Who Are You? Guest Post by Jennifer Pastiloff

23 Mar

I asked my sister Jennifer to write a guest blog for me some time ago. She is extremely busy, and I waited patiently for her to have a free moment to write her 3 words for me. I knew I would love whatever she wrote, and I knew that you all would love what she wrote too. My sister Jen has been a driving force in my life.  Jennifer is my best friend, my sister, my life coach, my inspiration, and my biggest champion in life. I am so blessed to have such an awesome mentor. Today I got her piece in my inbox and I am so excited to share it with all of you. This post spoke so loudly to me, as her work usually does for me.

“Who are you?”

Yesterday my student came up to me before my class at Equinox and told me that my sister Rachel’s blog is her saving grace; that she feels she is on the same journey as my sister. That she is, in fact, a little obsessed with 3 Words for 365. (So am I, I thought. So am I.)

I felt proud, happier than if it was my own blog she was talking about (which, due to my hearing loss, I thought she was at first!)

Serendipitous too, as I had just started this guest post for my sister’s blog. It was a gentle nudge from the Universe to get writing.

The past few days I have been in my bed, with the blanket over my ice-pack covered head.

Sound fun?

No, I didn’t think so.

Unless you are a vampire.

I haven’t suffered from one of my migraines since last May. Then BAM! Without warning I got one on Tuesday night.

I felt the panic set in.

It makes it hard to talk. To see. To focus.

I slur a bit.

Like I said: not fun. Unless you’re drunk, then these symptoms might feel a bit more celebratory.

I cancelled my private yoga sessions on Wednesday and Thursday due to how bad I was feeling.

I called Frank Gjata, who has become my life coach and dear friend, and before I knew it, I was lying in the dark, my throbbing head screaming Get off the Effing Phone, while the rest of me was off having a profound life changing moment. (That’s Frank for you, folks.)

What he does.

LCM. Life. Changing. Moments.

He asked me: Why now? Why do you think your migraine is coming back now?

I wanted to yell I don’t know and I don’t care. I just want the pain to go away.

He asked me to describe what I was feeling.

I said: throbbing. All I could get out. One word. Throbbing.

He suggested how perfect that was because it was actually how I was living my life.

On, off.

On, off.

Stop, go.

Stop, go.

Why did he have to be so spot on?

I told him I was feeling guilty that I gave up so much work the last few days. I said ” Who am I to give up $200 an hour jobs? I didn’t even make 200 A DAY when I was waitressing?”

He says: Exactly. Who are you?

There it is. That question.

“Who are you?”

(Just for the record, I hate when things get turned on me.)

I got it. Here we are back to my favorite exercise in my workshop. The “I am ____” exercise.

I realized that I keep myself so busy and run down because there is this mantra running through my head. You know how I love a mantra.

The mantra is: Who am I to ever say no to something?

Who am I to ever allow myself to say No to something?

What a question!

How many times a day do we say yes to things because we don’t feel we deserve to say no? Or, because there might not be another time to say “yes”? Or because the only way we know how to live is to keep ourselves busy all the time? Or because we feel guilty?

The list is endless.

I decided to fill in my “I am ___.”

I am: a successful writer. I am: a loved yoga teacher. I am: financially abundant.

I am: powerful. I am: A connector. I am: healthy. I am: well.

Who are you?

Last week Frank helped me realize how I was speeding through life ( again with the on, off, stop, go) and that helped me stay “not present.”

In fact, I got a speeding ticket on my way to his house. Just for fun. So I had proof I was speeding.

It wasn’t that fun, to be honest. I cried.

He also helped me get clear on how my hearing loss, “my not being able to hear” was related to my “not being able to be here.”

I hope this doesn’t sound too airy fairy, too woo-woo.

But the reality is, I don’t care if it does.

I am: someone who is independent of the good opinion of other people.

Is my migraine gone? Mostly. I wouldn’t be able to write if it was fully with me. There is enough of a remnant though for me to remember who I am.

Enough of a subtle pulsing and slight nausea to have me stop and take a breath. To have me pause and ask myself “Do I want to say yes to this next thing?”

Because the truth is: I get to choose.

Somewhere along the line I forgot that I get to choose who I am.

I forgot who I was and thought I was someone who would always be broke and who always had to say yes to any and every job or offer that came my way.

I forgot that I am worth it, and I get to take care of myself, especially when I am not feeling well. Especially when I am laying in a dark cell with ice over my face. Especially then.

Keep going, don’t stop, keep pushing, it’s never enough.

These mantras are broken and no longer serve me so I am throwing them away with my migraine if you don’t mind.

I would love to hear what your mantra is.

Just who do you think you are?

6 Responses to “Who Are You? Guest Post by Jennifer Pastiloff”

  1. barbarapotter March 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Love that you can say no. I know I have been guilty of not being able to say no even when doing something was extending myself too much on many occasions. And as they say if people really care about you they completely understand and that is who you want in your life anyway. Love you

  2. jamesvincentknowles March 24, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    here’s a couple of my fave mantras:

    use good judgement, not judgmentalism.
    if it flows, it goes.
    slow down, you’ll get there faster.

    Jennifer, you impress the heck out of me with your openness & authenticity.

    i read this post earlier this afternoon & started to write a comment to answer your question. I started waxing poetic about being a photographer, maybe a little bit of a writer, then i wrote the words “dragon slayer” and realized i’m not really feeling all that much like a dragon slayer right now.

    then i realized that for years i’ve been calling myself, “just a dude who tries to pay attention,” and i stopped writing. wow. no i’m not~! i’m a bit more than that~! then i had to take a bit of time to consider who i am before answering.

    so i’m sharpening my pen (the pen is mightier than the sword) & i’m paying attention. i’m awake. the dragon’s awake. i’ll not go back down into the abyss just to avoid fire breathing reptiles or any other sort of monsters. i know i’ll need some help though. like i’ve been getting here & there on these blogs from you, your sister Rachel and your friends.

    so okay … i’ll get back to you later on this one (after i’ve slain at least one dragon).



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