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Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

Dear 16 Year Old Me.

November 11, 2013

Below is an exercise I do at my retreats. I was so touched by Marika Delan’s letter to her younger self that I had to share here. Marika was the winner of my #5mostbeautifulthings contest & attended my Labor Day Manifestation Retreat as the prize!

Image 11

Dear 16 year old me,Let’s not sugar coat it. We aren’t going to live forever, so let’s just get right down to the important stuff.Do I have your attention now?  Because I have secrets for you that can only be learned via a DeLorean in a lightning storm.

Time isn’t waiting for you or me.

You make everything so complicated and you are wasting all these moments, all this time!
Yes, older, wiser you might seem to be a little bitchy,  but you mistake my urgency and passion for harsh reality which you clearly aren’t ready for. I guess that’s why you skirt around it as if it were an ice rink.  You could use a little tough love, in fact, you could use a whole lot of it and thank God you meet some people along the way that love you the hard way.

You don’t even love you yet, but I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. What you don’t understand is you can’t get by without it. You can’t fake this one. It seems indulgent and selfish to you. You think that if you love others it will be enough, but that is an illusion. You won’t know how to love completely until you learn how to love yourself. You’ll want to scream by the time you are my age, you will have heard this so many times, but heed my advice, the sooner you get working on this one, the better.

You are beautiful so stop wasting so much energy hating yourself.
And isn’t a physical thing, although you could stand to take the bangs down an inch or two. Then again it was the 80’s, so the obligatory tower of tease is the only way I found you in this age range as I sifted through yellowed and stuck together photos.  It isn’t your first bad hair and it won’t be your last. (p.s.- never try to color your hair red in your dorm room. Just. Don’t.)

But true beauty isn’t superficial. It goes to the depths. You already know this, you just haven’t learned to dive that deep.  You haven’t learned to internalize this message because you have a checklist of things you think you must become in order to be loved. It’s all bullshit.  You haven’t learned yet that beauty is being what you already are and owning it like one day someone secretly let you watch the time-lapse security footage of God building you. One knit, one purl. One knit. Two purl. The evidence right before your eyes of your creation, of being stitched together with deliberation and care; all in careful preparation for your future as a torch bearer. So it isn’t about your hair and makeup. Next time you look in the mirror, open your still unlined eyes.

You will have to bear witness to both the beauty and the pain one day so take it all in and tuck it away for later. You’ll be sorry that you didn’t write more down (don’t lose those teenage angst-filled journals!)  You will regret that you didn’t use words more often to capture the moments you are having right now so that we can remember them together one day when you are ready. There are a lot of lessons and gifts in those things that you think “ruined” you. Those are the things that made you, but only time will reveal these things to you, so just live while you can where you are.
Learn how to be wherever you are.

Don’t close your heart when it gets crushed—and it will.
Keep loving anyway.

You will be sad beyond words like you were when we were 10, and some days you will pray that you be left to die, but those days will pass and you will know and revel in your aliveness like you did when we were small.
Don’t lose hope while you wait for that day to come. Better yet, don’t wait for that day to come. Go find your happy and hold on to it. Don’t let anyone steal it from you.  It’s already in you, buried beneath all the fear that holds you back. Beneath that pile of dirty laundry are the things that keep you from singing out loud. That keep you hiding in the back row hoping no one will call on you even though you know the answer to the question.

Keep trying to answer the ones you don’t have the answers to, just don’t get hung up when they don’t come easily or they aren’t the ones you had hoped for. The questions will lead you back to where you began and you’ll wonder why you wasted all that time being sad.

You’ll feel life rushing through your veins again when you hear that first heartbeat on the ultrasound, when you hold your flesh and blood in your arms.When you look in their eyes and see their smiles and hear their belly laughs echoing through the halls (yes, you will have children and not end up a cat lady, so dear Diary, you got that one wrong. You got a lot wrong, but that’s ok- that’s part of the gig.)

You’ll feel it when you meet your true love and follow the signs and know without a doubt that the Universe conspired to bring you love when you opened your heart again. He will breathe life and light back into you just when you had started to believe that there’s no such thing as true love.
He will show you there is.

You’ll feel it when all you are bursts forth after having hidden it away for so long.
So don’t hide your light.

It will light the paths of others when their light has grown dim, just as others will light yours when you are sure it’s gone out.  When you finally make it out of darkness you won’t want to spend any more time there. If you keep love at the heart of everything you do, it will follow you wherever you go because time has shown me that it always comes back to us.

Stop being afraid to be who you are and that alone will not only keep you going, but it will allow others the freedom to do the same. Keep that at the core of everything you do and it will never steer you wrong.

The things you think are signs. They are. Don’t ignore them. It’s how you’ll find the love of your life. Look for them. Listen to them. They are words off the page penned by your inner voice. The one that knows why she is here and what she came to do.

Never stop seeking answers.  Your never-ending curiosity will open the next door. Your quest for understanding will lead you to the threshold of your truest essence and therein you will finally see what you could never see before.

If you want others to see it, you will have to take the risk to be yourself. If you don’t take that leap of faith into who you already are, you’ll spend your life as an impostor.  You will spend your life searching for me. You won’t know what you are searching for… but it will be me, the girl, now the woman you left behind.

You won’t be what you are meant to be until you fully embrace who you are right now (it’s what you will still be when you get to be my age, just you wait and see)

Now, go think on that one for 23 years.

And when you come across someone named Jennifer Pastiloff, a crazy wise yogi/writer/teacher/manifestation guru, follow her.  She will help you begin the next chapter in our book of transformations.  She will make you write this letter after losing touch all those years ago. She will help you find me when I thought we were lost forever.

Until we meet again.

Love,

39 year old you

The Layers

By Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.Thank you Jennifer Pastiloff for sharing Stanley Kunitz and so much more with me. Thank G-d,  I am not done with my changes….

Manifestation Retreats, Video

La Dolce Vita! Live from Positano.

July 15, 2013

This was my vlog from the Amalfil Coast. Excuse my face as I was having a crazy allergy where I had a rash and swollen eyes but I did my best 😉

Love you guys xoxo jen

ps I am indeed doing my Italian retreat again next summer. Email me to inquire. I am being selective with you I bring so let me know why you want to join. It is not a “yoga” retreat per se. jennifer@jenniferpastiloff.com

Manifestation Workshops, manifesting, Owning It!, Wayne Dyer

What’s Your Miami?

October 8, 2012

What’s Your Miami?

Somewhere between Albuquerque and Flagstaff, headed back to Los Angeles. That’s where I am right now. I get my best writing done on airplanes. Flying back after a weekend of workshops in Miami. It was my first time in Miami, which seems slightly unbelievable being that I am a Jew from Jersey, a fact I attribute our moving to California and then back again like gypsies in search of sustainable weather or a father. Nonetheless, it was my first time and I felt more like I was visiting from some distant country (or Kansas) than L.A. How in awe I was at the balmy weather, at the sky, the view from my friend’s condo, water on all sides. The sky seemed lower, close enough to me that I could reach up and grab a fistful of air if I wanted to. The clouds with their secrets stuffed inside of them and if we waited long enough with our iPhone cameras and Instagrams we could catch the secrets exploding into a million particles of light, raindrops, streaks of purple and pink, golden ambers, all the things that make people click “like” or “share” on a photo.

The moodiness of the place felt like home to me. I recognized how easy it was to one moment be bright and yellow and the next, a misty grey where you couldn’t see the gaudy cruise ships or the lights any longer, just a fine haze with all its edges lost.

And it was hot. It was a whole new world for me, only having been to Florida one other time, last summer, on a road trip with my sister, her husband, their new puppy Timber, and my two nephews. My oldest nephew Blaise has a rare genetic disorder called Prader Will Syndrome and his doctor is in Gainesville at the Univeristy (people drive and fly from all over the world to see her.) We were taking a weekend mini-holiday at a small coastal town a couple hours away from the University called Flagler Beach before heading to Dr. Miller on the way back to Georgia where they live. I sat wedged in the back between Maddock (who hit me almost the whole time) and Blaise and Timber.

It was a long long ride.

The beach town had been cute. It was so different than California and I spent most of the weekend tickled by this difference. The water is so warm! So different than California! It’s so calm! It’s so humid! As if I hadn’t grown up in New Jersey and spent summers down the shore. As if I had never experienced this type of weather or the Atlantic Ocean.

Its easy to forget that our lives are not it. That it doesn’t stop and end with our town, our street, our weather, our children, our problems. I forgot that there was weather outside of California. I forgot that there was another ocean besides the Pacific. I forgot that palm trees actually grew places and weren’t simply placed there as an aesthetic gem. Miami is very different from that sleepy town last summer although I adored that sleepy town and the little local fish restaurant we went to where we ate off paper plates and drank beer. I was also with my nephews and I wouldn’t trade anything for Blaise saying Ocean, Jenny, ocean? And then sitting at the shoreline with him on my lap as he grips me for dear life with that combination of terror and delight children love to feel.

My Miami workshops at Green Monkey went really well.

It was a big step for me. Being flown to a place where I have no “following” per se, to do my thing.

What if no one came? and all the other usual fear based thoughts fought their way to the top of the food chain of my mind.

They came. They loved it.

The biggest deal for me really was the fact that Skye and Sommer Dyer came to my Friday night Karaoke Yoga workshop. They are 2 of the daughters of my beloved teacher, Dr. Wayne Dyer. (Sommer is the one who will be assisting me at my Maui retreat in February and if I can manifest Wayne coming over to talk to my group then I will have accomplished one of my greatest dreams.) Wayne truly changed my life and anyone who has spent any time with me, especially in my classes or workshops, knows how often I quote him and speak of him. I have become friends with his daughters and they drove 1.5 hours to come. It was a little unnerving at first because I quote him all the time so I felt nervous and self-conscious.

That lasted a few moments. Once I start, I get channeled in a way that I don’t pretend to understand and I forget all about who is in the room. My intention becomes clear. Skye is a beautiful singer (if you have ever heard Wayne speak or seen his PBS specials, you have heard her sing.) She sang for us in savasana and it was like one of those moments when you are at once outside of yourself and yet so utterly present at that it is almost unbearable, the surge of emotion a reminder that you are very much alive despite moments of depression or feeling lost or confused or any of the other ways in which we go slack. Its like the feeling you have when you get married, and, I am guessing, when you give birth. Is this my life? and Yes, this is my life! joining in such a way that time stops, your breath catches and you feel solid and essential to the world like soil air.

The workshop on Saturday was lovely as well. I felt really proud of myself. I have taught in Philly and NYC and NJ and sold the workshops out, but Miami? I had one friend there and no students or tribe. Yet, I did it.

I. Did. It.

And they showed up.

One woman, the beautiful Sue, flew from Michigan to take my workshops in Miami. That was a huge moment for me, to acknowledge that. She follows me on Facebook and reads my blog and from that she flew all the way to another state to attend my workshop. I am owning that. I think it can be too easy (for me at least) to own the things about me I don’t like or what I have done “wrong” but when it comes to just being with the fact that someone is moved by me, or thanking me, well, that is as difficult as telling someone just who you are and having them look in your eyes for 3 minutes without speaking or moving. And yes, we do that in my workshops.

So I am looking in the proverbial eye of it all and accepting it. Owning it. Taking responsibility for what I did. This is not a random thing. There is a cause and effect.

I manifested this. By imagining it first and then working toward it, all the while staying true to myself and being authentic.

I wonder how often we don’t realize our own gifts? Or else we do, and we feel we somehow don’t deserve to own them?

I am on a plane heading back and feeling good. I will be back. I feel calmer than I have in a while, less anxiety, more present. Perhaps it has to do with all the travel I had over the last few months and I can sit here and say Wow from 30,000 feet at all I have accomplished. Perhaps because there is no wi-fi in flight. Perhaps its hormones? Who knows? Who cares.

It is terrifying going into the unknown. It really is. I get it.

I was told before going how Miami loved its physical practice, its handstands, its power yoga. Its not that I don’t do that stuff, I do. I slip it in, I use it as a causeway. But it is not what you think of when you think of a Jen Pastiloff class or workshop.

I went anyway and I stayed true to who I was and what I do and they came and they loved it. If I had let my fear sway me I would have cancelled, I would have shirked, I would have changed myself to fit in with the status quo.

I leave you with this as we are about to land and I have to shut my computer:

Where are you playing small?

What is your “Miami?”

What are you scared of?

What are you willing to do anyway?

Where can you go that you have never been before, both literally and in your imagination?

Simplereminders.com are incredible. Check them out. Thanks for this poster of me in Miami!

Looking into someone’s eyes is powerful business. I am ______.

Here are 3 emails I got today from 3 people who attended my Miami workshops: 

Dear Jen, I don’t think I can thank you enough Jen. I would have never thought taking a karaoke yoga workshop could have changed my life that way that it is. I was very hesitant to sign up for the workshop. It was something that initially I didn’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. I have so many things to be proud of but always searched for the approval of the people that wronged me and never believed in me. I always belittled my accomplishments. I always made excuses. Now I am finally starting to feel free from them. I value myself so much more than I did before I walked into that workshop on Friday. I put on my post-it: LOVE. When I first put it on my post-it I was thinking of manifesting an awesome man to love and love me back. I had it all wrong though. I want to manifest love for myself. Thank you for inspiring me to be my true self without the fear. I wish you nothing but the best! You are a God send and it has been such a blessing for me to have had the chance to meet such an amazing person!

~~~~~~~

Hey Jen ~THANK YOU for yesterday. It was beyond what I thought it would be and it was life transforming, truly. I feel like I woke up today with fresh eyes and a better outlook. It was astonishing to me how much you and the workshop resonated with me. I too have battled depression, its always nice to know I’m not alone. I too ALWAYS say “i’m tired.” Not today! I have literally talked myself out of it, manifesting an abundance of energy 🙂 Yesterday, I posted on the Green Monkey wall ‘happiness.’ Thats what I am manifesting. And our ‘HI-YA!!!’ bit, I was kicking the shit out of fear! Ha! Thank you!

~~

Hi Jennifer, I cannot stop thinking about the workshop you did on Saturday at Green Monkey. It’s amazing how we weren’t supposed to participate but by a twist of fate were able to. There are no coincidences in life. I loved every minute of it. When we were doing the forgiveness/breathing exercise you came up to me and gently placed your hand on my back as if to say “it’s ok to let go”.

I was in the process of forgiving myself for not being the person who I thought I would be in my life right now.

 

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