Book one of 2020: “On Being Human” by Jennifer Pastiloff

Typically if I love a book, I fly through it. I devour every word and don’t put it down. While I loved this book, this was not a book to fly through.

This book was a companion. As I read I felt like I was listening to a friend sitting on my couch cuddled up in my blanket with me. I had to pause, and underline, and journal, and think.

Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer, yogi, and other things that don’t quite fit into words. On Being Human is memoir and more. By adding in anecdotes about the retreats she leads, and what happens at them (including some prompts she gives to attendees) I feel like I was able to have mini retreat moments while reading.

While some reviews chastise her for jumping around in her telling of stories, I was with her the whole time. Yes, we move around timelines, and maybe we hear about something more than once, but it kept me present with her the whole time. For a book that was a lot about listening, I feel like I learned to listen better as I read. That is a gift.

I will take away many things from this book, and I’m sure I will revisit this book on more than one occasion in the future. Here’s some of my takeaways (that don’t spoil anything):

1: Be a beauty hunter. Look for the beautiful wherever you are.

2: Don’t believe your Inner Asshole. Learn their voice so you know when they show up, but work to quiet them.

3: “Now what?” I’ve said I live my life by making the next right choice, and I feel like this is similar. These small moments of “now what” make up our lives. Pay attention and choose well.

4: Keep going.

5: Write the words and stories that are inside of you. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you, but there will be others that do. Lean into them. Show up. Show fear what you can do.

There are so many more pieces of wisdom I’ve gleaned from this book, but I don’t want to deprive you of finding them yourself if you choose to read it. I’ve already told a few friends they should pick it up, so I’ll tell you too: if any of the above sounds intriguing, give it a read.

Jen (yes, I feel like she and I are on a nickname basis) has a Facebook page here, a blog here, and an Instagram here.

Find this book here on Goodreads and here on Amazon.

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