Jennifer Pastiloff Shares What it Really Means to Be Human
In On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard, Jennifer Pastiloff tells the story of how she went from thirteen years of waitressing to facilitating yoga and writing retreats in exotic locations throughout the world. Pastiloff has transformed a love of yoga, and what Lidia Yuknavitch calls “radical listening,” into a unique workshop style that blends yoga, writing and self-transformation, all while remaining firmly with her feet on the ground.
The No Bullshit Approach
On Being Human joins the avalanche of women’s voices telling life stories through transformative narratives that speak to the complexities of women’s lives without offering easy answers. Pastiloff recounts her tale of dealing with her father’s sudden death when she was eight, decades of anorexia, depression and hearing loss with what she calls her “no bullshit” approach.
This memoir speaks to the metamorphosis of Pastiloff as she deals with issues in real ways, getting in touch with her body through yoga and facing her grief: “To me, yoga was magic. What else could it be? I cried for my father…I hissed breath of fire and I kicked up into handstands like I was weightless, and yet, I didn’t think about my weight as I was moving my way through the poses…I was letting go.”
Through Pastiloff’s approach to “beauty hunting,” and helping people find a way to say to themselves “I am enough” she shows us how true gurus are the ones who have lived a life and found a way to share these discoveries through human connection. She writes, “What I would not realize until my forties was that the moon is never missing any of itself. We just can’t see it. People are like that too.”
Reading Pastiloff’s On Being Human makes us believe we, too, can find that part of ourselves we may have lost sight of.
Natalie D-Napoleon is a yogi, songwriter and writer from Fremantle, Australia who now lives in California. She has an MA in Writing and works as a Coordinator at a Community College Writing Center. Her writing has appeared in Entropy, Australian Poetry Journal, LA Yoga and Writer’s Digest. In 2018 she won the Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize (Australia).