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Gratitude, Jen's Musings, Manifestation Workshops, Mindwebs, Vulnerability

Don’t Judge Your Pain. Or Anyone Else’s.

June 2, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-blackBy Jen Pastiloff.

I broke my foot three weeks ago.

I intend to mine that break for any and all material so watch out. It sucks so I at least better get some “life lessons” out of it.

I haven’t been able to put any weight on my right foot due to the break and, because I have severe carpal tunnel, the crutches have slayed me. I have barely been able to move. I’ve alternated between this chair (I’m sitting at my desk and have done for so long that my arse is numb), my bed (many many hours), and the sofa (I’ve stained it like a toddler would and indented it as if I hadn’t risen from it in 35 years.) Chair, bed, sofa. Chair, bed, sofa. I also have a terrible injury in my left leg and have laid off doing any exercise on it for years so I have no strength in it. So basically, I have only one leg to hop on and that leg is kind of crappy. Wah. I know it could be worse but my God, I have been feeling low.

My friend who has also broken her foot and struggled with anorexia texted me yesterday that the inner torture of a break cannot be comprehended. For me, it’s been the inner torture as well as the physical. It’s scary to write because I am 100% clear it could be worse and I feel like who am I to talk about pain? I know nothing of pain. Look at So and So. Or So and So. Now, they are in pain. They know pain. Who am I to speak of such things?

But the thing is, most people do that all the time, so everyone walks around swallowing their pain. They eat it and they fake a smile and go on with their day. Keep calm and carry on.

Way too much time to think. Way too much time to look on Facebook and make up stories and get caught up in my head. Way too much time to think about irrelevant things. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve written a few essays and worked on my book Beauty Hunting and read a few books but the bulk of the time has been spent wallowing and feeling stuck and broken and then being mad at myself for wallowing and feeling stuck and broken.

The truth. I hesitate to write it, but hell, I have a reputation of being a truth teller, so here it is: I had been struggling with depression (and written copious amounts about the struggle as you guys know) before the break. So the break kind of sent me into a tailspin.

I had gone off my antidepressants last year and a lot of my “stuff” came up with this break. Imagine: being immobilized and having nowhere to “run” to. Having to sit with it all.

Not. So. Easy.

A few days ago I posted something on my Facebook. I woke up the next day with what Brene Brown calls a “vulnerability hangover.” I wanted to delete it but didn’t because it seemed to strike a major chord with folks. And because I was telling the truth and I know that’s important.

Here is what I wrote:

Feeling grateful for the people who’ve been supportive during what has been a shitty ass motherfucking time for me. Feeling equally disappointed by the people I have yet to hear from. Not even a text or an acknowledgment. Which makes me question why I give a shit? Why do we let ourselves create expectations of people based on how we think we’d act? I understand that people have short memories. Also, that it’s easier to be with people who are “doing great, everything’s fine,” but my God, what an eye-opening experience this has been. I am sure I will write a piece on it, but meanwhile, a public thank you to the people who notice when another person is in pain. Truthfully, that’s the kind of person I am drawn to anyway: the kind who pays attention. May I always pay attention. And, may I be willing to be with someone even if it’s messy, even if feel like they are broken. Thank you. You know who you are. Nothing, and I mean nothing, goes unnoticed with me. I may have bad ears but I hear it all.

Here are a couple little lessons I learned:

1) If you are in pain, let people know.

2) If someone is in pain, reach out. Even a text. A card. A nod. Some form of acknowledgement. Anything. A balloon. A cookie. Wine. (I like wine.)

3) Never feel like you shouldn’t say something because why would your voice matter? Because that person already has a lot of support. Because you think you will be a burden. Because you don’t know what to say. (I got a few texts from people that said they didn’t reach out because they thought I was probably inundated. Or that they didn’t matter.)

4) Pain is pain. Even though I am not dying and I don’t have cancer or whatever else it may be, I have still been going through a hard time. That’s not nothing. Don’t judge your pain. Or anyone else’s.

5) Be willing to be with people even if they are not fine, good, happy, perfect, rainbows, unicorns.

6) Notice your tendency to pay attention to the one who doesn’t text/call/like you rather than the loads that do. Notice that.

(I have an exercise in my workshop I call “The 1 and 100.” I ask the room if there’s a room with a hundred people and they all love you except one, who do you focus on? Yup. Most say the one. Notice how this exemplifies say times one million when you are stuck on your ass for weeks on end with a broken bone. Notice that.

7) It sounds corny but Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers said “look for the helpers.” So yea, do that. Pay attention to them.

8) Kindness matters. Teeny tiny minuscule baby kindnesses. Or large as the sea kind of kindnesses. They matter. Act like they do.

9) Empathy. Compassion. Those words.

Being human is tough at times. But it’s what we signed up for. That’s why I do what I do. That’s why my workshop is called The Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human. The On Being Human part is really my concern. May we all work on that a little more.

May we always pay attention to what makes us so.

So, I’ll not only NOT delete my status update but I will share it here. And I will probably have a vulnerability hangover again tomorrow. But I’ll nurse it, ever so slowly, ever so gently, ever so lovingly.

 

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

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her 2nd 2015 Manifestation Retreat Sep 26- october 3rd. Click the Tuscan hills above.

Join Jen Pastiloff  and Emily Rapp at a writing and the body retreat in Stowe, Vermont Oct 2015. This will be their 3rd one together in Stowe. Click the photo to book.

Join Jen Pastiloff and Emily Rapp at a writing and the body retreat in Stowe, Vermont Oct 2015. This will be their 3rd one together in Stowe. Click the photo to book.

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

A Pretty Mind Blowing Little Ditty About My Manifestation Retreat.

May 20, 2014

I’m going through a rough patch right now with my broken foot and this made me feel good. Really really good. This was written by Sunny Beeker, an incredible woman who just attended my Mother’s Day Manifestation Retreat in Ojai. I won’t lie- it kind of blew me away. Thanks, Sunny! You should write a book. Not kidding. And thanks to everyone who was there. If I and to break my foot, there is nowhere I would’ve rather been than in the middle of dinner with you at my retreat. Okay, it was just before dinner. But you get my point.

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I had to write about my experience at Jennifer Pastiloff’s Manifestation Retreat in Ojai this past Mothers Day. It was an experience of possibilities, magic, and real human connection. A big dose of what we all need from time to time.

This is what she greeted me with when I walked in the door. There stood THE Jennifer Pastiloff, giving me a hug and saying “Welcome! What’s your name? I just opened this beer, do you need one?” – in her very distinctive, strong voice. It kind of threw me seeing her standing there, the woman who’s writing, adventures and spirit I have admired for so long, just offering to show me to my room. My first thought was – she’s so tiny and then I felt a bit intimidated and a bit in awe. What do I say to her?! Our social media relationship (chatting before the retreat in her FB group) seemed so easy, but now I have to be THAT person. And then she’s handing me her beer! I don’t even like beer! (Yes, Jen, I lied when I said “sure I’d love one.” I never drink beer.). But in that moment, she became a real person and I was able to relax into the experience. And the beer tasted great.

That was the start of my I-have-no-idea-what-to-expect-why-did-I-come-alone weekend at the 2014 Manifesting in Ojai Mothers Day Retreat. And what I walked into was an amazing mixture of women (and a few men) from ALL walks of life and ages, open hearts, vulnerability off the scales, flowing tears, soul baring, singing, laughter, sweating, chatting, eating, wine drinking, star gazing, major a-ha’s, and some heart stopping spontaneous moments that took your breath away. Deep connection, compassion and self expression displayed in its purest form – with total strangers.

Then she broke her foot, our beloved leader. And while she weathered the intense pain and frustration and tears, the air/tone that she set earlier in the day never changed for the rest of us. We all carried on and sent an incredible amount of love Jen’s way, all of us believing that love is a vibrational force – which we knew was all we could do for her. So that’s what we did, let her process and carry on. OK…that was just the first day, if that gives you any indication of how strong the love was flowing.

There was no disappointment, even if you were expecting this to be a “yoga retreat”, which many did (and she has a broken foot!). Even they all said in the end – it was soooo much more. Yes, we did some yoga, but it was what happened in between that was extraordinary. Jen walks the walk she talks and writes about – even on one foot. Being human is every emotion and every experience…and believe me, she did not stay quiet about how she was feeling about her foot. She let us see her process (the very real and human ups and downs) with so much trust and honesty, and in that space I think we all felt safe to share the secret parts of ourselves. It was “Mothers Day” weekend, after all, and all the emotions that brings up. It was amazing to behold. I can’t imagine trying to explain what “a retreat with Jen” is like because I suspect it is different every time. Hate to overuse the word “amazing”, but there is just no other word. Even after, back home, I found it hard to describe what it was like. Oh and did I mention the unbelievable setting in the hills of Ojai, perfect weather, and the hot chef (Culinary Therapist!)-slash-singer/songwriter, Caspar Poyck, who cooked every meal for us and then took us on a food/self exploration in his “cooking class”?!

I came because I was looking for something. Rejunvenation. An intro to yoga. To get away. To treat myself. To be by myself. I’m not exactly sure what…but, something. I remember thinking, as I was eating and laughing my ass off and having the deepest conversations ever in my life with these strangers – Is this the real me or is the real me the one I left at home? Who is this person (me) these people are getting to know, no holds bar? I’ve never felt so present and in the moment – not holding back, not second guessing, not checking out, not wondering what they would think if they only “knew”. Not judging. I felt completely safe to be myself. Jen created a space and forced us, in her way, to let it all go. It was refreshing to simply be myself, surrounded by smart, vulnerable, powerful women (and men) – who give a damn. Because she does. And I carry that with me today.

In a nut shell – it was nothing I expected, but it was everything I needed.

If you follow Jen’s blog etc. – she kinda makes this shit happen. Honest, open, vulnerable, human, kick ass kind of shit.

An experience I will never forget. Grateful – for the leadership, the company, the wine and the memories. Can’t wait to do it AGAIN!”

*****

I’m humbled by what Sunny wrote and what I experienced last weekend. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I hope i see some of you soon at a workshop or retreat. Love to you all, xo jen

Next retreat in Ojai is Labor Day and New Years. Book here. (Labor Day is almost full.)

I also have one workshop in L.A. 5 spots left June 7th. 

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