Browsing Tag


Gratitude, Guest Posts, How To, Inspiration

The Many Dangers of Complaining.

August 23, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-blackBy Karen Salmansohn

Everybody talks about the importance of appreciation – how it’s such a big-time happiness booster. Truth be told, appreciation very much deserves all the attentive, flattering PR it receives!


But today I’d like to discuss with you the dangers of appreciation’s extreme opposite: depreciation. First of all, let me state clearly that “depreciation” is not simply the absence of appreciation. It’s actually the presence of focusing on problems, flaws and disappointments. Some standard definitions of depreciation: to lessen the value of; to belittle; to represent as being of less merit. There are a lot of people out there who are depreciators – walking around, looking for things to complain about – even when they have many reasons to rejoice. They speak in sentences that begin with “but” or “if only” or “what if.” As a result, depreciators wind up devaluing a lot of good stuff they should be feeling quite giddy about! By decreasing the value of what’s around them – they decrease the love, joy and inner calm they feel in their lives.   Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Yoga

Things Don’t Happen To You- They Happen For You.

July 29, 2014

By Karen Salmansohn.

If you want to be happy, you have to embrace your Karma and Dharma! If you don’t know how, here’s a helpful Legos analogy  – inspired from my Yoga Teacher Training at Ishta Yoga! Read on…

My 3 ½ year old son Ari has a passion for Legos – even bigger than his passion for pizza. I know this –  because when Ari’s busy with his Legos, not even pizza can pry him away.

Although Ari loves building Lego structures from boxed sets, he gets an even bigger kick out of taking huge scoopfuls of old Legos (which we keep in plastic buckets) then building the pieces into “One-of-A-Kind Creations.” I call Ari a Master Builder – a term swiped from the most recent Lego movie to describe someone who’s innovative – who thinks outside of the (Lego) box.

So – what’s this have to do with Karma and Dharma? An interesting synchronicity united these concepts for me this week.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts

If You Have (Or Have Had) Toxic Relationships of Any Kind, Read This Now. By Karen Salmansohn.

March 21, 2014

By Karen Salmanshohn.


Warning! This story includes a naughty word – however –  this word is necessary  – because its shock-value is what catapulted me to change my life. I share this naughty word now with only the most loving intentions – hoping it might be an empowering caffeinated jolt to any sleeping spirits out there!

About a decade and a half ago I used to joke that for me all dating should be re-named ‘blind-dating” – and instead of saying I was “seeing someone right now” – I should be more honest, and say, “I’m dimly viewing someone.”

I remember I was once “dimly viewing” this particular guy. I’ve written about him before  (here in an article about good compromise vs. bad compromise) . I explained how every time I said this guy’s name, my girlfriends would sing the theme song to Batman. Not because this man looked great in black Spandex tights. No, no. It was because he was a bad man.

“Dadadadadadada Bad-man! Bad-man!” my girlfriends would sing, right after I’d finish telling a particularly bad Bad-man episode—of which there were many.

Let’s call this ex of mine “Bruce Wayne” – to protect his not-so-innocent secret identity.

Today I want to share something I never told you about Bruce.


Bruce’s “dadadadadada bad-behavior” began very early on – a few weeks into our relationship.

Yep, right out of the gate Bruce displayed what I felt were highly controlling and paranoically jealous behaviors.

Yet I continued to date him.

I even went away with Bruce for a week long vacation in Turkey – where we had a very big fight one evening.  I made a silly joke to our Turkish waiter – who then laughed – and touched my shoulder before he left our table. Bruce then became convinced that I was flirting with this Turkish waiter. He specifically wanted to know if I’d rather be dating this waiter – a man who could barely speak English – plus lived well beyond a 5,000 mile radius of my zip code. I kept reassuring Bruce I was not the teeniest bit interested in this Turkish dude – yet Bruce refused to talk to me for a full two days of our vacation!

When I came home from vacation, I sought out therapy. I found a nice older psychotherapist, named Sid, who eventually became like a “grandfather from another great-grand-mother.” I adored Sid.

“You’ll never believe what Bruce said/did last night,” I’d begin each and every therapy session. And then I’d launch into another “Dadadadadadada Bad-man Episode”!

“Bruce said he doesn’t want me to have brunch with girlfriends on weekends anymore – unless he comes along.”

“Bruce told me he doesn’t want me to take an evening painting class – because he thinks I just want to meet someone.”

“Bruce told me he doesn’t want me to go to the gym  – because he thinks I just want to meet someone.”

“Bruce told me he doesn’t like it when I come home happy from work – because he worries I enjoy work more than him! He actually became angry the other day because I came home so happy!”

Each week I’d tell Sid story after story – quickly followed by rationalization after rationalization – always explaining why I should stay with Bruce.

“You know what your problem is Karen?” Sid asked me one session.  “You’re so smart, you’re stupid.”

I laughed. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You are able to over-think things so much – that you wind up talking yourself out of what you already know.”

“So you think I should break up with Bruce?” I asked.

Sid sighed loudly. “I’m a therapist. I’m not supposed to tell you what to do. But if you want my honest opinion… I can’t believe you’re gonna stay with him, when he’s an asshole.”

“Wow! I can’t believe you just called Bruce an a***hole,” I said. “But you’re right, he is an a**hole.”

“Actually, I didn’t call HIM an a**hole! I called YOU an a**hole. You heard me wrong. I said, ‘If you continue to stay with Bruce, then YOU are an a**hole.’”

“What? I’m not the a**hole! Bruce is the a**hole!”

“At this point, Karen, if you stay with Bruce knowing what you know – then YOU are the a**hole.”

“I’m the a**hole?” I repeated this word out loud –  a word as opposite in content as a mantra could ever be – but alas, more powerful than any mantra I’d ever used.

This word “a**hole” became my wake up call!

Sid was right. If I stayed with someone who was so very toxic to my well being  – then I became the A**hole to me – for allowing this soul-crushing, freedom-squelching relationship to continue!

“Listen, Karen,” Sid said,  “at this point in therapy we are simply wasting time talking about Bruce – and how messed up he is. Quite frankly, you are only using stories about Bruce to distract yourself from your real issues – and the important inner work you have to do on yourself. It’s time we talk about the white elephant in the room: your wounds! There’s obviously something very wounded inside of you, that you feel the need to stay with Bruce – when he is so toxic.”

Although this story happened well over a decade ago, I think about it often. I particularly think about it whenever I’ve found myself starting to enter into what I intuit might be a toxic relationship –be it in love, business or friendship.

I feel if we’re not careful we can all find ourselves wasting a lot of precious tick-tocking time complaining about how badly someone is behaving towards us.

I believe we need to stop asking questions like:

“Why is this person treating me this way?”  

“Why did this person do that crappy thing to me?”

“What is wrong with this person?”

“Are they an a**hole?”

“Are they a sociopath?”

“Are they a narcissist?”

“Isn’t this person simply just a terrible person?”

The really important questions we should be asking instead are:

“What did I miss in the vetting process that I allowed this person into my life?”

“What is wounded inside me that I choose/chose to stay with this person for as long as I do/did?”

“How can I grow from this experience – so it doesn’t repeat itself into a bad pattern?”

“Do I want to make this a story about how I was a victim – or how I became a victor?”

“Do I want to waste my time, thoughts and energy on toxicity or use it for a higher purpose?”

“Aren’t I wise and strong for how I moved on to be with better people and live better days?”

If you’re presently caught up in telling stories about the toxic misbehaviors of someone – the time has come to stop getting caught up in name-calling, contempt and blame.

The time has come to recognize you’re just distracting yourself with all the drama, chaos and static!

Yep, the more you stay with and/or complain about a toxic person, the more you’re merely delaying doing the important inner work you need to do – to heal your wounds, expand your limiting beliefs, and show yourself far more love and respect.

All of this time expended on them could be time spent on expanding you – growing who you are!

My lesson/your lesson: Don’t be an a**hole to yourself. Stop staying with (and/or complaining about) toxic people. Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around  people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.

TWEET THIS NOW:  If you have (or had) toxic relationships of any kind, read this essay now –  via @notsalmon

Want to enjoy a happy, safe-feeling, committed love relationship? Check out the tools in my recommended Prince Harming Syndrome. I offer free excerpts too! Click here now! For a limited time Prince Harming Syndrome is discounted – to only $9.99 – as a convenient ebook – you can download onto your computer or ipad, Kindle, Nook – anywhere you can read a PDF– and you can start reading it right away! Grab it now – while it’s still discounted! More info, an FAQ and praise can be found by clicking here now!

I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read this list Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! xo Karen

click Karen's poster to connect with her!

click Karen’s poster to connect with her!

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 a weekend retreat in May to Ojai, Calif as well as 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 for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up is Dallas followed by Seattle and London. 


Guest Posts, healing

Why People Self Sabotage Their Happiness.

December 9, 2013

By Karen Salmansohn.


Confession time: For many years I used to be what I call an “enterpainer.” I loved to entertain friends with my pain, sharing amusing stories full of woes and miffed-ness.

One day I discovered a psychological concept which really woke me up—and motivated me to change my“enterpaining ways.” I’m excited to share this concept with you, because I believe it might motivate you as well.

The concept? “Masochistic equilibrium.”

When I first heard these words, I immediately wondered what they meant. I found out they represent a truly important psychological theory—one which clearly explains how and why sometimes a person’s comfort zone might actually be to stay in discomfort.

It’s like this: As a child you learned habits on love and happiness from your parents. If you learned that love comes with yelling and insults, then being in a relationship with too much peace and too many compliments might actually inspire anxiety. Snagging an abundance of joy might also trigger you to self-sabotage your happiness in order to maintain that “masochistic equilibrium” which you learned in your childhood. Or you might simply choose scenarios from the get-go which bring you lower levels of love and bliss.

Basically, you grew up in your childhood learning to feel comfy with only a certain level of happiness. Maybe you grew up used to eighty percent happiness. Or only seventy-five percent. Or seventeen percent. When this concentration shifts—even if it’s upwards—you will then start to feel twitchy, because this new zone feels so unfamiliar. As a result you might instinctively want to do something self-sabotaging, so you can shift your happiness concentration back down, down, down, down, down to your familiar zone—your “masochistic equilibrium.” Or, as mentioned above, you might simply choose situations right from the start which bring you a familiar level of pain, so as to match the“masochistic equilibrium” you grew up with.

How do you break free from the shackles of “masochistic equilibrium”?

You must one hundred percent accept that you do a lot of the goofier things you do because of negative childhood brainwashing—what I call “brain dirtying”—because your lens to the world gets dirtied with negative beliefs that you must wipe clean. Then, and only then, can you clearly see new paths to getting the life you desire and deserve.

One of the best ways to wipe your braindirtied lens clean is to seek alternate positive lessons in past pain. I call this possessing “pain-a-ramic” vision: You see the problems of your past with a full 180-degree positive perspective.


A) Relax your mind. Breathe deeply. Enter a meditative state.

B) Dare to think about your most painful incidents.

C) Force yourself to answer the following: What is a positive and/or lucky way to learn from the past and thereby attain some gain in my pain? List five positive lessons—so you can start to forgive your past—and move forward in a more positive direction.

After you get done blaming your past for present pain, you must also accept some responsibility. After all, you’ve been an adult (or adult-ish) (and maybe even just plain ol’ doltish) for a while now. Although your troublemaking subconscious has gotten you into some painful relationships and challenging situations, the time has come for you to show your cerebrum who’s boss and stop allowing those painful misadventures.


A) Next time you’re tempted to settle for a pattern of pain, repeat the following mantra: “I am not my past behavior. I am not my past failures. I am not how others have at one time treated me. I am only who I think I am right now in this moment. I am only what I do right now in this moment.”

B) Find examples of consistently happy, loving couples, and truly happy people. Spend as much time as possible with them so you can start to shift your belief system to what “normal love” and “normal happiness” are. Over time, you will begin to view highly positive situations as examples for your new normal. The more you witness positive examples of love and joy, the more opportunity you will have to change your belief system about life—and thereby start to change your “masochistic equilibrium.”

C) Talk with any family members you feel that you can be open with about this concept. You’ll find that the more you can be honest about repressed feelings and share them, the less troublemaking your subconscious will need to be.

D) Recognize that you have triggers that remind you of past pain and might thereby create a downward spiral of negative thinking and behavior. Clear your life of these depressing triggers. For example, you might want to remove items from your home that your ex-spouse has given you.  Instead, get “trigger happy” and focus on positive triggers that remind you of all your happy relationships. For example, you might want to put up photos in your home that represent happy times, happy people, or happy philosophies you want to live by.

E) Finally, there’s an added sneaky reason why painful patterns form: a theory à la Carl Jung. He believed that our lives need meaning and purpose. If we don’t have meaning and purpose, we acquire a bad habit in order to create drama and excitement—so we feel like there’s something interesting and entertaining happening in our life—even if it’s a bad exciting thing.  Jung’s name for these patterns of “enterpaining” situations was “low-level spiritual quests.”

The good news: You can more readily dump negative patterns of “low-level spiritual quests” by developing “high-level spiritual quests”—a driving positive force that drives you forward. For example, it’s easier to dump negative patterns in love (which give you drama and “enterpaining stories” to tell) , if you develop a  exciting hobby or passion-project to serve as your “high-level spiritual quest” (which then gives you excitement and happy entertaining stories to tell).

Personally, I discovered lots of reading and writing of books, which then filled my life with  far more entertaining things to talk about, and lessened my need for“enterpainment.”  However, “high-level spiritual quests” can show up in a variety of forms. You might consider taking up cycling, skydiving, painting, scuba diving, or international cooking. You might start training for a marathon. Or plan a trip to some place exotic.

Who knows? Maybe in the process you’ll meet an incredibly wonderful person (or people), and you’ll have some of your most entertaining stories ever told to share!


Seeking to live your happiest life possible? Check out Karen’s newest book INSTANT HAPPY! Click here now to find out more about INSTANT HAPPY and get a peek inside.


Karen Salmansohn is a best selling author and award winning designer – with over 1 million books sold – who is passionate about empowering people to live their happiest, highest potential lives. She’s known for creating a new breed of self help – for people who would never be caught dead doing self help – because she merges a range of psychological and philosophical research with humor and stylish graphics. She’s been on The Today Show, The View, CNN, Fox News – and is also a columnist for Oprah, Psychology Today, CNN, MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Match,  Huffingtonpost – and then some. Her best selling e-book PRINCE HARMING SYNDROME was a selected book recommend on Oprah’s site – and applies equally to PRINCESS HARMINGS. For a limited time PRINCE HARMING SYNDROME is discounted 50% OFF – to only $9.99 – available on Karen’s site only at Click the link and you’ll also find a FAQ of commonly asked questions about PRINCE HARMING SYNDROME – with some uncommon answers!

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The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 17th. Book here.

The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 17th. Book here.

Jen Pastiloff is back in London for ONE workshop only Feb 14th. Book by clicking poster. This is her most popular workshop and space is limited to 50 people.

Jen Pastiloff is back in London for ONE workshop only Feb 14th. Book by clicking poster. This is her most popular workshop and space is limited to 50 people.


And So It Is, courage, Forgiveness, healing

What Have I Done?

January 21, 2013

I used to live in this beautiful 1940’s apartment in Los Angeles before I moved to Santa Monica ten years ago. It was on a major busy street but nestled far back enough that once you were inside the apartment you couldn’t hear any of the noise from the road.

What you could hear however were my neighbors. 

One man would repeatedly scream Get the fuck out of my house so many times and with such passion that I often thought I was dreaming it. That maybe something had broken inside of my head and things had started to skip. Maybe my mind got stuck on that one sentence and it was trapped inside my dream. Get the fuck out! Get the fuck out!

He would stand outside our front door, red-faced and hyperventilating. He seemed shriveled, slightly polio ridden. (Through some mysterious force that constantly seemed to pull at me, this spastic neighbor and I were both from the same town in South Jersey, Cherry Hill.) I’d heard it in his accent and knew that nasal tonality that inhabits the voices of South Jersey folk. And also a certain sadness which recognized immediately.

She is a fraud he would scream in the courtyard. She’s left maggots! She ate all the cereal! She took an ice pick to my piano! My Piano!

He didn’t look anyone in the eyes. Ever. Not even anywhere remotely near your face which was disturbing and creepy. But this one morning. This wonderfully otherwise perfect Los Angeles Sunday morning, with his lip cut and bleeding and his curly hair flying around his chubby red face, there was something. His eyes stopped roving and focused on something. 

Maybe he saw the point ahead of him, that point of utter loss. He was stupefied and panicked. 

The kind of panic when you realize you really are alone and that she did eat all the cereal.

He understood then that all the Get the fuck out of my houses took their toll. He had prayed for that woman to be gone. He had screamed it into the air. But I saw it in his motionless eyes. That fear. That what have I done?

I was happy when I finally moved from that place even though it had been inexpensive and huge with gorgeous hardwood floors and charm like nobody’s business. Those years are what I refer to as The Dark Years. They all blend in, gray and dank in their lack of happiness. Years of nothing on top of nothing. Years of picking at my face and talking about what I should do but couldn’t seem to get out of bed to do. I slept almost all the time. I starved myself all day and would get up in the middle of the night and eat in my sleep. I had hated waitressing but didn’t know how to stop. Like it was some kind of addiction I was in the throws of. 

 Which, of course, it was.

The Dark Years. 

And throughout those very dark years, there were these neighbors I was terrified of becoming. These screaming hate-filled red-faced people who loved and abused each other and wanted their lives to be anything but what it was.

I would lie there listening to them scream and see myself as a waitress for the rest of my life and then maybe I would eat all the cereal and take an ice pick to a piano and maybe someone would find out I was a fraud too.

The What have I done? some unspoken code between my neighbor and I. Even though we never made eye contact, we were from the same town in South Jersey (weird!) and we had this pact. This Oh My God, I’ve made a mistake like a car we’d loved but had long died and yet sat and sat in the driveway as if one day it would be able to go back up the hill.

We’d wimper silently and sometimes not silently: How can I get it back to the way it was? 

Well, here’s the good news and the bad news: You can’t. You can’t ever get it back the way it was.  

I remember lying in my room in that old apartment and thinking How can I get it back? How did I even get here? I would be here the rest of my life. Who could I blame it on? Who put me here, dammit?

Before I had moved into that apartment I had been still living in New York City. My mother had recently moved back to California (for the second time in our lives) and I had come to visit. Having lived there as a kid for a few years I still had a lot of friends in Los Angeles, so when I came to visit my mom and sister I also planned on seeing my friends. 

I had borrowed my mom’s car and took off to go to my friend’s little party despite the anxiety I had. I hated driving. And I hated parties (still do, but for different reasons.) I was afraid people would try to make me eat. I had anxiety as I drove my mom’s Isuzu Trooper or mini-van (one or the other) down the street looking for my friend’s address. (This was before cellphones.) 

I couldn’t find the building and my anxiety became a steamroller. I hit the steering wheel and cried as steam poured from my ears and I bit my fingers. I hate driving! See! I suck at it! 

I remember pulling up to a building I thought sounded like maybe that had been the address? 7890? 8790? 6790? I don’t remember (and can you even imagine a world with no cellphones during a crisis like this?)

What do you do? Well, you park and knock on a door.

The door opened and a very cute and very gay man answered. This was not my friend’s house the tears in my eyes told him before I could mutter I am lost. He asked if I wanted to use his phone.

Yes please.

He proceeded to show me around his beautiful (so stylish) apartment and then to the phone (a real wall phone.) 

I called my friend and was told that I was the three blocks north. I thanked him, told him he had a beautiful apartment and that his boyfriend (who was away working as a flight attendant apparently) was very very lucky.  

And off I went to the party which I probably hated because I probably ate food that I simply ate to make it look like I wasn’t starving myself which I very much was. The lies! The lies!

How did I get here? What have I done? 

Almost a year after that I left New York City. People used to ask why I moved to L.A. when I was half-heartedly trying to be an actress. Did you move here to be an actress?

I would say yes because it was easier but the truth was a No No No. I moved here because I had nowhere else to go. I was dying in New York. I had no choice, don’t you see? But I would nod and say Yeah, totally.

In New York I had been severely anorexic, lonely, depressed  and also very quickly going crazy. My mom had moved back to California and I wanted to feel safe so I fled New York to be with her. Clearly it wasn’t to pursue an acting career but once people started to assuming that I decided it was my best bet. Yes! I came here to be a star!

For a while I lived with my mom in a one bedroom apartment where she slept in a closet (I am not kidding although I am horrified) with a little bed on the floor and I took the master (and only bedroom) I was 21 or 22 and apparently okay with my mom sleeping in a closet/room? It lasted only a few months until I moved into the apartment on the busy street. The beautiful 1940’s apartment on the busy street.

It speaks volumes of my mother though, that little sleeping in the closet living situation. 

You like this necklace? I will give it to you. It’s yours. You want the bed? I will sleep in the closet. (That’s my mom.) 

One night, after I’d been living in the big beautiful apartment a couple years or so, my roommate M. and I had dinner at our next door neighbors. There were this fantastic gay couple with a dog and a washing machine. They also loved us in the way gay men love cute and single twenty something women. You have the best boobs! I love what you are wearing. OMG your boyfriend is so cute.

We loved them.

So, here we were hanging at their extremely well decorated place, drinking wine and laughing and I get the strangest deja vous. The kind where the ground lifts up and you have to grab the edge of the table and your wine spills over and you don’t even notice because you are so immersed in the I have been here. I don’t know how I got here but I have been here.

I turned to one of the Boyfriends and said I’ve been here. 

Yes, you have many times, Jen. Keep drinking girl! 

Me:  Last year. I was lost. Remember? I was still living in New York. I knocked on the door and you let me use the phone.

 One of the Gay Boyfriends: No that wasn’t you. That woman was like 40 and really skinny and miserable looking.

It had been me. 

I was a lot thinner last year. And I was unhappy. But I wasn’t 40, you asshole! I joked as I cleaned up my spilt wine, and of course, spent time obsessing that he meant that I was fat. I was much thinner then? What did he mean? I didn’t care about the miserable comment but the really skinny part slayed me. Much thinner? Much?

How did I get here I remember thinking. How did I get here? How did I get pointed to this building? To this moment?

To this life?

Everything is always against the odds.

The fact that I got lost and ended up there, at that very building that I would eventually live in. Not only that I ended up at that particular building that night, but of all the apartments I had knocked on their door: the only people in the building I had become friends with or even seen the inside of their apartment.

I’d also had no intention of leaving New York. It was a last ditch effort to save myself before I faded away into dusty bones on some street corner in Manhattan, my hair falling out and my face apparently aged beyond my years. I end up living at this random building. How can this be? 

How did I end up here? What have I done?

It chose me. I had been driving along in my mom’s Trooper (or minivan) and it called me. Come, come in your awful little Boy Scout pants made for a 12 year old and pale face. Come, leave your life as you know it in New York City. It will take you many many years to get where you are going but this is the first detour. The first stop. Come.

So I went. 

I would listen to my locksmith neighbor scream at his wife or not-wife and hate myself for sleeping until 11:30 am and I would wonder How did I get here? When really I knew. I knew that I had been chosen. How many apartment buildings in Los Angeles and I end up at this one with a friend of a friend of a friend who had found it and needed a roommate. I had been plucked out of my life in New York because I probably would have died if I hadn’t. Or maybe not. Maybe I would be fantastically rich and happy. Either way I needed those Dark Years and that screaming neighbor and my years of donning an apron.

I have a compass now. I know who I am. I can look back. I have a map. Here is where I was and here is where I am now, my little map says. 

I had been waitressing at the same job for about 12 years when the What have I done? creeped in and couldn’t find its way back out. What have I done? I thought I would be somebody? I’ve wasted so much time? I hate L.A. Why do I even live here? What have I done? I’m old now.

 I would take someone’s order for a veggie burger and it’s all I would hear: What have I done What have I done What have I done What have I done Do you want avocado on that and anything to drink What have I done?

My whole life led up to it. The first what have you done? after my father died. The last words I spoke were I hate you, Daddy.  

I couldn’t undo it. What have I done? Oh, what have I done?

When my neighbor had said that it couldn’t have been me that had come to the door the year before because that girl had been so thin my initial response had been What have you done, Jen? You’ve let yourself go. How could you? What have you done and how can you get it back?  

There is no getting it back.

After 13 years of working at the restaurant and after so many years of being mad at myself for failing I realized one day, or throughout the course of many many days, that its okay to never get it back the way it was.

I was always meant to get lost at that building and then move into that building. I was always meant to cry in my room and ask Why Why Why I’m too smart for this shit as I put my apron on again and again over the screach of my neighbors screaming Fuck Yous at each other.  

Here it is. Thirty years after I said my first What have I done? Here it is: It’s okay.

This will not determine the rest of your life. You have a choice right now in this moment. What will it be?

So. What will it be? Asking the questions is a good thing and I wish for you, and for me, and for all of us, all that we never stop asking the questions. How did I get here? What have I done? And then look closely , with a magnifying glass so you can see all the cracks and bugs and little hairs. Really be willing to see. Start to contemplate. Then ask more questions. Then get a really good microscope and go deeper. What have I done will lead you to different places on the map until you get to where you are now.

Please, when you start to get close to finding some answers, or more questions for that matter, please do not judge. Put down the ice pick and stop screaming and simply say I love you right into the microscope even if it makes you feel a little crazy. By doing that you’ll start to see the map move under the lens. Where there were rigid lines and boundaries on the map there will be moving molecules and big empty spaces.

That’s your moment. Right there. Look down and for the first time see that no matter what you have done you are not stuck. Your map is moving. The lines are no longer there. You are free. You can go. 

And know that no matter what you have done it doesn’t matter anymore because it got you here. And here is where the rest of us are. Start from here.
Nothing can be undone but what can be done, what can be started, is love. Start with love. Now. Go.
At the end of my life when I ask What have I done? one final time, I want to answer: I have done love.


Joy, Things I Love

Jen Pastiloff’s “Must Haves” for The Holiday Season.

December 5, 2012

I wanted to provide all my loyal readers with a list of gifts I think should not be missed. So, here they are. In no particular order.

1) The Insomniacs by Karina Wolf and The Brothers Hilts.

Parents, if you do not have this book yet, run to your nearest bookseller or click here to get it. Adults with questionable sleep patterns (like me) will also enjoy.

The wonder of nighttime comes to life in this breathtaking debut.

When the Insomniacs move twelve time zones away for Mrs. Insomniac’s new job, the family has an impossible time adapting to the change. They try everything to fall asleep at night–take hot baths, count to one thousand, sip mugs of milk–but nothing helps. Venturing out into the dark, they learn there is a whole world still awake and a beauty in their new and unconventional schedule.

Ideal for bedtime reading, this gorgeous and lyrical story celebrates nighttime’s mystery and magic.


2) Instant Happy: Ten-Second Attitude Makeovers by Karen Salmansohn.

This book makes a perfect stocking stuffer. I just bought 5! I swear by this woman and her Facebook posters. Her book includes posters not seen on Facebook. I carry my own copy around in my purse. It’s a must-have this holiday season.

The latest gift book from positivity guru and bestselling author Karen Salmansohn, Instant Happy delivers upbeat shots of happiness and perspective with clever, motivational sayings and graphics.

A self-help book for people who don’t have the time or patience for self-help books.

Click here to order.


 3) Blooming Lotus Jewelry.

You may have seen me wearing my Blooming Lotus Mala beads (I never take them off so chances are if you have seen me, you have seen them.)

I love this company. If you order a bracelet now for the holidays, they donate $12 to Hurricane Sandy relief. A gift you can feel good about buying.

Click the photo of the bracelet to order one or to browse through all their lovely pieces. I love love love them.

Click the photo of the bracelet to order one or to browse through all their lovely pieces. I love love love them.

4) Juil sandals.

Ok, I love these shoes so much that The Travel Yogi and I bought everyone a pair who came on my Bali Manifestation Retreat with me. If you use my code MANIFEST you even get a 10% discount. I have trekked through Bali and Europe in these shoes.

click photo of sandals to browse JUIL shoes and don't forget to use MANIFEST to get 10% off. I swear my by JUILS.

click photo of sandals to browse JUIL shoes and don’t forget to use MANIFEST to get 10% off. I swear my by JUILS.

5) A Manifestation Retreat® with me.

This holiday season I have had so many people buy their loved ones (and themselves) a spot at one of my Manifestation Retreats. Click here to see the full list. My next week long retreat is Feb 16-22 in Maui with Sommer Dyer, Wayne Dyer’s daughter and The Travel Yogi. Click here. If you are looking to really wow someone, this is the perfect gift.

If not with me or The Travel Yogi, consider buying a retreat for a loved one or yourself. It is a life changing experience!

6) Philosophie Superfoods.

I have done a few cleanses with the company Philosophie and have never felt so good. The Superfoods make a perfect gift for the under the tree. They taste delicious too!

Given the most powerful tools for healing, our bodies will renew themselves and return us to our natural state of unbounded energy, bliss, and balance. The Philosophie’s mission is to activate that joy by making it easy, delicious, and inspired.

The Philosophie superfood powders are blends of the very best plant-based materials on earth. Superfoods are vitamin and mineral-dense substances prized for their unique nutrient profiles and ability to activate the body’s natural potential for cleansing, repairing, and rebuilding.

Click the photo to order your Superfoods today!

Click the photo to order your Superfoods today!

7) Photography by Madison Rosner aka Madshutter. I just bough a print from her because I missed NYC so much (posted below.)

Click the photo to like her Facebook page and to keep up with her gallery showings. This is the perfect gift for the art and photography lover. She has lots of prints to choose from.

Click the photo to like her Facebook page and to keep up with her gallery showings. This is the perfect gift for the art and photography lover. She has lots of prints to choose from.

8) Pilates with Libby Bideau.

The only person I will do pilates with. She makes it fun, creative, challenging and accessible. A perfect gift (buy a series even) for the person looking to get in shape over the new year. 

Click the photo of Libby to buy a class or series. Perfect for beginners too. I highly recommend Libby! (Los Anegeles people only however if you email me  I can refer people in other cities.)

Click the photo of Libby to buy a class or series. Perfect for beginners too. I highly recommend Libby! (Los Angeles people only however if you email me I can refer people in other cities.)

9) Renata Youngblood’s latest album. 

You might recognize her voice since I have her on repeat in my yoga classes (the online ones as well) and she actually comes and plays live. Her voice is butter and this cd makes the perfect little gift. Destined to make anyone’s day brighter!

A great gift for anyone who loves music.

A great gift for anyone who loves music.

10) The gift of yoga! Online yoga classes at Yogis Anonymous.


You can do yoga anywhere with Yogis Anonymous and their huge online library of classes (I have some on here too!)

The most expensive pass is only $15. You cannot beat that. Put it this way folks: it is the only yoga studio I will teach at (besides Equinox.) The best yoga teachers in town.

Click here to get started.

healing, Inspiration

Can You Look at the “Crappy” Things & Say Thank You?

October 28, 2012

I’ve been thinking lately about the things in my life that I threw my fists to the sky about and yelled: It’s just not fair! Why? Why me? Why my family? 

I have been thinking about those things, and maybe because I am about to enter the age my father was when he died, or maybe simply because enough time has passed, but I have started to find the gifts in those things.

love this poster by my bestie Karen Salmansohn of

Oh, for the love of cliche, I can hear you say.

Ok, not always do I see the gifts as they happen. Not all the time. Maybe 78% of the time. Maybe 67%? Maybe 20%?

Look. I am a human being. Flesh and blood and moody and partially deaf. I still get angry sometimes when I think of my dad dying so young and I definitely miss him. I miss the idea of him all the time. Every day. That never goes away. I get annoyed that I can’t hear someone call my name. Yea. I do. Daily. But I have been able to recognize the gifts in the things in my life that I once looked upon as curses or faults.

I posed this question on my Facebook about an hour ago:

Has anything happened in your life that at the time you pereceived as “bad” “sad” “shitty” “unfair” etc which you now look at as a gift? Love to hear. Post below.

and to my delight I got such inspiring answers I felt I had to share in a blog. People being so vulnerable and open and wise. That’s the thing. The wisdom. How wise we get with time.

Does that mean the pain goes away?


Not always.

But it softens around the edges and becomes bearable and eventually becomes a sigh or a nod but mostly it becomes a part of us and that part is who we are today. Right now. In this moment. 

thank you Jenni Young of

Here are some of the responses to my question on Facebook:

Has anything happened in your life that at the time you pereceived as “bad” “sad” “shitty” “unfair” etc which you now look at as a gift? Love to hear. Post below.

Alanna Jane: Becoming disabled 3.5 years ago!

Staci Pribush Job loss 2 years ago brought me to the most amazing new path!

Becky Stuto Cervical cancer. I had a hysterectomy at the age of 31 followed by divorce. This was the best thing in my life. It inspired me to live for myself, go to back to school, I remarried the love of my life, and pursue a master’s degree. I’m kicking ass.

Nicole Anderson Getting laid off in 2009 when the economy tanked. Tough time, but I grew and learned a LOT from it and would not be on the amazing path I am today had it not happened. It was a blessing in disguise!

Rachelle Smith Stokes My job right now. I see it as “Bad” but when I have time to reflect and when I am reminded, it does have some positive things I am learning from it.

Marilyn McClintic Kriz Absolutely…my marriage – I was considerable unhappy for much of it. But I received many gifts from it….the first being, of course, my children. But as far as ‘lessons learned’ gifts and personal growth, I learned about the addiction to people and relationships and how to recognize the signs and not go down that road again. I learned to follow my heart, my intuition instead of my fears when it comes to my relationships. I learned about the importance of being myself instead of who somebody else wanted me to be. I learned about the importance of communication. I learned how to end a relationship (marriage) in a constructive way. I could go on and on

Zoe Weldon Divorce and job loss lead to me living in my friend’s backyard in a tent at 33…that lead me to the most empowered, juicy, divine life. I now live near the beach, developed a gentle spiritual practice and have just started my own business. Best lessons ever.

Martha Meyer Barantovich Sexual abuse which was indeed very shitty led to bad and shitty decisions/events, but eventually taught me the meaning of strength and how to be empowered. I still learn from my life’s lessons regularly, but with power and strength!

 Rachel Michelson I’m 37 and was dx with stage IV colon cancer back in Jan. I’ll be fine. As a result, i’m so much closer to my dad–he flies from the east coast to the west coast every TWO WEEKS, so he can be here when i have chemo. and while, i don’t feel it all the time, i know this experience has made me stronger and much braver. :-)

Fiona Williams Finally facing up to my mental health issues a couple of years ago. Still running, still hiding, but have slowed down and am *trying* to work with myself, not against myself.

Jessica Trowbridge My own parents divorced 5 times between the two of them, and my divorce was finalized just over a year ago. I have gotten to know myself SO much more than I would have without these experiences….I see people jumping from relationship to relationship (this is what my parents and ex did) without taking the time to know who they are by themselves. I realize this is easier said than done, but wouldn’t trade my self-discovery for anything! Still learning and, if I decide to enter into another relationship, I feel confident that I will be a much healthier, whole person in that coupling. Thank God.

Michelle Anderson-Weierbach I got pregnant with my 1st child at age 17. At the time I thought it was the worst thing on earth that could have happened to me. When she was born she was a sickly little rag doll, who needed tons of help and care. She was diagnosed with PWS when she was 3. All of this has been a gift and lessons in disguise for me and my family.

Lynn Marie Lost a job I had had for 18 years and loved (I was devastated), met some wonderful people at a volunteer job, time off led to new job, brought my family back together, was re-introduced to the love of my life! Life is so much better now! But if you had told me back then? I never would’ve believed it. So now, right now, I am looking at another job loss/financial desperation…but I am holding on to the knowledge of my last experience when I was in this position, and all the wonderful things that I NEVER could’ve imagined for myself….I am anxiously awaiting whatever good things life has in store for me!!!

Kristin Olson I didn’t get into top choices for college, grad school or my grad internship. Looking back though, the places I went were definitely the best choice for me but I couldn’t see it at the time. Thank you universe!

Ruthie Goldman Van Wijk Omg yes. My previous marriage falling apart horribly. And now I so happy, I teach yoga, am happily remarried, and run a yoga non-profit in Palestine!!! Wooo hoo!

Kathleen Quinn I worked for company that had layoff about 4 years ago. They had a committee that picked the people who would be laid off. They told me I was one of people they picked. At time I was surprised, upset a little bitter. I later realized that they did the right thing because I could not, in good conscience convince providers to accept their one sided contracts.

Abby Merin There’s many things I could say… but for me it’s in the past and unfortunately we can’t change what has already happened. However, what we can do is learn from our experiences, and use what we’ve learned to better our future. I’ve come out of my “storm of life” a little more stronger, a little more wiser, a little more empathetic, a little more insightful, a little more appreciative towards life (actually I would have to say A LOT more appreciative) a little more compassionate, a little more caring, a little more understanding, a little less disappointed, a little more passionate, a little more thankful, a little more loving, a little more confident, a little less selfish, a little less scared, and every little bit of what I have gained from my experience has made me who I am today. I’m making sure that I create a better version of myself…a better Abby. As my favorite lady Kelly Clarkson has said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” =)

Nicole Anderson Thanks so much for posing the question, Jennifer. It’s SO important for us to reflect on the meaning behind the challenges we face in life vs stay in a negative mindspace. We may get handed lemons, but it’s us to find the lemonade and gratitude in those experiences. You inspired and reminded many of us to be grateful for past adversities tonight, so thank you! You = ROCKSTAR!

MovingOn Cancer was the shittiest, most valuable “gift” I’ve received.

Leslie Jampolsky I thought g-d hated me when I was diagnosed with M.S. And that I could not return to work. At the time my children were 1 week old and 1 year old. When they became school aged I realized what a blessing it was to be a stay at home mom, where I could volunteer in school and be home for them when they got home from school. That I could help with their homework, cook dinners, make a warm breakfast, etc…… That is when I realized that I was truly blessed.

Andrea Rossetto Mom has kidney cancer right now, that has metastisized. She is very ill and has been hospitalized for nearly 2 weeks. This is about as horrible as it gets, feels tremendously unfair. To see her so ill is the most painful thing I have ever endured. This has been going on for 5 months. I am not grateful for a thing in this moment. Can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now, feel very alone and unsupported. I hope one day I can understand why this is happening. It is excruciating and paralyzing.


That last one. That last one.

What I want to say to Andrea is this: I know it sucks. And it does. And it is painful and unfair and I do not know if I buy into the bullshit ( yes, I said that) that everything happens for a reason. And yes, I am really sorry that you and mom are suffering. I am no stranger to this. What I know is this: there will be a gift eventually. Whether it comes in the form of you comforting another. Whether it comes in some art you make from it, because your pain is so deep, and that, my love, is what happens to pain transformed. It becomes art. if you let it.

Do not try and be grateful now.

Go through what you need to go through and then begin to heal but meanwhile read all the above comments. I hope they provide you with a small sense of hope, even a glimmer, the size of a dime or a truck. Whatever it may be, let them instill in you the hope that you will come out on the other side and most likely a better version of yourself. We get better if we let ourselves. I know I have. And a lot of that getting better has been because of the shitty (sorry, in a cursing mood) things I thought had happened to me. Father dying, hearing loss, stepfather dying, family losing everything, nephew diagnosed with rare disorder. All of it that I wanted so badly to bury in a sack and throw in a dirty river have created the very woman who is writing to you now and sending you a big fat hug and an invitation to scream and yell and cry and write as much as you want to me.

The rest of you: Bravo.

And to me: Bravo.

I am a better person than I used to be.

Are you?

**Add yours below!!!

Manifest-Station Message of the Day, Manifestation Retreats,, Travels

Manifest-Station Message of the Day.

July 18, 2012
My friend Karen Salmansohn made this amazing poster from one of my Italy retreat pictures. Karen and I will be hosting a retreat together in 2013!! Stay tuned for details!

Manifest-Station Message of the Day for 7/18/12

Happiness Tip #1:

To live your happiest life, you gotta have a sense of humor, especially when it comes to YOU.

My friend Karen Salmansohn made this amazing poster from one of my Italy retreat pictures. Karen and I will be hosting a retreat together in 2013!! Stay tuned for details!

Tweet me #laughingatmyself by clicking here 
Manifest-Station Message of the Day

Manifest-Station Message of the Day.

June 28, 2012
Karen Salmansohn is awesome.

Manifest-Station message of the Day for 6/28/12

Being awesome is the best revenge.

Karen Salmansohn said that. Now do you see why we are such soul sisters?

Go be awesome.

Go shine like you do when you belly laugh at a joke that was told just for you. Go shine like you do when you find something you wrote 10 years ago and realize that it’s really, really good. Go shine like you do when you are doing something you love and you forget all sense of time and space and dinner. Go shine like you do when you look in the mirror and notice for the first time in a long while that you are beautiful. There, just like that, in the bathroom light with the morning streaming in and the deep knowing in your place that knows things that: Today will be awesome.

So go be that.


Karen Salmansohn is awesome.

Manifest-Station Message of the Day

Manifest-Station Message of the Day.

June 27, 2012
one of my dearest friends Karen Salmansohn made this as usual. She makes sh*t happen. MSH. Click to connect with her bad self.

Manifest-Station Message of the Day for 6/27/12.

Manifest= Making Sh*t Happen.

Guys, we can make the good sh*t happen.

Or the bad sh*t.

We are that powerful.

Go ahead and choose.

MSH. Makin’ sh*t happen daily. The good kind,


Tweet me MakingSh*tHappen by clicking here.


one of my dearest friends Karen Salmansohn made this as usual. She makes sh*t happen. MSH. Click to connect with her bad self.

How To, Inspiration

15 Rules To Live By. Debut Post on MindBodyGreen.

April 15, 2012

I am thrilled to now be a regular contributor to MindBodyGreen.

My first post went up yesterday which was titled 15 Rules To Live By.

My friend Karen Salmansohn made me this poster to go with the article.

Click here to read the full post on MindBodyGreen and as always, feel free to comment.

Each post will delve into one of my 15 rules.

1. Be Kind.
2. Have a sense of humor especially when it comes to YOU.
3. Write poems, even if only in your head.
4. Sing out loud, even if badly.
5. Dance, even with no rhythm.
6. If you don’t have anything nice to say… you know the deal.
7. Find things to be in awe of.
8. Be grateful for what you have right now.
9. Watch Modern Family, read Wayne Dyer, and end every complaint with “But I’m so blessed!”
10. Duh, do yoga.
11. Don’t worry. Everyone on Facebook seems like they have happier and funner lives. They don’t.
12. Tell someone you love that you love them. Right now.
13.Take more pictures.
14. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. No such thing.
15. Thank the Universe in advance.
Contests & Giveaways, Man-Festing

What You Think About Men Is What You Man-Fest.

April 1, 2012

How I love Karen Salmansohn (you may know her as NotSalmon)

She came up with that line. Clever thing, she is.

What You Think About Men Is What You Man-Fest.

After my whole debacle with my Manifestation bracelets saying Man-fest instead, Karen, Frank Gjata and I decided that it was a happy accident.

So here it is.



Let’s celebrate all the wonderful men in our world! I want to hear from you below about some of the incredible men in your life! Please share either their name with a lot of “xoxoxo’s” next to their name – or share a little description about why they are the rock in your world – or have rocked your world.


AND….if you’re a single woman – and you want to be in a happy relationship – it’s especially important you let go of your anger at any men/man from your past – and celebrate men! If you’re holding onto anger at men as a category – you will have trouble being in a happy, loving relationship with a man as an individual – for oh so many reasons! Indeed, in my book PRINCE HARMING SYNDROME I strongly encourage women to let go of their resentment for their ex! Some of this is because: Just as there is alluring sexual attraction (which people can feel but not see), there’s also angry energy repulsion (which people can feel but not see). If you think angry thoughts about men and love, then you will be emitting an angry vibration which can be intuitively felt by others—as if you’re giving off an anti-charisma. (For more on this topic, check out the FREEBIE excerpt from PRINCE HARMING SYNDROME by clicking here now…


With all this in mind – and because men deserve our appreciation for a range of terrific reasons – Karen Salmansohn, Conscious Ink (Frank Gjata) and I will be doing a series of posts which celebrate men for the wonderful beings they are – with some fun giveaways! Stay tuned.

Leave your comment in the box below or on Karen or my Facebook pages!



Be. Amazed. Now.

March 21, 2012

Take a picture of your face and remember

That in many years  you will be amazed at how gorgeous you were.

Be amazed now.

~excerpt from a poem I wrote called “How To Make a Life” 
Honored that my friend, muse and partner in crime has created this poster with my words. Stay tuned for Karen Salmansohn and my newest project: Man-festing!
More on karen at
Feel free to share this poster, and, remember, whatever you do, be amazed. Now.
Yes, right this very moment.
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).
Inspiration, Manifestation Retreats, Manifestation Workshops, manifesting

What I Learned From An 8 Year Old.

February 29, 2012
My Manifestation Workshop. Me, Carol from San Antonio and her 8 year old daughter Jen. Black Swan Yoga, Austin Texas.


By Jen Pastiloff.

This past weekend I taught my first workshops in Austin, Texas.

It went incredibly well. Here is the blog about that and my love letter to Austin.

I have been holding a Twitter contest with my friend Karen Salmansohn. It goes like this: Whoever tweets us the most what inspires them, wins. They also have to use the hashtag #manifest.

It’s been a little life changing to see what everyone has been tweeting to us.

It’s a win-win contest. The actual prize is a spot at my May Manifestation retreat to Ojai and a book by Karen (

So two people are in the lead for the contest. One woman lives in San Antonio and has a family and one is a college student who lives in Santa Barbara. I look forward to their hourly tweets. It’s a bit of an addiction. They keep me going throughout my day. Here are a few examples of their tweets.

@CarolJackson365 Inspired by kick ass cool contests that make me a better person. Thank you @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

The sun rising on unfamiliar horizons inspires me to replace concept with reality. #manifest @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen

Inspired by chats w/strangers that fill heart w/joy. Funny how lovely folks r when u let them b them @ManifestYogaJen @Notsalmon#manifest

Inspired by london and the oneness and connection of different cultures. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

inspiration is a cheeky pub waitress who gives you hell when you order a diet coke. such a delight! @ManifestYogaJen @Notsalmon

Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us-Pema chodron. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen#manifest

@KthrnGee The past couple of years I’ve been SO inspired by those who are AWAKE..if you know what I mean 😉 @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen#manifest

Inspiration makes my heart beat faster, it excites and motivates action for a better self. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

8yrs ago I was pressured to be in a gang. Crazy, right? Inspired by how far I’ve come. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

Lately, friendships have inspired me to stay away from those who add little value to my life. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

I choose to be inspired by the beauty of everyday life. I also choose love & wisdom. What do u choose? @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

People who are cold towards me inspire me to be kind. Love is a human need. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen #manifest

What would you do if your toddler told you she’s too fat? Love your INNER child; this inspires me. @Notsalmon @ManifestYogaJen#manifest


Carol is the mom who lives in San Antonio and Katherine is 21 and in college.

Carol shows up to my workshop in Austin. Get this: with her 8 year old daughter! Naturally at first I am thinking: Oh Shit!

Because yes, I say Shit a lot and I was a bit afraid I would have to censor myself.

Boy was I wrong!

(As a side note: Carol lives in San Antonio. She drove all the way to Austin. How did she find me in the first place? From my articles on Positively Positive. That my friends, is the power of social media. )

So Carol walks in with her daughter wearing my “What Are You Manifesting” tee which she had ordered last month. Her daughter gives me a gift. Two books about poetry. Because she told her 8 year old that I love poems.

(As a side note. Dear Universe, Thank you for sending me these people. There. Are. No. Accidents.)

I immediately ask Carol if she won the Twitter contest (as I knew at that time she was tied with sweet young Katherine) would she be able to fly out to California and get away? She said ” Oh, let someone else win. I have gotten more out of this then you will ever ever know.”

To say I was touched would be an understatement.

The people you need to meet always show up when you need them. I feel that way about them and I am sure they feel that way about me. Bam!

I needed to meet someone who was participating so fully in their life. Who was raising a child in this way. Who was so willing to be attentive and present and inspired.

And did I ever need to meet this kid of hers.

By the way, the 8 year old? Her name was Jen, too.

So at one point I ask the group to write a letter to their 16 year old selves. (Everyone had journals in the class. It’s a big part of the Manifestation workshop.)

I felt bad because Jen was only 8 so I said to her ” Jen, you can write a letter to your 5 year old self, ok?”

She wrote ” Dear 5 year old self…. being 8 is awesome!”

At one point everyone was in child’s pose. I was reciting one of my favorite quotes:

“If you knew who walked beside you at all times, on the path that you have chosen, you could never experience fear or doubt again.”

― Wayne W. Dyer

No one budged from child’s pose except 8 year old Jen.

She got up to pick up a pen and write down what I was saying!

I needed to meet this little angel to be reminded what is possible and to be inspired again.

To allow myself to be surprised.

She asked her mom after they got back to San Antonio if, for her birthday in July, she could have a yoga lesson by me.

I learned from an 8 year old: how to be brave, how to ask for what you want, how to pay attention, how to listen, how to laugh, how to do a fierce backbend, how to show love, how to be okay with the fact that you might be the only one in the room who doesn’t understand something and conversely how to be the only one in the room who DOES understand something.

So here is a letter to my 8 year old self, which is the age I somehow feel I stopped growing. It’s when my dad died. (Maybe that little Jen was a version of me. I have to make sure I didn’t imagine her.)

Dear 8 year old me:

Being 37 is awesome! I know you don’t believe me now because life sucks since your daddy died but it will be ok. You will fall in love and you will go out and inspire people with dance parties and twitter contests and you will meet little girls who will show you what it means to be fearless. You will never get over that little piece of sadness, that part of you that died when your dad died but you will indeed transform that into a whole lotta love. You will make up for all that frowning you do now when you are 37. You will remember who you really are. I’m here waiting for you.

Oh, and that noise in your head? Get used to it. It’s called tinnitus.

My Manifestation Workshop. Me, Carol from San Antonio and her 8 year old daughter Jen. Black Swan Yoga, Austin Texas.

Thank you mini Jen for showing up Saturday and showing me what it means to be inspired and committed and fearless. That’s what an 8 year old looks like to me.
 All of Jen Pastiloff’s events listed here.
Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!