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new york times bestselling author

Inspiration, my book

The Yes Within You.

November 12, 2012

We write to remember.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

By Jenni Young of course.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You never know who you are affecting.

You never know how you are affecting them.

So just know.

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

That’s all you can do.

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

I don’t claim to know a lot.

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

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

photo ny Jenni Young of course

And So It Is, Owning It!

Update Your Vision.

November 8, 2012

I’m sitting here at my desk and I stare at my Vision Board that’s pinned to the wall next to me, willing it to write for me. Come on, write my book, damnit! 

I distract myself from writing my book by putting what I think to be, but probably won’t be, my first paragraph on Facebook as a teaser. I can’t help myself, I am used to writing with such immediacy. Don’t we all live our lives like that now? I want a response now! 

I put the paragraph up and people go crazy “liking” it and commenting. They love it. My ego soars!

Here is said paragraph:

I had my nervous breakdown behind the restaurant. Where everyone went out to smoke once their tables had their food and seemed to be as happy as they would ever get during a meal. It was that little secret cove for smokers that I found salvage in, oddly enough. I leaned against that red brick wall and slowly slid down it onto dirty butts and that is where I had my nervous breakdown. My chest heaved and I started to drown in the cigarette butts. There were millions of them and they were smothering me with ash and nicotine and lipstick stains and bird shit that had been on the ground with them. There might have been bubble gum as well, but when you are drowning you don’t pay attention to anything except oxygen and that is what I couldn’t find anywhere. Somebody help me my brain told my mouth to say but my mouth was drowning and closed and nothing came out except the word Enough.

Except that one guy who proceeded to send me a private email about all the grammatical errors and how shocked he was that  would put it up like that. Naturally, I got a little hooked and defensive and told him that my amazing editor would handle it and that I had bigger fish to fry than worrying about their and there. The truth is, I let myself get insulted. It’s my fault. Why did I put it on Facebook?

What is this need for such immediacy? Such connection? Such validation? All the time. Relentless validation.

Do you like me? Do you like it? Do you like this? From strangers, no less. From people who feel the need to correct my grammar when I write a paragraph about having a nervous breakdown on a pile of dirty cigarette butts and bird shit.

But I digress.

I sit here and stare at my Vision Board which was made over a year ago. I stare at it because I have given up writing my book for the night and I decide to write a blog and one of the ways I think is by staring. When I stare I soar into the depths of my imagination. When I stare, I am not on Facebook or distracting myself in any other way. I am simply there or here, more aptly. Just staring into my mind and its abyss of possibilities.

So I see on my old vision board some things that I realize need clearing up.

One thing in particular: Yoga Journal Conference. Yea, that’s on there.

I do not want to be a part of the Yoga Journal Conference.

I might have one day in the past. Or maybe I didn’t. Maybe I thought that’s what is expected of yoga teachers?

I am getting more clear lately on who I am and what I want, and although I do teach yoga, it is not my dharma. There I said it.

Most of you know that.

I will keep doing it. I promise. It will be just a few classes a week, if that. It fuels me. It sources me. I love it through and through but it is not my goal. I am a writer. I am a communicator. I am a connector. Teaching yoga is one of the many ways I do that. But mostly, I kind of sneak yoga in as I do what I want to do. What I am saying is that I don’t hope to be on the cover of Yoga Journal or a star teacher at Yoga Works or known as the best yoga teacher in Bla Bla Town or the key speaker at The Yoga Journal Conference. I love that my friends are doing this but it is not for me!

If you are reading this, you are okay with all of this because you know me and follow me and have a deep understanding of who I am. Which I didn’t when I made this vision board last year. So as you sit here with me (metaphorically) I am tearing down the Yoga Journal Conference to make room for something else.

It ripped when I tore it off!

What about you?

What is no longer relevant? What doesn’t feel natural to you anymore?

What can you boldly admit? It’s pretty bold that I am admitting this. Yes, I am feeling vulnerable because I am in the process of writing a memoir. And that’s a good thing. Vulnerability is good. Just watch this.

There are some things I want to keep. Like this:

Do you see? It says: The smart though provoking absorbing engaging novels of New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer Pastiloff. I will leave that.

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

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

I.

Am.

A.

Writer.

My dear Jenni Young of SimpleReminders made this out of my vision board