Browsing Tag

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Guest Posts, Hope, Young Voices

Hope, The Minotaur

August 5, 2019
hope

By Amanda Loeffelholz

Hope. I spend a lot of time trying to understand it. On one hand, it kept me alive and still does. On the other, I’m not sure if that constitutes it as good. Hope is heroin for the masochist. It provides the justification for repeatedly putting oneself in painful situations under the guise of waiting for the probability of one percent, the one scenario that never happens. Hope never involves the expectation that something will happen. Hope is the barely hanging on, the prayer opposite the barrel of a gun.

What is the one percent anyway? What we all want so desperately that we put a piece of ourselves on the line for it, aware we may never get it back? What we close our eyes and kneel at pagan alters for against all odds? Something is behind the whisper in an otherwise empty room, the clenched fists and the held back tears. The one percent is not situational. It transcends what an individual merely hopes for. It is the thing that cannot be given up on, the thing that is shameful to need and impossible to disregard. Continue Reading…

courage, Guest Posts

Change is supposed to be good, right?

November 3, 2016
change

By Lisbeth Welsh

If you want something to change, then you have to make a change.  And that’s what I did.  I made a massive change, uprooting my life from Las Vegas and returning to LA.  After almost 2 years in the neon desert, I (thought) I was ready to return to my beloved Southern California.  To be back near the ocean and the beach and away from the blistering heat and soul-less sin city.  And so I moved.

I am fortunate that I currently have a job that I can do anywhere so there was no big new job to pin it on, no date of any relevance just a lull in my schedule that gave me an opportunity to pack up me and my dog and reposition us back ‘home’.  But coming home has not been so easy.  My friends and sense of community are here but my family, are not.  They’re still thousands of miles away in the UK.  My prior home, is managed by a rental company who have out priced me in my rental budget since I left.  So, not for the first time in my life I’ve had to pick myself up like a random little pin and drop myself in the middle of a map and begin to rebuild and reboot my life. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Hope

Detangling the Knot

September 1, 2016
hope

By Jennifer Rieger

People close to me know that I have psychosomatic reactions to stress. Many do, but sometimes mine are downright bizarre. When I found out I was pregnant, I kept getting these muscle spasms… in my face. As I studied for the Praxis Exams, I had a relentless burning sensation in my left boob. When I was writing my Master’s thesis, my tongue felt like it itched, for weeks. A few years ago, my work kept getting rejected by every publication I sent it to, and the blood vessels in my left eye burst causing a two-month scary zombie eye. My students couldn’t even look at me! I contend with these nuisances, but my typical reaction, and I believe the one most common to normal individuals, is the lump I get in my throat. It’s different than my stress symptoms though. I imagine it as an intricate little ball of nerves woven together in times of sadness and pain—when life is too much to bear, and I can’t seem to find the right words. A little bit of wine, but not too much, can provide temporary relief. Overindulgence usually results in one pathetic alter-ego that even my husband, God love him, cringes to deal with. The one thing that really helps globus—the proper medical term for Jen Rieger’s imaginary, but very annoying, lump—is time. Ah, time, that selfish, fickle bitch that quickens at every lovely occasion and halts at every boring and difficult moment of life. The knot has appeared at sudden moments of sadness, or even weeks later causing me to run to the doctor’s office in a state of hypochondriatic frenzy crying, “It’s cancer, isn’t it?” It’s there when loved ones pass, when my own child is sad, and when favorite graduates leave me.

It reappeared this summer just by watching the news. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Letting Go, Surviving

California

August 8, 2016
change

*Image courtesy of Tiffany Lucero

By Wendy Wisner

Sometimes California goes drifting through my mind as I’m falling asleep. It looks like it’s detaching itself from the rest of the continent, as I’d always heard it would, the sea levels rising, the land sinking.

Or I see it suspended in air, tilting back and forth, the way it did during the ’89 earthquake, my mother and sister in the living room, me standing in the doorway, the chandelier slowly swaying.

I think I want it to erode, break up and get washed away.

Or I want it never to have existed.

Mostly, I want it to come back to me. I want it to fill the odd-shaped hole in my gut that started opening all those years ago when my father left us—when he left us for California. Continue Reading…

cancer, death, Guest Posts

On Blue Skies and Loss.

March 14, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Chelsea Nolan.

It was winter when he called me. We talked daily so it was no surprise, but this time it was different. He said he had something to talk to me about but he wanted to do it in person this weekend. I was with my two best friends who didn’t know what to say. But I knew.

It was cancer again. I knew it the second I heard the sound of his voice, the way he told me everything was okay with a soft edge to his words. It was cancer, it was worse this time and everything was about to change.

He was diagnosed on February 10th and he told me on Valentine’s Day. Even though it was six weeks before, I consider that the day I lost my dad in so many ways. The father who carried my bags out to my car, bought me groceries, repaired holes in the wall, changed my oil, asked me about dates I was going on. The dad who would drop everything if I asked him to, let me beat him in chess even though he was so much better. The dad who took care of me. The dad who gave everything he had for everything I was going to be. From that day on it was me who took care of him.

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. It is LIFE CHANGING!

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. It is LIFE CHANGING!

Continue Reading…

depression, Guest Posts, Self Image

Metamorphosis: A Growth Chart of Myself and the Natural World in Snapshots.

December 18, 2014


beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black
By Melina Papadopoulos.

Like many eager young students, my understanding of metamorphosis began with the charming story of the caterpillar, almost always fairytale-like in its delivery. Its beginning urged me to sympathy, portraying the caterpillar as a lonesome, unsightly creature who spends his days lounging on dandelion heads or in the green shadows of jungle gym tunnels. By the end of the story, my eyes widened with wonder. After a long season of deep slumber in a self-constructed chrysalis, the caterpillar emerges, now butterfly, now winged, soaring, a beautifully fragile flourish of flight.

It is worth noting, however, that metamorphosis is not exclusively a mechanism meant for “upgrading biologically” in a purely aesthetic sense. To quote marine biologist Jason Hodin, metamorphosis is a “substantial morphological transition between two multicellular phases in an organism’s life cycle, often marking the passage from a prereproductive to a reproductive life stage.” But perhaps I would delve into the whole process more intimately, unravel it until every creature that metamorphoses can find itself between the growth spurts, the transitions of transitions.

Suddenly—

Tadpoles are tempted from the water with the promise of legs. Their metamorphosis begs for beginnings; a clutch of quavering eggs stares up from the murky shallows of the pond, like the many glaucomic eyes of a fitful sea monster. Metamorphosis aches for resolution. Before it can allow the frog to learn of the land, it must snuff out the youthful tail and sculpt all that remains into a more dignified asymmetrical rump.

More important, metamorphosis challenges old identities while new ones form beneath. In his book The Mystery of Metamorphosis, Frank Ryan explains that at one point organisms were classified only by their adult forms. He goes on to explain the major flaw of this classification system, “that many larval forms just did not fit in with the extrapolation of the tree of life based on the adults.” Such observation is astute because it acknowledges that an organism’s identity encompasses its whole life cycle, not just the end of it, after it has fully shed away its old skin, corrected its awkward gait. Life cycles shape children into adolescents, adolescents into adults, tissue by tissue, organ by organ. But it is a mere shaping and reshaping, not a rebirth, not a revival. In the hands of metamorphosis, everybody emerges with his own creation dust in his eyes.

In the hands of metamorphosis, nobody is ever complete.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, parenting, Special Needs

Before You Judge Me.

October 8, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black

By Rachel Pastiloff.

When you are out in the world, be it at a restaurant, grocery shopping, driving in traffic, or at the doctor’s office, and you see a child screaming and a mother losing her cool and grabbing that child by the arm and being stern: BE CAREFUL BEFORE YOU JUDGE THEM.

Be careful placing judgment upon others, for you know not what battles they are fighting.

Before you judge me, or anyone. Take a breath. Consider what you might not know. Look inward. Look outward. Whatever it is, realize this: you may never have any idea of someone else’s story, so judging them is a tricky business.

Continue Reading…

Beating Fear with a Stick, Mindwebs, Self Image, Things I Have Lost Along The Way

A Parable

October 8, 2011

On the way back from Santa Fe yesterday I sat on the plane looking through my computer at some old notes. Some from 10 years ago, and frankly, I didn’t recognize the person who had written the words on my screen. In some dark recess of my soul, sure. Some dusty region of my being, yes maybe. In some moldy corner, the remnants of that girl still exist, but holy sh#t, am I glad she is gone! I am glad she no longer owns the lips that touch my coffee cup every morning. I am glad her brain was replaced by the one I am now in possession of.

I was reminded of the lyrics to Amazing Grace:

I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Truthfully, I was a little sickened as I read some of my old stuff. I got out my little compact mirror from my bag to make sure my face was still there.

It was.

I felt an ache for the girl whose words I was reading. How could that have been me? Me, who is a successful yoga teacher and loves herself ( most days.) Surely this is some kind of mistake and I picked up someone else’s computer. Horrified, I put the stolen computer back in my bag.

I took it back out of my bag. It is indeed mine. I own it. I am the sole owner of those crappy insecure negative journal entries. My name is Jennifer and I am a recovered negativaholic. I am a recovered jerk junkie. I am a recovered low self esteem user. I am a recovered I-think-I’m-fat-aholic as well as exercisaholic.

How did I have time to be so many things? I must have been so busy.

In fact, I wasn’t.

How could I have been busy with all my mental energy being taken up on what was wrong with me?

I bring it up now as a parable.

Against all odds, I came out on the other side. I killed the witch and I am living happily in my home with my seven little men. Ok, that’s a fairy tale, but you get the point.

And, they may not be seven little men, but I did marry one amazing man.

This parable has a moral as most parables do. (At least that’s what Wikipedia told me as I was confused between parable and fable. I have no talking animals so I suppose I am a parable.)

A parable is a short tale that illustrates universal truth, one of the simplest of narratives. It sketches a setting, describes an action, and shows the results. It often involves a character facing a moral dilemma, or making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences. Though the meaning of a parable is often not explicitly stated, the meaning is not usually intended be hidden or secret but on the contrary quite straightforward and obvious.

The universal truth: everything I was telling myself I firmly believed ( I was fat, not good enough etc) and yet wasn’t the truth at all.

In fact: it was a big fat lie.

The setting: my mind.

The action I took after many years of starving myself and being depressed and dating someone who didn’t appreciate me was: I changed my thoughts.

It took time. It took a lot of time, some yoga and a great man. It took also: finding my bliss. It took learning how to manifest what I want into my life without being attached to the results.

The meaning of this parable is obvious: You get to decide who you want to be. You get to believe it. Or not.

For a long time I was looking to be saved. I wanted security. I wanted nothing to change and no one to leave. Sigh. I wanted what stays.

Bigger sigh.

I used to feel like I was always losing and gaining weight, that I was a constant up and down, a monster, that I was literally unrecognizable from the day before (that bitchy and unreliable “Body Dysmorphia“.) I was obsessed with the idea that I was always changing. I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to stay the same and never ever change. I wanted to be safe.

Forever.

So I look back at the old me without being too naive in realizing that it has been the same me all along. I learned whatever lessons I had to learn and am still learning, sometimes over and over again. If I let myself, I could easily slip into her skin. My skin.

But I ask you, why on earth would I want to? She may be ten or fifteen years younger but I am wiser and kinder. I now love myself deeply. Like my beloved wine, I have gotten better with age.

Guys, it’s like this. Sometimes you can see everything at once. Your whole future mapped out, veins raised and ready. This is the geometry of your life: blue, irreversible, ingrained. It’s like how your eyes adjust to things, how you can see part of the moon when it isn’t really there. It’s like that with your mind. Adjust to the belief that you are f#*king awesome. See everything at once. All your glory.

The moon’s fullness still faintly visible, a whisper in the ear of the hard arc that hangs like it’s missing something, a part of itself. Waiting out it’s own cycles.

Except you’re not missing anything of yourself, nor were you ever.

Go grab a camera and take a picture of your face.

Frame the photo.

Make a note to self that says: ” Dear Self, Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones.”

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