March 10, 2010

Offer Good…and Good Comes Back to Us. ~Jennifer Pastiloff

California Bride Raises $2,300 at her wedding and donates 100% of would-be wedding expenses to relief for Haiti.

My wedding was perfect. I still believe it may have been a dream if it weren’t for the photos.

If you read the first article I wrote for elephantjournal.com, you’ll remember how I described myself as not being “the wedding type.” I decided to have my wedding at Yogaco, where I teach yoga in Santa Monica by donation. I gave up my Sunday slot and turned it into my wedding. I asked that all the guests bring money for Haiti instead of towels, pots and sheets for my new husband Robert and me.

I planned this big hoopla and made it public on Facebook (assuming everyone was on Facebook). I did receive some flack after from people who missed the event because they are not on Facebook. I am still stunned. Not on Facebook? Apparently there are a few people out there who still rely on phone calls rather than texts, on actual communication rather than social networking. Hmm.

I was a bit nervous as to how it would all work out, but I kept reminding myself of the life lesson proven time and time again: It Always Works Out. And It did.

I had 10 buckets from the Santa Monica Red Cross all over the studio, and donated wine from OneHope Wine set up on a bar in back. The sun was shining, the weather was sweet, to quote Bob Marley.

Emmy award winning stylist Brenda Cooper styled me in an amazing gown and jewels and my student Hilla Peer did my makeup.

Second lesson I have been re-learning lately: You attract what you are, or, likes attract. I must be doing something right because I have been attracting the most wonderful people and students into my life. At no other point in my life have I had such kind, generous, loving, and spiritual people surrounding me. Nobody would take money from me. I looked like a movie star and yet I did not pay one cent.

Another example of this Law of Attraction is the angel that showed up right before I got married and healed me.

My back went out before I was to wed. Yes, it sounds cliche, but it’s true. And I teach yoga. All around bad situation. I literally could not move or teach. How was I to get married? I tried doctors, heating pads, ice, rest, no rest, bath, massage, chiropractor. Nothing seemed to alleviate my pain. I finally managed to crawl out of bed to teach my Saturday evening class, where I announced my back was injured and I would not be demonstrating any poses. After class, a woman came up to me who I had never seen before and said that she wanted to help me. She would open her office for me the next day, a Sunday morning, because she was leaving for Japan on Monday. To make a long story short, this woman whom I had never met opened her heart and her doors to me on her day off and cured me. She gave me acupuncture and helped me release whatever it was I was holding onto, physically and otherwise. Mostly otherwise. She would not take money from me. It was as if she showed up just to help me and then disappeared.

I had a professional photographer at my wedding who also would not take money. It was as if all these people were conspiring with the Universe to help me pull this off. And did we ever!

As the people arrived, they brought home-cooked food and champagne. The children took the Red Cross buckets and began walking around to collect donations. Of course no one could resist them so we owe quite a bit to their charm.

Samadhi Bishop sang, I want to hold your Hand with a voice so powerful that people actually started weeping. Erica Rhodes was on cello and proceeded to mesmerize the audience. We had a didgeridoo player and drummer and people got up and said prayers and poems. One woman got on stage and asked everyone if they had seen the movie Avatar. We all nodded. That is like asking if everyone is on Facebook, isn’t it? She had us all gather and touch the person next to us, so the whole room was touching and we could all feel each other. It was a profound experience, much like the film. The energy in the room was palpable, as if it was a living breathing thing, which indeed it was.

One of my students brought tears to my eyes when I saw that he wrote a check to the Red Cross for $1,000. This is the type of person who comes to my class. I feel so blessed to even know this kind of person, let alone be their teacher. All in all, we raised over $2,300 for Haiti. It felt so good counting all that money knowing how far it would go.

I did register at Target because all my friends kept saying that I ” had to.” (I am human and there are a few things that I want. If you recall I mentioned a wok in my last article. Well, I have received seven woks.) After a while however, as you browse the pages of Target registries, all the stuff starts to look the same. I realized: It is Just Stuff. Whereas this $2,300 is going to go very very far in saving lives and helping people with basic necessities such as water. The stuff of life, rather than just stuff.

I figure that if this law of attraction stuff keeps up I won’t ever have to register for anything ever again because amazing things and people will just keep Showing Up in my Life. This is how it works. Going back to How may I serve?

When you give with a pure heart, the pure heart in others reveals itself to you. Case in point: my wedding and all the events surrounding it.

All in all, it was a huge success. I know my father was there in spirit as I felt his presence in the room and it was his spirit which helped me in all of this. It was truly a spectacular celebration with people I knew and people I didn’t know alike, singing and dancing and eating and raising a ton of money.

p.s. Not one person wore shoes!

Here is a link to my best friend delivering our vows to us (notice all the Facebook references, and the small blonde boy—my nephew who suffers from Prader Wille Syndrome and happens to be the sweetest child I know).

Jennifer Pastiloff is a yoga teacher based in Santa Monica, Ca, who spends too much time on Facebook, Twitter, and elephantjournal.com. She tries to balance it out with writing poems and being the So Cal Director of Yoga teachers for Yogabear, a non-profit that provides free yoga to cancer survivors.



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