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On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard

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An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how deafness taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness. Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how deafness taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness. Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning. Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.” Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.


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An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how deafness taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness. Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how deafness taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness. Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning. Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.” Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.

30 review for On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katie Devine

    Jennifer Pastiloff's debut memoir is a cliche-busting, genre-bending, tour de force story of a woman who lives her life under her own created mantra, "I have done love." This exploration of a childhood shaped around the early loss of her beloved father, and a coming of age haunted by anorexia and depression is so deeply personal and corporeal that it becomes universal and palpable in its telling. When reading about Pastiloff starving herself through her teens and 20s, my stomach ached. When she Jennifer Pastiloff's debut memoir is a cliche-busting, genre-bending, tour de force story of a woman who lives her life under her own created mantra, "I have done love." This exploration of a childhood shaped around the early loss of her beloved father, and a coming of age haunted by anorexia and depression is so deeply personal and corporeal that it becomes universal and palpable in its telling. When reading about Pastiloff starving herself through her teens and 20s, my stomach ached. When she punished herself in destructive relationships while seeking love, my heart did. There are beautiful pairings of heartbreak and humor, despair and hope as Pastiloff moves through the world fighting and also often denying her grief and eating disorder and depression and hearing loss before discovering, through yoga and writing, how those very things are a part of what make her so very special--and so very human. It is a unique and incredible experience of an author saying to the people she connects with within her story, "I got you," and the reader feeling exactly that: held and heard and supported without being there or saying a word.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I’m not one to abandon books, but I’m over 200 pages in and feel done with this one. The message is fine, but the writing, while lovely enough, is meandering.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    There's so much I want to say about this book that I don't really know where to begin. I had never heard of Jen Pastiloff before I picked up this book. I picked it because the title (and the cover) spoke to me. This book is mostly a memoir of the author as she goes through her life's journey and then there are many sections that could be qualified as self-help through the realizations she's sharing along the way. But the whole time it's about her and it's not lecturing you as if she knows what's There's so much I want to say about this book that I don't really know where to begin. I had never heard of Jen Pastiloff before I picked up this book. I picked it because the title (and the cover) spoke to me. This book is mostly a memoir of the author as she goes through her life's journey and then there are many sections that could be qualified as self-help through the realizations she's sharing along the way. But the whole time it's about her and it's not lecturing you as if she knows what's right for you. So in that way, it's not really self-help :) The book starts when the author is really young and loses her dad at a young age which has a profound impact on her life. The family then moves back an forth from California to New Jersey a few times and then she moves to the Los Angeles area and is a waitress there for a long long time before she finds yoga and love and herself and starts running retreats all over the world. The writing is honest, raw, introspective, unvarnished in the most beautiful way. At times it pained me to read how she was self-destructing so much and to read her pain. But then I was also cheering for her and I took so much of the journey along with her because the writing is so real and you come to care for her so much. There was much I underlined here, here are just a few: The idea was this: I can give this away, this love, I do not have to keep it here in the dark, I can give it away and create more, even if I don't remember what it feels like to be loved. I can create it. I loved this. The giving it away and creating more. This was a moment my sister lived with me where we were truly happy so I tacked it on the wall above my desk to remind me that nothing is ever one thing, that although there were moments where we hated each other and couldn't stand living together, there were also times like this. This is so true. I feel this so much of the time, especially with people I love. Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss. For some reason, I had never thought of this, in this way, before. This helps reframe somethings for me. We can only be where we are. Obvious maybe but hard to keep remembering this. I'm worthy to receive. I loved this because it's not just about being worthy but about being worthy to receive. Loved this sentiment. There will always be the one who doesn't like you, the one who says, No, you should not do this, Yes, you suck. And we always always have two choices: keep going or shut down. Ain't that the truth. Who's going to win? The one? I have no idea who she is or was or what she's ever done or might do, but my point is, life's pretty filled up with all of us walking around telling stories about each other and to each other and about ourselves. This also made me stop and think. It's so true that we have our own stories about ourselves, about others, the stories we share. On and on. There's so much noise. Who knows what the truth is. Instead of getting caught up in who doesn't like you, get caught up in who does. It's much more interesting. i loved this idea. hard as it may be to implement. "No one is going to give me a fucking medal," I yelled into the phone as if she were the deaf one. "I have to give myself one." There is was. My whole life I had been waiting for permission, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be acknowledged, chosen, given permission to take up space. All of my life I had been waiting for someone to tell me I was enough. The lady who left my retreat gave me a gift. She gifted me with the revelation that you have to do all the ard work of loving yourself yourself. In that moment in the kitchen with those ladies and the wine and the chocolate ganache, I finally realized that no one was ever going to save me. No one was ever going to give me permission to be me. I had to do it. And this. So much this. Not waiting. Giving permission. I have to do it. If any of this resonates with you, I highly recommend this book, it will stay with me quite a while. I'm grateful for people who share their stories honestly. Even though this author and I have so little in common in our lives/histories, there is still so much I share with her and so much I've learned from her journey and her openness. Thank you to netgalley and duttonbooks for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Stunning, perfect, messy, and all-around wonderful. I wasn't familiar with Pastiloff's work before reading the book. I'm sort of horrified by that (WHAT OTHER WONDERFUL THINGS AM I MISSING?!) but it gave me the chance to read this with an open, empty mind. Now that I'm finished, I want to buy copies of On Being Human and scatter them around like seeds. It's a memoir, it's self-help, it's help-yourself, it's sad, it's funny, it's inspiring. It's also about the power of yoga, and though I haven't Stunning, perfect, messy, and all-around wonderful. I wasn't familiar with Pastiloff's work before reading the book. I'm sort of horrified by that (WHAT OTHER WONDERFUL THINGS AM I MISSING?!) but it gave me the chance to read this with an open, empty mind. Now that I'm finished, I want to buy copies of On Being Human and scatter them around like seeds. It's a memoir, it's self-help, it's help-yourself, it's sad, it's funny, it's inspiring. It's also about the power of yoga, and though I haven't done a downward dog in fifteen years this made me want to locate my lost sticky purple mat and strike a warrior pose. On Being Human is Pastiloff's story but it's my story too. It's a story about stories, especially the ones we tell ourselves that are, in Pastiloff's words, "bullshit."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Trono

    On Being Human is the best title ever, and before this book, I had never heard of Jennifer Pastiloff...but the cover totally sold me. This book is primarily a memoir of Pastiloff's life from childhood to present. She did not have an easy road and parts of this book were incredibly difficult to read but I so appreciated her honesty and her ability to share in such a raw and open way. I always love memoirs and think sharing our stories is SO important, even when they are not totally relatable to us On Being Human is the best title ever, and before this book, I had never heard of Jennifer Pastiloff...but the cover totally sold me. This book is primarily a memoir of Pastiloff's life from childhood to present. She did not have an easy road and parts of this book were incredibly difficult to read but I so appreciated her honesty and her ability to share in such a raw and open way. I always love memoirs and think sharing our stories is SO important, even when they are not totally relatable to us at first glance. I ended up connected so much with Pastiloff and found myself nodding along as I read. She has so much insight and wisdom but in a completely approachable manner. I felt like she was talking to me, not down to me with her writing. And while she now leads retreats all over the world, it felt like I was just talking to a friend who happened to be introspective but also totally real. Pastiloff writes about how we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories which can make us think we are not good enough. Many people have tried to share this message before but it has never come across like this to me..maybe because they felt they have conquered it? Pastifloff it is relatable because this is something that is a lifelong struggle, no matter the hurdles you face and accomplishments you "achieve". She has this humility about her that made this different than anything I have read before. I especially appreciated her sections on her struggles with her mental health. While it isn't exactly a "self-help" book I found so many thought-provoking lines that I kept underlining throughout. "Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss." “There will always be the one who doesn't like you, the one who says, 'No, you should not do this, Yes, you suck.' And we always always have two choices: keep going or shut down.” Sometimes her honestly made me a bit uncomfortable, but I think that is what made this book so powerful. I can't put my finger on it as it took me a bit to get into the book and I wasn't sure about for it a while but now that I am finished, I can't stop thinking about it. She has a unique ability to share in a way that made me think about my own choices and reactions in my life as well and it is a book I won't forget as a reader. Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I totally don’t get what all the fuss is about. Some of it resonates, but it’s not anything new: -Everyone has an inner asshole (IA) to whom you should not listen; -We are all enough; -It is incredibly hard to break pattens, how we can’t beat ourselves up when we struggle. We all struggle. Always. It’s part of being human; -You only need two things — listen and tell the truth -From noonday Depression “Depression is a response to past loss; anxiety is a response to future loss” -She plays a game: I totally don’t get what all the fuss is about. Some of it resonates, but it’s not anything new: -Everyone has an inner asshole (IA) to whom you should not listen; -We are all enough; -It is incredibly hard to break pattens, how we can’t beat ourselves up when we struggle. We all struggle. Always. It’s part of being human; -You only need two things — listen and tell the truth -From noonday Depression “Depression is a response to past loss; anxiety is a response to future loss” -She plays a game: smile at everyone and be as nice as you an be and watch what happens BUT there was a lot of Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? What would you do if you weren’t afraid (a la Shery; Sandberg) and writing in journals. What am I missing? I had never heard of Pastiloff before picking up her book. She has definitely had her share of hardship — her dad died when she was young (and her last words to him were “I hate you”), her mom was abused, anorexia, depression, miscarriage, hearing loss — but she appears to totally be flying by the seat of her pants and admits she doesn’t really know what’s she’s doing. And there were just too many times, when I was like “What?!” Wanting to kiss comedian Steve who later dies — What?! Her oft used phrase “I wanted to throw up in my mouth” — What?! Definitely not my cup of tea.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    Couched in beautiful, often heartfelt, sometimes humorous, and always honest writing, Jennifer Pastiloff spoke to her insecurities growing up and how she hid hearing loss for years and put off grieving her father's abrupt death for longer, all while finding out what she loved to do which is to uplift the minds and bodies of others through yoga and more. We all should kick out our IAs (Inner Asshole- that voice that tells us we can't or are too X) and do what we need to in order to best utilize Couched in beautiful, often heartfelt, sometimes humorous, and always honest writing, Jennifer Pastiloff spoke to her insecurities growing up and how she hid hearing loss for years and put off grieving her father's abrupt death for longer, all while finding out what she loved to do which is to uplift the minds and bodies of others through yoga and more. We all should kick out our IAs (Inner Asshole- that voice that tells us we can't or are too X) and do what we need to in order to best utilize the time we have, and if you need to seek help or take medication or cry or be angry or brag about success- YOU MUST. I so appreciate her outlook and her support of her fellow humans. Though a memoir, I got a lot more out of this than finding out about her family history and past jobs, she provides some great perspective alongside her anecdotes. People don't get much more real than her. I gobbled up this memoir and I'd be quick to read whatever she writes next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ashley lloyd spanton

    There was a ton of buzz about this book before it came out and I had been trying to get a copy without even really knowing what it was about. It seems like Jennifer Pastiloff is well connected and respected in the yoga and wellness community, but frankly I hadn’t seen her name around much prior to the release of this book. That said, I’m always interested in listening to and reading about new ways to better myself and like to keep an ear out for helpful mantras and this was being set up to There was a ton of buzz about this book before it came out and I had been trying to get a copy without even really knowing what it was about. It seems like Jennifer Pastiloff is well connected and respected in the yoga and wellness community, but frankly I hadn’t seen her name around much prior to the release of this book. That said, I’m always interested in listening to and reading about new ways to better myself and like to keep an ear out for helpful mantras and this was being set up to provide just that. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this, I think I just expected more, which is ridiculous because I didn’t even know anything about this book or the author prior to picking it up. It’s a well written, well explored memoir about Pastiloff’s life struggles and the lessons she learned, but it was very much a memoir that didn’t really reach too far outside of her experiences and didn’t touch on anything that hasn’t been written before. It’s not that I was expecting the secret to life or happiness clearly laid out in these pages, but usually I am able to take a little bit more away from books like this, a bit more inspiration and wisdom and motivation, and I just didn’t here. But it was still a well written book highlighting the stories and lies that we often trap ourselves with. In that sense, the messaging was strong and Pastiloff’s life examples supported it. It just took me a lot longer to get through than usual and that says a lot. I guess I just didn’t totally resonate with the overall vibe of the book, and that’s fine because it looks like a whole lot of people did.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dan Connors

    I am not the target market for this book but was curious. It definitely speaks more to women, especially those who do yoga or travel a lot. The first half was terribly depressing and made me glad I've never had to inhabit a woman's psyche. Holy crap the kinds of stuff the author brings up. Jennifer Pastiloff apparently has a large following online and on her yoga retreats, but I just can't relate other than to appreciate her victories over deafness, depression, and a myriad of other problems. I am not the target market for this book but was curious. It definitely speaks more to women, especially those who do yoga or travel a lot. The first half was terribly depressing and made me glad I've never had to inhabit a woman's psyche. Holy crap the kinds of stuff the author brings up. Jennifer Pastiloff apparently has a large following online and on her yoga retreats, but I just can't relate other than to appreciate her victories over deafness, depression, and a myriad of other problems. The best thing I got out of the book was to be reintroduced to Wayne Dyer, who apparently fueled the author's transition. Time for me to check out some of Mr. Dyer's bazillion books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Francesca Pohlman

    100 pages could have easily told the story. Lots of repetition. Seemed a little self-absorbed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Raw, real and unforgiving in its honesty, this is a book about the messiness of being human. It should be required reading for every human, especially those with an IA - Inner Asshole - as the author calls it. And we all have one. A few favorite quotes: “Nothing is lost when you dump the untruths.” - page 118 “The things we take. The things handed to us that we walk around with as they dig into our shoulder and cause us pain and yet we say, ‘No, I’m fine. I got this. I can carry it all. It’s mine. Raw, real and unforgiving in its honesty, this is a book about the messiness of being human. It should be required reading for every human, especially those with an IA - Inner Asshole - as the author calls it. And we all have one. A few favorite quotes: “Nothing is lost when you dump the untruths.” - page 118 “The things we take. The things handed to us that we walk around with as they dig into our shoulder and cause us pain and yet we say, ‘No, I’m fine. I got this. I can carry it all. It’s mine.” - page 169 “Instead of getting caught up in who doesn’t like you, get caught up in who does. It’s much more interesting.” - page 311

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    I adore this book so much. It hit me hard (and light) and I want to give it to everyone and start reading it all over again right now. Jen's own story is a great read but more than that her voice, her generosity, her humor is so relatable and just inspired me on so many levels but mostly to be kinder to myself and to everyone else. She is a real "beauty hunter" and this book, by example as much as anything else, made me into one, too.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Crystal-lee Quibell

    Jen gets real about all the ways in which we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories. Reading this book is like going to coffee with your best friend who asks you, “Now what?!” when you’re in the throes of a meltdown going nowhere. This book will lift you up, dust you off and leave you feeling like you've just returned from the biggest love fest with all of your best friends cheering you on. Throughout the book Jen shares the story of learning to listen fiercely (even though Jen gets real about all the ways in which we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories. Reading this book is like going to coffee with your best friend who asks you, “Now what?!” when you’re in the throes of a meltdown going nowhere. This book will lift you up, dust you off and leave you feeling like you've just returned from the biggest love fest with all of your best friends cheering you on. Throughout the book Jen shares the story of learning to listen fiercely (even though she is deaf) as she comes to terms with the loss of her father at a young age and confronting the IA (inner asshole) we all have that convinces us we're not good enough. I read it from cover to cover and will no doubt pick it up again and again when I need a reminder to not only confront the bullshit stories we tell ourselves but actually take action and do something about it. An inspiring read of love, loss and rebuilding.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Loved her journey. Loved how she honored those who supported her and made her successes possible. Raw at times. Grown up words. The kind of story that makes you better for having heard it. Everything I was hoping from Girl Wash Your Face. I listened to the audio version read by the author. I loved hearing her voice impacted by her inability to hear. If you are particular about readers, the print version may be better for you. Loved her journey. Loved how she honored those who supported her and made her successes possible. Raw at times. Grown up words. ❤❤❤ The kind of story that makes you better for having heard it. Everything I was hoping from Girl Wash Your Face. I listened to the audio version read by the author. I loved hearing her voice impacted by her inability to hear. If you are particular about readers, the print version may be better for you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Park

    This book spoke to me so much that I found the closest workshop (in Seattle) and signed up for it on the spot. She shares so openly, honestly and authentically that I highly recommend listening to her in the audiobook. If you’re open to it, it could be life changing!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Renata

    I was completely unfamiliar with Jen Pastiloff when I picked this up--which was interesting, because a good chunk of the memoir is about how her increasing online popularity changed her life, etc. But you can't win everybody I guess! I'm glad I heard of her now! This is definitely a bit woo-y and The Secret-adjacent, but in the way that I like, not the kind that full-on blames poor people for being poor. The writing is lovely. It's very good for the kind of thing that it is; if you don't already I was completely unfamiliar with Jen Pastiloff when I picked this up--which was interesting, because a good chunk of the memoir is about how her increasing online popularity changed her life, etc. But you can't win everybody I guess! I'm glad I heard of her now! This is definitely a bit woo-y and The Secret-adjacent, but in the way that I like, not the kind that full-on blames poor people for being poor. The writing is lovely. It's very good for the kind of thing that it is; if you don't already like this kind of self-helpy memoir this one probably won't convert you.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    This is the perfect un-memoir from an anti-guru: Jen Pastiloff is a Happiness Coach who lives with crippling depression, a deep listener who ignored her deafness for decades, a waitress who fed other people while starving herself, and a yoga teacher who struggled to connect with her own body. Next time you think your yoga teacher has a perfect life full of ~namaste~ and cleanses and deep breathing and inner calm... tell yourself to cut the bullshit story. I appreciate Jen's ability to hold This is the perfect un-memoir from an anti-guru: Jen Pastiloff is a Happiness Coach who lives with crippling depression, a deep listener who ignored her deafness for decades, a waitress who fed other people while starving herself, and a yoga teacher who struggled to connect with her own body. Next time you think your yoga teacher has a perfect life full of ~namaste~ and cleanses and deep breathing and inner calm... tell yourself to cut the bullshit story. I appreciate Jen's ability to hold multiple truths at once: that she is a powerful teacher, a strong leader, a connector, and a brilliant friend, and, at times, she's also scared, insecure, over-caffeinated, and under-medicated. I was lucky enough to attend two of Jen's Ojai workshops in 2015 and 2016; while the memoir doesn't capture the magic of being in the room with her, it does help remind you that everyone (including yourself) is bigger than the "just-a-_____" identity they've been ascribed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy Bond

    Jen Pastiloff's message is about love. full stop. She is the embodiment of giving and lifting up others and believing that there is enough for all of us to be our truest, most selfless versions of ourselves. Jen talks about her experience waitressing, surviving with depression, trying to make it as an actress in LA, yogaing, deafness, fierce listening and through it all, overcoming her own self doubt to make her life about service to others. I can't think of a more beautiful message to share Jen Pastiloff's message is about love. full stop. She is the embodiment of giving and lifting up others and believing that there is enough for all of us to be our truest, most selfless versions of ourselves. Jen talks about her experience waitressing, surviving with depression, trying to make it as an actress in LA, yogaing, deafness, fierce listening and through it all, overcoming her own self doubt to make her life about service to others. I can't think of a more beautiful message to share with the world. She is inspiration to so many and I'm so grateful to have this book - a capsule of the giving life that she leads - in my hands and my heart. <3 <3 <3

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Jen Pastiloff is a beautiful and generous soul. She is a master at getting people unstuck in their lives. Her book will help you get unstuck, too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ranjan Patel, Psy.D, MFT

    I finished it, which says a lot because at this point in my life I don't waste time unless I'm sufficiently gripped by it. Her story has a lot going for it, and the way she tells it is especially sweet. The writing won't win any prizes, it's redundant in many places, and there's not a sense of cohesiveness. The unfolding and linear timeline of her life is discordant at times. I would've wanted her to write about her relationship to being deaf for most of her life, and also what it was like for I finished it, which says a lot because at this point in my life I don't waste time unless I'm sufficiently gripped by it. Her story has a lot going for it, and the way she tells it is especially sweet. The writing won't win any prizes, it's redundant in many places, and there's not a sense of cohesiveness. The unfolding and linear timeline of her life is discordant at times. I would've wanted her to write about her relationship to being deaf for most of her life, and also what it was like for her to start wearing hearing aids. As someone who wears them, this is a super rich mine of stuff, which I didn't think she delved into sufficiently. There's a lot written about her ability to touch and move people, which sometimes seems like a testimonial of sorts. But her sincerity shines through. It's definitely worth a read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Jones

    I was not familiar with Jennifer Pastiloff before reading this book. I bought the audiobook for a road trip and fell in love! I've now purchased the hard copy book because there were so many wonderful passages that I must have access to in the written word. It is beautifully written, incredibly honest, and something I think any woman could relate to.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    I devoured this book!!! I loved her raw honesty and humility and enjoyed seeing her grow and rise. I love her perspectives on life and will reflect back on her wisdom often. Beauty hunting. Just so lovely.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    I didn't know if I'd like this because I'm not a huge yoga fan...I pretty much always wish it was over the whole time I am doing it...but I heard good things about her writing, so I thought I'd go for it. I'm glad I did. It was an interesting memoir of someone who dealt with the loss of her father at a young age, as well as anorexia, deep depression and hearing loss. These experiences led her down a winding path to becoming a yoga instructor and opened her up to become a radically compassionate I didn't know if I'd like this because I'm not a huge yoga fan...I pretty much always wish it was over the whole time I am doing it...but I heard good things about her writing, so I thought I'd go for it. I'm glad I did. It was an interesting memoir of someone who dealt with the loss of her father at a young age, as well as anorexia, deep depression and hearing loss. These experiences led her down a winding path to becoming a yoga instructor and opened her up to become a radically compassionate person, to both herself and others. As an aside, I got excited about her Karaoke Yoga idea. That might be my kind of yoga. 3.5 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Louise Miller

    I loved this feverish memoir that speaks to the struggle and necessity of having compassion for yourself. Joyful, honest, funny, true.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen Germain

    Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton for providing me with a copy of Jennifer Pastiloff’s memoir, On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard, in exchange for an honest review. Jennifer Pastiloff has built an incredible life. She is in a loving marriage, has a beautiful child, and has created a successful career as an inspirational leader of life changing yoga retreats. However, the road to Pastiloff’s currently life was bumpy. Pastiloff had a tumultuous childhood, which Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton for providing me with a copy of Jennifer Pastiloff’s memoir, On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard, in exchange for an honest review. Jennifer Pastiloff has built an incredible life. She is in a loving marriage, has a beautiful child, and has created a successful career as an inspirational leader of life changing yoga retreats. However, the road to Pastiloff’s currently life was bumpy. Pastiloff had a tumultuous childhood, which included the death of her father. She suffered from crippling self-doubt and anorexia. Her self-image issues played a role in her refusal to seek medical attention for her progressive hearing loss, an issue that caused her many years of social pain, excluding her from fully participating in conversations and feeling like people viewed her as less intelligent. She meandered through her twenties/early thirties, engaging in self-destructive activities and unable to figure out her true career path or to find a good romantic partner. On Being Human is part memoir and part self-help book, as Pastiloff gives tips and exercises gleaned from her popular workshops for reader to try at home. Pastiloff is relatable and raw. I related to her sense of feeling lost in her twenties/early thirties. She dropped out of college and spent over a decade working as a server at a cafe. I was in a similar situation and I could relate to knowing that you have skills and dreams, but also not quite knowing how to focus on a career path. The sense of knowing that there is so much more out there for you, but also not knowing how to grab it. In a culture where we value the traditional education/career path, it can be very difficult for people who do not stick to that mold. Pastiloff filled me with encouragement and hope. I would definitely recommend On Being Human, to anyone who is feeling a little lost. Another aspect of Pastiloff’s memoir is the idea of following your gut or inner voice. Pastiloff did not have dreams of being a yoga instructor or a motivational coach, but she listened to her intuition when the opportunities presented themselves, she took them. The first time she met her would-be husband, she wasn’t interested in him, but a decade later, her gut told her to pursue the relationship. It’s part trusting yourself and part timing, as life is ever evolving and sometimes you might need the time to grow, in order to be ready to accept an opportunity. Pastiloff in her early twenties was not ready to accept certain things and she needed the time to grow. Rather than beating herself up over these missed years, she looks at them as a time needed to develop into the person she is today. Pastiloff experienced massive hearing loss, a condition that slowly worsened over many years. Finally, she realized that she needed to use a hearing aid, something that she had been embarrassed about to the point of choosing to miss out on hearing. It was a vanity issue. When she finally conceded to needing the hearing aids, she realized that she could not afford them. However, Pastiloff had built a community of friends and clients who wanted to help her purchase them. This community came through with several other financial emergencies. My take-away is if you show enough love to other people, especially giving it freely with no expectations, often this love will come back to you in abundance. I’ve seen this happen in my own life and in the lives of those around me. Pastiloff’s younger adult years were spent in such fear of judgement, that when she was able to push that aside, she saw the blessing of allowing other people to be part of her life. We often hear that it “takes a village” to raise a child, but I think that it applies to everyone. We all need help sometimes. We need a sense of belonging to a community. On Being Human is a wonderful reminder of the power of humanity and of embracing life. I highly recommend it for anyone who needs a bit of a boost. I’d love to attend one of Pastiloff’s workshops and to see how her energy in person, compares to the page. It is radiant in her memoir! Like my review? Check out my blog!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sifra

    This is one of the best books I’ve read in a very very long time. Recognition, compassion, and a few tears. I hope with this book others will be able to silence the IA (inner Asshole) within themselves like it did with me and you will be calmer, smarter and dare I say happier!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    Moving, open and honest. A memoir that touches on what yoga really is.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A very inspiring memoir! Lots of wonderful takeaways: listen with your whole body, say yes and give love. Thanks for the recommendation Natalie! So excited you will see her in Seattle soon.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Krumenauer

    Life changing! I want to go to one of her retreats!! So refreshing to read about someone so inspiring; someone so relatable. I need to silence my IA!! Read the book to see what I’m talking about. Well worth your time!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    An enjoyable and insightful read of self-discovery and finding oneself.

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