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MindBodyGreen, Q & A Series, What do you stand for?

The Audience Is Listening.

December 19, 2012

We all need an audience.

I have been writing since I could write. The first real book I ever read was Judy Blume’s Forever when I was 7 years old. (Don’t ask how or why I read this at 7 years old.) I don’t remember anything except a penis being named Ralph and even that might be inaccurate, that may be another penis from another novel I read at age 8 or 12. I stopped writing for a long time during various dark hours of my life for various dark reasons but I have always been a writer. I started with short stories when I was 5. In college I started to experiment with poems. I found Sylvia Plath. I started confessing when I found her confessional poems and have never stopped.

Lately I’ve been thinking Why all of a sudden are people paying attention to what I have to say?

The reason is simple: because they are seeing it. I literally have an audience. There is no magic to it. I am the same me, I just have a few more sets of eyes looking at my sentences and poor grammar skills.

In the past, no one but a couple select people were seeing my words. I’d call my mom and ask her if I could read her what I just wrote. Or my friend Karina Wolf in New York. Now, I have a Facebook Fan page and a Twitter and an Instagram and yoga classes and you know name it, I got it. So you see, I have an audience. I have real life human beings with feelings and fingers and eyes reading what I am putting out there. Whether they like it or not is besides the point. There are people reading my words.

I have been battling with Facebook lately because I have been wanting to change my Fanpage name to Jennifer Pastiloff. Right now its called Jennifer Pastiloff Yoga. I want to drop the “Yoga”. I got it into my head that the “Yoga” part of the name would deter people and make me less of a real writer. (Oh, the stories we tell!)

My friend said something that I liked about this. She said that yoga is what brought me an audience. That nature knew how to organize itself.

It was then that I realized it probably didn’t matter if my page name said Ralph The Penis or Jennifer Pastiloff Yoga. It was the content. It was what I was saying. A name is a name. And yes, I have an audience. How it is what I have wanted my whole life. Hear me? Listen to me? Pay attention to me? Beyond the me, what I have always wanted just as badly, even as a kid was to “help people. To make people feel things.” (What kid talks like this? Apparently the same kid who went around reading Forever and telling people she knew how to spell “Antidisestablishmentarianism.”)

I want what I write to help you understand something about yourself or the world or least have you feel your face flushing with a I know what that is like!

I want to connect. That’s it.

How can you connect if you don’t have an audience?

You need one. One, a hundred, a billion. Whatever.

The boyfriend who wouldn’t let himself be called boyfriend whom I have written about never used to read my writing. I’d write a poem (a really good one too, if you ask me) and ask him if I could read it to him. Can you email it to me? he would say without looking up at me. I’d be hurt but I’d do it because I wanted someone, anyone, to read what I wrote.

He would never respond to the email.

I had no audience with the man I loved or thought I loved. Looking back I think there is no way that could have been love but who am I to judge at a vantage point of ten years later? The girl in her bedroom begging her not boyfriend boyfriend to read her poem thought she loved him and wanted nothing more than him to read what she wrote and then kiss her on the forehead or maybe just say good job, Jen. She wanted anything really. Any nod in her direction that said Keep going. But there was nothing except you need to stop waitressing. You need to figure out what you want to do with your life. You need to stop sleeping so late. You need to make a plan. 

Can you just read what I sent you?

I will. I’m busy. Later.

He never did read them.

We all need an audience. I don’t care if its one person or one million. We need someone to acknowledge us so we’re not standing alone in a parking lot clicking the beeper for our car only to realize hours later that the car isn’t there. It never was there. The car will never respond to the beeping of the alarm. It will not answer it’s call. Maybe you’ll get into a security guard’s car and have him drive you around and around. I swear I parked it right there. But the car isn’t there and you are alone with your bottle of wine and baguette and poems and car keys, standing there like a fool.

Sometimes it feels like a fluke to me that I am doing so well. People say things like You must be used to it or You must get this every day.

Let me tell you the answer as plainly as I can: No. No, I am not used to this and I am glad for that fact. I want to keep being surprised at how holy this all feels.

No I am not used to being paid attention to in this way as if I am making a difference.

Last week on my birthday, a bunch of my people ( I lovingly call them my “tribe”) got together to get me a new computer, knowing that I spilled wine on mine and that I had a book to write, dammit! After the yoga class I taught, where they had decorated the room with balloons and banners, they presented me with a gift card for $1600 for the Apple store. It was no secret I wanted a MacBook Air (which I am writing this post on now.) They signed it “Love your Bali, Italy and Ojai Tribes.” They had such faith in my book that they bought me a new computer. (I kept hearing myself beg Please read my poem? Please can I read you what I wrote? as I held the gift card in my shaking hand.)

I have never had a surprise party. I have never had 35 people conspire like this for me.  As they presented me with the card they were taking a video of it. I had an outer body experience. I felt myself disconnect and float away and go numb because I couldn’t be with the experience. How can this be for me? I wanted the video to go away. I wasn’t responding the way I should, I couldn’t feel anything, where am I? I kept asking myself to get grounded and tethered to something real like geography. I floated away and watched from high above. From inside the lights I watched all of the people celebrating me (after all, that was the theme of class: “Celebrate Yourself”) and I saw my past and all the events of my life also there in the room and they were mixed in with the wine drinkers and the cheese and the yoga mats and the people who were alive. The past was whispering in my ear that I should accept the gift so I slipped back into my body and I am not sure what I said but there is video. I was awkward and unsure of where I was in time and space. Where am I?

I am not sure if you can see the ghosts in the video but they were there and they apologized for not listening before and not reading my poems and for all the rest but then they told me that it was high time I buck up and face the present (that’s how they spoke!) and accept who I am now. 

In her early journals Sylvia Plath wrote: I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love’s not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then to come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person. But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I’ll ever have. And you cannot regard your own life with objective curiosity all the time…

I underlined that passage ten years ago when I got the book (as a gift from my mother who has always know who I was in the world) and I haven’t picked up the book since. I keep looking at that passage, the only one I underlined.

Maybe that’s why she killed herself in the end? She couldn’t reconcile how to live as both the one who leaves and the one who gets left? You cannot be everyone as she wrote. But what I can do is be myself, in all my layers and mess and fucked-upness and glory and failures and successes and cups of coffees and wine spills and I can write about my thoughts, my emotions as that person. That person is me. Not the dying man, or the cripple or the whore. But maybe the dying man or the cripple or the whore is in my audience somewhere, and maybe, just maybe, there is something in me that is also in them and maybe they will go to bed a little less afraid or maybe they will press their hand up against a window and hold it there in hopes that something will have shifted by the time they take it off the cold glass.





Video of my birthday surprise. I bow to you all. I love my Tribe. Thank you.


Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath


Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It's magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being.

Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It’s magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on November 30th. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on November 30th. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

funny, MindBodyGreen


October 10, 2012

That’s right, you read it right.

Apparently my husband and I had one last night.

At least, according to the note pinned to our front door.

I can assure you that it was not Robert and I. (Okay, I can’t really assure you but I am telling you.) Trust me, I would be proud if said sexorcism was ours.

I was sick last night and in bed with A Visit from the Goon Squad and Rob was eating salt-n-vinegar chips and watching soccer. I was asleep early with tissues in my nostrils because my nose wouldn’t stop running. Sexy, right?

Rob told me the couple in the building across way were going at it really loudly. Naturally, with my hearing loss, I did not hear. (I miss out on all the fun.)

I wish I had the courage to leave a note like that on someone’s door.

(Actually, no. I don’t.)

Nonetheless, the note made my day. I am going to leave it there.

Love, Jen-the-sex-o-maniac

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day. Check out for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: SeattleLondon, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

Next Manifestation workshop is London July 6. Book here.


Little Seal, MindBodyGreen

4 Things I Learned From a Two Year Old Who Is Dying.

September 19, 2012

My latest is up on MindBodyGreen. Please take a moment and read it. Leave comments there and not here please. Love you guys xo jen

Here is an excerpt…


1) How to be present

Ronan just is. He sits there in his stroller or propped up on his pillows and simply soaks up the energy of the room, a big baby sponge who sometimes has choking fits and seizures. He doesn’t ask for much. He knows when his mom is near. He knows when love is present. He knows when he needs to be fed. You feel silly when you find yourself worrying about the “what if’s” of life when you are in his presence, like he is some baby Buddha who has all the answers. He understands what it means to be still and also to have no expectations. He is present for his life in a way that is at once disarming and beautiful.

2) How to love

The love you feel for this child is impossible. Can’t you feel it, even having never met him? What if we let ourselves love in this way more often? Without any expectations, without regret, with only the here and the now and the open-hearted abandon that comes with knowing how fast the clock is ticking… how each kiss on his soft little face could be the last?


Continue reading by clicking here.

Inspiration, MindBodyGreen, Wayne Dyer

How May I Serve?

August 26, 2012

My latest on MindBodyGreen is near and dear to me. Ask yourself “How May I Serve?” What comes up when you say that?


In the irony of all ironies, it is the question How may I serve? that actually saves us from feeling lost and which also moves us forward in life.


4 Ways You Can Answer the Question: How May I Serve?

1) Find something you are passionate about and give back. For me, it is helping kids with special needs. I offer them free yoga. I hold fundraisers, I donate proceeds from my t-shirts. Whatever it is, find something you are passionate about and volunteer your time, money or voice. It doesn’t have to be big. It can literally be a posting on Facebook.

Click here to keep reading and please leave comment on actual MindBodyGreen post. Keep manifesting xo jen


You Don’t Need a Big White Wedding To Get Married After All.

August 24, 2012

My latest on MindBodyGreen talks about how I did my wedding. It was NOT traditional, to say the least.

I also offer suggestions for you as to how to have your dream wedding.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Click here.

The above photo was taken at my wedding at The Yoga Collective in Santa Monica where I held it. I asked people to bring donations and we gave all the money to Haiti for the earthquake relief. Click photo to read article.


Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex. You Listening?

August 21, 2012

I’ve been married two years. Two awesome and lovely years. Two years I wouldn’t trade for any other years even if someone offered: “Hey, wanna trade your two years for mine?”

I don’t have kids yet. Notice I said yet. I want to take advantage of this time before we do because I know full well that life changes with children. I have nephews. I have friends. I have eyes. Having said that, a lot of my friends say that having a baby brought them closer to their spouse. I am not prepared to write about that as it would be like the desert trying to describe an ocean. It can’t really know what it’s like.

What I do know is that kids or no kids, it is important to keep the spark alive. And as I can only speak to what I know – here are 5 ways to spark your sex life.

1) Feel sexy

I know when I am struggling with my old eating disorder demons, which rear their ugly head once in a while, I feel like a monster. It is a very old tape but once it starts playing I feel bad about myself. Then I start projecting that nonsense. It’s hard for someone else to find you sexy and irresistible when you yourself feel disgusting, or fat, or ugly, or any of the other detrimental adjective we can conjure up. So go out and make yourself feel sexy, dammit!

Go get a manicure or pedicure. Get your hair done. Go exercise; it’ll release endorphins and make you feel better within 20 minutes. Write a love letter to yourself. Do something you are really good at. Put on your favorite outfit. Put on some nice shoes.

Whatever it takes, just make yourself feel sexy.

2) Let someone else make you feel sexy

My husband thinks I am the most gorgeous woman in the world (God bless his sweet soul!). Oftentimes, I deflect his affections or attention because I either don’t feel sexy and beautiful or because I am busy working. Whatever the reason is, it creates a profound cause and effect. It’s very hard for two people to be intimate with one another if one party is shutting the other down or is not willing to accept the love. If someone is trying to make you feel sexy – let them.

3) Get the heck outta Dodge!

Get out of town. I now lead retreats all around the world so sometimes I take my husband with me. I cannot express enough the importance of this is. I know you may not be a yoga teacher and you may not even be able to leave the state, but get away regardless.

Go camp out on the beach. Go get a hotel room down the street. Go do something that is out of the ordinary and feels special and different. Trust me, having sex somewhere else is exciting. I don’t care how long you have been married or how long it has been since you’ve done the deed. It’s the spark that will reignite that flame. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. It just needs to be not at home. It needs to feel a little magical.

We all want that little bit of magic.

4) Date night

Once a week. Once a month. Whatever! Just do it. Go see a movie. Get dressed up. Have dinner. Stay in and stay naked but plan it and do it. Be present for it. Shut off Facebook and cell phones. If you have kids, get a babysitter. Date each other. People who date each other want to sleep with each other. You start to find things that are interesting and sexy about the other person that you may have forgotten or never even known. Why should we stop dating or getting to know each other just because we have been together a while or gotten married? Date. Each. Other.

5) Focus on YOU

It’s boring to be with someone who makes you the focus of their life 100% of the time. I used to be that someone. I dated a man many years ago and my happiness completely revolved around him. I was terribly unhappy at the time and had nothing that made me feel alive so I put everything on him. Now, with my husband, I have my own passions and career and dreams. That is not to say he isn’t a part of it. He is very much a part of it but I am my own person and that in itself is wildly sexy to men and women. We want someone that has something to talk about, that has a fire inside of them.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have a passion right now (beating yourself is way unsexy), but rather go out and start finding things that make you feel good. When you come together with your partner you then have that goodness inside of you, ready to spread it.

The bottom line is this: Connection is important. Find ways to get creative and to keep it fresh. Just like we need to do with every area of our lives. Our sex life is no different. Sometimes it needs a kick in the pants. Sometimes it needs a good yoga class or a big drink of wine or a new haircut or a date night.

Whatever it needs, provide it. Be sexy. Be you 100%.

Come on a retreat with me somewhere in the world! Click here.