Browsing Tag

ojai

Mother’s Day Retreat in Ojai, California.

May 8, 2015
May retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being.  Click photo to book.

 

"Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing.

She listens.

She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you.

Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening.

And what her kind of listening does is simple:

It saves lives." ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Jen,
The effects of going on your yoga retreat
are continuing to ripple in my life. Stepping
away from everyday life to beautiful Ojai
for the weekend gave me brilliant new
insights in all aspects of my life, especially
those related to my career. It was truly
a life-changing experience, and I am so
grateful that you provided us with such
a special, memorable experience.
Thank you,
thank you,
thank you!:) ~ Carrie Underwood, Santa Monica

 

Mother’s Day Weekend 2015

Join Jennifer Pastiloff for her popular Manifestation Yoga Retreat® at a rustic

eco-sanctuary in Ojai, California during the Mother’s Day Weekend Fri-Sat-Sun.

May 8th-9th-10th

The retreat will feature yoga with journaling, Manifestation workshops, meditation, wine

tasting, a dance party, wonderful vegetarian food, swimming (if warm enough),

hot tub & hiking. You can just relax at your leisure and enjoy the surroundings.

Not Included But Available As An Option Will Be: Massages & healing sessions

and a class with Chef Caspar Poyck,

 

This retreat sells out very fast so reserve  your spot today by putting down a $200

non-refundable, non-transferable deposit Option #5

Cancellation information at bottom of page.

 

Please contact  Barbara to make sure a bed/space is available for you before

sending in your deposit.

Please read this so you understand what Jen’s retreat is like.

And this.

Contests & Giveaways, Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, Retreats/Workshops

Free Spot At Jen Pastiloff’s Retreat in Honor of Every Mother Counts

May 3, 2015
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Flash 3 day contest on instagram! Don’t have an account? Sign up! It’s easy and fun!

Do you want to attend a my Manifestation Retreat over Mother’s Day in honor of  Every Mother Counts & global maternal health? (It’s next weekend so you have to act FAST!) Everything will be paid for including a spot at the cooking class but you must provide your own transportation to Ojai, California. Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization started by Christy Turlington Burns dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.

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Rules:
1⃣ Follow
@jenpastiloff @everymomcounts & @bloominglotusjewelry on Instagram.
2⃣ Post a picture
of you and your mom OR You and your child  on Instagram after you follow all 3 of us.

3⃣ Tag us ALL in comments & use #everymothercounts so we can see it!

4⃣ must follow us all & tag us all in comments section.

Info on retreat here at jenniferpastiloff.com.

You’ll also win a $108 gift certificate to Blooming Lotus Jewelry!!

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, motherhood

Jen Pastiloff, Christy Turlington Burns & Every Mother Counts Give Back This Mother’s Day.

April 22, 2015
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Do good for yourself, while helping us improve maternal health. Join me over Mother’s Day weekend, May 8-10th, for a 3 day retreat in Ojai, CA, where a portion of proceeds will benefit Christy Turlington’s Every Mother Counts. Please mention the organization when booking. Click here to sign up or email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com.

Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.

They inform, engage, and mobilize new audiences to take actions and raise funds that support maternal health programs around the world.

To join in this retreat you do Not have to be a mother. Just be a human being with a heart. No yoga experience required although there will be some yoga within the workshops.

I am so excited to support my friend Christy and EMC!

Christy Turlington Burns is a mother, social entrepreneur, model, and founder of Every Mother Counts. Having endured a childbirth complication herself, Christy was compelled to direct and produce the documentary, No Woman, No Cry about maternal health challenges that impact the lives of millions of girls and women around the world. As a result of her global advocacy work she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014, Glamour Magazine’s Woman of The Year in 2013, and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative Minds in 2013. Prior to her work as a global maternal health advocate, Christy enjoyed a successful career as a model while continuing her education and pursuing other interests. She has co-created public health communications campaigns about smoking cessation and prevention since 1997 and launched an award-winning website, SmokingIsUgly.com. Christy is also the author of Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice (Hyperion 2002) and has written countless articles, essays and op-eds for magazines and newspapers on the subjects of wellness, maternal health, feminism, poverty eradication and human rights. Christy is a member of the Harvard Medical School Global Health Council, an advisor to the Harvard School of Public Health Board of Dean’s Advisors and on the advisory Board of New York University’s Nursing School. She holds a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies and has studied Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. A three-time marathon finisher, Christy resides in New York City where she lives with her husband, filmmaker Edward Burns, and their two children.

ps, Christy is running the London Marathon this coming weekend on 4/26 to raise funds and awareness about the fact that thousands of women and girls still live too far away from the care and supplies needed to ensure safe motherhood. You can check it out here. 

I love you , Christy!

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Mother's Day Retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being.  Click photo to book.   "Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing. She listens. She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you. Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening. And what her kind of listening does is simple: It saves lives." ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Mother’s Day Retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. Click photo to book.
“Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing.
She listens.
She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you.
Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening.
And what her kind of listening does is simple:
It saves lives.” ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Jen's Musings, Owning It!

Here’s What The F*ck I Am Going To Do About It.

February 26, 2015
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By Jen Pastiloff.

For Lidia Yuknavitch, my teacher, my heart sister, my friend.

I haven’t blogged in a while so here I am. Hi, hello, hi. I’m in Los Angeles, here at home for a few days before I hit the road again for more workshops.

A few weeks ago, I led a retreat in Ojai, California, with Lidia Yuknavitch, who wrote The Chronology of Water. The Writing & The Body Retreat. And yes, it was everything you’d imagine- and then some. And yes, we are doing it again in September.

In my own workshops, I ask people to write about the things that get in their way and the fears they have and what they are afraid of. I ask them to write and share about all sorts of things. That’s why the subtitle is On Being Human. It is not a “writing” workshop, per se, although there’s writing. Mostly, it’s about what it means to be a human being. They laugh and cry and let the snot fly, as I like to say.

And then I always ask this: Now what? Now what?

So you wrote about it and shared it out loud and you may “want to be a writer” and you may not, no matter really, what really matters is this: what now?

Writing and sharing is hard, and I think a pretty big deal, but you can write until you are blue in the face and go on retreats and camps and workshops and whatever but what are you going to do?

This is where I get stuck.

I talk a good talk.

But then I sit here and stare out the window all day.

So, when Lidia gives a prompt that is so similar to what I ask except she asks it in her Lidia-esque way, I know that this woman is my heart. She asks the group what was main thing was that was getting in their way. I participated in this one.

What was getting in my way? She asked us to write down the first thing we thought of.

Okay, done.

My own self gets in my way. Me.

Then she gave this exact prompt, and this is really where I knew I loved her for life, “And here’s what the fuck I am going to do about it.” We had five minutes.

This is what came out of it for me. This is my Now what?

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, I Have Done Love, Retreats/Workshops, writing

Writing & The Body. Jen Pastiloff & Lidia Yuknavitch.

February 8, 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

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By Jen Pastiloff.

Update: We have just opened registration for our next Writing and The Body Retreat. Book here.

I am on way my to London to lead a workshop and I couldn’t be happier. I do two a year in London (back doing one there Oct 10th), which, truth be told, is a friggin’ dream come true for me. Manifesting.

Making Shit Happen is how I define manifesting. 

Please check out a list of my workshops soon as I have them coming up in Massachusetts (retreat there next week in The Berkshires), NYC in March, Atlanta in March, Princeton, Philly, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Tuscany, and more! Post in the comments section if you are attending one soon or would like to.

You do NOT have to know any yoga at all. Just be a human being. All workshops listed here.

Read this to get a better understanding of what it is I do. 

To anyone who may be disappointed that my retreats or workshops are not enough “yoga,”I refuse to apologize. I won’t back down with my mission and the beauty mark I intend to leave.

I want to remind you not to put yourself in a box. That you can make something up and put it out into the world ( I did it!) with one intention and it will work. But do know what that intention must be? Every time? No matter if you are doing this or that or writing or yoga or nursing or mothering or serving veggie burgers?

The intention must be love. My go to saying- At the end of my life, when I ask one final “What have I done?” let my answer be, “I have done love.”

So please, if you want to come to a workshop of mine, know that I may not have you do 39 handstands. I may not have you do 100 vinyasas (although sometimes we do do a lot) but I will try my damnedest to create a space of love. I will do my best to help you not forget who you are in the world.

 

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Jen and Lidia

 

I just led an incredible retreat last weekend in Ojai, California, with one of my favorite authors and humans, Lidia Yuknavitch, called Writing and The Body. We are doing it again over Labor Day weekend 2015. Book here.

A woman in a room is crying, but it’s not what you think. The salted water brings her home, but it’s not what you think. There is another home in her, an ocean of lives lived alongside others. Look in her eyes. Look differently. Look at how her eyes are worlds. Some of the bodies carried life, some of them carried death, some others, both. There are bodies who have starved or needed more than the open mouth of an infant. There are folds of flesh redefine your puny words, “wife,” “mother,” “daughter,” other. If you listen with your whole body, you can hear our skinsong. A beautiful thunder. Even death begins us. Begin again. ~ Lidia Yuknavich after our Writing & The Body Retreat. Continue Reading…

And So It Is, Guest Posts, Making Shit Happen, Manifestation Retreats, Tribe

Making Sh*t Happen: The Experience of a Lifetime.

January 2, 2014

New Year #MSH by Martha Meyer Barantovich

photo by Linda Hooper

photo by Linda Hooper

A perfectly perfect day.  A perfectly perfect time of year.  A perfectly perfect opportunity for relaxation.

It would seem that flying to LA and driving the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH for all the cool kids) while watching the sun set into the water was a brilliant idea.  Ojai, California was the backdrop for an amazing retreat with Jennifer Pastiloff, of the New Jersey Pastiloffs and of Karaoke Yoga/Manifestation Workshop fame.  I had signed my beloved husband Joe (heretofore “My Lobster) and myself up for Jen’s Inaugural Manifestation New Year’s Retreat.

I walked in feeling like I was hanging onto my last ounce of sanity and left more than transformed, with enough life changing memories and lessons that will stick with me forever.

Broken, Battered, Bewildered and Beautiful.

Walking into a room full of strangers, on my 47th birthday, and trying to express in a circle what it means to be at a Manifestation retreat (where people come to “Make Shit Happen”; hashtag #MSH), is like being dropped into the middle of Siberia. In the middle of winter.  With no coat.  And no Russian. And no vodka.

Like whoa.  Who does that? Who decides at the end of the year that they are going to allow themselves to be ripped open and peered at by strangers? Who decides that spending their birthday with the unknown and the unknowing would be a the way to celebrate life? Who gathers in a space during football bowl season without a TV or a sports bar? Me. And My Lobster. And everyone else there too it seemed. Because we had to.  Because, as Jen repeated (she does this a lot…repeats…and repeats… so you’ll get it, I mean get it, no, I mean really get IT), “like attracts like”.

So there we were 40 some odd strangers who were broken and battered and bewildered and beautiful. This is my observation that came from the self talk in our opening circle. We had collectively broken up, gotten back together, changed jobs, changed life statuses, changed coasts, moved in, moved out, retreated before, manifested before, worked our way to just being, and some just showed up because that’s what they needed to do. We needed to speak our truth (notice the little t) so that we could start “drawing to us” our desires/manifestations for 2014.  We had to open the door to our souls just a little and let a little light in and a little darkness out to get things rolling.  And let me tell you.  When you are broken and battered and bewildered and beautiful, it only takes a speck of sand on your mountain of shit to start the avalanche of healing.  Deep soul healing.

What are you manifesting? What are you doing to be inspired? How are you setting up your life to experience “Joy for NO Reason”? And we begin.  We OM.  I mean we really OM.  I love to Om. (Side note…not the OM that you may read about that involves half naked women and pillows and such).  I could drop and cross my legs and close my eyes anywhere and OM from the depth of my soul because the sound and the connection and the vibration totally rocks my world.  Imagine a room full of broken, battered, bewildered, and beautiful people letting their walls fall and OMing from the depths of their soul.  Together.  In a room that has nothing but positive, radiant energy in it.  And you’re sitting almost knee to knee with strangers creating a vibration that moves through the rafters towards heaven and bounces off walls and to you and ….wow.  I wanted to hold on to that sound forever. Like a musical snapshot.  I don’t ever want to forget the power that was in those voices.

Because I knew that I had come to a place that was going to heal me and my broken, battered, bewildered, beautiful self.

I needed this so I could get out of this horrible place in my head that I have been in since January 7, 2013, my quit smoking (again) day.  I’m coming up on my 1 year anniversary.  My lungs are happy, my skin is happy, my family is happy, My Lobster is happy, society is happy, everyone I know keeps telling my what an awesome thing it was to quit smoking.  And it has sucked.  Everyday for the past 359 days has sucked. There have been varying degrees of suckiness, from lying on a bed in the fetal position with a knife in my hand just wishing I could die to just feeling generally meh. Quitting smoking, while making everyone else in the world happy has made me miserable.  It was the last thing I had to hide behind.  It was my thing that removed me from uncomfortable situations, that allowed me to separate myself from the crowd, that allowed me opportunity to disconnect for a while, that occupied my time and my thoughts, that generally just owned my life.  Good God.  I was owned my nicotine (that is an absolute breakthrough in those words…never said that before or even thought it).  And in its own sick way, nicotine and cigarettes saved me.  They were ALWAYS there for me.  They ALWAYS protected me.  You need to know that because I was left alone. When the cigarettes left I was exposed.  And naked.  And vulnerable. And I didn’t know how to do any of those things.  Because, let’s be honest…who messes with the chick who smokes and is built like a linebacker? Ya….nobody.  And I liked it that way.  For 30 of my 45 years I was safe and protected and ok.  And then, just like that, I wasn’t.  And how I made it to my 47th birthday is beyond me.

 

If it Jiggles, It’s not finished.

And so the whirlwind manifestation retreat comes barreling at you…stampeding straight towards you.  There’s no time to think, there’s only time to be real and authentic and to SHOW UP.  You don’t have time to question or judge or be concerned or worry or shoulda/coulda/woulda about anything.  Because you open yourself up by calling forth your #MSH (manifestation/desire) and BAM Jen is taking you on the ride.  Cat/Cow, downdog, crescent lunge, hiya, warrior 1,2,3, breathe, sigh, inhale, hands to prayer, repeat the mantra, 6 more times, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.  Sweat, start to cry.  Listen to the music.  You’re moving collectively, individually, in your own space and in others and you’re concentrating and calling forth and meditating and oh my GAWD…Why am I fucking crying again? Is it this song? Is it Jen’s words on repeat? Is it the moving? The space? the breathing? STOP.  DROP.  “PICK UP YOUR PENS”….what? I can’t breathe woman…can’t you see me heaving with emotion and trying to catch my breath after the 174 vinyasas you just made me do? Can’t you tell that I’m in no condition to write a goddamn word…oh…and I have to answer questions as I write? And dear …what…? I’m not the only mess in the room.  There are sniffles and heavy breathing and silence…as I am surrounded by people who are being authentic and vulnerable and honest and raw and true and sad and joyful and amazing and not finished.

We are all just getting started on this part of the journey and Jen is forcing us to confront ideas and realities that are amazing and painful and beautiful and awesome and ridiculous and…..huh??? Did I just hear my name? Oh you want me to share out loud with these people my raw truth that just came from, I swear, the center of the earth.

I am

What people say I am: giving, kind, joyful, caring, a good teacher, friendly, fun. What I say: fat, not worthy, not good enough (I am sloppy crying at this point), useless. The truth is I am a caring, giving, enthusiastic supporter who will take on the giants for others but is afraid to follow through with the little things. I can’t breathe at this point.  I’m pretty sure I have snot dripping everywhere, but I feel so free because the truth is: I never take stock of the Truth. Truth with a capital T, not a little t.  I think that I mostly allow the little t to fake represent the big T.  And so I’m not done.  I’m still jiggly, like the ganache baking in the oven that isn’t ready (I’ll be glad to share the amazing insights from Caspar Poyck at another time).  It needs more time.  And whoa again….jiggly is ok.  It’s like more than ok.

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Caspar Poyck

It’s awesome and freeing and beautiful and I think I’m experiencing “Joy for No Reason”.

And I’m pretty sure that I want this feeling to last forever.

Vulnerability is Sexy

And this goes on and on and on and we breathe and move and listen and sweat and stop drop and pick up our pens and write and share and laugh and cry and do it again and again and again.

And looking back it was over in a minute.  But while there it was like this roller coaster that has these little dips and I’m like “Ok..this is cool…not too scary, not too safe” and I can’t see in front of me so I don’t know what’s coming and then the car turns a corner and    dropsofastyoucantthinkastowetheryoushouldscreamorcryorvomitorhitsomeoneordieorliveorgetofforstayonorahhhh

and you laugh.  This laugh that sounds like someone has lit you on glitter fire and filled a room with butterflies and chocolate fountains and all the things that make you fill loved and safe and wonderful and joy.  And in that first second I think, “Do I deserve this?” And Jen comes up with another one of her Jen-isms like, “Choose love” “Let go of fear” “Be Fucking Awesome” and the feeling of love and letting go and being awesome is so overwhelming I just want to open my mouth and scream and laugh and burst forth and hug strangers (oooohh…that’s big…cause Martha don’t like strangers in her space), and tell people how beautiful they are.  And I know it wasn’t just me that felt that, because I watched people who were sitting hunched over in our opening circle look up and smile and lift their hearts and breathe deeper. And I saw people who don’t cry, cry.  And connect.  And love.  And open.  And blossom.  And share.  And be vulnerable.

And after every class and writing session I think, how can I possible do anymore of this? How can I not? 

Begin Again

And so I leave California and head back home to Miami, to reality, to my life.  And I’m full. Full in my soul. And connected to a tribe.  And I’m full of love for these wonderful people who have been a part of a change.  An individual/collective change that is going to individually/collectively make 2014 amazing.  Because 2013 is gone.  The rock that caused the flat isn’t important.  What’s important is to change the flat and move on.  And find your true self.  So I leave you with these manifestation retreat insights:

  • Drink good wine.
  • Eat good food.
  • Laugh.
  • Love deeply.
  • Have an energetic clearing.
  • Attend a yoga class.
  • Move your energy around with sound bowls.
  • Hit a gong.
  • Listen to nature.
  • Sit in a chair as the sun rises and stare at nothing and at everything.
  • Take pictures.
  • Dance.
  • Sing.
  • Write.
  • Share your story.
  • Don’t box people up so that you feel better.
  • Let go.  Open up.  Be free.
  • Get your fingers dirty with your food.
  • Write a love note to yourself.
  • Look someone in the eyes as they speak so you give them your undivided attention.
  • Make new friends.
  • Be real and honest.
  • Put down your phone.
  • Thank someone who loves you for loving you.
  • Be vulnerable.  Good grief.  Be vulnerable.
  • Share your gift(s).
  • Manifest your Lobster or your dream job or money or time or whatever you need.  Hashtag #MSH.
  • Say thank you aloud and to things and ideas and life.
  • And when you get a chance, find Jen on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or the web and join a room full of strangers with shit piles just like you (because there are no accidents) and manifest.  Inspire yourself to be inspired.  Everyday.  Bring your hands to prayer. Place them in front of your heart. And repeat when necessary “I am worthy”

Because if I am worthy, so must you be.  

by Martha Meyer Barantovich (click to connect with Martha.)

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May retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being.  Click photo to book.   "Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing. She listens. She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you. Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening. And what her kind of listening does is simple: It saves lives." ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

May retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. Click photo to book.
“Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing.
She listens.
She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you.
Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening.
And what her kind of listening does is simple:
It saves lives.” ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for May 25th cleanse. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the new season of spring. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for May 25th cleanse. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the new season of spring. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

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. It is LIFE CHANGING!

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. It is LIFE CHANGING!

5 Most Beautiful Things, Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

Ruptured.

September 12, 2013

The following essay by Marika Rosenthal Delan blew me away. She wrote this about my Ojai Manifestation Retreat over Labor Day, which she won as part of a prize for her winning my #5mostbeautifulthings contest.

Aht-lo-le-Vahd

את לא לבד

You are not alone.

It’s the Hebrew phrase that kept ringing through my ear where I attended my first Jennifer Pastiloff  Manifestation Yoga retreat over Labor Day weekend in the oasis of Ojai Valley, California.
It was a weekend packed full of that which we later dubbed “The Jen Pastiloff Experience”.

Complete with all sorts of awesomeness: karaoke yoga, delicious love-filled food, surprise soul-stirring live music, insightful writing, new friends that felt like childhood besties, epiphanies, life-altering conversation, heart-wrenching stories of love and loss, poetry, natural wonders, a little wine, deep talks around the pool about diamonds and time transport of the Whovian persuasion,  and a midnight swim or two under the brightest stars I’ve ever seen (not to mention a handful of shooting stragglers from the end of the Perseid meteor shower that peaked a few weeks ago- which for geeks like me is heaven.)

I could go on all day attempting to describe what we did there and still not capture all that was the magical time we spent in Ojai. You know how words so often fail where the heart is concerned.

Oh, yes, the heart.

I found mine pounding at the thought of facing my fears – the biggest of which was the fear that I would somehow find myself alone amongst all these people. Virtual strangers.
But something unspoken, somewhere trapped under my tongue, there in my quivering voice, was that phrase once again waiting to remind me….

You are not alone.

I found myself involuntarily muttering it aloud in a circle full of exquisitely and intricately beautiful people atop our yoga mats on a floor that reflects light as if it were glass;  and again this morning as I tried to capture the spirit that embodied our time there; trying to describe the feeling that was at the heart of it all; that which I came out knowing in body and spirit what I before only understood in theory.

את לא לבד
Aht lo le-Vahd

Its only fitting that it would be Hebrew that would echo in the valley and in my ear in Ojai. Not that I’m religious, or technically even Jewish by lineage.

I don’t speak Hebrew aside from a few prayers, although I try. I studied diligently for over a year in preparation for my marriage into a Jewish family but never converted. But if we are being authentic here (and isn’t that the whole point?),  I would be amiss if I didn’t say I have felt Jewish from the time I was a young girl and have spent a good part of my life chasing where that feeling came from.

It’s hard to explain the way I feel it in my bones- the way it pulls me inward like metal shavings to a magnet- all my little pieces I thought were lost underfoot somewhere- pulled like splinters out of the floor boards.

But in this sacred space where the veil between here and the nether feels ever so slightly drawn aside, it can be no accident that I’m here just in time to ring in Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and in preparation for the Days of Awe, the highest of the high Holy days.

My last days have indeed been days of awe.

The Universe is clever like that.

Awe? You’ll find it here in droves.

It in the valley rich with succulents thriving in rock in the 100 degree plus desert heat. It’s in the colors of sunrise in the yoga studio doors. It’s in the morning moon where the twilight still lingers and the promise of another day is just over the horizon, a horizon that is literal mountains in 360 degrees. It’s in the trees filled with ripe and heavy fruit, ready to rupture as it hits the ground, giving sustenance as it enters it’s next stage of life, which is death; giving it’s flesh to nourish life still living.

But more than anything I found it in the people who dwelled there together for four awe-inspiring days. It’s in the stories they told of their brokenness.

It wasn’t just figs that were falling to the ground breaking open.

rupture-[ruhp-cher]  noun, verb- rup·tured, rup·tur·ing-  the state of being broken.

I’ve always held the notion that being broken was undesirable, that it branded you damaged somehow.  That even though you would like to forget, that it is necessary for you to carry the scar with you to remind you of your brokenness lest you ever think you are complete just as you are (or maybe that’s just martyrdom disguised as Jewish guilt.)

On the way to Ojai valley, I couldn’t help but notice all the straw hats over bent backs in the fields lining each side of the highway for miles and miles.

Planting,
growing,
sowing,
harvesting—all the things of my childhood on the farm with my own ghosts traipsing through the mud clods and piles of grain so high you could swim in them.

This morning, reading through the scribbles I made in my journal as we drove through the fields on the way to Ojai- an epiphany.

The Divine has been using brokenness to make things whole again since life first began.

It’s when the dirt at summers end has hardened to a tough crust that it must be broken open again in order to bear next season’s fruit.

It’s the rain pouring forth from broken clouds; breaking open to spill the field full of new life pulsing underground.

It’s in the seedling that breaks the surface of the soil as life emerges from the dirt; in the wheat that is thrashed until the beginning of bread has broken.

In the bread that is broken together where strength is born for life to continue evolving.

In the cracks where our hearts have broken now put back together again.

It was seeking my most beautiful things that had brought me to this place and where the breathtakingly beautiful things that happened here brought me so close to the Divine I could taste it. That brought me to my knees in gratitude at the top of the hill behind the yoga studio where I was witness to that neon sunrise reflection in the glass.  In the same dirt from which new life emerges I fell to my knees in awe, in gratitude, in reverence to the life lived before here, while we were here, and to our lives beyond this space- before we packed our things and drove away, before I said my goodbye to the place where I discovered that I’m not so shattered after all.

Broken and made whole again—like this tribe of people, all of us with our own brand of heartbreak, now shining all our light on the mirror, complete with all its cracks, but pieced together for us to finally see the depth of our own beauty.

This tribe of incredible people, willing to bear their souls and their deepest fears; that bear witness to the primordial cry inside all of us.
People willing to bare their broken hearts in front of a room full of virtual strangers.
People with beauty and light so deep and so bright,
if you stared too long it would burn your eyes.

As I drove home with my family and left Ojai valley, watching the mountains and velvet hills and colors and shapes of sunrise in reverse, expecting the sacred space to fade away as we were carried further away from it’s magic, only to find it expanded exponentially as I saw the ocean open up into foreverness. It wasn’t a fading away but a birth of all that was waiting to come alive inside of me and around me.

“But in a way you can say that after leaving the sea, after all those millions of years of living inside of the sea, we took the ocean with us. When a woman makes a baby, she gives it water, inside her body, to grow in. That water inside her body is almost exactly the same as the water of the sea. It is salty, by just the same amount. She makes a little ocean, in her body. And not only this. Our blood and our sweating, they are both salty, almost exactly like the water from the sea is salty. We carry oceans inside of us, in our blood and our sweat. And we are crying the oceans, in our tears.” ― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

Oh, there was plenty of sweat (with a hundred degree plus heat wave we could have called it hotyoga), and an ocean of tears in the stories shared, in the hearts bared.
It was a birth. A death.
A rebirth.

An evolution of no longer holding oneself back, of manifesting that life which is yours for the taking should you choose to take the gift as it was given.
As your birthright.

When I stop and think about it for even a moment, I find my own eyes fill with tears remembering just how not alone I am. How connected it all really is. How the Divine fills all worlds.

And now that I’m home, with the ocean and those majestic mountains no longer in my field of view, with the magical energy of our collective dispersed, I find the fear that I couldn’t bring the magic home with me is unfounded.
It’s just as palpable here in my kitchen with a sink full of coffee cups and toast crumbs on the floor. Here where the birthday sign in the window is long overdue to be taken down.  Backlit with morning sun, still hanging there with my own majestic mountains behind it in a neon sunrise on a blanket of cool Silicon valley fog, beckoning me to take this day as my birthday- every day as a birth.

and remembering these words, I know that it is….

“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezLove in the Time of Cholera

Coming Home
by Marika Rosenthal Delan

Leaving, not going

return

depart.

strange

familiar,

weightless heart

ripe figs

ruptured

born strangers
now kin

the words
none come

or gush

from unseen

once hushed

now free
places

remembered now
in
sacred spaces

kept kindled,
the spark,

now a torch,

burst into

full flame

“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend”― Aldous Huxley

“At the end of my life when I ask What have I done? one final time, I want to answer: I have done love.” -Jennifer Pastiloff

We have done love.

Thank you for showing us how it’s done.

 

In awe of you (and ourselves) and with deepest love,

the tribe

 

IMG_7736 IMG_7831 IMG_7872 IMG_7876 IMG_7879

 

My next retreat to Ojai is over New Years and is already selling out so please click here to deposit or email barbara at jenniferpastiloff dot com. I am also doing the Mother’s Day retreat there again. Click here.

Here is a memory album which my mother painstakingly made. Please check it out as it is lovely.

To follow Marika click here. I suggest you do. I am so happy she was the winner of the contest. She is indeed a beauty seeker!

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

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

November 2, 2012

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

I Am No Longer Asleep by Stephanie Neutze

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

The Traveler of Here by Caspar Poyck.

July 19, 2012
cropped-caspar-blog-big1

The traveler of here.

~ Guest Post by Caspar Poyck C. Ht.

Tuscan sunset

One of my very dearest friends in the whole world; Jennifer Pastiloff is in Italy for another one of her amazing Manifestation Yoga Retreats. 

Before her travels started she wrote a blog about kindness that inspired me to write this.

I love exploring and traveling into hearts, minds and into life itself.

When I came to the U.S. from The Netherlands at age 21, I took trains and busses and hitch-hiked to California from New York without much of a plan. From 2003-2005 I traveled a big part of our physical world and have gone on many 1-3 month trips before and since.

On these trips through Central America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe there have been many moments with people who picked me up and gave me rides. New friends who showed me secret spots, who translated for me and had conversations in hand-signals and facial expressions. People took me in for lodging and for food.

These “strangers” showed me “their world”, I was wide-eyed and grateful, at times we sang and we danced together. Kindness was always there in abundance !

When traveling, my eyes and ears, my mind and heart are wide open to experiencing the world and the people around me.

I expect nothing yet I expect everything !

High expectation to have great experiences, yet no expectation as to what they should be has me say “yes” to almost everything.

This creates potential and manifestation; this creates pleasure and learning.

Our mind has an amazing filter: our senses take in more than we can consciously process so only small amounts of what “the system” perceives comes into our awareness.

HOW this filter is set up is how we see our world!

The world is a reflection of ourselves.

Remember when you bought your most recent car? Remember how in the first few weeks you saw that same model everywhere? There weren’t more of them on the road; your filter was just tuned into seeing them more.

Are you a parent ? Do you remember how when you or your spouse were pregnant it seemed like everywhere you looked there were pregnant women? Same thing.

This is what happens on a trip. The filter is set-up to see the new, the good, the beautiful, the playful, the interesting, the delicious and the kind.

Thus we see and experience them more.

 

I can bring this into my day-to-day life as well. The place I call home is a destination that many people dream of one day visiting on their “vacation of a lifetime” !

 

I LIVE IN A PLACE I COULD EXPERIENCE AS A TRAVEL DESTINATION if I set up my filter to look at it that way!

 

When I choose to I look at the things around me with (literally) wide eyes and feel a sense of wonder. I check out buildings, people and their body-language, trees and flowers, etc., and I remember when I just got here and the city was new and how it filled me with interest, hope, excitement and joy.

 

I can experience that kindness here at home as well !

One of the ways it came to me this week was in the form of the stranger who gave me a $20 bill so my daughter could camp next to hers.

(I erroneously thought my back-country pass covered that campground and appropriately they don’t “take plastic” in the woods).

 

 

We can’t all be in Italy with Jennifer this week, but WE CAN choose how we filter the vacation destination we live in.

 

Meditation, prayer and affirmations are all exercises to entrain our conscious mind to perceive the world as it’s best for us.

 

Make this playful “Traveler of Here Meditation” your practice of the week.

 

Spend 10 minutes every morning looking at things around you as if you’re a child, as if you’re on vacation, as if it’s all new to you.

 

Really exaggerate it !

 

Look at the world with your eyes a little strained open and your brow pulled up. Do it with a smile on your face. See new things and things anew.

 

Have you seen the frescoes at the top of the buildings downtown ? How about the way that biker is humming to himself as he zips by ? The woman’s original shoes in line at Peet’s Coffee ?

 

Feel like a traveler while you’re here; in a greater spiritual sense you already are anyway.

 

Feel the pleasure and gratitude of knowing that wherever your home is, if you didn’t already live there you would be the traveler there right now!

 

To the people around you, you are the kind stranger I ran into so many times all over the world. We are the same people !

 

Tomorrow I will smile at people as a kind stranger on my travels and will look at my world again as the “traveler of here.” Meet me on the road ! Let’s tell stories, eat a meal together and look at our world in wonderment.

 

 

To Jennifer, my sister: have an amazing trip, take it all in with wide eyes and share in the kindness as you always do.

 

Happy travels to you all,

Caspar

The above post was written while I was in Italy last week leading my retreat. As many of you know I got very very ill and my internet service was spotty but this delicious post was worth the wait. Caspar and I will be together again hosting a retreat Oct 19-21, 2012 in Ojai, California. You can even take a cooking class with him. Click here to sign up.

Connect with Caspar here.

 

Guest Posts, How To, Inspiration

Breathe Free! Journey to Becoming Smoke-Free

June 4, 2012
Click photo of rachel to read MindBodyGreen post

My sister Rachel, who I am so very proud of, just got published on the fab MindBodyGreen. Couldn’t be happier! Her article is about her journey to being smoke-free. She hasn’t lit up in 3 whole months after years and years of being a smoker. I am so happy! Please take a moment and read the post and comment to support her.

My Journey to Breathing Freely

By Rachel Pastiloff

I don’t know if it was the wrinkles in my face. Or maybe it was the smell on my clothes. Or maybe, just maybe, it was that I am 34 years old now, only 4 years younger than my dad when he died. He smoked 4 packs of cigarettes a day. No I didn’t smoke that many. But smoking any cigarettes is hurtful to your body.

I am in the midst of yoga teacher training right now and we are studying the yoga sutras. There is one that stuck with me like bubble gum that I couldn’t get out of my hair. {AHIMSA; NON-VIOLENCE} How can you practice non-violence towards yourself when you smoke? Every time you have a cigarette you are quietly assaulting your body…..

Click here to finish reading and to comment to support her.

Click photo of rachel to read MindBodyGreen post

PS, she is a yoga teacher now in Atlanta and will be assisting my October 19-21 Manifestation Yoga® Retreat to Ojai. Sign up here.

Gratitude, Guest Posts, Inspiration, Manifestation Retreats

A Delicious Pack of Weirdos. By James Vincent Knowles.

May 10, 2012
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 Poster by SimpleReminders.com Pre-order their book www.SimpleReminders.info Subscribe for more: www.bryantmcgill.net


Poster by SimpleReminders.com
Pre-order their book www.SimpleReminders.info
Subscribe for more: www.bryantmcgill.net


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

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

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

He was in me and She was in the others.

Evidently He’d been there all along.

I felt powerful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I went.

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

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

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

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

So here’s what the retreat was like.

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

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

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

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

There was an immediate flow of acceptance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can see that butterfly theory thing going on here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wine tasting

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

Being silly

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

Chef Caspar doin’ his thang

Yes, it was a Super Moon!

Halo!

Some of the group.

Jimmy captured the Super Moon!

Connection.

Lunch

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

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

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

 

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

Eating/Food, Guest Posts

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

December 8, 2011
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Happy Thurday my Dear Manifesters! The fact that Manifestation Station has a guest post by the Renaissance Man himself makes me giddy with delight. Caspar Poyck is truly one of the great Renaissance men of our time. He is an artist, through and through. I first met him on a retreat I attended a few years back where he was the chef. Immediately I decided that I would lead my own retreats there ( 2 years later and I have done 6 up there in Ojai and none without Caspar.) I would not DREAM of hosting a Manifestation Retreat without this guy. When you read the following post you will see why he is such a fixture at my retreats. He hosts cooking classes during my retreats and the laughter that comes from the kitchen literally makes the house shake. Plus, he is easy on the eyes and is an amazing musician. Seriously? Yes, seriously. 

Enjoy his inspiring words and philosophy and join us May 4-6 at our 7th retreat together up in ojai. Manifest magic with us this spring! Sign up here.

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

What do you think ?

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

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

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

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

Stress !

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

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

Tightness of muscles

Shallow breath

Increased heart-rate

Higher blood pressure

Reduced immune response

Secretion of stress hormones incl. Cortisol

Impaired digestion

Impaired elimination Etc.

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

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

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

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

Am I saying that WHAT we eat is not important ?

Of course not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next time:

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

—–

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

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

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

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