Browsing Tag

body image

Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts

I Am Trapped Inside My Body.

June 17, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Amanda Redhead

I am trapped inside a body that I loathe. Drowning in the doughy, white excess of flesh.

I have always struggled with my appearance, riding the roller-coaster of weight before my age was even double digits. I look back at the pictures of myself as a teenager- thin, lithe, strong- and wish I could have that body back. I cannot imagine how I thought that body was overweight, unattractive. However, I am secure in the knowledge that I will never look back upon my body as it is today and want to live inside it again. I am housed inside the body that I have always feared I would I have.

When I was seventeen I was in a group therapy program for fellow teenagers. I was deep in the bowels of a great depression and sat daily in a circle with bored, slack-jawed teenagers whose parents decided, as mine had, that this group therapy would be the answers to all of our ills. We sat in silence while the therapist moderating the group chirped cheerfully at us and nearly begged us to share. There was little sharing, but there was much staring and gawking at the doorway in the corner of the room where a similar group of teenagers met. That group was for fellow teenagers struggling with anorexia. They also sat in stony silence, one by one being led over to be weighed in the corner. Every time a weight was announced outloud, everyone in both groups could hear it.  I would surreptitiously place my hand underneath the back of my shirt and pinch myself painfully at the sound of each number, pinching the fat on my hips until it sometime bled.

The staggeringly low numbers should have saddened me, as should have the appearance of many of the girls- bearing their clavicles proudly to the world, all hard edges of bone and sharp angles. Most of the weights called out were well under one hundred pounds. Some of the girls looked directly from a movie about the concentration camps during the Holocaust- devoid of every bit of fat.  They draped themselves in clothing and blankets, perpetually cold.  I admired the persistence of these girls. I felt shame at my own thick skin. I sickeningly wished that my depression had manifested itself as anorexia instead of the slow-moving, perpetually tired melancholy sickness that had taken over my world.  This thick, molasses slowness felt even more of a failure than it had before in comparison to the persistent, dedicated illness that I saw in those girls. Every pound of flesh on my body felt heavier upon leaving. I wondered if those girls thought of me when purging their food after the therapy sessions. I imagined their disgust. Continue Reading…

Gender & Sexuality, Girl Power: You Are Enough, Guest Posts

I Am Androgynous & I Want To Talk About Body Image.

May 25, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Wren Thompson-Wynn

This morning I watched Taryn Brumfitt’s video. I have watched her video more than once and read her words over and over again. I applaud her as I know many women do. However, I wondered (as I do every single time I watch body positive videos and read body positive articles) why their message doesn’t seem to translate to me. Why don’t I feel what my head tells me I should which is: Your body rocks! I look at my soon to be wife and think my god, she is stunning. There isn’t a thing I would change about her. And I know with fierce honesty that as her body changes through life, I will always be attracted to her physical beauty.

But why does this not translate to me? Then, I realized something. Women like me are kind of left out of the body positive equation. Not intentionally, but because no one notices.

I am androgynous. I identify as androgynous. This is not the same as gender fluid. I identify female in every way, but I prefer to express myself in androgynous ways. Every time I wear women’s clothing, I feel like I am in drag. Flip side to that coin is every time someone calls me “sir” it bothers me (I get extremely embarrassed for the people around me). I began to wonder how that affects my body image. Then, I started looking at what visibility androgyny, specifically for women, has in society. Every single image I found was of waif thin women. There were no “normal” sized androgynous people: male or female. And it occurred to me with the force of a jet plowing into my very ample chest: curves “give away” your gender. Being a regular size and having curves means that others see me as a masculine lesbian, not as an androgynous person. I hate the word “butch.”

My androgyny has always been a liability. In lesbian relationships, my partners have always liked that I am more masculine. However, if I pushed the line of gender expression too far, they felt I was trying to pull them into a illusory hetero coupling. They all left (though J calling it quits was because I was an ass). An ex was transgender. We began our relationship long before his transition. My androgyny helped him anchor into an identity (lesbian) that at least got him a smidge close to who he felt he was. Once he was able to accept his true gender, he transitioned. With every step of his transition, our relationship was easier to navigate the more socially accepted feminine I was. When I would wear skirts and makeup and tight girly shirts, he was nicer to me. When I would hang out in my jeans and tshirts and cut my hair, the more distance and tension and anger existed. The more androgynous I was, the more true to my own self expression I was, the more emasculated he seemed to feel because the more “butch” he felt I was…not androgynous. I hated my body. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Self Image, Self Love, Young Voices

A 19 Year Old Girl Talks About “Being Enough.”

April 20, 2015

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By Sarah B Levine

Note from Jen Pastiloff: I am currently writing a book for young girls based on the workshop that Lara Heimann and I have co-created: Girl Power: You Are Enough. Last week I was in my hometown of Philadelphia leading one of my workshops and right before it started I bumped into a beautiful young girl. I asked her if I could interview her. She said yes, having no idea what I would ask her. (My kind of human!!) The video is at the bottom so you can watch after you read her stunning post. I put a call out to young girls to write about when they feel the best about themselves, if they feel like they are enough, and a letter to their younger or future selves. I intend to include some in the book. (The book will also feature letters from various women to their younger selves, such as Christy Turlington, Cheryl Strayed, Ashley Ford Megan Stielstra, Emily Rapp, Angela G. Patel, Rachel Pastiloff, Lara Heimann, Rene Denfeld, Lidia Yuknavitch, Suleika Jaouad and more. I am so excited by this project that I haven’t been able to sleep. That and I have been binge watching Parenthood on Netflix but that’s a whole other story. It’s been a dream of mine to work with young women yet I had no idea how to start making it happen. Then, it just happened organically. They started coming to my workshop, in droves. So Lara and I gave birth to this baby. Girl Power: You Are Enough.

The time is now for this. So the beautiful girl I bumped into at the studio saw my call on Facebook and submitted her post. I wanted to share it here because, well. You’ll see. May we all remember that we are enough.

May we have people that remind us.

ps- I am reminding you. YOU are enough.

*  *  *  *

Dear Jen,

As per requested on your Facebook, I decided to answer what it means to be enough. And after a couple of hours at my computer going through tears, smiles, snorts of laughter and everything in between I feel I have captured a part of me I had been unable to acknowledge for a long time. A part of me that has been quiet and dormant as a voice in the back of my head for a long time. A part of me, I feel is also a part of many other girls, boys, young and old all over.

Thank you for already making a change in my life this past week. Everything happens for a reason.

Sarah B Levine (The girl you met at  your Dhyana yoga studio in Philadelphia impromptu interview)

 

****************************************************************************

All of this happened in the comfort of my own home and mind. I crossed path with a number of people in my life that all encouraged me loved me and supported me and saw I was an old soul. Rarely what I am writing is what majority of those people got to see. This is what I saw when I looked in the mirror.

Why am I enough?

Why should I be enough? Who am I enough for? Who would ever love me? Why can’t I be looked at like that, with admiration? Why do my legs touch? Why is my nose so big, my belly not as toned or my butt droopy? Don’t take my picture it might point out a new flaw. My teeth aren’t as white or straight as hers. My hair isn’t as curly; I wish it were naturally more beautiful than I wouldn’t have to try so hard. These are the things that would go through my mind- sometimes more often than not. Continue Reading…

Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts, healing, Truth

Journey Towards Self-Acceptance.

February 14, 2015

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By Katrina Willis.

My relationship with food and with my body is complicated, slippery, broken. My ability to deal with it from a place of reason and intellect waxes and wanes. No matter how it may or may not manifest itself, I will always have an eating disorder.

Just as rape is not about sex, eating disorders are not necessarily about food. For me, it is a hole that needs to be filled; an endless, confusing journey toward self-acceptance and the ability to say without second-guessing: I am worthy, I am whole, I am enough. It is about control, or lack thereof. It is about shame.

**

I can’t be trusted around food. I don’t trust myself to prepare it. I don’t trust myself to eat it. When other people cook for me, it feels safe. And I know what they choose for me is better than what I might choose for myself.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that's it! Summer or Fall 2015.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that’s it! Summer or Fall 2015.

Continue Reading…

Eating Disorders/Healing, Eating/Food, Guest Posts, Self Image, Truth

The Skinny on Mary.

January 3, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88

By Teri Carter.

Mary is skinny. Mary has a trick. Mary shows up late for lunch, which means she has no time to order or no time to eat. Both work. Mary’s just turned 50 and she is always talking food: You would not believe what I stuffed in my face at that barbecue! Your bag of Cool Ranch Doritos is in danger. I’m ordering a cheeseburger and fries! But Mary, who owns an investment firm, is an expert at moving her food around a round plate and she always gets a to-go box for her barely-touched burger and fries. Can’t wait to pound this down at midnight. She thinks we believe her, so we pretend we do. We all have our tricks.

In an August 2012 article for Forbes, Lisa Quast quotes a research study: 45 to 61 percent of top male CEOs are overweight, compared to only 5 to 22 percent of top female CEOs. Then, in her closing paragraph, Ms. Quast goes inexplicably blasé: “As for me, I’m off to the gym with my husband for weight training and a two mile run. Then I’ll probably have a veggie salad for dinner so I can keep my body mass index at the low end of the normal range. As these studies demonstrate, thin is in for executive women – although I’d prefer to think if it as ‘healthy’ being in.” Her ending leaves me cold. I go back to the beginning.

Continue Reading…

Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts, healing

I Don’t Want To Be Skinny Anymore.

July 13, 2014

I Don’t Want To Be Skinny Anymore. By Amanda Broomell.

I want to be skinny. I want to walk into Lululemon and know that every see-through pant will slip onto my milky white skin like butter, without the fat. No more doughy rolls hanging over my gym shorts. No more bulging FUPA stuffed like a petrified fried egg inside my pinstriped work pants. I want to be the woman brazenly bearing her T&A in the Equinox women’s locker room. The sweaty hot chick getting stretched out on the sticky mats while beefcake dudes drool as they pass by. The skinniest chick in the room.

I know they tell you that being skinny doesn’t change anything. But I dream it does. And the dream is what I desperately cling to. Even as I write this, I’m fantasizing about all the squats I’m gonna do later to get J.Lo’s butt (let’s be real, there are not enough squats in the world to give me J.Lo’s butt).

I want to be SKIIIIIIIINNNNYYYYYY!!!

Except I don’t.

I don’t know how to BE skinny. It feels foreign, empty, unsustainable. Frankly, it’s just not me.

In 5th grade, I was over 90 pounds when everyone else was 70. I had a period and boobs when everyone else had cardboard chests. I grew up around a neighborhood of boys who called me fat on the daily. At school, I was entered into a “hotness” competition against Cindy Crawford as a joke. In 9th grade, a guy who actually had a CRUSH on me said I was built like a football player. You can imagine what that does to a young lady’s self esteem. (These days, the deciding factor in choosing a mate is whether I could break him or not.)

On top of that, from roughly age 8 to 10, I was sexually, mentally and emotionally abused by a boy who was my age, which was eternally scarring and confusing. He regularly demanded to look at and feel my boobs – and threatened to burn down my house or tell the school I was a slut if I didn’t comply – but he also thought I was an ugly fat lard. How does one make sense of that dichotomy.

After suffering through those traumatic elementary years, I was determined to join the legion of skinny girls as the elixir for my deepest wounds. I imagined a life of glamour, adoring boyfriends, and victorious Cindy Crawford competitions. And miraculously, I achieved what I considered “skinny” during 5 periods over the next 20 years, though each of those moments was abruptly followed by a disappointing journey back to FATLAND.

My first success was the summer before college during which I worked at a local classy movie theater and basically subsisted on chocolate malt balls and warm, mustard-dipped pretzel bites. Then the next year all my hair fell out. But, damn, was I a skinny bitch.

Next was my gain of the dreaded freshman 15, which was really more like the freshman 30. I accomplished this gain by eating 2 pints of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream every evening before bed, and every morning, the freshly-baked chocolate chip bread that my very sweet, Jersey-bred roommate would make for me. But after I graduated college, I started working about 80 hours a week at this sports bar in Brooklyn and was now subsisting on bread sticks, martinis and oxycontin. No room for food! Again, skinny bitch in effect (emphasis on the bitch).

Fast-forward a few years, I gained all the weight back, and also a little dignity, after discovering the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2005. I began to get my life on track. I stopped with the pills and excessive drinking, and began eating according to what my body wanted. At first, all it wanted was chocolate and wine and bread. But eventually I realized those were mixed messages being sent to my brain, the result of an emotional desolation that I’ve spent the last 33 years attempting to fill up. I started eating incredibly well and naturally lost weight. Somehow, though, I couldn’t keep it up. Eventually I got back up about 20 pounds and was right were I started. W.T.F.

Attending Columbia’s MFA Acting Program in 2006, I pretty much had no time to eat. We were in class and/or rehearsals for about 16 hours a day for 3 years straight, and the summers were spent either working at low-paying temp jobs, doing non-paid downtown theater in tiny, sweatshop-like blackboxes, or traveling to Europe with money I didn’t have (thank you to all the big banks for your irresponsibly generous lending policies, and, to myself, for the bliss of ignorance and naiveté.) Plus, Showcase (where you do a “pretty” parade around a stage for a bunch of agents and casting directors) was always on the horizon, and you HAD to be skinny for that. So, I hired a personal trainer and ate grass for about 6 months before it happened. And it worked. I got super skinny. But it didn’t do any good. I didn’t get an agent and then that sent me into a super tailspin. On top of that, I endured an endlessly painful breakup with my boyfriend (they tell you not to date people in your class for a REASON), so I went back to my old Chunky Monkey ways. No one wanted me anyway, so what was the point of looking good?

THEN, about three years after all of the post-apocalyptic grad school drama died down, I entered a bit of a health Renaissance. I started seeing a chiropractor and an acupuncturist (along with a psychic or two) and had the strong desire to take better care of myself. It was during this period I discovered I was gluten sensitive and decided to give up all gluten products. Well, let me tell you, I lost weight as quickly as a cop stops for donuts. I felt amazing, looked amazing and thought – THIS IS IT. I’ve made it! I’m finally skinny…for life! This was a lifestyle change, not a diet, so there’s no way I could go back to before.

WRONG. After two depressing breakups in 2013, I was cheating and eating Umami burgers WITH the brioche bun and a side (or two) of fried smushed potatoes. I was drinking bottles of wine, eating tons of fries and dessert (even though I tried to justify it by mostly eating gluten-free treats, they were still processed and full of fat), and suddenly, none of my size 4 work pants (that I was SO PROUD to have purchased since that was the smallest size I’d ever owned) fit anymore. How did this HAPPEN? I was so disappointed in and disgusted with myself. I messed up a year and a half of seriously hard work. What is my major malfunction?

In the scheme of it all, I was, at most, only ever 30 or 40 lbs over my skinny weight, so what’s the big deal? Others struggle with far worse than that. But it FELT whale-like. And also weirdly comforting. I felt protected. I had an excuse why I didn’t book an audition or get hit on at the ridiculous hipster bar. I could just hide and no one could see the dark recesses of my wounded self but me. I could hate myself in the peace and quiet of my own fat-insulated home.

The subconscious logic makes total sense: If I never get skinny, I don’t have to worry about getting fat again. And if I’m fat, no one will really notice me. They’ll just have pity or disgust, but they won’t ever see the deeper flaws. The irreversible, unlovable, ugly, scary flaws. The she-who-shall-not-be-named that lives within me. Fat is my invisibility cloak. It’s the only way I know how to be.

Fat = safe. Skinny = love. Love = fucking terrifying. Because once I’m skinny, I will be desired. I will be looked at and wanted. I will be seen, and the shame and disgust I feel will be broadcast to the world. There will be no hideaway. I will no longer be comfortably invisible. As much as I loathe myself as a fat person, I am horribly fearful of being a skinny person. Then there will be nothing between me and the broken girl beneath. I will be faced with confronting my true self, and that is the scariest truth of all.

As I write these words, I realize I’ve entered period 6 – I’m on the road to skinny! But this time, it feels different. I don’t have the same desire to eat until I burst. I DO, however, sometimes feel like there’s a Satanic voice in my head questioning whether I can sustain this for a lifetime or if the minute I get my heart broken or I don’t book that short film everything will just fall apart and I’ll gain all the weight back again and be a big fat blob that no one will ever have sex with ever again. SHUT YOUR TRAP, SATAN!

Bottom line is: I don’t want to be skinny anymore.

I want to feel good.

What would I have to give up to feel good, ALL the time? Basically my entire identity as I know it. Peel off my skin like the label on a wine bottle – have you ever tried to do this?!?!? It’s basically impossible.

So what’s the solution? Honestly, I have no flipping idea. All I can do – have been doing – is wake up every morning and make a decision about how I want to feel. I’d say 90% of the time, the answer is “good.” There’s still 10% of the time I feel like stuffing my face with 500 buttercream cupcakes. But compared to 10 years ago, that seems like playing a delicious, calorie-free game of Candyland. Everyday, I try to be grateful for what I have in this moment. I try to eat things that will make me feel good in this moment, in a nourishing way rather than an instant gratification way. I’m focusing on a new goal: I don’t ever want to be “skinny.” I just want to be a better version of myself today than I was yesterday. Become the kind of person I’d want to hang out with. FUPA and all.

Here’s my new mantra, inspired by the inimitable Jennifer Pastiloff:

Love yourself now, Amanda, because in 10 years you will marvel at how beautiful you once were. Savor it. NOW. You’ll wish you did.

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Amanda Broomell is an East Coast girl with a West Coast heart – she grew up in Southern Jersey but always knew she was meant for Southern California. It’s only been a year, but she’s madly in love with this place. As an actor, holistic health counselor and marketer, it’s the perfect place to be. More at amandabroomell.com, realurbanwellness.com (coming soon) and @RealUrbnWellnss on Twitter and Instagram.

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

Next Manifestation workshop is Seattle July 26. Book here. Followed by Atlanta Aug 9.

beauty, Guest Posts, Inspiration, Owning It!, Self Image

I Like This Picture of My Cellulite: A 19 Year Old’s Journey To Self-Acceptance.

June 4, 2014

Dear Readers, Jen Pastiloff here. The post below was written by a 19 year old student. I love that I have teens following the site! I am developing a series for young writers to express themselves to accompany my new book “Girl Power: You Are Enough.” It is my great honor to be a platform for these beautiful voices. We want you to be heard. We are listening. See you all next workshop And at the workshop for girl- Girl Power: You Are Enough, which launches in September, 2015. Make sure you are following me on instagram and snapchat at @jenpastiloff!!

IMG_6719And I Like This Picture of My Cellulite by Victoria Erickson.

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A Young Woman’s journey to self acceptance and appreciation.

Now, I’m not the cute blonde on the left but rather the more prominent, jean-jacket covered, cellulite charging, woman to the right.

And the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture was how HAPPY I look: I’m jubilant, radiant, fresh home from my first year of college and ready to celebrate with my hometown best. And I should’ve stopped there. It could have been enough to admire the photograph, to rejoice in the photographer’s ability to capture the joy and carefree art of two friends catching up after a year apart. It should have been.

But instead, I let my subconscious take over. I let that little voice in the back of my head tell myself that “I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t enough…or rather I was TOO much. I let the brainwashing, nerve damaging thoughts seep in and overwhelm my mind, allowing the thoughts to poison my spirit. My mentality went from You look HAPPY!! to Yeah, you look happy…but why? you’re fat. Followed by, don’t believe me? Just look at that lump of cellulite you call a leg take over the shot and deplete the image of any beauty there may have been.

And the smile faded.

The disgusting part? I let it. I let my stomach sink, my chin drop, my eyebrows furrow, and my spirit shrink. I let the negative thoughts brew until they reached a dangerous boiling pointing as I asked myself Why didn’t the photographer just edit that out?! and What should I do?! As I wondered if it would be best to try to edit the cellulite myself, crop the picture from the waist down, or just “hide” the photo from my timeline all together?

A lot of distress and worry over a photo. A photo that did nothing more than capture the image presented before itself. And that’s when I realized, when you look at this photo, you might see the sorrow of imperfection, the impression of one (or two) many visits to the all-you-can-eat-University cafeteria as I did at first glance.

Or rather, you might see a young woman jubilant with friendship and conversation as I have now chosen to.

That’s the wonderful part! I decided that it is what I -independent, strong & mighty me-decide to see, feel, and believe that counts.

Because I’m nineteen and I’ve had enough. No more to comparison and emotional affliction. No more distress caused by preconceived notions of body image. No more to any of it.

So what did I do? I decided that I loved the picture. I decide that it was a wonderful snapshot of my friendship and that image truly captured the essence of a rain kissed stroll- flaws and all! And most boldly, I decided to share it.

That’s right. I decided that I love this honest and flawed picture so much so that I am going to embrace it, celebrate it, and yes, share it. Because I decided I would fight my demon and embody it because I didn’t -and don’t- have the time or energy to let it wear and tear me down anymore. Because it’s not important. And more so, because I hope when you look at yourself, whether in reflection or spirit, you do the same.

Because we’re better than that.

And because it’s actually ok to look at a photo and say yes, “I like this picture of my cellulite.”

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Photograph referenced in article, taken by Atiim Jones Photography

Victoria Erickson is studying Journalism, Art History, and Studio Arts at the University of Iowa. As a student journalist and becoming adult she is trying to the find the balance between learning and leading.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers! Sep 17-24, 2016. Please email info@jenniferpastiloff.com to book. 

 

 

March 13 NYC! A 90 minute class for women, girls and non-gender conforming folks (we encourage teens 16 and up) and all levels that will combine flow yoga, meditation, empowerment exercises, connection and maybe, just maybe, a dance party. This will be a class to remind you that you are enough and that you are a badass. It will be fun and empowering and you need no yoga experience: just be a human being. Let’s get into our bodies and move! Be warned: This will be more than just a basic asana class. It will be a soul-shifting, eye-opening, life-changing experience. Come see why Jen Pastiloff travels around the world and sells out every workshop she does in every city. This will be her last class before she has her baby so sign up soon. Follow her on instagram at @jenpastiloff and @girlpoweryouareenough.   Jen is also doing her signature Manifestation workshop in NY at Pure Yoga Saturday March 5th which you can sign up for here as well (click pic.)

March 13 NYC! A 90 minute class for women, girls and non-gender conforming folks (we encourage teens 16 and up) and all levels that will combine flow yoga, meditation, empowerment exercises, connection and maybe, just maybe, a dance party. This will be a class to remind you that you are enough and that you are a badass. It will be fun and empowering and you need no yoga experience: just be a human being. Let’s get into our bodies and move! Be warned: This will be more than just a basic asana class. It will be a soul-shifting, eye-opening, life-changing experience. Come see why Jen Pastiloff travels around the world and sells out every workshop she does in every city. This will be her last class before she has her baby so sign up soon. Follow her on instagram at @jenpastiloff and @girlpoweryouareenough.
Jen is also doing her signature Manifestation workshop in NY at Pure Yoga Saturday March 5th which you can sign up for here as well (click pic.)

 

funny, Guest Posts, R Rated, Self Image, Sex

When the Man Talks to Me about My Lady Parts. *R Rated.

February 16, 2014

**This humorous essay by author Heather Fowler has strong sexual content and is R Rated. If you have no interest in that…stop reading right now. Seriously. I have every intention of providing a space for women to keep it real. (For everyone, really.) This a light, frank, body-positive post. Proceed with a sense of humor please 🙂 And I bow to Heather for being so bold. We had a great conversation where she brought up the fact that women aren’t allowed to really talk about their own genitalia without causing a stir. So, here ya go… ~ Jen Pastiloff, Founder of The Manifest-Station.

~

When the Man Talks to Me about My Lady Parts by Heather Fowler.

I can’t help it.  I’m excited.  Who knew I had something so great?  It is with extreme enthusiasm that he engages this topic.

As for me, during this engagement, I’m agog by my own former underdeveloped awareness. I can be forgiven. We often undervalue the things right under our navels. I mean, I know I’ve taken pleasure from this anatomy variously in my past, without even recognizing how important this particular part can be. But he specifies criteria like a pussy aficionado.

He doesn’t mind when things get wet and impromptu.  He is a fierce explorer. Fierce!

Now, his opinion should not be discounted because he is actually an expert in this field, belonging to a Harley gang and all.  This means he’s had lots of pussy.  He has enjoyed it as a meal and a la carte.  I like a man who talks the walk.  He squeals he has had more than one at once.

Several of them, many times. We discuss.  “Tell me about your sexual past,” I say, because I am a role-bender that way, intrepid.

When I reflect deeply, I recognize that his interest in pussy is parallel to the interest of a guy who loves sports statistics. Maybe this one keeps statistics.  He certainly knows about his bat.

Why did I do this?  Not sure, but here’s the good part: Usually, I’d pay for analysis from this level of “expert in the field,” wherever research is needed.

But I got lucky, and with this level of lucky, I don’t have to pay.  I pull the sheet up and wait.  I am covering my boring breasts, which he largely ignored. I smile, trying to be innocuous.  I’m about to understand my pussy, really get the lowdown, articulated from a guy’s point of view, probably for the first time.  This is huge.

I tremble. I have to be humble. I look away.

I hope I don’t look too curious because, sometimes, that puts guys off.  Nope.  He still wants to talk about it.

“Some women just had too much,” he says.  “They can’t feel a thing.  Not like you.  Yours is still sensitive.  And you have great padding in the back.”

“Oh,” I say.  “Right. Padded ass. That’s good.” But I nod, intrigued.  “Go on.”

No one has ever spoken this frankly.  I examine his hair, that blond stuff on his head.  It is long in the way that motorbike riders enjoy, since their hedonism extends to the wind at play.  Everything is play. I think about washing the sheets.

“And some women are hard down there,” he says.  “Like a plank.  You can bruise your hipbone on that.  And sometimes you can’t go that deep.  Some women have what’s like a slit, hard to push into, and other women hang loose and open all the time.” He mentions to me that a condom might have skewed his view of this pussy, my pussy, a little bit, but it was still good.  He says I couldn’t possibly have experienced it like he does.

Right, I’m thinking. It must be like that freckle on one’s face that becomes rather insignificant in light of the whole face.  I have a whole face.  A whole body.  But he is a pussy specialist.

“Would you say these things if it was bad?” I ask. “I mean, go on like this?”

“No, of course not,” he says.  “Then I’d just say nothing. I’m not a total cad.”  He kisses me like he thinks I’m cute.

I am not cute like he imagines.  I am pondering how it would feel to experience my own pussy, from the exterior, with nerve endings, by inhabiting two bodies at once.  I wish I could bodysnatch him and enjoy being both of us.  I get lost in this fantasy.

“It was great, great,” he says. “And so I could just sneak in here and help you out,” he says, pulling at a tendril of hair near my face.  “Like I’m the rogue character in one of your novels.  I could be your bad boy.  Does your pussy squirt?”

“I haven’t thought about it,” I reply, neglecting to mention that I don’t write romance novels.  “I’m not down there, you know, watching.  Does squirting imply a sort of specific distance?  Does it involve a quantity of fluid? Maybe you can tell me.”  I do like the idea of having a bad boy, especially one who so appreciates my pussy.  But if I want a bad boy, I want one with mad skills, one who cannot be denied.

He smiles, petting my head, and I say, “If you gave me five or six orgasms a session, that could be worthwhile.  But we’d have to be monogamous for fluid-bonding.  We could build to that.”  I’m thinking that’s a low bar for taking on a bad boy, if he doesn’t plan on nurturing or taking out the trash.

His face falls.  Maybe he thought two or three was really big shakes.

For me, it’s not. Two or three is an introduction. Nonetheless, from this exchange, I realize I have an excellent, frequently underutilized pussy.  This is a subject to ponder.  How can I do better for my pussy? Why, and for how long, must my organ remain underutilized?

He asks what I think about his dick.  “It’s fine,” I say.  “Good.” But I have no new remarks to issue here.  What does one say when one means, “Truly average.  A decent size.  Not too large?” but knows these comments won’t go over well.  I think about saying, “Your dick is important to me insofar as it functions well when we are engaged in romantic exchanges, aided by outings and interpersonal connection, though I would not be upset if it wasn’t functioning, provided I loved you enough.”

I determine he is too bad boy to appreciate this distinction.  “You have a good dick,” I conclude, going for minimalist.  When he leaves that day, I think:  I won’t remember it.

Later I examine my pussy as if it is not attached to me and think about other women.  Do they know how great their pussies are?  How underutilized? Someone should tell them.

This someone might be him.  Then again—he might not know enough.

I’ll be a crusader for the femme O.  Look out world, I got this.

***

newheadshot2-2013

Heather Fowler is the author of the story collections Suspended Heart (Aqueous Books, Dec. 2010), People with Holes (Pink Narcissus Press, July 2012), This Time, While We’re Awake (Aqueous Books, May 2013) andElegantly Naked In My Sexy Mental Illness (Queen’s Ferry Press, forthcoming May 2014). Fowler’s People with Holes was named a 2012 finalist for Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award in Short Fiction. This Time, While We’re Awake was recently selected by artist Kate Protage for representation in the Ex Libris 100 Artists 100 Books exhibition this February at the 2014 AWP Conference. Fowler’s stories and poems have been published online and in print in the U.S., England, Australia, and India, and appeared in such venues as PANKNight TrainstoryglossiaSurreal SouthJMWWPrick of the SpindleShort Story America,Feminist Studies and others, as well as having been nominated for the storySouth Million Writers Award, Sundress Publications Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. She is Poetry Editor at Corium Magazine and a Fiction Editor for the international refereed journal, Journal of Post-Colonial Cultures & Societies (USA). Please visit her website: www.heatherfowlerwrites.com

writingrefractedJennifer Pastiloff is a writer based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen will be leading a Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and her annual retreat to Tuscany is in July 2014. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand what her retreats are like. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Jen and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. `
Guest Posts, Owning It!, Self Image

Confessions of a Naked Yogini. Guest Post by Liz Arch.

March 2, 2012


Liz Arch is a dear friend of mine. In fact, last year we were roommates when Lululemon sent us, as ambassadors, to Whistler B.C. for an Ambassador Summit. Liz is ambassador to the Santa Monica store and I’m ambassador to the Beverly Hills store. It was a huge honor!

We had a great time together jumping on the bed and having pillow fights at the Four Seasons. (It’s a verrrry comfy bed.) 

It was truly an epic experience and life changing for both Liz And I. Thank you Lululemon for believing in us.

Liz shared with me that I inspired her to begin writing and to be vulnerable. After I read this fantastic piece, I was even more touched. Talk about living my life on purpose. I told Liz yesterday on the phone that in my fantasy life “The INSPIRER” is my job title. 

“Thank you for inspiring me to start writing! Your blog, classes, life and message are a source of daily inspiration.  You have such a powerful voice and have helped so many others to find theirs.  Infinite gratitude.  Love you soul sister! Love, Liz.”

This article and my buddy Liz make me happy. Read on. Yes, she is naked in the picture. 

This article was originally posted on Elephant Journal.

                     Confessions of a Naked Yogini. ~ Liz Arch {nudity}

If you had asked me a few years ago about my thoughts on posing nude, my answer would have been: Hell, no!

What self-respecting woman would ever want to pose naked for public viewing? Doing ass-up yoga poses, no less? Not me.

I now stand corrected, and upside down and ass-side up.

So how did I end up in a calendar with legs spread, sporting nothing but my birthday suit? I got on my yoga mat. I learned how to breathe. I learned how to let go. I learned how to accept myself and stop judging others for my own insecurities. Let’s face it, it’s hard to celebrate others for being comfortable in their own skin, like Briohny Smyth (in her underwear-clad video that went viral) or Kathryn Budig (in her nude toesox ads), when we’re not comfortable in our own.

I certainly wasn’t always comfortable in mine.

But, before you write this off as another article from a skinny girl whining about her body image, let me concede. At 5’8”, I am aware that I am tall and slender. I wear a size four-six and openly admit that my ass looks great in a pair of lululemon leggings. But insecurities come in all shapes and sizes.

I come from a large Hawaiian family and I mean large in every sense of the word. My sisters and I were raised on spam, rice andmalasadas (deep fried Portuguese donuts covered in sugar). My father has diabetes and so did my grandparents who both died young due to health complications.

So while I might be able to squeeze into a size four on a good day, I am fighting an uphill battle with genetics. I have womanly hips (easily hidden in tight-fitting luon) and cellulite on my ass that I’ve had as long as I can remember (even luon has its limitations). I used to refuse massages because I didn’t want anyone getting a handful of my butt jiggle. On the rare occasions when I would get a massage, I would spend the entire session trying to subtly tilt my rear toward the ceiling to make everything seem rounder and smoother. At the end of the hour, I would hobble off the table with my lower back on fire from all of the effort it took to keep my ass skyward.

Photographed by Sven Hoffmann

My insecurities went deeper than my cellulite.

Growing up, I was an awkward looking kid with mouthful of crooked teeth because we couldn’t afford braces. My parents let me get a boy haircut in the third grade and instead of looking like my idol at the time, Mary Lou Retton, I looked like Justin Bieber. Awesome if you’re a boy. Not so awesome if you’re a girl. To add to my awkwardness, my family owned a funeral home. Nothing paints a larger target on your back as a child than being picked up from school in a hearse. Let’s just say, I spent a lot of my childhood being teased and crying in bathroom stalls.

Thankfully, I grew up. My hair grew back, I got Invisalign braces in college and thanks to HBO’s hit series Six Feet Under, funeral home families had become cool. All was well in the world and I had, as my sister would say, “turned out much prettier” than everyone thought I would.  Thanks guys.

But that ugly duckling feeling never really went away. It ultimately manifested with me marrying a man who constantly validated all the worst things I thought about myself. I wasn’t good enough, skinny enough, and strong enough. I just wasn’t enough. Period.

It was yoga and meditation that I turned to to help me find the strength to leave an unhealthy relationship. It was yoga that helped me create a new and healthy relationship with myself. Tuning into my breath allowed me to tune out all the bullshit I had been telling myself since childhood.

All that I had learned from yoga and meditation was all tested when I got a call from Jasper Johal, one of the best fine art photographers in the yoga industry, asking if I would be interested in shooting nude for the 2012 Body As Temple Calendar. I was incredibly honored and agreed. But when the initial excitement of the call wore off, panic set in and all the old insecurities came flooding back.  The shoot is this Thursday? Thursday as in three days from now? Shit. 

That wasn’t nearly enough time to prepare my body for its naked debut.

I found myself stepping onto the scale and immediately stepping off to Google the lemonade diet. Thankfully, before I could head off to the store for cayenne pepper and maple syrup, I had a, “What the f**k?!” moment. Was I really back to this place? Don’t I tell my students on a daily basis to accept and embrace themselves exactly as they are?

I wish I could say that I silenced my inner voice right then and there. But instead, I went to the tanning salon. If I couldn’t starve myself skinny in three days, I could at least fake and bake a few pounds off (that should have been the real WTF moment!). And, baked was what I got. I walked out feeling like a lobster with crispy nipples.

To make matters worse, I got my period the night before the shoot and a big fat pimple to go along with it. As I sat there bleeding, bloated, blemished and burned (are you turned on yet?), that nagging little voice popped up and told me to cancel. But I resisted the urge to slip back into old patterns.

Shooting nude suddenly became a powerful opportunity to silence my inner critic for good.

The shoot itself was an incredibly freeing experience. The lens was able to capture what I couldn’t see, a strength that only arises from vulnerability. The final photo now hangs in my living room and when I look at it, I see much more than a naked body. I see an inner confidence that exudes outward.

Now I embrace every line, every freckle and every wrinkle. I embrace my small breasts. I embrace my hips. Admittedly, I’m still working on embracing my cellulite. Perhaps for my next shoot, I’ll do a nude version of half moon and finally show off my full moon in all its glory.

Hey, even the real moon has craters, but that doesn’t stop us

from admiring its beauty.

Liz Arch is the creator of Primal Yoga®, a dynamic yoga/martial arts fusion class that merges Vinyasa yoga with the playfulness of Capoeira, the artistry of Kung Fu, the grace of Tai Chi, and the agility of Budokon into a creative and mindful flow. She has over 10 years of experience in various yoga and martial arts styles including Power Yoga, traditional Northern-style Kung Fu and Yang-style Tai-Chi. She is a yoga ambassador for lululemon athletica and YogaEarth and a proud advocate for A Window Between Worlds, a non-profit in Venice, CA that uses art as a healing tool for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. Visit her here or find her on facebook or twitter @primalyoga.


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.)
Guest Posts, Self Image

The Magic from Within. Guest Post by Curvy Yoga aka Anna Guest-Jelley.

January 10, 2012

Dear Manifesters, today’s guest post is by the lovely Anna Guest-Jelley, founder of Curvy Yoga.

From the Curvy Yoga site:

Curvy Yoga is about living in your body – plain and simple. (Except that, it’s totally not.)

As someone who has been on 65 diets in my life, I actually find embodiment, or really getting grounded and listening to that inner voice, to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it’s also the most transformative (notice I didn’t put that in past tense – the process is very much ongoing!).

Having dealt with a serious eating disorder myself, I  found it refreshing to see someone so honest out there in the yoga world in regards to body image, weight, and the process of learning to love oneself. Anna’s voice spoke to me so loudly that I asked her to guest post. I found myself constantly drawn to her so it seemed fitting that she be a part of the Manifestation Station.

It’s a brilliant essay and the timing is impeccable as she speaks about why she, at first, was skeptical of “manifesting”. Just yesterday, at lunch with a friend, he told me of someone who was critiquing “manifesting and the whole trend of manifesting.” I semi-laughed as I thought to myself “There is a trend? Is it ‘trending’ on Twitter?” I simply know it is a word I found helpful to embody what it is that I am doing in my own life so I named my company that and am attempting to share it with whoever is interested. If it is a trend, well, better that than texting and driving, Ugg boots or botox.

Enjoy Anna’s essay and be inspired to live in your own body and embody your own truth. 

Gorgeous Anna Guest-Jelley

The Magic From Within by Anna Guest-Jelley.

I’m just gonna be honest. Until recently, I thought manifesting was a crock of you-know-what (feel free to fill in the blank here with your favorite expletive because, well, I’ve probably used them all).

The reason why I didn’t believe in manifesting? I believed in something else.

Hard f’ing work.

Vision Boards 

I really do kind of hate to admit this now, but whenever I used to hear someone talk about manifesting, I’d roll my eyes. I did this despite the fact, of course, that I (secretly!) love making vision boards. And somehow, every few months, without ever looking at it consciously after I finished making it, I’d catch a glimpse of my board and realize everything on it had come true.

But I shrugged that off.  I figured I made that stuff happen – nothing more, nothing less. My thoughts weren’t involved, the universe wasn’t involved, it was just all me. Off my own (often breaking) back.

As the daughter of two parents who value work above pretty much everything, and a well-known (at least by the friends and family who I made time for) workaholic myself, I just couldn’t believe there was any more to life than working it out. All of it.

Bitten in the Butt

That is, of course, until I was forced to come to terms with two things simultaneously – how all my hard work was killing me (pretty literally) and how I had slowly and gently begun to set intentions that were seeping their way, wordlessly, into my life.

Here’s how it went down – first about the work: I was working a busy-scheduled, always-politicking, constant-“emergency” kind of job. And my health spiraled down. And down. And down. I got to the point where I wasn’t sure what it felt like to not be anxious. I had to start wearing a nightguard I was grinding my teeth so much. By some miracle, I took a deep exhalation one day and realized that I was holding so much tension in my belly, as though guarding against life, that my stomach was hard like a brick – and not in an abs-of-steel kind of way.

I eventually realized that continuing to work this job would mean (a) becoming a person who I hated and (b) dying young. So I chose Option C: quitting. And I did. And wouldn’t you know it? My jaw released its death grip in a week or less. I remembered what it felt like to digest my food well. And I was able to wake up without butterflies in my belly.

Taking the Credit

I’d really, really like to be able to take the credit for making this bold decision. But alas, I really can’t. The reason I was able to do it was because for about a year (again, totally secretly!), I’d had that change on my vision board, and I’d been quietly, internally setting things in motion to be able to feel okay with doing it.
Because the me from a year before? There’s no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that she could have released a “good” job with a steady salary and benefits. Even if the alternative was bleak.

But the me from right now? After working with my thoughts, and putting out the intention and doing the internal and external work to support it? Yeah, I was ready to make the leap.

And what I realize now is that, while I’d always dismissed manifestation as too magical for my liking, I forgot how the real magic comes from within.

Anna Guest-Jelley is the Founder of Curvy Yoga, where she writes and teaches about yoga and embodiment as the foundations of a live well-lived (and body well-loved). She is also the co-teacher of 30 Days of Curvy Yoga, a course on crafting a yoga practice for your unique body and needs. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Uncategorized

What Are You Up Against?

July 27, 2011

I can’t hear you. Says your yoga teacher.

Well, if I stand really close to you and look at your lips, I can. Or if I bend down as you are in downdog and look at you upside down, maybe I can.

Gary Lightbody, Lead singer of Snow Patrol fittingly said:

” Jennifer is an awesome creature.

I was like four planks of wood

nailed together haphazardly before

I started with her and she has

somehow fashioned rubber from

wood.

We’ll, I can touch my toes now

anyway. As patient and delightful

a teacher and person you could hope

for. She’s deaf as a post though

so be prepared for some confusing

discussions whilst in down dog. If

she can fix me she can fix anyone.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s funny, when I tell people that I have a hearing problem, they laugh. They chuckle as if I am pulling their proverbial chain.

And by funny I mean sort of sad. It makes me feel sad and like I want to shake my fist at God and ask Why?!!

I wish I was joking. I know people say things like that a lot in jest.  Man, I’m so deaf. I’m so blind. And then there is the ‘R” word that I won’t even write out of respect. After my nephew was diagnosed with a genetic disorder with developmental delays and his best friend has Down’s Syndrome,  I won’t even play around with that ‘R’ word.  Let’s just say that it is a word people throw around frequently to insinuate stupidity on their or someone else’s behalf. Not a fan of that usage.

I wish I was joking. I wish I didn’t have to put on subtitles when I watch tv. I wish I didn’t have to ask you to translate every line of the movie when you sit next to me in the theatre. I wish I didn’t feel relief when it turns out to be a foreign film simply because there will be subtitles and I can relax. I wish I didn’t have to ask you three times what you just said. It makes me feel sad and alone and like I have to explain that, No, I am not an airhead, I just cannot hear you.

I wish that I didn’t always have to be in the front of the yoga room just to half-hear what the teacher is saying.  I wish I didn’t have to keep my eyes open when the rest of the room closes theirs. I wish I could hear you whisper. I wish I didn’t feel like such an outsider most of the time.

I will tell you this though: I am a healer.

My hearing loss has given me the ability to feel things deeper, to hear with my hands and my eyes and my heart a little more strongly. To quote ‘Avatar’: I see you.

I was in denial for many years. I would not accept that I had a hearing problem. When I was in my 20′s the idea of wearing a hearing aid was equal to me wearing head gear as a teenager: something I wouldn’t be caught dead doing. And yes, I had head gear. I wore it at night. Sometimes. Anyway, I used to say I would rather be deaf than wear a hearing aid. Ego? I’d say so. Now, if I could afford one, I would wear one in a heartbeat. Big or small. I would wear ten of them.  ( My friend amazingly started a campaign to get me one since insurance does not cover them and they are ridiculously expensive.)

I miss hearing the wind.

I had trouble with my ears as a child. Chronic ear infections, tubes in my ears, inner ear damage. The doctors told my mother that I would most likely have hearing loss. It has progressively gotten worse. I also have tinnitus. Nonstop ringing and humming and hissing. Nonstop. Never goes away. Ever.

I wrote a poem a little while back.

The Secret Lives of Elephants or On Being Deaf

Maybe elephants can hear mountains.

Maybe each mountain range creates a different sound,

A different tone when the wind blows over it.

A soundscape as vivid as a landscape,

Only visible to an elephant’s ears.

I am like an elephant.

With my tinnitus

I can hear the mountains talking to me.

I can hear the sun and the wind, the sky also

When no one else can.

These phantom sounds have guided me

Through the plains of my life,

From coast to coast.

And I have survived the deafening silences in between

This hissing and humming in my head.

Memories have a voice- high pitched, cricket-like in tenor.

If my eyes are closed I cannot hear the world outside,

Only the world in my head.

I read lips to guide me through the terrain,

And when the lips fail me, I am lost-

Without food or water.

And I die.

I can hear things that you can’t though.

I can feel the warrior in yoga, the curl of the back

The opening of the heart.

Even if I miss the direction.

I can hear the quiet in between the quiet

And the arches of eyebrows, the pursing of lips.

I can hear the music of unspoken gestures

the tick tock of need, the roaring of lust,

and the whining of dissatisfaction.

I can hear the tree frog sound of anger

Even though your mouth moving  in circles alludes me.

The mountains enunciate, their serrated ridges open with pleasure

And look me in the eye.

Hearing them is a breeze.

Even if my eyes are closed,

I can hear them with my big deaf elephant ears.

~~~~~~~~

What I have realized lately is that we are all up against something. This has cultivated such a level of new found compassion in me I didn’t know I even possessed. Yes, I am hard of hearing. But my nephew never feels full and has a life of challenges ahead of him.  My friend Emily has one leg. My friend is raising a baby on her own. Someone else’s mom just died. Someone else can’t find a job or do a forward fold. Someone lost their home or a loved one because of a devastating earthquake and is trying to start their life over. It’s all relative.

I want to hear you. I do. I won’t lie. It’s hard for me. I feel empowered when I am teaching but when I am in a room where I can’t hear, I feel like an invisible person. A shadow of myself. I want to not feel sorry for myself that I am young and mostly deaf.

But hey, we are all in this journey together. I have realized that this why I am a healer, why I am a teacher.

When I stopped asking why I got clear. When I stopped asking why? Why being the question at the center of the universe. I finally understood that it wasn’t the why I should be waiting for to open it’s jaws and answer. That why would swallow me whole , that I would burst into flames if I looked directly into it. It would eclipse me and never stop telling me all the reasons why.

I had started talking to drown the ringing in my head. I started singing to kill the ocean in my ears. Why was still the land of my birth. The place I hung my hat. Where I called  home. I finally got quiet and looked around at everyone else and saw that we are all up against something. We all have some sort of battle.

My fist opened and the why slipped into the sky like it belonged there.

And I watched it hover then float.

And I accepted what I was. A healer.

I started to see that the why didn’t matter.

I know what I am here for. I have recently started a new charity called G.A.M.E. Yoga: Gifts and Miracles Everyday: Free Yoga for Children with Special Needs because well, hey, like I said, we are all up against something.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As a side note:

This is an older piece that I am reposting. I originally wrote it for Elephant Journal. I wanted to share that after one of my students read the original article, she felt so moved that she got me a hearing aid. The other monies that had been donated went to audiologist visits and upkeep. There are no words to express my gratitude. I will continue to pay it forward daily. Thank you. The power of the word is no stranger to me and also, the power of human kindness.

Forgiveness, Inspiration

Perfect.

July 26, 2011

Perfect: being entirely without fault or defect : flawless <a perfect diamond>

Then she told me something that her 6 year old son Will said and I realized the err of my ways. It is brilliant and I will now steal it and use it in class. Quoting Sir Will, of course.

He’s just learned the word ‘extinct’ at school. He comes in and says :

“Mom, why isn’t the word ‘perfect’ extinct since nothing is perfect?”

My point exactly, Will! Why hadn’t I said this yet? ( Because often 6 year olds are smarter, more observant and more honest.)

He made this deduction himself after the constant reminder from his mom that no one is perfect.

As I often say in class: Perfect people are boring people.

I even said it on Good Morning America! ( Aren’t they though?)

All jokes aside, at some point I forgave myself for not being perfect. For many years, I struggled with an eating disorder and the feeling that I had to be/look perfect. This nearly killed me, in many ways. I still struggle with this in yoga class at times, I won’t lie to you. We all do. But it’s a silly notion, this extinct idea. I am committed to not being perfect. Conforming absolutely? Who wants that? Excellent beyond improvement? Blergh.

To be clear, we are perfect. Perfectly imperfect. I can’t hear well. That’s ok. My nephew has Prader Willi Syndrome and Autism and he is perfect as he is.

It’s this idea of perfection as something outside of ourselves. As something better than ourselves. As something someone else has decided. The idea of perfect as something unattainable.

I believe it is most certainly inside each and every one of us already. But let’s unite and give up this notion that it isn’t.

A child’s laugh is perfect. A sunset blue and purple as a bruise is perfect. A good cup of coffee can damn well be perfect.

Check out this poster one of my dearest friends Karen Salmansohn made. (Yes, the unstoppable bestselling author)

In the comment section below please answer: Where in your own life can you stop trying to be perfect?