’t smoke that many. But smoking any cigarettes is hurtful to your body.

I am in the midst of yoga teacher training right now and we are studying the yoga sutras. There is one that stuck with me like bubble gum that I couldn’t get out of my hair. {AHIMSA; NON-VIOLENCE} How can you practice non-violence towards yourself when you smoke? Every time you have a cigarette you are quietly assaulting your body…..

Click here to finish reading and to comment to support her.

Click photo of rachel to read MindBodyGreen post

PS, she is a yoga teacher now in Atlanta and will be assisting my October 19-21 Manifestation Yoga® Retreat to Ojai. Sign up here.

Gratitude, Guest Posts, Inspiration, Manifestation Retreats

A Delicious Pack of Weirdos. By James Vincent Knowles.

May 10, 2012

 

 

 Poster by SimpleReminders.com Pre-order their book www.SimpleReminders.info Subscribe for more: www.bryantmcgill.net


Poster by SimpleReminders.com
Pre-order their book www.SimpleReminders.info
Subscribe for more: www.bryantmcgill.net


 **Jen Touchette brilliantly coined our group: A Delicious Pack of Weirdos.

A Delicious Pack of Weirdos** by James Vincent Knowles.

I saw God in Ojai and then I saw my life flash before me.

He was in me and She was in the others.

Evidently He’d been there all along.

I felt powerful.

What an awesome feeling, knowing oneself and God all at once.

This past weekend I did a little yoga retreat in Ojai. I say I “did” it because it took some doing to ignore “reality” and move towards a more real ideal. The reality was, I’d never been on a yoga retreat. Another reality was, I had no money. That was one of those get-real, realities. Also, I’d never before attended a yoga class, much less a retreat filled with yoga weirdos. That’s some scary reality. The reality was I had plenty of real-reality that woulda, coulda, and some might say, shoulda kept me at home rather than boppin’ over to Ojai for one of Jennifer Pastiloff’s yoga retreats.

A few months ago I’d stopped taking private yoga lessons and that experience and photographing 25 yoga girls turned me on to the idea that yoga people had it more together than any other group I’d ever met. I felt I had plenty of reasonable reasons for not having at least been doing a few down dogs at home every day. For the most part it pretty much came down to having given up on living life fully, if not having given up on living at all.

After attending this retreat in Ojai, that story, the one behind my feeling like giving up, is over.

To get the reality particulars out of the way: this yoga retreat was held at an estate Retreat and Vineyard in Ojai, CA about an hour drive north of L.A. The main building on the estate is a large house built in that solidly gorgeous craftsman style. If you’ve ever been over to Brad Pitt’s house, it’s a lot like that, only more acreage, quieter, sexier, more tranquil, better food, better pool, way more trees, gardens, wild animals, birds, and laughter. Let me describe it a bit more below before I get back to the reality that really matters.

And just to give you a little reality on my own real life perspective for comparison, I’ve stayed at many of the 4 and 5 star hotels in America as well as a few in foreign countries. As many of you are no doubt aware, if you’re staying at a Four Seasons or a Ritz Carlton, you’re going to be very comfortable and wake up in a bed you want never leave. And these sorts of many starred hotels have really great, really expensive room service as well as big plush towels to tempt you.

Jen’s Ojai retreat was not the Four Seasons and there was no room service nor any big fluffy towels. Indeed, as soon as I arrived, I could feel this place was so much more than fluffy towels and comfy beds and room service. The estate is a certified, bona fide Estate.

A place where I could do at least one of the two most important things in life. Connect wholeheartedly with other people. Sure enough, it was like a three day vacation but for angels only.

Being there was to experience what the world would be like if everyone understood what love means.

It was like falling in love, phase one, when everything is strange and exciting and even though you’re not sure, you’re sure.

And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. This retreat was about connection. Connection with self, others and the Universe / God.

Mind you, I’m not just speaking of my own experience, though my own experience was indeed about connection with God in me and others. I’m speaking of connection in such an enormous way, I actually saw God in Ojai in other people. All of them, strangers. A whole pack of ‘em~!

I’ve been a professional observer for 44 years, so when I say I saw others connecting and sharing and being and loving and giving and caring and understanding and being interested and being empathic and compassionate and friendly and smiling and beaming and spreading kindness before them and trailing kindness behind, well, all I can say is, I witnessed it and felt its effects. For real.

I’ll give you just a teeny-tiny glimpse of just a couple little things that actually happened in me, to me, and with me whilst there. You’ll have to take my word for it that much more happened than I’ve room to share.

To start with, every part of me was afraid to go. I’d never met any of the others attending this retreat, including Jennifer Pastiloff. Indeed, I’d not been around any people at all for 18 months prior to this retreat. Oh sure, I’d been out a few times in public to get a cup of coffee, but in a strange town with no friends the extent of my socializing was saying hello to a barista or bank teller.

I’d been studying, editing, thinking, writing, contemplating and meditating for most of this past year and a half. In the process of doing so, I’d finally arrived at the conclusion I am a good guy who’s in need of connection with others. I realize that might sound weird but as some of you may have already experienced, sometimes life can be a bit confounding. I’d seen a few of Jennifer’s blog posts a few months previous to this retreat and I’d recognized something unique. Something that resonated importantly and loudly. She appeared to be authentic. You know … “real.” I suppose that’s why I was so afraid to go to Ojai. What if this was just another phony, fake, pretender?

What if this was just another gaggle of superficial, shallow a-holes whose favorite subject is me, me, me?

And by that I don’t mean me, I mean, themselves. But I felt ready for reality, either way. I couldn’t take cave dwelling, friendless and alone any longer. It was time to find out if I’d grown up at all.

So I went.

The way I came to connect with Jennifer was via Facebook. Isn’t that kinda weird in and of itself? Last December she’d posted something on her blog that got my attention. I can just hear her right this second saying, “there are no accidents.” It truly was uncanny how what I’m about to share with you came to be. I was in a dark place.  Still reaching for light. Searching for something that was really real. Something that matters. Something that helps change perspective. I still believed such a thing was possible. And as it turned out, when I saw it, I felt it, right there in one of her blog posts. Mind you, this is a FB friend and I can’t even be sure how exactly we got to be FB friends. If I had to venture a guess it would be that she was FB friends with someone whom I really loved in the real world.

When I read Jennifer’s blog, I left a comment and noticed she replied … authentically.

That got my attention. I read more of her posts. Everything she wrote resonated. I continued to comment.

One day she suggested / requested me to attend her Ojai retreat. I was shocked but I said I would, even though I had no idea how I could pay for it, let alone get the vagina to do it. (Some of you will get the joke, some will google it, others will have to learn the hard way that if you want “tough,” grow a vagina).

So here’s what the retreat was like.

It was like coming home to her, the loveliest lover, love of my life, after a long arduous road trip traveling with Pandora with her damn already opened box containing all the evils in the world, for thousands of miles, locked inside with her in an old VW Bug. It was like the first kiss after you’d learned, or so you thought, how to make love without any obvious insecurity, and how after that first kiss with your last love, the final one you know will be lasting, even your hidden fears disappeared.

It was like being under the veranda in Ojai on the most perfect balmy evening, full moon light glowing, casting dancing shadows amongst the trees, adding sparkling little catch lights each time someone turns to speak, to speak to you! … and discovering you’re surrounded by all your best friends, ever, in this one small huge paradisiacal place.

Everyone who was there was fully there. Each of them was the most valuable being in the Universe.

At first, I couldn’t believe it, even as I felt this connection and felt these delicious people touch my heart. Oddly it wasn’t overwhelming.

There was an immediate flow of acceptance.

Each person there, one by one and all at once, were connecting immediately with one another.

This experience wasn’t orchestrated by Jennifer, though she’s obviously the maestro. All these people were sharing: understanding. Here’s what was really weird, and it was indeed bizarrely weird. There were no stories being told!

These beneficent, magnificent beings had somehow arrived in one place together and each of them were willing to be understood without pleading for attention or anything like it.

And they were understood. Is that not excruciatingly amazing? From reality to real to strangely weird. An automatic bam without an exclamation mark? Just like, wow man, wow. Bam.

Everyone who was supposed to be there, was fully there, right there, in Ojai, under a full moon in the most beautiful garden, and every single one of them, including me, was glowing.

Again, I’ve never participated in any sort of yoga retreat before this one. Perhaps they’re all like the one I attended in Ojai. If so, there is more than enough hope for the world. To spend three days around 40 people, not once hearing a single cynical, sarcastic, mean word. Not once did I see anyone so much as get annoyed, let alone act upset or angry or bummed out by anything.

And that story thing~! I mean, I’m not the most gregarious dude, meaning I don’t go out of my way to bug people with talk. Nevertheless, in 3 days, all of which were spent without any distractions other than the beauty and splendor of the place and the delightful people attending, I experienced several soulful, heart-and-soul-level conversations with others but not one story. Not one. It was effing evolved, man. Stories were just unnecessary. That’s just freaky.

I could go on and on about this amazing Jennifer chick and her Ojai weekend. Fill a book, probably. It would be more than enlightening, filled with love, infinitely fascinating and awe inspiring, an exciting mystery, a thrilling adventure and the most sensual thing you’ve ever read. But that would take far too long. This is the sort of news that needs be disseminated wide and far.

Positively positive news. When’s the last time you got that on t.v., or anywhere else?

Egoless would be another way to describe this past weekend. 40 souls who attended a yoga retreat and found a way to live with one another and love each other without anyone’s ego screwing it up? That’s just astonishing. Really.

And now a little practical reportage about some of the physical realities of the weekend … Caspar Poyck, Culinary Therapist prepared the most delectable meals. Just one dude. One chef for 40 people. I feel good about what I’m about to say about this cat. Before attending this retreat, a salad to me was just lettuce with maybe a sprinkling of cheese and balsamic. I grew up eating hamburgers, hotdogs, pork chops and steaks with canned veggies and potatoes, so I’m the pickiest eater you’ve ever met. Caspar’s meals were so beyond what I’ve eaten in some Michelin 3 star restaurants the only thing that makes sense as to why he does what he does the way he does it is that it is all about love. You can taste it. You can see him putting love into the food. All the food he prepared was straight out of the garden. You could see it and you could taste it and the fact that 40 people all devoured every morsel of every meal proved it. How he found time to patiently teach a class of almost everyone attending the retreat how to cook a healthy meal is beyond me.

The fact “the class” created one of the best meals of the weekend just blew my mind.

The place itself was, let’s just say, better than the best resort I’ve stayed at in Hawaii or Cabo or in the Caribbean or Acapulco or Puerta Vallarta. What’s really amazing is, during all three days, not one staff member was seen. I’m not even sure there are any. And there was not one authority figure. That’s what you get when you’re a responsible person, I’m told. Freedom.

Mind you, I paid for my weekend with money I didn’t have when I committed to attend yet somehow the money to attend “manifested” the day before I was to head to Ojai.

After experiencing Jen’s yoga retreat, I felt compelled to share with you some of what I observed. I’d never met one single person in attendance at this retreat but I will reveal I fell in love with more than one person whilst I was there.

Firstly, I fell in love with myself. Then I actually fell in love with several other people whom I know will always be friends.

I’m gonna start collecting friends this way. What an amazing discovery~!

I can see that butterfly theory thing going on here.

I posit that this could be the pyramid scheme to end all pyramid schemes. This could be the quantum physics, quantum mechanics solution to living life wholeheartedly. If I’m even half right, there are 20 other people who feel the same (or better) and who’ll do the same (or more). And this just from attending one yoga retreat~! Wow.

They say the teacher appears when the student is ready. Yep.

How do I put forth with such certainty something like this can and will help change the world? Because I met 40 people who care about something other than and greater than, themselves. 40 people who are connected with the God / the Universe in themselves and within others. It’s gonna spread like mad-crazy-love should.

I should also mention Frank Gjata, though he’s the sort of fellow one doesn’t really need to mention. I suppose that if you go to one of Jennifer’s yoga retreats, you’ll either meet him or get connected with him. Everyone who was in Ojai met Frank. Everyone who was in Ojai is now connected with Frank, not to mention with each other, in large part due to Frank. Frank is awesome. That’s all need be said about Frank.

I’d say a bunch of stuff about Jennifer but you can find out all you need to know the same way I did. Go to her FB page or google or listen to this one story. This is the only story I’m going to share about this weekend. For now, anyway.

Imagine that you have 40 disparate people at a yoga retreat who’ve paid money to be there. 40 people who are there to grow spiritually, who are there to connect with themselves, God and others on a spiritual level. 40 people who are there to have fun. Now imagine you’ve got 40 people to guide towards goodness and some huge and horrible news lands in your lap during your yoga retreat. Something that would no doubt more than momentarily distract most people from work. Something which would cause most people to get shouty or angry and which would diminish most people’s ability to be joyful for a day or two, at least. This happened to Jen this past weekend. But it didn’t happen to Jen. And it didn’t happen to anyone else, either. There was no story. She dealt with it in a couple hours, and went straight back to being the maestro of joy, the heartfelt, heart-full conductor, the maestro-maestress yogi yoga girl, the dance-putter-onner and dj, the empath-true-ist, the manifesting maniac and the authentic compassionate soul she obviously is.

A few months ago I’d never have imagined anyone could do that. Certainly not myself. But seeing her, witnessing her do it, and not just do it but seeing and feeling her deal with it the way she did gave me strength and lifted my soul to soaring.

This chick is weird in a very delicious and strange way. She’s really real. Not just strong. Not just genuinely caring and kind. Not hippy dippy or woo-woo either. She talks funny because she can’t hear worth a crap and yet she hears everything that matters. She notices stuff most people don’t or won’t. She’s wholehearted.

She’s honestly growing and learning so she can help others grow and learn. And she deals with stuff right now. And she does it so honestly and with such integrity and empathy and gratitude, one has to at least acknowledge just how marvelously amazing that is. I mean, she’s really real~! Which just blows my mind right the eff up and melts my heart all the way to the God in us all.

I hope for everyone who reads this, this message gets passed on. Tell someone you love them today. Create your life and manifest goodness in it for others. Let go of the stuff that’s no longer serving you. Connect with the Universe / the God in yourself first so you can connect with others. Be astonished.

See how astonishing you actually really are for real. There are only two things that matter in life after all the contemplation is thrown out: Spending time with others we love and that which we do for others without expecting something in return. I think you might find all the reality in the world comes down to just those two things. I hope you do. And it’s at such a place as Jennifer’s Ojai retreat this reality was made fully real for me amongst a delicious pack of weirdos. You know who you are, obviously, because you’re all really real, which is what makes you all so weird.

Wine tasting

Randy and Marla getting their groove on! Click photo to find more info on Randy aka the Malibu Healer!

Being silly

Frank Gjata, creator of Blississippi, giving an amazing lecture on BLISS!

Chef Caspar doin’ his thang

Yes, it was a Super Moon!

Halo!

Some of the group.

Jimmy captured the Super Moon!

Connection.

Lunch

Milk Maid! Love this shot of Jen Touchette by Jimmy!

Manifesting bliss. Check out the Conscious Ink “Follow Your Bliss” tattoos.

To oder James Vincent Knowles book “Yoga Girls” please click here.

 

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. She has been featured on Good Morning America, NY Magazine, Oprah.com. Her writing has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day/New Years. She is also leading a Writing + The Body Retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 31-Feb 1 in Ojai. Email retreats at jenniferpastiloff dot come for info. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: Seattle, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Miami, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff. Next Ojai retreat is Labor Day and there are a few spots left.