Practice not knowing.
Hello from Canyon Ranch in The Berkshires of Massachusetts, where I am the guest speaker this week.
I wrote this a few weeks ago after a long day of travel (as I seem to live on a plane these days):
It was a long travel day yesterday. It started out in the bitter cold in Boston and ended up in Los Angeles, where I live (when I’m not traveling), and although it wasn’t hot, it felt like summer compared to Boston that morning. I stopped in Atlanta and dropped off my sister, who had assisted my retreat in Massachusetts at Kripalu, then continued on to another flight to L.A.
On my second flight, I started to think about an email I got from someone in my life that said “We need to talk.”
The guy next to me had long fingernails, and smelled like mint, and the plane was cold cold cold so I sat in my parka and made up stories about the email and none were good. Then I thought about how little writing I had done over the last fifteen days of traveling.
How little? Little as in zero pages. Zilcho words.
By the way, I’m writing this on my phone, crouched on my floor in the dark before the sun rises, my coffee cup on the floor next to me.
Sometimes, no matter where I am, if inspiration strikes, I’ve got to get it. Although I’m not sure if it’s inspiration or just a willingness to want to speak the truth, or hell, who am I kidding – jet lag.
I curled into a ball in my exit row seat, and closed my eyes and willed my pounding headache to go away. “Headache,” I said (I really did. Cheesy as it sounds.) “Headache, I love you. I don’t need you.”
I wish I could tell you it worked.
I curled there in the cold with the white noise of the plane (one of the only times I don’t hear my own tinnitus in my ears) and I thought that I must be getting in trouble. That was what that email was about. I thought about how I sucked because I haven’t written. (I call this wallowing in your own suckery), I thought about the fact that in eleven days I’d be right back in Atlanta, and I had two workshops to lead, and then how I’m flying back to LA, and two days later flying to Massachusetts again, and then nyc and then OMG, I need a glass of wine. Hell. My heart thump thump my head my ears I’m exploding what am I going to do how am I going to do it am I even breathing where I am what’s my name my heart pounding head head head heart.
Head and heart fighting with each other. I ordered a glass of wine. A plastic cup of wine – Delta, you know. And not first class.
I looked out the window and saw mostly nothing. Then I started to see lights and knew we were beginning to make our initial descent into Los Angeles so I panicked.
What’s going to happen tomorrow? What’s going to happen? How will I keep going?
I tried it again, “Head, I love you.”
Pound pound. Splits in half.”Heart, I love you.”
(I’m still sitting on the kitchen floor, on my iPhone.)
Head, I love you. Heart, I love you. You’re safe. You’re safe.
The guy with the long nails looked over, and smiled and handed me a mint. “Take two” he said. “If you want.”
I love you. You’re safe.
I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know. I’m still safe. You know how I know? I woke up this morning and I’m still here. Here I am, typing away (the sun has now risen) on the linoleum in the kitchen. I didn’t die from not knowing.
What am I going to do about it? The only thing I can do:
Stay present. Stay here. In my body. In this moment. @JenPastiloff (Click to Tweet!)
When I drift off into the ethers of I don’t know what’s going to happen land I get lost in panic, fear, confusion, worry, self-loathing. You get it.
Practice not knowing. I shared a couple days ago that said: “You don’t have to be perfect. Just be delighted.”
So, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m going to keep doing my damnedest to make a difference in this world, human by human.
And most of all, I’ll stay human and practice not knowing and being okay with that.
Heart, I love you.
P.S. You guys are also my heart. Heart: I love you.
Sent from the kitchen floor, Feb 24, 2015. Excuse typos because, you know kitchen floor and iPhone.
NYC next week is sold out but I will see you in Philly, Princeton, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago and more! I love you guys! Post your thoughts in the comments and if I will see you at a workshop soon. My Tuscany retreat this summer is almost full so click here to book!! You don’t need any yoga experience. Just be a human being. xo Jen
Jen leads retreats that are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand. Check out manifestationyoga.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you (Dallas, Miami, South Vancouver, NYC & London are next). Jen is the guest speaker 3 times a year at Canyon Ranch and leads an annual retreat to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health every February, as well as an annual invite only retreat to Tuscany. She is the founder of the popular The Manifest-Station website. Jen is leading Other Voices Querétaro in Mexico with authors Gina Frangello, Emily Rapp, Stacy Berlein, and Rob Roberge in May . Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. You can also find her at BeautyHunting.com.
Featured image courtesy of Gabriela Oltean.