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Q & A Series

Q & A Series, The Converse-Station

The Converse-Station: Alice Anderson interviews Maggie May Ethridge.

May 28, 2014

Hey there, Jen Pastiloff here. Welcome to the newest installment on The Manifest-Station. The Converse-Station: A place where writers interview writers. (Thanks to author Elissa Wald for coming up with that name.) I am so excited by the idea of this series, I can hardly stand it. The readership on the site is so high that I figured it was time for something like this. Today’s interview is between two of my buddies, Alice Anderson and Maggie May Ethridge, and I couldn’t be more excited. I am a hardcore fan of both of these women and I think you will be too, after you read this. Magggie’s book came out today. You can buy it here. I hope you do. Smooches, Jen.

Alice Anderson

Alice Anderson

Maggie May Ethridge

Maggie May Ethridge

One Wild and Precious Marriage. An interview conducted by Alice Anderson.

I’ve been a fan of Maggie May Etheridge since the late-90’s, when I first became aware of her as a blogger with a knack for elevating the ordinary moments of life to a higher realm. I’m dating myself, but I don’t mind telling you that “Flux Capacitor” held an unwavering spot in my Myspace top ten. And I’m not alone in my admiration: a frequent comment on Etheridge’s blog is, “If you ever publish a book, I will be first in line.” Well, queue up y’all, the day has arrived! Atmospheric Disturbances: Scenes from a marriage, a memoir of true love and life’s unexpected bumps in the road, is released today (by Shebooks, a curated collection of quality e-books written by women, for women.)

Atmospheric Disturbances is essentially a love story, with all the requisite complications and disasters. When Maggie and Mr. Curry (as she calls her husband throughout the memoir) meet, it is one of those universal pivotal moments when we first meet the eyes of someone we might love. Not the clichéd movie moment of love at first sight, but rather the soul-deep recognition of someone who’ll become part of you, who somehow already knows you. It’s that precipice, that moment before the moment electricity that carries Etheridge and Mr. Curry through the years of marriage and blending children and having two more and making a life. And then an unwelcome guest arrives at the table: mental illness. When Mr. Curry is diagnosed with bipolar, Etheridge asks: Am I welcome at the marriage table when my husband is lost to bipolar and my wedding band is being twisted in anxiety underneath the cloth? Less about the diagnoses of bipolar than the way we survive the rough times, Atmospheric Disturbances is about scaling the precipice, and somehow falling not into darkness, but into light.

Alice Anderson: There are two layers of “history” that feel like myth in this story. There is the history of childhood, in which you paint yourself as a solitary, lonely soul. And there is the history of the beginning of your relationship with Mr. Curry. Both have a kind of mythology – the way our histories can come to be a metaphor for our lives – and the “moral of the story” of the history with Mr. Curry seems to be the answer to the mystery to the childhood struggles. The cure, as it were. When he was diagnosed, did his illness feel like a slap in the face to the healing his presence in your life had so clearly provided? 

Maggie May Etheridge: Absolutely it did. The slap in the face that I render Mr. Curry in the memoir was a direct reflection of the internal experience I was having a shocking pain, unexpected and heartbreaking. Our marriage before he became sick was so life affirming, so healthy, and so beautiful that I had felt I was over one part of my life – the part where I felt alone in the world, cut off from kindred spirits – and on to the other, and I expected that whatever challenges came our way (which they did! poverty, disease, yes we have done both) we would meet them together, with this relationship as our backbone. When Mr. Curry became ill I was left alone to deal with it, because the person I know retreats when he is sick. Sometimes when he is really ill, I imagine his brain, inflamed and irritable, swollen up around the real person he is, trapping him. Bipolar is an absolutely ugly, brutal disease and the way it can destroy a person’s life breaks my heart over and over. Witnessing other people with this disease who do not have family support is tragic; they become completely lost. Bipolar is like cancer in that there are many treatments but no one can tell you if they will work or if they do, how long they will keep the thing at bay.

Alice Anderson: You mention your gratitude that he allows you to talk about his diagnoses at all. Can you talk about how Mr. Curry came to agree to you writing this material? I love the line about him wanting to allow you to do what you do, which is to tell the truth. But you seem to have left out the specific details of those difficult waves in his bipolar – was this intentional? Did you have to draw a line in the sand in what you would not talk about regarding the waves of his bipolar phases? 

Maggie May Etheridge: I absolutely drew a line in the sand and left out most of what happens. When I was writing this, I was drawn toward expressing with the words, the sentences, the emotions of feeling estranged from your lover, of feeling abandoned, hurt, confused, guilty – drawing up those emotions around a few sketched details vs. a diary where I write out many specific experiences and then clearly state how I felt, how he felt.

Originally when I began writing about this, it was online on my blog Flux Capacitor. I had asked in 2009 if I could write about it and he said no. I respected that. Over time, he approached me and changed his mind. I think this was because we could not afford a therapist for myself, and he was very ill, and I needed something and he gave it to me. I wrote about this on my blog and the relief was immense. Not only was I able to express myself, I was able to connect with other people who were, for one reason or another, struggling in their marriages. And I found that even people with more solid and healthy marriages would come forward and say they loved the writing, because even the best of marriages have the darkest of nights.

Alice Anderson: One thing I felt most when reading this is that it is a love story. Do you agree? In what way did you (if you did) want the love to overshadow the trouble in the piece? 

Maggie May Etheridge: I had no intentions when I wrote this except for to stay true to my inner voice, my experience of the world, and to leave out or later erase things that felt wrong, cruel to my husband or my family. I deeply love my husband. We were best friends for years before we married – both of us had children in other relationships, children that have known each other since they were born. We met as teenagers and he was in love with me a long time before I realized I was in love with him. Falling romantically in love with someone you already have a deep trust and friendship with is thrilling in all ways – not only are you incredibly passionate and excited, like all new love, you also have the deeply satisfying knowledge of their personhood. This is why, when my husband became sick, it was such a shock. I knew him, and then it seemed overnight, I did not.

Alice Anderson: You talk about the way we view love and marriage in our culture as something that is supposed to be painless, over the rainbow lovely. You manage, in your writing, to infuse even the most difficult parts of the story with a visceral love that feels real and true and fierce. I’ve found that sometimes “trouble” can bond me to a lover. Do you feel the trouble (meaning the rough times, the bipolar phases, the struggle) in your marriage has increased the passion? The loyalty? 

Maggie May Etheridge: No, I really do not. I think the passion and loyalty that comes though in this memoir was built before he was very ill, and in the times when he has not been. The person that is truly beautiful. He is loyal, intelligent, funny, charming, gentle – so gentle – open minded, the hardest worker you will ever meet and aware of the brevity and beauty of life. The love I have for him is from this man, this person. This is so powerful that it carries me during the long stretches when he is ill – because I do not believe that love is just an emotion. I deeply believe that real love is a commitment to support and cherish a person regardless of your emotions. This does not mean I don’t believe in divorce, but I believe how you divorce – your side, nothing else – is also an extension of that original love and commitment.

What the trouble in our marriage has done, the pain, is to make me deeply question and investigate what it means to be a person. What does it mean to love someone? What is the line between loyalty and self-flagellation or martyrdom? If a person has a brain disease, and all markers of that person disappear and leave behind new markers, is this the same person? How do you take care of yourself while taking care of someone who is attacking you without knowing what they are really doing? What is the meaning of commitment, of honor? What do I want my children to see and learn?

The pain has also caused a great deal of guilt in my part. The guilt at times has been the worst part of the entire disease for me. Guilt that I cannot fix him, no matter how many vitamins or supportive words. Guilt that I feel so furious and hateful toward him when he is sick. Guilt that sometimes I have to choose between taking care of the kids and him, and I always choose the kids. Guilt that I want so much for myself.

Alice Anderson: How did you choose the title, Atmospheric Disturbances, Scenes from a marriage?

Maggie May Etheridge: I am devoted to titles. I love, love a great title and have my own ideas of what a great title is. When this phrasing rung in my head, I just fell in love with the words. It perfectly fits the memoir, which are literally scenes from our marriage.

Alice Anderson: The last line in the piece, “And wait for him” is incredibly sad, the reader feels your isolation and pain. In any way do you feel like you’re losing your sense of self when you’re in that prolonged time of waiting? Have you found a way to weather those phases with less pain over the years? What do you do to hold your sense of self steady? 

Maggie May Etheridge: I feel a loss of self, yes, primarily I think because we have four children and they are the focus of my life. When he is ill, and I am parenting, there is very, very little left for self-expression of any kind. This can be absolutely brutal. Holding my sense of self steady comes from two places- connecting through books, writing, poetry, friends and learning, and living up to my own moral obligations. When I am working hard, engaged emotionally with my kids, meeting my responsibilities, moving toward patience, kindness, humility, devotion – then I feel strong and connected to every human being who has come before me who has done something very difficult or painful and remained true to their ideals. What gets me through the worst of life is when I can look back and feel satisfied that I can be proud of myself, that I did my best, that I loved well. In the end, when you lie down in bed at night, this is the comfort. Because we cannot control anything else, and sometimes we cannot even control ourselves. So if most of the time, we are doing the best we can, loving well, then we can be satisfied we are making a good life and that the people we love know and feel loved.

Alice Anderson: Speaking of love, I love the various locations in the book – they’re all sort of quintessentially California. The parks and basement clubs and convenience stores and burrito joints and even Mr. Curry’s truck traversing the edge of the Pacific. I found myself “seeing” the story as I read it, with the sort of a burnished SoCal light cast on average places. You elevate the basement club and the average neighborhood park with your language, the way a sunset elevates an otherwise simple cloudy sky. If you were to have a book party, which of these locations would be closest to your heart, the perfect location to celebrate the messy, lovely, wild love that unfurls across the pages of this book?

Maggie May Etheridge: A Cali. bookstore on the beach, where we’d all drink coffee and then disperse outside for a walk. I love California, I love San Diego. I am originally from Jackson, Miss. and the two places have meshed together in my person. I am deeply aware of my Southern roots and spent a lot of time in Miss. growing up, visiting my grandparents back there, including my 4th grade year – we lived there and I went to school. I absolutely love Southern writers. They speak closest to my experience of the world, slightly surreal, odd, infused with magic, terror, love. When I write scenes of suburban life, I often feel echoes of the impression that John Irving’s The World According To Garp suburbia left on me, that heightened sense of place.

Alice Anderson: In the scene where you break the window, Mr. Curry seems like the stable one in the relationship, coming to the rescue. There is an old Southern saying that any marriage can last forever as long as only one person is crazy at a time. Agree? When Mr. Curry is in a bipolar episode do you feel required to “buck up” and be the strong one? It seems he picks up the slack of this when he’s doing well. You speak of “not keeping score” but do you feel that it all evens out? How is does the burden of mental illness affect the balance of a marriage?

Maggie May Etheridge: I absolutely have to buck up when he is ill. We have children that need stability and love and when he is ill, they need it more than ever. When he is well, he absolutely picks up the slack. In some ways, he’s more even-keeled that I am when he is well! His nature is gentle, kind, patient.  But no, the balance does not even out. This disease has ravaged more years of our marriage than it has left untouched. Not everyone experiences it this way – some people are more responsive to medication than Mr. Curry has been. We have tried many different medications, therapies – at one point I researched and found ‘the’ premiere bipolar expert here in San Diego, a professor and writer and lecturer who only sees a small amount of clients for $500 a pop, and we scraped the money out of our sad account and he saw this man. Nothing has ‘worked’. The longest reprieve has been a year and half. Right now, he is doing gluten free, and that has made him healthier, maybe more clear headed, but not ‘well’.

Alice Anderson: I noticed you quoted Mary Oliver’s “one wild and precious life” in one scene – your voice is very poetic throughout. The language is taught and plain, yet elevated and opaque, much the way Oliver’s language is in her poems. You seem to be taking Oliver’s poetic advice, which is to “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” Why was it important to you to tell this story?

Maggie May Etheridge: I think Oliver’s poetic advice is the intention behind my writing. As I mentioned before, I originally started writing about our marriage with the intention of just letting some of the pressure out, which is what writing does for me (usually. sometimes my novel makes me insane with pressurized words that won’t inflate correctly.)

Alice Anderson: You talk in this book about the way Bipolar is an invisible illness, how people can’t see it, don’t rally to help the way they would something more visible and concrete. I think this is a universal feeling for those who have an invisible illness and it’s worse for one for which there is no cure, because people grow weary and feel that after a given time, the person should “be better” or “cured,” even if there is no cure. Did you feel compelled to bring this into the light? Do you have a sense of advocacy on behalf of families who suffer with the way bipolar can wreak havoc?

Maggie May Etheridge: I see myself as an advocate for mental illness awareness in general. I have anxiety and have suffered with various forms of this my whole life, and mental illness of all kinds runs rampant in my family history. With bipolar specifically, I think of an acquaintance who once told me that I should not separate Mr. Curry from bipolar the illness, that essentially I was fooling myself, and yes it is a disease, but it’s who he is, also. I sat on that for some time, rolling it around in the muck of my experience and reading. It’s not true. And really, it’s the essential devastation and greatest point of pain for people who have this disease: the true person they are is not recognized, they are seen as their illness. Can you imagine people saying, “Hi, I’m Amy and I am cancer.” the way they would say, “Hi this is Amy and she is bipolar’”? No. Bipolar is an actual disease of the brain that can be seen on MRI’s. I have lived with my husband for over a year where he was not ill, and he was a whole and complete person with no signs of the behaviors that arise when he is ill. He may get lost in the disease, but I will never see him as an illness, and I consider it my cherished duty to always retain awareness of him as the person he is when not ill, to honor that person who I have promised to love. I think of this when he is ill: if he was trapped in isolation in prison, faultily accused and deemed guilty, would I leave him alone? Or would I slip notes in the door, say prayers, smooth his hair when he slipped by me in the hallway? Love is not powerful unless you infuse it with a sense of purpose, even if that purpose is simply to hold on to the truth, no matter who else forgets.

Alice Anderson: Thank you for talking with me about Atmospheric Disturbances: Scenes from a marriage. If you had to sell this book with only one word, what would that one word be?

Maggie May Etheridge: Marriage.

Alice Anderson: If I had to sell it with just one word, I’d choose: beauty.

Click book to purchase.

Click book to purchase.


Maggie May Ethridge is a writer, poet, and novelist close to completing her second novel, Agitate My Heart. Her work can be found in various online and print publications including Diagram, Role/Reboot, the Nervous Breakdown, and the Huffington Post. Originally from Mississippi, she resides in San Diego with her husband and four children. She blogs regularly at Flux Capacitor and can be found on Twitter @FluxCapacitor74 and Facebook. Her essay “What Do Wives Do?” was included in the Equals anthology 2013.

Alice Anderson is a poet and writer whose poetry collection, Human Nature, won both the Bobst Prize from NYU and the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s Best First Book Prize. She is featured in the anthologies On the Verge: Emerging Poets and Artists in America, and American Poetry: The Next Generation. An adjunct professor and single mama of three, she is at work on a memoir, The Season of Ordinary Time. In 2009, Anderson suffered a traumatic brain injury and has learned how to walk, write, speak, and read again. You can find her on Facebook, as well as on Twitter and Instagram @AlicePoet.

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. She is a writer living on an airplane. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, among others. Jen’s leading a long weekend retreat to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day in Ojai, Calif. She and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Check out her site for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you (Dallas, London, Seattle, Sioux Falls, Atlanta  etc.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

Q & A Series, writing

The Manifest-Station Q&A Series: Best-Selling Author Dani Shapiro.

September 29, 2013

I’m Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis. Someone like best-selling author Dani Shapiro.

When I read Dani’s book Devotion, my life changed. Just like that, I was on a plane to Bali to lead a retreat there, and if you told me that the plane had changed courses, I would have believed you. Dani’s latest book Still Writing, which releases on Tuesday, October 1st, is no different. I had the distinct honor to read an advanced copy, which I carried around like a dog-eared Bible of sorts. 

Dani Shapiro crystallizes more than 20 years’ worth of lessons learned from teaching and writing into the instructive and inspiring Still Writing ~ Vanity Fair

You know when you find a writer and you think “They are talking to me. They wrote this book for me. They are, in fact, a little piece of me.” That’s Dani.

Perhaps my favorite quote by Dani, “Everything I know about life, I learned from the daily practice of sitting down to write.” I remind myself of that quote every time the resistance comes up to sit down or to be present. It’s the daily practice. It’e the putting one foot in front of the other, or, one letter after the other. It’s the sitting down to do it.

Writers need hope. Writers need help. Thank you, Dani Shapiro. ~Michael Cunningham

It’s a huge honor to have her featured on this series. I have taken a break from it and what better way to make a re-entry than with Dani Shapiro? Please, whatever you do, pick up a book by her and hold it close to your heart. Read it. You won’t ever put it down. It will stay inscribed there on your heart forever. Isn’t that what good writing does?

Lastly, and this just makes me giddy to write, Dani will be on SuperSoul Sunday with Oprah on Sunday October 20th. Talk about manifesting! Without further ado, here is my beloved friend, Dani Shapiro…

dani - 12 copy

Jennifer Pastiloff: I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from this series but I’d like to start with the question I always start with. What are you most proud to have manifested in your life? 

Dani Shapiro: I have two immediate and powerful responses to that question.  The first is that I’ve manifested a happy family.  I’ve been genuinely, deeply, happily married for sixteen years.  I have a fourteen-year-old son who I’m very close to.  Both of these could so easily––as the poet Jane Kenyon once wrote so beautifully––could have been otherwise.  I was married twice before.  Once when I was still a teenager (!) and once in my twenties.  I made epically lousy choices in my romantic life until I met my husband.  And I was terrified to become a mother.  I had a very difficult relationship with my own mother, and I didn’t see the attraction.  Some women spend their whole lives wanting to become mothers.  This wasn’t me.  I experienced a single, stark moment of absolute grace when I thought I could become a mother––and I did. 

The second response is my life as a writer.  I was such a fuck-up.  You never would have looked at me, when I was in my early twenties, and thought: oh, yeah, that girl – she’s going to become a bestselling novelist and memoirist and is going to teach in universities.  Oh yeah, that girl is going to sit down with Oprah.  No… I don’t think so.  But I climbed my way out of the dark place I had burrowed myself into, and in a beautiful piece of symmetry, becoming a writer saved my life, a word, a sentence at a time.  

Jennifer Pastiloff: How did Devotion come to be? I read the book on a flight to Bali and it was one of those life-changing moments for me, where I bolted up out of my seat and started writing. My copy is now dog-eared and I assign it often to my students at workshops and retreats. Tell us, if you would, how that book was born?

Dani Shapiro: God, I love hearing that so much!  Thank you.  I was in the middle of my yoga practice when Devotion came to me.  I had been in a trough between novels, waiting for the next work of fiction to materialize, and on this particular day I was in tree pose, and suddenly the word “devotion” flashed before my eyes.  Nothing like this had ever happened to me.  I’ve never had a title before I’ve had a book.  I’ve written whole books before I’ve come upon the right title.  But as soon as I saw that word –– devotion –– I knew that it was a book, a memoir, an exploration of the spiritual and existential crisis I had found myself in.  I had been grappling with questions that I finally wanted to address directly, deeply, and as a writer the only way I know how to address anything is on the page.  I discover what I believe through the writing.  But this wasn’t particularly welcome news, I must say.  I hadn’t planned to write another memoir.  Certainly not a spiritual memoir.  But when a feeling of rightness accompanies an idea for a writer, you turn away from it at your own peril. 

Jennifer Pastiloff: As you know, one of my great dreams has been to be on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah. You, my friend, have had this dream become a reality. We’ve had a couple conversations where you have shared some gorgeous insight about this experience. I know you are planning on writing about it but would you tell my readers just a little about what that was like for you? The process of non-attachment, the letting go and having it return?

Dani Shapiro: I’ve learned so many things about myself, and about life, since I got the call inviting me to be a guest on “Super Soul Sunday” with Oprah.  The first revelation is about the nature of shock.  I had known for a long time that bad news could be shocking.  I’ve been on the receiving end of shocking bad news.  But what I hadn’t known is that good news can be shocking.  I had no idea that I was being considered for Super Soul.  I didn’t have a new book out when I got the call.  In fact, when Devotion came out in 2010, of course I had some faint hope that maybe the Oprah folks would come knocking, but who ever really thinks that will happen?  I don’t know why this is, but I really believe that things don’t happen when we’re trying to will them into being.  They don’t happen when we’re waiting for the phone to ring, or the email to pop up in our in box.  They don’t happen when we’re gripping too tightly.  They happen –– if they happen at all –– when we’ve fully let go of the results.  And, perhaps, when we’re ready.  I was much more ready for that phone call than I would have been in 2010.  I’d spent three years deepening my practice, thinking about spiritual matters, and living them.  I was more grounded and centered.  And that was my goal ­­–– when I sat down with Oprah.  My goal was to be centered and present.  Not to miss the experience.  Not to be all self-absorbed and self-conscious and up in my head.  I didn’t want to miss the moment.  I wanted to truly rise to the occasion. 

Jennifer Pastiloff: When will your Super Soul Sunday episode air?

Dani Shapiro: The air date is Sunday, October 20.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Expect to be delighted. I found this in a book years ago and I use it as one of the steps to manifesting in my workshops. Thoughts on this one? 

Dani Shapiro: Well, I love that.  Too often we expect the worst.  I spent a lot of my life being one of those “waiting for the other shoe to drop” people.  It doesn’t protect against the other shoe dropping, and all it really does is cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety.  But to anticipate delight is, perhaps, to cultivate delight!  What a wonderful way to live.  And why not?  I mean, we’re not in control.  We don’t know what will happen next.  Why not assume the very, very best?

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson (or one of them) you have learned from being a mom?

Dani Shapiro: Being a mom has forced me to be more present, because I became aware, when my son was very small, that I didn’t want to look back on what really is a brief window in the span of a lifetime –– of early childhood, of his growing up, of his adolescence –– and feel like I had been elsewhere and missed it.  It’s easy to wish the time away.  Some of motherhood is boring, though most of us won’t admit it.  For instance, I do not like to play games.  I’m not a game-playing mom.  Not board games, not outdoor games.  And so I would find myself wishing those hours away, but I made myself stop living in the past or the future, and come to the awareness, instead, that this time of young motherhood would eventually become something I would feel nostalgia for.  I would miss it some day.  And so I wanted to be present for the very thing that I would some day miss.  

Jennifer Pastiloff: I know your husband is a filmmaker. Can you tell us a bit about what a day in the life of the Shapiro/Maren household is like?

Dani Shapiro: Every day is different!  When I’m working on a book, I’m home in my office in my yoga clothes, in a silent house, with just my dogs for company.  My husband has an office in a town near our house, and he heads there early in the morning, and that’s where he gets his work done.  But we both do a lot of traveling –– he directed his first feature film this year, “A Short History of Decay” and was in North Carolina for two months shooting.  That’s by far the longest we’ve been apart.  When I have a book out –– as I’m about to –– I’ll be on and off airplanes nearly every week for months at a time.  We live in rural Connecticut, which is very good for both of us, I think.  It’s a wonderful place to be based, and for our son to be growing up. 

Jennifer Pastiloff: Still Writing? I absolutely loved your blog piece about this and how people often ask that question. Still writing? In fact, your latest book is titled Still Writing. Can you tell us a little about the new book? When can we read it?

Dani Shapiro: Still Writing will be in bookstores October 1.  I began a blog a number of years ago about writing –– not so much about craft, but rather, what it takes to sit down day after day in solitude and with some sort of blind faith.  I was interested in exploring all the things that come up: resistance, fortitude, patience, frustration, the ability to withstand rejection –– all the struggles and challenges, as well as the incredible gifts and privileges, of spending life as a writer.  And the blog really caught on.  It took me by surprise.  I began receiving notes from all sorts of people telling me that they were reading it and getting something they needed out of it.  I never even considered writing a book based on the blog, but everyone kept asking –– and eventually it just seemed like something I should do.  I never once looked back at the blog, though, as I was writing Still Writing.  I wanted it to be a real book – part memoir, part meditation on the creative process.  I think of it as my love letter to creative people everywhere.  Writing saved my life –– in the book, I say that everything I know about how to live I have learned from the daily practice of struggling with the page.  And so I think the book is about those lessons, too.  

Still Writing by Dani Shapiro

Jennifer Pastiloff: Yoga. Tell us about how yoga has affected your life, as well as your writing? So many of my readers are a hybrid of yogis and writers and I find the crossover fascinating. One of the reasons I have them all read Devotion.

Dani Shapiro: I love that you have your yoga students read Devotion.  That means so much to me!  My yoga practice is so woven into my life as a writer that I can’t imagine one without the other.  In fact, the reason I work at home, rather than have an office outside of the house (which is sometimes very appealing!) is because I like the freedom of being able to unroll my mat in the middle of the day.  When I’m starting to feel stuck, or when my head gets too noisy, the one and only thing I have found that helps me come home to myself, and quiet my mind, is my yoga practice.  And while I love nothing more than a great yoga class (and am jealous of my friends who live near great studios all over the country) when I moved to Connecticut there weren’t any studios near my home, and so I built my own home practice, which I now love.  I unroll my mat in my bedroom, light a fire in my fireplace unless it’s the middle of summer, and I have these seven chakra sprays that Aveda makes lined up on my fireplace mantle, and a few crystals a healer once gave me –– this is my sanctuary. 

Jennifer Pastiloff: On being a Jew. Although you were raised with more structure around religion than I was, I felt I had found my soulmate when I read Devotion. You helped me arrive at the place of accepting that I absolutely did NOT have to put myself in a box or label myself as one thing or the other.

How does being “complicated with Jewishness” fit into your life now? It seems to be that a lot of the great spiritual leaders are Jews and that there is something inherent in Judaism that lends itself to spirituality as a whole. Tell us about being a writer, a yogi, a Jew and a spiritual seeker and a mom. I love this idea of I do not have to be just one thing. Watch me.

Dani Shapiro: Just yesterday, a writer friend who had just read an early copy of Still Writing paid me the ultimate compliment.  He told me that Still Writing felt to him like a prayer book.  That it felt Rabbinical in some way.  He felt the influence, he said, of all those Saturday mornings I spent sitting in synagogue with my father.  I tried not to deflect the compliment and really take it in.  These last years, since embarking on the journey that led to writing Devotion, have been a continuation of a path that I hope to wander for the rest of my life.  I am indeed complicated by my Judaism, in the way I think so many of us are “complicated” by our experiences of childhood religion.  Being Jewish is incredibly important to me, but I’m not observant.  At the same time, I cared deeply that my son know himself as Jewish –– not just culturally, but be steeped in the traditions and rituals.  His Bar Mitzvah last year –– which was completely homegrown, eclectic, held in a church, led by a female Rabbi with whom we’ve become close, with readings from Coleridge and Hannah Senesh, as well as the whole congregation singing Leonard Cohen’s “Broken Hallelujah” –– with my son playing his ukulele and me on the piano –– was one of the highlights of my life.  I looked around that church at all of our family and friends gathered and there was such love in that room, such a feeling of being part of something meaningful and real –– and I had built it –– we even made our own prayer books –– by necessity, and by choice, and out of a tremendous amount of focus on finding a way to do something that would truly resonate. 

It has been one of the biggest shifts in my life over these past few years, this feeling that I can be this and that.  Be Jewish and a great reader of eastern philosophy.  A messed up girl who grew up into a thoughtful and (hopefully not too messed up) woman.  A yogi who likes a good steak along with a bottle of Barolo.  An urbanite living in rural Connecticut.  All these things.  So what?  Why not?  I’ve been shrugging off definitions that have limited me.  The only person who can place these limiting definitions on us is ourselves. 

Jennifer Pastiloff: What would you say to yourself at 25 years old in terms of your career?

Dani Shapiro: Oh, dear girl, be patient.  Know that there is no well-lit path.  Know that your dreams for yourself at this moment are small and that you have no idea what life has in store for you.  Some of your disappointments and setbacks will turn out to be your greatest lessons.  More than anything, be in competition only with yourself.  You have the opportunity to spend your whole life getting better and better at what you do. 

What would you say to yourself 5 years ago?

I would say that worry is a waste of time.  That anxiety doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t protect us from anything.  All it does is sap us of our creative energy and impede our flow.  The things I’ve tended to worry about do not come to pass.  The difficulties I’ve had in my life are not ones I’ve anticipated.  So why not at least try to let go?  

JP: When was the last time you laughed at yourself?

DS: Yesterday.  A photographer was at my house, photographing me for a piece for The New York Times.  I was all dolled up, makeup, good hair, the whole deal – and they decided they wanted to take a picture of me on my yoga mat.  So I changed into my yoga clothes and sat in lotus position “meditating” while he took my picture.  Imagine the noise in my head!  Absurdity always makes me laugh.  All I could think was: “it’s come to this!” 

JP: Victor Frankl was able to mentally survive living in a concentration camp by finding beauty in a fish head floating in his soup. In a fish head.  Learning this is what inspired me to start the 5mostbeautifulthings Project. What if we walked around looking for beauty instead of looking for things to be stressed about or offended by? What if we trained our eyes and our hearts to tune into that which makes us cock our head to one side and close our eyes gently in an effort to memorize what we were looking at. What if it is all we got? What if all we have is our 5 beautiful things? What’s your fish head? What are your 5 most beautiful things right now, Dani?

DS: Literally right at this moment:

My son’s face.

My two dogs lying curled up in a patch of sunlight.

The changing leaves outside my window.  Autumn in New England.

My husband across the kitchen table me, both on our laptops.  A team.

The quiet and beauty of our lives.  Hard won.  Ephemeral.  Taking it in.

JP: Tell us about Sirenland. I just visited Positano after my Tuscany retreat and per your recommendation I went to Le Sireneuse, hugged the owners and had pink champagne with them. Le Sireneuse is where you hold Sirenland each March. I can safely say that it took my breath away. It’s a dream come true that you do this. What is Sirenland? How did it come to be? Who is teaching with you this year? Why Positano?

DS: Sirenland was born at a dinner party in Connecticut.  I had absolutely no dream of starting a writing conference.  My husband and I were at dinner at our friend Nancy Novogrod’s home –– she is the editor in chief of Travel+Leisure –– and she had invited, as she told me, her favorite hotel owners in the world.  These would be Antonio and Carla Sersale, owners of Le Sirenuse.  We had an incredibly fun evening together, and then a week later, I received an email from Antonio asking if I’d like to bring some writers to Italy.  This was eight years ago.  Sirenland has grown into one of the best writing conferences in the world.  We have thirty students come to Italy for a life-altering week.  (By the way, applications are now open at  My son has gotten to grow up going each year to this miraculous place.  And we’ve made so many incredible friends.  I always teach one of the three workshops, and the other faculty rotates.  We’ve had Jim Shepard teach for a number of years.  Last year, Karen Russell (who just became the youngest person ever to win a MacArthur “genius” Award), this year the wonderful writers Meg Wolitzer and Andre Dubus III will be joining us. 

JP: I often ask “what are your rules to live by?” because I think it’s a fun way to hold ourselves accountable. Some of mine are: Don’t take yourself too seriously, sing out loud, write poems (even if only in your head), don’t worry, everyone on Facebook seems like they have happier lives (they don’t.) I ask people of all ages to do this, including children, and to see what people write is a joy. What are some of your rules to live by?

DS: Always tell the truth.

Practice discernment.

To have a friend you have to be a friend.

Use the Internet –– don’t allow the Internet to use you.

Try to live in the moment.

Love, love, love.  Spend it all.  Every little bit.

Hold nothing back. 

JP: Kripalu. I love that you lead workshops there, as I do. It is one of my favorite places to teach.  The beloved Berkshires. Tell us about Kripalu. When will you be there next?

DS: I love Kripalu, and love teaching there too.  I’ll be there to teach my first workshop based on Still Writing from November 1-3.  And as a special treat, my dear friend, the great yogi, scholar and writer Stephen Cope will be joining me on that Saturday night for an honest, open, deep conversation about writing, creativity, doing and living the work.  I’m so excited to be doing an event with Stephen.  And next June –– the 6th through the 8th – Stephen and I will co-teach a weekend writing and yoga retreat.

JP: I know you talk about it in Devotion but can you share with us how you met Stephen and how that relationship came to be? Sylvia Boorstein?

DS: That story is such a life-lesson in putting one foot in front of the other.  In saying yes, instead of no.  I first met Stephen on the page.  I was reading his gorgeous book, That story is such a life-lesson in putting one foot in front of the other.  In saying yes, instead of no.  I first met Stephen on the page.  I was reading his gorgeous book, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self.  It was, for me, one of those life-changing books.  I carried it around with me, underlining, doodling exclamation points in the margins.  And one summer afternoon I found myself at a library fundraiser –– I had promised ages before to attend –– and I was grumbling to myself the whole way there.  Didn’t want to go.  It was hot, humid, a bad hair day, and I was annoyed at myself for having agreed.  It was one of those events where authors sit behind piles of their books, in a sweltering tent, and people in linen jackets and madras shorts walk by carrying plastic cups of white wine.  Sound fun?  Anyway, I was shown to my table and sat grumpily down.  Then the author next to me leaned over to introduce himself.  “Hi,” he said.  “Steve Cope.”

He and I became immediate, fast friends.  I had his book with me in my bag!  I just couldn’t believe it.  Shortly thereafter, I signed up for a retreat he was teaching at Kripalu –– which was a place I had wanted to visit, but had always felt intimidated and resistant.  But now I had a pal there, so I pushed myself to go.  That weekend, he was teaching with a Buddhist named Sylvia Boorstein, who I hadn’t known, not being of that world.  Attending that retreat at Kripalu changed my life.  I made two of my dearest friends, teachers, fellow travelers, guides.  And now –– only four or five years later –– I am a part of the Kripalu family as well, and love leading my retreats there.  I’m going to be on the West Coast for my Still Writing book tour, and Sylvia and I are doing an event together at Book Passage in Marin County.  It will be one of the highlights of my book tour.  All because I showed up at a library event in Connecticut.  We never know what life has in store for us.    

JP: Who have been your greatest teachers?

DS: I had a great high school English teacher, Peter Cowen, who is still in my life.  Ditto for my 19th Century Literary Professor at Sarah Lawrence, Ilja Wachs, who taught me the art of close reading.  Grace Paley and Jerome Badanes were my teachers when I was in graduate school and I owe a tremendous debt to them both.  In recent years, Sylvia Boorstein and Stephen Cope.  My friend the great Rabbi Burton Visotzky, who gave me a new lens with which to read the Torah.  Then there are the teachers I’ve never met: Virginia Woolf.  Thomas Merton. 

JP: Advice to new writers reading this?

DS: Read my book!  Seriously –– I wrote it for you!  And if you don’t read my book, the one piece of advice I have is to read something worthwhile every day –– the poet Jane Kenyon describes this as “keeping good sentences in your ears.”  Reading is your best teacher.  Also, get used to rejection.  Get used to discomfort.  Who said it should be easy?  Writing well is hard, hard work.  Develop the ability to endure.  To stay in the chair. 

JP: I couldn’t be more excited that you are now writing for Positively Positive, along with Emily Rapp and myself. Writing for this site has definitely changed my life. I am humbled to be in your company there. What is up next for Dani Shapiro?

DS: I love writing for Positively Positive as well!  As for what’s next, I will be traveling to teach and give readings from Still Writing for the next bunch of months.  I can’t write and travel at the same time –– I need to sink in deeply –– so I will wait for the shimmer.  I will try to be patient and keep good sentences in my ears.  I will try to take care of myself and my loved ones, body and soul, and endure, so that I can sit down come spring and be…still writing!  

JP: G-d willing. We should live and be well. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

DS: Thanks, Jen!  You’re a beautiful force for good in the world.  I’m proud to know you.

manifesting, Q & A Series

The Manifestation Q&A Series: The Magical Mira Kelley.

January 11, 2013

Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.

I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

Someone like Mira Kelley.

Mira is a regressionist and an author whom I met when I saw the beloved Dr. Wayne Dyer speak in Atlanta last year. I’d always been scared of regression. Of the unknown, of what I didn’t understand.

After meeting her and doing this interview with her, I am no longer afraid. I am ready. I am healed.

Here’s what Dr. Wayne Dyer has to saw about the lovely Mira:

“I spent one spectacular afternoon in a hypnotic time lapse in which I was taken on a magical journey into a past life with Mira Kelley. In fact, I was so taken by this experience that I included a verbatim transcript of the entire past life regression in my latest book titled Wishes Fulfilled. This remarkable woman put me totally at ease as she skillfully guided me through deeply ingrained but long repressed memories that brought me to a new level of awareness of who I am and what path I was to take.

I can still recall vividly even the most minute of details that took place in our life changing session together, and I feel such a sense of clarity about my life path up until now, and more significantly about the direction I now feel compelled to follow. The thing that resonates so profoundly with me since our session together is that I understand not only what I have been doing and why, but what I now know I must do in the future.

This experience with Mira was truly one of the peak experiences of my life. She was so skillful and yet gentle and compassionate throughout every moment of this wondrous time I spent examining the world of the invisible. I am writing these words with profound emotion and I offer her my sincere enthusiastic endorsement. Whatever you do, don’t miss this opportunity to experience a regression with Mira.”

I met Mira in Atlanta last year and knew I wanted to get to know her better after listening what Wayne had to say and then meeting her. She is lovely and gentle and kind and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Please feel free to reach out to her to book a session by clicking here. What an honor this is…

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?

Mira Kelley: I used to be a corporate attorney in a large New York City law firm. I was a good lawyer and received a certain satisfaction of serving my clients well, but my heart was aching for true fulfillment and meaning. In time I was able to release the limiting beliefs and fears that were holding me back and to allow myself to be who I truly am. I am most proud of giving myself the freedom to follow my calling to inspire people and bring light to their lives through regression.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you share with us what it is you do? What a past life regression is? I was very moved when you spoke of it as being more of a parallel life.

Mira Kelley: I assist people in connecting with other lives they have lived. This gives invaluable understanding of who they are, what soul connections they share with loved ones and what is their purpose. During the sessions people experience both emotional and physical healing and receive guidance from their Higher Self. Regression is a very transformative process. By suspending the input of their five senses, people are able to go within and experience other lives they have lived in very personal, real and powerful ways.

People refer to these experiences as past lives. However, my work has thought me that time is a construct that we experience only here on Earth. In reality, everything exists in this one eternal moment. Therefore, all the lives our soul creates are not past or future. They are simultaneous to the present life we have.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I got the chills when I listened to your conversation with Wayne Dyer and you spoke of your years of being a lawyer as preparing you for what you are doing now. You were simply getting ready for your Divine Purpose. I waited tables at the same restaurant for 13 years and I look back on those years as a getting-ready stage to be fully self-expressed and fully come into my bliss. Can you share with us a bit about the transition from being a lawyer to doing regressions? For many people, this type of shift is inspiring but also terrifying. Letting go of “what feels safe”……

Mira Kelley: For me it seemed very terrifying at first too. I was making an excellent living as an attorney, yet my heart was pulling me in a different direction. I was aware of my fears and beliefs around the idea of being a healer. I knew that jumping off a cliff without a parachute would not work for me. For some it might but not for me.

So rather than leave the safety of my legal career and dive into the unknown abruptly, I chose to do it step by step. I pursued my passion in every moment to the extent I could in that moment. At first these actions were small, like reading a book with regression stories. I studied with every teacher my heart directed me to. I regressed myself, every family member and every friend numerous times. I spoke about my passion with everyone I could. When I felt ready, I began seeing clients whenever I could. In every moment I was following that which felt exciting to the best of my abilities.

Simultaneously, I was working on shifting my beliefs. Our beliefs are the plan upon which we build our reality. I chose to see different possibilities for myself. I chose to believe that I could be myself and I could financially support myself by doing what I love.

Because I allowed for the expression of who I am, in what initially seemed like small ways, the energy began to build up. With time the exciting actions I took became bigger and bigger. And here I am today – having found safety in myself, rather than in a job, and loving every moment of my life.



Jennifer Pastiloff: Why were you called to Wayne Dyer? I loved that you apparently had a knowing that you must connect with him and you did. As if it was already orchestrated. It seems to me further evidence that you are, as they say, ‘walking the talk’.

A friend and I had a conversation and my friend shared that Dr. Wayne Dyer was doing a tour through Europe called “Experiencing the Miraculous.” The word “miraculous” spoke to me and in that moment I had a clear knowing that he is ready for the miracle of healing. Two years prior to this moment, I was in the audience where during a talk he gave, Dr. Dyer announced that he had just been diagnosed with leukemia. I shared this intuitive feeling with my friend. Knowing about the regressions I do, he knew that my work holds the potential for a physical healing. My friend encouraged me to reach out to Wayne Dyer.

I dismissed his suggestion. I imagined that Dr. Dyer would have many capable healers around him. And I talked myself out of the idea by saying to myself, “Why would he even want to have a session with me. After all, my official title is not even regressionist. I am an attorney.” Yet, the feeling that I need to reach out to him persisted. After a month of this dialog in my mind, I finally decided that if I am meant to be a tool in the hands of God in whatever way and to be of service to someone I should not resist that. I wrote a letter to Dr. Dyer. The relief I felt after sending the letter was tremendous. I no longer needed to have that dialog in my mind because I felt that I have done all I could possibly do. And I honestly forgot about it. A month later Dr. Dyer reached out to me and several months later, I flew out to meet with him and for us to do a regression.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I know Wayne speaks of you in his latest book (a must read!) Wishes Fulfilled, but for those who haven’ yet read it, would you share a bit about your session with him?

Mira Kelley: As with everyone, what a person experiences during a regression is very appropriate for who they are and where they are in that moment of their life. Wayne Dyer experienced a lifetime that very clearly connects with the person he is today and the teachings he shares with the world.

The session was very emotional. As tears were streaming down his face, I was crying along as well. I am very grateful to Dr. Dyer for including the full script of our session in his book Wishes Fulfilled. I want to encourage everyone to read the book and the story of another life he has lived.




Jennifer Pastiloff: Having a sense of humor is one of the most important qualities a person can have in my opinion. I loved how in your recorded conversation with Wayne he was trying to ask you a question and it wasn’t very clear. You took a long pause and finally said “I know there was a question there. Ask it.” It made me smile. When was the last time you laughed at yourself?

Mira Kelley: I love your question. I like to joke how in my mind sometimes we are me, myself and I. This inner dialog is something everyone can relate to as we all do it. In my mind, we love having fun, especially when it has to do with being playful and curious, flowing through life, and allowing for miracles. And when in a situation my limitations show up, there is always a voice which loving teases me, urges me to a better way and always, always makes everything so light that I always end up laughing at myself and through that lovingly accepting myself.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What was your “aha” moment that this was what you were meant to do with your life?

Mira Kelley: I never had an “aha” moment per se as people describe it, because, honestly, I never could have imagined that my life could be what it is today. My passion for regression was always there, so you could say that my “aha” moment was when I chose to surrender and to trust myself and my life and to allow for the flow to take me.

My regression with Wayne Dyer was a life-changing event for both of us. Following my session with him, I returned back to my life as an attorney in New York City. A few days later, Dr. Dyer called and told me that we would like to include the transcript of our session in his book “Wishes Fulfilled.” I was moved beyond what words can describe. In that moment I said to myself, “Mira, Wayne Dyer believed in you. Now it is time for you to believe in yourself.”

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who has been your greatest teacher?

Mira Kelley: My greatest teacher has been my excitement.

My answer may seem unusual so allow me to explain. My excitement has brought me the greatest joy and fulfillment. But it has also allowed me to face myself, to release my limiting beliefs, and to overcome what I perceived as the greatest challenges.

In order to pursue my love for regressions, I had to overcome my belief that I cannot financially support myself doing this work. In order to be able to share the stories of my sessions and the powerful lessons of healing and transformation, I had to overcome my fear of speaking in front of people.

That which we find exciting in every moment is the recognition of our true self. Those things that call us, no matter how small or big, resonate with us because they mirror our essence. When we follow them we are always faced with more of ourselves. And if we transcend the fears that will inevitably come up, we will always find ourselves in a greater, more expanded place.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?

Mira Kelley: My clients inspire me. The wisdom and the transformations that take place during the sessions inspire me. My lovely nieces inspire me. Reading a good book always inspires me. Looking out the window and marveling the scenery always provokes moments of inspiration. The list is endless. The magic of life gives me that which I need in every moment. Life is abundant in inspiration.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I love how you said how important it was to not simply think of yourself as being able to be healed but rather that you are healed already. Can you share with us a bit about this?

Mira Kelley: The reality of being a person who is able to be healed and the reality of a person who is already healed are two different realities. One is a reality of a present challenge where a potential of improvement exists. The other one is a reality of health and vitality. If you focus on creating the ability to be healed, you will be reinforcing that reality, that potential with the keyword being “ability” not “healed.” That creates the need for a process. We all need some kind of a process to transform. The mastery in the creation of our lives comes in the ability to shorten the process needed.

In this moment, there is a version of you who does not have the emotional and physical challenges that you are dealing with. All possible realities already exist in creation. This you exists. In your thoughts and actions be that reality. Absorb the lesson present in the challenge and live as if you already are a person of exuberant vitality and joy. This allows for the shortening of the process and for the greatest alchemy of transformation.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What has been the greatest gift in your life?

Mira Kelley: The magic and miracles that Dr. Wayne Dyer brought into my life has been the greatest gift for me so far.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Anita Moorjani, and of course, Wayne Dyer have both changed my life. Tell us how you came across the lovely Anita, author of “Dying to be Me.”?

Mira Kelley: I belong to a large group of people who email each other on spiritual topics. Anita’s story arrived in my inbox. It was sent by someone I don’t know personally. I read her story and absolutely loved it. It spoke to many of the things I believed but more importantly it spoke to my understanding on the simultaneity of time and the possibility for instant physical healing once the emotional challenges are resolved. Anita’s story and her words deeply moved me.

The following day, as the magical synchronicities of life are always orchestrated, I spoke with Wayne Dyer for a first time. Our conversation was brief but I mentioned to him that I want to send him Anita’s story. He too was deeply moved by it and shared it with the wonderful people at Hay House. They too were impacted by her story and offered her to publish her book.

By simply trusting my instincts to bring up Anita’s story in the brief first conversation I had with Wayne Dyer, I became a stepping stone on her path to inspiring and uplifting the world. And in the unfolding of that I gained an even greater trust in my spontaneity and more importantly, I connected with a woman who is truly my soul sister.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Gratitude is the greatest force In my life. Most of my classes are set to this theme. If you could say thank you right now, who would it be to?

Mira Kelley: I would say: “Thank you, Mira.” And I would also say, “Thank you, Dr. Wayne Dyer.”

I agree with you that gratitude is such a force in our lives. In addition to always thanking those around us, I would like to encourage everyone who is reading this, to also always thank yourself. After all, you are the source, the masterful creator of your life, the one who allows for all great things to come. And that needs to be appreciated.

Jennifer Pastiloff: If someone wants a session with you, how would they go about that? Are they all in person or do you do them over the phone as well?

Mira Kelley: I lead my clients to a deep state of trance and because of that I prefer to do all my sessions in person. If you want to have a session with me or learn more about what the sessions are like, please email me at info[at] or through the contact form on my website at

Because not everyone can travel to meet with me in person, I have created a guided regression CD that people can use at home. It is called “Healing Through Past Life Regression … And Beyond.” The recording follows the same process I use with my clients. The CD set also has a guided meditation, which is truly transformative. People can get the CD set on my website at

Jennifer Pastiloff: What fulfills you?

Mira Kelley: Every session fulfills me tremendously. Every session is a miracle. I am always in awe how divinely orchestrated every meeting is and how the person is always given that which will guide them and support them in their highest good. When conversing with the person’s Higher Self during a session, I reminded of the wisdom and healing that is always there for us.

Last night, after a long and productive day, I shut down my computer as I was getting ready to go to bed. And I though to myself, “I cannot wait for tomorrow. I have such exciting things to do.” I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Those exciting things I was looking forward to were really just more work – making calls, responding to emails and so on. My life fulfills me because I am on purpose.

Jennifer Pastiloff: When I met you in Atlanta, I was struck by how warm you were. When you meet people do you immediately sense their Divine Self?

Mira Kelley: Thank you so much, Jennifer. I recently spoke with someone who said to me that I bring forth the divinity in people. I was really struck by these words. What a beautiful way to explain how when I interact with someone I always naturally, instinctively connect with their divine essence, their Divine Self.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What has been the most moving experience you’ve had while leading a regression?

Mira Kelley: The understanding of the simultaneity of existence in the field of regression is very, very novel. Up until the moment I encountered it myself in a session, I have never read about it nor heard anyone else talk about it.

I very vividly remember the very first time the concept of the simultaneity of existence was revealed to me.

John was my very first client outside of my circle of family and friends. He experienced 6 lives all of which overlapped in time. They all transpired between 1900s and 2040s. In two of the lives he saw, right now, he is still alive and thriving.

The session with him began as any other session would. John experienced himself as a man in his early 30s. John first merged with the life of that man on the day his son was born and he was really happy to have him. When telling me about himself and the development of his life, John was very specific with names and dates. He was a rich banker who lived in New York City. His son was born in 1940, so John himself must have been born around 1910. We explored how his son died in a car accident in 1957, how his daughter got married in 1963. Later, John’s wife died and he lost his fortune. He ended his life in 1978 by committing suicide.

John’s spirit rose from the body after the body died from the gun wound and went to the other side. On the other side, he was met by his spirit guide. John and his spirit guide discussed the need for John to be reborn again and face the issues he was unable to face during the life he just abruptly ended. He experienced himself being reborn very quickly. And this is where things got very strange for me.

John was born with a darker skin in the South and was adopted by a white family. It was the summer of 1950. When John said that, I froze. I held my breath, leaned back in the chair as if attempting to disappear. I was hoping that John would not hear me breathing and somehow snap out of experience he was having and start judging it. In the life we had just previously reviewed he died in 1978. And there he was being born in 1950 in a different life. It did not make sense to me. We reviewed the entire second life and John died in his 90s, which brings us to the 2040s. And to make matters even more perplexing, my client as the person he is today was born in the mid 1980s. This adventure in timelessness continued with 4 other lives which also took place in the same 140 or so year period.

When I conversed with his Higher Self, I asked why all 6 lives overlap with each other and with his current life. The Higher Self explained to me that all lives are lived simultaneously. It is not that our soul moves from one body to another in a liner progression of time. The oversoul creates splits of itself that experience these lives simultaneously, since there is no time on the other side. In John’s case the 1900s and 2000s are a fertile ground for experiencing the understanding his soul is seeking to gain.

The session with John was mind-blowing. He was the first of many clients who brought me a new and greater understanding of time and miracles. I share all these stories in my upcoming book “Parallel Lives” which is coming out in June 2013. I can assure you – it is an exciting read, a true adventure.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What would you say to someone who feels scared about doing a regression?

Mira Kelley: I would say, “I understand your trepidations. I want to assure you that all you will discover is more of yourself. And that is something wonderful, healing, empowering and exciting.”

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is up next for Mira Kelley? Where can we find more of you? And when can I book a session ☺

Mira Kelley: I am looking forward to a wonderful year of traveling and sharing with even more people. And I look forward to each and every session I will do. I look forward to people all over the world listening to my guided regression and meditation on my CD set “Healing Through Past Life Regression … And Beyond” and transforming their lives through this powerful work. I also look forward to the release of my book “Parallel Lives” in June 2013.

You can connect with me on my website or through my Facebook page I would love to connect with and share with everyone who reads this.

And I most definitely look forward to the first chance we have to do a regression with you, Jennifer, as I know it will be a wonderful experience for both of us.

Mira and Wayne Dyer

Mira and Wayne Dyer


The beautiful Mira!

The beautiful Mira!




You can join Jen and Wayne Dyer’s daughter Sommer for a life changing yoga, writing & Manifestation retreat in Maui Feb 16-22 with The Travel Yogi by clicking the photo below or this link.




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.

manifesting, Q & A Series

Chalkboard Mag.

August 21, 2012

Wow wow wow.

I love The Chalkboard Mag so it was a huge honor to get interviewed by them!

Click photo to read the q&a


“Have a sense of humor especially when it comes to yourself, have more dance parties, let your joy be contagious so if you forget it you can catch it from someone else, have that glass of wine if you want it and be nice, dammit!”

Thank you Katie Joy Horwitch for conducting the interview!

Click here to read the piece.

Prader Willi Syndrome, Q & A Series

The Manifestation Q&A Series. Rachel Pastiloff: Writer, Yogi & SuperMom.

July 20, 2012

Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.

I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

Ok, maybe I am a bit biased because Rachel Pastiloff is my sister but she is the coolest person I know. She is an amazing mom, yogi and writer. In fact, she writes my favorite blog called 3 Words For 365. She is also the founder of the Facebook page I Am A Fan of Somebody with Prader Willi Syndrome (my nephew has Prader Willi Syndrome.)

Below find her inspiring Q&A where she talks about being a mom of a child with special needs, quitting smoking and becoming a yoga teacher among other fabulous gems.

I am so proud of my sister, who also happens to be my closest friend. I have invited her to assist me at my Manifestation Ojai Retreat Oct 19-21 in Ojai, which is almost sold out. Click here is you want to sign up. She will also be assisting me at Kriplau at my weekend program there Feb 1-3, 2013. (Email me to sign up for Kripalu weekend in the Berkshire of Massachusetts.)

Get ready Atlanta, because Rachel will be taking Manifestation Yoga to new heights. 

Put down whatever you are doing and read about her inspiring journey and her love of meditating, pizza and her boys.

My sister Rachel and I with our beloved Steve Bridges who passed away shortly after my Mexico retreat. This was taken in Mexico at my retreat.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?

Rachel Pastiloff: I am proud of manifesting my children. They are my greatest gift in life. They are my teachers, my best friends, and the most honest people I know in this world. They give my life purpose and a reason to wake up and smile at the sun everyday. I am proud to have manifested amazing relationships in my life with my family and new and old friends. I am blessed to have the most amazing relationship with my mentor, the incredible Jennifer Pastiloff, the one who inspired me to Yoga Teacher Training, and to start writing my blog. I feel blessed to have people who believe in me.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned this past year about yourself?

Rachel Pastiloff: That is really an interesting question. I have learned so many lessons about myself this last year. I have learned that I am lovable and worthy of being loved in the truest form.  I have learned not to have expectations. I think the most important lesson I learned this year was how to communicate with people in an authentic nature. We take communication for granted. We hide behind our emails and texts and forget what it feels like to be part of a community. The greatest lesson I learned was to have courage to live with my heart, that helps me communicate much more effectively with not only my children and husband, but my community at large.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your boys?

Rachel Pastiloff: The greatest lesson I learned from my boys is to wave your Freak Flag high. We all are different. We all love differently, learn differenlty, look differently, but inside we all want the same thing. TO BE LOVED. My children are such resilliant little creatures full of wonder and they are oblivious to much of the discrimination that fills our world. I get strength from them to realize it is ok to be different, in fact I am rather fond of being “Not Normal” it fits me and my personality just fine.

Jennifer Pastiloff: From having a child with Special Needs?

Rachel Pastiloff: Having a child with special needs is a challenge, but one that I happily face everyday. I have always been what I considered a strong person, but this challenge took me to new heights. I have learned how to have real compassion, real strength, and unconditional acceptance. There are days that go by with no problems, not most, but some.  Then there are days where I feel like I am drowning. All these days offer me the gift to grow and learn and keep building compassion in my life. As the parent of a special needs child I see all the things he does as miracles, things that many parents of “typical” children take for granted. I celebrate all the moments, be they big victories, or just small baby steps. I am filled with pride for all that my child accomplishes everyday. He is definitely not a quitter, and it pushes me on to higher mountains with him everyday.

Blaise, who has PWS, rocking out! He loves music.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you tell us about Prader Willi Syndrome? I think most people do not know what it is.

Rachel Pastiloff: Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder that occurs in approximately one out of every 15,000 births. PWS affects males and females with equal frequency and affects all races and ethnicities. PWS is recognized as the most common genetic cause of life-threatening childhood obesity. The symptoms of Prader-Willi Syndrome are thought to be caused by dysfunction of a portion of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a small endocrine organ at the base of the brain that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, including hunger and satiety, temperature and pain regulation, sleep-wake balance, fluid balance, emotions, and fertility. Although hypothalamic dysfunction is believed to lead to the symptoms of PWS, it is not yet clear how the genetic abnormality causes hypothalamic dysfunction.

Basically, to sum it up it can be said that it is a syndrome of STARVATION. To learn more please visit

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is your vision of yourself in 1 years time?

Rachel Pastiloff: In one year from now I will be teaching yoga full time. I will have my meditation practice down to a definite everyday not matter what. I will have surrounded myself with amazing people and infinite possibilities. I plan on traveling with my sis Jennifer as much as possible. Doing yoga as much as possible, oh and let’s not forget that I will be writing a book. I hope to have my book out in 2014. If you need inspiration I got plenty to go around.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What has been the toughest decision you have ever made?

Rachel Pastiloff: The toughest decision I ever made choosing to live a life of sobriety and health, simultaneously I moved to the other side of the country from my family, the people I am more in love with then anyone. It was the toughest and the sweetest thing I ever did for myself and my body. I am such a blessed person now to have seen the other side of a the “dark knight” that we all have at least one of in our lives. I am 34 years old now and loving every minute of my life.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?

Rachel Pastiloff: I am inspired when I see people being kind to my son, not because they have too, but because they want to . I was inspired the other day as I watched a car drive by and offer an umbrella to her mom and baby in the rain. I am inspired when my family and friends live their dreams and happiness in their lives. I inspired by real love and real friendships. I am inspired by myself and who I am today, as I look back on who I was 7 years ago. It is pretty damn close to a miracle.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What do you think your Dharma or you’re your calling is?

Rachel Pastiloff: I believe that my calling is to work with people. I can’t say that it is limited to yoga, but I am here to connect people. I think I am here to inspire people to live their fullest potential. It may be that it happens through my book, my blog, my yoga teaching, or my energy work that I plan on studying soon. I feel as sense of onenes with the world and that is “Where I live!”

Jennifer Pastiloff: What was your “aha” moment that this was what you were meant to do with your life?

Rachel Pastiloff: At the hospital recently with my father in law. He was in severe pain and I just put my hands on his legs. He asked me what I was doing? My reply was energy work. I was focused on sending all the light inside of me to his legs where the pain was. He told me that he felt it very strongly and that it was working. I knew right then that there is a light in me that burns bright, and I am just on the verge of recognizing it.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who has been your greatest teacher?

Rachel Pastiloff: Oh such an easy one to answer. You, my dear sister have been my greatest teacher. I am so overwhelmed at your dedication to me, your faith in me, and your constant hand that is always there to hold. It has without a doubt brought me to the place I am today.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I love how after my Mexico Retreat, you came home and decided to quit smoking and sign up for a yoga teacher training in Atlanta. Tell us about that.

Rachel Pastiloff: WOW….I came back from Mexico, but not as me; as somebody else. I left the old me back in Xinalani. I realized that smoking did not serve me anymore and with no help at all, I put those smokes down and never looked back and that was over 4 months ago. As nervous as I was to start teacher training it was the ultimate gift I ever gave myself. I am a new woman. One who loves her self. Takes care of herself and, oh yeah can do a handstand. Oh yeah baby!

Jennifer Pastiloff: What would a snapshot of Rachel Pastiloff’s day look like?

Rachel Pastiloff: Are you sure you want an answer to that? Ha.

Today I have been up since 4:30 with Maddock, and he never napped. I spend all day running around trying to keep the children active and happy and away from food as much as possible. I usually don’t ever get a minute to sit down, and yes there are days where I just feel that I have been given more than I can handle, but those days are rare. Every day is a new day, a fresh start. Life is hard having a child with PWS and Autism and another child with a mood disorder and severe ADHD. As long as I am meditating I can stay calm through the storm. It has saved my life, literally.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I remember 3 years ago when Blaise was diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome like it was yesterday. What would you say to someone who just found out their child has PWS?

Rachel Pastiloff: Don’t panic, all will be OK. It is the scariest diagnosis to receive but our kids are amazing. My son has accomplished all and more than I ever could have imagined. My heart hurts that he feels hunger, but that will be gone one day as we find a cure. Reach out the PWS community. We are large and strong and a definite family. You will never feel alone. Our kids are unstoppable and capable of climbing the highest mountains with the right guidance.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What would you say to your 16 year old self?

Rachel Pastiloff: I would definitely say to myself that boys are just not that important and to focus more on what matters to me. HA HA. I think really what I would say is have confidence in yourself. Find what fulfills you and fill your heart with love. The most important thing I would tell young me is that you can’t ever fill the void in your heart from the outside in. All good starts within you and doesn’t’ come form the validation of others.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Gratitude is the greatest force In my life. Most of my classes are set to this theme. If you could say thank you right now, who would it be to?

Rachel Pastiloff: I would say thank you to my mom and dad. Although my dad has been gone for almost 35 years he gave me life, and big blue eyes, so thank you. Thank you to my mom for teaching me how to be a woman who can do anything on her own. Thank you to my step-dad Jack, the man who has been with me through my teenage and adult years. The man who is always there if I need him, the man I feel true strength and comfort with. Thank you to my sister for being the the push that I needed in life.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What fulfills you?

Rachel Pastiloff: A good meal fulfills me, especially a good pizza. No, OK. I am fulfilled when I am fully self expressed, and when I am not looking outwardly for confirmation of who I am. When others see me as a calm and together person I feel so fulfilled.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I know these past few years have been really hard for you. What has been the silver lining to come out of those years?

Rachel Pastiloff: Yes, the last few years have been really tough. The silver lining is easy. I live everyday as a new day. I never ever think of myself as broke and I always believe that things can work themselves out. This keeps me going everyday of my life.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are some words you live by?

Rachel Pastiloff: Words to live by are:





Jennifer Pastiloff: How do you stay connected to your own bliss and sense of self while dealing with 2 children, one of whom has Special Needs. I know you spend almost every day at a doctor or therapy appointment.

Rachel Pastiloff: I stay connected with my bliss by meditating. I take those few minutes to myself and it is truly blissful. I also take time for myself before where that was a fantasy in the past. I live bliss now, even when I can’t get my private time, I make time for me to write, or read, or meditate, or rest. My body shall be neglected no more.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are your favorite 3 memories?

Rachel Pastiloff: Driving cross county with you and mom is one of them. The other two are easy. The day Blaise was born and the day Maddock was born. My life changed forever. I am happy to say for the better.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you share with us about your yoga/meditation practice?

Rachel Pastiloff: I meditate every day for 15 minutes twice a day and that is what keeps me sane. I take as many yoga classes as I can in a week. When I am home with the kids I start doing yoga in the house all around their chaos. If they are playing I will do a bridge pose and they can play under me. You do what you can. You get creative when you are a mom.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What’s up next for Rachel Pastiloff?

Rachel Pastiloff: Opening my own yoga studio. Traveling as much as possible. Reading at least one book a week, and studying energy healing. I think that is as much as I can fit into my day as possible. 😉

Blaise and Maddock having the giggles.

Rachel and Blaise

Rachel and Maddock when he was a baby

Connect with Rachel on Facebook here. 

Connect with Rachel on Twitter @manifestingmom

Follow her awesome blog 3WordsFor365

Rachel’s family.


Maddock chilling out!

Taken in Mexico at the life-changing retreat

taken in Mexico!

Q & A Series, Uncategorized

Go Big or Go Home. Meet Cheryl Kellond. The Manifestation Q&A Series.

June 25, 2012

Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.

I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

Someone like Cheryl Kellond.

Today’s guest is Cheryl Kellond, one of my students, who I’ve gotten to know really well over the past year. Cheryl is a mother of four, an entrepreneur, and a triathlete. And somehow she balances it all ….while being able to chew gum at the same time. Grrr. She has a really big goal to hit by July 13th and it is forcing her to manifest in a whole new way and reach WAY beyond her comfort zone. 

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the biggest lessons you’ve learned from triathlon

Cheryl Kellond: The three most important things I’ve learned through tri are:

  • Unleashing your inner athlete creates awesome power in every aspect of your life that goes WAY beyond sport. <= This fires me up so much I want every woman to experience it.
  • If you push outside of your comfort zone long enough and hard enough, you’ll establish a new threshold. The ability to own and control this growth is very powerful.
  • The biggest – and only – real competition is me vs. me. I don’t beat myself up if others do better. But I am also accountable to push myself to my own best performance. Merely doing better than others is not enough.

…that said, even when competing against yourself, it’s always fun to “chick” the boys!

Fast Bike

Jennifer Pastiloff: Is triathlon the only thing you are passionate about.

Cheryl Kellond: No. I come from the business world so one of my favorite things is to support other women in business. I am constantly drumming up support for other female-founded businesses. Through my corporate career I’ve mentors dozens of up and coming women. I am one of a small group that can show the choice between career and family doesn’t have to be binary. I actually I feel I have an obligation to “give back” because of this.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you Manifesting right now. You know, what sh*t are you making happen?

Cheryl Kellond: I’ve combined my passion for endurance sports with a ballsy “Go Big or Go Home” business. I’ve started my own company – Bia — around women’s sports and fitness. And I am not talking about a services business, or a software business, but a business that also involves consumer electronics. []

We’ve spent the past 18 months bootstrapping, borrowing, begging and hustling to design and prototype the first GPS sports watch designed for women (although guys are scooping it up too.) Other products are big ugly wrist computers that just give you data on how fast or how far you’ve gone. Ours has an iconic look, fits beautifully on smaller wrists, and has this brilliant safety feature.

Bia isn’t just selling a product, we are enabling motivation, pride, and freedom for the 45M women making running, fitness, and endurance sports part of their lives.

Here is a fun video of Bia in action.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you share with us a bit about your journey, leaving the safety of a corporate paycheck to follow your passion?

Cheryl Kellond: My journey reads like an inspiration board from Pinterest.

It started like this:

Do What You Love

This was easy. I have four kids, a career, and training – there is only so much time in the day – it was like the ultimate multitasking!

Then it went like this.

On the Way Down

I’ve always been a risk taker and truly believe I can do anything. And I have. We built a killer team, developed prototypes of an amazing product and secured a large manufacturing partner. It sounds impossible, but I did it.

Despite all we did, we still need additional investment to get the product to market. Traditional venture capital investors believe in the business plan but the don’t think women care enough about fitness and sports to be a real market for us. They won’t invest until they see sales. But I can’t sell until the product is done. The classic Catch-22. Again, seemingly impossible. I was stuck.

And then someone reminded me of this. And I came full circle.

Magic Happens

Business is like sports. I wasn’t going to create magic unless I was outside of my comfort zone. The emphasis on MY. The only way to achieve MY big magic was to push MY big limits.

Jennifer Pastiloff: So what is outside your comfort zone?

Cheryl Kellond: Asking for help. And that is what I am doing right now.

In order to prove to investors that we have a market – and to raise the money we need to finish up our product – we launched it on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform that lets people pledge money to products and projects they are passionate about to ensure they get to market. Based on the amount of the pledge, backers get different rewards. In the case of Bia, backing our project means you can be the first to rock your wrist with a Bia sports watch. It’s sort of like pre-buying a Bia, but at a discount! There are other rewards too. And pledge – even $1– makes a difference.

The trick with Kickstarter is that it’s an all or nothing funding model. We have until July 13th to reach a $400K fundraising goal. If we don’t reach that goal, none of our backers will have their credit cards charged, but we also don’t get any funding and we aren’t able to get this product to market. High stakes!!

So this means I need to ask hundreds of friends and strangers to help, both by backing my project and spreading the word to get their friends to back it too. This is WAY outside of my comfort zone.

I need to constantly remind myself that asking for help is actually offering someone the opportunity to share in my success. It proves them the satisfaction of helping create it. You actually do a great job of reminding me that and I’ve blogged about it before. You are my role model on this. To bring it back to a triathlon analogy, it’s like letting someone draft off of you on the bike.

It’s should be even easier with Bia, because asking someone to back us on Kickstarter means they can ensure this product they love becomes a reality and that they get it first.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Ok, so let’s manifest some MAGIC. 30 seconds outside your comfort zone. Go!

Cheryl Kellond: Bia’s most unique feature is that it’s the only sports watch with a safety alert. If you are ever in trouble out on a solo workout, just press a button, and your location is sent to loved ones and emergency services. Bia gives you the freedom and peace of mind to run whenever, wherever. That’s a pretty awesome gift to yourself or to a friend.

So if you are a runner, if you know a runner, or just want to be part of proving magic happens when you leave your comfort zone: check us out on Kickstarter and back our project so we can get this amazing product to market!

Jennifer Pastiloff: Nice work! And how about to wrap up. What are some words you live by?

Cheryl Kellond: That’s easy.

Pretty Form + Pretty Smile = Pretty Fast

It started as a running mantra but it applies to everyday life. Pretty Form is really just acting with intention and mindfulness and staying focused not just on the end goal, but the path you take to get there.

Pretty Smile. We all know that a smile begets another smile. It’s also the perfect way to “Act as if”…sort of wearing your vision board on your face, if that makes any sense. More interestingly, and I’ve done some reading on this, scientifically smiling also releases endorphins which give you more energy, more creative powers and more strength. It actually has hardcore physiological benefits….very similar to endurance sports.

And both together are the fastest way to achieve your dreams.

Support Bia on Kickstarter

Follow Cheryl Kellond on Twitter

Bia’s Website

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Q & A Series

The Real Krista Allen. The Manifestation Q&A Series.

May 31, 2012

Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.

 I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

Someone like Krista Allen.

Today’s guest is Krista Allen, who happens to be one of my closest friends. Krista is an actress whom many of you are familiar with, either from her HBO series Unscripted or one of her other movies or tv shows. Her latest is a new show on The CW Network called The La Complex.

Krista and I after one of my yoga classes.

So most of you have at least seen her face. What most of you don’t know is what an amazing and passionate human being Krista Allen is. My intention in having her sit down with us today is to have you be as inspired by her as I am. She is kind and humble, grounded and funny, generous and compassionate. And drop dead gorgeous to boot.

I am so excited to have the world get to know Krista in the way I know her. She has taught me many valuable lessons, not only about my own spirituality, but about life. In the interview below, she is raw and honest and insightful. It is my greatest honor to introduce you the incomparable Krista Allen.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?

Krista Allen: Well, it’s all about the power of thought, right?

I am most proud to have manifested every bump, bruise, failed relationship and painful experience in my journey so far. Without THAT, I wouldn’t be here.

I literally had to “manifest” my reality in a way that was so contrary to who I Really AM. And there is a profound beauty in that … I got to see myself.

Really See Myself. Like really truly, unabashedly look at the shadow side of ME… of my own special I AM-ness.

I needed to lose myself, in order to find myself. I experienced very devastating “force de major” the last 2 1/2 years that needed to happen so I could choose to wake up!

So, I opened my eyes. I re-created a belief system that was all mine, instead of the one that didn’t even belong to me. I am now, on this path of freedom, finding peace. It wasn’t until I was willing to LET GO of the belief system that “I AM NOT ENOUGH” that I was able to embrace and allow the truth of “I AM SOOOOO ENOUGH.”

Jennifer Pastiloff: I used to wait in you for years when I was a waitress at The Newsroom and trying to be an actress. You were always so kind and funny and humble. I admired you for that. That’s what stuck out about you. Years later, it’s those same qualities I admire in you. How do you stay so grounded?

Krista Allen: That made me laugh! You have watched me on this recent journey, and to ask how I stay grounded knowing what you have seen, and how you even had to detach from me for a bit is humbling. I just look for the honesty now, much more than demanding the truth. I used to have an insatiable need to pretend to control the outcome in order to feel worthy. The grounded part of me NOW is all about letting go of the need for control, in all aspects of my life, and allowing God to be my personal GPS. I mean, it’s always been there … but my ego would generally convince me that “I know a better way” … so I wouldn’t listen to the loving voice telling me “WRONG WAY!!!” … but my personal Higher Power GPS continues to recalculate all the time, and when I LISTEN, I get where I NEED to be and it might not be where I think I want to go. I’m trusting more and more that when I’m guided to make a U turn… I take the damn U turn!

Jennifer Pastiloff: What has been the toughest decision you have ever made?

Krista Allen: Letting go. My toughest decision has been to look at myself and begin to forgive myself for buying into those belief systems for so long that kept me stuck. I was always looking for something or someone to believe in. I had a tough time as a kid, and there was a lot of abuse present in my childhood. So, I kept a lot of secrets. I learned early on that if I said something, then I would be “bad” and I was afraid to “get in trouble”. This was my belief system. I was taught early on that I didn’t have a valid voice. I would be seen as weak if I spoke up and then, there was this false bravado if I stayed silent.

In order to make decision, You have to make the choice to let go of something. That “something” I was attaching to was that I needed to be controlled to feel loved, and stay small to feel safe.

So, a lot of my choices were based on choosing people to believe in, that might not have been so … how can I say this … wise to pick. I figured at the time, if I could just make “this person” be good to me, then I must be worthy of love, and then I could believe in myself.

In all truth, my past thoughts and core beliefs were my greatest hindrance to any freedom and happiness in my life. Choosing to be willing to change that was/is the most powerful decision I have ever made.

Jennifer Pastiloff: How has that reflected in your years of working an actress in Hollywood?

Krista Allen: I’m always a work in progress. In this moment, right now, is the greatest adventure I’ve ever been on. If I look at certain roles I’ve done, especially, early on … some were questionable, to say the least. As I mentioned, I adapted a false belief about who I AM. (… which is a lot more about who I thought I needed to be.) There was so much of myself that I refused to own and embrace, and that put me in a really vulnerable place. So, there was some anger and frustration there. Like… “COME ON! Someone give me a freakin’ break now!” … it was me that had to give myself a freakin’ break. My career, much like my life, is evolving. I’m loving this part of my journey.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you tell us your favorite part about working on The La Complex?

Krista Allen: MARTIN GERO!! (creator of THE LA COMPLEX) That man is a genius! Besides that… I really love my character. I have never played a role like this. I guess I can’t give too much info on that as season 2 has not started yet. But I will tell you that my storyline is great. The entire cast is so talented and I’m really proud to be on this show. It’s like a blend of Unscripted ( an HBO series I did), Melrose Place, and … Friends?

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned this past year about yourself?

Krista Allen: The greatest lesson at this time is that I don’t have to ever keep myself small to make someone else feel better about themselves. EVER.

I have learned that I am a powerful woman, a wonderful mother and daughter, and an incredibly loyal friend. I am so grateful for my family … the one I came to be with here in this lifetime, and the family members that I have “adopted” throughout my journey, so far. I’m learning how to balance humanity and divine truth.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Speaking of adopted family, I know you are dear friends Tom Shadyac, and as I am a huge fan of his film I Am ( get it folks! It is amazing.) I would love to know what you have learned Tom Shadyac.

Krista Allen: Tom has been my voice of reason. The funny thing is that I met Tom in 1996 when he directed me in Liar Liar. How fitting for my perception of what I was believing about how life showed up for me …and, I played the role of “elevator girl” … which again, is pretty fitting since an elevator is all about “pushing buttons” to go up or down! Tom has been a huge influence in supporting me in my I AM-ness. He’s my divinely adopted big brother and I adore that man.

Krista wears a Conscious Ink tattoo that says “I am”
Click to see more tats!

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from Jake, your son?

Krista Allen: Forgiveness and patience. He is almost 15! (agggghhhh!!!!) He has shown me, especially recently, what forgiveness and patience through unconditional love looks like. That boy is so freakin’ special. My son is the most important person in my life.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?

Krista Allen: Besides Jake, who inspires me daily to be the best I can be. I have so much that inspires me!

(side note from Krista: as your readers peruse the following, they might want to imagine the pungent smell of pachouli seeping through cyberspace and out of their air vents in the computer… and perhaps, a funky harp playing?)

I believe that there is a power greater than me, greater than anything I could ever achieve in my own way of thinking. My best thinking has gotten me into some pretty messy places in my life! It’s the feeling of oneness that inspires me. The connection to the stillness of the Palm tree just BEING a damn Palm tree. Observing. .. the roots in the ground that can’t easily be shaken… The way a little seed can become that massive Palm tree. … The Ocean… Dolphins… People …. Life force inspires me! .. (okay… end the damn pachouli smell and harp music.)

Krista holding Jake as a baby.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What would you say to your 16 year old self?

Krista Allen: “Oh my God!! You poor thing!! I will save you!”

Ha! That’s what I would want to say … But what I would say now is this: Know this you beautiful girl… No one can ever save you. You will be your own savior. It will take you years to understand this … so your journey is not going to be easy. But it will be worth it. I promise you this. You are good. You are powerful… and one day, you will know this. If I told you what your life will be like, I would doing you a huge disservice. This is your journey and I understand why you are angry. Believe there IS a reason for every single moment. Your tears will be liquid prayers, even in those times you decide to believe there isn’t anyone to pray too. You will always know, somewhere inside of you, that you are never alone, even when you feel like you are. … You are heard. Believe that. You have so much beauty to see in this lifetime … even though it might not be very pretty.

Jennifer Pastiloff: That is so beautiful. thank you. Can you share with us a bit about your passion for saving animals and being a Vegan?

Krista Allen: I guess this goes back to being connected to everything. If an animal is in pain or suffering… I feel that very deeply, and it hurts. There is such an innocence to animals. Just like there is an innocence to humans. But, the difference is the ego. Have you ever seen a dog make his fellow pack mate pay over and over for peeing on the floor? NOPE. But we see that in humanity all the time. Don’t we make people and ourselves pay over and over for our/their mistakes? … Ahhh, I digress into spiritual babble, again. (note from Jen: That is one of the qualities I love most about Krista!)

Okay, back on point… I believe that the quality of life pertaining to all living creatures is crucial to the global consciousness in the world. I’m simply not okay eating animals. I shutter at the thought of the intense fear they must feel in their short time in this life as a food source. I believe when humans eat the flesh of another living creature, the fear or sadness of their quality of life is also taken in… and don’t get me started about all the hormones, antibiotics, sickness and cruelty…. I could write a whole book about it!

Here is an Krista wrote about her vegan journey:

Jennifer Pastiloff: You could write a book about it! You sort of did 🙂

I love all of your knowledge about veganism. Who has been your greatest teacher?

Krista Allen: Life! It’s not so much a who, but a what. I have always been a student of life … I just didn’t choose to pay attention and I played hookie a lot. I totally thought I had all the answers, but never acknowledged what my own questions were. The joy I have found is that once I was truly willing to change, and willing to listen… the teachers appeared in every form imaginable.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are some of your “aha” moments in your life that you can share.

Krista Allen: I have “aha” moments a lot. …and I also have A-HA!! moments …Like…

“A-HA … he ain’t gonna change!!”

You know when people change?… When they are ready too, and not one second sooner. My true “AHA” moment was seeing that it was ME that needed to change.

I create. … and I mis-create. … I fall and I get up… I fly high and I crash and burn … and, it’s taken me a long time to understand that this is all part of my human experience and there’s not a thing wrong with that. It’s just being human. So, to be able to experience separation from the good stuff… makes it utterly blissful to experience oneness in the good stuff. And for me, that journey is all about forgiveness. It’s the key to my happiness. This is a constant process with gradual progress.

I see myself in others a lot now, in those moments that trigger my impatience or judgment. Which is more often than I care to admit! Look, I just got mad and gave a mean angry face to someone this morning for stealing “my” parking space in the Whole Foods parking lot. Then, after I realized that I was being just as entitled, I laughed. I remembered that I’ve done that TO someone else … oh … a few hundred times!? I was able to say “Hello Me, there I am, stealing someone’s parking space again!” … That’s an example of an AHA moment today.

Jennifer Pastiloff: How do you define success?

Krista Allen: I like to think of it as achievement rather than success. I’ll know I’ve achieved my own personal success when I can put my head down on my pillow at night and not be a little freaked out when I pray “Dear God, Tomorrow, please have everybody that I come in contact with, treat me exactly the way I’ve treated people today, AMEN!’…

Jennifer Pastiloff: Thoughts on the mind/body connection?

Krista Allen: It’s all about that divine energy … that amazing power that as humans in a temporary body.. we forget is all part of the package. We are so much more than the body. And, once that is explored… miracles really do happen … and I think, that is where the healing begins.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What would a snapshot of Krista Allen’s day look like?

Krista Allen: Wake up: laugh at my sleepy pups with their legs stretching out while sliding across the sheets on their bellies, giving me kisses. I Pray. I Meditate. I ask for guidance and send love to the people and places in my thoughts. Regardless of the thought! I nourish my body with food. I follow the divine guidance I receive, if I’m not feeling too cheeky. Or, I rebel against it if i let my ego take over, and then I pay later. 😉 I tell my son I love him, I check in with family and friends, I study my lines, work, I read new scripts, I meet with some amazingly talented directors and writers, I get creative and share my ideas with other artists, I hit the beach with my pups or go on a hike. Practice Yoga. … I write a lot, I reach out to friends and do some business stuff, I read, I laugh a lot…I call my son and my mom and my dad. Maybe get a mani-pedi… Check on my social networking stuff which I have recently gone back to as part of my FREEDOM journey. @KristaAllenXO

… And some days, I don’t wanna do anything but sit in a feeling and have a pitty party for a thought that won’t leave my mind. But I allow it now, instead of resisting it. I pushed my feelings down for so long and I was a just pretending to be okay, instead of just experiencing humanity and being honest enough to say “I am so not okay in this moment!” … But no matter what, I write a gratitude list. Even if all I can muster in the moment is “Grrrrr … I am grateful for knowing there is something I am grateful for!!”

Jennifer Pastiloff: Gratitude is the greatest force In my life. Most of my classes are set to this theme. If you could say thank you right now, who would it be to?

Krista Allen: The universal mind… which to me is simply, God. THANK YOU!

All the opportunities to grow are right there, I think, for a reason.

Jennifer Pastiloff: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?

Krista Allen: Oh, that’s easy!

Something super simple like … running a yoga and meditation and surfing retreat complete with spa and beauty services, and a revolutionary holistic healing center, while running an organic vegan bistro from my incredibly vast and sustainable garden, that also has the most amazing animal rescue in the world, and of course, lots of kids of all ages (0-199) running around happy and learning… adopted, fostered, healing, feeling love…. while writing best selling novels and oscar winning screenplays and relaxing in the middle of it all on my very own tropical island, with a full art studio, and harnessing epic guitar playing skills and have a voice like Adelle, and all this would be on the eco friendly tropical island which housed an amazing community of my entire family and friends … and a true life partner, just for me… and be independently wealthy to do all of that while also supporting a kazillion charities and non profit organizations and kick starter projects to help make the world a better place … Just simple, see?

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you share with us about your yoga/meditation practice?

Krista Allen: I practice yoga as often as I can. It really is a way of living … and not just going to a class. It’s the practice OFF the mat that sustains me. Meditation is a daily ritual. I love guided meditations… my brain likes to jump around a lot, so I find when I can be guided by a CD or a class, I stay more focused. But I’m working on just being mindful in the silence for longer than say …. Oh, 2 seconds! (… Hey look, there’s a squirrel!)

Jennifer Pastiloff: You’re funny! Next question. What fulfills you?

Krista Allen: I am fulfilled when I “get it” … whether it’s with my son, my friends, my family, my dogs, riding a wave in the ocean (even for a split second!!), taking someone through a Vynassa that’s never done one…. that moment of connection. Yeah… Being of service and allowing that gift to reciprocate the way it just does. That magical flow of energy. There’s truly is nothing better than that.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I know these past few years have been really hard for you and everyone who wanted you to be happy. What has been the silver lining to come out of those years?

Krista Allen: FREEDOM ….I bought into the believe that it was selfish to take care of myself or that I had the right to live my life out loud. I thought that I must hide the truth and live my life the way others wanted me too, in order to be a loved back. And ya know what? I did it with a ton of resentment and expectation. OUCH! That’s a tough one to say, but it’s true. So,in the words of Janice Joplin.. Freedom’s just another word for nothin left to lose, nothin’ don’t mean nothin, hun, if it ain’t free!

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are some words you live by?

Krista Allen: 

Thank you.

I am grateful.

I forgive you.

I forgive myself.

Rock on!

Jennifer Pastiloff: What’s up next for Krista Allen?

Krista Allen: I am spending time with my son and my pups and my family and friends!! I have the show LA complex that I’m working on, I’m writing a lot, I’m teaching Yoga to my surfer and MMA buddies when I am in LA, I’m getting offers for new projects with people that inspire me, I’m cooking a lot of yummy vegan and raw meals for friends and family, I am speaking at charities for abused women, supporting them in finding their solution …. and I just signed on to work with OM TIMES! I get to host interviews with some brilliant people that are helping to shine their light in the world! It’s really very cool, as it will also be in conjunction with my blog!

Krista and I laughing as usual.

Follow Krista Allen on Twitter

Follow The LA Complex on Twitter

Krista’s website and blog Veggie BoomBoom

Buy the movie I Am by Tom Shadyac

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Q & A Series, Yoga

Brock & Krista Cahill. iFly Lands at The Manifestation Q&A Series.

May 23, 2012

Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.

I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

Today’s guests are my friends Brock and Krista Cahill, which many of you know because you have taken their classes, seen some of their amazing photos, or the best yet, caught some of the work they have been doing for our planet. 

The following interview is a mixture of both husband and wife, as are most of their classes and retreats. I hope you will get a feel for the power behind this couple. The power of flight, the power of love and the power of seva. I am honored to have them with me here today. I also urge you to check out or to check them out at Yogis Anonymous, in the studio or online. The Cahills and I both teach in Philadelphia at Dhyana Yoga a few times a year, as well. 

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?

Brock Cahill: i am most proud to have manifested a community of incredibly strong and dedicated yogis, that are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, to show up and put in the hard work in their daily practice, and use our practice as a training platform to activate body, mind, and spirit, …resulting in an elevation of consciousness in decision and lifestyle. awesome work amigos!!

Krista Cahill: It always comes down to the LOVE. I really can’t believe the love I have in my life…it’s incredible… I love a lot everyday, and I feel love everyday from the people who are closest to me. in the most overwhelming way, i really believe that love is the most valuable comodity on earth, we all can use more love.

Jennifer Pastiloff: How did you find yoga, or perhaps a better question would be, how did yoga find you?

Brock Cahill: great question, i like how you put that… yoga found me through a series of horrendous shoulder injuries that the docs wanted to cut and sew back together with no real hope of a true recovery. sounded like horseshit to me… i thought there must be another way. a friend suggested yoga. from day one i was hooked, just as you all were. i felt as if i had finally come home to my Self. as my mat unfolded beneath me day after day, i saw that my true injuries were not living in my shoulders, but in my soul… the shoulders were a symptom of my toxic lifestyle, the heavy partying, the dishonesty and denial, and my own inability to wake up in my own skin and connect to my soul. perhaps you know what i mean? shoulder soldiers unite!

Krista Cahill: 13 years ago I really fell in love with Ashtanga vinyasa yoga. I loved stepping to the side for Standing poses and flowing throughout seated sequences, the many predictable drishti’s and sequencing… now I practice the opposite and Yoga is still the love of my life, so I am excited to see what my evolution will be for the next 13 years. Maybe I will study Iyengar more…

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is your favorite yoga pose?

Krista Cahill: Handstand, of course.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I am moved by your commitment to seva. Kurmalliance. Tell us a little about that and how it was born?

Brock Cahill: kurmalliance is our nonprofit org aimed at oceaniconservation and yogactivism. i am very much in love with the ocean. i believe that she is the soul of our planet. not to mention the lifesource! without the ocean, we wouldn’t be here. …& without the ocean we won’t be here. the ocean is alive, and we must fight to save her.

i believe the yogis have the strength and focus to do so …or at least to ignite the revolution. but it is going to take solidarity: it is going to take union: it is going to take yoga. i hope we can band together and make this our fight. in my years as an avid oceanic romantic, i have seen the state of the ocean take a massive nosedive toward unsustainability, with the amount of plastic trash discarded into her guts, massive oil spills leaking all over her pretty face, the rape of hugemongous commercial fishing practices, and the destruction of her coral reefs that is akin to breaking her back with a sledgehammer. i couldn’t sit by and watch… but i didn’t know what to do? the problem is huge, & it is with society at large; how we have chosen convenience over consciousness. when you look at it in macro it is tremendously overwhelming. what difference can i make? how can i change the world? a better question is, how can i not?? she needs us. she needs you. …and all your yogasuperhero friends. she needs me too. on my birthday a few years ago, the sledge that broke my camels back was unleashed. enter the bp oil spill, the worst ecological disaster of all time. i was up in arms about the millions upon millions of gallons of oil that were being spewed into the gulf of mexico, and nobody really doing a damn thing about it. you remember, it was crazy!! and then on june 22, the news broke that bp was sanctioning the corralling of crude oil on the surface of the gulf, and lighting it on fire to try to quell the accumulation of so much of an eyesore. in doing so, they also happened to be trapping extremely endangered juvenile kemps ridley sea turtles that were mired in the surface slicks… and burning them alive. oh fuck… i have always had a very special and fond affinity for sea turtles. from my first days in the ocean, they have accompanied me on nearly every journey, and awakened me to the divinity of the sea. every time i have a chance to look into the eyes of a sea turtle, i see myself a little more clearly. i found a very spiritual bond there… and one that cannot be explained, but can be felt very deeply. these are the kind of bonds that ignite us; that motivate us; that activate us. on that day, i felt like i got kicked square in the balls, and i knew god was saying directly to me, “you just gonna stand around and watch this shit go down?” absolutely not. the kurmalliance was born. kurma is the sanskrit name for the second avatar of god, vishnu. in an ancient hindu parable, vishnu came down to earth in the form of a turtle and was able to churn the elixir of life out of the ocean, in order to save the world. it was our turn to pay the turtles back! the yoga community rallied, and in just a few short weeks we had raised about $35,000, to spearhead a mission to the gulf in conjunction with our buddies at the sea shepherd conservation society, and get to work saving turtles, collecting data, and being an honest witness to the shitspray that bp was attempting to sweep under the rug. I’m happy to say that the evidence that we were able to bring to court in the case against bp did help the people, the turtles, the sharks, and the coastline of the gulf gain some retribution from the crimes committed against them. I’m bummed to say that it wasn’t nearly enough. many were lost. and the way of life in the gulf will never be the same. but the alliance is strong. and we will never give up. not until mother ocean is safe from harm. join us.

Photo by Jasper Johal.
I take Brock’s class often at Equinox Santa Monica, where we teach together. He is kind, compassionate and kick ass!

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being a yoga teacher?

Brock Cahill: using integration, tapping into strength to cultivate balance.

Jennifer Pastiloff: From being a yoga teacher who travels so much?

to stay grounded and focused, no matter what the world throws at you, and no matter what continent you are on, you are home in your body, and with your soul.

Jennifer Pastiloff: From being married?

Brock Cahill: that you can’t do it all alone. it is real nice to have a teammate. especially one that rocks as hard as krista!

Jennifer Pastiloff: From saving turtles?

Brock Cahill: that even if you are not ready, the time is now, and it is not going to wait for you. activate!

Jennifer Pastiloff: From your beloved handstand?

Brock Cahill: to stand up for what you believe in. if you pour your entire self, your focus, your dedication, your devocean into something, there is no stopping you. there will be obstacles. there will be hurdles. get over them! and this is from someone that could not lift his arms over his head when he began practicing! let alone even think about a handstand…


Brock and The Yogitoes Prism. Click to connect with Yogitoes.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Krista, what about you?

Krista Cahill: Brock is a very good teacher, the harder he is on you the more he believes you can do better. He is teaching me about my greatest potential. he is extracting the best from within me. it has been a powerful journey. As a yoga teacher the greatest lesson to learn is how to be yourself. People love a teacher because they offer something different, something unique and original…it’s not always easy to be creative, but a daily practice is the only inspiration you need!!! if your getting your inspiration from youtube videos, then there’s is a problem…

My personal practice is my best friend, I have enjoyed every breath, new pose, ideals and friendships. Most of all, it is where I met Brock, so i know it brings you what you need.

Jennifer Pastiloff: How has being married changed your life?

Krista Cahill: Being married to Brock has been a massive life change. I am now yoked to this man for the rest of my life… everything I do I have to consider his feelings and preferences too. For someone as impulsive as me that has been my biggest shift thus far:)

photo of Brock by Jasper Johal

Jennifer Pastiloff: Gratitude is the greatest force In my life. Most of my classes are set to this theme. If you could say thank you right now, who would it be to?

Brock Cahill: yoga.

Krista Cahill: I would thank Brock, he has shown me that i am a tough cookie.

Photo of the couple by Jasper Johal

Jennifer Pastiloff: How has Kurmalliance changed your life?

Brock Cahill: It has given me purpose. it has allowed me to recognize my dharma.

Jennifer Pastiloff: When was the last time you laughed at yourself?

Brock Cahill: i’ve been doing that a lot lately… thankfully! i was taking everything too seriously, with the state of the oceans and much of the globes apathy to her condition…

So i grew this frickin hilarious mustache. it was comedy. just about every time i would look at myself in the mirror i would launch almond milk out of my nose, cracking up so hard!

Krista Cahill: I laugh everyday, mostly when i am teaching I laugh at myself because I am ridiculous… I try to be tough because it’s what I like as a student, but sometimes I just can’t keep a straight face.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you most?

Brock Cahill: the ocean.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who has been your greatest teacher?

Brock Cahill: my wife, krista.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is your favorite part about teaching with your wife?

Brock Cahill: that we approach the middle ground from completely opposite sides of the spectrum, and as we meet at the meridian line, our teaching is so much more effective, informed, intelligent, and precise than it ever could have been on its own.

Jennifer Pastiloff: If you could impart one message to the readers of this, what would it be? Your message to the world………

Krista Cahill: Practice Yoga Everyday!!! Find a way to quiet the mind, for some of us that gets easier in an upside-down position…

Jennifer Pastiloff: Some words you live by?

Brock Cahill: elevate! activate! uplift! get conscious, and never give up. ever.

Krista Cahill: Don’t give up, if you want something you have to try and try again.

Jennifer Pastiloff: If you weren’t teaching yoga what would you be doing?

Brock Cahill: i’d be dead.

Krista Cahill: I would be a professional yoga student, i would get the most B.S. job ever and I would practice 2 or 3 classes everyday!! I would wake up for Ashtanga, then take a mid-day Iyengar class and then end the day with a hot’n sweaty flow.

 Jennifer Pastiloff: How can we get involved in Kurmalliance and Pluckfastic?

Click photo to learn more about

Brock Cahill: we are in process of launching five very important projects into the water, including the adoption of a leatherback sea turtle in costa rica, a turtle tagging mission to the cocos islands, development of a turtle hatchery and nursery in french polynesia, and in our very own backyard of the santa monica bay, we are trying to pluckfastic on a grand scale, by organizing beach cleanups, standup paddle excursions to collect plastic refuse along our coast, and bioboat missions out to the rim of the channel islands to document and collect the unfathomable amount of plastic refuse choking our own local ecosystem. folks can help us with fundraising, if that is an avenue that they feel moved to explore. perhaps they would like to make a donation, which is always very much appreciated… or have an idea of how to become an instigator in the yogactivism revolution and create a project that will help generate awareness, as well as funding. …because all these projects require a steady influx of cash to help keep mother ocean afloat. once we have launched our bioboat this summer we will have active opportunities for members of the kurmalliance to spearhead a pluckfastic mission and become a member of the crew, by donating toward fuel costs and then joining us on a cruise to commune with ma ocean!

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Check out the video of Brock and Yogitoes


Jennifer Pastiloff: What is on your joy list?

Krista Cahill: I’m pretty boring actually, I like a super hard yoga class, a warm snuggly bed, a hot man to snuggle with and 9 hours of sleep.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What’s up next for The Gravity Cowboys?

Brock Cahill: a big big summer chock full of festivals and travel. we will be teaching at wanderlust in tahoe, and vermont. midwest yoga conference in chicago, and our amazing annual retreat… this year we hit aruba! scuba in aruba, anyone?? uh yeah, count me in!

Krista Cahill: I am manifesting Fun and Flight this year:)

Aruba anyone? Click on pic for more info!

They lead retreats all around the world!

Krista poses for Jasper Johal. Every picture he takes of her is stunning!

Krista by Jasper Johal

brock was wearing a pair cowboy boots and a bit of a hangover when he accidentally stumbled across the path of yoga. he was out there fumbling around in the dark, trying to find himself, when the light of yoga clicked on and pointed him in the right direction. through the physical nature of the practice, and his intense dedication to it, brock has been able to enliven the body and clarify the mind, preparing him for a momentous trek on the winding road leading to the self and the soul. it is a road he loves to share..wanna go for a walk?

Krista fell in love with the practice of yoga in 1999 when she took her first Ashtanga class with Tim Miller. Since that day she has devoted her time and energy into exploring the numerous dimensions, both as a teacher and student. “I look forward each day to the possibility that my practice both on and off the mat can promote a greater awareness in our immediate need for global peace and unification. ALL is ONE.”

Krista teaches retreats around the world and regular classes at Yogis Anonymous in Santa Monica, CA. She teaches a vigorous Vinyasa flow class filled with challenging armbalances and inversions; she believes that our obstacles are our greatest blessings.

Click the magazine cover to learn more about Krista