Browsing Tag

friendship

Dear Life., Guest Posts, Relationships, Sex

Dear Life: Please Help Me Find a Way To Be A Good Friend.

January 15, 2015

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Welcome to Dear Life: An Unconventional Advice Column.

Your questions get sent to various authors from around the world to answer (and please keep sending because I have like 567 writers that want to answer your burning questions. Click here to submit a letter or email dearlife@jenniferpastiloff.com.) Different writers offer their input when it comes to navigating through life’s messiness. We are “making messy okay.” Today’s letter is answered by Nanea Hoffman, founder of the fabulous site Sweatpants & Coffee!

Send us your questions because there loads of crazy authors waiting to answer ‘em. Just kidding, they aren’t crazy.

Well okay, maybe a little. Aren’t we all? xo, Jen Pastiloff, Crazy Beauty Hunter. ps, I will see you in Vancouver in a couple weeks! My first workshop there! 

 

VANCOUVER! The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 17th. Book here. No yoga experience required. Only requirement is to  be a human being. This Saturday!

VANCOUVER! The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 17th. Book here. No yoga experience required. Only requirement is to be a human being. This Saturday!

Dear Life,

My friend of six years is a warm, intelligent, empathetic person. We are both writers who are committed to the ideals of social justice. Until recently, I’ve never had a reason to question her character. A few days ago, she told me that she has been cheating on her partner of two decades with a series of one-night stands — and he is completely in the dark about her infidelities. She has no intention of telling him because when she raised the subject of her unhappiness with their sex life, he was not interested in an open relationship. She says there is no guilt on her part and that she would not be okay with him cheating on her. I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded and liberal person, but this information is testing the limits of my beliefs. This seems very wrong. I know how difficult monogamy is and yet I feel like her decision to gaslight her partner on this matter is selfish and destined to end in heartbreak. I am seriously questioning how much of a friendship I want to maintain going forward. I care for her deeply, but I cannot see my way around this. Please help me find a way to be a good friend.

Love,
Questioning Friend

 

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.

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.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, loss, motherhood, Pregnancy

Safekeeping.

December 31, 2014

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By Rachel Blumenfeld.

She asks me if I want her to take it back.  “No,” I say, in the way that means no but that also means that it’s slowly killing me, that sweater, hanging in my closet.  I can feel it even when the door’s closed, even when it blends in perfectly with all the other neutrals.  It doesn’t matter if I buy colors; I wear the same grays and browns I already owned.

“I might still need it,” I say, and I feel that now I’m making this a talisman.  Or a curse.  If I keep it, it means I will get to use it, right?  Or am I being too hopeful, and the fact that I have this sweater waiting for me will somehow prolong my wait to use it?  Is it like women’s favorite pants from high school that they keep in their closet, even after three kids and fifty pounds, swearing one day they will fit back into them?  How long until a sign of hope turns into a sign of pitifulness?

My friend, my loving, compassionate friend, asks me how best to support me.  She asks if it would be best not to talk about her situation for a while.  She makes sure to ask me every day how I’m feeling, and while I know that she truly does want to know, and does want me to be okay, deep down she’s thankful that this isn’t her.  She’s happy that the baby in her womb is still alive, that hers isn’t the one who died.

There were three of us, friends pregnant at the same time.  Due November 9, November 12, and November 20th.  Since about 30 percent of pregnancies end up miscarrying, it was statistically bound to happen to one of us, and it’s not that I’d wish this on either of my friends, but I know they both must be glad, to some extent, that it’s me who was chosen.

More than likely, the miscarriage was caused by a chromosomal abnormality, the culprit in up to 70 percent of prenatal losses.  In Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being, she writes that there are 8.4 million ways for two people’s DNA to combine.  I imagine the two strands of DNA dancing, the nucleobases seeking each other out, eyeing each other like two young lovers across a bar, moving closer, but still spinning and circling until they are close enough to reach for the other’s hand.  I see the cytosine reach out for the adenine, get rejected, and the party is over.  Without this merger in the middle of the line, none of the other bases can match up either.  They can’t get close enough with this gap looming between them. Continue Reading…

Grief, Guest Posts, Kindness

Grief Walkers.

December 30, 2014

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By Mark Liebenow.

There is a deep need for kindness in the world, especially for those who are grieving.

This is not the kindness I first knew, which was really politeness or good manners — asking how you are and expecting you to say something positive, or holding the door open for you to go through. I am speaking of the deeper kindness that comes from concern for someone and responds to that person’s need, what comes from the heart. I am speaking of love unbidden that demands nothing of the one it is offered to, love that seeks only to help the one who stands in front of me. It asks, then listens when the hard stuff spills out, and it stays around to help with the other person’s struggles.

It is also the kindness of how I treat myself. When I grieve, when I feel defeated and unworthy of being loved, when I feel guilty for enjoying life again when my wife no longer can because she’s dead, it’s kindness for myself that is able to reach through my sorrow. It’s kindness for myself that allows me to care about others again.

Until grief placed me on a mountain of solitude, and I saw nothing but burnt earth and ashes around me, I did not understand the power of your hand reaching down to help me up.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Relationships, Self Image

The Single Girl’s Saga. What I learned After 5 years On The Dating Scene.

December 14, 2014

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By Brittney Van Matre

After my 10 year relationship ended, 10 years too long and a lot of angst culminating to the anti-climactic ending, I slowly began dating. I was not ready to be emotional entrenched with someone new; however, this realization didn’t quench my desire. I thirsted to find love in another. And therein began my 5 year saga on the dating scene.

I watched from afar while my best friends fell in love, flaunted sparkling diamonds, bought gorgeous gowns, and painstakingly planned every detail of their “big day”. “Why couldn’t I find a love like that?” I asked myself as I purchased my sixth bridesmaid dress, this time in lavender. Another ugly dress to be worn one night, and one night only. All these frocks were destined for a life of dust collection; soon-to-be second hand store merchandise where they’d likely be purchased as Halloween costumes.

Of course I was elated for my friends’ obvious good fortune; however, I was simultaneously in despair over my own ill-fate with love. My supposed inability to land a good guy of my own easily transitioned to second guessing everything about myself from my appearance, to my personality, to my choice in Facebook profile pictures.

My impatient quest for love included embarrassing words like coercing, manipulating, forcing, controlling, and dramatizing. I endured many years of unnecessary heartache while trying to work for a love that was not yet meant for me. I became more obsessed with the idea of a relationship than I was with any person themselves. Essentially, my ego was in complete control. Continue Reading…

Forgiveness, Guest Posts, healing

The Only Marriage Advice I Will Ever Give.

November 14, 2013

The Only Marriage Advice I Will Ever Give

By Julie Tijerina

Poster by Simplereminders.com

Poster by Simplereminders.com

When I was 13 years old, my father nearly punched me in the face.

He and my uncle were playing cards with my mother and aunt upstairs in the game room.  A green vinyl-topped card table had been erected to accommodate the game at the end of the pool table that filled the whole rest of the room.  Everyone was around the table, the adults, me and my kid sister because that room was the only one in the house with air conditioning.  I don’t really remember, but I’m sure it was a Fourth of July weekend, because that’s when my extended family would come down from Kansas to drink and blow up fireworks in the heat of the Texas summer.  We lived out in the country, so we weren’t breaking any laws to light fireworks and it became an annual stay-cation to invite the family and make a long weekend of the holiday.

The window unit circulated the cigarette smoke around the room.  It was smokier than any bar I’d ever visit as an adult. I lifted myself up to leave.  My drunken father pushed me back in my chair, laughing Jack and Coke in my face.  Again, I made a move to get up. Again, pushed back in my seat.  The third time, I expected the hand at my chest, so as he went to push me back into my chair, I swung hard at his forearm, knocking his arm back toward him and darted out the door, slamming it behind me.  I knew he was right behind me, so I ran as quickly as I could down the stairs, but he caught me as I was clearing the last piece of furniture in the living room, the sofa.

My dad’s left hand had me by the front of the shirt, his right raised with a closed fist. He had me backed over the arm of the sofa and I couldn’t have been any more trapped.  I turned my head as far to the right as I could, squeezing my eyes shut against what I knew was coming. My face would have been shattered if my mother hadn’t been hot on his heels down the stairs and was hanging onto his raised bicep with all of her body weight.

I was suddenly released. With a glare from my mother to each of us, she ordered him back upstairs and said to me with a finger pointing, “go to your room.”  Jesus Christ, you don’t have to tell me twice.

I didn’t forgive him for twenty five years.

Just before midnight on August 2, 2011, I found myself drunk on several glasses of wine in my best friends’ living room, having just finished a movie when a commercial came on that started a fight.  I’d relay the whole story, but it would make me sound like I was somehow justifying my behavior, which is totally impossible, so I’ll just paint you a picture instead: imagine a little blonde, drunk bitch, with her chest puffed out, screaming (yes, literally screaming) obscenities and insults at the people she eats dinner with 2 nights a week, traveled all over North America with and shared hotel rooms with, was at the time dreaming of moving to Florida with. In THEIR living room. I was so livid, my mouth was moving faster than my brain and I stormed out, taking the car, leaving my shell-shocked husband there to the deal with the group confusion.

My friends brought him home, where another fight ensued and I began to pack my clothes. My husband of 18 years helpfully handed me a box.

At one in the morning, I drove myself to my parents’ place, an hour away. (Yes, still drunk.)  I slept in my car until five in the morning when I heard my dad coughing on his back patio.  I guess that’s what old ex-smokers do.  They cough out of habit more than anything.

So, I knocked on the front door.  Since it was pre-dawn, I was greeted at the door by a flood light and a shotgun.  (No, I’m not kidding. This is Texas, after all.)  In hindsight, maybe I should have texted my parents to let them know I was there before I knocked on the door.

I stayed the day.  By the time I really sobered up and rested, I was so mortified by my behavior, I didn’t want to go home. I was invited home by my husband.  We had a long talk, as you can imagine.  And, when we were done, he arranged for me to make a 30-minute mea culpa to our friends. My memories of the day that my dad drunkenly attacked me came flooding back.  I had been in their place.  I knew exactly how they felt. I knew that I had dehumanized them, humiliated them, confused them, betrayed them, even. I also knew I didn’t deserve forgiveness because up to that point, I had been unable to forgive.  I knew I had destroyed something precious, something that was sweet and fun and brought us all joy.

The next day, I was so wracked with guilt and sadness that I did the long, big, ugly cry.  My poor husband was trying to be as supportive as he could without actually absolving me.  He knew too that I didn’t deserve redemption.  I had injured him as well, because our friendship now hung in the balance, and his life would be forever changed without these beloved friends.  But, like he always had, he stayed the course, working as an intermediary.  Trying to get us all to eat meals together and return to our normal activity level again. Since he and my girlfriend carpooled to work, I’m sure that many a conversation was had about what to do with me.  (He never shared them with me, for the record.)

I swore off booze for a time and kept my shoes on whenever I was in their home. I was determined not to make myself too comfortable in that space again, so I continually reminded myself I was a guest.  After five years of friendship, that thought tore at my heart.  It was ultimately my husband’s clearheaded words that struck a chord in the soul of my friend and healed her wound on my behalf.  (All the contrition in the world can’t make someone else forgive you.  It is their choice and their choice alone.)

At that point, my dad had actually been sober for 20 years – 20 YEARS! and had worked so hard to put his family back together. After 25 years reliving his alcoholism and trapping myself in my own head with emotional worthlessness, I was finally able to release that outdated version of him.  I never understood the angry outbursts before. I always felt victimized before.  Now I desperately wanted and needed that exact same forgiveness that I had been unwilling or unable to grant. Where it took me 25 years to forgive my father, it took her a mere year to forgive me and I’m grateful every day.

The “after-school special” part of this story, obviously is that we are all free.  After a year of (understandable) emotional distance, my girlfriend invited me to a pedicure, and I knew I had been forgiven.  But, because she chose to let go, she no longer has to relive the pain I inflicted. We don’t discuss it, or try to explain it. I released my father too and I no longer have to relive the pain he inflicted. When those memories find their way into my mind, they are easily dismissed as the vapor they are.

Our friendship and my family is (through changed behavior) whole. My husband and I bought a house behind our friends and we’ve all managed to get back to normal. We have since traveled together, shared hotel rooms together again and eaten many, many meals together. I still watch my alcohol intake when we are together in either of our homes. But, on the rare occasion I’ve had too much at a party, my “second husband” is willing to pretend to dance with me while he’s really supporting me on the dance floor.

You know when you go to a wedding, the little cards at your place setting that ask you for your marriage advice?  The only thing I write is, “forgive.”

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Julie Tijerina is on a quest to learn about herself, the world and to observe other people with curiosity rather than judgment. Her home is in Dallas, but her soul is always at the ocean; her current job is in a cubicle, but her life’s work is writing. She’s a SciFi geek, a yogi, a former therapy patient, a lover of dark haired men and honest women. She was catapulted out of depression by Learned Optimism and may have just learned the secret of happiness by identifying her Core Desired Feelings. She believes all the hard stuff takes at least a year, so ease up on yourself, love.

healing, loss, love

Natural Losses.

May 1, 2013

By Jennifer Pastiloff

One of the girls from my yoga class waited for me last night after it had ended. She wanted to chat. S is a sweet girl and I feel protective of her. She found me at the height of her anorexia and in the last few years has come a long way.

Last night she was visibly upset.

Many months ago she’d told me about how her best friend had been blowing her off, how she was being left out of the friend’s wedding and its subsequent planning. She hadn’t known what she’d done wrong and it was eating away at her like something deadly and invisible. Over time it breaks down the healthy cells and even though you can’t see it you know it’s rushing through you with a map to your heart.

Continue Reading…

Eating Disorders/Healing, I Have Done Love, Jen Pastiloff

If I Do, Then It Will.

January 11, 2013

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

 

If I Do, Then It Will. That was the name of a game. How it went was like this: If I lose 20 pounds, then I will be happy. Or my father will come back. The people who have been lost to me will reappear like they’d been out having massages or dinner, perhaps just stepping in from the cold, Hello Jen! We’ve missed you. You look so thin.

If I am a good person then it will fix me. If I do, then it will.

I have notes scattered throughout all my old college notebooks regarding the rules of this game. Don’t eat. Be good. Do your work. Run for one hour.

The game never worked. If never preceded then. In fact, it usually precluded it. I starved myself and instead of the desired effect of being happy, I became a zombie. I’d sleep walk through my days and eat in my sleep. I hated myself. The revenant never woke. My life never became ordered like I’d imagined. I was a bad person and as soon as someone found me out, that’s it, I’d be done. I was a game-player, sleeping-walking and night-eating my way through my pathetic life.

The game is so tempting. It’s like gambling. This time I will win and it will all be different! This is the last time.

The truth is that there is no reward system.

You do or you do not and it’s all for naught. There is nothing waiting for you.

There is no If I do, then it will so you must do and do, or not do, for whatever reasons you have or don’t have, and not because you think there will be any sort of prize. Let me be the last to tell you, there won’t be.

The game I invented will break your heart.

No one comes back from the dead. And no matter how skinny or fat you are, you are there, right there. See yourself? That’s you. You. You are the same you. The pain doesn’t disappear unless you take it by the throat and talk to it. It does not go by way of bribing. The game does not work. The game sucks.

There is no game.

You must do things because you love.

The other night I read on Facebook that an old friend, a man I’d known casually for over 15 years, had been evicted and was homeless. He’d written that he desperately needed somewhere to sleep that night. My husband was still in London but I couldn’t not do anything. I’d called the friend, who is 70 years old by the way, and offered him my couch. My husband wasn’t happy, as I’d knew be the case, but I’d made a choice.

It was an awkward two days. He is 70 and I actually don’t know him that well.

I did it out of love. I saw someone who said I am desperate and I said I am here.

All of the times I was playing The If I Do, Then It Will game it was never out of love. It was out of necessity. I was so miserable that I was willing to gamble anything to find pockets of happiness no matter what I had to bet.

Often I would forget to breathe and then I’d spend the next few breaths catching up on the last ones so I was always behind a breath or two like someone that seemed desperate for air.

Like someone who was always almost dying.

So I took my friend/aquaintance in knowing there was no guarantee after this. That is what the game was about, isn’t it? Guarantees.

If I starve myself, then I can achieve things.

Bullshit.

All I hoped to achieve by taking him in was giving him a bed for two nights. Much to the chagrin of my beloved husband, who was not at all happy with me, although he thought I was kind and compassionate. He didn’t want men in the house that he didn’t know when he wasn’t there. Which I get. And to which I still say You would have done the same thing.

Look, I can’t see that someone is desperate and walking the streets when I have a couch. Someone I know. It’s colder in L.A. then I can ever remember. The low today was 39 degrees in Santa Monica. I couldn’t let him just wander.

My friends said they could have.

We all went to dinner the other night (as the “homeless” friend was at my apartment without me being there, in fact) and they claimed they probably wouldn’t have done the same thing. I told them that they would have.

That’s how our hearts our wired: To care. To hurt. To bleed. To fall in love. To want to play the game of If I do, then It will because that game is meant to bring happiness. The goal is always May I be happy.

Most of us anyway.

I promised my husband that when he got back my friend would be off the sofa and I’d kept the promise. I can’t take my friend’s plight on but my instinct is to want to fix and help and heal and offer my sofa.

The revelation I had when I stopped playing my game of If I do Then It Will, was that what I operate from a place of love, there are no guarantees beyond this moment.

There’s the: Here’s my sofa.

There’s the: Here, have nice hot shower.

There’s the: You need a couple bucks?

There’s the: I love you. What can I do for you?

There the: I am doing this because I love myself now not because I think someone who has been dead 20 years will rise back up or I will suddenly be free of sorrow. It’s because I love myself now, in this moment. Not because I am waiting for a prize for being good.

If you or ever ever catch ourselves doing any of these things for any other reason than I love you or I care about you or I just want you to have a warm bed and maybe a hot chocolate then look in the mirror.

When you get to the mirror, reach out. Touch your face. It will be flat and cold as mirrors are. It will look like you but it won’t at the same time. You must know that beyond that glass, if you were to break it, is nothing. You are not there.

You are here.

So, fuck the mirror. Reach up and touch your face. And close your eyes.

What you feel is the face of someone who knows that no matter what is done, unless its done from love, it might as well be undone. Feel your own face. If you don’t love it by now you better realize that the game doesn’t work. That there is no prize. That you doing this, that, or the other thing won’t bring you a new face or a new heart or a new anything at all.

That if you do anything at all it must be for this.

What is this? you might ask. Or maybe you already understand.

This is love.

This is it.

 

 

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. All of her events/workshops/retreats listed here.

 

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

Join Jen Pastiloff at a writing retreat in Mexico this May. Jennifer Pastiloff is part of the faculty in 2015 at Other Voices Querétaro in Mexico with Gina Frangello, Emily Rapp, Stacy Berlein, and Rob Roberge. Please email Gina Frangello to be accepted at ovbooks@gmail.com. Click poster for info or to book. Space is very limited.

Join Jen Pastiloff at a writing retreat in Mexico this May.
Jennifer Pastiloff is part of the faculty in 2015 at Other Voices Querétaro in Mexico with Gina Frangello, Emily Rapp, Stacy Berlein, and Rob Roberge. Please email Gina Frangello to be accepted at ovbooks@gmail.com. Click poster for info or to book. Space is very limited.

 

Delight, Manifestation Retreats

Falling In Love.

February 10, 2012

I fell in love last week.

I was surrounded by palm trees and magnificent ocean views and hammocks. Part jungle, part fantasy, my heart burst open and cracked in half with wild love. I was giddy with it.

Yes, I have been married for two years and no, it was not with my husband.

I love my husband deeply,

Although it may not be him I am speaking of directly, he is, in fact, directly affected by this falling in love of mine, as it were.

How can he not be?

When you embody love, anyone you come in contact with gets a little of it, whether they wanted to or not. You will walk out of a room and they will stand there in awe, replaying your face in their mind, trying to memorize what it was that made them feel so good.

My husband reaps the benefits, you can be sure. I am more inspired, more full of life, happier, funnier (debatable), more patient, and more awake than I have felt in a long time.

One of the girls on my Mexico retreat last week just added a comment to Facebook, under a photograph of us which read Just told my friends all about our magical trip: ” you sound like you are in love” ~almost the same feeling. How strange to be home and not surrounded by you.

Although I jokingly said this in Mexico: I fall in love daily! It didn’t hit me until I read that comment that I had indeed actually fallen in love.

I had fallen hard.

Britta, the girl who wrote said comment was one of the people on my retreat who I didn’t know a lick about. Except that she was coming from Amsterdam.

I too thought WTF?

All the way to Mexico from Amsterdam? Hmm.

I have experienced some interesting moments with people on my retreat who I hadn’t known prior, or very well, and, as much as I hated to admit it, it had tainted me. For the worse.

Naturally, I was a bit scared of Britta, as well as the couple from NJ and the girl from San Francisco.

And yes I am from New Jersey. 

It seems out of character for me, I know this. Me who always says Expect to be delighted! and other such quips more often than not.

So, imagine my delight upon returning home at the realization that the people on my retreat were hand picked by the Universe just for me!

The people from New Jersey? Possibly my two favorite people on the planet.
It’s sinking in, as I sit here feeling a bit melancholy about the Mexico retreat, missing it so dearly today, how I am getting closer to the person I always dreamed I’d be. How else can I explain how the people on my retreat showed up? It was like a divine hand was at play. I am truly attracting the people into my life that are on my vision board, and in my dreams. The law of Attraction is fierce and unyielding.

I thought the couple from New Jersey were newlyweds. They had been married 32 years it turns out. That should say just enough about them.

You see, I fell in love with everyone there. I fell in love with what we created together, there on the beach and in the palapas. And with the feeling I had when I was in their presence. I am pretty sure they all felt the same.

My sister came.

I brought her for her birthday. There were many times throughout the week where I would ask Who is that? in reference to her. What an amazing thing: for someone to break so far out of their predictability that they become unrecognizable. Her smile was what got me the most. I truly do not know if i have ever seen someone smile so much, let alone her. I have known her 34 years.

Here is her post about the trip.

I have never felt so safe in my life, so free, so unjudged. So full of belly aching laughter and inspiration and familiarity. How could it be that some of these folks just “showed up” as it were?

Because there are no accidents.

So yes, my husband feels the effects because I came home fully recharged and emanating love. Falling in love does not have to be romantic or sexual, and, furthermore, when you are in love, you are love.

Love is transferrable and like the ocean, it doesn’t lessen if you remove a few drops and share it with someone else. In fact, it doesn’t even notice.

Much like being in love and leaving your beloved, my return home was bittersweet. The day after I got back I was still high but my Monday I was missing everyone and there was an ache and a resistance to going back to my “real life.”

What I realized today is that I can be in love, I can be love, full of all of it’s cracks and holes and laughter and quirks and inside jokes and not necessarily have to own it. I do not have to have each and every body who was with me last week here in my apartment every day (as much as I would like that) to allow myself to feel what I felt last week.

What a wake-up this last retreat was. I have led 10 retreats in 2 years ( and I have been teaching yoga only 3 years) so I have been a busy girl. This retreat reminded me that I do not indeed know everything, that I can still be surprised, that there are no strangers, that mad love is possible even after and especially after 32 years of marriage, that just because you have known someone 34 years does not mean anything. That, in order to truly be happy, we must let go of our personal history, which, I do believe, we all did in Mexico.

I was just Jen. Britta was just Britta. Steve was Steve and so on. We were, in no way, identified by our pasts or our stories and thus we were able to fall in love with each other, deeply in love, based on exactly what we got there in Mexico.

There was also no jealousy or fear amongst the group. It was as love wished it were all the time, pure unadulterated bliss. It was as love wished it were without our old patterns and beliefs getting in the way to eff it up for us.

I don’t know if I will ever have an experience like this again. Maybe. Maybe not. It most certainly will not be the same, but I am open to experiencing life in this way as long as I am alive. I will keep on attracting these people into my world and inviting them to stay.

As I have gotten older, I have come to realize how powerful I am (as you are too) and that I did this. I attracted these people to Mexico. It wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t a random act of awesomeness. It was exactly what I needed and exactly what they needed.

Just like falling in love.

I am allowing myself to feel a little sad with want for them. It’s ok. I am a human being and I rather enjoy that fact.

I am alive.

I will leave you with a little note from Greg, one half of the couple from NJ. He is someone I will know for the rest of my life.

Dear Friends,

(How different and wonderful to write that from the heart, and not as a meaningless salutation!)

I just sat down at my desk at work, about to dive in to all of the busy-ness and problems of the day.  Before I do that, though, I wanted to write a note of thanks to all of you.  “Gratitude” is fading on my arm, but not in my heart.

I have had many good experiences with groups over the years – scientific workshops, management retreats, vacations with friends, etc.  None them even comes close to this past week with all of you.  It’s not just that we harmonized so well as a group;  it’s that I feel a connection to each one of you, and I suspect that that is true for all of us.   What a gift!

Thank you all so much for bringing your unique light and sharing it with such openness.   This is and will continue to be a great source of joy for me.   May it continue to light the path forward for each of you.  Thanks also for so much fun and laughter, which brings a smile to my face as I write this.

And, as has been said several times already, thank you Jen not only for creating the space for the light to shine, but for joining us in it.

So here’s my secret plan:  Part 1:  When the world gets heavy, I’m going to stand up, close my eyes, and breathe with all of you in the jungle facing the sea.  Part 2:  I’m setting the intention to do this again next year, and hope to see you there!

Finally, if any of you are ever on the East Coast, come visit us!  We have plenty of room and would love to see you again.

Thanks again, with all my heart.

PS, Yes it is true that they all played a practical joke on me and mooned me the last night of the retreat. Now, if that does not say that I have indeed attracted my tribe, what does? Those that recall my father, who died when I was young, will remember that my dad made it a practice to moon at every party. Horrifying for an 8 year old. Well, let’s just say when my retreat pulled the prank on me, I got a little warm and fuzzy. And yes, I have a video.

Another Letter:

Jen,

 I don’t know where to begin.  When I packed last week to go on your Manifestation Yoga retreat in Mexico, I thought I would have a good time.  But, I never expected it to turn into one of the most life-changing events of my life.  You have this incredible gift of bringing amazing people together, and nurturing a safe place where judgement and fear is released, creating what may otherwise be known as heaven – a most natural high.  
This past week was medicine for my heart and soul, and words can’t describe how grateful I am to you, your practice, and your gift.
Thank you for showing me what happens when I am “willing to be attentive.”
I love you more than you could know!
With all my heart,
Brandi

I manifested love on this retreat.

I fell again in love with life as I always knew was possible.

And with myself, with the help of the people who were by my side.

So I ask you this? Can you allow yourself to be vulnerable and fall in love? Can you fall in love with people you may have never met unless they were sitting next to you, in a boat staring out at whales in the middle of Mexico somewhere? Can you allow yourself to forget what you thought you knew about the nature of love, the nature of men and women and what it means to give yourself to someone 100%?

If so, meet me there.

Manifestation Tattoos by Conscious Ink