I was in New York City last month and it was freezing – like your face is going to fall off cold.
And you wouldn’t think it because it was sunny as all get out, but eff, was it cold. I was walking down Columbus Avenue with my friend – we’d just just left a weird little noodle shop, where we sat at a table by the window next to some loud kids throwing noodles at each other on one side, and an older couple on a date, where the woman had a napkin tucked into her blouse and walked out with it on – and we ate miso soup and pickled ginger as we lamented how far apart we lived (her in NYC, me in Cali.)
We got fortune cookies and I said, “Wait.”
Isn’t this yours and that one mine? Don’t we read each other’s?”
I don’t know if that’s the Fortune Cookie Law but it’s what we did and as sure as the day was colder than a witch’s tit, they were spot on.
“I forgot how much I love fortune cookies,” I said, as I stuck mine in my wallet.
As we were walking down Columbus, a woman asked me if I had any money to spare. I started rummaging in the pockets of my coat, the one I have worn to every freezing place I have been to this winter – London, New York three times, Vancouver, Philly, NJ, Boston, The Berkshires etc – and I found some coins.
As I handed them to her, I realized that it was English money. Pounds.
“I’m so sorry. These are Pounds. These aren’t going to do you any good.”
She smiled at me and I smiled back and we held eyes for a moment before I started walking away, upset that I didn’t have any other cash because, admittedly, I am a “Saver”- I want to save and give and help every person that needs it. (And don’t lecture me, I know that I can’t, but I want to feed every hungry mouth, hug everyone who needs one, listen to people, hear their stories.) I know I can’t but it’s in my blood.
Anyway, I only had some UK money, a few crumbled receipts, a piece of candy, a hearing aid battery.
Halfway down the street I realized I had a mini elephant in my pocket.
Literally. I had a little Ganesha that someone had given me at one of my retreats that I had been carrying around.
I asked my friend to wait as I turned around and ran back down Columbus Ave.
“Take this. It will bring you luck. It’s a remover of obstacles.”
My friend halfway down the street, the air biting, the sun hanging low, me handing a hungry person a tiny white elephant as we hugged for a brief moment, and I thought about my fortune in my wallet. It said: Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.
Remover of obstacles.
Look, I’m not saying my porcelain Ganesha thing-a-majig was going to feed the lady or miraculously bring her a burger –
But don’t we all need that at times – the belief that our obstacles can be removed?
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Don’t we all need to be the one passing on something to someone in need? Don’t we all need to be the one receiving sometimes?
Don’t we all need to be the one giving a hug at times as well as the huggee? Eff the idea that you can’t hug a stranger.
Someone gave it to me, I gave it to the woman on the street and who knows, maybe she’ll pass it on? I hope she got a bite to eat, or hell, whatever the money was for, the money I didn’t give her – I hope she got some of it. Not for me to judge what she needed it for.
I just hope she was warm and fed and that the little elephant took away some of her obstacles.
It might not have, but if we all walked around with no belief where would we be?
Banging our heads against the wall and throwing noodles at each other, that’s where.
I know I needed that Ganesha because I have so many obstacles lately. Namely: myself. I needed that little guy.
But guess what? Lady on the street needed him more. And isn’t that what doing love is about? Isn’t that what being human is about?
At the end of my life I want to say: I have done love.
I’m going to listen to my fortune as I have just pulled it out of my wallet to take a photo of it.
I am going to proceed as if limits to my ability don’t exist. And I’m going to change the world. It is my duty.
Now, go on. Proceed as if limits to YOUR ability do not exist. As if there is a Remover of Obstacles right there in your palm.
Love you guys, Jen xo
Next up is South Dakota My 28, Dallas June 6, NYC July 25, Chicago Aug 22, Atlanta Aug 8 London and more! Also The Girl Power: You Are Enough Workshop (workshop for young girls) is launching in Sept!!
I have three spots left for my Tuscany retreat. Email us with any questions about workshops or retreats at: email@example.com. All info here.
Love you guys, xo Jen Pastiloff
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 (NJ, Seattle, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Vancouver, NYC & London are next). She leads an annual invite only retreat to Tuscany. She is the founder of the popular The Manifest-Station website. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. You can also find her at BeautyHunting.com.