Hey there! Jen Pastiloff here, I’m the founder of The Manifest-Station. Marika, the author of this piece, won a spot at my Manifestation Retreat in Ojai last summer based on her writing! It is such an honor to publish her here again. I am excited to announce that Good Morning America just contacted me after they saw this story on my site! And People Magazine And MTV and The Today Show and my goodness, it keeps on coming…It was an honor when I was on Good Morning America and was able to raise awareness for Prader Willi Syndrome (which my nephew Blaise has, as well as autism.) I am thrilled to see what this will all do for autism awareness. Go Julian! Thanks to Justin Timberlake for being such a star! A class act! If you are using this article please make sure you credit/link The Manifest-Station.
By Rachel Pastiloff.
If I close my eyes and think hard enough I can almost remember the house. Almost. I can’t remember if it was brown or green. Maybe it was brown with yellow trim. I do remember the chain link fence in the back yard, and the rabbit hutch my Poppy made for us. I wish I could remember more. I just said to a friend this past weekend, “I wish I had a photographic memory,” but then realized that would probably be a curse.
I still dream of those days. The ones that happened before July of 1983. Maybe I could go under hypnosis and while in a trance bring a Polaroid camera with me. I had a Polaroid camera once. It was pink and I loved the instant gratification. I would take my Polaroid and snap a photo of all the moments from January 15th, 1978 until July 15th, 1983.
I have a snapshot of the day my daddy died. I have that moment etched in my brain. Chinese checkers, shag carpet, curse words and fist slamming, sirens, strange men, family arriving. I remember all of that. The den where I was held captive as they took Mel, my dad, away on a stretcher. I snuck away and caught a glimpse of his lifeless body. I had no idea it would be the last time I saw his beautiful face, although it did not look beautiful on that stretcher, blue and dying.
In the weeks before he passed my mom and dad had “the talk” with my sister and me. It was the “we are getting a divorce talk.” I remember the bedroom and the bed we sat on with its putrid ugly yellow sheets. My father had an armoire that held all of his “cool” stuff. Probably the same place he placed his drugs, the ones that would weeks later rip him out of my life. That talk would leave an imprint on my life.
I carried it around with me like a 200-pound appendage.
My last memories of my father were of him saying, “You can have Rachel and I will take Jennifer.”
A few weeks later he died. I carried the burden of his poison laced words with me, the words that a five year old hears, in five-year-old comprehension.
- You don’t love me?
- Why don’t you want me?
- Why won’t you take me?
- I am unlovable.
For years I’d ask my mother why?
Why didn’t he think I was worth taking, loving, or keeping? She always made excuses for him. None of them ever took it away.
His words became my inner voice.
I am a mother now. I have the choice now. As I read the post on Facebook it knocked me over.
“How you speak to your children becomes their inner voice.”
I couldn’t breathe when I read it.
I have to make sure that their inner voice is one that says: I am loveable. I am wanted. I am smart and kind. I am heard. I am special.
This is a challenge as the mother of one child with a rare genetic disorder and autism, and another child with ADHD and a mood disorder. It’s a major battle sometimes to remember to breathe, and sometimes, just to conquer minute by minute of the day.
I have not been the most gracious mom over the last six months. I am depleted in every possible definition of the word. I have had more than my fair share of ugly mom moments, last night being one of them. I was yelling and pounding my fists, scaring even myself. Watching myself as if I were in a movie, looking at my little one stare at me as if I was a monster.
Those moments pass and we are fine, but what is the ripple that I have created inside his voice pool? Rachel, your words become their inner voice.
Your words are what they hear when they lay their heads on the pillow and fall into their dream state. I finally had that epiphinany.
“Epiphany,” the book written by Elise Ballard. I bought it and kept wondering when my epiphany would come. I want it to be profound and earth shattering. I want the world to feel a mini earthquake when my brain finally gets it.
That isn’t even close to what happened. Instead, I lay in my bed last night and told myself to just breathe in and just breathe out, over and over again. I remembered that Facebook post I read.
I want my voice to lift my children up. I want my voice to inspire my children everyday so much that they think to themselves, “I am so lucky, I have such a good life.” I want my voice to be the thing that lights a fire in my children, and keeps them going even when it hurts. I want my voice to be the one they hear in their dreams that tells them, you are so loved, you are so wanted, you are a special gift, and you are love.
My sister Jennifer often says: At the end of your life when you ask one final “what have I done?” Let your answer be “I have done love.”
At the end of my life when my children say their good bye to me they will say, She did love. She gave me my voice.
Rachel is a native of Philadelphia/South Jersey. She currently resides in Atlanta with her husband and two young sons, ages 7 and 4. In 2009 Rachel’s oldest son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome, with a diagnosis of autism to follow shortly after. The diagnosis was traumatic and forever altered the course of her life. Rachel has made it her mission to educate the world about children who have special needs and their parents. In her spare time between doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, and the normal stuff everyday parents do, she writes a blog RachelPastiloff.com. Rachel is also a yoga teacher and a health coach in Atlanta. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her passion for food, nutrition and wellness are her biggest passion. You can find her on Facebook, instagram at @rachelpastiloff or assisting her sister Jen at one of her retreats around the world.
Hello there! Today is my birthday and this is the best gift ever! You all helped raise the money to get my nephew Blaise, who has Prader Wili Syndrome and autism, his service dog. Here is Blaise with Simba. “My doggy, my baby!” Blaise says. It’s just too cute. Thank you all so much. Thanks to Dogwish for Simba. For more on Prader Willi click here.
Please share and comment on this video on Youtube so people know how much is possible through social media, and, how important service dogs and animals are 😉
I am constantly navigating through a crazy maze of trials in my life. Always trying to figure out if what is now is what it’s supposed to be. I constantly examine this concept with my children and myself.
Last Tuesday was an especially difficult day. I struggled through the day, and my kids weren’t even home from school yet. Once my littles arrived home, things went from hard to climbing Mt. Everest hard. Blaise, my sweet boy who has Prader Willi Syndrome and Autism, was in a state of destruction. As dinner approached, I asked my sweet angel where his glasses where. Very nonchalantly, he responded that they were broken. The two of us found our way into his bedroom where he showed me both pairs of his glasses broken, twisted and shattered in little pieces. I found myself cracking into those same little pieces.
I lost my patience and started yelling. I hate that part of me that comes out when I crack.
I screamed at him, “Why, Why, Why?”
He never answered. He didn’t understand what I was asking him. This led to the real issue. The glasses aren’t the issue; they are at the surface; they are like the skin; they are just the part you see. The real issue was exploding inside.
Why can’t my son understand me? Why can’t my son be “normal?” Why doesn’t my son’s brain work?
There it is: the guts of it all. It’s the insides coming out, the organs and the blood.
Seven years of dealing with special circumstances doesn’t make it easier. Seven years doesn’t make those bitter moments sting less. Seven years doesn’t close the wounds. I have spent the last few years stuffing down my feelings and pretending that all is cohesive. That it’s tough but working.
In reality, it was all still there under the surface, inside a pressure cooker about to explode.
I found myself crying after my kids went to sleep that night. I cried for myself. I cried for the stress that his syndrome can create in me, but mostly, I cried for him. I cried for what I thought was missing. I was quiet after I let it all out; I was quiet all through the days that followed. Something had opened up, and I finally had to face it and deal.
I had to accept what is.
Blaise accepts his life. It’s time I remember how to live more like him. Blaise doesn’t see failure or lack of in his life. He accepts things and does so with a smile.
I am working on accepting “the what is” now. I added into my a-ha moment that I can accept what is now and trust that things may look different in the future.
As the parent of a special needs child, I tend to be on a roller coaster of emotions. Going through the struggles with my child. Walking the path of his life right by his side. It can be a daunting task. One thing I don’t need to add to my plate is judgment to what I think the picture of my child’s life should be.
I happily bought the little one a new pair of glasses. Hopefully this experience will have us both see a little clearer.
Rachel Pastiloff is a native of Philadelphia/South Jersey. After years of living on the West Coast, she transplanted to Atlanta, Georgia from Berkeley, Ca in 2006. Rachel is a mother with 2 young boys, ages 5 and 7 years old.. In 2009 Rachel’s oldest was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome. The following year her son was diagnosed again with Autism. Both of these events would help shift the direction of Rachel’s life. She began her path with health and wellness to create a better life for her family. It then became her passion. Rachel became a certified yoga teacher in 2012 and is a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Health and Wellness Coach. A life long lover of food and cooking, Rachel helps her clients get back in the kitchen and enjoy it. She is helping people have a new relationship with not only food, but also their personal health and wellness. Her work can be seen here on the site and on Positively Positive. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org to work with her or visit her site.
“In which at last I saw what a child must love, I saw what love might have done had we loved in time.” ~ Mary Oliver ‘The Visitor’
Isn’t that what I am searching for? What we all are searching for? To love in time? Isn’t that what we are all looking for? Under all the layers of hard rock and hurt and in between the rain and the spurts of sun across Southeast Asia or Southern California or Santa Fe? Just past the temples, past the shore, past the man washing his chicken in a dirty creek as he gets it ready for the fight. Isn’t this the great journey, this pilgrimage to love, to not running out of time, to dying with a heart empty of misgivings and misunderstandings rather than a heart full of I am sorries and I wish I did it better?
Here I am in Bali. My Manifestation Retreat in Ubud has ended. A sold-out retreat with all women (minus my husband who gave us the room to create the sisterhood we needed.) The retreat was very much a retreat toward love. One of the definitions of retreat according to the dictionary is: an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable. And that is just what we did. We withdrew from the comparisons and the judgements and the traffic and the old beliefs and the children and the cooking and the phone calls and the heartache and the sameness of daily life. We withdrew towards our center.
Our mantra: May I always be this happy, May I always be this free. At least for this moment. And then this one. And this one. All of it in moments.
Moments experienced with a presence that could be likened to an offering. Here: Here I am, offering you my undivided attention and acceptance. This is my offering. There is nothing in my way. There is no past, no sickness, no going back to work, no dreading the plane ride back, no discomfort. There is just this. This perfect morsel in time. And I am here. Fully. This past week we retreated towards our center and as the sun rose in the morning and we looked out towards the temple and the men in the fields and the ducks waddling all along in a row like a cliche, our hearts knew what they have known all along: That this is what love feels like. This is what it is all for.
To know a beauty so precise that it aches in the place where pain has lived and also heartache, loss. This ache is more of a returning, a piece of ourselves we thought we may have lost along the way is slid back into itself without any kind of hassle or confusion. An offering. The term achingly beautiful finally and rightfully understood. And yes, it is felt in the same place. The heart doesn’t know any different, it just knows to feel. If we let it.
This past week was a letting. Take this offering and feel it. Tie yourself in knots and the undoing is a retreat, a coming home.
We all want to love in time. To think we could possibly run out of time is what causes traffic and wars and broken hearts. The actual running out of time is less common but it does happen. We can die without fully loving the things right in front of us and inside of us. We can let that happen. When I asked what everyone was manifesting many of the women said vulnerablity. It came up a lot during the week in journaling and class themes and throughout our visits to the temple. My heart should be this vulnerable, this open, so I may feel this beauty inside of me as I feel my own breath breaking the air above me as I snorkel with the most colorful fish I have ever seen and may I know this beauty in the way I have known other facts about myself, like I am this or I am that. This beauty is the knowable part of me just as any other. But to feel this beauty, to really see it as it is means I must be vulnerable to the pain as well.
Here is the sunrise with the knowing that the sun will indeed set, the sky will open at some point today and the rain will come down without explanation, the flowers will die, but that to miss it while it is right there in front of us means we are not accepting the offering. We are not accepting what has been inside of us all along, no matter how dormant or inactive. In Bali, they give offerings to the gods three times a day. It is their daily ritual to give back what the gods have given them. They do not take this lightly, it is a duty and an honor at the same time. Why should we not have the same system? I will take the love offered to me. I will take this gorgeous spicy food and the flowers left on beds and towels and the lily pads and the terraced rice fields and the silent Thank You from the toothless woman washing her clothes in the stream and the not so silent Thank You from the thunder. I will take the I love you as fact and the I believe in you as a Go signal. I will then offer back my heart since it is mine to give away. I will offer my support and my mistakes and what I have seen here and what I know to be possible and the smiles the Balinese wear which you might think to be myth and which I can assure you is not. I will offer back my words and my imagination and describe to you in the best detail I can just what I saw and how in the healing waters at Tirta Empul I prayed for my nephew and my dead father, and how my friend, just before she ducked her head under a spigot said And this one is for me and how I held her back as her shoulders shook under her sarong, under her sobbing. I will offer them all to you without holding back at all so you believe me when I tell you that there is time.
You will believe me when I tell you that if you let yourself be the beauty and never stop seeing the beauty, no matter if you are in Bali or traffic or a yoga class, that you will never run out of time. That although your father will still have died and you cannot take back what you said, that although you will still have had your heart broken or gotten hurt, the offering is this: You. You are the offering.
We are the offering.
We must place the beauty in our hearts right there next to loss and pain and whatever else is we have in there and we must pass it on. We must love like the Balinese do. Shamelessly and fully without any but this might not last. With acceptance and duty and honor and grace. When Agung, our beloved driver and host brought us to his home for dinner and so his twin 11 year old daughters could do a traditional Balinese dance for us, he spoke of his son. With a huge smile he said his son was artistic. So proud he was. We then realized he was saying “autistic.” His son came out and said hello to us, and Agung hugged him close and with a pride I am not sure I have ever seen as he introduced his whole family. They all live together in the compound with his father-in-law (it was his wife’s home first, a rare thing in Balinese culture.) A lot of the girls on the retreat cried, as I did, not because it was a sad thing, but because the love that came from them, that little clan standing there in front a of a bird cage, was more perfect than anything I’d seen. With its lack of judgement and story and shame it was a divine moment in time and we all felt blessed to witness it and we all made a mental note to love more like they loved. To be happy in the way they were even though a few of them shared a bed and the son was autistic and they had never left the island of Bali. And so what? What did they know besides love? No, they aren’t perfect. But they were loving in time.
May we all love in time.
This is a beautiful blog by my sister about my nephew Blaise. Blaise has come so far since he was diagnosed with Prader Wille Syndrome 3 years ago. Please check this blog out. It is gorgeous.
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.
11% of all revenue generated by the OMies goes directly to helping families dealing with the daily challenge of autism via bluecommunity.org, a non-profit organization created by Rick & Dahlia Rondeau.
Rick & Dahlia have 3 beautiful children, two of which have been diagnosed with autism. They say that until you experience the isolation and stress of autism, it’s difficult to understand just how challenging it can be for families. They understand and want to help. Having a nephew who has autism I love this about them!
The success of the OMies will change lives for the better and this is why the OMies were created. Thank you for not only your contribution and support, but for spreading and sharing the OMies among your tribe.
Rick and Dahlia, aka The Omies, are fun, loving, kind, generous, big-hearted people who happen to have an awesome sense of humor to boot. I am honored to be part of their tribe.
The following interview is inspiring, beautiful, funny and honest. Please take a moment and be delighted. Oh, and buy your Omies tee. They are the best ever!
Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: My wife.
I actually created a “vision board” for the kind of woman I would like to share my life with. I noted every detail including hair color, personal style, level of grace, unselfishness, interests, etc… I saved all the images and took photos of the board, so people would believe me.
I have told the story to people all over the country to help inspire them. I often think back on how amazing that manifestation process truly was.
The OMies. Tell us about it.
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: The OMies came about from a personal desire to create an image that would best represent the rapidly expanding ZEN GENeration. We affectionately refer to the members of this generation as OMies.
One of the most iconic images of all time, the smiley face, was highly representative of the experiential 1960’s generation. To me, the true beauty in the smiley face design was it’s ultra simplicity. I wanted to create an image that was equally simple, yet highly recognizable and fitting for the attitude of the ZEN GENeration.
I am confident that I achieved this goal with a simple blue circle and 3 straight lines.
With that said, I created my first collection of merchandise almost 6 years ago and was unable to connect with my intended audience. The problem as it turned out, thanks to the insight of a creative mentor of mine – Jim Benton, creator of Happy Bunny and many other highly successful characters, was that my image was zen, but my messaging was not zen enough. Jim recommended that I focus more on the zen category and as he said – “own it”. It was at this point I made the decision to add the meditative/yoga influenced OMie body.
My next adjustment was eliminating all the different colored OMies and going with the most popular color, blue. The final piece of the puzzle fell beautifully into place as my wife and I had always talked about building a brand/company that had true purpose and could really make a difference in people’s lives. This is why 11% of all OMies sales goes to helping families deal with stress and isolation that autism can create. We are a family that deals with this stress and isolation everyday (our twin boys have been diagnosed with autism). Each month, our non-profit organization – blue community, spotlights a family to help.
This is how we describe the OMies on our website:
The OMies represent the ever growing, ever glowing ZEN GENeration. A peaceful, but powerful tribe of individuals who understand that love unites, inspires and rewards. OMies encourage authenticity and integrity as essential components of life.
The OMies are a high-vibe, zen tribe who spread the power of cOMmUNITY everyday, everywhere.
Jennifer Pastiloff: A mantra I live by is “I do what I love and I love what I do.” What would one of the “OMies” mantras be?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: Celebrate your uniqueness.
Jennifer Pastiloff: I love that a portion of your sales goes to helping families deal with the challenges of autism. How did this come about?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: Our 6 year old twin boys were both diagnosed with autism in 2008. As a result, we have dealt with the stress and isolation that autism can bring every day. My wife and I would often share our frustrations about autism with each other and agreed that it would be so rewarding to be able to help people like us. This was what is known as the “aha” moment.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: My wife – best attitude ever.
My mom – most consistent ever.
My dad – best hall of fame hockey player ever.
My kids – brightest lights ever.
YOU, Jennifer Pastiloff, who connects and promotes people with your heart, not your ego!!!
Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: Be uninhibited.
No detail is small.
*Gifts come in all kinds of packages.
Jennifer Pastiloff: From starting the OMies company?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: *Work equals play, when you are doing what you love.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Never, never, never give up.
Jennifer Pastiloff: From being married?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: 2 people working together can accomplish anything they choose.
Apologizing is not a weakness.
Jennifer Pastiloff: From autism?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies:
**What seems to be different is just different, not worse. If autism is looked at from a different POV, one that sees the “frequency” of these individuals, you “see” the positive gifts and the abundance of these highly-intelligent, unique and amazing kids/people. They carry a vibrant light that cannot be dismayed.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Who has been your greatest teacher?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies:
I am fascinated with stories of Pioneers in a wide variety of industries. I am constantly consuming great stories about great ideas that came about from great effort.
Failure has taught me so many lessons, the most important being – don’t be afraid to fail!!!
3. My wife.
She had a challenging childhood, survived a near death experience at 13, and has spent her entire life helping other people. She teaches me everyday how to be a better person and reminds me that it IS much better to give, than to receive.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Facebook. I love what you post. How has social media played a part in your life and your career?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: Facebook gives me a platform to show the extent of my creativity. I love photography, design, art and inspiring people. Facebook is a tremendous resource for showing one’s creativity.
Social media plays a major role in the success of sharing the OMies all over the world. It is so exciting when someone likes a new image/post, likes the OMies page and places an order, as a result of social media.
Jennifer Pastiloff: My sister Rachel, whose one son has Prader Willi Syndrome asked me to ask the following: How does one continue to manifest your dreams while being a parent?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: You have to be MORE organized, and live life more simply. Remove the clutter from your world (everything that “gets in the way” of you focusing/visualizing on your kids and your dreams). You must dream BIGGER and manifest by TRUSTING in the Universe. With faith and trust, the Universe will BRING you what you need, exactly when you need it. And it’ll be beyond your wildest imagination; even better!
Include ALL of who you authentically are into your dreams; it’s all there for a reason and it serves a purpose. Be proud of who you are already! Gratitude is soooo important.
One of our BIG dreams is the OMies becoming a successful family business that all of our children can work with and around our entire lives; it’s a passion and not just a job! We love to help others. This fuels the manifesting engines.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Do you practice yoga?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: I meditate almost every single day, so I have my own “Yoga” which means, “Union with the Divine.” But I am developing a more consistent yoga routine that includes Hatha flow along with Yoga Nidra (prajna).
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?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: GOD.
Every single OMies supporter.
Every special needs parent.
Jennifer Pastiloff: When is the last time you have laughed at yourself?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: Last week.
I was out sticking OMies stickers all across town acting like a teenager and laughed at my behavior and how impossible growing up has been for me.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Which is your favorite OMie?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: RIGHT OM.
This design was inspired by Russell Simmons and his passion for yoga, meditation, fashion, etc… but it also has a bit of me in it, as I wear a black cap backwards on most days.
GIDDY OM is a very, very close second.
This design makes me and so many other people smile. It’s a classic!
Jennifer Pastiloff: Who would be your dream team of OMies ? Who would you love to see the OMies shirt on?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies: Spencer Paysinger (#55 NY Giants) – done
Laura Donnelly (Actress / ABC Missing) – done
Nate Connolly (Lead Guitarist Snow Patrol) – done
Dr. Wayne Dyer & family – almost done?
Oprah – soon! (fingers crossed)
Christy Turlington – soon! (fingers crossed)
*Russell Simmons, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Anniston, Sting, Brad Pitt and his entire brood, Sandra Bullock and little Louis, Alec Baldwin + Hilaria Thomas, & Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Biel + Justin Timberlake….my list goes on and on but these would be some REALLY fun high-vibe OMies.
** all the above mentioned “done” OMies were thanks to Jennifer Pastiloff!!!
Jennifer Pastiloff: What’s up next for the OMies?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies:
We are deciding which events, festivals, trade shows, etc.. across the country are best exposure opportunities for the OMies.
Expand the OMies wholesale business (yoga studios, catalogs and retailers).
Expand the collection to include embroidered caps, shirts, hoodies and kids wear.
We are looking to develop some product license partnerships in select categories, including:
Jennifer Pastiloff: Where can we find more OMies? How do we order shirts?
Rick Rondeau of The Omies:
and our private and brand new organization that donates to Autism (bluecommunity.org).
THANK you!!! xoxoxoxox :))))))