Browsing Tag

be kind

Beauty Hunting, Guest Posts, Kindness

City Mountain Views

November 22, 2017
subway

By Jacqueline Evans

I smelled Leo before I actually saw him. Urine, shit, sweat and decay; the now familiar vaporous cocktail of a New York City street resident in the summer heat that has become a regular part of my everyday life since moving here from California 5 months ago.

He stood motionless on the 4th step from the bottom of the subway stairs, clutching the handrail with one hand, a pair of crutches on the step above him in the other. Clearly he was stuck there, frozen in place by something unseen while the world busily streamed past him, subway passengers rushing to get to whatever was next. The next train, the next appointment, the next big deal. Rushing, pushing, clawing, leaning into the next more-important-than-the-last thing that takes us further from each other and closer to ourselves. I held my breath and prepared to descend the steps quickly past him into the hot platform like everyone else. I knew already that I wouldn’t exhale until I was in the air-conditioned subway car, safe from the smell.

Each one of us probably believes that we possess our own fair amount of altruism, that if someone were obviously in need, we would do whatever was necessary to help. At least I know I do. Despite this, I wouldn’t have stopped to help Leo that day if we hadn’t made eye contact. Continue Reading…

Q & A Series

Amy Jo Johnson: Actress Extraordinaire. The Manifestation Q&A Series.

March 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.

I am so excited by today’s guest. Amy Jo Johnson is one of the most talented people I have ever met and I am lucky to call her family. Yes, she is a friend, but I consider her part of my soul family. She was with me at my last and most profound yoga retreat to Mexico where we all bonded so much we felt that we actually had become family. Then, one of our group, the beloved comedian Steve Bridges, suddenly passed away a few weeks ago in his sleep. It made our time in Mexico, which was already so precious, that much more divine.

Some of you may recall her from the tv show Felicity or maybe even the Power Rangers (yes, she was “The Pink One.”) I just know her as Amy Jo, the incredibly gifted human being. She is kind, funny, and, can sing so well that tears will form at the corners of your eyes. You know: the happy tears. The “that is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard” kind of tears. She is spunky and sassy and does a mean handstand in my yoga class. She is free-spirited and witty, poignant and present and fully capable of catching herself as she falls backwards down the stairs. (Apparently this happened in Mexico. She backflipped and landed on her feet.) She doesn’t take anything for granted, loves a good joke and even a corny one ( like the ones I tell.) She writes beautifully and has a vision for her life that inspires me to no end. 

(I want to be her when I grow up.)

Family is important to her in the way it is important to me and I believe that is one of the things that initially made me love her.

She is an actress by trade but does not live her life as if that is the only thing that matters. Nor does it define her.

One of the most fierce and unique people I know and I am humbled that she is here today. Amy Jo is creative in the true sense of the word; an artist through and through.  

She’s connected to something else, something bigger than herself. I do not know what it is, nor do I attempt to, but I do know that we are blessed to get a little slice of this goddess.

She says the words she lives by are: “Be Bold and Be Kind”. As someone who knows her well, I can say that this is not heresay. This is fact. Through and through.

I look forward to teaching my Manifestation Workshop in Toronto when I go to visit her. So stay tuned all you Canadians. I’m on my way!

In the meantime, here is my dear friend and soul sister, the amazingly talented and fiery Amy Jo Johnson.… Amy, I love you.

 

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

 

 Amy Jo Johnson: About six years ago I drastically changed everything. I packed up my life and left Los Angeles. I hit the road to “find out”. I was about 35 years old and desperately needed to manifest happiness. I became a gypsy for a few months before ending up in Montreal where I finally sorted through some of the monsters in my head. I needed a break. I needed to just stop and let go. What I discovered beneath all my fear was that I never really knew who I was. What I wanted.  So, after a two-year sabbatical and a new lease on life I found my husband, got pregnant, and landed the best job of my career pretty much all at the same time.

 

We now live in Ontario, which I LOVE! And I’m in the middle of filming the fifth season of the TV show I had landed. I feel so blessed with the life I’ve created. But I know that none of it would have happened if I didn’t have the courage to shake things up six years before. I believe we must live BOLDLY if we want to manifest our dreams.

 

 

Jennifer Pastiloff: What’s the greatest lesson that you have learned from being an actress?

Amy Jo Johnson: Kindness… Truly… This is my greatest lesson. A lesson I am faced with every day.  I’ve spent so many years worried about who I am and how I’m doing and how I’m going to benefit. I am so sick of myself it’s ridiculous. Since I’ve discovered this new way of life. Simply being kind. I’m so much happier!! And I find things are so much funnier. Truly, it’s all kinda funny.

Jennifer Pastiloff: From being a mom?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Oh, Francesca teaches me something new EVERYDAY… This little person who happens to be my daughter is such a gift. I find her trying to take care of me a lot. Every now and then I have to remind us that I am the mother. But boy oh boy she is the teacher.

Jennifer Pastiloff: From losing your own mother?

 Amy Jo Johnson: The lessons I’ve learned from my mother’s death are ever changing and never ending. Recently I’ve deeply realized that most of our actions are usually because of where we come from, the life we were handed. So, acceptance and understanding of others is becoming clearer to me.

Jennifer Pastiloff: If you were not acting what would you be doing?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Whatever it is that I would be doing is something I love. I know that for sure. I’m not one to suffer for very long.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What do you see yourself doing in 10 years time?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Traveling the world with my family! And directing films that I’ve written, hopefully inspiring and helping others though them.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What do you love most about being a mother?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Being a mother constantly pulls my focus from myself and into a more nurturing state. I love that!! I need that.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who has been your greatest teacher?

 Amy Jo Johnson: I’ve had so many awesome teachers in my life from my mother to the amazing Jana Saunders. But recently there have been two that profoundly affected me on a level I’ve never felt. First, my husband Olivier, he’s taught me how to be loved and in return I am now better at loving. I am so thankful for this man in my life. And second, YOU! Jennifer Pastiloff. This insight to kindness is something I really have learned to understand through you. You teach me so much. It’s something I’ve never felt before, the balance of kindness, humor and honesty. It’s how I strive to live my life until I die. Thanks chickie…

Jennifer Pastiloff: A little birdie told me you were writing a movie……

 Amy Jo Johnson: I am working on creating a film about my mother’s life. Her journey inspires me in so many ways! I’m excited to share it with the world and hopefully help people who have gone through similar struggles.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you share with us a bit about your music?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Writing and playing music comes in waves for me. Like everything creative I do. It’s all a cathartic playground. At the moment my sights are so set on developing this film that music has taken a back seat. But it’s there and always will be when the moment strikes. I try not to force it.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Honestly, moments when I feel most connected to people. I’ve always had a hard time getting close. I can be a very guarded person. These moments used to happen so infrequently. And when they finally did I would eat them up and savor them like it was the last. Now I strive for it daily. I look for it in people. A lot of times in people I never would have imagined it with. As I ease the insecurities in myself I’m finding it easier to look past those in others. Wouldn’t it be a magnificent world if we could all see past our fears?

 

I realized the other day that when you first meet someone you usually meet their insecurities. First impressions are usually not who someone really is. So, my biggest meditation and practice is to take a deep breath when bombarded with someone’s walls and compassionately look through them. And remarkably enough on the other side is usually a really cool person. Innately I believe we are all good.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I teach many of my classes to the theme of gratitude. If you could say thank you right now to one person who would it be?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Thank you, Olivier Giner, for living the good life with me.

Amy Jo and her husband Olivier at my last yoga retreat in Mexico. Feb 2012.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are some words you live by?

 Amy Jo Johnson: BE BOLD! And kind. At the end of my life I want to look back and say “Holy CRAP! That was an interesting ride.”

(note from Jen: I Love this. It reminds me of on of my favorite Mary Oliver poems When Death Comes where the last line says:

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.)

Jennifer Pastiloff: You were with me in Mexico on my last and most powerful retreat. We dubbed ourselves the “Fab 13”. On Saturday, we lost our brother Steve Bridges, one of our 13. Is there anything that Steve or his passing has taught you?

 Amy Jo Johnson: I am so grateful for that trip to Mexico. It was one of the most healing experiences I’ve ever had. Olivier and I have a code word between us now. If we forget how precious life is and find our selves stuck in our own way we say this word. The word means LOVE and it’s Steve.

Amy Jo painted this and 1 year later met Olivier.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is one message you would pass on right now to someone looking to manifest their best selves?

 Amy Jo Johnson: BE BOLD!!!! And kind.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What brings you the most joy? Your joy list….

 Amy Jo Johnson: Francesca’s laugh! Watching a good TV series with Olivier while he rubs my feet. Drinking wine with good friends and chit chatting about life. Writing my script in a coffee shop for hours and hours. Laughing until I almost pee my pants, which usually happens once a day at my work. Auntie Jewdgie! The sunshine, a rainy day, a good snowstorm. Using the loud leaf blower in my yard. Kick boxing! A good yoga class, especially a Jennifer Pastiloff magical session. GOD, peace and so much more…

 Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you manifesting in 2012?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Making my movie!!!! Hell yeah!

(note from Jen: Hell yeah, I second that!)

Jennifer Pastiloff: Where can we find more of Amy Jo Johnson?

 Amy Jo Johnson: The TV series FLASHPOINT, which is on ION or CTV, I also have a website for my music amyjojohnson.com and I sometimes tweet @_amyjojohnson

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Jennifer Pastiloff will be teaching at the Tadasana International Yoga & Music Festival over Earth Day weekend on the beach in Santa Monica, CA, April 20– 22. Click here to check out the festival website and purchase tickets. Enter the code Pastiloff for a $50 discount! (Please note that discount codes expire April 1.)

Amy and I at my last yoga retreat in Mexico.

Jen’s “rules”:

1. Be Kind.

2. Have a sense of humor especially when it comes to yourself

3. Write poems, even if only in your head

4. Sing out loud, even if badly

5. Dance

6. If you don’t have anything nice to say… you know the deal

7. Find things to be in awe of

8. Be grateful for what you have right now .

9. Watch Modern Family, read Wayne Dyer, and end every complaint with “But I’m so blessed!”

10. Duh, do yoga

11. Don’t worry. Everyone on Facebook seems like they have happier and funner lives. They don’t.

12. Tell someone you love that you love them. Right now.

13.. Take more pictures.

14. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. No such thing.

15. Thank the Universe in advance.

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