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jenni young

And So It Is

Life Is…

November 19, 2013

I read a poem this morning in class. A girl came up to me after and kind of batted at her eyes, “That poem was so sad. Ugh.” She was in a little fight with herself not to feel any sadness. “It was beautiful though, wasn’t it?” I asked her. Yes, she said. But, sad.
This past weekend, a woman in my workshop hesitated to read something out loud, because she explained with a mouthful of guilt, “It’s sad?”
She said it as a question, as if I’d have to give her permission to share this sadness, as if her own sadness would be powerful enough to corrupt our perfect, happy, flawless lives.

Life is sad.

Life is sad, I’d said, and it’s also awesome and fucked up and whimsical and has moments of joy and pain and laughter. But it’s sad sometimes.
I wonder why we bury that so much.
Life is not just one thing.
And sometimes yes, it is sad.

Thanks Jenni Young of Simplereminders.com for making this

Thanks Jenni Young of Simplereminders.com for making this. Feel free to share.

Inspiration, my book

The Yes Within You.

November 12, 2012

We write to remember.

Perhaps that’s why I never kept a journal, why I never wrote things down. I didn’t want to remember. Why now as I sit down to write this book which has been gnawing at every gnawable part of me, I am berating myself for not remembering the details. How could I not have kept journals? How will I remember what I need to say? I can’t even remember to meet someone for lunch.

This is how: I will dig deep in my imagination, into the Cave of Remembering so I can share with you any insight I have as to how I have transformed my life, in both little ways, and very very big ways. In all the ways I can describe from my memory and all the ways I can allow myself to admit to.

This journey hasn’t always been pleasant, as most of us know when it comes to journeys. Sometimes long and arduous and filled with sketchy characters and other times free of turbulence and sprinkled with long wine-filled dinners and belly laughs. We also know this about journeys: some go as planned and some suck because your passport gets lost and you miss the train or the plane and your boyfriend dumps you before the trip even starts.

As I begin to write this book I think about what inspires me. What it really feels like to be inspired. The sensations in my body, the way my skin feels hot and my heart becomes a train in my chest. The way I sweat just on my upper lip and I feel as if I drank two espressos.

I am inspired by the human spirit. By people who have overcome adversity of some sort. By the triumph of will. By grace and by possibility. By struggle. By art. By connection. By loss. By love. By touch. By sadness. By death. By laughter.

Perhaps we are all inspired by these things. Why when we see someone with no legs win a race or someone with a fatal disease face the day with an attitude we could only dream of possessing, it makes us want to jump up and down and reclaim our humanness. Yes, yes I am part of that race! I belong to humankind that produces stories such as these!

On some level, we all are up against something. Some people have a leg that has been amputated, some have a baby who is dying, some have a rare genetic syndrome or are deaf, some just feel very lost in a sea of people who know what they want or pretend to know what they want. Some can’t make up their mind even when it comes to whether they want salmon or pizza.

I recognize that quality, that Yes in a person when life should be screaming No. We want to be part of that Yes. We want to be reminded that the Yes is within us.

 

By Jenni Young of course.

 

I had no idea a few years ago that I would ever be seen as “inspiring” as some of you have lovingly said. (It’s still very surreal.) I had no idea that I wouldn’t be taking orders for eggs for the rest of my life. I am not sure what else to call myself, and frankly, it doesn’t matter what I call myself. I gave that notion up recently.

The constant naming of things. The calling of this or that and how much weight we give each particular name. The notion that it actually matters what we do for work, that it defines us in some way. The notion that who I was when I was a waitress is any different than who I am now. I had no idea back then when I was serving veggie burgers that a few years later I would be sharing my story with the world and traveling with it. That I would be helping young girls overcome eating disorders or connecting with other people who were hard of hearing.

What I am saying is: I had no idea I would become a vehicle for hope.

We all have that potential within us. To be vehicles. What kind of vehicle do you want to be, is the question.

How many times do I take for granted the effect I am having in the world? How many times do you? How many times a day do I feel redundant or small?

It’s not always easy to acknowledge ourselves, that sometimes it feels like we are jumping out of a plane. Hell, it feels like we are being pushed out of the plane.

How often do you stop and say Holy Shit, my words are having an impact on someone? Who I am being in the world is directly affecting someone else’s life as well as my own?

Now, you may not curse as much as I do. I hope you don’t because I am like a dirty sailor, but, curse words or not, get clear on the fact that who you are being today, right now, in this very moment is not irrelevant.

You never know who you are affecting.

You never know how you are affecting them.

So just know.

Just know it somewhere deep in the knowing part of you. Keep being exactly who you are and keep being better at it every day.

That’s all you can do.

Despite losing my father, my life line, at a very young age, despite battling depression and an eating disorder and hearing loss, I learned to hear my heart for the first time. I learned to listen to the calling that was my life. I learned to be better than I used to be.

I don’t claim to know a lot.

I know what happened to me and the choices I made which got me to where I am now. I know what hurt and what made me soar with delight.

I know now who I am and my only hope in telling my tale is that you too will begin to listen to your own heart. To the beating which is whispering Yes Yes Yes.

photo ny Jenni Young of course

And So It Is, Owning It!

What is Your Truth?

November 12, 2012

I love Jenni Young. She took my words and made a poster with a photo she took of me!

 

What is your truth?

Not everything fades away. In fact, what is most true doesn’t.

What is most true always finds you no matter how long and far you try and run from it.

 

This quote from my essay entitled “Update Your Vision”. Click here to read and please feel free to share. I would love to hear below what your truth is. I will start. My truth is: I am a writer.

Your turn…

Tweet me @JenPastiloff your truth with hashtag #MyTruth by clicking here.

And So It Is

Getting Lucky.

November 8, 2012

Thank you soul sister Jenni Young for making this poster for me. Click to connect with Simplereminders.com

Earlier today I found myself muttering How did I get so lucky? as if it was something I stumbled on by chance. I didn’t just get so lucky. I realized that there is no just getting.

I visualized this life of mine that now feels so natural I can’t imagine it any other way. I said “And so it is” over and over.

And then there was this: I Worked My Ass Off.

And I continue to do so.

Oh. And I love what I do and do what I love.

Tweet me #iLoveWhatiDoiDoWhatiLove now. Copy and paste if you want. I am at @manifestyogajen. Click here. Let’s do this folks! Thanks Wayne Dyer for teaching me that mantra of course.

 

Uncategorized

The 5 Most Beautiful Things Project.

November 1, 2012

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?

And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?

And have you changed your life? ~from The Swan by Mary Oliver

Let’s Make #The5MostBeautifulThings Project Viral! The world needs this! Join us on Twitter @5MBTProject

My partner in crime Jenni Young of Simplereminders.com made this poster for our project. Click to connect with them.

Become an Active Beauty Seeker.

The other day I wanted to read a poem by Mary Oliver to my yoga class, as I am prone to do being a poetry addict and all, and I couldn’t find it. Wild Geese was the one. One of my favorites. So I said the first line:

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting

and then, much to my delight, I kept going. I knew the whole thing by heart. I guess I knew that I knew it. (Don’t we always know?)

That’s what we do with beautiful things. We tuck them away. We use them when we need them, in our bearlike way. We use them as fuel. We breathe them. We give them away. We remember them as long as we can.

Sometimes we miss them completely.

Words do it for me. They excite me, the way they roll around in my mouth, and the feel of them, the texture both shocking and comforting at the same time like a million smooth marbles. And if they are strung together just right, those little white Christmas lights of words make me close my eyes and wish them never to leave. That they would stay forever there on that tree lighting it up and that the moment would never darken and the tree would never die and I would never let the words escape from the safety of my mouth, whether they were spoken aloud or not.

They would light me from the inside out for the rest of my life.

That’s kind of how it is with certain words for me. Certain turns of phrase, and poems and sentences. They knock me out with weight and I want to keep them as if they belong to me and not to the world.

This is what beauty often does. We want to claim it and make it part of us.

Our lives need beauty. Relenteless, unremitting beauty.

I was driving this morning to a client to teach him yoga and I started to think about the five most beautiful things I saw at that very moment. I am not sure why because I was at a traffic light and it was grey and cold outside. I saw a dirty purple sign for Donuts! and a beautiful blonde teenager with a sign that said: Hungry. Please help.

These things struck me as beatiful right then in that moment. So I kept going, kept looking. What else could I find?

This is the challenge: Every hour stop what you are doing and write down the 5 most beautiful things to you right in that moment. Every hour or as often as you can! You can also post pics in addition to writing them down. Just connect in some way and find the beauty.

I can hear you already: But I am on the freeway. I am at work. There is nothing beuatiful. I am watching tv. I am in a bad mood, I can’t see anything beautiful. I don’t have my glasses on.

It’s there! Look! It’s right there. It’s here. Close your eyes and see it even if it is not right in front of you, even if you have to dig into the well of your imagination which might feel has run dry of beauty a long time ago.

Even then.

Here’s a a line from a poem I wrote called “Speaking In Code” 

Beauty, unremitting like this, so hard to come by-

And yet it is everywhere, this beauty.

You can’t ignore something so beautiful.

Make your list and keep filling it up and when there is no room get a new paper and keep going and going and going. You will amaze yourself. You will find that you are actively looking for beauty wherever you are. No matter what. And what else is the point? What is beauty for if not to lighten us up from the inside out and sometimes, from the outside in?

I asked my tribe on Facebook what the 5 most beautiful things were for them and here are some of their responses:

Kelly Eckert The sound of a robin singing in the rain occasionally punctuated by the sound of the wind in the trees. Breathing deeply. My husband’s typing. My son’s face. My daughter’s smile.

Paul Teodo my dad is retiring today after running hospitals and drug treatment centers for the past 35 years. He worked his ass off to try and make a difference in people’s lives, and provided my brother and I with a lot. Now he is finally taking some time for himself. He is 62 and in great health and spirits. I get to see him tomorrow in Nashville, TN.

Kira J Pullig The ocean. My parents 45 years of marriage. The human spirit’s capacity for healing. Flowers. Silence.

Christina Collazo Cathey The cloudless sky above me, my caffeine buzz, my daughter humming a tune, my creativity surging through my veins (oh wait is that caffeine?), and my heart beating in Love. 🙂

Alli Akard in this very moment… the sound of my kids playing, the smell of my lunch and its taste of pure nourishment, the site of the trees rustling in the breeze and the sunshine on my face. beautifully simple.

M’Le Leach At this moment, my dog who is sleeping next to me, my boyfriend(who I know must be having a rough day), My yoga practice, the love and support I get from my friends and family, and the sun shine that hasn’t been seen in a week. 🙂

Katie Chatzopoulos The smile on my nieces face

The roof over my head

The water in my cup

The clothes on my back

The peace in my heart that the storm is passed

Chrissy Santa Maria My tea cup, all my friends, my family, life, restaurants that deliver.

Daisy Lane 1.) My children eating corn on the cob! 2.) The leaves falling from the trees in my yard. 3.) The jazz music playing from the “Maxie with Moxie” playlist 4.) The Reese’s from the plastic pumpkin candy holder on the counter. 5.) The Boston Center for Adult Education catalogue I’m looking through-so many offerings!

Michelle Mendoza My autistic daughter making direct and penetrating eye contact with me and signing “I love you”. That’s pretty much 1-5 for me! 🙂

Liz Vartanian 5 most beautiful things RIGHT NOW: 1) my sweet 3 week old breastfeeding, 2) homemade vanilla extract & jam, 3) down-dogging dogs, 4) the beauty mid-80’s day out, and 5) the moment of meditation when all is quiet for two minutes in the house 🙂 <3 xo

Respect the Rays 1- how quiet it is in my house right now…i can hear my breath. 2- my 3 children 3- hearing the word BENIGN 4-seeing an upside down rainbow and capturing it on “film” 5- my gratitude i feel about getting to go to yoga today.

Rachel Pastiloff 1. My kids, 2. my new favorite book ‘life is a verb by Patti Digh, 3. The amazing colors of the fall trees in my backyard in Georgia, 4. The amazing clouds in the sky before a storm(the really big fluffy ones), 5. My fathers headstone (I know that seems strange but it is the most beautiful thing in the world to me)

Anna Sidoti  just five? I could’ve found 500!!

Beautiful photo of my friend Yulady Saluti by my dear soul brother Robert Sturman. “”Hello cancer, thanks for the scars, now it’s my turn and as you can see I am a cancer warrior.” — Yulady Saluti (32 year old yoga teacher and mother of 6). Click photo to connect to Robert’s page filled with beauty!

My friend Dani Orner who is also my partner in a film we are making about body image. Beauty!!!

There is something about an old typewriter that takes my breath away.

Ronan! One of my best friend’s Emily Rapp’s son who is dying of Tay Sachs Disease. Click link to order her book “The Still Point of the Turning World.” relases March 2013 Penguin Press.

This sky. This is why I am going to Bali. I am chasing the beauty!~

Yes.

What if we walked around looking for beauty instead of looking for things to be stressed about or offended by? What if we became beauty hunters? What if we told more beautiful stories? What if it was all we saw, even in the dirt? What if we trained our eyes and our hearts to tune into that which makes us cock our head to one side and close our eyes gently in an effort to memorize what we were looking at. What if it is all we got?

What if all we have is our 5 beautiful things?

I have heard my teacher Wayne Dyer tell this story so many times but it always makes me perk up out of my seat and listen as if my life depended on it. (Maybe it does?)

Wayne Dyer used the example of the Holocaust Survivor Victor Frankl who was able to mentally survive living in a concentration camp by finding beauty in a fish head floating in his soup. In a fish head, guys. You read that? A fish head!!

Share below what your 5 most beautiful things are right now and please share this post. Let’s make it viral. What’s your fish head?

Tweet me #5mostbeautifulthings by clicking here 

Guest Posts

Simplereminders.com Photo Shoot

October 15, 2012

Here are just a few shots from the amazing shoot I did with Jenni Young of Simplereminders.com.

I am over the moon with the way they turned out. I am so lucky to have teamed up with Simplereminders.com. Check out their site!

I am wearing a gorgeous mala designed for me by Blooming Lotus Jewelry.

This one is by Bryant Mcgill. Click to connect with him.

 

 

 

 

 

Please like their Facebook page. They are amazing and I am endlessly grateful.

Awe & Wonder

Be Awe. Be Wonder.

September 27, 2012

Awe & Wonder

 

Jenni Young of Simplereminders.com made me this poster using my words. Love it and her. Check the page out. Photo taken at Le Bristol Hotel in Paris July 2012 by Sami Kemel.

 

Also, my latest is up on Owning Pink. Owning Pink is an amazing site by one of my very favorite bloggers and people ever: Dr. Lissa Rankin. Click here to read. Would love your comments and support on it. Please leave on Owning Pink site and not here.

Click here to own some pink, yo!

Love and a whole lotta salt-n-vinegar chips,

jen

 

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