By Jen Pastiloff.
I just came to the library to write. I see this man standing and looking at some books. He has a sign on his chest that says “Be Love.” I ask him if I can take a picture and he happily obliges. I turn around to get some money in my wallet (he’s homeless, that much was evident. There are a lot of homeless that hang out at the Santa Monica library.) I turn back around and he’s taken the sign off. “Pictures free” he says “but you have to wear this for 2 hours. I’m David, what’s your name?” I ask him to tie it around my neck. He says if anyone asks me what it’s about to tell them “It’s a demand.” I gave him a hug and two bucks and went up the stairs to write. The smiles I got as I walked to my little table by the window. Be love, be love, be love. Part of my book talks about the messengers in our lives. David was one such messenger indeed. Be love. Pass it on.
Later that night…
So I wore the “Be Love” sign to class tonight. I walked in and said “Can anyone guess what the theme is tonight?” Everyone laughed at the obviousness of it, but, as someone said after class, when she came to me with tears in her eyes, the room “softened.” She said, verbatim, that she had never seen anything like it. If you don’t know what sign I am talking about, see the post below this with the pic included. A homeless man was wearing the sign today and after I took a picture of him, he took it off and told me “Picture is free but you gotta wear the sign.” So I did. Being true to my word and all. The girl with tears in her eyes said that tonight’s class was like a poem, which, as you know, just might be the greatest thing to say to me.
Did I do that? Nah. The sign on my chest did.
You see, no one could resist it. Even the grumpy dudes in the back who think I talk too much and “can’t we just downdog?”, even they smiled and giggled at the sign. It softened the room because, well, love does that.
However you look at it, really, we should all be wearing such signs.
Even if they are invisible.
Even if only we can see it.
As I drove to teach my class I was behind a guy who was driving way below the speed limit and turned with using a blinker, a guy I deemed “asshole” to myself. Out loud. In my car.
Which made me chuckle. Here I was, with a big ole BE LOVE cardboard sign on my chest and I was calling some stranger an asshole.
I laughed at myself and pretty quickly thanked the cardboard for keeping me in check. Be congruent, Jen. You are love. Be love. Or, as Jesse on Breaking Bad would say: Be love, yo. (I apologize for any BB inside jokes. My obsession runs deep.)
May I always have a sign on my chest. Whether I can see it or not. May we all remember that we have these signs on our chests. may we all remember to Be LOVE.
Thanks David, the homeless man I met in the library today, who passed on the love to me. I hope you know what you’ve done, my dear sir. My big dear hearted sir. I just hope you have some small inkling, whoever and wherever you are.
Jennifer Pastiloff, Beauty Hunter, is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health, Tuscany. She is also leading a Writing + The Body Retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 30-Feb 1 in Ojai (sold out) as well as Other Voices Querétaro with Gina Frangello, Emily Rapp, Stacy Berlein, and Rob Roberge. She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.