Browsing Tag

humor

Guest Posts, Humor, Resistance

Recovering My Alternative Factuality: A Thank You to Mr. Trump

April 1, 2017
security

By Nina Gaby

DJ, may I call you that? It’s informal but then again, you are “for the people” of which I am one. Saying “President Trump” just carries all sorts of negativity, and this here is a little thank you note. Don’t worry, I’m not an academic or anything. I don’t even have an MFA. (That’s a college degree for people who are serious about their writing.) I just wanted to check in.

First off, DJ, you got me back in the pool. Last time I was this depressed was right after Reagan’s election. I’d just stopped drinking. I was all sorts of bloated and baggy-eyed (you know what I mean, bro) and wow, if I didn’t just swim my way out of that depression and addiction! I was gorgeous! Not a “10” but I bet you’d have looked twice at me, all artsy and zaftig1. Sober, however, I might have been a bit rejecting of you and for that I’m sorry in retrospect. You know I’m older now and have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and shoulder shit and stuff and can’t really swim, but I’m back in the pool….I strap on one of those belts and jog back and forth, back and forth, just thinking about you. (PS I’m also doing yoga and lifting weights again, thanks to you.)

And who knew pink was my color? I never wear hats. But that march, well, a whole new me. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, No Bullshit Motherhood

An Open Letter to My Formula-Fed Baby

October 30, 2016
formula

By Shannon Frost Greenstein

Dear Offspring,

I must apologize. I must do more than apologize. I must grovel on my knees for your forgiveness, kowtow to your sleeping form, throw myself upon my samurai sword in disgrace. I have failed you. I have failed as a mother, but more than that, I have failed as your provider and protector. Your existence is now irrevocably screwed up, all because I’m feeding you formula.

Offspring, please understand. I tried. I tried SO bloody hard. I wanted to breastfeed you more than anything in the world, and I will never get back the block of my life that I devoted trying to feed you from my body. Don’t get me wrong…I would happily sacrifice it a million times over if there was even the remotest chance I could rear you the way nature intended. But it was just a physical impossibility, and now, you’re playing through life with an unimaginable handicap, all because I’m feeding you formula.

Just so you know how sorry I really am, let me detail how your life is flat-out ruined, all because I’m feeding you formula. Continue Reading…

Binders, Guest Posts

Going Away

July 22, 2015

By Melissa Ballard

 

One Month Before Going Away

  1. Try not to think about it. You know it will take you forever–longer than the trip will last–to pack.  Even with all that prep, you will take too many pairs of shoes and forget the iPod on which you’ve downloaded the CD, How To Eliminate Panic Attacks.
  2. Remember this is something you want to do, and will almost certainly enjoy. That the anticipation is always the worst part. Always.
  3. Tell yourself that anything you forget can be purchased once you get there. Probably.  Try not to think about that week you spent without a car at a summer resort where the gourmet grocery store sold seventeen flavors of olive oil, but did not stock peanut butter.
  4. Meditate daily. Practice positive-self talk.  Try not to take yourself so seriously, for God’s sake.

Continue Reading…

beauty, Binders, Guest Posts, Humor, Owning It!, Self Love

The Other Plastic Surgery.

February 16, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Sara Bir. 

There’s a face I’m sick of seeing, and it’s not the rearranged mess of a scandalized Hollywood star. It’s a face I confront in every reflective surface—the bathroom mirror, the screen of my smartphone if I tilt it just so. Perhaps this face may even appear superimposed on that of a celebrity of a certain age, if I pause while zipping along through my Facebook feed.

“What the heck happened?” I think in shock, every single time, because the face glaring back at me does not match my memory of what my face looks like. The skin at the corners of eyelids and lips is creased, slack; the purplish sacks under the eyes are increasingly puffy and swollen, almost like bruises. My nose, which has always been large, is gleefully launching into a mid-life growth spurt, veering off-center to one side and becoming bulbous and shiny, like Santa’s.

This is the other plastic surgery. It’s the kind that rearranges your face in totally unexpected ways. This surgeon of mine should be taken to court, I grumble, but I didn’t hire him. Or is it her? Perhaps they work as a husband-wife team, the practice of Mother Nature and Father Time. They are certainly not exclusive; in fact, it’s impossible not to get a referral. And they’re quite generous with appointments, happy to work your countenance over again and again. They really don’t make any compromises, those two. Try as you might, these practitioners will always be in your health network.

 

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. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that's it! Summer or Fall 2015.

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. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that’s it! Summer or Fall 2015.

 

The handiwork of Drs. M. Nature and F. Time is understandably a concern for anyone whose career demands fresh, fussed-over faces. Thank god I’m not a glamorous media figure, because even without a long, expensive vacation to Camp Nip’n’Tuck, the shifting topography of my head is, to me, as startling as Renée’s, or Madonna’s, or Kenny’s, or Nicole’s.

That’s because the face I unfailingly expect to greet me from a mirror is perhaps circa 1999, or maybe 2004, or maybe not from any specific era of my life except an idealized past. Who knows what I’m idealizing, because, at a still-spry 38 years, inside I feel more confident and sorted-out than I ever did when my skin cells still had snappy elasticity. After a few seconds adjusting to the very human lady blinking back at me in those oh-so-unbeautiful morning minutes after rustling out of bed, I just sigh and call a truce.

I went to my husband for a sympathetic ear, and also to gauge the waters of our marital relations. Alas, my vigilant team of plastic surgeons also did a number on my breasts and abdomen. The stomach is quite fit if I flex it, something I only do if I’m scrutinizing my profile under the unflattering florescent lights of a dressing room. Otherwise, the unflexed tummy flesh and skin are rubbery and malleable, like Silly Putty. As for my breasts, once I stopped nursing my young daughter, they vanished; my cup size is essentially –AA. This is the one session with Mother Nature and Father Time that’s made me feel youthful, because now the only place I can find bras that fit is in the little girl’s section at Target.

Still, men like boobs. One evening, at bedtime, I worked up enough courage to ask my husband, “Are you still attracted to me even though I’m so different now?”

“What?” he said, distracted. I’d disturbed the constant, anxious reverie about his receding hairline. As if he has time to think about where my boobs went! Isn’t that what internet pornography is for?

So I dropped it. In fact, no one seems to notice the havoc my plastic surgeons have wreaked on my face. Sometimes, if I go months without running into a friend, they’ll even say, “You look great!” And I, in turn, am pleased seeing their glowing, radiant selves, and I don’t even think about scrutinizing their expanding pores or multiplying crow’s feet. Maybe that’s because their faces are not stretched in high definition across a television that spans an entire wall in our living room. Maybe because the energy inside someone when you see them in person has so much to do with how you perceive the physicality of that face.

While trapped in the snaking line of the express checkout at the grocery store yesterday, the cover of a Prevention magazine caught my eye. “Stop aging!” the headline blared. I’ve flirted with capsules, lotions, and masks, and I can vouch that it’s not humanly possible cease the steady march of the Other Plastic Surgery. We all know there’s really only one way to stop aging, and that’s to die. I’d rather keep on living, with this ever-dynamic face. I found it looks years younger when I don’t scowl at the mirror.

 

servicesSara Bir is a chef, food writer, and usually confident parent living in Ohio. Her essay “Smelted”, from the website Full Grown People, appears in Best Food Writing 2014. You can read Sara’s blog, The Sausagetarian, at www.sausagetarian.com. This is her second essay on The Manifest-Station.

Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body? To get into your words and stories?  Join Jen Pastiloff and best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch over Labor Day weekend 2015 for their 2nd Writing & The Body Retreat in Ojai, California following their last one, which sold out in 48 hours. You do NOT have to be a writer or a yogi.  "So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff's Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing." ~ Pema Rocker, attendee of Writing & The Body Feb 2015

Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body?
To get into your words and stories? Join Jen Pastiloff and best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch over Labor Day weekend 2015 for their 2nd Writing & The Body Retreat in Ojai, California following their last one, which sold out in 48 hours. You do NOT have to be a writer or a yogi.
“So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff’s Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing.” ~ Pema Rocker, attendee of Writing & The Body Feb 2015

Featured image courtesy of Timothy Krause.

Guest Posts, Life

Not The Living Proof Girl.

December 23, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Karen Dempsey

We piled into a long, rented passenger van. Two of the juniors, Dan and Mike, had already claimed “driver” and “co” and instituted the rule that driver chooses music, setting us up for sixteen solid hours of Phish.

I crunched in next to a wiry kid with a mess of black hair.

“Benjamin.” He grinned, showing off a shiny retainer. “Freshman.”

I was a college sophomore headed out on a road trip from Boston to Savannah with a dozen kids I didn’t know. It was a Habitat for Humanity volunteer trip—not exactly MTV Spring Break. But, for me, that wasn’t really the noteworthy part.

I don’t need an introvert/extrovert quiz to know where I fall on the spectrum of personality types. I’ve always been a person who lingers most comfortably near the edges of things, enjoying the view from a distance. Even at nineteen years old, my ideal break would have looked more like a low-key trip with a good friend, or week at home in Buffalo with the people who knew me best.

But some small part of me had pushed to try it for once: fall fully and inescapably into the center of something unfamiliar, with a whole group of people I didn’t know pressed in close. And I’m being literal here, because, as I settled into my seat, Benjamin the freshman was making the case that he should be allowed to sleep on me.

“I know we just met,” he said. “But you’re going to know me really well by the end of the week. It’s a long drive. And if I can’t lean on you, I’ll never get any sleep.”

The drive was long. With Phish cranked up and Benjamin nuzzling my shoulder, sleep wasn’t really an option. So I spent the ride trying to catalog the other volunteers by the things they said, the way they interacted.

By virtue of being a senior, Cindy had earned some kind of a supervisory role on the trip, a designation quickly challenged by several of the boys. She was enthusiastic but wavering, an unforgivable combination among ruthless twenty-year-olds. But she had two smart, solid girlfriends with her, and they shored up her confidence. You could see they wanted her to succeed. Eventually, the rest of us would, too.

Anthony from Staten Island was an RA on campus. He had signed up with his friend Eileen and a kid from his floor named Rob. From the moment we all introduced ourselves, Rob began working the refrain, “Come on, Eileen,” a la Dexys Midnight Runners, into every conversation.

There was the soft-spoken, fair-minded guy who was treasurer of student government. The amazing pianist who would spend his junior year studying in South Africa. The pretty, smiling girl who was active in a Christian youth group on campus. There was Beth—alternately friendly and harsh, caught in the push-pull of wanting to fit in and pretending it didn’t matter.

And then there were Mike and Dan. Pushy, I thought. Kind of jerky. But they were the type of kids who pulled the outliers into their jokes instead of making them their (easy) targets. Also? They were really, really funny.

Along with being an introvert, I was a person known to develop crushes on smart, funny boys. Driving across those ten states, as we neared the end of our drive, I was falling hard for Mike.

Like the children we still were, we found ways to debate everything from seating arrangements to whether beef jerky was an acceptable snack choice. But there were long, quiet spells where no one said anything at all. And there were discussions about things that mattered, too, like the fact that we were getting a chance to help build a house that an actual family would live in.

A few hours into the drive, someone brought up the subject of abortion, and the exchange got heated, fast. Beth’s voice trembled. She seemed about to cry. Cindy and her friends exchanged a look, and stopped talking. The silence hovered there in the thick air of the van. Then, carefully, someone started a new thread—something light. And someone else picked it up. And just like that, we were a group of people who looked out for one another.

We passed a hand-lettered, misspelled sign on the road: “Acers of land for sale,” someone read. “Ace – ers of land.” And then someone screamed, “Yeah! We made it! We’re in the south!”

The house we were to stay in was a mustard-colored ranch set up with several rooms of bunks for Habitat volunteers. I was glad when Anthony called to me, “You wanna bunk with us?” He, Rob, and Eileen had kept up a steady stream of lighthearted bantering and bickering since we’d all met in the van. They were easy to be around. All I had to do was laugh.

The work would start Monday, but first we had the rest of the weekend, beginning with a night out in Savannah. It was Saint Patrick’s Day, so we planned to head downtown to a popular Irish bar. I was glad I’d packed a little makeup along with my work jeans and tee shirts.

“Is that my brush?” Eileen asked, as Rob checked his hair in the mirror over the bedroom’s one small dresser.

“Oh, come on, Eileen,” he shouted back.

We drove into the city and found parking; we weren’t even through the door of the bar when a beaming blond girl flew into Mike’s arms out of nowhere. A girlfriend. Of course. She—Amy—and her friend were sailing the friend’s dad’s boat (I know) down the coast for spring break. They had run into us coincidentallywe were assured, with no previous planning between Amy and Mike, on our one night out in Savannah.

“Man!” Mike said. “Can you believe this?”

No. I really couldn’t.

  • ••

One night later in the year, my roommate Caroline went out to see a popular band—Living Proof—that was loved mightily for its covers of new wave songs. Disappointed she couldn’t convince me to join her and her new beau, Caroline went to the show dragging her feet a little. But she came home effervescent. Drunk on keg beer, she gushed about this beautiful nameless girl, who had spotted her not having fun and pulled her out on the dance floor, turning her night around.

Caroline called her The Living Proof Girl, which became shorthand for the enviable, carefree spirit who approached college—and life in general—with a seemingly effortless upbeat attitude. Be charming and pretty! Dance with strangers! Infect the world with your happiness!

Soon after we went to see the campus improv comedy group, My Mother’s Fleabag. Caroline said, “It’s her,” at the same moment I thought it. We both recognized the girl on stage for different reasons. The star of Fleabag was The Living Proof Girl. Who was Mike’s girlfriend. Who was Amy freaking Poehler.

(“You’re funnier then she is,” my friend Kim said recently when I told her this story. “But I think she’s got you beat in the tits department.”)

  • ••

My heart sank a little as Mike melted into Amy’s hug. But I had only known him for a matter of hours. I swallowed my Guinness and made myself start conversations with the other volunteers. I even tapped my Irish American upbringing and requested songs from the band. The singer asked where I was from, then gave our group a shout-out into the microphone. I had fun.

  • ••

The next day, Sunday, we had planned to drive to Hilton Head. But Anthony wanted to go to church first, and we had only one van.

“Guys, I haven’t missed Sunday Mass my whole life,” he said. “You can’t wait an hour?”

There was grumbling. Silence. He looked around at the group, pleadingly.

“I don’t think we can make someone miss Mass for the beach,” I heard myself say. Anthony had pulled me into his little crew when I was apart from the crowd and I owed him one.

It turned out Anthony had gotten the time for the service wrong, so he would miss Mass after all. But he seemed grateful we’d made the effort, and I was glad I’d spoken up.

At the beach I sat taking in the view of the Atlantic, seeing it for the first time from a place other than from the New England Coast. It was chilly out, which didn’t stop some of the girls from peeling down to bikinis. People swam and screamed and splashed each other. I was happy to sit on the beach and watched, wiggling my toes in the sand, wondering what else the week held.

In the morning, the alarm sounded early.

“Ugh!” Rob groaned. “Come on, Eileen.”

We were putting up the framework of the house. When had I held a hammer before? To hang cheaply framed posters over my bed? The nails bent at odd angles or went in sideways. Wood splintered. I was sweating, and my shoulders ached. Jack, a guy who lived on the property in a trailer with his dog and managed the volunteers, walked around offering guidance. I swung the hammer. Thwack thwack thwack. When a nail bent or broke I wrenched it out again. Eventually, I could set those nails in perfectly and my beams came together, part of a wall that was part of a house that a family was going to live in.

Mike and Dan walked over with a sledgehammer.

“Ma’am, this wall is going to have to come down.”

“This is going to hurt us more than it hurts you.”

“Don’t laugh, ma’am. You should probably look away.”

We watched the walls go up. We filled them in. Jack handpicked the best workers to hang the drywall. We screamed and cheered because, at that age, when you accomplish something big, you can still do that.

One morning there were gnats—no see-ums, people called them. They descended on you and filled your nose and mouth. I was near tears. Bug spray didn’t work, the nets on your head helped but obscured your view, and no one else was wearing them. I snuck back to the house, made myself a peanut butter sandwich, and used the house phone to call my sister. “Why did I do this?”

I pulled myself together. Back outside, a little rain descended and drove the bugs away. We celebrated.

Another day, Beth cut her hand using the table saw and Jack had to take her for stitches and a tetanus shot. While they were gone, we lazed around a bit. There was chalk on the worksite and Mike splayed across the ground and had me trace his outline like a body at a crime scene. Then he called Jack’s dog and coaxed it to lie beside the tracing so that he could trace the dog too. Laughing, I took a picture of their two empty outlines.

Our last night in Georgia, Cindy hooked up with the freshman.

“Tell me you didn’t have sex with him,” one of her friends fumed.

“She would,” Beth said acidly.

And the confirmation was written in the grin on Benjamin’s face.

Mike gave me a wide-eyed, open-mouthed look of exaggerated shock and I had to leave the room and laugh.

  • ••

Back at school, I mailed off my rolls of film and when they came back, I bored everyone I could with photos of the house going up. I slipped the crime scene picture into an envelope, carefully wrote out Mike’s address and dropped it in the mail. And soon after I got an envelope from him—an invitation to the party he’d promised us all he’d throw at his off-campus apartment.

I went alone. The Savannah group came, in pairs and with roommates or on their own.

“That picture was so great,” Mike said to me.

I walked around his apartment and saw a picture of him with Amy and then, eventually, the real Amy, hanging out and laughing in a hallway.

I stood next to Beth, watching Mike laugh with a group of his friends.

“I had such a crush on him,” I said.

“Who didn’t?” she answered dismissively.

There wasn’t a lot for us—any of us—to say to each other now that we were back on campus. But somehow, that seemed okay. It seemed, in fact, exactly right. The experiences we’d shared together, and whatever we’d learned about ourselves as individuals, weren’t the kind of things we needed to say out loud.

Content to leave it that way, I finished my drink and slipped out without saying goodbye.

  • ••

Junior year at a football game, I was walking through the stadium with a boy when I saw Mike and Dan in the crowd, running toward me.

They spotted me, whooped, and each grabbed me in a hug, and I felt like my face would break from smiling. I introduced them to my boyfriend and they shook his hand because we were in that strange world where adulthood and childhood, job interviews and football tailgates, collide. Mike, who was then a senior, put his hands on my shoulders and leaned down.

“You’re good?” he asked, while the crowd roared around us. “You’re good?”

“I’m good!” I grinned back, and he squeezed me in a last hug.

“Good luck,” we called to each other, and laughed. And headed back toward our futures.

  • ••

Twenty years later, I’ve discovered via the magic of the web that Mike is even handsomer than I remembered, with three equally photogenic kids hanging off of him in his Facebook picture. Dan is a New York Times bestselling author who has been interviewed on all the major news shows. Amy Poehler continued to pursue her interest in comedy. And the guy who shook hands with Mike and Dan at the game? He’s my husband, and we have two (adorable, hilarious, introverted) kids.

  • ••

KAREN DEMPSEY has written for The New York Times Motherlode blog, Babble, and Brain, Child. She lives in Massachusetts. Read her work at kdempseycreative.com or follow her @karenedempsey. This essay originally appeared at Full Grown People.

 

Join Jen Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2015 for a weekend on being human. It involves writing and some yoga. In a word: it's magical.

Join Jen Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2015 for a weekend on being human. It involves writing and some yoga. In a word: it’s magical.

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.

A detoxifying, weight loss, energizing, strengthening superfood blend. The Green Dream was the first superfood blend I created. "Green foods" are one of the least common foods consumed, yet they are the most nutrient-dense and most important! I wanted to find a way to get these incredible foods into your body without compromising flavor or convenience.  Green Dream is high in plant-based protein, so it keeps you full for longer and helps burn fat. Unlike other protein blends on the market, there are no "fillers" to extend the blend:  Green Dream uses only superfoods as ingredients, thus providing abundant, concentrated nutrient power with each teaspoon you consume.  Green Dream cleanses as its pure ingredients break down toxins and ushers them from the body. And Green Dream is energizing: it provides a natural, caffeine-free power boost every day as it sets the stage for sustained energy while your body releases old materials and rebuilds with precious new fuel. This blend also supports the body in weight loss, if needed: when your every cell is nourished from the clean protein, good fats, and detoxifying green power it provides, the body gives itself permission to let go of unneeded material.  By feeding your cells only the best, Green Dream makes being healthy and fit easy... like a dream.

A detoxifying, weight loss, energizing, strengthening superfood blend.
The Green Dream was the first superfood blend I created. “Green foods” are one of the least common foods consumed, yet they are the most nutrient-dense and most important! I wanted to find a way to get these incredible foods into your body without compromising flavor or convenience. Green Dream is high in plant-based protein, so it keeps you full for longer and helps burn fat. Unlike other protein blends on the market, there are no “fillers” to extend the blend: Green Dream uses only superfoods as ingredients, thus providing abundant, concentrated nutrient power with each teaspoon you consume.
Green Dream cleanses as its pure ingredients break down toxins and ushers them from the body. And Green Dream is energizing: it provides a natural, caffeine-free power boost every day as it sets the stage for sustained energy while your body releases old materials and rebuilds with precious new fuel. This blend also supports the body in weight loss, if needed: when your every cell is nourished from the clean protein, good fats, and detoxifying green power it provides, the body gives itself permission to let go of unneeded material.
By feeding your cells only the best, Green Dream makes being healthy and fit easy… like a dream.

1798X611

Guest Posts, Humor, Self Love

Self Love and The Police.

December 22, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88

By Natan Baruch.

I saw the flashing lights in my rearview mirror.

“Fuck,” I said. I didn’t even think I was speeding. I pulled to the shoulder and rolled down the window. An officer approached.

“License and registration, please,” he said. I handed them over. “Hmm,” he said. “Do you know what the problem is?”

“No,” I said. “I’m afraid I don’t.”

“You’re being a dick to yourself,” said the officer. “I’m gonna have to give you a complement. I love your hair. Is that a recent cut? And here, have a Warhead. Black cherry. Your favorite.”

I lifted my hand and he dropped the candy into my palm.

“Didn’t they discontinue these in the nineties?” I asked.

“So what if they did?” said the officer. “You deserve the best.”

“Oh, I don’t know—”

“Please step out of the vehicle,” said the officer.

“What?” I said.

“Now,” said the officer.

I stepped out of the car and the officer gave me a hug. Continue Reading…

Beating Fear with a Stick, cancer, Gratitude, Guest Posts, healing, Manifestation Retreats

Thank You, You Didn’t Break Me.

February 8, 2014

**trigger warning. Strong content that might be upsetting to some. Mention of sexual abuse. Strong language.

By Lockey Maisonneuve

“Thank you to the people who built me.” Jen Pastiloff read these words from an essay she wrote at Kripalu last weekend during her Manifestation Retreat®.

Thank you. You didn’t break me.

I was tingly when I heard these words. Why? Because Jen created the space for me to powerfully, and without anger, share my gratitude and flaunt my resilience to the people who built me.

We were invited to write a Thank You letter to everyone we ever met, the loving, supporting people who showed us grace and dignity, the people who were careless with our heart, the people who bullied us and those who showed us beauty. This letter was best described by Angela Patel, a retreat participant.  She called it a Thank You/Fuck You letter. “Thank you releases it, while fuck you holds it in.”

When I started writing my letter, I wasn’t sure who would receive the thank you or the fuck you. I just started writing, and thanking and fuck-youing. It all came together in one beautiful, colorful, abstract, authentic, thank you/fuck you landscape.

After I wrote this letter, I was shaking.  All over. My legs, my arms, my chest, my fingers, my heart.  Then I was asked to read my letter aloud.  Really Jen??

I trust her. So I read the letter.

I stood there reading, not even realizing what I’d written until I tried to speak the words out loud.  There was no time to prepare them for what they would hear, no time to make self-deprecating comments, or a joke to avoid being present to this moment.  I just had to stand in the uncertainty that I could be vulnerable and would not crumble into a pile on the floor.

As I read my letter I realized I was getting exactly what I came for.   I was being vulnerable. I was standing in uncertainty. I did not use my humor to deflect the situation like I normally do. I was authentic. I was raw. I was humbled.

My audience held the space for me to express things I’ve never said out loud. Once again, I made it through. I did not crumble. I am whole (and kinda awesome.)

I am forever grateful to Kripalu and the amazing space they provide, Jen Pastiloff for being the space of transformation for the planet, and everyone of the women I hugged, laughed and cried with.  I am in awe of every one of you.

My Thank You/Fuck You Letter inspired by Jen’s essay and assignment (click here to read it.)

Thank you to the kid who poured breadcrumbs on my sister before school.  Thank you to my sister for pushing me away.  thank you to my family for telling me repeatedly “She is the strong one.” Thank you to Andrew for hiring me as a bar tender and telling me during the interview that he knew I was lying about having experience as a bar tender.  Thank you to the rapist who punched me in the face.  Thenk you to the man who pulled me out of the shower after sneaking in to the house.  Thenk you to the man who held me down, thank you to my father who laughed as he counted the money men paid him to rape me.Thank you to the lady who worked in the bakery who bartered babysitting services in exchange for free breakfast.  Thank you to me for my ingenuity at the age of 12.  Thank you to my children for teaching me how to love unconditionally.  Thank you to me for getting up every time I fell. Thank you to cancer for allowing me to see that “someday” is a myth, the time is now.  Thank you lululemon for making yoga pants mainstream.  Thank you Jean, for saving me.  Thank you Ed for firing me, I hated that job.  Thank you personal training career for teaching me that I do have something to offer. 

PS. As a public service announcement, if you are planing on attending a retreat with Jen, which I highly recommend, don’t bother wearing mascara. It will be gone by the end of the first Elton John song and for the rest of the day, you will be wondering if it’s all over your face.   🙂

Lockey is a yoga instructor and survivor of cancer and child abuse. Sharing her story and practicing yoga saved her life. When she let go of both the cancer and the secret of abuse she was able to heal in both mind and body. Lockey openly shares her cancer and child abuse experiences to help others in what ever they are surviving in their lives. Lockey has been profiled in Shape Magazine  WABC-TV, News Channel 12.  She is a montly contributor for PositivelyPositive.com. And writes blogs for SheKnows.com and MindBodyGreen.She is featured in The Ultimate Guide to Breast Cancer by the Editors of Prevention Magazine.  Recently she presented a vidoechat for the GE Healthcare Breast Cancer Mosaic. She is a monthly contributor on PositivelyPositive.com.

At Kripalu in Massachusetts last week (Feb 1, 2014.)

At Kripalu in Massachusetts last week (Feb 1, 2014.)

Lockey and Jen at Jen's Bali retreat last year.

Lockey and Jen at Jen’s Bali retreat last year.

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. Be prepared to go deep if you go sign up for a retreat. And also to laugh! A lot. 

funny

Sexorcism: The Sequel.

October 11, 2012

Okay, so my Sexorcism note apparently made it to Reddit yesterday and I have to admit that the social media geek in me was bummed that I didn’t put my website on it or something that had my name. A million people saw it! Gah! I had no idea it would go viral.

C’est l’avie.

Funny to also see what these Reddit people are saying like ” this is fake” and that it was “a friend of theirs’ note” etc. Oh, the internet, you crazy thing, you! Click here to see.

Anyway, I guess one of the people that saw it was my neighbor who wrote the note and this morning a new note was there. Ha! Here it is:

 

Anyway, all in good fun. Here’s to great sex!

The original note.

Guest Posts

Viva La Reev. Guest Post by Author Jamie Reidy.

June 21, 2012

Today’s guest post seemed fitting since I will be in Paris soon. It is written by Jamie Reidy, whose new book “A Walk’s As Good As A Hit: Advice/Threats from My Old Man” just came out. After you read this post I know you will want to buy this collection of funny and poignant essays. I just did. Enjoy the following sweet and tender post and click here to order Jamie’s fantastic book.

VIVA LA REEV!

I was supposed to get back from France today.  Unfortunately, my client’s situation changed.  But that’s a risk I run as an international dog sitter.

I haven’t been in the business long; in fact, this was going to be my first gig.  In May, a friend of my father’s emailed to congratulate me on my book and we struck up a regular correspondence over the next few weeks.  (It’s amazing how much quicker I get back to people who tell me how great I am.)  In mid-June, Frank forwarded me an email from his stepdaughter who lives in France.

Susan had emailed everyone she knows, asking if anyone wanted a free apartment for a few weeks in downtown Toulouse, an 18th century town near the Pyrenees.  The catch?  The occupier had to dog sit for River, her 13-year old black lab, whose age prevented him from accompanying Susan on a two-week hiking trip in the aforementioned mountains.

“Hey, Mr. Author,” Frank wrote.  “Why don’t you go bunker down in France for two weeks and knock out your screenplay?  All you’d have to do is walk the dog a couple of times a day and drink French wine at night.”  Oh, sure, I’ll just drop everything and jet over to France for two weeks.  Like that’s going to happen.  But then, as I sat un-showered in my boxers at 3pm on a school day, I began to reconsider.

Why wouldn’t I do it?

In my newfound role as fulltime writer, I quickly discovered that I have the attention span of a crow stuck in a room filled with disco balls.  TV, iPhone, “Hiya, Mr. Time Warner Cable Guy working next door” – distractions lurk in every direction.  Burying myself in a city where I know no one and can speak to no one seemed like a brilliant way to get work done without addressing my lack of self-discipline.  Oh yeah, and Toulouse is supposed to be a charming little city.

There were some good reasons for not going, starting with the fact that I had never heard of Toulouse, let alone yearned to visit.  Logistical problems loomed, as it seemed I was not the only Californian trying to fly to Europe in August; exorbitant airfares would require me to cash in 100K cherished frequent flier miles (Jamie doesn’t do “coach” overseas).  Oh, and then there was the whole, “Who goes to France to dog sit?” thing.

Which is what sealed the deal.  Nobody flies to France – or any other place, for that matter – to watch a dog he’s never even met.  This kind of shit doesn’t happen to normal people.  So I agreed to become a dog sitter.

“Of course you are,” my old roommate Steve replied when hearing of my trip.  Because that’s how I roll, mes amis.  “Do you speak any French?”

Ah, zee million dollair question (question)!  At my parents’ insistence, I took French in 7th and 8th grade – in 1982 Mr. and Mrs. Reidy didn’t foresee Spanish becoming a growth language in America – and I still recall more words en Francais than I do in German, which I “studied” for three semesters in college.  But, to answer the question, non, je ne parle pas Francais.  So, I ran out and bought a crash course on CD.

As I listened, many language-related issues popped into my tete.  What if River, the dog I’d be sitting, had forgotten how to speak English?  He might prefer being called, “Reev-air.”  Maybe I could get away with giving him commands in French-accented English, a la “seet.”  Assuming River spoke only French and I still didn’t, would he comprendre my asking, “Do you want to go outside?” in that crazy, baby talk way American dogs seem to prefer?

I looked forward to the challenge of trying to teach him un nouveau artifice in our mere two weeks together.  My mind raced with the possibilities of using River as a foreign chick magnet: “Oui, il est mon chien.”  (Note to self: learn how to say, “Would you like to see where he sleeps?”)

I started to get pretty excited about the trip.  I learned from a helpful French waiter at an LA restaurant that I’d be visiting Tuh-looze, not Tuh-loose, as I had been telling people.  Checking it out online, I noticed that the city looks very cobblestoney, and I imagined The Reev – as I had nicknamed him – and I strolling its 300-year old streets in our matching berets.  It was going to be one heck of a working vacation.

And then I got the email: River died.

The poor old guy conked out three weeks before I was due to arrive.  Susan said he went quickly, and mentioned that just a few days beforehand he had joyously fished a baguette out of a lake and then buried it on shore.  This image broke my heart; ah, the times we would have had!

But my sadness gave way to an overwhelming sense of relief.  What would I have done if River had died on my watch?  Mon Dieu!  I doubt my English-French dictionary contains help for finding a veterinarian or the phrase for, “I did not kill the dog.”  I cannot even imagine what I would have said to Susan upon her return, what words of solace I could have provided.

In her email, Susan said she hoped I’d still take advantage of the free apartment, since she was going ahead with the two-week hike.  For me, though, River’s death robbed my trip of its spirit.  Instead of living the unlikely adventure of writing a screenplay while dog sitting in an 18th century town in the south of France, I would have been a linguistically challenged, solo tourist aimlessly shuffling through a place I had no desire to visit in the first place.  So, I declined her kind offer.

And on Saturday night – what would have been the last night of my trip to Toulouse – I raised a glass of champagne and toasted River.  Dying in the south of France while on a long vacation with the girl you love – tres bien, mon frere.

Jamie Reidy is a University of Notre Dame graduate and a former U.S. Army officer. His first book, “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman” served as the inspiration for the movie “Love and Other Drugs.” Jake Gyllenhaal played a character named “Jamie” in it. Seriously. Jamie’s second book, “Bachelor 101: Cooking + Cleaning = Closing” is a cookbook/lifestyle guide for clueless single dudes just like him. He lives in Manhattan Beach, CA where he also writes screenplays. And takes Jen Pastiloff’s yoga classes. Seriously.

Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer living on an airplane and the founder of The Manifest-Station.  She’s leading a Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and 4 day retreat over Labor Day in Ojai, Calif. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing for all levels. She and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up is NYC in March followed by Dallas, Seattle and London. 

manifesting

Man-Festing!

March 21, 2012
My biggest and most well known rule in my class is:

If you fall you must laugh.

I have these bracelets. You probably have one. They are cobalt blue and they say: What Are You Manifesting? on one side. The other, and more important, from a business standpoint-side: Manifestationyoga.com.

The inside says: Manifesting Your Life, One Laugh at a Time.

So, yea, I have these bracelets.

I ordered 400 of said bracelets for my upcoming east coast tour. (Like I’m Prince. On tour and all.)

I opened up the bag on Wednesday to put one on and nearly fainted. Not from the chemical smell of 400 rubber bands, although that was bad. Very bad.

No. Because they said: Man Festationyoga.com.

Man festation?

Am I being infested with men? WTF!!!

Where is my “I”????

It’s crucial!

Ok, so here is my confession:

I did not, in any way, shape or form, laugh when I fell.

I kicked the door in and threw the 400 bracelets across the room and ended up missing Annie Carpenter’s yoga class.

What am I going to do with 400 Man Fests? I yelled at my front door as I kicked it in.

Why couldn’t they forget the question mark or the word What or You?

No. It had to be my website address.

Of course it did.

Now, when people go to find me at Man-festation yoga.com they will most likely end up at a porn site.

I can see this is where my opportunity to laugh was. I am laughing now but I can assure you when it happened, I was not laughing.

I realized the err in my ways quite quickly and brought one of the bags to class. I have 4 bags of 400, mind you.

The theme of class this week is kindness.

I told my students the story and gave them each a bracelet to remind them of 3 things.

1.) To not take life so seriously.

2.) As a reminder to be kind and hopefully to buy the cup of coffee for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop.

3.) To Man-fest, of course.

I write about it on Facebook and all the ladies want one.

 I will get a man with it? Give me 5!

I now have 79 requests for Man-festation bracelets!

FYI: I called company and they said they would get me new ones as fast as they could. Hopefully by my flight Monday night or else it looks like I will be adding an “I” between the words Man and Fest to 400 blue bands with a black Sharpie on the plane.

Jokes aside, I see how I overreacted in the moment. 

I’m still working on it, folks. Sigh.

I got over it pretty fast, but next time, God-willing there is no next time, I won’t kick my door in, miss yoga and throw a bag of 400 smelly blue rubber bracelets down the stairs.

So, in honor of having a sense of humor, please tell me what you think Man-festing is below……

*******************************************

Below are some excerpts from an amazing email I received last night from a student in one of my Man-Festing classes yesterday:

 The beautiful thing about the Universe is there are never misTAKES . . .only misGIVES.

Jen, this entire situation with the bands is it is perfect. One of the things I value most about your classes, is you truly teach people to laugh at themselves, lighten up & simply have fun . . .yet you do a beautiful job of weaving in the sacred spirit of yoga . . .you bring such a lovely balance of ying & yang energy to the table.

What is most interesting is did you notice what was letter left off the bands? “I”. You are all about the WE Jen . . .more than most people on this planet – everything you stand for & downward dog for ; ) is based on love . . .WEllness has “WE” in it . . .Illness has “I” in it . . . you are a champion for speaking with kindness to ourselves – thinking well – BEING well. So isn’t it it very interesting of all the letters that could be missing on your bands – it just “happened to be the ‘I’.

 Your bands ask “What are you manifesting?” What you manifested was 800 bands instead of 400 – that is one mother fucking powerful manifestor! What you manifested was support and unexpected gifts . . .what you manifested was a gentle reminder that what your ego perceives as imperfection is actually perfect!

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).