And So It Is, Owning It!

Update Your Vision.

November 8, 2012

I’m sitting here at my desk and I stare at my Vision Board that’s pinned to the wall next to me, willing it to write for me. Come on, write my book, damnit! 

I distract myself from writing my book by putting what I think to be, but probably won’t be, my first paragraph on Facebook as a teaser. I can’t help myself, I am used to writing with such immediacy. Don’t we all live our lives like that now? I want a response now! 

I put the paragraph up and people go crazy “liking” it and commenting. They love it. My ego soars!

Here is said paragraph:

I had my nervous breakdown behind the restaurant. Where everyone went out to smoke once their tables had their food and seemed to be as happy as they would ever get during a meal. It was that little secret cove for smokers that I found salvage in, oddly enough. I leaned against that red brick wall and slowly slid down it onto dirty butts and that is where I had my nervous breakdown. My chest heaved and I started to drown in the cigarette butts. There were millions of them and they were smothering me with ash and nicotine and lipstick stains and bird shit that had been on the ground with them. There might have been bubble gum as well, but when you are drowning you don’t pay attention to anything except oxygen and that is what I couldn’t find anywhere. Somebody help me my brain told my mouth to say but my mouth was drowning and closed and nothing came out except the word Enough.

Except that one guy who proceeded to send me a private email about all the grammatical errors and how shocked he was that  would put it up like that. Naturally, I got a little hooked and defensive and told him that my amazing editor would handle it and that I had bigger fish to fry than worrying about their and there. The truth is, I let myself get insulted. It’s my fault. Why did I put it on Facebook?

What is this need for such immediacy? Such connection? Such validation? All the time. Relentless validation.

Do you like me? Do you like it? Do you like this? From strangers, no less. From people who feel the need to correct my grammar when I write a paragraph about having a nervous breakdown on a pile of dirty cigarette butts and bird shit.

But I digress.

I sit here and stare at my Vision Board which was made over a year ago. I stare at it because I have given up writing my book for the night and I decide to write a blog and one of the ways I think is by staring. When I stare I soar into the depths of my imagination. When I stare, I am not on Facebook or distracting myself in any other way. I am simply there or here, more aptly. Just staring into my mind and its abyss of possibilities.

So I see on my old vision board some things that I realize need clearing up.

One thing in particular: Yoga Journal Conference. Yea, that’s on there.

I do not want to be a part of the Yoga Journal Conference.

I might have one day in the past. Or maybe I didn’t. Maybe I thought that’s what is expected of yoga teachers?

I am getting more clear lately on who I am and what I want, and although I do teach yoga, it is not my dharma. There I said it.

Most of you know that.

I will keep doing it. I promise. It will be just a few classes a week, if that. It fuels me. It sources me. I love it through and through but it is not my goal. I am a writer. I am a communicator. I am a connector. Teaching yoga is one of the many ways I do that. But mostly, I kind of sneak yoga in as I do what I want to do. What I am saying is that I don’t hope to be on the cover of Yoga Journal or a star teacher at Yoga Works or known as the best yoga teacher in Bla Bla Town or the key speaker at The Yoga Journal Conference. I love that my friends are doing this but it is not for me!

If you are reading this, you are okay with all of this because you know me and follow me and have a deep understanding of who I am. Which I didn’t when I made this vision board last year. So as you sit here with me (metaphorically) I am tearing down the Yoga Journal Conference to make room for something else.

It ripped when I tore it off!

What about you?

What is no longer relevant? What doesn’t feel natural to you anymore?

What can you boldly admit? It’s pretty bold that I am admitting this. Yes, I am feeling vulnerable because I am in the process of writing a memoir. And that’s a good thing. Vulnerability is good. Just watch this.


There are some things I want to keep. Like this:

Do you see? It says: The smart though provoking absorbing engaging novels of New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer Pastiloff. I will leave that.

Not everything fades away. In fact, what is most true doesn’t.

What is most true always finds you no matter how long and far you try and run from it.





My dear Jenni Young of SimpleReminders made this out of my vision board




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  • Reply barbarapotter November 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Haha love this. Brilliant. Oh, by the way, you spelled teacher wrong.

  • Reply Quinn November 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    And the bricks weren’t red. They were a bleached out ochre. The most banal nothing color ever. :-p. I had that same conversation against that same wall a million times.

    • Reply ManifestYogaJen November 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      for F*ck’s sake, I couldn’t remember. But wow, your comment just made me tear up.

  • Reply Jennifer_Woods November 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    So interesting to see this. Lately I’ve been wondering if the thing I’d been striving for isn’t what I want, because I don’t seem to have that drive to achieve that would indicate (I think) that I’m on the right path. Maybe it’s not for me? Or maybe I need to set short-term goals so I can prove to myself I AM still moving towards it? Another thing to ponder.

    By the way, it’s obvious (to me, who is really anal about these things) from your writing that you understand grammar and know how to use it well, and you do, when it suits you. Fear not. Any veering from the path of what’s “proper” is you expressing yourself in a conversational way. We all have our own “voice” when writing. It seems to me that you are aware, in some part of your brain, every time you break a rule and decide to do it anyway, because it feels more genuine, warm, personable, or whatever else it may be. That critic probably does it, too. Most folks will understand because we all do it. It’s not wrong, even when it’s “wrong.” This isn’t an English class, it’s life. Carry on. 🙂

    • Reply Jennifer_Woods November 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Sorry that’s awfully long. I am very wordy in type. 🙂

    • Reply ManifestYogaJen November 8, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      I adore you.

    • Reply Fast-Paced Foodie November 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      To Jennifer Woods, I couldn’t agree more, on all accounts!! I think short term present goals are key! Im practicing being in the moment and being compassionate to let in room for the universe to help guide me. Honesty is a beautiful thing 🙂

  • Reply Ella Chissotti November 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    i love you- your presence will never cease to inspire me in every aspect within myself and in my life- i just can’t imagine what it will be like when i finally get to hug you in person- thank you Jen- e*

  • Reply Katie D November 9, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Your writing is like a master class in inspiration. I would pay to buy just that opening paragraph of your memoir.

  • Reply mbsmum November 9, 2012 at 12:04 am

    There is a lot on my mental vision board I want to let go of, to rip up, that is no longer relevant. Sadly as time increases it is my marriage. I find I no longer care, no longer hurt, I am just apathetic and that has to be the worst place to be. There are so many freaking amazing things in my life (friends and work and my baby boy) that I feel that I no longer want to be held back by someone who doesn’t want to move forward.

    • Reply Jennifer Woods November 15, 2012 at 9:11 am

      I feel for you. I made that same decision in my life, too, a couple of years ago. It’s hard letting go of someone you’ve shared so much with, for such a long time, and with someone for whom you may actually still have love and fond memories. For you, it’s harder because there is a child involved. Still, if you’re not growing in complementary directions, and there absolutely no finding a mutually agreeable path, sometimes you do have to set out on your own. It hurts, and badly, but be strong and carry on. The pain will lessen, and your growth will feel amazing. Do what you must, and know whichever way you go, you can always find thousands of others who have been there and learned to thrive after it all. You will see their methods of dealing with the agony and fear, and you’ll see that there is an end to the darkness, even if you can’t see it yet. Knowing you’re not alone really helps you feel stronger, and know you’ve made your own best decision. Reach out, research, and have faith that you tried your best, you know what is best for yourself, and what is best for you will make you a better parent, too. Wishing you all the strength and courage you need.

  • Reply jamesvincentknowles November 9, 2012 at 12:17 am

    “Don’t worry about a table. Let’s have a bit of room service.”

  • Reply lilymcevoy November 9, 2012 at 5:39 am

    You helped me clear the rubbish strewn in my path. I did not know what it was before I read this memoir.

  • Reply lilymcevoy November 9, 2012 at 5:40 am

    You inspired me to clear the rubbish strewn in my path…

  • Reply Diane Clement November 9, 2012 at 5:48 am

    I don’t know how I stumbled into you. I think the world revolves with less than six degrees nowadays. None-the-less, I find you inspiring. Keep doing exactly what you are doing. Cheers.

  • Reply Lynne H. November 9, 2012 at 6:13 am

    I think in our busy lives, we don’t have time to stop and self-assess the things that we want in our life…what’s working, what isn’t, have our goals changed? I think we all need time to reflect. Thank you for making me aware of that. Great article!

  • Reply Liz Seligman November 9, 2012 at 7:06 am

    You put into words everything I have been thinking lately regarding my life and the path I am on now. I have just started my own business and am following my passion, it is terrifying and exhilerating all at the same time..

  • Reply theskirtedwordsmith November 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

    You ARE a writer. An inspiring one. I needed this message! And I know it’s irrelevant but I just have to say…what a douche that douche was to look past the meaning of your words and focus on the “problems.”

  • Reply Jill Collard November 9, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Amen sister I get it I so get it

  • Reply mary beth larue November 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    WOW. i love this so much. and can relate in so many ways.

  • Reply annettemackay November 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    You are indeed a writer. That’s what keeps me coming back. I’ve never been to a yoga class of yours, don’t live in the same town to do so. I subbed here initially as I saw your interview on Yoga Business Summit. You caught my attention there, but you’ve kept it here with your writing, again and again and again. You. Are. A. Writer. Clearly writing is manna to you, and shared, it is manna to the rest of us. Rock on.

  • Reply Update Your Vision. « The Manifest-Station « 3wordsfor365 November 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    […] Read more here via Update Your Vision. « The Manifest-Station. […]

  • Reply antrese November 10, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. There are so many wonderful things about social media, but that one drawback kills me too. Not the critics as much as the obsession with validation. Its silly but we all seem to fall into it at one pointor another. Critics like that will always find something. Their words sting but I also feel sorry for them. Its a sad way to spend a life.

  • Reply Lola November 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I have had many breakdowns in my life. I only wish I had your ability to write it all down to help me come to terms with changes in my life. Thank you for sharing, and ignore anyone who tries to correct your spelling. When you are writing from the heart typographical errors are the least of your concerns. Keep up the good work.

  • Reply What is Your Truth? « The Manifest-Station November 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

    […] This quote from my essay entitled “Update Your Vision”. Click here to read and please fe… I would love to hear below what your truth is. I will start. My truth is: I am a writer. […]

  • Reply Violet November 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    From one memoir-writer to another, I feel you. Especially the part where you clearly and concisely state your identity:


    Preach it, sister. I love this post.

  • Reply Violet November 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    P.S. I’m not one to broadcast my work, but I thought I’d take a chance and share this bit if you’re interested. Your talk of vulnerability got me to thinking about my own memoir and the writing process. This little project is a product of that process.

    I spend an entire week blogging naked to make peace with my body. An interesting week, and maybe something you’d like.

  • Reply Jean Donohue November 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I am amazed and inspired by your total honesty. Grammar and spelling should never hold one back from writing, especially someone like you who teaches us to question our choices, change them if necessary and look forward. I find great comfort and inspiration in your writing. Thank you,Jen.



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