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yoga retreat

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, Retreats/Workshops, travel

How To Manifest Under The Tuscan Sun With Jen Pastiloff.

October 15, 2016

First, discover Jennifer Pastiloff accidentally. This is after the boyfriend leaves, after the mom gets cancer, and after you start asking Is this all there is? Let her crack you open in a crowded Manhattan yoga studio, show her your broken heart, read to her your list of fears, and let her place a hand on your knee and lean in closer. You will sit like that for awhile, with her hand on your knee and all of your tears puddling on the mat. The woman next to you will place a hand on your back, someone will offer you a box of tissues, you’ll hear a voice nearby say It’s ok, I got you. You’ll find that this is what Jennifer creates: space to be heard, space to listen.

Fallinloveable. She’ll say in her deep and raw voice, That’s what you are. Fuck yeah. Completely Fallinloveable. She says it in a way that makes you believe it too. It happens just like that. Then, you laugh through the tears, something Jennifer calls “letting the snot fly”, and the feeling of connectedness will cocoon itself around you.

Months later, you might forget how fallinloveable you are and you’ll scroll through Jennifer’s Instagram feed searching for a reminder. She will be there telling you not to be an asshole, especially to yourself. She will post pictures of her retreat in Italy and you will sit at your desk every lunch period swiping over images of people laughing, drinking wine, and dancing. The pictures alone ignite something inside of you, you will call it hope. You decide to go despite a full-time job with little vacation time and your lack of money. Listen, because this part is important: start with willingness, even if you don’t know how you will ever get the time off of work or the money in the bank, begin with willingness to believe in possibility, willingness to be transformed. Trust me. The rest will take care of itself.

Then, something like this will happen:

You will arrive in a van filled with strangers. Driving down a narrow, dusty road in the Tuscan countryside, you’ll find yourself equal parts nervous and excited. As you pull up to the sprawling villa, all of you will promptly and unanimously decide that none of the photos do it justice. Jennifer will meet you in the main room outside of the kitchen and insist that you take a tour right that minute. Go. Drop all of your heavy bags and follow her.

In fact, that’s pretty much good life advice: Drop the heavy shit weighing you down and let Jennifer Pastiloff show you how to stand in awe and wonder.

You’ll find one perfect-for-napping-writing-and-manifesting-nook after another, a large, dimly lit wine cellar, a gym, and several uniquely beautiful bedrooms with wooden windows that open to postcard-worthy views. You can even see the rolling Tuscan hills from the bathrooms. Take a minute to really see all of the beauty and notice how even the air smells different, fresher, full of hope. Consider this practice because Jennifer will ask you to hunt for beauty all week. She won’t ask you to take yourself too seriously or even yoga for that matter. Actually, least of all yoga. But. She will ask you to listen, to say yes, to sit in your discomfort, and to sit in the discomfort of others. This is the work, she’ll say, not turning away from someone’s pain, from their vulnerability.

You will remember the box of tissues at your feet in the crowded Manhattan yoga studio, the warmth of a stranger’s hand on your heaving back. You will watch Jennifer untie knots in your new friends and you know what you will do? Put a hand on their back, hand them tissues, and tell them I got you. I got you.

This is what Jennifer creates: space. Safe, open space. She asks you only to bring your willingness and a journal. Then, she listens. She listens with no agenda and no judgement. This is why it all works. Because we all begin listening to one another simply to hear, to understand, to say I got you, I got you. Don’t get me wrong, there is as much laughter as there is crying, as many heartfelt secrets being shared as there are dirty jokes, for every long, beautiful hour of quiet, there is another of loud, magical conversation around the dinner table, there is as much dancing as there is … well, there is a lot of dancing.

So, if you are wondering if you should go, just go. You don’t need to go looking for transformation, you don’t need to be sad or lost or grieving to go. You, right now where you are, can be delighted with your life, you may be filled to the brink with gratitude. Go. Share it. Show up with what you have wherever you are and let Jennifer greet you at the door, take you by the hand, and say How unbelievable is this? You won’t know whether she is talking about the view or her hand in yours or this moment in your life and it won’t really matter anyway.

Go. I got you. We all do.


Lexi Weber is a writer, certified health coach, and newbie World traveler. Currently, she is writing at home in Annapolis, Maryland, but she always has her suitcase packed and ready to go. You can find pictures of her latest travels and smoothie bowls on her Instagram account @_lexiweber_ and read more of her writing at


Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany June 17-24, 2016 by clicking the photo above. Please send an email to letting us know why you would like to attend.

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany June 17-24, 2016 by clicking the photo above and putting down a non-refundable deposit. Please send an email to letting us know why you would like to attend.


Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany Sep 9-16, 2016. Please send an email to letting us know why you want to attend. Click the photo above to put down your non-refundable deposit.

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany Sep 9-16, 2016. Please send an email to letting us know why you want to attend. Click the photo above to put down your non-refundable deposit.

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

I Am No Longer Asleep: Jen’s Manifestation Retreat.

November 2, 2012

The following blog is by Stephanie Neutze who owns my favorite bakery For The Love of Bakery! It beautifully describes what went down at my Manifestation Retreat to Ojai. I was pretty blown away by this, and by her, so I felt I must share. Enjoy! My retreats sell out fast so please click here to book or for info. Keep being f*cking amazing!

I Am No Longer Asleep by Stephanie Neutze

You know when you have one of those “AHA” moments? Well I just experienced my first “AHA” weekend, which I could easily say was best weekend of my life up to this point. I went to my very first weekend long yoga retreat (alone) in Ojai led by Jennifer Pastiloff and assisted by Rachel Pastiloff with 46 other people.
Words cannot describe how excited I was for the weekend, but I was also completely nervous and fearful that I wouldn’t meet anyone or even worse, that no one would like me. I was feeling very stuck in my life, without any control and desperately longing for a change. I was hoping this retreat would give me clarity or at least help me figure out techniques to reduce my stress levels.
For 3 straight days, we lived together, did yoga together, danced together, ate together, cooked together, drank wine together, laughed together, cried together, sat silently together, manifested our dreams together and we let go of our fears, doubts and stories together.
What did I leave with?
Community. Support. Love. Friendship. Safety. Laughter. Comfort. Bliss. Dancing. Awakening. Clarity. Joy. Guidance. Power.
I have never felt more supported, loved and lifted up by any other single person or group of people in my life. Jen attracts beautiful souls and being surrounded by such love only means you will love yourself even more. To find the beauty that lies within is such a blessing and Jen makes this possible. She sees you for who your really are and leads you to the place where you can see it as well. You have to dig deep, and be willing to get through the sh*t, but when you do, it is life-changing. There is a light inside each of us waiting to radiate out to the world. In all seriousness, when you are surrounded by 46 other people chanting “Be F*cking Amazing” how can you not let your light sparkle and shine?
I met Jen in March when I took her yoga class. From that moment on, I was hooked on Jen. She oozes with love, support, kindness, generosity and strength. She builds community, connects people and her message is so powerful. The thing I admire most about Jen is her rawness and her ability to see things for exactly what it is, and then to laugh about it, because really, what else can you do. I felt this immediate connection to Jen, her life and what she represents. She is love, courageous, strong, powerful, genuine and authentic. I am now all of these things.
It has been a really tough battle for a really long time and without Jen in my life, I don’t think I would be the person I am today. I was in a place of confusion, unhappiness, fear, uncertainty and aloneness.
Now, I am free. I am inspired. I am open. I release all of my fears and doubts and am only allowing love.
Thank you to Jen, Rachel, Barbara, Caspar, Joe, Allison, Jo-Ellen and the rest of Jen’s healers who made this weekend special for all of us.
And even more thanks to my new soul sisters and brothers. You are all beautiful, inside and out. You are brave, strong, powerful, smart, funny and deeply loved and supported. Without you, I would not have the courage to follow my bliss. I love you all.
I am no longer asleep in my own life. I am alive, I am loved and I AM F*CKING AMAZING!
** Steph makes the most amazing vegan and gluten free treats. Tweet her to place an order. She delivers too! I am obsessed. Click here to tweet her.
Prader Willi Syndrome, Q & A Series

The Manifestation Q&A Series. Rachel Pastiloff: Writer, Yogi & SuperMom.

July 20, 2012

Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.

I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

Ok, maybe I am a bit biased because Rachel Pastiloff is my sister but she is the coolest person I know. She is an amazing mom, yogi and writer. In fact, she writes my favorite blog called 3 Words For 365. She is also the founder of the Facebook page I Am A Fan of Somebody with Prader Willi Syndrome (my nephew has Prader Willi Syndrome.)

Below find her inspiring Q&A where she talks about being a mom of a child with special needs, quitting smoking and becoming a yoga teacher among other fabulous gems.

I am so proud of my sister, who also happens to be my closest friend. I have invited her to assist me at my Manifestation Ojai Retreat Oct 19-21 in Ojai, which is almost sold out. Click here is you want to sign up. She will also be assisting me at Kriplau at my weekend program there Feb 1-3, 2013. (Email me to sign up for Kripalu weekend in the Berkshire of Massachusetts.)

Get ready Atlanta, because Rachel will be taking Manifestation Yoga to new heights. 

Put down whatever you are doing and read about her inspiring journey and her love of meditating, pizza and her boys.

My sister Rachel and I with our beloved Steve Bridges who passed away shortly after my Mexico retreat. This was taken in Mexico at my retreat.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?

Rachel Pastiloff: I am proud of manifesting my children. They are my greatest gift in life. They are my teachers, my best friends, and the most honest people I know in this world. They give my life purpose and a reason to wake up and smile at the sun everyday. I am proud to have manifested amazing relationships in my life with my family and new and old friends. I am blessed to have the most amazing relationship with my mentor, the incredible Jennifer Pastiloff, the one who inspired me to Yoga Teacher Training, and to start writing my blog. I feel blessed to have people who believe in me.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned this past year about yourself?

Rachel Pastiloff: That is really an interesting question. I have learned so many lessons about myself this last year. I have learned that I am lovable and worthy of being loved in the truest form.  I have learned not to have expectations. I think the most important lesson I learned this year was how to communicate with people in an authentic nature. We take communication for granted. We hide behind our emails and texts and forget what it feels like to be part of a community. The greatest lesson I learned was to have courage to live with my heart, that helps me communicate much more effectively with not only my children and husband, but my community at large.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your boys?

Rachel Pastiloff: The greatest lesson I learned from my boys is to wave your Freak Flag high. We all are different. We all love differently, learn differenlty, look differently, but inside we all want the same thing. TO BE LOVED. My children are such resilliant little creatures full of wonder and they are oblivious to much of the discrimination that fills our world. I get strength from them to realize it is ok to be different, in fact I am rather fond of being “Not Normal” it fits me and my personality just fine.

Jennifer Pastiloff: From having a child with Special Needs?

Rachel Pastiloff: Having a child with special needs is a challenge, but one that I happily face everyday. I have always been what I considered a strong person, but this challenge took me to new heights. I have learned how to have real compassion, real strength, and unconditional acceptance. There are days that go by with no problems, not most, but some.  Then there are days where I feel like I am drowning. All these days offer me the gift to grow and learn and keep building compassion in my life. As the parent of a special needs child I see all the things he does as miracles, things that many parents of “typical” children take for granted. I celebrate all the moments, be they big victories, or just small baby steps. I am filled with pride for all that my child accomplishes everyday. He is definitely not a quitter, and it pushes me on to higher mountains with him everyday.

Blaise, who has PWS, rocking out! He loves music.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you tell us about Prader Willi Syndrome? I think most people do not know what it is.

Rachel Pastiloff: Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder that occurs in approximately one out of every 15,000 births. PWS affects males and females with equal frequency and affects all races and ethnicities. PWS is recognized as the most common genetic cause of life-threatening childhood obesity. The symptoms of Prader-Willi Syndrome are thought to be caused by dysfunction of a portion of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a small endocrine organ at the base of the brain that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, including hunger and satiety, temperature and pain regulation, sleep-wake balance, fluid balance, emotions, and fertility. Although hypothalamic dysfunction is believed to lead to the symptoms of PWS, it is not yet clear how the genetic abnormality causes hypothalamic dysfunction.

Basically, to sum it up it can be said that it is a syndrome of STARVATION. To learn more please visit

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is your vision of yourself in 1 years time?

Rachel Pastiloff: In one year from now I will be teaching yoga full time. I will have my meditation practice down to a definite everyday not matter what. I will have surrounded myself with amazing people and infinite possibilities. I plan on traveling with my sis Jennifer as much as possible. Doing yoga as much as possible, oh and let’s not forget that I will be writing a book. I hope to have my book out in 2014. If you need inspiration I got plenty to go around.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What has been the toughest decision you have ever made?

Rachel Pastiloff: The toughest decision I ever made choosing to live a life of sobriety and health, simultaneously I moved to the other side of the country from my family, the people I am more in love with then anyone. It was the toughest and the sweetest thing I ever did for myself and my body. I am such a blessed person now to have seen the other side of a the “dark knight” that we all have at least one of in our lives. I am 34 years old now and loving every minute of my life.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?

Rachel Pastiloff: I am inspired when I see people being kind to my son, not because they have too, but because they want to . I was inspired the other day as I watched a car drive by and offer an umbrella to her mom and baby in the rain. I am inspired when my family and friends live their dreams and happiness in their lives. I inspired by real love and real friendships. I am inspired by myself and who I am today, as I look back on who I was 7 years ago. It is pretty damn close to a miracle.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What do you think your Dharma or you’re your calling is?

Rachel Pastiloff: I believe that my calling is to work with people. I can’t say that it is limited to yoga, but I am here to connect people. I think I am here to inspire people to live their fullest potential. It may be that it happens through my book, my blog, my yoga teaching, or my energy work that I plan on studying soon. I feel as sense of onenes with the world and that is “Where I live!”

Jennifer Pastiloff: What was your “aha” moment that this was what you were meant to do with your life?

Rachel Pastiloff: At the hospital recently with my father in law. He was in severe pain and I just put my hands on his legs. He asked me what I was doing? My reply was energy work. I was focused on sending all the light inside of me to his legs where the pain was. He told me that he felt it very strongly and that it was working. I knew right then that there is a light in me that burns bright, and I am just on the verge of recognizing it.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who has been your greatest teacher?

Rachel Pastiloff: Oh such an easy one to answer. You, my dear sister have been my greatest teacher. I am so overwhelmed at your dedication to me, your faith in me, and your constant hand that is always there to hold. It has without a doubt brought me to the place I am today.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I love how after my Mexico Retreat, you came home and decided to quit smoking and sign up for a yoga teacher training in Atlanta. Tell us about that.

Rachel Pastiloff: WOW….I came back from Mexico, but not as me; as somebody else. I left the old me back in Xinalani. I realized that smoking did not serve me anymore and with no help at all, I put those smokes down and never looked back and that was over 4 months ago. As nervous as I was to start teacher training it was the ultimate gift I ever gave myself. I am a new woman. One who loves her self. Takes care of herself and, oh yeah can do a handstand. Oh yeah baby!

Jennifer Pastiloff: What would a snapshot of Rachel Pastiloff’s day look like?

Rachel Pastiloff: Are you sure you want an answer to that? Ha.

Today I have been up since 4:30 with Maddock, and he never napped. I spend all day running around trying to keep the children active and happy and away from food as much as possible. I usually don’t ever get a minute to sit down, and yes there are days where I just feel that I have been given more than I can handle, but those days are rare. Every day is a new day, a fresh start. Life is hard having a child with PWS and Autism and another child with a mood disorder and severe ADHD. As long as I am meditating I can stay calm through the storm. It has saved my life, literally.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I remember 3 years ago when Blaise was diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome like it was yesterday. What would you say to someone who just found out their child has PWS?

Rachel Pastiloff: Don’t panic, all will be OK. It is the scariest diagnosis to receive but our kids are amazing. My son has accomplished all and more than I ever could have imagined. My heart hurts that he feels hunger, but that will be gone one day as we find a cure. Reach out the PWS community. We are large and strong and a definite family. You will never feel alone. Our kids are unstoppable and capable of climbing the highest mountains with the right guidance.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What would you say to your 16 year old self?

Rachel Pastiloff: I would definitely say to myself that boys are just not that important and to focus more on what matters to me. HA HA. I think really what I would say is have confidence in yourself. Find what fulfills you and fill your heart with love. The most important thing I would tell young me is that you can’t ever fill the void in your heart from the outside in. All good starts within you and doesn’t’ come form the validation of others.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Gratitude is the greatest force In my life. Most of my classes are set to this theme. If you could say thank you right now, who would it be to?

Rachel Pastiloff: I would say thank you to my mom and dad. Although my dad has been gone for almost 35 years he gave me life, and big blue eyes, so thank you. Thank you to my mom for teaching me how to be a woman who can do anything on her own. Thank you to my step-dad Jack, the man who has been with me through my teenage and adult years. The man who is always there if I need him, the man I feel true strength and comfort with. Thank you to my sister for being the the push that I needed in life.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What fulfills you?

Rachel Pastiloff: A good meal fulfills me, especially a good pizza. No, OK. I am fulfilled when I am fully self expressed, and when I am not looking outwardly for confirmation of who I am. When others see me as a calm and together person I feel so fulfilled.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I know these past few years have been really hard for you. What has been the silver lining to come out of those years?

Rachel Pastiloff: Yes, the last few years have been really tough. The silver lining is easy. I live everyday as a new day. I never ever think of myself as broke and I always believe that things can work themselves out. This keeps me going everyday of my life.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are some words you live by?

Rachel Pastiloff: Words to live by are:





Jennifer Pastiloff: How do you stay connected to your own bliss and sense of self while dealing with 2 children, one of whom has Special Needs. I know you spend almost every day at a doctor or therapy appointment.

Rachel Pastiloff: I stay connected with my bliss by meditating. I take those few minutes to myself and it is truly blissful. I also take time for myself before where that was a fantasy in the past. I live bliss now, even when I can’t get my private time, I make time for me to write, or read, or meditate, or rest. My body shall be neglected no more.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are your favorite 3 memories?

Rachel Pastiloff: Driving cross county with you and mom is one of them. The other two are easy. The day Blaise was born and the day Maddock was born. My life changed forever. I am happy to say for the better.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you share with us about your yoga/meditation practice?

Rachel Pastiloff: I meditate every day for 15 minutes twice a day and that is what keeps me sane. I take as many yoga classes as I can in a week. When I am home with the kids I start doing yoga in the house all around their chaos. If they are playing I will do a bridge pose and they can play under me. You do what you can. You get creative when you are a mom.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What’s up next for Rachel Pastiloff?

Rachel Pastiloff: Opening my own yoga studio. Traveling as much as possible. Reading at least one book a week, and studying energy healing. I think that is as much as I can fit into my day as possible. 😉

Blaise and Maddock having the giggles.

Rachel and Blaise

Rachel and Maddock when he was a baby

Connect with Rachel on Facebook here. 

Connect with Rachel on Twitter @manifestingmom

Follow her awesome blog 3WordsFor365

Rachel’s family.


Maddock chilling out!

Taken in Mexico at the life-changing retreat

taken in Mexico!

Gratitude, Guest Posts, Inspiration, Manifestation Retreats

A Delicious Pack of Weirdos. By James Vincent Knowles.

May 10, 2012



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 **Jen Touchette brilliantly coined our group: A Delicious Pack of Weirdos.

A Delicious Pack of Weirdos** by James Vincent Knowles.

I saw God in Ojai and then I saw my life flash before me.

He was in me and She was in the others.

Evidently He’d been there all along.

I felt powerful.

What an awesome feeling, knowing oneself and God all at once.

This past weekend I did a little yoga retreat in Ojai. I say I “did” it because it took some doing to ignore “reality” and move towards a more real ideal. The reality was, I’d never been on a yoga retreat. Another reality was, I had no money. That was one of those get-real, realities. Also, I’d never before attended a yoga class, much less a retreat filled with yoga weirdos. That’s some scary reality. The reality was I had plenty of real-reality that woulda, coulda, and some might say, shoulda kept me at home rather than boppin’ over to Ojai for one of Jennifer Pastiloff’s yoga retreats.

A few months ago I’d stopped taking private yoga lessons and that experience and photographing 25 yoga girls turned me on to the idea that yoga people had it more together than any other group I’d ever met. I felt I had plenty of reasonable reasons for not having at least been doing a few down dogs at home every day. For the most part it pretty much came down to having given up on living life fully, if not having given up on living at all.

After attending this retreat in Ojai, that story, the one behind my feeling like giving up, is over.

To get the reality particulars out of the way: this yoga retreat was held at an estate Retreat and Vineyard in Ojai, CA about an hour drive north of L.A. The main building on the estate is a large house built in that solidly gorgeous craftsman style. If you’ve ever been over to Brad Pitt’s house, it’s a lot like that, only more acreage, quieter, sexier, more tranquil, better food, better pool, way more trees, gardens, wild animals, birds, and laughter. Let me describe it a bit more below before I get back to the reality that really matters.

And just to give you a little reality on my own real life perspective for comparison, I’ve stayed at many of the 4 and 5 star hotels in America as well as a few in foreign countries. As many of you are no doubt aware, if you’re staying at a Four Seasons or a Ritz Carlton, you’re going to be very comfortable and wake up in a bed you want never leave. And these sorts of many starred hotels have really great, really expensive room service as well as big plush towels to tempt you.

Jen’s Ojai retreat was not the Four Seasons and there was no room service nor any big fluffy towels. Indeed, as soon as I arrived, I could feel this place was so much more than fluffy towels and comfy beds and room service. The estate is a certified, bona fide Estate.

A place where I could do at least one of the two most important things in life. Connect wholeheartedly with other people. Sure enough, it was like a three day vacation but for angels only.

Being there was to experience what the world would be like if everyone understood what love means.

It was like falling in love, phase one, when everything is strange and exciting and even though you’re not sure, you’re sure.

And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. This retreat was about connection. Connection with self, others and the Universe / God.

Mind you, I’m not just speaking of my own experience, though my own experience was indeed about connection with God in me and others. I’m speaking of connection in such an enormous way, I actually saw God in Ojai in other people. All of them, strangers. A whole pack of ‘em~!

I’ve been a professional observer for 44 years, so when I say I saw others connecting and sharing and being and loving and giving and caring and understanding and being interested and being empathic and compassionate and friendly and smiling and beaming and spreading kindness before them and trailing kindness behind, well, all I can say is, I witnessed it and felt its effects. For real.

I’ll give you just a teeny-tiny glimpse of just a couple little things that actually happened in me, to me, and with me whilst there. You’ll have to take my word for it that much more happened than I’ve room to share.

To start with, every part of me was afraid to go. I’d never met any of the others attending this retreat, including Jennifer Pastiloff. Indeed, I’d not been around any people at all for 18 months prior to this retreat. Oh sure, I’d been out a few times in public to get a cup of coffee, but in a strange town with no friends the extent of my socializing was saying hello to a barista or bank teller.

I’d been studying, editing, thinking, writing, contemplating and meditating for most of this past year and a half. In the process of doing so, I’d finally arrived at the conclusion I am a good guy who’s in need of connection with others. I realize that might sound weird but as some of you may have already experienced, sometimes life can be a bit confounding. I’d seen a few of Jennifer’s blog posts a few months previous to this retreat and I’d recognized something unique. Something that resonated importantly and loudly. She appeared to be authentic. You know … “real.” I suppose that’s why I was so afraid to go to Ojai. What if this was just another phony, fake, pretender?

What if this was just another gaggle of superficial, shallow a-holes whose favorite subject is me, me, me?

And by that I don’t mean me, I mean, themselves. But I felt ready for reality, either way. I couldn’t take cave dwelling, friendless and alone any longer. It was time to find out if I’d grown up at all.

So I went.

The way I came to connect with Jennifer was via Facebook. Isn’t that kinda weird in and of itself? Last December she’d posted something on her blog that got my attention. I can just hear her right this second saying, “there are no accidents.” It truly was uncanny how what I’m about to share with you came to be. I was in a dark place.  Still reaching for light. Searching for something that was really real. Something that matters. Something that helps change perspective. I still believed such a thing was possible. And as it turned out, when I saw it, I felt it, right there in one of her blog posts. Mind you, this is a FB friend and I can’t even be sure how exactly we got to be FB friends. If I had to venture a guess it would be that she was FB friends with someone whom I really loved in the real world.

When I read Jennifer’s blog, I left a comment and noticed she replied … authentically.

That got my attention. I read more of her posts. Everything she wrote resonated. I continued to comment.

One day she suggested / requested me to attend her Ojai retreat. I was shocked but I said I would, even though I had no idea how I could pay for it, let alone get the vagina to do it. (Some of you will get the joke, some will google it, others will have to learn the hard way that if you want “tough,” grow a vagina).

So here’s what the retreat was like.

It was like coming home to her, the loveliest lover, love of my life, after a long arduous road trip traveling with Pandora with her damn already opened box containing all the evils in the world, for thousands of miles, locked inside with her in an old VW Bug. It was like the first kiss after you’d learned, or so you thought, how to make love without any obvious insecurity, and how after that first kiss with your last love, the final one you know will be lasting, even your hidden fears disappeared.

It was like being under the veranda in Ojai on the most perfect balmy evening, full moon light glowing, casting dancing shadows amongst the trees, adding sparkling little catch lights each time someone turns to speak, to speak to you! … and discovering you’re surrounded by all your best friends, ever, in this one small huge paradisiacal place.

Everyone who was there was fully there. Each of them was the most valuable being in the Universe.

At first, I couldn’t believe it, even as I felt this connection and felt these delicious people touch my heart. Oddly it wasn’t overwhelming.

There was an immediate flow of acceptance.

Each person there, one by one and all at once, were connecting immediately with one another.

This experience wasn’t orchestrated by Jennifer, though she’s obviously the maestro. All these people were sharing: understanding. Here’s what was really weird, and it was indeed bizarrely weird. There were no stories being told!

These beneficent, magnificent beings had somehow arrived in one place together and each of them were willing to be understood without pleading for attention or anything like it.

And they were understood. Is that not excruciatingly amazing? From reality to real to strangely weird. An automatic bam without an exclamation mark? Just like, wow man, wow. Bam.

Everyone who was supposed to be there, was fully there, right there, in Ojai, under a full moon in the most beautiful garden, and every single one of them, including me, was glowing.

Again, I’ve never participated in any sort of yoga retreat before this one. Perhaps they’re all like the one I attended in Ojai. If so, there is more than enough hope for the world. To spend three days around 40 people, not once hearing a single cynical, sarcastic, mean word. Not once did I see anyone so much as get annoyed, let alone act upset or angry or bummed out by anything.

And that story thing~! I mean, I’m not the most gregarious dude, meaning I don’t go out of my way to bug people with talk. Nevertheless, in 3 days, all of which were spent without any distractions other than the beauty and splendor of the place and the delightful people attending, I experienced several soulful, heart-and-soul-level conversations with others but not one story. Not one. It was effing evolved, man. Stories were just unnecessary. That’s just freaky.

I could go on and on about this amazing Jennifer chick and her Ojai weekend. Fill a book, probably. It would be more than enlightening, filled with love, infinitely fascinating and awe inspiring, an exciting mystery, a thrilling adventure and the most sensual thing you’ve ever read. But that would take far too long. This is the sort of news that needs be disseminated wide and far.

Positively positive news. When’s the last time you got that on t.v., or anywhere else?

Egoless would be another way to describe this past weekend. 40 souls who attended a yoga retreat and found a way to live with one another and love each other without anyone’s ego screwing it up? That’s just astonishing. Really.

And now a little practical reportage about some of the physical realities of the weekend … Caspar Poyck, Culinary Therapist prepared the most delectable meals. Just one dude. One chef for 40 people. I feel good about what I’m about to say about this cat. Before attending this retreat, a salad to me was just lettuce with maybe a sprinkling of cheese and balsamic. I grew up eating hamburgers, hotdogs, pork chops and steaks with canned veggies and potatoes, so I’m the pickiest eater you’ve ever met. Caspar’s meals were so beyond what I’ve eaten in some Michelin 3 star restaurants the only thing that makes sense as to why he does what he does the way he does it is that it is all about love. You can taste it. You can see him putting love into the food. All the food he prepared was straight out of the garden. You could see it and you could taste it and the fact that 40 people all devoured every morsel of every meal proved it. How he found time to patiently teach a class of almost everyone attending the retreat how to cook a healthy meal is beyond me.

The fact “the class” created one of the best meals of the weekend just blew my mind.

The place itself was, let’s just say, better than the best resort I’ve stayed at in Hawaii or Cabo or in the Caribbean or Acapulco or Puerta Vallarta. What’s really amazing is, during all three days, not one staff member was seen. I’m not even sure there are any. And there was not one authority figure. That’s what you get when you’re a responsible person, I’m told. Freedom.

Mind you, I paid for my weekend with money I didn’t have when I committed to attend yet somehow the money to attend “manifested” the day before I was to head to Ojai.

After experiencing Jen’s yoga retreat, I felt compelled to share with you some of what I observed. I’d never met one single person in attendance at this retreat but I will reveal I fell in love with more than one person whilst I was there.

Firstly, I fell in love with myself. Then I actually fell in love with several other people whom I know will always be friends.

I’m gonna start collecting friends this way. What an amazing discovery~!

I can see that butterfly theory thing going on here.

I posit that this could be the pyramid scheme to end all pyramid schemes. This could be the quantum physics, quantum mechanics solution to living life wholeheartedly. If I’m even half right, there are 20 other people who feel the same (or better) and who’ll do the same (or more). And this just from attending one yoga retreat~! Wow.

They say the teacher appears when the student is ready. Yep.

How do I put forth with such certainty something like this can and will help change the world? Because I met 40 people who care about something other than and greater than, themselves. 40 people who are connected with the God / the Universe in themselves and within others. It’s gonna spread like mad-crazy-love should.

I should also mention Frank Gjata, though he’s the sort of fellow one doesn’t really need to mention. I suppose that if you go to one of Jennifer’s yoga retreats, you’ll either meet him or get connected with him. Everyone who was in Ojai met Frank. Everyone who was in Ojai is now connected with Frank, not to mention with each other, in large part due to Frank. Frank is awesome. That’s all need be said about Frank.

I’d say a bunch of stuff about Jennifer but you can find out all you need to know the same way I did. Go to her FB page or google or listen to this one story. This is the only story I’m going to share about this weekend. For now, anyway.

Imagine that you have 40 disparate people at a yoga retreat who’ve paid money to be there. 40 people who are there to grow spiritually, who are there to connect with themselves, God and others on a spiritual level. 40 people who are there to have fun. Now imagine you’ve got 40 people to guide towards goodness and some huge and horrible news lands in your lap during your yoga retreat. Something that would no doubt more than momentarily distract most people from work. Something which would cause most people to get shouty or angry and which would diminish most people’s ability to be joyful for a day or two, at least. This happened to Jen this past weekend. But it didn’t happen to Jen. And it didn’t happen to anyone else, either. There was no story. She dealt with it in a couple hours, and went straight back to being the maestro of joy, the heartfelt, heart-full conductor, the maestro-maestress yogi yoga girl, the dance-putter-onner and dj, the empath-true-ist, the manifesting maniac and the authentic compassionate soul she obviously is.

A few months ago I’d never have imagined anyone could do that. Certainly not myself. But seeing her, witnessing her do it, and not just do it but seeing and feeling her deal with it the way she did gave me strength and lifted my soul to soaring.

This chick is weird in a very delicious and strange way. She’s really real. Not just strong. Not just genuinely caring and kind. Not hippy dippy or woo-woo either. She talks funny because she can’t hear worth a crap and yet she hears everything that matters. She notices stuff most people don’t or won’t. She’s wholehearted.

She’s honestly growing and learning so she can help others grow and learn. And she deals with stuff right now. And she does it so honestly and with such integrity and empathy and gratitude, one has to at least acknowledge just how marvelously amazing that is. I mean, she’s really real~! Which just blows my mind right the eff up and melts my heart all the way to the God in us all.

I hope for everyone who reads this, this message gets passed on. Tell someone you love them today. Create your life and manifest goodness in it for others. Let go of the stuff that’s no longer serving you. Connect with the Universe / the God in yourself first so you can connect with others. Be astonished.

See how astonishing you actually really are for real. There are only two things that matter in life after all the contemplation is thrown out: Spending time with others we love and that which we do for others without expecting something in return. I think you might find all the reality in the world comes down to just those two things. I hope you do. And it’s at such a place as Jennifer’s Ojai retreat this reality was made fully real for me amongst a delicious pack of weirdos. You know who you are, obviously, because you’re all really real, which is what makes you all so weird.

Wine tasting

Randy and Marla getting their groove on! Click photo to find more info on Randy aka the Malibu Healer!

Being silly

Frank Gjata, creator of Blississippi, giving an amazing lecture on BLISS!

Chef Caspar doin’ his thang

Yes, it was a Super Moon!


Some of the group.

Jimmy captured the Super Moon!



Milk Maid! Love this shot of Jen Touchette by Jimmy!

Manifesting bliss. Check out the Conscious Ink “Follow Your Bliss” tattoos.

To oder James Vincent Knowles book “Yoga Girls” please click here.


Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. She has been featured on Good Morning America, NY Magazine, Her writing has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day/New Years. She is also leading a Writing + The Body Retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 31-Feb 1 in Ojai. Email retreats at jenniferpastiloff dot come for info. Check out for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: Seattle, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Miami, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff. Next Ojai retreat is Labor Day and there are a few spots left.

Q & A Series

Amy Jo Johnson: Actress Extraordinaire. The Manifestation Q&A Series.

March 23, 2012

 Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.

I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

I am so excited by today’s guest. Amy Jo Johnson is one of the most talented people I have ever met and I am lucky to call her family. Yes, she is a friend, but I consider her part of my soul family. She was with me at my last and most profound yoga retreat to Mexico where we all bonded so much we felt that we actually had become family. Then, one of our group, the beloved comedian Steve Bridges, suddenly passed away a few weeks ago in his sleep. It made our time in Mexico, which was already so precious, that much more divine.

Some of you may recall her from the tv show Felicity or maybe even the Power Rangers (yes, she was “The Pink One.”) I just know her as Amy Jo, the incredibly gifted human being. She is kind, funny, and, can sing so well that tears will form at the corners of your eyes. You know: the happy tears. The “that is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard” kind of tears. She is spunky and sassy and does a mean handstand in my yoga class. She is free-spirited and witty, poignant and present and fully capable of catching herself as she falls backwards down the stairs. (Apparently this happened in Mexico. She backflipped and landed on her feet.) She doesn’t take anything for granted, loves a good joke and even a corny one ( like the ones I tell.) She writes beautifully and has a vision for her life that inspires me to no end. 

(I want to be her when I grow up.)

Family is important to her in the way it is important to me and I believe that is one of the things that initially made me love her.

She is an actress by trade but does not live her life as if that is the only thing that matters. Nor does it define her.

One of the most fierce and unique people I know and I am humbled that she is here today. Amy Jo is creative in the true sense of the word; an artist through and through.  

She’s connected to something else, something bigger than herself. I do not know what it is, nor do I attempt to, but I do know that we are blessed to get a little slice of this goddess.

She says the words she lives by are: “Be Bold and Be Kind”. As someone who knows her well, I can say that this is not heresay. This is fact. Through and through.

I look forward to teaching my Manifestation Workshop in Toronto when I go to visit her. So stay tuned all you Canadians. I’m on my way!

In the meantime, here is my dear friend and soul sister, the amazingly talented and fiery Amy Jo Johnson.… Amy, I love you.


Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?


 Amy Jo Johnson: About six years ago I drastically changed everything. I packed up my life and left Los Angeles. I hit the road to “find out”. I was about 35 years old and desperately needed to manifest happiness. I became a gypsy for a few months before ending up in Montreal where I finally sorted through some of the monsters in my head. I needed a break. I needed to just stop and let go. What I discovered beneath all my fear was that I never really knew who I was. What I wanted.  So, after a two-year sabbatical and a new lease on life I found my husband, got pregnant, and landed the best job of my career pretty much all at the same time.


We now live in Ontario, which I LOVE! And I’m in the middle of filming the fifth season of the TV show I had landed. I feel so blessed with the life I’ve created. But I know that none of it would have happened if I didn’t have the courage to shake things up six years before. I believe we must live BOLDLY if we want to manifest our dreams.



Jennifer Pastiloff: What’s the greatest lesson that you have learned from being an actress?

Amy Jo Johnson: Kindness… Truly… This is my greatest lesson. A lesson I am faced with every day.  I’ve spent so many years worried about who I am and how I’m doing and how I’m going to benefit. I am so sick of myself it’s ridiculous. Since I’ve discovered this new way of life. Simply being kind. I’m so much happier!! And I find things are so much funnier. Truly, it’s all kinda funny.

Jennifer Pastiloff: From being a mom?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Oh, Francesca teaches me something new EVERYDAY… This little person who happens to be my daughter is such a gift. I find her trying to take care of me a lot. Every now and then I have to remind us that I am the mother. But boy oh boy she is the teacher.

Jennifer Pastiloff: From losing your own mother?

 Amy Jo Johnson: The lessons I’ve learned from my mother’s death are ever changing and never ending. Recently I’ve deeply realized that most of our actions are usually because of where we come from, the life we were handed. So, acceptance and understanding of others is becoming clearer to me.

Jennifer Pastiloff: If you were not acting what would you be doing?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Whatever it is that I would be doing is something I love. I know that for sure. I’m not one to suffer for very long.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What do you see yourself doing in 10 years time?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Traveling the world with my family! And directing films that I’ve written, hopefully inspiring and helping others though them.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What do you love most about being a mother?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Being a mother constantly pulls my focus from myself and into a more nurturing state. I love that!! I need that.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who has been your greatest teacher?

 Amy Jo Johnson: I’ve had so many awesome teachers in my life from my mother to the amazing Jana Saunders. But recently there have been two that profoundly affected me on a level I’ve never felt. First, my husband Olivier, he’s taught me how to be loved and in return I am now better at loving. I am so thankful for this man in my life. And second, YOU! Jennifer Pastiloff. This insight to kindness is something I really have learned to understand through you. You teach me so much. It’s something I’ve never felt before, the balance of kindness, humor and honesty. It’s how I strive to live my life until I die. Thanks chickie…

Jennifer Pastiloff: A little birdie told me you were writing a movie……

 Amy Jo Johnson: I am working on creating a film about my mother’s life. Her journey inspires me in so many ways! I’m excited to share it with the world and hopefully help people who have gone through similar struggles.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you share with us a bit about your music?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Writing and playing music comes in waves for me. Like everything creative I do. It’s all a cathartic playground. At the moment my sights are so set on developing this film that music has taken a back seat. But it’s there and always will be when the moment strikes. I try not to force it.


Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Honestly, moments when I feel most connected to people. I’ve always had a hard time getting close. I can be a very guarded person. These moments used to happen so infrequently. And when they finally did I would eat them up and savor them like it was the last. Now I strive for it daily. I look for it in people. A lot of times in people I never would have imagined it with. As I ease the insecurities in myself I’m finding it easier to look past those in others. Wouldn’t it be a magnificent world if we could all see past our fears?


I realized the other day that when you first meet someone you usually meet their insecurities. First impressions are usually not who someone really is. So, my biggest meditation and practice is to take a deep breath when bombarded with someone’s walls and compassionately look through them. And remarkably enough on the other side is usually a really cool person. Innately I believe we are all good.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I teach many of my classes to the theme of gratitude. If you could say thank you right now to one person who would it be?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Thank you, Olivier Giner, for living the good life with me.

Amy Jo and her husband Olivier at my last yoga retreat in Mexico. Feb 2012.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are some words you live by?

 Amy Jo Johnson: BE BOLD! And kind. At the end of my life I want to look back and say “Holy CRAP! That was an interesting ride.”

(note from Jen: I Love this. It reminds me of on of my favorite Mary Oliver poems When Death Comes where the last line says:

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.)

Jennifer Pastiloff: You were with me in Mexico on my last and most powerful retreat. We dubbed ourselves the “Fab 13”. On Saturday, we lost our brother Steve Bridges, one of our 13. Is there anything that Steve or his passing has taught you?

 Amy Jo Johnson: I am so grateful for that trip to Mexico. It was one of the most healing experiences I’ve ever had. Olivier and I have a code word between us now. If we forget how precious life is and find our selves stuck in our own way we say this word. The word means LOVE and it’s Steve.

Amy Jo painted this and 1 year later met Olivier.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is one message you would pass on right now to someone looking to manifest their best selves?

 Amy Jo Johnson: BE BOLD!!!! And kind.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What brings you the most joy? Your joy list….

 Amy Jo Johnson: Francesca’s laugh! Watching a good TV series with Olivier while he rubs my feet. Drinking wine with good friends and chit chatting about life. Writing my script in a coffee shop for hours and hours. Laughing until I almost pee my pants, which usually happens once a day at my work. Auntie Jewdgie! The sunshine, a rainy day, a good snowstorm. Using the loud leaf blower in my yard. Kick boxing! A good yoga class, especially a Jennifer Pastiloff magical session. GOD, peace and so much more…

 Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you manifesting in 2012?

 Amy Jo Johnson: Making my movie!!!! Hell yeah!

(note from Jen: Hell yeah, I second that!)

Jennifer Pastiloff: Where can we find more of Amy Jo Johnson?

 Amy Jo Johnson: The TV series FLASHPOINT, which is on ION or CTV, I also have a website for my music and I sometimes tweet @_amyjojohnson

Jennifer Pastiloff will be teaching at the Tadasana International Yoga & Music Festival over Earth Day weekend on the beach in Santa Monica, CA, April 20– 22. Click here to check out the festival website and purchase tickets. Enter the code Pastiloff for a $50 discount! (Please note that discount codes expire April 1.)

Amy and I at my last yoga retreat in Mexico.

Jen’s “rules”:

1. Be Kind.

2. Have a sense of humor especially when it comes to yourself

3. Write poems, even if only in your head

4. Sing out loud, even if badly

5. Dance

6. If you don’t have anything nice to say… you know the deal

7. Find things to be in awe of

8. Be grateful for what you have right now .

9. Watch Modern Family, read Wayne Dyer, and end every complaint with “But I’m so blessed!”

10. Duh, do yoga

11. Don’t worry. Everyone on Facebook seems like they have happier and funner lives. They don’t.

12. Tell someone you love that you love them. Right now.

13.. Take more pictures.

14. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. No such thing.

15. Thank the Universe in advance.

Eating/Food, Guest Posts

The Mind Body Connection…Is It Real ? By Caspar Poyck

December 8, 2011

Happy Thurday my Dear Manifesters! The fact that Manifestation Station has a guest post by the Renaissance Man himself makes me giddy with delight. Caspar Poyck is truly one of the great Renaissance men of our time. He is an artist, through and through. I first met him on a retreat I attended a few years back where he was the chef. Immediately I decided that I would lead my own retreats there ( 2 years later and I have done 6 up there in Ojai and none without Caspar.) I would not DREAM of hosting a Manifestation Retreat without this guy. When you read the following post you will see why he is such a fixture at my retreats. He hosts cooking classes during my retreats and the laughter that comes from the kitchen literally makes the house shake. Plus, he is easy on the eyes and is an amazing musician. Seriously? Yes, seriously. 


The Mind Body Connection…Is It Real ? by Caspar Poyck

What do you think ?

It seems to be in children’s nature to know it until nurture tells them otherwise. Shamanistic traditions, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, etc. know it. Yoga is built on its foundation.

Harvard Medical School, through Mass General, runs the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine and many other leading medical schools are getting more active in this field.

Is it mysticism or science ? What is this about and what does it look like ? —–

Let’s talk, for instance, about a silent killer of our time and disease of prosperity:

Stress !

It is now commonly recognized by even the staunchest medical doctors that stress is tied to suppressed immune response, the healing of damaged tissue, inflammation, heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease and allergies (including, but not limited to food allergies), etc. How does this happen ?

Some of the body’s changes caused by experiences in the mind like stress, fear and anxiety are:

Tightness of muscles

Shallow breath

Increased heart-rate

Higher blood pressure

Reduced immune response

Secretion of stress hormones incl. Cortisol

Impaired digestion

Impaired elimination Etc.

Stress is supposed to be a temporary state, but how many of us experience stress perpetually ? Imagine the long-term effects of a body under those conditions listed!

Yoga, meditation, prayer, Tai Chi, hypnosis are very effective in reducing these symptoms by calming our mind, reducing stress and exercising the body.This is why I founded “Consciously Culinary” and “What Makes You Eat?”

As a wholefood-organic chef, son of yoga teachers and licensed hypnotherapist specializing in the connections between the body and mind I came to realize that

HOW we eat may be more important than WHAT we eat !

Am I saying that WHAT we eat is not important ?

Of course not.

What I AM saying is that once we have developed a more aware relationship with food for some and one free of preconceived ideas, free of guilt or trauma, free of obsession for others, then making healthy choices about WHAT to eat will come automatically !

You don’t need the preaching of a food-guru, the study of an impressive diet or a guilt- trip to tell you that a plump, organic heirloom tomato is better than a mealy, pink GMO tomato.

Diets, systems of thinking about food and nutritional fads often have interesting things to consider, new knowledge to reflect on and valuable insights to check in with. They can also lead to obsession (orthorexia nervosa), guilt and judgment.

It is through conscious sensing, keeping a diary, happy cooking and fun-filled eating that we can find which elements of these teachings work for us and which don’t.

We are each unique individuals who go through lots of phases in our lives. A young “you” needed different food than the “you” of today, a happy “you” needs different fuels than a depressed “you”, in summer time you don’t need the same vitamins and amount of calories than in winter, etc.

Is it possible to have one diet that is the answer for everyone for every time ? If so, there would be one definitive book on the subject, instead of a new one every 6 months to rise to the top of the bestsellers lists.

Through some honest introspection and a love for the sensual experience, you will automatically be drawn to better food and become your own guru.

Instead of treating food and eating like a dogmatic religion, Consciously Culinary is a path: the Tao of cooking and eating if you will.

Next time:

Ever heard of Emotional Eating ? Comfort Food ? When checking in we need to know we’re not reading from our emotional appetite, but from our body’s appetite and needs. What Makes You Eat ?


Caspar Poyck C.Ht. offers catering for retreats by some of the most widely recognized names in yoga and self-development.

He also teaches private and group classes, leads corporate teambuilding events, delivers talks and offers cooking classes and therapy sessions for stress release, anxiety control and allergy management.

To set up a session or to organize a talk, Caspar can be reached at: Ph. +1.805.760.7730

Just a head’s up folks. The Manifestation Retreat sells out very quickly. In September we had 42.

Guest Posts

Find Your Voice. Guest Post by Actors Yuri Lowenthal & Tara Platt.

December 3, 2011

Oh Happy Friday, Dear Manifesters! This post is such a special treat. I first met the actors Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal last year at a culinary retreat they were attending that I was co-hosting with chef Caspar Poyck. I fell in love with them immediately. I thought they were a cute couple who had just met and were madly in love. I was wrong. They were in their 9th year of marriage at the time and madly in love. All weekend I watched them with awe. The way they interacted with each other, and with the world, was in a word, inspiring. I have made it a mission to have people in my life whom I want to model my life after. And Dear Manifesters, these two are at the very top of my list. They are love embodied. They are talented and funny and creative and vibrant and present. I am humbled to have them as guest posters today. Of all things, this post talks about finding your own true voice, which has been my mission this last year. There are no accidents. Oh, and did I mention that they are funny? Check out their new series Shelf Life.

But be warned: It Ain’t No Toy Story!

Enjoy this post as you find your own voice.

Find Your Voice by Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal

From the title of this blog, those who know us probably assume we’re about to talk about voice acting because it’s what we’re known for, and it’ll tie into that a little, but let’s dig deeper.

The Universe is listening.

What are you telling it?

And, so as to be clear from the start, we’re not just talking ‘The Secret’ here.

This isn’t simply about consciously manifesting what you want in your life. This is about your voice.

Your physical voice, but also your voice as represented by what you put out into the world.

It’s what people hear, but it’s also what they see. It’s the mark you leave wherever you go. In a way, your voice is everything, your very existence. And many of us never even find our voice before we’re gone.

We’re so worried about how we’re being perceived by others– if we’re cool enough, smart enough, or thin enough –that we choose to silence our true voice out of fear of being inadequate. And that’s a disservice, to you and honestly, the rest of us. Plus, it actually takes more energy.

It’s like damming up a river.
Your power lies in your own unique voice.

You can avoid it all you like, but that’s where the gold is. And yet we fight all the time with the idea of who we’d rather be than ourselves. As actors especially we can become overly concerned with the idea of “Oh, I can play anything. Just tell me what you want and I’ll be that.” But not only do you immediately give up your power when you say that, you give up the strength of YOU.

Why not bring YOU to the party and let them see why the character might be better because YOU’RE playing it?

Besides, you can never really know what anyone else wants, so why should you waste your energy trying to become what you think they want? Your voice is like a fingerprint, setting you apart from everyone else.

“But what if I’m NOT what they want,” you say?

Then that’s okay! Trust us! We’re in the business of hoping that people want us and it’s not always easy to be okay with people not wanting us some of the time. A favorite quote of ours is “If everyone likes you you’re doing something wrong. Popularity is overrated.” Not sure who said it, but we hope they’re right. And it’s the only true way you can ever stand out from the crowd.

And we’re not saying that it’s necessarily easy to make the decision to commit to your true voice and go with it. Self-discovery can be tough and scary. It can take time to figure out where your bliss lives and what YOUR voice is. Or maybe you’re already close. Or maybe you’re already fully in your voice and more power to you (literally)! But either way you can start by just becoming aware in little steps. Ask yourself, “What makes me happy?” “When do I feel shut down?” “What about me do people really respond to?” And sometimes it’s hard to be objective about that kind of thing so you may want to do something as basic as sending out a list of random qualities or adjectives to people who know you well, as well as people who maybe aren’t as familiar with you and ask them to circle the ones they feel represent you. It’ll help give you an idea of what you’re putting out, whether you’re aware of it or not. And try not to take it personally. Some of the qualities they come back with may not be how you see yourself, or how you want to see yourself, but it’ll help you learn.

Once again, we’re not saying it’s easy.

In the interest of full disclosure, one of the reasons we’re writing this is to remind ourselves exactly how important this is so we can work to become more aware. We still struggle with wanting to change who we are. And having been married now for ten years it’s been about finding our individual voices as well as our voice together as a partnership, which hasn’t always been simple.

We can change things about ourselves that aren’t working for us, but don’t ignore the gold you’ve already got. And EVERYONE’S got some. Sometimes it’s just buried deeper. But it’s there, and it’s worth digging for.

So remember as you move through the world– ordering coffee, answering the phone, following your dreams, creating art –your voice is your unique mark on the world and every time you use it it gains power and gets easier.

So wield it well and truthfully.

Tell the world who you are and what you want and don’t be too surprised when the world becomes a better place. For you and for us.

Tara Platt & Yuri Lowenthal are actors, writers and producers living in Los Angeles. Together they’ve written the book, Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind The Mic ( and are currently producing the comedy webseries Shelf Life ( They are easily stalked on Twitter at @TaraPlatt and @YuriLowenthal.

Yuri Lowenthal





Jennifer Pastiloff, Beauty Hunter, is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Check out for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health, Tuscany. She is also leading a Writing + The Body Retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 30-Feb 1 in Ojai (1 spot left) as well as Other Voices Querétaro with Gina Frangello, Emily Rapp and Rob Roberge. She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.