February 22, 2010

Helping Haiti in lieu of an Extravagant Wedding. ~ Jennifer Pastiloff

The Marriage of two different Cultures: one in Need, one in a place to Give.

I was never one of those girls that sat home and cut out pictures from BRIDE Magazine or planned my big white wedding.

Maybe because my father died when I was eight, and I was worried no one would walk me down the aisle? Or, because before he passed, he and my mother fought like cats and dogs and were possibly the most mismatched couple, always about to divorce? Maybe because I have the world’s smallest family. Maybe I was scared? The reason never mattered to me. I just didn’t envision myself getting married. Not that I didn’t necessarily want to, per se, it was just the visualization of it that eluded me. And, if you have ever been to one of my yoga classes, you know that I talk a lot about visualization. I make vision boards. I watched “ The Secret.”

So when my boyfriend asked me in December to marry him, I naturally freaked out a bit. Not only is a big wedding kind of antithetical to my personality (I am not very good at organizing and planning), but I was just stumped.

How would we do it?

We went to London over Christmas, where he is from. We were going to elope (naturally, I couldn’t imagine my wedding…and I wouldn’t have to, if we eloped in Hyde Park. The answer was clear.)

It didn’t work. I would have had to stay in London for 20 days due to some ancient legal passport baloney, and I simply could not miss that much work. I am a yoga teacher. I pay rent to teach at the donation-based studio where I work and I simply cannot afford to miss that much. One day I visualize I will be able to. Not December 2009.

We came back. Not married.

Then Haiti had the big earthquake.

That is when my visualization happened. I would turn my yoga class, which is run by donation, into a wedding party where all the money would go to Haiti. They, after all, need much more than me, who could use a new frying pan and a lamp…but that’s about it. I created an “event” through Facebook. You can see already how I am not the white wedding dress type of gal. My wedding invite was through Facebook! I even invited all my yoga “fans.”

I instructed everyone to bring something to share. Whether champagne or a poem or popcorn or a song…and definitely a donation to Haiti. There is nothing making me happier right now than the idea that I get to have “my day” as well as help out our brothers and sisters over there. The Red Cross got wind of what I was doing and want to be a part of it. Also, OneHope Wine, a most amazing wine company, is sponsoring me since they donate half of their proceeds to charities.

I am a huge fan of Wayne Dyer and I have learned from him to ask myself daily, “How may I serve?” I live my life like this, and I realized that my wedding party must reflect that as well.

I am in a position to help. So I will. I pay rent on the space I teach in, but I firmly believe that the money will always come back to me. It always does.

This is such a special occasion. Not only is it marking my new life, but it is a sign of the yoga (meaning “union”) of the human spirit. When I told people I was giving the money to Haiti for my wedding, they wanted to be a part of it. Not only are we all coming together on Sunday February 28, 2010, for something as beautiful as a marriage of two people (Jennifer Pastiloff and Robert Taleghany), but for the marriage of two different cultures: one in need, one in the place to give.

I truly believe that sending out our goodwill like this will begin the healing of Haiti, and of the human condition. The pots and pans and dish towels will always be there.

I would really love a wok, though.


Sunday Feb 28 1245 pm at Yogaco. 1408 3rd st Promenade Santa Monica , ca 90401

Jennifer Pastiloff is a yoga teacher and poet based in Santa Monica Ca. This is her first and hopefully last wedding.


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Barbara Potter Feb 25, 2012 5:13pm

Thank you for continuing to share your good spirit with the children who have special needs.

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