Please share this one. You can use this video or copy and paste this https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=270741373071747
please don’t forget to spread the word about my contest. Keep tweeting Oprah for me. Here is link https://manifestationyoga.com/5mostbeautifulthings-contest-win-a-retreat-more-details-here/. Love you guys. Enjoy your long weekend xoxo jen
Be present. Be honest, Be vulnerable. Be authentic.
Where can you trust more?
Where can you let it be?
When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Where can you believe in your own worth more? Trust is THE BRIDGE between your ask and its showing up when it comes to manifesting what you want.
Seriously, do you realize how awesome you are? Stop that comparing bs. Stop it, now!
Go make shit happen my beloved Tribe. Love to hear your thoughts!
Join me on twitter/instagram at @jenpastiloff
Yesterday I went and visited one of my readers. It was the first time we’d ever met and it was truly inspiring. Rosie Alma has cystic fibrosis and just received a double lung transplant. Unfortunately, it wasn’t successful but we know the next transplant will be a match. Rosie did a guest post here on my blog back in October which I am linking here in case you missed it.
She’s touched me in so many ways, namely by reminding me how it is possible to be present and full of light despite being in a less than desirable situation. How we react is everything and she is the embodiment of her name: Rosie.
Also, her brother is videoing and chronicling the whole process. It’s so incredible. You can check that out here.
Love to hear your thoughts my beloved Tribe. Join me on Facebook here or Instagram/Twitter at @jenpastiloff.
You are a world, Dear Heart.
Oh, the things we forget.
There’s so many things up there in your head. Look, you’ve already forgotten when you were born and how midnight-dark it was at five pm and what it felt like, if it felt like anything, to come into the world alone and afraid as a screaming monkey. You forgot how you learned to crawl on an apartment floor in South Philly and the night your sister was born as if she magically appeared one morning like a bowl of cereal would on the counter. You’ve forgotten the yellow plastic on the chairs in your kitchen and how your thighs stuck to them when it was humid and how the backyard looked overgrown. How it looked lost compared to all the other yards. You’ve forgotten when you climbed the dresser and it fell on you and how you wondered if you and the boy with you were dead, and, if you were, it wasn’t so bad, was it?
You’ve forgotten the way your father’s shirts smelled and the first boyfriend your mother had after he died.
You’ve forgotten sleeping at your grandmother’s before she went to the nursing home and how you slept on the old sofa bed, lumpy and flowery and smelly and how you thought that must be how everything ended up eventually.
What we forget is so great compared to what we remember that I think there must be a holding room somewhere where it all waits to be needed.
If we remembered every detail and every heartbreak we’d literally be walking around comatose, afraid to touch door handles and tabletops as if they’d explode in our palms. If we remembered every pain our body has known we might never get up off the sofa and then what would become of love?
It would wither away in some corner, and eventually, it too would forget its own genesis. It would create new names for itself and a new identity and we wouldn’t recognize it if it slapped us in the face. We’d all be as lost as my childhood backyard in New Jersey. Lonely weeds waiting to be picked. Overgrown and unkempt and alone. That’s what would happen if we remembered everything. We’d never open the door when someone knocked. We’d just sit, quivering in our socks, staring at it like it might hurt us if we got close. We’d become unruly weeds in socks.
We think that what we remember tells so much about who we we are.
I sit down at my computer to write and I beg my brain to go back in time and relive things for me since I don’t journal or write anything down. What can you tell me about who I am?
I can’t come up with anything. I remember bits and pieces as if my life is a movie I watched half-asleep one night on the couch while I was drunk. I think I was there. I think I had a father. An iron fell on my head once when I was seven, the tip rushing into my head before hot liquid oozed down my face. I remember being told it was blood but I don’t remember that it was. I only remember the cold point of the iron. After that, the rest of my life went into darkness.
There’s things in that holding room that offer solace and things that when you call for them shake with the joy of being picked. Me? You really want me? as if they were the last to be picked for the team and were so grateful just to not be left out again. You beckon those things in that waiting room and all of a sudden it’s as if they were there all along, as if you never forgot what it felt like to fall on the gravel at Yellowstone, rocks in your palms at dinner.
The rooms that hold the parts of us we don’t need or want. The rooms that house our hurts and losses and never agains are right up against the ones that hold what we said this morning and what we ate for dinner, what color our underwear is.
The mundane and beautiful and the horrible next to each other like a collage. Or a war. Isn’t that life, though? Everything and everyone pressing up against each other, vying for space.
When there’s only so much space.
There’s only so much.
I’ve been reading lately about how much harder it is to learn as adults. It scares me and makes me want to turn on the tv and sit there with a tub of ice cream and a dazed look in my eyes. I’ve learned it all? That’s all I get?
I know it’s harder as we age to learn new things. To be open. To remember what we’ve put into our forgotten bathtubs. I know this. I was just teaching a class on the theme of being open, and in that class, I suggested how much harder it was to be open-minded as we got older. My grandfather, for example. Won’t get on a plane. He will die without ever getting on a plane again.
Now he’s been on plenty of planes. More than me, in fact. He joined the Navy when he was 18 and traveled the world but since you can’t bring whatever you want on a plane anymore and you can’t just walk right on, he won’t do it. Try and talk to him. Good luck. He won’t budge. I bet my life on that. He knows what he knows.
You think he will sneak into that room at the top of his hall where he keeps all his memories he’s forgotten? Like the memory of what it feels like to be on an airplane or open-minded? Probably he won’t. But the door is open and the memories are all there next to extra rolls of toilet paper and light bulbs.
There’s much to support the fact that forgetting is essential to our peace of mind, and, to memory itself. How can we create space for new memories if we never forget anything?
It’s like a picture that you’ve had sitting in the window by the sun for too long. One day you look and the picture is faded and no matter how hard you try you can’t make out who the person on the end is although at one point in time you are sure you must have held their hand and loved them. How does that happen?
It happens. We can’t hold on to everyone and everything.
I’ve had a few friendships for over 25 years. At one point in time these friendships were fresh and brick-solid, full of face-time and hand written letters. Nowadays the friendships are more like a memory of a friendship, a ghost of something that exists only in our collective past. It’s not that we aren’t friends anymore. It’s just that the edges get blurry as we age, things like children and careers and distance factor in, as well as the fact that who knows if we would’ve been friends if we had met at 30 instead of 10 years old? Sometimes I get panicky and want to protect the friendships like they’re broken birds. As if by not being able to maintain them over time I am somehow a lesser human. I have somehow failed.
The fact is, you can’t hold on to all of it.
There’s a dinghy and you have to choose what you don’t want to drown you. If you try and hold onto all of it, that’s exactly what happens. It swallows you and you can’t keep track of one person’s face from the next.
When I start to feel bad about the things I have forgotten or misplaced or simply don’t have room for anymore, I like to remember the holding room and that they’re all there. Somewhere.
We try to do so much. We keep thinking that everything can fit. That if we stuff one more sweater in the suitcase it won’t make a difference. We try and sneak in as many things as possible until we get told that we have to check the luggage. Check the luggage and place it in the holding room.
What is the holding room? It’s the place where we keep what we don’t have room for at the moment.
Remember “layaway plans” at department stores? I might be dating myself, but when I was a kid, places like Marshall’s had something called a “layaway plan” where you’d put all your stuff that you wanted to buy on hold and pay for it in increments. When you finally paid it off you could take your stuff home.
I think sometimes people would take so long to pay off their stuff on layaway that by the time they were halfway through they wouldn’t even want them anymore.
Those jackets? So last season! The pants? I hate them now. The sheets? We got a bigger bed.
I think that’s what happens with the stuff we forget. It gets put on hold so we can truly decide if we want to remember it anymore. If we need it.
Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in that room. I will count to twenty, quietly, here at my desk. When I am through counting you will have picked up exactly which things you want to remember. Which things you want to take off layaway. Which things you want to carry through your life in your arms like that. Like you’ve picked something up you’d thought you lost and that feeing of winning and relief that accompanies such a find.
People. We’re funny like that. Always shifting and moving and changing and going from one pleasure to the next, one body to another. It’s what we’ve done since the beginning of time and it’s what we will probably all do until we die. We want to take it all with us from one place to the next but in the meantime we drop things all over the place because our arms are only so big. We wake up and say Where did it all go? I had it right here! I had it right in my arms. Right in my heart.
We can’t take it all and do it all and remember it all and be it all.
You’ve got a layaway plan and so much of what you thought was lost was right there all along, right next to the sound of your father’s voice.
The things you want to remember. They’re there. They’ll wait for you, loyal dogs that they are. It’s up to you what you want to dig out and live with. It’s up to you what you take away from layaway.
It’s up to you what you take on.
What you forget does not define you. Neither does what you remember. In fact, nothing defines you. Not one relationship, not one mistake, not one accolade, not one job, not one award, not one thing defines you.
Nothing can define you. Unless you say it does.
I will get to the stories we make up about ourselves but this here is about what we put on other people. Love for you to watch and as always I love to hear what YOU have to say xo jen
When I was thirteen we moved to New Jersey from California. We had moved to California from New Jersey. So essentially we were moving back to New Jersey. I was just about to start eighth grade and the words New and Jersey were the worst words in the English language to me. They were vinegar and all things rotten. They were my past. They were equal to the words No Flipping Way Am I Moving Back to New Jersey!
If you remember the myriad of horrors that make up middle school, you will recall that seventh grade is where you make the friends that you will have in the eighth grade. You come into seventh grade all nervous and geeky and somehow find a few fellow and nervous geeky kids to be friends with and then the summer happens and you come back for eighth grade all cool and teenagerish, thinking you have no work to do, that you made your friends. Thinking that you were the coolest in the school. (We rule! We know everything!)
Little did you know that starting ninth grade and high school would be a whole new game of terror, but hey, you’d cross that bridge when you came to it. For now, you were the oldest and the best and eighth grade was going to be a breeze.
So I wandered into middle school (otherwise known as Hell) with my bangs and my I hate New Jersey attitude to a whole slew of already formed cliques and friendships.
Luckily I’d had a really “popular” cousin who was a year younger, in the seventh grade. He wasn’t a blood cousin but someone we grew up calling cousin for some reason. People begrudgingly talked to me because I was the cousin of So and So. I was So and So’s not real cousin-cousin and thus was not completely ostracized as I might have been had I come in as nobody’s cousin at all. Thank God for not real cousin-cousins.
Eighth grade was a dark and moody nine months. I resented my mother for moving us back to New Jersey. I hated the weather and the way people spoke. When we first moved back we had to live with the not real cousin-cousins. All of us. Me, my mother and my sister, squashed with all our girl stuff and junk in this one little guest room at the top of the stairs that was usually used to store wrapping paper and boxes.
I had to take the bus to school whereas in California I had always walked. California was like the cool kid and New Jersey with its busses was the nerd.
No one talked to me during those first few weeks on the bus. This was way before cell phones or iPads, so there was nothing to distract you from the nobody likes me and I have no one to talk to so I will just sit and stare out the window or read.
I read a lot.
I remember finally being invited out with the popular kids. Somehow. Probably because of my false relation to the not real cousin-cousin. Here’s what “going out” consisted of when I was in eighth grade. A bunch of us would go to someone’s house and go down the basement and someone would shut the lights and everyone would make out with each other. They called it “hooking up.” With everyone else in the same room, they slurped and sucked.
So it was all dark and hot in whosever basement we happened to be in and there’d be six or eight couples hooking up in/on whatever open space they could find. Including the floor.
I forgot about this until last night while I was talking to my friend’s 12 year old daughter.
Let’s call her Sammy. Sammy is in sixth grade. Sixth grade is now middle school as opposed to in my day when it was still elementary school. Sammy is in the unfortunate landscape of middle school at 12 years old. She kept talking to me about this group called The Populars. Sammy isn’t in The Populars but rather the Middle of the Road group, as she called it. She’s kind of friends with everyone and she likes Minecraft (what is Minecraft? I had to ask and at this point in time, I am still unsure.) She has a crush on one kid and we text each other, but that’s it! she told me.
I am fascinated by the so-called The Populars. I told her I didn’t really remember any specifically popular kids. That’s when I had the flashback of those dark basement nights in South Jersey. I’d wanted to vomit right there in her house in the Washington mountains which was far far away in time and space from those horny basement nights but you could’ve fooled me. There I was, biting my nails in the dark, praying for the night to be over. Or praying for someone to ask me to hook up.
Everyone else would be making out and getting their boobs felt or unbuttoning their pants and I just sat alone in a chair in the dark.
I had blocked this memory out until Sammy started talking about The Populars.
You see, it was like I had been invited in but then made to wait outside.
You can come you can’t really part of us.
You can sit in the dark and listen to us kissing and sucking each other’s faces though, if you want.
I literally sat in a rocking chair and waited for the night to end. Sometimes I had a cat on my lap. Sometimes I just sat there and cried quietly. I am not sure why I even said yes to going in the first place. The only thing I can think of is that I wanted to be accepted so fiercely, to not have to sit on the bus staring out the window by myself, that I was willing to sit in the dark while a whole bunch of horny thirteen and fourteen year olds slobbered on each other.
Let me tell you what this made me feel like. ShitWorthlessUglyPatheticLoser.
You name it. Yet, every time they asked me to “go out” I said yes, despite knowing that I would sit alone in a chair and not be made out with, but rather made to listen to humping noises. There was no actual sex involved but there might as well have been. It was humiliating and yet I kept saying Okay, sure, I’ll come. Thanks for asking me. Thanks for letting me be your friend.
Why didn’t any of the boys ask me to make out? I don’t know. I was awkward, sure. During the summer between eighth and ninth grade I blossomed. Beyond that, it was a simple equation of Us and Them. I was not a Us. I was a Them that had been granted access but not love. Not acceptance.
I had been let in to hang on the sidelines but not allowed to play on the field. I was an invisible. I was a body on a chair in a dank basement in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I was never seen.
They were too busy kissing the same faces to notice a new one.
All that changed in ninth grade and that is all fine and good and a big F*ck You to all the boys who ignored me because by 9th grade I was being paid attention to by the older guys and I couldn’t care less about the ones in my own grade.
I just posted something about this on my Facebook page. I am fascinated by how many of us experienced some version of being either left out or of being the leaver-outer.
Someone posted: Jennifer, I am often amazed at the breathtaking way you have shared your pain and joy….so I will take heart from your courage and share with you my “left out story” My best friend from junior high that I absolutely loved and adored dumped me the summer between junior high and high school for a new friend with better connections to the “in” crowd. There we were, starting a new school year with our lockers right next to each other as we had planned and she would barely talk to me. The only answer I got from her, after I begged to know what had happened, was that “it wasn’t me, it was her.” I’m sure that was true. I was never going to be one of the “cool” crowd…at least that was the reason I came up with since she wouldn’t tell me for certain what happened. That didn’t help ease the pain for me much at the time and I went into overdrive trying to “fix” the situation by blaming myself and trying to figure out what I had done wrong to lose her friendship. I know now that wasn’t the best way to deal with the situation, but I will admit that even now, the mystery of “why did she drop me?” still stings a bit when I think it.
Reading that and listening to 12 year old Sammy talk about The Populars brought back that feeling of wanting to be accepted, of saying Yes to things I didn’t want to do because I thought they would make me loved.
I don’t know who the girl is that wrote that post on my Facebook but I want to ask her for a glass of wine and take the slight sting away. But I know that’s me wanting to fix it. I want to go back in time and befriend her younger self and say It wasn’t you at all. And the cool crowd stinks. It’s the nerds and the geeks that end up being the ones we want to be with when we grow up. They are the ones who invent iPods and Macs and write awesome books. But I don’t know if I knew all that back then so I will leave it at my thirty something self telling her adult self: The “cool people” still suck. I am sorry that you had that hurt and I hope that you found a way to heal and to love better for it.
Sammy told me that The Populars were mean and talked behind people’s backs and didn’t listen to the teachers but that everyone put up with them and was sort of scared of them.
Oh, the fear. The fear of being unlovable or not wanted. The fear of being ostracized or not picked for the team or sitting in the basement alone in a sea of couples. The things we do to not have to face that fear. To feel just a little tiny bit loved.
I try in my small ways to cultivate acceptance and love. Why do you think I call my students and the people in my workshops and retreats my Tribe? It’s like I am saying You! You over there, by the lockers! You in the basement on that chair! You on the bus! You! Come over here. You are part of something. There is no “us” and “them.”
But hey, it exists. Who am I kidding?
It always will exist, that Us and Them. The Populars. The Rich and the Poor. I can see that just by talking to a 12 year old and by looking at Facebook and even by watching some other yoga teachers.
What I can do, however, is my best. I can hope that I set an example of what it means to love one another without fear and to be inclusive and loving.
If you’re on the outside looking in, first ask yourself, do I even want to be on the inside?
And then ask yourself what the inside even is? And if it is something that polarizes or leaves people feeling unwanted then say Hell No and Thank you but I will stay here on the outside, and, in fact, I am done looking in.
And then move away from the glass.
If you are on the inside, here’s a word to the wise: The Populars suck. You are being The Populars right now by making an inside and an outside. Erase that invisible line you’ve created between yourself and everyone else before it erodes everything and becomes impossible to erase.
Once you step out from the cocoon of the inside you will see there is a whole world of wacky and loving people waiting to ride the bus with you. Problem is, when you are living in that insular bubble you’ve created, you might as well be back in that basement in New Jersey. And you might as well get over the fact that you are going to keep swapping spit with the same people over and over, for the rest of your life, until you get out of the cage you are living in.
Do your best to bridge the distances. There will always be some distances. We cannot possibly make out with every person in line, but, we can offer our kindnesses. We can say Hey you! Yes, you, sitting all alone in that chair in the basement while everyone around you is making out, why don’t we turn on the lights and look at you.
And you know what? The Us and Them gets smaller until it’s usandthem and then the them gets dropped and it’s just us. And you realize it’s always been just us.
Be asking questions.
Be paying attention.
Be not always thinking.
Be of service.
Be telling the truth.
Be letting it go.
Be an ear.
Be a shoulder.
Be living in your body.
Be tickled by life.
Be always listening.
Be a poem.
Be the music.
Be a Thank You card.
Be less concerned with Doing.
Be a channel for all that is good in the world.
Be whatever you want.
Be it all.But mostly, unequivocally: