Browsing Tag

Manifestation retreat

Girl Power: You Are Enough, Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, Young Voices

What Jen Pastiloff’s Retreat is Like: According to a 22 Year Old.

January 21, 2016

By Haley Jakobson.
Imagine you are 22 and freshly graduated and suddenly sucked into the city of New York like a vacuum, dust pounding into your ears and grit clouding your eyes. Imagine that you feel very alone, despite your dad being a ride away on the 6 train and your college friends scattered around Manhattan like bread crumbs. Imagine you are depressed with a heavy coating of anxiety, a strong nail lacquer that you can’t chip off with the underside of your fingernail. And now you are at work, and despite all of these things, or maybe because of them, work still bored you and you find yourself scrolling through the vortex of your Instagram feed.

This is when you find her. Somewhere buried beneath the yoga pictures that intimidate you and the dogma that comes with them that sometimes bites you from inside the screen, somewhere beyond the pictures of Saturday night snapshots that might have been forgotten otherwise, and hungover Sunday brunch photos you were invited to be a part of but were too sad to join – you find her. She says: “girl power you are enough.” She says “fuck.” A lot. She says, “don’t be an asshole.” Well, duh, you think – and then remember how often you forget this. You read on. Continue Reading…

Contests & Giveaways, Guest Posts

FULL Scholarship to Jen Pastiloff & Emily Rapp’s Vermont Retreat

August 21, 2015

By Jen Pastiloff

*Update! Amy Ferris has added $100 and an anonymous donor has donated the balance so the spot will be 100% paid for. The winner only has to pay for travel expenses (i.e. getting to Stowe.)

Hello from the sky! I am on my way to do a workshop in Chicago.

It’s still novel to me to have wifi in the sky, but I had to share this asap. I just got wind that someone very generous wants to help send someone, who needs the help financially, to attend the writing retreat I am doing with best selling author  Emily Rapp in Stowe, Vermont.

The winner will get a  FULL scholarship from these amazing benefactors.  This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so touched that she is doing this. Per her request, I will not share her name, except with the winner. This will be our third retreat to Stowe, and we could not be more excited. Submit your essay here.

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So, here is the deal. First off, I would rather give this spot away to someone who has never attended my retreat. With that out the way, here goes:

Please write an essay by SEPTEMBER 9th (no more than 1500 words) on any of these topics:

  1.  The idea of being “enough.” Or, the word “enough.” (I launching a workshop in September for young women called Girl Power: You Are Enough as well as writing the book. For questions or queries on my book, please contact my agent at adriann@wolflit.com.)
  2.  Finding your voice
  3.  Why you need time to get away
  4. The notion of female friendship
  5.  Body image
  6. What feminism means to you

. Please tag any friends you think might be interested. My editors on The Manifest-Station will help me pick a winner, as well as Emily Rapp. Submit via submittable here.  Please do not submit any later than September 9th. The retreat is October 22-25 in Stowe, Vermont. You do not have to be a “good” yogi or an accomplished writer. Just be a human being. That’s all we request. And have a sense of humor and an open heart.

Info on the retreat (hosted by The Travel Yogi) here. Continue Reading…

Contests & Giveaways, Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, Retreats/Workshops

Free Spot At Jen Pastiloff’s Retreat in Honor of Every Mother Counts

May 3, 2015

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Flash 3 day contest on instagram! Don’t have an account? Sign up! It’s easy and fun!

Do you want to attend a my Manifestation Retreat over Mother’s Day in honor of  Every Mother Counts & global maternal health? (It’s next weekend so you have to act FAST!) Everything will be paid for including a spot at the cooking class but you must provide your own transportation to Ojai, California. Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization started by Christy Turlington Burns dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.

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Rules:
1⃣ Follow
@jenpastiloff @everymomcounts & @bloominglotusjewelry on Instagram.
2⃣ Post a picture
of you and your mom OR You and your child  on Instagram after you follow all 3 of us.

3⃣ Tag us ALL in comments & use #everymothercounts so we can see it!

4⃣ must follow us all & tag us all in comments section.

Info on retreat here at jenniferpastiloff.com.

You’ll also win a $108 gift certificate to Blooming Lotus Jewelry!!

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, motherhood

Jen Pastiloff, Christy Turlington Burns & Every Mother Counts Give Back This Mother’s Day.

April 22, 2015

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Do good for yourself, while helping us improve maternal health. Join me over Mother’s Day weekend, May 8-10th, for a 3 day retreat in Ojai, CA, where a portion of proceeds will benefit Christy Turlington’s Every Mother Counts. Please mention the organization when booking. Click here to sign up or email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com.

Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.

They inform, engage, and mobilize new audiences to take actions and raise funds that support maternal health programs around the world.

To join in this retreat you do Not have to be a mother. Just be a human being with a heart. No yoga experience required although there will be some yoga within the workshops.

I am so excited to support my friend Christy and EMC!

Christy Turlington Burns is a mother, social entrepreneur, model, and founder of Every Mother Counts. Having endured a childbirth complication herself, Christy was compelled to direct and produce the documentary, No Woman, No Cry about maternal health challenges that impact the lives of millions of girls and women around the world. As a result of her global advocacy work she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014, Glamour Magazine’s Woman of The Year in 2013, and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative Minds in 2013. Prior to her work as a global maternal health advocate, Christy enjoyed a successful career as a model while continuing her education and pursuing other interests. She has co-created public health communications campaigns about smoking cessation and prevention since 1997 and launched an award-winning website, SmokingIsUgly.com. Christy is also the author of Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice (Hyperion 2002) and has written countless articles, essays and op-eds for magazines and newspapers on the subjects of wellness, maternal health, feminism, poverty eradication and human rights. Christy is a member of the Harvard Medical School Global Health Council, an advisor to the Harvard School of Public Health Board of Dean’s Advisors and on the advisory Board of New York University’s Nursing School. She holds a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies and has studied Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. A three-time marathon finisher, Christy resides in New York City where she lives with her husband, filmmaker Edward Burns, and their two children.

ps, Christy is running the London Marathon this coming weekend on 4/26 to raise funds and awareness about the fact that thousands of women and girls still live too far away from the care and supplies needed to ensure safe motherhood. You can check it out here. 

I love you , Christy!

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Mother's Day Retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being.  Click photo to book.   "Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing. She listens. She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you. Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening. And what her kind of listening does is simple: It saves lives." ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Mother’s Day Retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. Click photo to book.
“Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing.
She listens.
She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you.
Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening.
And what her kind of listening does is simple:
It saves lives.” ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Continue Reading…

Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts, Young Voices

A 19 Year Old On Self-Loathing & Compassion.

February 26, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Karolina.

“If you listen carefully you will know exactly who I am.”

Compassion is a funny thing, it is forgiving, it is comforting, it is safety, and it is scary, but above all, it is strong, much stronger than one could imagine.

I never thought about telling this story. It didn’t even occur to me that it should be something discussed with the public… but I slowly started to realize, why not. This demon lives off of secrecy; grows and grows the more it is hidden. So why not expose it cold turkey. Tell the whole world, cause I know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this; who has had an ugly past with food, a destructive relationship with the gym, a disturbing relationship with the mirror, and shattering relationship with myself. So here goes nothing at trying to tell a very complicated piece of whom I am.

A few months ago I would never have thought I’d have the courage to share this part of my past. But to be honest, it’s not in the past, because it’s still going on, current, and will continue to for a very long time.

Last year, if you had asked me if I was content with myself, if I was at peace with myself, if I could look at myself in a mirror and smile; a true genuine smile, I would have lied and said yes, because that’s what I was supposed to say. They always say that the people who look like they’ve got their lives the most put together are either, 1. Actually put together, or 2. Rotting on the inside.

I would classify as number 2.

No one would think I’d be the person to have this kind of internal battle. It would never even cross their mind; I’m that kind of person that is very good, extremely good, at making my life seem incredible, almost perfect, with absolutely nothing wrong ……

Well, now, I’m paying the consequences for that lie, and I’m trying to make it right.

Before I stepped on campus, I thought I was confident in myself. I felt grounded. I thought I knew whom I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I was content with myself, I thought I loved myself, loved my body. And if you asked anyone else they’d say that’s exactly how they saw me too. But what I didn’t know, was that I loved my body, because it got me attention from the opposite sex, not because it was something sacred for myself and only myself.

It’s December, my relationship is falling to shit and I’m standing in front of the mirror; it started like anything else would, very minor, a quick millisecond of a thought… hmm it couldn’t hurt to get rid of that extra layer on my thighs, I mean honestly, just cut down on what I eat for a few weeks.

Continue Reading…

Beauty Hunting, Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, Manifestation Workshops

Sometimes It’s Easy To Forget Who We Are In The World.

September 6, 2014
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 Sep 17-24, 2016. Click the Tuscan hills above and email info@jenniferpastiloff.com. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

By Jen Pastiloff.

Jen Pastiloff here. Cassandra Kirwan just posted this on my Facebook page but since some of you may have missed it, I wanted to post it here (see excerpt below.) I am deeply grateful and utterly blown away by what she wrote. Like jaw dropping blown away. Like these frozen grapes I am eating keep rolling out of my mouth onto the floor, blown away.

Cassie has been on 4 retreats with me in the last 6 months or so. I am deeply touched by her words and incredibly proud of her.

I am also sharing this to give a better understanding of what I do. Yoga is involved, but asana is not the focus. The actual physical yoga practice is not what it’s about.

That scares me sometimes. I think maybe I should go back to teaching straight yoga and that maybe I should just hide in my apartment.

And sometimes I do hide.

Sometimes I feel shut down and broken and I can’t hear even with my hearing aids turned up and I think the whispering in the back is about me and I get so scared to go to a new city and walk into a workshop I’m hosting and ask things of people that I know make them squirm. I think that people just want to stay busy, to keep going, to keep clocking in and out of work, to be left alone to scroll through instagram and watch t.v. and why in God’s name would I ask people what they would do if they weren’t afraid? Just shut up, Jen, and eat your fucking frozen grape. (It’s really hot in L.A. today, ok?)

Sometimes it’s easy to forget who we are in the world.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, travel

Digging To Find Myself.

June 1, 2014

Digging To Find Myself. By Rachel Bolin.

Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun. ~Seamus Heaney

I have never really been very into poetry. I have phases where I have found solace in the words of poets. Robert Frost when I was at the ripe old age of 13, and I had a fleeting love affair in my teenage years of angst with Charles Bukowski. But I never understood it. I could relate to some of the passages and with bits and pieces of them, but as a whole it was completely outside my realm of comprehension. Then I discovered this man from the green hills of Northern Ireland. Where, even to this day, I would swear part of my heart lies, even though I have never stepped foot onto its soil.

I have always, and I mean always, been obsessed with the United Kingdom and Ireland. Anglophile never did seem like a strong enough term for how much I loved it. Even now, I still yearn for this probably very heavily romanticized version I carry around in my head and my heart. Of drinking Guinness in the local pub and watching football on the telly. I have gobbled up music, books, films and everything about it I could get my hands on. From the fascination with the Tudors to the obsession with the Sex Pistols, John Peel and Good Vibrations to imagining living a quiet life with grandchildren in the country many years from now. You name it I am sure I have envisioned that life and wanted to live in that city. It probably seems silly, but that daydream life was something that helped through those dark times. I knew that it would probably never come to fruition, as I was born and bred in the Midwest, but you can not blame a girl for dreaming. I have never felt my heart truly belonged here. Maybe in the beaches of California. Maybe in the mountains of Montana. Or maybe in those green hills were that man came from.

I always landed in those green hills. I think Seamus Heaney was the reason I landed there. I believed for a while that finding him was a sign for me to live there. I had my heart set on Belfast and Queen’s University where he attended and graduated with his degree in English. I was going to do music rather than write. I have tried many different things in my life. I attempted art school, which lasted for a whole 6 weeks, and then off to music production, then music business. Which definitely could have worked if I had the gumption to push myself to do it. But no matter how hard I tried, it did not really fit. I found myself getting disillusioned with the industry, seeing only the bad aspects of it, and realizing that there was a very real possibility of losing my main outlet. Music is, and hopefully will continue to be, my therapy. That is my solace in those dark times and my rejoicing during the good. I end up with music and with writing. I never thought I had the ability or the talent to be a writer for a career, but I kept doing it. Because I found that I have an easier time articulating my feelings and thoughts through it. Even though I write fiction and attempted, very badly, to write poetry, I still found a way out of my head. I have only recently begun to write those personal things. Those things that live and fester in the dark corners of my mind. I have begun to shed light on those demons that for so long seemed like they would overtake everything I hold dear. I have been in traditional therapy for so long, and while it did help, I think giving myself a voice and reaching out to others to realize that yes, I feel alone and unworthy, but seeing in big bright bold neon letters “YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS.” That others have similar demons haunting them, has been such an eye opening experience.

I hopped on a plane and spent a week in the humid tropics of Costa Rica. I went on a Manifestation Retreat with (there are no real words for how amazing she is) Jennifer Pastiloff. I got home a handful of days ago, and I can feel myself flip flopping between the old and the new, who I was and who I will be. I have been so blissful and felt the best I have ever felt in my life. Then I have been agitated and felt suffocated. I can feel the old trying to choke the new blossoming ways out of my mind and my body. I can feel them fighting. I don’t entirely know what happened while I was down there. But apart from being so open with the most amazing, loving, giving and supportive group of women I have been blessed to meet in my life, something major shifted. That dark matter that resided in my belly was dug out, and the fire in my belly began to spark again in ways I have never felt. She holds the space for us to do this, to be open and so vulnerable that it could break your heart, but it doesn’t. Our hearts mend together to create this space for us to bring out our darkness and to confront it and say, “I rule this body, this mind and this soul! You don’t own me. I do!”

It seems almost as far away as one could get from the cold and rainy greenery of Ireland. Something big shifted in me in the sweltering heat of the jungles. It took a man from the rainy countryside to start it, and the jungles to dig it out.

I went down there to dig. That word “Digging” has never been far from my mind (I even want to get it tattooed on my arm), even as the years pass from the first time I read “Digging.” I never fully realized what he meant by any of it. How, by saying he “had no spade to follow men like that.” He was not meant to follow in the footsteps of the men before him. That he was to carve out his own path. He was to dig with his pen. He was to dig his way through himself, and through the world with his words. It was amazing to me to find out that he was all of 27 when he wrote that. That he had his moment of ‘This is what I am meant to do’ at an age not much older than my 25. That he did not have it all figured out until then, maybe even after that. He used his words to determine his path, both for finding himself and his way through the world. His pen and his words became a beacon of light in what could be an overwhelmingly dark world.

That was a calming moment for me. I have scrambled through life believing that I have to know my path NOW. Not years from now, I have to know everything right this second. Truth is, I know a few things. I have a few things that I would absolutely love to have happen, but they may not. I went through my digging in Costa Rica with the wish for a family and some peace, maybe a smidgen of self-love thrown in there for good measure.

But I fixated on family. The calm and ever loving family that I did not have, and still do not really have now. The family that I could do better and be better in. The family where we are not passive aggressive and let things fester over the years, where anger and depression and all other feelings run rampant and rule over the possibly of an unconditional non-judgmental ever lasting love. The family that I would daydream about in the country of Ireland (either North or South. I’m not picky). The one with the mass amounts of children and grandchildren running around, playing the mud, and howling laughter. With my husband and I sitting and just feeling calm love for each and every one of them. Where I could finally have those demons under some kind of control and not over-think myself into a mess that does not exist. When I slip into that bliss from the trip, that future does not feel so far away. It feels possible in some way. I can feel that peace of mind. I can get my brain to shut up for a while. I can get the words flowing again. That is the truest form of bliss I have been granted in my short life. Getting that hamster wheel of brain to stop running in circles that go nowhere but drive me insane, to halt to allow those words of Mr. Heaney to enter. To use that pen snug as gun between my fingers to dig. To really dig to the point where I can almost feel those words as earth between my fingers. Where I can visualize my words being pulled out of the hole in the ground where I lived for so long, and allowing these things to see the light of day so that I can thank them and realize them. I am trying so hard to release them to best of my ability, as I know remnants will always exist, but to dig the majority of it out and let it be gone. So I can stand guard over it and decide what I will allow back in. I will never completely control it, and there will be days in which the old stuff slips back in, but if I can be at a point where I can deal with it, and not shy away from my tough stuff, I will be good.

I went to Costa Rica to dig. And dig I did.

“Between my thumb and my finger

The squat pen rests.

I’ll dig with it.” ~Seamus Heaney

May there be many more years of digging ahead of me.

 

At Jen Pastiloff's Manifestation Retreat in Costa Rica.

At Jen Pastiloff’s Manifestation Retreat in Costa Rica at Blue Osa.

Rachel Bolin is a freelance writer who hails from the frozen tundra of Minneapolis. An art school drop out, she turned her focus to music, and has been educated in various aspects of the industry. She has been focusing her writing on Music and the Industry, but is now turning her focus onto more personal writing. She has a small collection of short stories published on Amazon. Her writing can be found on her blog at rachelebolin.wordpress.com.

At Jen Pastiloff's Manifestation Retreat in Costa Rica.

At Jen Pastiloff’s Manifestation Retreat in Costa Rica at Blue Osa.

Jennifer Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, is a writer living on an airplane. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, among others. Jen’s leading a long weekend retreat to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day in Ojai, Calif. She and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up:  Los Angeles, SeattleLondon, Atlanta, South Dakota, Dallas. She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff. Join a retreat by emailing barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com.

 

 

 

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

A Pretty Mind Blowing Little Ditty About My Manifestation Retreat.

May 20, 2014

I’m going through a rough patch right now with my broken foot and this made me feel good. Really really good. This was written by Sunny Beeker, an incredible woman who just attended my Mother’s Day Manifestation Retreat in Ojai. I won’t lie- it kind of blew me away. Thanks, Sunny! You should write a book. Not kidding. And thanks to everyone who was there. If I and to break my foot, there is nowhere I would’ve rather been than in the middle of dinner with you at my retreat. Okay, it was just before dinner. But you get my point.

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I had to write about my experience at Jennifer Pastiloff’s Manifestation Retreat in Ojai this past Mothers Day. It was an experience of possibilities, magic, and real human connection. A big dose of what we all need from time to time.

This is what she greeted me with when I walked in the door. There stood THE Jennifer Pastiloff, giving me a hug and saying “Welcome! What’s your name? I just opened this beer, do you need one?” – in her very distinctive, strong voice. It kind of threw me seeing her standing there, the woman who’s writing, adventures and spirit I have admired for so long, just offering to show me to my room. My first thought was – she’s so tiny and then I felt a bit intimidated and a bit in awe. What do I say to her?! Our social media relationship (chatting before the retreat in her FB group) seemed so easy, but now I have to be THAT person. And then she’s handing me her beer! I don’t even like beer! (Yes, Jen, I lied when I said “sure I’d love one.” I never drink beer.). But in that moment, she became a real person and I was able to relax into the experience. And the beer tasted great.

That was the start of my I-have-no-idea-what-to-expect-why-did-I-come-alone weekend at the 2014 Manifesting in Ojai Mothers Day Retreat. And what I walked into was an amazing mixture of women (and a few men) from ALL walks of life and ages, open hearts, vulnerability off the scales, flowing tears, soul baring, singing, laughter, sweating, chatting, eating, wine drinking, star gazing, major a-ha’s, and some heart stopping spontaneous moments that took your breath away. Deep connection, compassion and self expression displayed in its purest form – with total strangers.

Then she broke her foot, our beloved leader. And while she weathered the intense pain and frustration and tears, the air/tone that she set earlier in the day never changed for the rest of us. We all carried on and sent an incredible amount of love Jen’s way, all of us believing that love is a vibrational force – which we knew was all we could do for her. So that’s what we did, let her process and carry on. OK…that was just the first day, if that gives you any indication of how strong the love was flowing.

There was no disappointment, even if you were expecting this to be a “yoga retreat”, which many did (and she has a broken foot!). Even they all said in the end – it was soooo much more. Yes, we did some yoga, but it was what happened in between that was extraordinary. Jen walks the walk she talks and writes about – even on one foot. Being human is every emotion and every experience…and believe me, she did not stay quiet about how she was feeling about her foot. She let us see her process (the very real and human ups and downs) with so much trust and honesty, and in that space I think we all felt safe to share the secret parts of ourselves. It was “Mothers Day” weekend, after all, and all the emotions that brings up. It was amazing to behold. I can’t imagine trying to explain what “a retreat with Jen” is like because I suspect it is different every time. Hate to overuse the word “amazing”, but there is just no other word. Even after, back home, I found it hard to describe what it was like. Oh and did I mention the unbelievable setting in the hills of Ojai, perfect weather, and the hot chef (Culinary Therapist!)-slash-singer/songwriter, Caspar Poyck, who cooked every meal for us and then took us on a food/self exploration in his “cooking class”?!

I came because I was looking for something. Rejunvenation. An intro to yoga. To get away. To treat myself. To be by myself. I’m not exactly sure what…but, something. I remember thinking, as I was eating and laughing my ass off and having the deepest conversations ever in my life with these strangers – Is this the real me or is the real me the one I left at home? Who is this person (me) these people are getting to know, no holds bar? I’ve never felt so present and in the moment – not holding back, not second guessing, not checking out, not wondering what they would think if they only “knew”. Not judging. I felt completely safe to be myself. Jen created a space and forced us, in her way, to let it all go. It was refreshing to simply be myself, surrounded by smart, vulnerable, powerful women (and men) – who give a damn. Because she does. And I carry that with me today.

In a nut shell – it was nothing I expected, but it was everything I needed.

If you follow Jen’s blog etc. – she kinda makes this shit happen. Honest, open, vulnerable, human, kick ass kind of shit.

An experience I will never forget. Grateful – for the leadership, the company, the wine and the memories. Can’t wait to do it AGAIN!”

*****

I’m humbled by what Sunny wrote and what I experienced last weekend. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I hope i see some of you soon at a workshop or retreat. Love to you all, xo jen

Next retreat in Ojai is Labor Day and New Years. Book here. (Labor Day is almost full.)

I also have one workshop in L.A. 5 spots left June 7th. 

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Guest Posts

Untethered. By Yolanda Olavarria-DeMarco.

April 30, 2014

Untethered. By Yolanda Olavarria-DeMarco.

A few weeks before Christmas my husband and I separated. He left. I had the opportunity to say, “No, don’t leave, please stay.” But I didn’t.

Against the floating debris that had amounted during our years together, we decided to go out on a date that night. The waters had finally receded. We went to our favorite Sushi restaurant. One by one the drifting floaters surfaced that evening. The question longed to be asked.

The inevitable emerged.

I just sat on a chair silent, staring at a Frosty the Snowman gift bag that stood on a table across from me. My husband sat in front of me; he was waiting for an answer. His questioned echoed in my head. “Do you want me to leave?” he had asked.

Time stood still.

Frosty was flashing a jolly smile without the pipe. When did he stop smoking? I really would like to know what makes Frosty a jolly happy soul. What’s his secret? What exactly had he been smoking? A sushi roll now drenched in soy sauce waited in a small rectangular dish. I hold on to my chopsticks with a firm grip.

Realizing what I was holding on to, I let go.

I excused myself and made my way to the restroom. The restaurant was packed. It was a Saturday night in Gainesville, Florida. Students still lingered; some with parents, perhaps celebrating.  A silent version of Akira Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai flashed on a big screen. I locked myself in one of the bathroom stalls, techno music playing in the background. Facing the toilet as if prepared to hurl my rage.

Lost in the silent, black and white version of my life flickering inside my head, I cried.

I felt cradled in the dim-lit, Asian-inspired stall. Something within me became untethered, allowing a gush of stored memories slip through me. Stagnant tears, finally released, made their way down my face feeling them settle on my clenched collarbones.

I unlock and open the stall door. A mirror stood right before me. As I look at my reflection, I see a vaguely familiar face. I walk towards myself wondering if this was all a dream. With a look of despair on my face, a much younger woman places her left hand on my right shoulder and asks if I was OK. I look at her, but can’t say anything. As she walks to leave she says, “It’s always half as bad as it seems.” A laughing crowd is heard as she opens the door and then just muffled sounds as the door shuts. As I open the door, I hear a multitude of clear voices in undistinguishable languages.

The vociferous crowd swallows my pain.

I walk back to the table. He was waiting for an answer. The check and leftovers stood in front of him. The Frosty the Snowman gift bag, still there, as if it, too, were waiting for an answer. We walk back to the car, this time he didn’t hold my hand or open the door for me. As we drove back home, I thought about Akira Kurasawa’s other film, Rashomon, and wonder what versions, surely contradictory, of what happened tonight, would be remembered?

The night before, I dreamt that my husband had died. In my dream, I discovered his body lying by the edge of a lake. His body stood with its chest wide opened and hollow, looked like an empty pupa case. The sky was grey, the air was moist, and the grass was unusually green. His body, still wearing his brown leather jacket, had exploded was what I was told. I cried in my dream. I wailed in my dream; it was painfully vivid.

My loss was real.

My reactions to losses are always delayed. I slowly absorb them, thinking that it may ease the pain. It’s a habit that I can’t seem to break. I flutter my wings to stay afloat. I immediately begin to focus on the bright side, without embracing my pain. I put up a levee, then the pain hits me like an exasperated wave. Unexpectedly. With no impunity, my losses slam against me. This also happened when my father passed away.

As I saw my father’s lifeless body on the hospital bed, I didn’t know what to do. To no avail, I searched for a blink in his fixed, dark, and dilated pupils. I just stared at his body. His death had been expected. The process was lengthy, as he too had fluttered his wings to stay afloat. During his final hours, his silence seemed to ask, should I let go or should I hold on.

Later that day, I helped my mother purchase a coffin. My mother chose a royal blue one. She insisted in selecting him a nicer coffin then the one included in his funeral package. Initially I had objected, the corpse I had seen, was no longer my father, therefore the extra expense would be meaningless. However, I gave in.

The following day after my father died, parts of me could not be found. I needed a black dress. So I went shopping. I found a sleeveless black linen dress. It was June in central Florida. The sound, the music, the people seemed distant. Did I have my earplugs on?

My body felt warm, detached, and dazed. The heat followed me everywhere I went, even inside the dreadful mall. I was numb. I saw a gold bag that would look so well with my black linen dress. I thought I needed to look good. My father’s body and his friends would be there. As I made my purchase, I saw my dad. Our eyes met. He seemed to be patiently waiting for me to finish shopping, with a look as if he was trying to say, “Let’s go, I am hungry and your mother is waiting!” My knees gave way. The stagnant tears made their way down. Uninterrupted.

The drive back home from the sushi restaurant is immersed in a in utero-like silence. My husband left that same night. He didn’t say much. He was sad and perhaps a bit relieved. I was left with the feeling that every single thing in my life had amounted to that moment. I tried to breathe. I was unable to catch up with my breath. The pain was unbearable. I pretended not to acknowledge the pain, and come up with what I call an emergency-gratitude list. I was grateful for: the divine, my family, my friends, my dog, my cat, my health and my life. Fluttering my wings, once again, to stay afloat, while my bowels ignited.

The Christmas trees blinked while the scent of the pine wreath permeated throughout. As the night moved on, I went to the guest bedroom and lied down on a Yoga block for a chest opener. I needed to breath. I allowed the magnitude of that night to sink in: sushi, Frosty, Akira, techno music, younger woman, loss, deception, silence, uncertainty and sadness. Or was it anger?

Wholeheartedness took over. Like a contrast agent running through my veins, it highlighted everything I needed to feel. My mimicry disclosed. That night, and my body, exploded.

***

A seeker of stillness, beauty, and truth, Yolanda Olavarria-DeMarco is a native of Puerto Rico. She works for the Gainesville Latino Film Festival, is a Spanish interpreter, and is a student of Transcendental Meditation. She finds comfort in knowing that her father’s spirit is with her. Yolanda attended the Jennifer Pastiloff and Emily Rapp writing retreat in Vermont in October 2013. She is currently training to become a butterfly interpreter at the Butterfly Rainforest of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

She can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and very soon at bestillbetrue.com

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Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer living on an airplane. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon,, among others. She’s the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen’s leading a weekend retreat in May to Ojai, Calif as well as 4 day retreat over Labor Day in Ojai, Calif. She and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up is Seattle in May and London July 6. (London sells out fast so book soon if you plan on attending!)

 

Beating Fear with a Stick, Gratitude, Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

My Thank You Letter. By Ingrid Cohen.

April 24, 2014

My Thank You Letter. By Ingrid Cohen. *trigger warning. Mention of rape.

This is inspired by a piece written by Jen Pastiloff and is now an exercise in her signature Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human®. Click here to read.

I’d been on retreat with Jen before. She’ll read some of a “Thank you, Fuck you” piece she wrote (it’s brilliant). She’ll walk, as she reads aloud, through the space between the yoga mats where we’ll sit. Most will sit in frozen appreciation of her work while some will continue their own letter she’d already have asked us to write. Her voice, the way her hearing loss affects her annunciation (making her words more pure, almost as if they come directly from her soul), will ring in my head days later, long after the retreat has ended. I’ll be sitting at my desk on Wednesday morning at 10am, striving to be productive at a job I hate, but her voice will play on repeat. The part about thanking the women, the ones whose voices got real high when asking for more salad dressing, will almost scream. You’ll be pulled back to that room. Lindsay Lohan. Organic eggs. Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Normally I wouldn’t write a letter to the good and bad stuff in my life. Especially the bad. I’ve spent the better part of my life numbing out the bad stuff (it doesn’t work). But, when the person asking is Jen Pastiloff you take a leap of faith. You trust her. You want more of what she has. She’s got an aura of amazingness. Anything is possible when she’s around. I hate trying to give her a title. While she’s a teacher, yogi, writer, retreat leader, creator of Manifestation Yoga™ and a host of other things, she does each with such an unorthodox approach. It’s this unorthodoxy that speaks so loudly to her tribe. She manifests, or “Makes Shit Happen” (as she calls it), magic. This petite, yet silently strong, woman with thick dark hair to her lower back, porcelain perfect skin and a contagious laugh, is a magician.

Continue Reading…

Beating Fear with a Stick, beauty, Books, cancer, courage, funny, Guest Posts, healing

Shit Happens. To Everybody.

February 13, 2014

My Road Trip to Kripalu by Joules Evans.

A few months ago I was up late counting sheep, when some shit I’d been dealing with must’ve hit the ceiling fan over my bed and started splatting all over the sheep, spotting them like 101 Dalmatians. Which kinda felt like a spoiler alert to the sleeping game I was trying to win. So I stopped counting shitty sheep and I prayed a little. Which is probably what I should’ve been doing about my shit in the first place instead of kicking it around a bit, and then, kicking myself for making such a mess. I’m assuming we all know how messy metaphorical shit can get when you kick it around. Now, I know I’m not supposed to go assuming, but I figure it’s legit in this case, since there’s no such thing as a shit vaccine. I don’t think there is a sequel or grown-up version of the children’s book, Everyone Poops. But I could see it being called something like, Everybody is Full of Shit. Well, at least, I know I am, on a pretty “regular” basis.

Anyway, after all of that ruckus I sort of pulled it together a bit. I wasn’t in the mood to go back to counting sheep quite yet so I woke up my computer, and Googled: “yoga, writing, cancer, retreat” to see where it would lead. Yeah, that third word is some of the shit I was dealing with. The first two are a couple of ways I try to deal. And the last word sounded like a good thing to do when you’re up to your sleepy eyeballs dealing with your own shit.

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poster by Jen’s friend Karen Salmansohn. Click to connect with Karen.

Google threw down an article Jen wrote for LIVESTRONG called “7 Reasons To Go On A Yoga Retreat”.  No shit.  This was my introduction Jen Pastiloff and her Manifestation Retreats. It didn’t take me long, after falling head over heels into the lovely vortex that is Jen’s tribe, from the Gateway of that LIVESTRONG article, to Facebook stalking her, and then staying up all night watching her YouTube channel, to realize (become enlightened;) that Manifesting is aka Making Shit Happen, in Jen speak. Which, translated, meant that of course I had to go. I hadn’t tried manifesting my shit before so I thought I’d give it a “swirly”.

I’d already practically nodded my head off, agreeing with her 7 reasons I should go on a yoga retreat. As if, in fact, my body was, literally, saying YES. So I booked the next available Manifestation retreat, which meant packing up my shit for a road-trip to Kripalu in January. I don’t usually buy gifts for myself but this was a gift I needed to give myself. I saw it as the perfect diving board into 2014—a gift, which, 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer, I never even imagined. It was time to re-imagine, cast a vision, set course, and dive in. Head first. No tiptoeing about it.

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When I first walked in the door, I had a pretty intense moment of truth. I didn’t know anybody. And, I’m actually super shy. Luckily I have blue hair, so I don’t think anybody noticed my knees shaking like green Jell-O when I walked across the room like Gumby and plopped down to join the tribe 40 women sitting in a circle, like lotuses blooming. As bold a display as it was a beautiful bouquet.

“If you knew who walked beside you at all times on this path which you have chosen, you would never experience fear or doubt.” Jen kept repeating this quote as we went around the circle introducing ourselves to one another. Over the weekend we got to know who walked beside us. We unrolled our mats, unpacked our shit, turned it on its smelly ear in down dog, wrote down the bones, made them dance, shared our stories and our dreams, tore up our excuses, became friends, and each other’s fans. We spent the weekend as beauty hunters, making lists and lists of our #5mostbeautifulthings. This is one of the most. fun. games. EVER. We shared our beautiful things, but we also shared our shit—because love is messy like that sometimes, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

Shit happens. To everybody.  Except when you’re constipated. And then you just sit on the toilet reading Leaves of Grass for what feels like forever; meanwhile shit’s just taking its own sweet time while you’re sitting there waiting for the shit to go down. Oh, shit’s gonna go down. And sometimes it’s going to hit the fan.

Shit happens. But so does beauty, and what if it hits the fan? Does it leave a beauty mark or make a beautiful mess? Sometimes you get dealt a shitty hand but sometimes you double down or play a wildcard and beat the dealer. Sometimes you’re up shit creek but at least you’re on a boat. You may not have a paddle, but at least you’re sipping red wine in your flippie-floppies with your girls on deck. Anything is possible. Even making good shit happen. Which is pretty much what a Manifestation Retreat, what Jen Pastiloff, is all about.

Post road trip to Kripalu, I’d have to say, that the shit that drove me there, and the beauty I came away with, are two sides of the same coin. I put so much pressure on myself to not waste this gift of life, but to hopefully leave a beauty mark—that I was here. This is what keeps me up in the middle of the night. I put so much pressure on myself not to waste a second of the gift of time that I’ve been given, but to spend myself, paying forward the gratitude I feel all the way down to my yoga toes—by making it count that I was here. This is what keeps me up in the middle of the night. I don’t ever want to take for granted the gift of a single breath, but sometimes I forget to breathe. This is why I drove to Kripalu. I don’t ever want to take for granted the gift of a heart that beats, or forget what it beats for. This is why I drove to Kripalu.

Jen summed it up best when she wrapped up our time together with these words, this mantra: “At the end of your life, when you say one final ‘What have I done?’ let your answer be, I have done love.”

#iamlove

That’s all.

(Except for the part where I express my gratitude to Jen, Kripalu, and the tribe. Peace, love, and namaste. *bows to your unapologetic awesomeness. Xoxo.)

About Joules: I’m a Christ follower. I wear a pink bracelet that says survivor. I think cancer is a bitch. Been there. Done that. Had to buy a new t-shirt. But… I also think God is good. He’s been good to me. I just finished writing a book: SHAKEN NOT STIRRED… A CHEMO COCKTAIL about the cancer chapter in my life. Right now I’m in the midst of editing it and pursuing publication. I’m having the time of my life. I am an INFP. My hub is an INTP (also Buzz Light-year by day.) We have three ridiculous amazing kids who wake up and make me feel blessed. We call them “the Redheads”. After 16 years of homeschooling, we’ve all graduated and I’ve since retired my red pencil and grade-book. Between college, mission trips, internships and world travels, are three all in the process of divebombing out of our cozy little nest aka “the Evanshire” and stretching my apron strings till they snap. Next fall we will singlehandedly be keeping afloat the University of Cincinnati. I love my fam, Vineyard Cincy, writing, red wine, black coffee, good books, cooking, the smells of my hub’s pipe and freshly cut grass, star-gazing (clouds and sunsets too), peanut butter and chocolate, Shakespeare plays, long walks, long talks, playing Scrabble and tennis, popcorn and a movie, traveling, following my Redheads following their dreams…. I don’t like anything besmirching my peanut butter.

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Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen will be leading a retreat to Ojai Calif (where Joules will also be!) over Labor DayAll retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand what a Manifestation retreat is. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Jen and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. A lot. Next up is a workshop in London, England on July 6. Book here.

Beating Fear with a Stick, cancer, Gratitude, Guest Posts, healing, Manifestation Retreats

Thank You, You Didn’t Break Me.

February 8, 2014

**trigger warning. Strong content that might be upsetting to some. Mention of sexual abuse. Strong language.

By Lockey Maisonneuve

“Thank you to the people who built me.” Jen Pastiloff read these words from an essay she wrote at Kripalu last weekend during her Manifestation Retreat®.

Thank you. You didn’t break me.

I was tingly when I heard these words. Why? Because Jen created the space for me to powerfully, and without anger, share my gratitude and flaunt my resilience to the people who built me.

We were invited to write a Thank You letter to everyone we ever met, the loving, supporting people who showed us grace and dignity, the people who were careless with our heart, the people who bullied us and those who showed us beauty. This letter was best described by Angela Giles, a retreat participant.  She called it a Thank You/Fuck You letter. “Thank you releases it, while fuck you holds it in.”

When I started writing my letter, I wasn’t sure who would receive the thank you or the fuck you. I just started writing, and thanking and fuck-youing. It all came together in one beautiful, colorful, abstract, authentic, thank you/fuck you landscape.

After I wrote this letter, I was shaking.  All over. My legs, my arms, my chest, my fingers, my heart.  Then I was asked to read my letter aloud.  Really Jen??

I trust her. So I read the letter.

I stood there reading, not even realizing what I’d written until I tried to speak the words out loud.  There was no time to prepare them for what they would hear, no time to make self-deprecating comments, or a joke to avoid being present to this moment.  I just had to stand in the uncertainty that I could be vulnerable and would not crumble into a pile on the floor.

As I read my letter I realized I was getting exactly what I came for.   I was being vulnerable. I was standing in uncertainty. I did not use my humor to deflect the situation like I normally do. I was authentic. I was raw. I was humbled.

My audience held the space for me to express things I’ve never said out loud. Once again, I made it through. I did not crumble. I am whole (and kinda awesome.)

I am forever grateful to Kripalu and the amazing space they provide, Jen Pastiloff for being the space of transformation for the planet, and everyone of the women I hugged, laughed and cried with.  I am in awe of every one of you.

My Thank You/Fuck You Letter inspired by Jen’s essay and assignment (click here to read it.)

Thank you to the kid who poured breadcrumbs on my sister before school.  Thank you to my sister for pushing me away.  thank you to my family for telling me repeatedly “She is the strong one.” Thank you to Andrew for hiring me as a bar tender and telling me during the interview that he knew I was lying about having experience as a bar tender.  Thank you to the rapist who punched me in the face.  Thenk you to the man who pulled me out of the shower after sneaking in to the house.  Thenk you to the man who held me down, thank you to my father who laughed as he counted the money men paid him to rape me.Thank you to the lady who worked in the bakery who bartered babysitting services in exchange for free breakfast.  Thank you to me for my ingenuity at the age of 12.  Thank you to my children for teaching me how to love unconditionally.  Thank you to me for getting up every time I fell. Thank you to cancer for allowing me to see that “someday” is a myth, the time is now.  Thank you lululemon for making yoga pants mainstream.  Thank you Jean, for saving me.  Thank you Ed for firing me, I hated that job.  Thank you personal training career for teaching me that I do have something to offer. 

PS. As a public service announcement, if you are planing on attending a retreat with Jen, which I highly recommend, don’t bother wearing mascara. It will be gone by the end of the first Elton John song and for the rest of the day, you will be wondering if it’s all over your face.   🙂

Lockey is a yoga instructor and survivor of cancer and child abuse. Sharing her story and practicing yoga saved her life. When she let go of both the cancer and the secret of abuse she was able to heal in both mind and body. Lockey openly shares her cancer and child abuse experiences to help others in what ever they are surviving in their lives. Lockey has been profiled in Shape Magazine  WABC-TV, News Channel 12.  She is a montly contributor for PositivelyPositive.com. And writes blogs for SheKnows.com and MindBodyGreen.She is featured in The Ultimate Guide to Breast Cancer by the Editors of Prevention Magazine.  Recently she presented a vidoechat for the GE Healthcare Breast Cancer Mosaic. She is a monthly contributor on PositivelyPositive.com.

At Kripalu in Massachusetts last week (Feb 1, 2014.)

At Kripalu in Massachusetts last week (Feb 1, 2014.)

Lockey and Jen at Jen's Bali retreat last year.

Lockey and Jen at Jen’s Bali retreat last year.

Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen will be leading a Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and her annual retreat to Tuscany is in July 2014. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand what a Manifestation retreat is. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Jen and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Be prepared to go deep if you go sign up for a retreat. And also to laugh! A lot. 

And So It Is, Guest Posts, Making Shit Happen, Manifestation Retreats

Are You Full Of Things That Aren’t Serving You?

January 13, 2014

One of the women from my last retreat wrote this, and, with permission, I am sharing. 

*                                                           *                                                      *

Okay, I am not a writer or a poet but I am compelled to put in writing the changes already taking place in my life not 48 hours after closing circle of Jen’s retreat. Going into the retreat this past week, I was stuck. Really, really stuck. Scared of connecting with anyone because I already felt completely depleted.

Isolation was the only thing that felt safe.

I found this retreat because I was looking for space to find my true authentic self again. Throughout the retreat thoughts, images, and a feeling of who I was “before”, started to emerge.

Jen’s words “begin again”. Jen asking “How will you serve?” Her words “what do you need to let go of?” These stuck in my mind and I found myself unable to sleep thinking about them.

Then Jen said something life changing thing for me, “You have to let go of things you don’t want to make space for what you do.” It clicked.

I was full of things I needed to let go of leaving no room for the things I wanted. I am kind of amazed her words stuck like they did considering at the time I was trying to keep up with the whole Vinyasa’ing thing. But I heard her and I watched others let go of their fear and then I felt myself begin to let go of my own.

I could then begin to hear what my heart had been saying all along, “I want connection”, “I want my purpose to be revealed to me”, “I want to use all of my gifts.” I hit Fawntice’s gong on the New Year’s Eve and sent it that sound, that vibration out -knowing opportunities for connection were all ready on their way.

Which brings me to yesterday morning….

Scouring Facebook for more photos from the retreat, missing my new friends already, I noticed a post on a local mom’s board from a 17 year old girl who is due to have a baby girl in 3 months.

She posted, asking for help. Clearly scared, with no job and only a few baby clothes. She was asking for any used baby items to help her prepare for the baby admitting she didn’t really even know what she needed. I smile a deep soul smile. Jen’s voice “how will you serve?” echoed. Not even 48 hours after the Manifestation Retreat and in front of me on the computer screen was an opportunity for connection.

Of course I could just donate baby things since I have a 6 month old baby girl. But I also have gifts. I am a trained birth and postpartum doula but I have never used the training.

I wrote her and offered all the baby essentials I have to give but I also offered support. I offered love and connection. She was thrilled and was willing to meet today. There are so many excuses I could have and would have given myself for not reaching out in this way, I am a recent single mother to 3 kids under 5, I don’t have business cards and should go to school and get more training first. More schooling and a complete website with business cards, tend to be my favorite excuses.

But reaching out is beginning again, it’s letting go of fear and it is one way I can serve someone else. So I did it.

Jen reaching out to me, and a room full of beautiful others inspired me to reach out.

**

I was going to end this here but what happened today at the meeting with the girl was so moving I have to share.

I spent an hour with her at a coffee shop just talking. It took an hour of letting her talk to get to her real problem. She doesn’t have a safe place to live and she doesn’t have enough food eat. It was midday and she had not had food since lunchtime the day before. I could tell she didn’t want me to know this. She went from being in AP classes, playing 3 sports, performing spoken word poetry and running girls empowerment workshops to doing independent study because she didn’t have enough money to take the bus to school and eat.

I started with getting her lunch and a bag of groceries. Next up: cooking classes and diaper changing 101 at my house. This girl was meant to be in my life. She’d realized we crossed paths at a bus stop 3 months ago and had a short conversation.

I didn’t need a website to connect with her and make a difference. I just had to let go of my shit and say yes.

Thank you Jen and each one of you for putting me in a place where I could open my heart to this girl. It is just a small thing, but it’s the beginning.

This is going to be a great year.

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To learn more about retreats with Jen or to book one, click here. https://jenniferpastiloff.com/Yoga_Retreats_With_Jen_Pastiloff.html.

And So It Is, Guest Posts, Making Shit Happen, Manifestation Retreats, Tribe

Making Sh*t Happen: The Experience of a Lifetime.

January 2, 2014

New Year #MSH by Martha Meyer Barantovich

photo by Linda Hooper

photo by Linda Hooper

A perfectly perfect day.  A perfectly perfect time of year.  A perfectly perfect opportunity for relaxation.

It would seem that flying to LA and driving the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH for all the cool kids) while watching the sun set into the water was a brilliant idea.  Ojai, California was the backdrop for an amazing retreat with Jennifer Pastiloff, of the New Jersey Pastiloffs and of Karaoke Yoga/Manifestation Workshop fame.  I had signed my beloved husband Joe (heretofore “My Lobster) and myself up for Jen’s Inaugural Manifestation New Year’s Retreat.

I walked in feeling like I was hanging onto my last ounce of sanity and left more than transformed, with enough life changing memories and lessons that will stick with me forever.

Broken, Battered, Bewildered and Beautiful.

Walking into a room full of strangers, on my 47th birthday, and trying to express in a circle what it means to be at a Manifestation retreat (where people come to “Make Shit Happen”; hashtag #MSH), is like being dropped into the middle of Siberia. In the middle of winter.  With no coat.  And no Russian. And no vodka.

Like whoa.  Who does that? Who decides at the end of the year that they are going to allow themselves to be ripped open and peered at by strangers? Who decides that spending their birthday with the unknown and the unknowing would be a the way to celebrate life? Who gathers in a space during football bowl season without a TV or a sports bar? Me. And My Lobster. And everyone else there too it seemed. Because we had to.  Because, as Jen repeated (she does this a lot…repeats…and repeats… so you’ll get it, I mean get it, no, I mean really get IT), “like attracts like”.

So there we were 40 some odd strangers who were broken and battered and bewildered and beautiful. This is my observation that came from the self talk in our opening circle. We had collectively broken up, gotten back together, changed jobs, changed life statuses, changed coasts, moved in, moved out, retreated before, manifested before, worked our way to just being, and some just showed up because that’s what they needed to do. We needed to speak our truth (notice the little t) so that we could start “drawing to us” our desires/manifestations for 2014.  We had to open the door to our souls just a little and let a little light in and a little darkness out to get things rolling.  And let me tell you.  When you are broken and battered and bewildered and beautiful, it only takes a speck of sand on your mountain of shit to start the avalanche of healing.  Deep soul healing.

What are you manifesting? What are you doing to be inspired? How are you setting up your life to experience “Joy for NO Reason”? And we begin.  We OM.  I mean we really OM.  I love to Om. (Side note…not the OM that you may read about that involves half naked women and pillows and such).  I could drop and cross my legs and close my eyes anywhere and OM from the depth of my soul because the sound and the connection and the vibration totally rocks my world.  Imagine a room full of broken, battered, bewildered, and beautiful people letting their walls fall and OMing from the depths of their soul.  Together.  In a room that has nothing but positive, radiant energy in it.  And you’re sitting almost knee to knee with strangers creating a vibration that moves through the rafters towards heaven and bounces off walls and to you and ….wow.  I wanted to hold on to that sound forever. Like a musical snapshot.  I don’t ever want to forget the power that was in those voices.

Because I knew that I had come to a place that was going to heal me and my broken, battered, bewildered, beautiful self.

I needed this so I could get out of this horrible place in my head that I have been in since January 7, 2013, my quit smoking (again) day.  I’m coming up on my 1 year anniversary.  My lungs are happy, my skin is happy, my family is happy, My Lobster is happy, society is happy, everyone I know keeps telling my what an awesome thing it was to quit smoking.  And it has sucked.  Everyday for the past 359 days has sucked. There have been varying degrees of suckiness, from lying on a bed in the fetal position with a knife in my hand just wishing I could die to just feeling generally meh. Quitting smoking, while making everyone else in the world happy has made me miserable.  It was the last thing I had to hide behind.  It was my thing that removed me from uncomfortable situations, that allowed me to separate myself from the crowd, that allowed me opportunity to disconnect for a while, that occupied my time and my thoughts, that generally just owned my life.  Good God.  I was owned my nicotine (that is an absolute breakthrough in those words…never said that before or even thought it).  And in its own sick way, nicotine and cigarettes saved me.  They were ALWAYS there for me.  They ALWAYS protected me.  You need to know that because I was left alone. When the cigarettes left I was exposed.  And naked.  And vulnerable. And I didn’t know how to do any of those things.  Because, let’s be honest…who messes with the chick who smokes and is built like a linebacker? Ya….nobody.  And I liked it that way.  For 30 of my 45 years I was safe and protected and ok.  And then, just like that, I wasn’t.  And how I made it to my 47th birthday is beyond me.

 

If it Jiggles, It’s not finished.

And so the whirlwind manifestation retreat comes barreling at you…stampeding straight towards you.  There’s no time to think, there’s only time to be real and authentic and to SHOW UP.  You don’t have time to question or judge or be concerned or worry or shoulda/coulda/woulda about anything.  Because you open yourself up by calling forth your #MSH (manifestation/desire) and BAM Jen is taking you on the ride.  Cat/Cow, downdog, crescent lunge, hiya, warrior 1,2,3, breathe, sigh, inhale, hands to prayer, repeat the mantra, 6 more times, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.  Sweat, start to cry.  Listen to the music.  You’re moving collectively, individually, in your own space and in others and you’re concentrating and calling forth and meditating and oh my GAWD…Why am I fucking crying again? Is it this song? Is it Jen’s words on repeat? Is it the moving? The space? the breathing? STOP.  DROP.  “PICK UP YOUR PENS”….what? I can’t breathe woman…can’t you see me heaving with emotion and trying to catch my breath after the 174 vinyasas you just made me do? Can’t you tell that I’m in no condition to write a goddamn word…oh…and I have to answer questions as I write? And dear …what…? I’m not the only mess in the room.  There are sniffles and heavy breathing and silence…as I am surrounded by people who are being authentic and vulnerable and honest and raw and true and sad and joyful and amazing and not finished.

We are all just getting started on this part of the journey and Jen is forcing us to confront ideas and realities that are amazing and painful and beautiful and awesome and ridiculous and…..huh??? Did I just hear my name? Oh you want me to share out loud with these people my raw truth that just came from, I swear, the center of the earth.

I am

What people say I am: giving, kind, joyful, caring, a good teacher, friendly, fun. What I say: fat, not worthy, not good enough (I am sloppy crying at this point), useless. The truth is I am a caring, giving, enthusiastic supporter who will take on the giants for others but is afraid to follow through with the little things. I can’t breathe at this point.  I’m pretty sure I have snot dripping everywhere, but I feel so free because the truth is: I never take stock of the Truth. Truth with a capital T, not a little t.  I think that I mostly allow the little t to fake represent the big T.  And so I’m not done.  I’m still jiggly, like the ganache baking in the oven that isn’t ready (I’ll be glad to share the amazing insights from Caspar Poyck at another time).  It needs more time.  And whoa again….jiggly is ok.  It’s like more than ok.

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Caspar Poyck

It’s awesome and freeing and beautiful and I think I’m experiencing “Joy for No Reason”.

And I’m pretty sure that I want this feeling to last forever.

Vulnerability is Sexy

And this goes on and on and on and we breathe and move and listen and sweat and stop drop and pick up our pens and write and share and laugh and cry and do it again and again and again.

And looking back it was over in a minute.  But while there it was like this roller coaster that has these little dips and I’m like “Ok..this is cool…not too scary, not too safe” and I can’t see in front of me so I don’t know what’s coming and then the car turns a corner and    dropsofastyoucantthinkastowetheryoushouldscreamorcryorvomitorhitsomeoneordieorliveorgetofforstayonorahhhh

and you laugh.  This laugh that sounds like someone has lit you on glitter fire and filled a room with butterflies and chocolate fountains and all the things that make you fill loved and safe and wonderful and joy.  And in that first second I think, “Do I deserve this?” And Jen comes up with another one of her Jen-isms like, “Choose love” “Let go of fear” “Be Fucking Awesome” and the feeling of love and letting go and being awesome is so overwhelming I just want to open my mouth and scream and laugh and burst forth and hug strangers (oooohh…that’s big…cause Martha don’t like strangers in her space), and tell people how beautiful they are.  And I know it wasn’t just me that felt that, because I watched people who were sitting hunched over in our opening circle look up and smile and lift their hearts and breathe deeper. And I saw people who don’t cry, cry.  And connect.  And love.  And open.  And blossom.  And share.  And be vulnerable.

And after every class and writing session I think, how can I possible do anymore of this? How can I not? 

Begin Again

And so I leave California and head back home to Miami, to reality, to my life.  And I’m full. Full in my soul. And connected to a tribe.  And I’m full of love for these wonderful people who have been a part of a change.  An individual/collective change that is going to individually/collectively make 2014 amazing.  Because 2013 is gone.  The rock that caused the flat isn’t important.  What’s important is to change the flat and move on.  And find your true self.  So I leave you with these manifestation retreat insights:

  • Drink good wine.
  • Eat good food.
  • Laugh.
  • Love deeply.
  • Have an energetic clearing.
  • Attend a yoga class.
  • Move your energy around with sound bowls.
  • Hit a gong.
  • Listen to nature.
  • Sit in a chair as the sun rises and stare at nothing and at everything.
  • Take pictures.
  • Dance.
  • Sing.
  • Write.
  • Share your story.
  • Don’t box people up so that you feel better.
  • Let go.  Open up.  Be free.
  • Get your fingers dirty with your food.
  • Write a love note to yourself.
  • Look someone in the eyes as they speak so you give them your undivided attention.
  • Make new friends.
  • Be real and honest.
  • Put down your phone.
  • Thank someone who loves you for loving you.
  • Be vulnerable.  Good grief.  Be vulnerable.
  • Share your gift(s).
  • Manifest your Lobster or your dream job or money or time or whatever you need.  Hashtag #MSH.
  • Say thank you aloud and to things and ideas and life.
  • And when you get a chance, find Jen on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or the web and join a room full of strangers with shit piles just like you (because there are no accidents) and manifest.  Inspire yourself to be inspired.  Everyday.  Bring your hands to prayer. Place them in front of your heart. And repeat when necessary “I am worthy”

Because if I am worthy, so must you be.  

by Martha Meyer Barantovich (click to connect with Martha.)

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May retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being.  Click photo to book.   "Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing. She listens. She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you. Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening. And what her kind of listening does is simple: It saves lives." ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

May retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. Click photo to book.
“Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing.
She listens.
She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you.
Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening.
And what her kind of listening does is simple:
It saves lives.” ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for May 25th cleanse. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the new season of spring. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for May 25th cleanse. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the new season of spring. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

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!