Jennifer Pastiloff on “What Is Possible”

Jennifer Pastiloff proves what is possible at her recent Mother’s Day weekend yoga retreat. 

I recently led a Manifestation Retreat: On Being Human in Ojai, California. This particular one was a Mother’s Day Retreat and it was my great honor to donate a spot in honor of Every Mother Counts. The winner was almost impossible to choose as so many women submitted to my contest. I asked them to post a picture of them with their child/children or with their mother and tag #everymothercounts on instagram after they followed me (@jenpastiloff) and @everymothercounts. It was tough decision but the beautiful Jennifer Carslake won. Aside from gifting the retreat to someone, we are spreading the word about EMC, which is one of the most important things to do- raise awareness. This is where social media can be used for good, for social change, for bettering humanity.

At my workshops, where the only prerequisite is that you be a human being, we connect on a deep level. We write and move our bodies and talk about what we are afraid of and what makes us happy and what we suck at and what we absolutely do not suck at. I had them all write letters to their mothers and then read them aloud. This is truly one of the most remarkable things I have ever witnessed. Such courage and beauty in that space overlooking the Ojai Valley.

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As we sat in the room and wrote our hearts out, the rain fell outside. We desperately need rain in California so none of us were complaining.

We paused.

This past weekend was a pause button.

We paused and watched rain and listened for clues as to what was coming next in our lives. But the only clues were this: Listen. Love. Pay attention.

So we did.

We listened. Loved. Paid attention. (We also laughed and drank wine and honored our mothers and our selves and meditated and had dance parties. You know, the usual.)

It’s a remarkable thing what happens at my workshops and my retreats, and yet it’s not — it’s what’s always possible if we just let it. So this past weekend was a letting.

My life isn’t perfect so don’t pin that story on me. But what you can pin on me is that I have found something I’m good at and I made something happen with that. I’ve found a way to bring groups of people together and have them feel safe. I’m good at bringing out the best in others. I’m not so good at a lot of other things.

If we listen and love, and pay attention, life gives us so many moments to pause and see the beauty.

That is what I mean, by the way, when I say beauty hunting.

Someone at the retreat said that she loved my quote “At the end of my life, when I ask one final ‘what have I done?’ Let my answer be: I have done love ” — but that she also wanted to say at the end of her life she would like to say “I have done life.”

There was so much trust in that room over Mother’s Day Weekend. Can you imagine that?

I hope so.

Because that’s how I got there. That’s how we all got there.

We imagined it first.

We thought about what it would feel like to share our stories and not give a flying rat’s ass what anyone thought of us.

And we did something about it.

So we ended up, through planes, and trains, and buses, and cars and long drives, in that beautiful yoga studio in Ojai. And we said, “This is just how I imagined it would be.”

And we were unafraid.

And it was beautiful.

I hope you can imagine that feeling too.

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We also sang, and danced and cried let the snot fly. (That’s what happens when you let yourself be really vulnerable. You cry and the snot flies. And you let it.)

This is why hitting the pause button is so damn important. We need to remember what is possible. We need to laugh and cry with each other and share stories and look out the window at birds and snow and do nothing. We need to take time to live life, to have “done life” as my retreat goer said, and that means putting down the phone and the newsfeed and the instagrams. We need to stop hurrying so much. We need to be here. Now.

So, that is why I am here writing to you. I am pausing in the midst of my travel schedule to take a few days, and meditate, and drink coffee, and sit quietly and listen. I am pausing and connecting, with you, with myself.

Thank you all, dear readers and dear retreat peeps. This past weekend, if it reminded us of anything, it’s what we already know, but what we may have forgotten, and that’s this:

There’s so much that’s possible. So much.

It is my great honor to support EMC. What is possible when one person has a vision like Christy Turlington Burns did, and then a whole bunch of us also ask, How may I serve? We begin to change the world. Little by little. That is what’s possible.

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