One of the women from my last retreat wrote this, and, with permission, I am sharing.
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Okay, I am not a writer or a poet but I am compelled to put in writing the changes already taking place in my life not 48 hours after closing circle of Jen’s retreat. Going into the retreat this past week, I was stuck. Really, really stuck. Scared of connecting with anyone because I already felt completely depleted.
Isolation was the only thing that felt safe.
I found this retreat because I was looking for space to find my true authentic self again. Throughout the retreat thoughts, images, and a feeling of who I was “before”, started to emerge.
Jen’s words “begin again”. Jen asking “How will you serve?” Her words “what do you need to let go of?” These stuck in my mind and I found myself unable to sleep thinking about them.
Then Jen said something life changing thing for me, “You have to let go of things you don’t want to make space for what you do.” It clicked.
I was full of things I needed to let go of leaving no room for the things I wanted. I am kind of amazed her words stuck like they did considering at the time I was trying to keep up with the whole Vinyasa’ing thing. But I heard her and I watched others let go of their fear and then I felt myself begin to let go of my own.
I could then begin to hear what my heart had been saying all along, “I want connection”, “I want my purpose to be revealed to me”, “I want to use all of my gifts.” I hit Fawntice’s gong on the New Year’s Eve and sent it that sound, that vibration out -knowing opportunities for connection were all ready on their way.
Which brings me to yesterday morning….
Scouring Facebook for more photos from the retreat, missing my new friends already, I noticed a post on a local mom’s board from a 17 year old girl who is due to have a baby girl in 3 months.
She posted, asking for help. Clearly scared, with no job and only a few baby clothes. She was asking for any used baby items to help her prepare for the baby admitting she didn’t really even know what she needed. I smile a deep soul smile. Jen’s voice “how will you serve?” echoed. Not even 48 hours after the Manifestation Retreat and in front of me on the computer screen was an opportunity for connection.
Of course I could just donate baby things since I have a 6 month old baby girl. But I also have gifts. I am a trained birth and postpartum doula but I have never used the training.
I wrote her and offered all the baby essentials I have to give but I also offered support. I offered love and connection. She was thrilled and was willing to meet today. There are so many excuses I could have and would have given myself for not reaching out in this way, I am a recent single mother to 3 kids under 5, I don’t have business cards and should go to school and get more training first. More schooling and a complete website with business cards, tend to be my favorite excuses.
But reaching out is beginning again, it’s letting go of fear and it is one way I can serve someone else. So I did it.
Jen reaching out to me, and a room full of beautiful others inspired me to reach out.
I was going to end this here but what happened today at the meeting with the girl was so moving I have to share.
I spent an hour with her at a coffee shop just talking. It took an hour of letting her talk to get to her real problem. She doesn’t have a safe place to live and she doesn’t have enough food eat. It was midday and she had not had food since lunchtime the day before. I could tell she didn’t want me to know this. She went from being in AP classes, playing 3 sports, performing spoken word poetry and running girls empowerment workshops to doing independent study because she didn’t have enough money to take the bus to school and eat.
I started with getting her lunch and a bag of groceries. Next up: cooking classes and diaper changing 101 at my house. This girl was meant to be in my life. She’d realized we crossed paths at a bus stop 3 months ago and had a short conversation.
I didn’t need a website to connect with her and make a difference. I just had to let go of my shit and say yes.
Thank you Jen and each one of you for putting me in a place where I could open my heart to this girl. It is just a small thing, but it’s the beginning.
This is going to be a great year.
To learn more about retreats with Jen or to book one, click here. https://jenniferpastiloff.com/Yoga_Retreats_With_Jen_Pastiloff.html.
Lovely. Love to you. Barb-Mom:)
This is so great ….. so glad you posted!!!!
Touching account of how inspiration, love and light can spread so effortlessly. Jen is a gem for shining her light and creating infinite expansion. So inspirational!!
Powerful. Simply powerful.
Please post more of this story, when you can.
I love this piece and I love that the woman who wrote this piece felt empowered to serve a member of her community in such a meaningful way.
Jen, as you know, one of my favorite things about your work is your focus on service. Mostly because your vision of service is so expansive and social justice oriented. It’s not simply yoga-speak, it’s rooted in real life.
Thank you both for doing the work.
I was not at the retreat but wish the new mom much happiness as well as the doula who listened to her heart. I resonate with the author about the excuses to move ahead. I too have an excuse all the time. Things like: I need to read another book about it first (my shelves are bursting); I need to practice more; what if there are mistakes; I need to get my office cleaned and on and on. My life is full of things that are not serving me well and the time to move ahead is now. Thanks for sharing this experience. I need to say yes. I am days short of 64 and need to write. I know this! I am saying yes.
Great great story!
So beautiful. Please let us know if there is anything the tribe can do to help out — more donations, etc. Stacey
This is no small thing. Best wishes to you and your new friend.
Oh please write more! And then what happened? Does she find a safe place to live? Does she go back to school? Did her parents kick her out? How does the birth go? This is such a wonderful story please share more. And maybe write a book!
WOW! I must try to be this brave and giving…we all should, I guess, huh?
This is so much an embodiment of what I believe about life. We are here to love and to learn. I reached out to someone a few years ago and he is now the light of my life…a child who needed someone. I had many doubts about whether or not I was the ‘right’ one; being SOMEONE was profound. I have made many mistakes; it isn’t ‘perfect’; but I DO know that I DID do and am doing the right thing. <3 Taking in a teen who needs you has many many rewards; not easy…but love never is.