Hello, Just got back from a beautiful ten days in NYC and The Berkshires. Was so so great meeting so many of you and I look forward to meeting some more of you next Saturday in Atlanta! What a beautiful tribe.
Shortly after becoming a yoga teacher I decided I would lead my own retreat. I had been on only one (ONE) yoga retreat in my life and that was in 2008, a few weeks after my yoga teacher training had ended. I decided that I would go to that same place in Ojai, California, where I’d been on my only retreat and that I’d lead my very own retreat there. I didn’t know how. I just knew that I would. This is a trait I would like to publicly thank my mother for. The singular combination of chutzpah, impulsiveness and cleverness which together can wreak havoc, but which also is how I coined the term “MSH” or Make Sh*t Happen. It’s how I define the word manifest actually. You can post on Instagram and use #MSH and I will get it and smile and cheer you on.
I paid the deposit on the retreat center (which was terrifying because it was all the money I had to my name.) I decided that as long as I didn’t lose money, I would be happy. My goal was to break even. I thought that was a fair goal. Break even. No harm, no foul. Break even. As much as I love the show Breaking Bad (and I could write a book on how much I love that show) I did not want to break bad. Just even.
I brought twenty-seven people on that first retreat of mine. Looking back now, I can see what an accomplishment that is. Way to MSH! I would like to say to my self of a few years back. I didn’t lose money nor did I break bad/even.
I made more money than I had ever made in my life.
I had never felt happier.
That first retreat was the beginning of it all for me. (Meaning this. This journey that I am on. This traveling and leading retreats and workshops and creating a thing that wasn’t a thing that’s now a thing.)
I had no idea what I was doing and yet I’d made something happen. I’d made sh*t happen! Something that hadn’t even existed to me a year before as a sliver of possibility was a now a jackhammer, a loud yes. I had not even been teaching yoga a year and here I had led my very own yoga retreat (by myself) with twenty-seven people in attendance.
Chutzpah? Faking it? Impulsiveness? Desire?
All of the above.
At one point during that first retreat, I had scheduled a meditation. The time came and I actually had no idea how to teach meditation or what the meditation should be on so I turned to face the Ojai Valley right there out the window and I asked it what I should do. Now, I can’t say if the Ojai valley is what answered me, but the word “manifest” came through like steel rod. It poked me around and I turned and told the room that we’d meditate on what we were manifesting in our lives.
I had no idea who was even speaking. Manifesting? Where did I get that word?
Wayne Dyer. (Love you, Wayne. I love all you Dyers, in fact.)
The last couple years I was working at the restaurant, I would put Wayne on my iPod and walk for hours by the Pacific Ocean, listening to him. He’d tell his stories and talk about his daughters and I imagined him as my own father. In the fantasy I didn’t have to lose my own real father, Wayne simply picked up where Melvin left off in 1983. I memorized Wayne’s lectures. Over and over, as the sun set for the day in Santa Monica and my clothes stank like old food, I listened. He talked about manifesting all the time. It had gotten imprinted somewhere in my mind and little did I realize it at the time, his words had largely been the things that helped me decide to do a retreat on my own, to start to say yes. Maybe Wayne was the valley or maybe it was my own awakening but something answered me right then and there and I gave birth to it, right there in front of twenty-seven people. What are you manifesting? I asked those twenty-seven souls before they started scribbling down answers on the papers I had brought them for taking notes.
As I spoke to the room and the people let their heads nod back and forth in agreement, I realized how powerful I sounded. How in control. And how I had no idea who that person leading the retreat was. Where was this all-knowingness coming from? Who the hell was I? Who was talking?
I realized after that what I had done was simply to get in front of those people and tell the truth. Sure, I rehashed some things Wayne Dyer had said but mostly I told my story and how I just left waitressing after thirteen years at the same spot and how I wanted to write and had just started teaching yoga. I let myself be vulnerable in front of them because what I had started to notice was how much people respected that. You drink wine and you teach yoga? I love that! You curse and you teach yoga? That is so “real” of you. It made me laugh how excited people got by my just showing up in the skin I was in. I never thought I was doing anything except stating what was so but apparently not everyone is used to that.
And so it began.
I don’t know where it will lead me. This might be it.
And that’s enough.
Isn’t that a novel thought? That right now is enough?
Anyway, beloved Positively Positive Peeps, I would love to hear what you want to make happen. I want to hear your dreams. post ‘er. below. Get ‘er done. I love you guys. xoxo jen
P.S. I have two spots open for my next Tuscany retreat Sep 26-Oct 3rd and I would really love one of you to take it. Like minded folks and all… Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And.. I need your help as a tribe. I am launching my workshop for young girlsSep 19th and 20th called Girl Power: You Are Enough. Can you help me spread word and also register your teen or yourself if you are a young woman age sixteen-twenty-four? (The NJ workshop has a minimum age of thirteen but NYC is sixteen due to studio policy.)
Jen leads retreats that are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand. Click here for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you (Atlanta, NYC, St. Louis, London, Chicago & more, 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. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. She is the founder of Girl Power: You Are Enough.