Here’s a promise I make to you, my Tribe. I will always be: honest, vulnerable and my most unadulterated self, without any fluff or bullshit to lead you into thinking I am any better or worse than I really am, (as if those words actually mean anything.)
If you don’t like it, this pledge to be me, as it were, you probably haven’t “liked” my blog and aren’t reading this. And that’s ok, I don’t feel rejected. In fact, I probably don’t even know and neither do you. (It’s better that way.)
But for those who have connected with me, and me to you, listen up. This is for you. I am committed to what I have started which is: a call to arms, a rally cry, a demonstration of what it means to be real person, not a shadow living in the peripheries, not a status update, not a perfect yoga teacher or daughter or wife or any of the words that could move in quietly after the word perfect but rather a human being with faults and cracks and and histories and mistakes. I do not have a lesson plan for this. What I know to be true is that human beings forget that we are all human beings, so sometimes, when someone reminds us, when they literally shove an example in our face like a crumpled up coffee stained map and we have no choice but to pull over in the car and stop on the side of the road to read the map with its coffee stink and fingerprints and out-of-dated-ness, we somehow find our way.
Someone else’s journey can help us along, sometimes, on our own. It doesn’t always get us to where we are going. Like I said, the map is probably out of date, having been shoved under the passenger seat of someone else’s car for Lord knows how long, but its something.
I was in a great mood this morning even though I drank too much cheap red wine at a party last night. (Human attritube #1: I drink and teach yoga and have a spiritual practice.) The thing is, with cheap red wine, you do not have to drink much for it to be too much. Nonetheless, I woke up happy and inspired and knew I would teach a fantastic yoga class. And so it is. Happiness is decided beforehand. I heard that recently and fell in love with it. I decided beforehand. My class will be one of those classes where I have to stop myself from thinking that This is a fluke. This can’t be possible that this many people come to my class and are so open, so willing to listen and shift. I am going to have to wait tables again tomorrow because this must be a dream. I am not even that good at yoga.
(Human attribute #2: I am a really good yoga teacher (at least I think.) No, I know. And, I am actually not that good at yoga. Whatever that means. (Read: I can’t balance for 2 minutes in the center of the room in a handstand and I don’t know all the sanskrit and I can’t put my leg behind my head and I still think triangle pose is hard.)
It wasn’t a dream. My class was packed and the room almost moved in synchronicity (almost never happens, especially in the early Sunday morning class. Come on! It’s Sunday morning for Chrissakes.) The room was bursting with love (cliche, notwithstanding, it was so love filled and in sync it could have been a parody.) The theme was related to my 5 Most Beautiful Things Project and how beauty connects us.
How if we let it, we can channel it.
May I always be a channel of beauty. For beauty. May the beauty I see be who I am. May I always see the beauty. I am sure I uttered that somewhere in between vinyasas and backbends.
You must understand, I teach at a gym. A gym! Yes, it is the very high end Equinox, but still, a gym. I teach at a gym and the people (my Tribe) who come to my class are so into what we are doing, they let me be who I am (a human) and I let them be who they are. It is astounding sometimes and perhaps why I feel like its a fluke. How can this be happening at a gym? What shift is taking place in consciousness? My class is NOT easy but it is by no means asana (posture) based. And yet it is packed.
So I am feeling good and on purpose and probably my ego is a little on fire and someone signed up for my Maui retreat and also Ojai based on my writings, so yea I am feeling gooood. Until I check my email and get a rejection email from a literary site I wanted to write. I will call it “R.” I say literary because it is not like the inspirational sites I usually write for. It’s a bit more cynical, more witty, less woo woo. I wanted it because then I would be a real writer.
(Human attribute #3: I struggle with the notion of being a real writer even though I know that is a made up term. What’s a real writer? One that isn’t plastic? That’s not made from Coke bottles or cereal boxes? What is a real anything? What is a normal anything? These terms don’t exist and yet I strive for someone to name me. Name me a writer, call me “writer”, please? Award me with that.)
(Human attribute #4: How no matter how much self work or inner work I do, rejection still hurts. It may not hurt for as long but it still does.)
All of a sudden I shut down. Just like that. One email later, I crawl back into my unmade bed (Human attribute #5: I don’t make the bed. Not a lot) and feel sorry for myself and also angry and also that I couldn’t write and why bother when I am just going to get rejected and how snooty “real writers” are and how I am just seen as a yoga teacher and who the Hell am I anyway?
So I get up and write.
Why? It is cathartic to me and because, my hope is that when I share some of the things I go through that make me feel very very human and raw, sometimes you will relate. Ah! I don’t feel so alone as you lay in your own unmade bed. That’s it. I am hoping that by passing you my old dirty coffee stained out-of-date map that you will take it with a grain of salt, with love, and with the notion that I am most undoubtedly NOT Superhuman. That I still think rejection sucks and it hurts but that I got over it quicker this time (I did. I actually feel better now.)
(Human attribute #6: I write because I have to. It’s what I do with the pain. With the rejection. And with the love. It’s what I have to do.)
To the site “R” who said that the piece is not for us, well, that’s okay. It’ll find a home. It always does, doesn’t it?
When our hearts get broken and we think we will never love again, not ever, this is the last time, I am swearing off love! we do and we do and we do.
(Human attribute #7: I am doing very well but that I still have fits of feeling unworthy based on someone’s opinion. Case in point, “R” rejects me and I fall apart. And sometimes, despite “overcoming” anorexia, I still have days where I feel so fat but that mostly I am happy to be here in my skin as Jennifer Pastiloff.)
And that if I continue to allow myself to decide on my happiness ahead of time that the moments of happiness will far outweigh the moments of feeling like I am doing it wrong, that I have made a mistake.
Here’s to being human, guys. I am raising my glass to yours. Cheers.