Inspiration, Manifestation Retreats, Manifestation Workshops, manifesting

What I Learned From An 8 Year Old.

February 29, 2012


By Jen Pastiloff.

This past weekend I taught my first workshops in Austin, Texas.

It went incredibly well. Here is the blog about that and my love letter to Austin.

I have been holding a Twitter contest with my friend Karen Salmansohn. It goes like this: Whoever tweets us the most what inspires them, wins. They also have to use the hashtag #manifest.

It’s been a little life changing to see what everyone has been tweeting to us.

It’s a win-win contest. The actual prize is a spot at my May Manifestation retreat to Ojai and a book by Karen (

So two people are in the lead for the contest. One woman lives in San Antonio and has a family and one is a college student who lives in Santa Barbara. I look forward to their hourly tweets. It’s a bit of an addiction. They keep me going throughout my day. Here are a few examples of their tweets.

@CarolJackson365 Inspired by kick ass cool contests that make me a better person. Thank you @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

The sun rising on unfamiliar horizons inspires me to replace concept with reality. #manifest @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen

Inspired by chats w/strangers that fill heart w/joy. Funny how lovely folks r when u let them b them @ManifestYogaJen @Notsalmon#manifest

Inspired by london and the oneness and connection of different cultures. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

inspiration is a cheeky pub waitress who gives you hell when you order a diet coke. such a delight! @ManifestYogaJen @Notsalmon

Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us-Pema chodron. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen#manifest

@KthrnGee The past couple of years I’ve been SO inspired by those who are AWAKE..if you know what I mean 😉 @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen#manifest

Inspiration makes my heart beat faster, it excites and motivates action for a better self. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

8yrs ago I was pressured to be in a gang. Crazy, right? Inspired by how far I’ve come. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

Lately, friendships have inspired me to stay away from those who add little value to my life. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

I choose to be inspired by the beauty of everyday life. I also choose love & wisdom. What do u choose? @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

People who are cold towards me inspire me to be kind. Love is a human need. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

What would you do if your toddler told you she’s too fat? Love your INNER child; this inspires me. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen#manifest


Carol is the mom who lives in San Antonio and Katherine is 21 and in college.

Carol shows up to my workshop in Austin. Get this: with her 8 year old daughter! Naturally at first I am thinking: Oh Shit!

Because yes, I say Shit a lot and I was a bit afraid I would have to censor myself.

Boy was I wrong!

(As a side note: Carol lives in San Antonio. She drove all the way to Austin. How did she find me in the first place? From my articles on Positively Positive. That my friends, is the power of social media. )

So Carol walks in with her daughter wearing my “What Are You Manifesting” tee which she had ordered last month. Her daughter gives me a gift. Two books about poetry. Because she told her 8 year old that I love poems.

(As a side note. Dear Universe, Thank you for sending me these people. There. Are. No. Accidents.)

I immediately ask Carol if she won the Twitter contest (as I knew at that time she was tied with sweet young Katherine) would she be able to fly out to California and get away? She said ” Oh, let someone else win. I have gotten more out of this then you will ever ever know.”

To say I was touched would be an understatement.

The people you need to meet always show up when you need them. I feel that way about them and I am sure they feel that way about me. Bam!

I needed to meet someone who was participating so fully in their life. Who was raising a child in this way. Who was so willing to be attentive and present and inspired.

And did I ever need to meet this kid of hers.

By the way, the 8 year old? Her name was Jen, too.

So at one point I ask the group to write a letter to their 16 year old selves. (Everyone had journals in the class. It’s a big part of the Manifestation workshop.)

I felt bad because Jen was only 8 so I said to her ” Jen, you can write a letter to your 5 year old self, ok?”

She wrote ” Dear 5 year old self…. being 8 is awesome!”

At one point everyone was in child’s pose. I was reciting one of my favorite quotes:

“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.”

― Wayne W. Dyer

No one budged from child’s pose except 8 year old Jen.

She got up to pick up a pen and write down what I was saying!

I needed to meet this little angel to be reminded what is possible and to be inspired again.

To allow myself to be surprised.

She asked her mom after they got back to San Antonio if, for her birthday in July, she could have a yoga lesson by me.

I learned from an 8 year old: how to be brave, how to ask for what you want, how to pay attention, how to listen, how to laugh, how to do a fierce backbend, how to show love, how to be okay with the fact that you might be the only one in the room who doesn’t understand something and conversely how to be the only one in the room who DOES understand something.

So here is a letter to my 8 year old self, which is the age I somehow feel I stopped growing. It’s when my dad died. (Maybe that little Jen was a version of me. I have to make sure I didn’t imagine her.)

Dear 8 year old me:

Being 37 is awesome! I know you don’t believe me now because life sucks since your daddy died but it will be ok. You will fall in love and you will go out and inspire people with dance parties and twitter contests and you will meet little girls who will show you what it means to be fearless. You will never get over that little piece of sadness, that part of you that died when your dad died but you will indeed transform that into a whole lotta love. You will make up for all that frowning you do now when you are 37. You will remember who you really are. I’m here waiting for you.

Oh, and that noise in your head? Get used to it. It’s called tinnitus.

My Manifestation Workshop. Me, Carol from San Antonio and her 8 year old daughter Jen. Black Swan Yoga, Austin Texas.

Thank you mini Jen for showing up Saturday and showing me what it means to be inspired and committed and fearless. That’s what an 8 year old looks like to me.
 All of Jen Pastiloff’s events listed here.
Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

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No Comments

  • Reply rachyrachp February 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

    This one rocks. Let me wipe away my tears so that I can write this. This post brings so many things to mind for me.

    1: How amazing to have somebody who shares this type of experience with their child. Little Jen will never forget that day for the rest of her life.

    2: The quote from Wayne Dyer makes me cry. Dear big Jen in Mexico when you asked us who it is that walks beside you my response was you. I cried reading this post because I thought to myself, “If I can always remember that my amazing sister, friend, inspiration guru, and spiritual advisor Jen is always with me I would never be fearful again.” I love you.

    3: I love this post because I love all that children teach us. They are the most pure form of love, kindness, understanding, and joy. I watch my kids everyday and see all of these things.

    I love love love this post.

  • Reply Barbara February 29, 2012 at 10:03 am

    You made me cry.

  • Reply Katherine February 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I’m in Anthro class at UCSB, crying. Wow, amazing! This is what inspration is all about!

    Little Jen: You are amazing and the coolest.

    Much love.



  • Reply Jamie February 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

    me too.

  • Reply barbarapotter February 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Wow Jen. This made me laugh and cry at the same time . Beautiful

  • Reply James Vincent Knowles February 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    wow. more. real. love. more inspiration. a huge small big little giant. I’d love to read a book of tweets by little Jen. impossible to convey how healing is your blog. what a great example of wholeheartedness, are you and your non-accidents, big Jen~! love&thanks to all the biggest little girls~!

  • Reply katherine February 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Let me wipe away my tears as well… Beautifully written. Wow, how I can relate to this post. It is amazing how we all inspire, aspire…no matter what age, we all have it in us, we just need to realize it and believe it.

  • Reply 8yo Jen February 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    dear big Jen,
    thank you. you say the S.H.I.T. word a lot!
    I love you. see you in Italy soon! haha.
    from: little Jen

  • Reply The Power of Connection. A Must Read. « Manifestation Station March 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

    […] I wrote a piece yesterday called: What I Learned From an 8 Year Old, which, as it turns out, was a helluva lot. […]

  • Reply Maxine March 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Wow, this is a very special and well told story all the way to the picture at the end. I was enthralled. It makes me like people…more…again. Thank you for creating and sharing this little masterpiece!

  • Reply Rachael August 28, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Please sent this to Wayne Dyer, I think he would LOVE to read this. I thought of sending it myself but it’s your story to share. I loved it by the way… I may have to print it out and post it on my wall to always be ‘refreshed’ by the amazing wisdom of that little girl, and your wisdom to have recognized how amazing and possibly pivotal that moment was for you and her.

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