By Jen Pastiloff.
This past weekend I taught my first workshops in Austin, Texas.
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 (notsalmon.com).
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.