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 first met today’s guest through the powers that be, also known as: Social Media. I noticed someone named Joe Longo was sharing my blog and tweeting my stuff so I checked him out. I come to find out he is an incredible and passionate photographer and yogi who shoots a lot for Dhyana Yoga, my home studio in Philadelphia. Dhyana Yoga is my family and apparently Joe Longo is their family, so the way I see it, Joe and I were family. Before we even met.
We finally met. I was right. It was like we had known each other lifetimes.
We literally had 5 minutes, just 5 minutes to take some pictures and he snapped some of my very favorite pictures I have of myself. To know Joe is to love him.
I am very excited because he lives in Pennsylvania, but is planning a west coast tour to do shoots and we plan on having a yoga photo party. Yes, you read right. I mean, if I can do karaoke yoga, I can do a yoga partay!
Seriously, this guy is the real deal. I love him like a brother. Some of his answers blew me away and some humbled me tremendously. Joe Longo is inspiring, in a word. Please get to know him, and, if you can, book a session with this guy!
Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?
Joe Longo: There is so much to be proud of and thankful for, including manifesting my inclusion in this Q & A. I am so inspired by everything you’re doing. Thank you for kicking ass. Life is blowing me away. Even as I type, your (Jennifer) Facebook status reads: “My dreams are becoming a reality faster than I could have ever dreamt.” with a link to your blog about Wayne Dryer being on the Manifestation Station. I am so happy to be living this life I have created
I am most proud of following my passion of photography and teaching yoga and being able to unite them both.
Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson that you have learned from being a yoga teacher? from your own personal practice? from being a photographer?
Joe Longo: I’m learning something new in every class, but mostly I have learned to be grateful for the opportunity to share this practice with the world.
From my personal practice to photography, I’m learning how to let go of fear. I have been practicing yoga for about ten years and for about nine of them, I feared going upside down. All I could see was me falling on my head over and over and over again. Either way, I didn’t try. Whenever I was in class and the teacher asked us to do handstands, I would take a break, have some water, and chill out in child’s pose. Then one day last year, a good friend said, “I thought you we’re an athlete.” At that moment, my practice changed. My life changed.
I remembered, “I am an athlete!” and I was letting fear get in the way of who I truly am. Now, all I want to do are handstands. I’m still getting over the fear, but now I love falling on my face. I’m learning the same thing from photography. I was shy and quiet. But now, I talk to new people every day; not only do I have to talk to them, I make them feel comfortable on the other end of the camera. I believe, too often, we allow fear to control us so much, it changes our whole life. That athlete comment shook me out of a deep sleep. I woke up knowing I needed to be as awesome as I possibly could be, and I needed to love myself again. Do you remember when you were a kid and all the grownups would say you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you? Then all of a sudden we grow up and forget this; we think we’re not supposed to be awesome. Really?… Really!… Really?… I say be awesome! Kick ass! Do what you love and let everything fall into place. God, The Source, The Universe, whatever you want to call her/him… They have your back.. If you believe in yourself, be grateful, share your love with the world, and the universe will get your back. But YOU must BELIEVE!
Jennifer Pastiloff: I have a list of rules. See below. What would some of Joe Longo’s rules be?
Joe Longo: Joe’s Rules
1. Believe in yourself
2. Love yourself
3. Love everyone
4. Be Awesome
5. Give back
6. Give back some more and don’t let anyone know it was you
7. Inspire people. In the words of Yogi Bahajan: “Be the light house”
9. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from doing what you love
10. Stop listening to the mind and start listening to the little voice inside of you, that voice that keeps you breathing and your heart beating when you’re sleeping. That voice will never lie to you.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?
Joe Longo: You! The light you shine is contagious. I see how you inspire people and it makes me want to inspire people. People following their dreams inspire me.
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?
Joe Longo: This question really made me think. I have to thank everyone who has ever come into my life. Good or bad, they all helped me get to where I am today. I thank you all!
Jennifer Pastiloff: What is one message you would pass on right now to someone looking to manifest their best selves?
Joe Longo: Know that you already are your best self, believe that you’re awesome and you’ll be awesome. My friend Mike Barata has this great little saying, “You have two choices in this life. You can choose to suck or you can kick ass. Which would you prefer?”
I prefer kicking ass and you should, too.
When you believe in yourself, the universe will get your back. When you follow your passion and listen to the voice inside with an open and grateful heart, everything will fall into place.
Jennifer Pastiloff: What brings you the most joy? Your joy list, as it were.
Joe Longo: My dog Timber… singing, cold weather, fireplaces, friends, family, teaching, learning and then some more learning, photography, yoga, nature, and inspiring people who believe in themselves.
Jennifer Pastiloff: What can we expect Joe Longo to manifest in 2012?
Joe Longo: For 2012, I am manifesting some creative photography work with fun inspiring people and companies. Doing a photo shoot with Ellen Degeneres because I have a feeling she would be a lot of fun to photograph. Getting a photo agent, a book, A Yoga Photo Party Tour.. Yoga workshop on an island (well this is happening just not talking about it yet…hehe…stay tuned.) Developing a large kickstarter yoga photo project with a huge gallery showing, limited edition book and a creative photo layout in Yoga Journal. Oh, and let’s not forget co-teaching a Kundalini / Vinyasa manifestation class with you!
Jennifer Pastiloff: Can you tell us a little about your journey. Giving up your 9-5 job to pursue your dreams…..
Joe Longo: It has been a long journey, from failing my first photography class to getting my first professional photography gig. For some reason, I left my passion of photography to follow the standard path. You know, the 9-5 401K joy crushing real world work force path? After about 10 years, I started to wake up and realize this was not the life I wanted. I had a failed marriage, a 9-5 job making good money and I was miserable. Sounds great… I was working with people who somehow we’re able to just follow the standard, show up for work at 9 and stay till 9… The crazy thing is they expected me to sit in my cube just like them and do the same damn thing.
Yada yada yada, I woke up one morning and decided it was time to plan my escape. I made a little sign that read “I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER” and put it on my bathroom mirror. I know sounds so cliché, but I looked at that note every day. I was already doing some freelance music photography. I had been practicing yoga for a couple of years, and had a lot of good friends that were teaching. After about a year of having this note on the mirror, it hit me. START PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR YOGA FRIENDS! It was also at this time I had decided to enroll in a Kundalini Yoga teacher training program. I had a new job managing a customer support department for a small software company. I thought everything was falling in to place. I recall thinking to myself, “I got this job. I’ll be able to pay for the training. I’ll save some money and in a year or so, quit the day job, teach yoga and be a photographer.” It sounded like a great plan, until about two months into the teacher training. While on a trip to Vermont with some friends, I received about 50 phone calls and 150 emails from my “great” new job. Something in me changed. Maybe it was almost being taken out by carbon monoxide poisoning the night before, but a fearlessness showed up in my life.
I arrived at the cabin around 11PM and by 11:30, I decided I was never going back to that job again. Crazy, I know. I got home on Superbowl Sunday, called my boss, and quit. I told him I could not live this way anymore. He asked what I was going to do; the first thing I said was, “Photography.”
The rest, as they say, is history…
Follow Joe on Facebook here. https://www.facebook.com/JoeLongoPhotography
Joe Longo Website http://joelongophotography.photoshelter.com/
Joe on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/joelongophoto
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
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
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.