What’s Your Miami?
Somewhere between Albuquerque and Flagstaff, headed back to Los Angeles. That’s where I am right now. I get my best writing done on airplanes. Flying back after a weekend of workshops in Miami. It was my first time in Miami, which seems slightly unbelievable being that I am a Jew from Jersey, a fact I attribute our moving to California and then back again like gypsies in search of sustainable weather or a father. Nonetheless, it was my first time and I felt more like I was visiting from some distant country (or Kansas) than L.A. How in awe I was at the balmy weather, at the sky, the view from my friend’s condo, water on all sides. The sky seemed lower, close enough to me that I could reach up and grab a fistful of air if I wanted to. The clouds with their secrets stuffed inside of them and if we waited long enough with our iPhone cameras and Instagrams we could catch the secrets exploding into a million particles of light, raindrops, streaks of purple and pink, golden ambers, all the things that make people click “like” or “share” on a photo.
The moodiness of the place felt like home to me. I recognized how easy it was to one moment be bright and yellow and the next, a misty grey where you couldn’t see the gaudy cruise ships or the lights any longer, just a fine haze with all its edges lost.
And it was hot. It was a whole new world for me, only having been to Florida one other time, last summer, on a road trip with my sister, her husband, their new puppy Timber, and my two nephews. My oldest nephew Blaise has a rare genetic disorder called Prader Will Syndrome and his doctor is in Gainesville at the Univeristy (people drive and fly from all over the world to see her.) We were taking a weekend mini-holiday at a small coastal town a couple hours away from the University called Flagler Beach before heading to Dr. Miller on the way back to Georgia where they live. I sat wedged in the back between Maddock (who hit me almost the whole time) and Blaise and Timber.
It was a long long ride.
The beach town had been cute. It was so different than California and I spent most of the weekend tickled by this difference. The water is so warm! So different than California! It’s so calm! It’s so humid! As if I hadn’t grown up in New Jersey and spent summers down the shore. As if I had never experienced this type of weather or the Atlantic Ocean.
Its easy to forget that our lives are not it. That it doesn’t stop and end with our town, our street, our weather, our children, our problems. I forgot that there was weather outside of California. I forgot that there was another ocean besides the Pacific. I forgot that palm trees actually grew places and weren’t simply placed there as an aesthetic gem. Miami is very different from that sleepy town last summer although I adored that sleepy town and the little local fish restaurant we went to where we ate off paper plates and drank beer. I was also with my nephews and I wouldn’t trade anything for Blaise saying Ocean, Jenny, ocean? And then sitting at the shoreline with him on my lap as he grips me for dear life with that combination of terror and delight children love to feel.
My Miami workshops at Green Monkey went really well.
It was a big step for me. Being flown to a place where I have no “following” per se, to do my thing.
What if no one came? and all the other usual fear based thoughts fought their way to the top of the food chain of my mind.
They came. They loved it.
The biggest deal for me really was the fact that Skye and Sommer Dyer came to my Friday night Karaoke Yoga workshop. They are 2 of the daughters of my beloved teacher, Dr. Wayne Dyer. (Sommer is the one who will be assisting me at my Maui retreat in February and if I can manifest Wayne coming over to talk to my group then I will have accomplished one of my greatest dreams.) Wayne truly changed my life and anyone who has spent any time with me, especially in my classes or workshops, knows how often I quote him and speak of him. I have become friends with his daughters and they drove 1.5 hours to come. It was a little unnerving at first because I quote him all the time so I felt nervous and self-conscious.
That lasted a few moments. Once I start, I get channeled in a way that I don’t pretend to understand and I forget all about who is in the room. My intention becomes clear. Skye is a beautiful singer (if you have ever heard Wayne speak or seen his PBS specials, you have heard her sing.) She sang for us in savasana and it was like one of those moments when you are at once outside of yourself and yet so utterly present at that it is almost unbearable, the surge of emotion a reminder that you are very much alive despite moments of depression or feeling lost or confused or any of the other ways in which we go slack. Its like the feeling you have when you get married, and, I am guessing, when you give birth. Is this my life? and Yes, this is my life! joining in such a way that time stops, your breath catches and you feel solid and essential to the world like soil air.
The workshop on Saturday was lovely as well. I felt really proud of myself. I have taught in Philly and NYC and NJ and sold the workshops out, but Miami? I had one friend there and no students or tribe. Yet, I did it.
I. Did. It.
And they showed up.
One woman, the beautiful Sue, flew from Michigan to take my workshops in Miami. That was a huge moment for me, to acknowledge that. She follows me on Facebook and reads my blog and from that she flew all the way to another state to attend my workshop. I am owning that. I think it can be too easy (for me at least) to own the things about me I don’t like or what I have done “wrong” but when it comes to just being with the fact that someone is moved by me, or thanking me, well, that is as difficult as telling someone just who you are and having them look in your eyes for 3 minutes without speaking or moving. And yes, we do that in my workshops.
So I am looking in the proverbial eye of it all and accepting it. Owning it. Taking responsibility for what I did. This is not a random thing. There is a cause and effect.
I manifested this. By imagining it first and then working toward it, all the while staying true to myself and being authentic.
I wonder how often we don’t realize our own gifts? Or else we do, and we feel we somehow don’t deserve to own them?
I am on a plane heading back and feeling good. I will be back. I feel calmer than I have in a while, less anxiety, more present. Perhaps it has to do with all the travel I had over the last few months and I can sit here and say Wow from 30,000 feet at all I have accomplished. Perhaps because there is no wi-fi in flight. Perhaps its hormones? Who knows? Who cares.
It is terrifying going into the unknown. It really is. I get it.
I was told before going how Miami loved its physical practice, its handstands, its power yoga. Its not that I don’t do that stuff, I do. I slip it in, I use it as a causeway. But it is not what you think of when you think of a Jen Pastiloff class or workshop.
I went anyway and I stayed true to who I was and what I do and they came and they loved it. If I had let my fear sway me I would have cancelled, I would have shirked, I would have changed myself to fit in with the status quo.
I leave you with this as we are about to land and I have to shut my computer:
Where are you playing small?
What is your “Miami?”
What are you scared of?
What are you willing to do anyway?
Where can you go that you have never been before, both literally and in your imagination?
Here are 3 emails I got today from 3 people who attended my Miami workshops:
Dear Jen, I don’t think I can thank you enough Jen. I would have never thought taking a karaoke yoga workshop could have changed my life that way that it is. I was very hesitant to sign up for the workshop. It was something that initially I didn’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. I have so many things to be proud of but always searched for the approval of the people that wronged me and never believed in me. I always belittled my accomplishments. I always made excuses. Now I am finally starting to feel free from them. I value myself so much more than I did before I walked into that workshop on Friday. I put on my post-it: LOVE. When I first put it on my post-it I was thinking of manifesting an awesome man to love and love me back. I had it all wrong though. I want to manifest love for myself. Thank you for inspiring me to be my true self without the fear. I wish you nothing but the best! You are a God send and it has been such a blessing for me to have had the chance to meet such an amazing person!
Hey Jen ~THANK YOU for yesterday. It was beyond what I thought it would be and it was life transforming, truly. I feel like I woke up today with fresh eyes and a better outlook. It was astonishing to me how much you and the workshop resonated with me. I too have battled depression, its always nice to know I’m not alone. I too ALWAYS say “i’m tired.” Not today! I have literally talked myself out of it, manifesting an abundance of energy 🙂 Yesterday, I posted on the Green Monkey wall ‘happiness.’ Thats what I am manifesting. And our ‘HI-YA!!!’ bit, I was kicking the shit out of fear! Ha! Thank you!
Hi Jennifer, I cannot stop thinking about the workshop you did on Saturday at Green Monkey. It’s amazing how we weren’t supposed to participate but by a twist of fate were able to. There are no coincidences in life. I loved every minute of it. When we were doing the forgiveness/breathing exercise you came up to me and gently placed your hand on my back as if to say “it’s ok to let go”.
I was in the process of forgiving myself for not being the person who I thought I would be in my life right now.