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Delight

Delight, Guest Posts, Sex

Is Tango Better Than Sex?

February 4, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Sasha Cagen.

I did not go out looking for tango. The dance came to me. I was living in Cali, Colombia, for two months in 2010 during fourteen months of solo travel in South America. I left a dry life in Silicon Valley where I was parched in pretty much every way, in dating, work, creativity.

First I went to Brazil. Finding good-looking, charming men to make out or have sex with in Brazil was fun, and to be honest, easy (if you want to up your sexual energy and get a self-esteem boost, I suggest dispatching to Brazil immediately). But I had not yet found what I wanted on a deeper level, something I could take home with me, my flow, my passion, something that would make me happy that I could make my own (a Brazilian man had not appeared as a keeper). I continued on to Colombia hoping I would find my flow there. Note: flow, not man. I was done with men for a while then.

It was in Cali, Colombia, the world capital of salsa, where everyone dances, that I saw tango for the first time. A blonde Belgian woman Griet who was also staying at my hostel invited me to come out with her to a club, and there, I saw a tango show at a club called La Matraca and felt something in my body across the room.

Tango was nothing like the image I had mysteriously developed of the dance, the march of a man and a woman their arms outstretched across the room, the woman with a rose clenched between her teeth. (Where did I get that image? Later I looked on the Internet and found no definitive answers.)

These two people were connected. There was a palpable, mesmerizing physics between them, every step he took invading her space caused her to walk backwards, every movement so closely coordinated. It wasn’t like salsa, all happy-happy. It was like watching the hologram of a connection. Even then, without knowing everything I know now from experience, some tiny part of me inside might have asked, is tango better than sex?

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Continue Reading…

Delight, Guest Posts, I Have Done Love, Inspiration

What Happens When Justin Timberlake & 25,000 Fans Sing Happy Birthday To a Boy With Autism?

August 14, 2014

Hey there! Jen Pastiloff here, I’m the founder of The Manifest-Station. Marika, the author of this piece, won a spot at my Manifestation Retreat in Ojai last summer based on her writing! It is such an honor to publish her here again. I am excited to announce that Good Morning America just contacted me after they saw this story on my site! And People Magazine And MTV and The Today Show and my goodness, it keeps on coming…It was an honor when I was on Good Morning America and was able to raise awareness for Prader Willi Syndrome (which my nephew Blaise has, as well as autism.) I am thrilled to see what this will all do for autism awareness. Go Julian! Thanks to Justin Timberlake for being such a star! A class act! If you are using this article please make sure you credit/link The Manifest-Station.

Continue Reading…

5 Most Beautiful Things, Awe & Wonder, beauty, Delight

Better Than Magic.

August 6, 2014

by Jen Pastiloff.

I watched this adorable old man cross the street by my house just now as I was running. It took him a lot time. He had a walker. I stopped running and waited for him.

“Can I ask you a question? What made you happy today?”

Silence.

Me: Do you speak English? Where are you from?

Him: I am Armenian.

Me: What made you happy today?

He laughs. He’s got all his teeth.

Continue Reading…

Delight, Video

Thank You To The Today Show & Cosmopolitan UK & The Daily Mail UK!

June 17, 2014

This is exciting! A post I published a week ago called “I Like This Picture of My Cellulite: A 19 Year Old’s Journey To Self-Acceptance” has gone viral. It’s been picked up by Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Mail and now The Today Show. Congrats to Victoria and yay to The Manifest-Station. The readership is through the roof! Here is the video!

click the picture of Victoria Erickson to watch The Today Show clip.

click the picture of Victoria Erickson to watch The Today Show clip.

I will be doing my workshop in London on July 6th so please let your UK friends know… I cannot wait to see so many of my UK readers. There are a few spots left. Click here. No yoga experience required. xojen 

ps, send submissions in to submissions@jenniferpastiloff.com.

 

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

Next workshop is London July 6. 

And So It Is, courage, Delight, Guest Posts

How To Self-Promote Without Being an A-Hole About It.

January 19, 2014

By Jolie Jenkins.

A couple days ago, in the frozen foods aisle of Trader Joe’s, I was approached/cornered by a woman in a faux-fur leopard coat, black ugg boots, cat-eye glasses and a giant, platinum, frizzy halo of hair. She pointed an acrylic nail at me and leaned in.

“Because you have an orchid in your cart, I’m going to give you a bookmark,” she said. “Do you like books?”

I blinked and stammered a few seconds, taking it all in and trying to process what was happening. I had no idea what purchasing orchids had to do with deserving bookmarks but I couldn’t deny that I liked books. She had me there.

“Yes,” I replied. “I do like books.”

I must’ve answered correctly because she reached into a wrinkly plastic sack and produced a large, glossy bookmark.

“Put it in your purse.” She ordered, handing it to me. Then she shuffled away, likely toward more orchid/book lovers.

I glanced at it, perplexed. Upon further inspection I realized she was an author and the bookmark was an advertisement for her book. Here is a choice excerpt:

TOO OLD TO BE A HOOKER, TOO YOUNG TO BE A MADAM

A Novel inspired by true events is a racy fantasia. It’s a vivid portrait of April Moon, the charismatic Jewish American temptress born and bred in Beverly Hills, seduced by the lure of Laurel Canyon. Join the original flower child and her extra wannabe starlet party princesses on their journey of dangerous liaisons with the bold, the buffed and the beautiful. Antonio, the cross-dressing, Eurotrash mambo king from Madrid, a combination of a stallion and a pit bull; Diva Boy, an outrageous disco dolly; her certifiable rich mother; Christopher, the eccentric artistic director perv whose family tree is soaked in gin; Lust, a bizarre porn star; and a jock named Patrick, the hot hung eye candy from Orange County. You’ll share April’s bizarre adventures as a stunt girl, her experiences inside of a trendy drug and alcohol rehab center in Malibu, a psych ward, and a Mexican jail.

IMG_5583

Well. I can’t say that I’m not curious about April’s journey (a Jewish American temptress in a Mexican jail?!), but what struck me most curiously about this whole encounter was this woman’s ballsy brazenness at putting herself out there. It was remarkable.

I’ve never been a fantastic self-promoter. There’s something about the look-at-me!-ness of it all that feels impolite. The irony is not lost on me, being an actor (who also has a blog, hello!). But It’s one thing to perform in the moment and another thing to talk about it to others and ask them to watch you. In certain ways, I really have to make a concerted effort to put myself out there and even then, a part of me cringes. Maybe it’s because I personally know certain actors who go way overboard on the self-selling (narcissism, anyone?) and it makes me tremendously itchy. I never want to elicit that response in others. It is show business, though, as they say, and that means if you want to get a job, you do have to think about how you are seen and how you are showing up.

I’m not just talking about plugging your TV appearance on Facebook, although that’s part of it (that’s the easy part). I’m talking about energetically taking up space, being unapologetically ballsy. And figuring out how to do that without being a jerk. Frustratingly (to me), those narcissistic actors I just spoke of have tremendously successful careers. It feels like they’re being rewarded for being assholes. All this has me thinking: is there a way to show up big, retain and celebrate your own authenticity, and (gasp) be happy and kind along the way?

My teacher/boss/friend Lesly doesn’t necessarily think so. Her most successful clients share what she calls ruthlessness and that just sounds so abrasive to all parts of me. What I think is fascinating about this quandary is that (show business or otherwise) we’re talking about selfishness. Too little and you’re an apologetic soul, living out of fear and worry. Too much and you’re an entitled jerk who’s gross to be around. It’s also about flexibility. The Diva who claws her way to the top runs into a snag by not being adaptable. She expects people and circumstances to revolve around her. The too-adaptable wallflower shrinks into smallness or gets taken advantage of. The right amount of malleability is vital for success and happiness. Lots of rules about how things need to be make it hard to enjoy yourself, whether you’re experiencing what you believe “success” to be or not. It makes contentment super slippery and conditional. I want to have goals in my life and go after what I want, but flexibility has to play a part to let the definition of happiness be moveable. Mainly because I’ve tried it the other way and it’s freaking uncomfortable.

Whether actors or not, maybe we could think about indulging in Self-promotion with a capital S. Promoting and celebrating our higher, most authentic Selves, thinking BIG in the vastest sense and not just for personal gain. Maybe we can try on some entitlement in terms of being committed to our own (flexible!) happiness. And perhaps ruthlessness has a place in cultivating an unyielding, unapologetic commitment to follow heart and gut, to hell with what anyone else thinks. And hopefully by having those intentions, the things out there in the world that we want to experience will be drawn to us. And we don’t have to be jerks to get them.

Bonus: this kind of light-shining benefits not just self but the collective too. True story: on my way home from Trader Joe’s, while stopped at a stoplight and trying to read my new bookmark in the dark, I saw a guy standing alone on a street corner with an actual, live sparkler in his hand. Just standing there, doing figure-eights and twirling it solo while it burned and sputtered. He seemed to be purely doing it for self-satisfaction but for those few fleeting red-light minutes, did it ever make me smile.

IMG_5588IMG_5605Sesame Avocado Relish

serves 2-3

This dippy spread was born out of a need to feed three hungry women at a rehearsal. It was such a hit (and snarfed so quickly) that it is now a rehearsal requirement due to its severe habit-forming properties. And it like, totally made us better actors.

1 perfectly ripe avocado, halved

gomasio to taste (or plain sesame seeds)

brown rice vinegar

lemon

sea salt

olive oil or toasted sesame oil

Cross-hatch the avocado and scoop out the diced pieces into a bowl. Sprinkle with brown rice vinegar (start with about 2t), the squeeze of a quarter lemon, a drizzle of either olive oil or toasted sesame oil and a shake of gomasio. Taste. Depending on your palate and the size of your avocado, keep adding more acid/salt/gomasio as you go. Serve with raw veggies, atop salad, with chips (maybe fried wontons!?), smashed on toast, etc…

xoxo

jolie

P.S.  Do you like monkeys and/or Lorenzo Lamas?  Check out this commercial I did!*

*she said, unapologetically but with authentic boldness:)

P.P.S.  4 awesome things that relate:

1. After I wrote this post I came across this Agnes DeMille quote and almost fell outta my chair.

2. Remember: your playing small does not serve the world!

3. No one is gonna pick you. Pick yourself.

4. This for fun:)

jolie_3
Hi:) I’m Jolie. I’m a working actress living in Los Angeles with my husband and pooch.

Do you know what it’s like being an actress in Los Angeles? It’s simultaneously:

insane,
fun,
bizarre,
harrowing,
exciting,
maddening,
riveting,
and boring-as-hell.

Not unlike your Grandma taking you to have the expert photogs at K-Mart work their portrait magic after dressing yourself in a rad 80s outfit (see above).

When Show Business is good, it’s really good. But when it’s been a while between jobs, you’re so desperate for a creative outlet that it’s not uncommon to pin all your hopes and dreams on, say, a small guest-star on a CSI:MIAMI episode, fully believing that it will express all you have to offer as a creative entity. This can only end badly. Especially if you’re shooting all day on a small, musty boat getting tangled split-ends and active rosacea from the whipping, salty wind. 

After many years and many CSI:MIAMI moments, I made a concerted effort to take all my eggs out of one basket and spread them around: I learned the true value of having a hobby. I took up knitting and couldn’t stop. I always liked to cook so I enrolled in a 20-week cooking course. It was such a relief to find other things to enjoy. And in both cases, having a desire to create something and then see it through to an end result was tremendously satisfying. I didn’t have to wait by the phone for my agent to tell me I could. Feeling bolstered, I started writing more, tweaking recipes, documenting my experiences in the kitchen and out in the Crazytown that is Los Angeles.

I love to act and play other people but Joeycake is all me.  

**

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

Beating Fear with a Stick, Delight, depression, Guest Posts

Collective Pep Talk.

December 11, 2013

 By Jolie Jenkins

photo

This is Jolie Jenkins’ second post on The Manifest-Station! Enjoy~

I think nearly everyone I’m close to is going through some serious stuff right now (including myself). It’s in the air. So here is a collective pep talk for all of them and you and me. Take what works for you and pass it on. We need it right now………………xo

You are awesome. I know you’re having a hard time seeing that now, but you trust me, don’t you? So then, listen up: YOU ARE AWESOME. Step into knowing that.

You’re gonna be fine. Remember the last time you were in that pickle and got yourself out of it? You are STRONG and remarkably CAPABLE and Unseen Universal Forces are moving to support you and line things up for you that will THRILL you. Your job in all of this? Get in a appreciative, happy space. Look for things that you want to see. Like attracts like.

Why on earth would you quit drinking coffee at a time like this? Just bless it and enjoy it.

Quit comparing yourself to others. Everyone is on a different path and we all have different gifts to share with the world. To that end, quit judging others. You have no idea what their life is like and what they’re going through.

Quit being so hard on yourself. From where I stand? You’re a freaking CHAMP. Try owning that. It’s a shame that we believe it’s polite to be self-effacing. It’s time to unapologetically stand in your Greatness.

Have the courage to let life look differently than you thought it should. So what if you’re not ___________ by the age of___________ ?! Or that you don’t have a ___________ before ___________ . You are a million other fantastic things. And you have a million other gifts. Get over it.

Count your blessings. This sounds so cliche but really do it. Sit down and write some things down that are truly lovely and beautiful in your life. Even if it’s a roof over your head. And coffee. Seriously.

Go find your mojo. Make YOU the most important thing. I know you have responsibilities but find (make!) time to nurture yourself, even in the smallest way. You will have loads more to give others by doing so. Plus, your “selfishness” will inspire your kids and friends and everyone around you to nurture themselves and that is one of the biggest gifts you can give them.

If you are stuck between two sides of a decision, remember: there is no right or wrong answer. All that matters is that you line up with your heart and take the leap. There is tremendous power in expectation. If you expect to thrive, you will seek it and create it. And guess what? You can always make a different decision later.

It’s okay to lean on your friends. That’s why they/we exist. Ask for help.

Turn off your phone. Have the courage to do nothing in public. Look around. See the sky and the trees and strike up conversations with nice strangers. Connect. We need each other.

It takes a bit of effort to feel good. It’s so much easier to just react to all the things going on around us but if you spend a little bit of time focusing your thought on good things, more will follow. I promise.

Life is supposed to be a fun ride! (SEE PHOTO ABOVE.)

Love Love Love,
Jolie

P.S.  You look amazing. I love what you’re doing with your hair.

Jolie_3
Hi:) I’m Jolie. I’m a working actress living in Los Angeles with my husband and pooch.

Do you know what it’s like being an actress in Los Angeles? It’s simultaneously:

insane,
fun,
bizarre,
harrowing,
exciting,
maddening,
riveting,
and boring-as-hell.

Not unlike your Grandma taking you to have the expert photogs at K-Mart work their portrait magic after dressing yourself in a rad 80s outfit (see above).

When Show Business is good, it’s really good. But when it’s been a while between jobs, you’re so desperate for a creative outlet that it’s not uncommon to pin all your hopes and dreams on, say, a small guest-star on a CSI:MIAMI episode, fully believing that it will express all you have to offer as a creative entity. This can only end badly. Especially if you’re shooting all day on a small, musty boat getting tangled split-ends and active rosacea from the whipping, salty wind. 

After many years and many CSI:MIAMI moments, I made a concerted effort to take all my eggs out of one basket and spread them around: I learned the true value of having a hobby. I took up knitting and couldn’t stop. I always liked to cook so I enrolled in a 20-week cooking course. It was such a relief to find other things to enjoy. And in both cases, having a desire to create something and then see it through to an end result was tremendously satisfying. I didn’t have to wait by the phone for my agent to tell me I could. Feeling bolstered, I started writing more, tweaking recipes, documenting my experiences in the kitchen and out in the Crazytown that is Los Angeles.

I love to act and play other people but Joeycake is all me.  

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above!

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her second Manifestation Retreat this year. Sep 26-Oct 3rd. Click the Tuscan hills above!

 Book Girl Power: You Are Enough now! A workshop for girls and teens. Space is limited. Sep 19 Princeton! Sep 20th NYC. The book is also forthcoming from Jen Pastiloff.


Book Girl Power: You Are Enough now! A workshop for girls and teens. Space is limited. Sep 19 Princeton! Sep 20th NYC. The book is also forthcoming from Jen Pastiloff.

Delight

The Rumpus.

September 8, 2013

One of my goals for 2013 was to be published on The Rumpus. I am so honored to have my THIRD essay up there today. Thank you, my beloved readers, for being my heartbeat. Please click here and read it, and, if so inclined, leave a comment. There. Not here 🙂

Also, I would love to hear your goals. Please post them in the comment section. And, as always, thank you for being YOU and for being so supportive. I do not have to fit into a box or a label. I am a writer. And a yoga teacher. I can “be” as many things as I want to be. So can you xo jen

The Rumpus Sunday Essay by Jen Pastiloff

And So It Is, Delight, Inspiration

It’s Going To Be Okay.

May 19, 2013

This morning, someone tweeted the question “What words do you turn to for comfort?”

It’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be alright.

Those are my words. I couldn’t stop thinking them, even after I typed them in and sent them back to her through Twitter-land.

What words do you turn to for comfort? as if I am all alone, in a room, and these words are standing there with big, wide open, flabby arms. Here, now now, we’ve got you. Come here bubbeleh. It’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be alright. Hefty words. Jewish words that smell like grandmother. Like Bubby. Words like brisket and floral dresses and wet mouths. Words that love and coddle and reassure. Words with hard “k” sounds, the “ah” in alright a sound like God. Powerful, all knowing. This is just the way it is. It is going to be alright. And so it is. Words that know their purpose in the world and deem themselves valuable and worthy even as you tell them how untrue they are, how much of a lie they must be, how they stand in front of you with open arms knowing damn well that thing are not okay. How can everything be alright when it’s not? you may sob into their blubbery arms. And the hardness of their bodies softens into a trusty thing and comfort is there in the room with you, sitting on the corner in your old chair like it had been there all along.

You turn to it and nod knowing that it’s that easy, that all you have to do is find someone to speak those words, to embody that grandmotherly intuition and just like that: Comfort is back in the room, helping you breathe and tie your shoes and get on with your day.

I’m a big advocate of safety. I like to feel safe. I seek out situations and people and words that make me feel safe to a fault. I didn’t have to think about it at all. The words buried under my tongue like little hopefuls.

They are always there, waiting in the wings. It’s going to be okay. Don’t worry in my mouth, fraying in the back of my throat, choking in my spit. It’s going to be alright buried in my gums.

I brought it as a the theme to my yoga class this morning after I saw Harriet Seitler’s tweet. This idea of comfort and how we seek out solace wherever we can, even in things as temporal as language.

I asked the people in my class what some of their own words were that they turned to for comfort. Answers varied from I love you to You did great to the ones-I-couldn’t-hear-because- I-am-nearly-deaf, but the gist was the same as my set of words. My own personal grandmotherly set of words were the same grandmotherly set of words for so many others. So many grandmothers walking around in calf-lengths, telling us all that we shouldn’t worry, that we were safe, that it would all be okay in the end.

May we all remember such comfort I suggested to the class before they opened their eyes and got up, moving on with their Sunday Starbucks and chores and kids’ soccer games. May we all remember the grandmother on our shoulders.  

We think that we deserve this stress we carry like it’s our birthright. I don’t deserve to be happy. I don’t deserve to be comforted when there is so much pain in the world. We think that if we keep ourselves busy, that if we keep moving, keep clocking in and out, the pattern of days all we have to keep us afloat, that we will succumb to the truth.

And what is the truth? That nobody is happy? That everyone is in pain?

Well, yes. Maybe there is some truth in that.

But that’s not the whole story. You can take comfort in that knowing.

Yes, people are filled with so much pain. Spend some time with them and you’ll see. It’s everywhere, this pain. This yearning for comfort and looking for it in even the most unlikely of places. Looking for it through drink and sex and the internet.

Anywhere really.

People are also filled with so much love. Spend some time with them and you’ll see. They are dying to be touched and also this: to give their love away.

People: so complex and different and so very much the same. Just like the words we choose to comfort us. Our grandmotherly words all so different and all so similar in their old lady shoes and wrinkled hands.

Everyone wanting to be told: You did good. That it’s going to be okay after all. Despite it all. Because of it all.

You did good.

Go tell someone you love that you love them. That it’s going to be okay. Right now. Go ask someone how they are doing and wait for their answer there in the doorway even if they stumble on their words as their eyes well up with water. Go hug someone. Hold it a little longer than usual. This is how we chip away at the pain. This is how we fill ourselves up with love.

Those words you turn to for comfort exist inside that place of love and they shift when you enter it. You may have thought they were one thing until you love so fully and find out that they were only in disguise. That they weren’t what you thought they were after all. They weren’t a grandmother in a floral dress. That they weren’t loud or big. They were soft, a whisper-like soundtrack, barely audible by human ears. Perhaps only audible by touch.

What the words speak: You are exactly where you need to be. They say things like It’s not going to be okay. It is okay. 

They stop speaking in future tenses. They exist only in the here.

I am a poet. I love words and the carnival of sound they create in the mind and how they etch a place in my imagination I can escape to when I am lonely or happy. Or when I feel nothing.

Words are powerful and I do believe that the ones that bring us great comfort should be duly noted, tattooed in our minds as needed.

However, they will change as we change. As we grow into adult versions of ourselves (as if that ever happens) the words we look to for comfort might fall away like old cells and although we might vaguely remember them like we vaguely remember our seven year old faces, we know that it’s no longer us. If we reach up and touch our cheeks we feel a roughness that wasn’t there at age seven. Our noses are bigger. We don’t break or stop working because we’ve lost parts of ourselves.

We don’t need those cells anymore to move our blood along, to wake up in the morning and make the coffee. We’ve made new cells. We’ve regenerated.

Touch your cheek and remember how it feels because when you are very very old, say, as old as your grandmother, your cheek will feel different than it does right now and perhaps that will bring you some comfort. This great big life you’ve led and how your face is weathered but the love! The love you’ve brushed up against with this cheek is worth every word in the world.

We might look back at the words that used to bring us comfort and shake our heads knowingly at them like someone we once loved asking to come back again. We have the wherewithal to know that the last time we let them come back they hadn’t changed, that things were exactly the same as they always had been and that the farthest thing we’d felt was “comfort”. Comfort was a mile away at all times. So we know this and look past the set of words that used to bring us comfort and accept that although we are not perfect, we have grown and what once made us feel safe as houses, no longer does.

All the words that you look for in your bedrooms and grandmothers and old chairs are simply a reminder of that feeling of safety. The thing is, if you ask me, comfort is all around.

Look, love is everywhere.

Look love, it’s everywhere.

Look everywhere, it’s love.

However you word it, it is. It’s going to be okay.

 

poster by Simplereminders.com

poster by Simplereminders.com

 

Birthday, Delight, Guest Posts

Top 10 Life Lessons Learned In My 48 Years by Lynn Hasselberger.

May 1, 2013

I woke up today and…voilà! I’m 48 years old.

Born in the middle of the night, two weeks late, I violently entered the world at nine and a half pounds with a huge pile of dark hair on my head. (I got stuck, my mom hemorrhaged and, well, we’re all still alive to talk about it).

Gaping at the large feet and hands attached to this red thing that was supposed to be a baby, my mom was convinced that I was going to be a replica of my six foot one, large-boned aunt (sister to my dad, who is small boned).

My parents couldn’t agree on a name, so I remained nameless for a day or two. Referred to as the baby or, more hopefully, “Baby.” (I need to ask more questions about this fact that I learned only a holiday or two ago after my mom drank one glass of wine too many. Sorry, mom, this is my story. And it’s actually pretty humorous. I’m not trying to call you out as a bad mom).

Eventually they agreed upon Lynn. My dad’s name is E. Leonard and, at the time, they called him Lenny (the  initial “E” for  Elmer, so Lenny was definitely the better choice).

In my early years, family referred to me as Lynn Anne. Later, you can imagine the confusion. If you can’t, allow me to explain: Lenny got older and became Len. I didn’t like to be called Lynn Anne, so, thusly (I’ve always wanted to use that word in one of my posts!) I morphed into Lynn. During my teen years, when people phoned for my dad and I answered, trouble ensued. “Is Len there?” they would ask, pronouncing my dad’s name as (you guessed it!) Lynn. “This is Lynn,” I would say. “No Len!” They’d insist, still pronouncing my dad’s name as Lynn.

To top it off, I have an Aunt Lynne and a cousin Linda. Hey, it was almost worse. I could have been Cressie—my grandma (my  dad’s mom) wanted them to name me after her deceased sister Cressida.

So, I’ve never been a big fan of my name. Except when it turns into Lynnie, a nickname that some friends use on too rare an occasion.

Forty-eight years later—my baby fat dispersed properly with the exception of my knees where it seems to collect—I am who I am today. Lynn Hasselberger. (Side note: Just a few days ago, I celebrated my 20th anniversary. Before marriage, I was plain old Lynn Johnson. I could not wait to get married in order to jazz up my boring name. When I met my husband, I immediately thought: Nope, he’s not the one. I mean, Hasselberger?)

I’ve survived many struggles—from eating disorders and infertility… to (gulp) infidelity—and enjoyed quite a few triumphs, blessings and overall good times.

I’m wiser now (quite possibly, most of that wisdom came during the last eight years) and am learning to accept the fact that I’m aging. A fact I found difficult to accept only two years ago.

Enough about me! Here are the ten top things I learned so far:

1. Rich or poor, happiness comes from within. I’ve struggled with finances along the way (and still today after my husband’s two and a half year unemployment—he’s been working for over a year now!—unexpected medical expenses and the investment into my business that was never and never will be returned, and that we’re still paying off) and enjoyed “better” times when we were both working full time, each making six figures. I wasnot happier when we had more money, but we were able to eat out a lot, travel… and when something in the house broke we could fix it immediately with the only stress being which contractor to choose.

I’m happy for the most part right now. Give me some more money and my shoulders will soften, we’ll sleep easier and we can finally take that real family vacation that doesn’t require camping at someone’s house. A slight tick in happiness will probably occur but can only be sustained with what’s in our hearts.

And if we start making oodles of money, we’d be smarter with it. I wouldn’t buy that $250 pair of shoes (they lasted more than 10 years, so you could say it was a good buy) but I would treat myself to a massage and cleaning service weekly.

2. We have to accept ourselves, not try to be what other people think we should be. Over the years I’ve heard that I have to calm down my hair, my lips are too thin, I’m too thin, I need to loosen up and get out more (okay, I’d like to change that about myself), I’m too quiet, I should be this or that.

I’ve also imagined what others might think of me and what they think I should be. And tried to fit in. Not wild enough? Not fun enough? Not smart enough? Not pretty enough? Not successful enough?

Source: google.com via Kelly on Pinterest

I used to try to prove I was those things in order for others to like me more.

But now I think: So the f*ck what? I am me. If you don’t like me as I am, move along. Nothing to see here.

Or deal with this:

I’m not a big fan of large groups and big, loud parties. My hair is at times frizzy or just tossed into a ponytail. I can be quirky. I  don’t watch reality shows. I find it important to continue to learn and be open-minded. I do the best and love as much as I can and forgive you no matter what (unless you kill my cat or do something even more heinous, but even then…). I will  show off my big ugly feet with their weird long monkey toes and even paint them a crazy color on occasion. I will get stressed at laundry. I will run outdoors as long as my legs and body will cooperate. I will mostly eat healthy food. I will tell you if I’m feeling low or about what bugs me. I will utter non sequitors often. I will wear my pj’s some days when I work at home and occasionally nag. I will be quiet at times. I will be cautious if I don’t know you well enough yet. I will stop at one or two drinks. I like to be in bed reading by 9 p.m. I will turn down your invitation sometimes not because I don’t appreciate you but because I simply feel like hanging out at home because I’m just worn out. My house will not be spotless and I can’t guarantee shaved armpits on a daily basis. I’m spiritual but not into organized religion and you’ll never witness me squashing a spider. I’m a tree hugger and believe humans are accelerating climate change by emitting more carbon into the atmosphere than the oceans and vegetation can absorb, throwing off they way the climate system would work without our interference. And unless you’re a climate scientist, you can’t convince me otherwise. I voted for Obama.

And I’m okay with that. If you’re not, then so be it.

Source: Uploaded by user via Elizabeth on Pinterest

3. Aging isn’t bad. It’s a badge of honor. Every day we wake up is truly amazing. I have to admit, I tried “filler” on my face a couple years ago. I was a) trying to mask the horizontal lines that were forming around my lips and b) at battle with my thin lips. Since they were already poking me with a painful needle, I allowed them to fill in the crease above my chin and soften my laugh lines. The changes made me feel more attractive (after all the nasty swelling and bruising vacated my face) but didn’t make me feel any happier.

I was in a mid-life freak out zone at the time. Thanks to my husband’s layoff, my adventure into unnatural fillers was put to an end.

We’re all getting older. That means wrinkles, getting tired faster and finding long hairs in weird places. In preparation for the years ahead, I’m learning to embrace these facts. Although I’m a bit concerned about howmenopause will tamper with my mood and wreak havoc in other unknown ways.

Self-disclosure: I cover my grays, though, and that’s something I haven’t found the courage to walk away from. It may take me another 10 years or more. But definitely, by 70, I will let my hair go.

P.S. Fillers and hair coloring are not good for us or the planet. I am admittedly not a 100 percent flawless tree hugger.

4. Holding onto anger is worse than whatever caused the anger in the first place. It ages us and wastes our energy. Forgiveness is key.

Source: Uploaded by user via Lynn on Pinterest

5. When sh*t happens, you’ll know who your true friends are. How? Because they’ll still be around. And if they disappear, it’s probably for the best. (A couple years ago, I told a person I considered a good friend that I was feeling depressed. I never heard from her again. She didn’t return my messages and even disconnected from me on LinkedIn!)

Absorb the goodness your friends (and even your enemies) have to offer while they’re in your life… you’ll be better for it.

Source: via Tanith on Pinterest

6. Exfoliation is important.
Not only are my feet f*ckin’ ugly, they’re dry. It wasn’t until sometime after college that I learned about pedicures and exfoliation. I treat myself to a pedicure at the turn of every season and otherwise exfoliate my feet right here in the comfort of my own home. I also exfoliate the rest of my fine self with loofah during most showers. Afterward, I apply raw shea butter mixed with an essential oil. Quite the process and not something I have time for every day, believe me!

On a more positive note, I appreciate my feet. Although they can’t dance and are often clutzy, they have served me well all these years. I think they, in turn, appreciate the exfoliation.

7. I am not meant to drink more than two drinks. I try to tell this to people when they say, “Oh come on, have fun! Have another drink. Live a little.” (Who knew peer pressure would live on past the age of 15?) Believe me, by avoiding a third drink, I  will have more fun tomorrow and the next day. Drinking one drink is actually enough. And to think, back in college and into my twenties, I partied hard most days of the week. How did I graduate, much less survive? Now drinking just makes me sleepy and wakes me up in the middle of the night.

8. I don’t have to do anything.

This has been my new mantra for the last few days ago and I hope I always remember it. I had been waking up anxious, thinking of all the things I had to do that day. I’d write down the top three things that really had to get done—although, honestly, the world would have carried on without me completing those things—and put all the rest on a longer list which I could pull from if I happened complete the three things and found myself looking for something to do. Invariably, all the tasks plus worries about finance and other stuff I had forgotten to put on the list would jumble around in my head and paralyze me.

Recently, my husband and I spent two nights in the city for our anniversary. It took quite a bit to get myself out the door and onto that train (we don’t do much to avoid spending money!) but once I was at the hotel, clothes put neatly away in the drawers, everything I had to do left my mind. Well, not all at once. But by day two, I was carefree. We didn’t go around the city spending money like drunken sailors. We ate and walked and took in the scene. I even gave breakfast to three homeless men.

Nothing fell apart during those two days. I had fun!

This led to an epiphany. I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to wake up to thoughts of what I have to do that day. I don’t have to stress  about anything.

Telling myself I don’t have to do anything—a simple mind trick, similar to believing in fairies who will clean the kitchen and bathrooms in the middle of the night—has reduced my stress. And I’m more productive. My mind is clear. I’m approaching my life differently, from a place of abundance—look how full my life is! I have a family that I love, which leads to a couple of messes and extra laundry. How great is that?! How lucky am I?

I just have to follow my passion. My passion doesn’t have to be on a list.

Yes, I have responsibilities, but waking every morning with all them crashing against each other inside my skull until I can put them on a list and begin cramming them into a day just doesn’t work.

I don’t have to do anything. And my mind believes that! My anxiety? Extinguished.

I sure hope my mind doesn’t realize what I’m up to!

Source: oprah.com via Lynn on Pinterest

9. Food is fuel and medicine. Exercise makes me feel better.

It’s quite simple. I’ve written about my strange and evolving relationship with food, with self-medication disguised as a sugar tooth and eating disorder. Now I know—healthy food and exercise makes me feel better. And, please, I do eat crap once in a while including a pint of ice cream every week.

10. Time flies and every moment is a reward for this thing we call life.

Even the most unpleasant, f*cked up days are a gift.

I go through periods in my life, when it feels like time is slipping away and I feel myself grasping at it as if I could slow it down or stop it  altogether.

But squandering moments or stressing over our perceived lack of time is a waste of energy. I know this from experience. Chasing time is exhausting work!

I’ve decided this very moment to expand upon my mind trick (#8) and tell myself I have all the time I need. Ha! It’s also all the time I’ll ever have available to me. It is precious.

We need to embrace the good and the bad. After the bad, it could get worse, but then it will get better. Or… it might not. But no matter what happens, odds are in your favor that there’s someone else out there who’s experiencing something worse.

In the moments we have, we need to find a way to make a difference, no matter how small. Inspire by sharing our passions. Or simply smile at someone, wave at our neighbor, support a friend when they’re down. Sign a petition for human rights or the planet.

Be grateful for this moment. And the one that just passed.

Live the moment. Get to know it. Learn from it. For it will inevitably be whisked away before you can say “Time flies!” (By the way, time does not fly if you’re serving it.)

And then we die.

Of course I’ve learned much more. But 10 is a nice round number.

The rest I’ll leave up to your imagination.

P.S. I’m grateful to everyone in my life and I hope to enjoy many more moments with all of you.

Happy birthday to everyone!


 

Lynn Hasselberger lives in Chicagoland with her son, husband and two cats. She loves sunrises, running, yoga, chocolate, reading and writing, and has a voracious appetite for comedy. The founder of myEARTH360.com, Lynn also writes for her blog I Count for myEARTH. She’s a treehugger and social media addict who you’ll most likely find tweeting excessively and obsessively (@LynnHasselbrgr@myEARTH360and @IC4ME) or posting on facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.

**This post originally appeared on Elephant Journal and is reposted here with permission.
The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on Jan 11, 2016. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation. Click photo to book.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on Jan 11, 2016. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation. Click photo to book.

Delight, Guest Posts

All You Need Is Help by Joanne Galey.

January 30, 2013

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I am such a huge fan of The Help, a company started by the lovely Joanne Galey. Please take a moment and check them out here.

 

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Expect Delight. Words To Live By. ~ Joanne Galey.

She showed up one Sunday morning as our replacement yoga instructor. She cursed and she pushed and asked questions of us that rattled my English sensibilities. And, she did all this accompanied by a most excellent play list turned to high volume (I later learned she was partially deaf).

I liked her – a lot!

I began referencing her classes as attending “yoga church”, with Pastor Pastiloff at the pulpit; encouraging her tribe to set intentions, do better, smile more, set rules to live by, face fear, let go, focus on the positive. I felt fortunate in those classes. I had been blessed with one of those annoying, positive, sunny dispositions and didn’t struggle when it came to viewing the world as a glass not only half-full, but on occasion, spilling over. When adversity had dealt it’s shitty hand in life, I maintained the belief that happiness would ultimately rise above of the crappiness, and, I recognized that I had the power to make that happen. I was driving my own bus, and that even when the bus took a detour and ended up in a bad part of town, I could always turn it around and head home.

The epiphany arrived however, in the realization that home was not where my heart was, nor was it where any of me was. Fear had moved in and taken residence. Too long I had settled. Too long I had given and not gotten. Too long I had waited. I missed me and I wanted her back. Wanted something better for her.

Needing more than “yoga church” on Sundays, I signed up for Jen’s manifestation retreat.

I remember asking my car-pool yogis en route to Ojai; “what exactly is a manifestation retreat anyway”? How wild that I had thrown down money I couldn’t afford and left town in a frenzied rush, fueled by an instinctive knowing that I had to put distance between fear and the ability to breath. All the while, not really understanding what to expect from the experience, only that I needed to go. How unlike me, or was it?

The first 24 hours felt awkward. I’m British, awfully private and at odds with the concept of opening up to strangers. When it came time for me to “share” about what had brought me to this workshop, I made something up about wanting to walk away from a toxic job and start my own business (not an entire departure from the truth as it turns out). But the murmurings of doubt and fear that had been my companions for the past several years became deafening as the weekend drew on. Jen guided us and encouraged us, laughed with us and cried with us, got drunk with us. In the safety of this magical environment I had chosen for myself, I was inspired to write, to exhale, to contemplate, to be courageous, to shift. As I drove back to LA, I knew I was on my way to choose love over fear, peace over sleepless nights, dancing in the kitchen over mortification, happiness over crappiness. When I got there, I lit the torch paper on my failed marriage.

My girlfriend took a photo of me writing in my journal in Ojai. I didn’t know she had taken it, just as she didn’t know the significance of what I was writing, but later when she gave it to me, I printed, framed and hung it by my bed – I called it “The Beginning”.

A week or so later, I was back in yoga church and something that Jen said in class resonated with me – “expect to be delighted”. I didn’t hear anything else. I grabbed those words and claimed them as my mantra. When I got home, I wrote the words “EXPECT DELIGHT” on a post-it note, stuck it inside my medicine cabinet and another on the dashboard of my car, scrawled it at the head of every page in my daily calendar. It typed it into my phone so “expect delight” would be the first thing I’d put in my head when I switched off my early morning alarm. It would take my sunny disposition to a whole other planet. I expected delight each and every day. And once I honed in on it, I wasn’t disappointed. Delight was bloody everywhere! It was in the joy of my child’s single dimple when he smiled, it was in my healthy body, it played in the ocean, blared out off the radio, it was in the daily phone call from my dearest friend, it was an ingredient called kindness left by the soup fairy. On and on and on it went until one day the mother lode of delight showed up unexpectedly in the form of love. He cursed, he prodded and asked questions that rattled my English sensibilities and as it turns out, has an amazing play list to boot.

I liked him a lot!

So! Fast-forward almost two years to current view. Love rules over fear, spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen abound, happiness cup runneth over. Oh, and that toxic job I rambled on about inanely at the retreat, has been replaced by my own business; “The Help”. A professional home organization that gives me the opportunity to help people de-clutter their physical space so they can make room in their homes and lives to breath, create and thrive. “Expect Delight” has become my business mantra too. I want to share with others, the pay-off when you shift your mindset to seek out the positive, the good, the kindness, the joy. It’s inspired a poem, letters of gratitude, an incredible sculpture, and appeared on kitchen bulletin boards.

Words are powerful, so are your thoughts, as are your actions. I seal my yoga practice with three Namastes – the first is for delightful thoughts, the second, for delightful words and the third, for delightful actions. I’m “Expecting Delight” every single day.

What’s your mantra?

Please check out The Help on Facebook and set up an appointment today with Joanne. She truly is a delight.

The Help Gets the Job Done!

 
From the website: Experts report that organized people save time and money, and reduce their stress and frustration levels.  Spending time doing what matters most leads to an increased sense of accomplishment, balance and happiness.  The Help can lighten your load and transform your surroundings so you’re free to unleash your own creativity and spend more time doing what matters most to you!   
 
Contact us today to find out how The Help gets the job done!
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Delight, Yoga Classes

Look For The Whee In Everything!

September 17, 2012

whee interjection ˈhwē, ˈwē

Definition of WHEE

—used to express delight or exuberance

I have a few quirks as a yoga teacher. I have some rules. One of them, which you all know by now is: If you fall you must laugh.

Rod Stweart’s wife Penny and I for a filming of Karaoke Yoga for the British show Lorraine. She liked my rule! We laughed a lot.

Another one: You are not allowed to take YOURSELF seriously.

And then there’s: when you are hopping up and attempting a handstand you must yell “wheeee!” 

There are a few reasons behind this. One is this: try and say Whee without smiling.

See. I told you. You can’t.

In a land where most of us (read:me) take ourselves too seriously, and especially our yoga, a little smiling can go a long way. A little light heartedness to go with the light footedness.

The whee brings the joy back, the silliness, and the idea that this is not as serious as I am probably making it out to be.

It also helps you lose any self-consciousness (much as my Karaoke Yoga® class does.)

So here is the question: Can you find the Whee in all you do?

Where is the whee?

Reminds me of that awful 80’s commercial: Where’s the beef?

Look for the whee in everything.

Even in what can be perceived as a stressful situation, there is a Whee lurking somewhere. Maybe it is just laughing at ourselves for a moment.

I love when I get messages from people who move away or can no longer take my class and they say things like: I miss the Whee!

Why shouldn’t there be more Whee?

I am not suggesting you don’t take your job seriously or your yoga practice. I am suggesting you (read: me again) stop taking yourself so seriously!

Most of us are desperate for more joy, more connection, more Wheeeeeeeee!

Post below your Whee of the day.

Must have at least on Whee a day says ancient Chinese proverb!

Wheee! Filming for CBS The Doctors at Equinox! We had a lot of Wheees!

Delight, Guest Posts

Blown Away.

September 14, 2012

 

As you all know, nothing thrills me more than the idea of connection.

So you can imagine how touched I was when someone whom I have never met in person sent me the following post they wrote about me. And, although we have never met in person, I can safely say she holds a very special place in my life. Here it is:

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What’s In A Name?

Dear Jen,

I noticed something about your last name. I feel it represents a lot about you. Read it slowly.

 

Pastiloff.

 

Did you get it? Here, I’ll break it up Past-Il-Off.

 

The message I get is: Passed Ill Off.

 

That’s one of the main things you talk about. About shaking off the past negativity. The “shoulda, coulda, woulda” as you say. Learning from it and being fine it happened because you are no longer there.

 

Everyone has flashbacks. Everyone looks back to where they were and spends some time looking around. The point is to not do it too often and to not stay there. Don’t live where you don’t belong.

 

You practice living in the moment. Moving forward. And only seem to go to the past to help others, and yourself if needed, with obtaining the greatest present and future! How brave is that? I can’t even look at my journal from the past year, heck the past month! Even if it’s all good news. You go back Years! You go into the jungle of past unpleasant experiences and cut the negativity of tangled vines with a machete.

 

Everyone has things in the past that they don’t like to remember. We don’t like that we wasted time with this, or didn’t do that. You on the other hand, and I’m not sure many can, take the past, put in a jar, study it, and then present it in the world as something worth seeing.

 

You stand as the Ringmaster on stage before the Circus. The Passed Ill Off Circus! We think it’s going to be a show of other wonders, (but it’s a reflection of the own show we need to put on for ourselves).

 

Your past is on display. We arrive unaware on how this will effect us and are amazed with glitter a unicorn and twinkling lights. We think it’s going to be something we haven’t seen before. A new wonder to take us away from where we have been. To stop thinking about it. Instead, your show of the history you lived somehow bleeds into our own.

 

We weren’t expecting this. The crowd is wide eyed and perhaps slack jawed. It’s a better surprise and wonder than we ever could have imagined! We didn’t realize how much we needed a ticket to this show.

 

For those surprised and perhaps fearful, and those of us touched and heart swollen, we can hear you calling from the spotlight during a brief intermission.

 

“Look at this hurt, this experience! Look at his hate and this love! This past me and perhaps a past you as well. Look at what you are manifesting now. This isn’t just for me, it’s for you too. Don’t shy away. Be touched, dazzled, brought to tears or silence. Here is my past. You’ve got one too!”

 

The show begins again. The audience sits still as you show us where you have been and where you’re going. We are allowed to come along. It’s interactive! No expectations, no certain ways things are supposed to be done. Only connection on the highest level and producing the most wonderful-filling manifestations.

 

Who knew there could be so much good in where we’ve been? Even the parts that leave a sour taste on the tip of our tongue.

 

At the end of the show, there’s and invitation to come again.

 

“There it is. It’s all there. Nothing to hide and everything to see. Heartbreaks and headaches. Loved ones and sticking to your guns. Holding yourself back and losing your track. New life creating and karaoke yoga gyrating. We are the combination of our past but we don’t have to stay there. Passed Ill Off Circus! Whose ready to join me?!”

 

All I know is, I’ll forget about my ticket. I’m running away to join the circus!

 

xoxo

~ Chelle aka Writer Yogi

~~~~

Right? Amazing?!!

Connect with Chelle by checking out her blog here. She also writes for MindBodyGreen, as I do.

#humbled.

Tweet me what the best thing to happen to you all week was by clicking here! Use hashtag #BestThings

Delight, Inspiration

Who Is Your Hemingway?

August 1, 2012
A MovEable Feast.

I want to hang out with Ernest Hemingway. I want to walk with him to the Musee du Luxembourg and then have good things to eat with him.

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. ~ Ernest Hemingway to a friend, 1950.

Now, I was not lucky enough to have lived in Paris a young man, Hell, I am not, nor will I ever be, a young man. Or a man period, for that matter.  And I will never be lucky enough to sit down and drink a chilled Algerian wine with Hemingway, or Hem, as his friends called him. Surely we would have been friends. I will never walk with him to Sylvia Beach’s library and discuss words and pictures, whisky and James Joyce. And for that I am truly bereft.

I know he shot himself early one morning over 50 years ago and perhaps that is also another reason I feel the connection as I too have known the dark night of the soul, and the swing of the mood, the blurring of the facts. I know I am idealizing his life but that’s ok. That’s what we do with people we choose to carry with us. We take the magic parts of them and light them up so bright that anything else is unseeable.

But I did just read A Moveable Feast and felt as if I was there in Paris. I imagine it to be so and that is most definitely what he was aiming for and what he was so gifted at. I am sure that is why my friend gave me the book and insisted I read it before I went to Paris. I didn’t. I read it over a few days last week and fell into a reverie, and a slight romance with Hem, and all the usual suspects like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound. And a longing to go back to Paris where I just came from.

I found myself wondering how I ended up in the wrong era?

How anytime Hemingway and his friends spoke to one another they said each other’s names often. It makes everything glisten and sound important.

A moveable feast. I love that notion for what it suggests. I have always been prone to nostalgia, perhaps to a fault, carrying my friends with me on slips of paper and photographs, letting them fade a little but never so much that I couldn’t see where they were. Perhaps this explains my love of Facebook. Of connection.

Why should one’s feast be stagnant and confined to one place?

I say we make more moveable feasts. That maybe we become our own moveable feasts so that when we move, when we pack up the boxes that contain of our lives, we have that feast in us and can spread it out buffet style wherever we go. Ernest Hemingway understood this. Perhaps this is why he wrote. I will never lose you he might have said to his feast over some chicken with his first wife Hadley.

I have my own private feasts.

Wherever I go, there they are. My tribe. I don’t meet strangers anymore as I have said so often, I only meet old friends. My tribe has proven moveable and it never takes long to find them where ever I am. It only revealed itself as this way once I realized that I could take it with me, that it was inside of me. For a long time I believed that my feast was stuck in one place and that place was way beyond my scope of imagination.

What I am saying is this: I am a moveable feast.

He says in the book: When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.

There are so many worlds within that one paragraph I could travel to. First of all, the idea that there is no problem except where to be happiest is simply delicious. That my   only concern could be: Where to go hang my heart, where to go sip my Muscadet in the sunshine or eat oysters? Where can I go keep being happy today? 

People: the population that most often causes us pain and suffering and delight. Yes, delight as well, admittedly. That the only thing that could spoil a day was people is quite funny. Nowadays, we are so dialed in. Okay, I am so dialed in. So over-connected.

How to get away from letting things in that don’t belong in my brain or on my calendar or my computer screen is a concern Hem didn’t have back then. He didn’t have to think about shutting down Facebook or texting someone back or tweeting or getting stuck in traffic with other people.

Except for the very few people that were as good as spring itself. I have my own little list, steadily growing in size as I grow in years. It’s more than a few, but hey, I am sure I know more people than Hemingway did by sheer virtue of social media. I am not sure that is a good thing.

I want to spend more time with my list, with my few people that are as good as Spring itself. I want to spend more time with Spring itself. I want to go back to Paris with my pen and my eyes and let them do the work and then take it back with me wherever I go, much as Hemingway attempted to.

Wherever I go I will be home because I will take with me my own moveable feast. I will be on my Awe Tour all the time, taking notes and adding them to my repertoire, which includes: Ernest Hemingway, and my favorite people and memories. Wines that I love and songs too, pictures I took and people I thought I have forgotten but haven’t, books I have read and sentences I remember from where I do not know. And miracles I have been privy to or part of all along the way. Things I am not proud of alongside my greatest accomplishments, the talisman I wear around my neck and a paper scrawled with all the things that would fit on it which bring me wonder. All of these things will be part of my movable feast and as I get older it will grow, and it will shrink, and it may grow again but it will always be movable unless I forget that it is.

And I will never forget.

I will carry Hemingway in my breast pocket or the equivalent of that, maybe on my iPad or Kindle, and I will reach for him if I start to feel like I am being swallowed by nothingness or everythingness or Facebook.

I will pour myself a glass of something red, get a nice pen, and maybe some nice stationery for Hemingway’s sake, and I will neatly write out all the things that are included in my moveable feast. For as long as it takes.

Who and what is in your box? In your own moveable feast?

Who is your Hemingway? Your light post when it gets a little too dark to remember where you have been?

~~~~

***For Laura Donnelly

Delight, Inspiration, Manifestation Retreats, Travels

Re-Entry into Awe and Wonder.

July 17, 2012

Confession: I am having the blahs.

I am back from my the retreat I led in Tuscany and my post-retreat vacation in Paris, with an empty feeling like I came back a shell, having left the meat of me somewhere in Monteriggioni, inside the walled city, perhaps eating gelatto or maybe in a field of sunflowers as the light splays down on them in such a way that my eyes burn, not so much with pain, but with an overwhelming sense of wonder.

One of the things I asked my retreat attendees (a fantastic group that I am still pinching myself over) was to carry their journals around them with during the day, whether they were in Siena eating a slice of pizza or in Florence with the ghosts of Ponte Vecchio, long dead but still floating around with their gold and jewels somewhere just above the ether. I asked them to carry their Awe and Wonder Journals and jot down every singe thing that cause them to feel awe or wonder. Whether it was a conversation with someone who didn’t speak a word of English or the way the Tuscan hills looked at 9:30 at night as the sun was going to bed or a piece of Pecorino cheese and the way it lingered in the mouth waiting for the perfect splash of chianti to join it before descending.

It didn’t matter how big or small the things were that they were jotting down. What mattered is that they were paying attention. To the things that made them feel alive, to the things that made them stop and say Wow.

I wonder how many things we miss because we feel we have seen it before or simply because we are looking at the wrong things to wake us up. I want more things to stop me in my tracks. I want more things to make me ask questions. I want more things to make me feel connected to something bigger than myself, longer standing than myself, and way beyond what I can ever understand. Those type of things.

Whether it is a a piece of pizza in Rome or a moody sky in Paris. Whether it is the high ceilings at the Ebbio and how they have been there for 800 years or the way the olive oil tasted and how time seems slower there as if it has nowhere to be.

So I asked them to be filled with awe and wonder and to bring their journals around so they wouldn’t forget.

It’s easy to forget. Or to not look in the first place.

One of my favorite Mary Oliver poems (you know my obsession with her) in The Mockingbirds.

It is my favorite story–
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give
 
but their willingness
to be attentive–
 

Their willingness to be attentive!

That’s it, right there. Are you willing to be attentive? To allow yourself more moments of awe and wonder and inspiration and grace?

I came back and feel empty because in some way I believe that is only possible when I am away. That when I am back here, in my normal life, in the real world, I must go back to feeling like the same old me.

Sure, my retreat was a cocoon of love and safety. I got terribly ill, sicker than I can remember being, and despite that, I felt safe and free and happy. I want that back, yes. Sure, the food tasted different and the sky lingered longer than it does here and I didn’t have to deal with emails and bills and traffic and making breakfast and Facebook.

But what I realized there in Tuscany and Paris, and now in hindsight, sitting here with my too strong coffee and feeling nostalgia, as I am prone to feel (is it any wonder I love Facebook?) is that: I can be Italy anywhere. I can be Paris anywhere.

What I mean is: I do not have to escape to feel alive. I do not have to get away to remember the beauty around me or inside of me, to pick up small tokens of beauty wherever I am, on the sidewalk or in a conversation. I simply have to allow it.

I simply have to take out and Awe and Wonder Journal and pay attention.

No I won’t have the same treasures here. I won’t be able to duck into a Parisian cafe in the rain and snap photos of the macarons or take the train and watch buildings speak their stories of defense and heartbreak and disintegration from centuries or eat Brie and actually enjoy it because it does taste different in France and the wine in Italy. The wine in Italy is it’s own treasure.

But, I brought 25 people with me to Italy. I got sicker than I have ever been and they stood by me and not for one moment let me feel as if I was letting them down, or they were disappointed or this was anything other than exactly what they dreamed of.

I did that. I attracted 25 people who got along perfectly as if they chose each other, who laughed together in Italian cities, who stayed up late and painted fingernails and drank Limoncello and wrote in their journals what they would do if they weren’t afraid, who swam in the Mediterranean and then had a picnic with tomatoes and cheese and hard boiled eggs and ate it happily with their hands. There were no cliques, there was no negativity, there was no complaining. I brought these people with me. From here.

So, if that is the case, it would make sense to say that I could bring them anywhere. I could have the same experience here in Santa Monica or in New York City or Mexico or my sofa. It wouldn’t matter.

All I have to do is keep being who I am and the right people will show up.

And then pay attention.

And then be awe.

Be wonder.

**Click here to see some amazing shots on my site of my amazing retreat.