Habits & Health episode 65 with Jay Fields, author of the book “Teaching People, Not Poses” and the Linkedin Learning courses “Managing Your Emotions at Work” and “Practices for Regulating Your Nervous System and Reducing Stress”.
Jay is an educator, coach and author who has taught the principles of embodied social and emotional intelligence to individuals and organizations for twenty years. Her approach to helping people have their own back at work and in life is grounded, playful, empathic and intelligent.
Her work is a blend of mindfulness, embodiment practices and psychological theories from different therapeutic modalities, all approached through the lens of Polyvagal Theory. In short, Polyvagal Theory is all about how to consciously work with yourself at the level of your nervous system. And because the nervous system so profoundly influences how we behave and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world around us, She found that the foundation of any growth process is understanding how to work with it in a way that is conscious and embodied.
Some topics discussed:
- Two habits that have had the greatest impact on Jay’s life:
1. Checking in with her body on a regular basis
2. Making sure she gets outside every day
- Polyvagal theory
- Jay’s LinkedIn courses
- Johari window
Sign up to Jay’s excellent blog – go to her website
Tony Winyard 0:00
Habits and health episode 66. Welcome to the habits and health podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. Here’s your host, Tony Winyard. Welcome to another edition of habits and health. And my guest today is Jay fields, who is an educator, coach and author. And she’s been teaching the principles of embodied social and emotional intelligence to individuals and organisations for 20 years. And we talk about her work during that how approach to helping people have their own back about psychosocial health about a book Teaching people not poses, and many other areas. So that’s this week with Jay fields. If you get some real value from some of the wisdom that Jay shares, please do share the episode with them. Habits and Health Today, my guest is Jay Fields and how are you doing Jay?
Jay Fields 1:00
I’m great. It’s good to be here, Tony.
Tony Winyard 1:03
For the people listening in. We’ve had quite an eventful time just getting to this point. for you. It’s just a few seconds in. We’ve spent days trying to get to this point!
Jay Fields 1:14
In sitting in silence with one another trying to communicate.
Tony Winyard 1:17
Yeah, it is. Technology is a wonderful thing. But we find you, Are you in LA
Jay Fields 1:24
I’m about an hour and a half north of LA in a small town called Ojai.
Tony Winyard 1:28
Okay, and is that where you’re from?
Jay Fields 1:30
from outside of Washington, DC. So I made the the East Coast to West Coast transition.
Tony Winyard 1:37
And how are you finding the California Life?
Jay Fields 1:42
Oh, well, the California Life in this small town is perfect for me. Everything else around here is insanity. Um, definitely, I am loathe to go to LA unless I absolutely have to.
Tony Winyard 1:57
I grew up in London. And I now live sounds quite equivalent to you, I’m out in the middle of nowhere. I’m in a small village, at the top of the valley in a village and it’s much nicer.
Jay Fields 2:10
Yes, that’s sanity, my nervous system looks a lot better.
Tony Winyard 2:16
Well, and on nervous systems, that’s something is quite important to you in what you do?
Jay Fields 2:22
it is, yeah. It’s kind of that foundational piece of, you know, the work that I do with people when I’m coaching is very much about relationships and how you show up in the important relationships in your life. But the foundation to my work is about embodied self awareness, and being able to regulate your nervous system, because without those pieces, behaviour change doesn’t happen.
Tony Winyard 2:49
So there’s a lot to dig into. Before we do dig in to that. I’m interested, how did this all come about? Where Where did you start? what made you come into this field?
Jay Fields 3:00
Well, you know, there was a lot of different twists and turns along the way. I once had a mentor, speak of having a career that’s like a path through tall grass. It’s not there until you look back. So there were lots of different places where different kinds of threads came in. But the very beginning of it was when I was in college, I started my freshman year of college I took I started taking yoga and rock climbing. And I recognised that I was an entirely different human being when I was doing those things, because those are things that require being totally present in your body. And I got really interested in what with was kind of a very beginning field, mine was studying the mind body connection. You know, this was the late 90s. And that really wasn’t mainstream at that point. But that’s why I developed my own course of studies called psychosocial health and human movement. And the whole idea behind that was to study how presence in one’s body can act in a preventative measure in terms of psychological and social health. So that’s how it all started back in the day.
Tony Winyard 4:21
Once you started taking interest in that what what did you do to take that further, what happened next?
Jay Fields 4:27
I did a lot of different things, which is where that path through tall grass piece comes in. I remember you know, people in my life being like, what are you what are you doing? Because I did a lot of different pieces. So When I was 19 I started teaching yoga and I taught yoga all the way up until the pandemic so over 20 years. That was a piece of it. In my 20s I also continued to teach rock climbing and backpacking and working with adjudicated youth in wilderness therapy situations. And then I started getting really interested, I’ve done enough in an experiential education format, to understand that it’s really difficult to speak to a group of people and take them to a transfer through a transformational process, if you don’t understand trauma, and you don’t understand the brain, and you don’t understand the nervous system. So that’s when I started studying trauma informed approaches to working with people, I started studying the neurobiology of what’s happening in our bodies when we are present in our bodies. And I also started more intently doing my own therapeutic process and working with a therapist. So then bringing in more of the psycho educational models, the models of development, and understanding of the relational context. Because the thing with a lot of what I did in my, in my early career in my 20s, was it, it was very much some of the paths I took could be used to escape, meaning I can feel peace and calm on my yoga mat, or I could feel peace and calm when I was out rock climbing in the middle of nowhere, but you put me in front of a person. And that doesn’t necessarily translate. So I think, you know, the relational piece really came in, after about 10 years of studying the mind body connection internally, and then realising, gosh, what I’m learning in those context doesn’t necessarily translate to how I show up with in my romantic relationships in my professional relationships.
Tony Winyard 6:44
And so at what point did you start working with clients? So I guess that was from the beginning from doing the yoga It sounds like?
Jay Fields 6:52
Yeah, you know, I worked with in a group context, in the beginning, teaching yoga, taking people on trips, I didn’t start working one on one with people until about, let’s see, that would have been 2008, something like that. And how that happened was at that point, I had been teaching yoga for almost 10 years. And I, I like writing and I was writing a blog. And back when blogs were like the thing. And I put together a series of blogs that then turned into a book called teaching people not poses. And the whole idea of that was how to essentially show up as a human being, and an expert at the same time. And since the thing I knew how to do is teach yoga, that’s what it was about. And what ended up happening was other yoga teachers started reaching out to me and asking to coach, you know, for me to coach them, and I thought, really, you’re gonna pay me to sit down and talk with you. So I did not seek it out. It kind of found me. And then what happened from there was yoga teachers would tell their friends are their sisters, or their dads or whoever their colleagues, hey, I worked with Jane. And she really helped. And it turns out, it had nothing to do with teaching yoga, it had more to do with being able to become a whole person. And then it just evolved from there.
Tony Winyard 8:16
And how different did you find out from, you’d spent, what 10 years working with groups, and then now you’re just working one on one. Was that easy to transform from groups to individual or not?
Jay Fields 8:35
it was terrifying. It was. But you know, to be completely honest, working in groups was terrifying to you know, I definitely have a part of me that’s really shy and a part of me that just would much prefer to be in the middle of nowhere alone. So the first transition to working one on one was really scary, because I didn’t feel like I knew what I had to offer in that setting. And in a teaching, or an educational setting, I felt like I could I could inspire or I could give a great experience. And that would be enough, but in a one on one, I really felt the pressure to help somebody change. And over time, what I found was that I loved the one on one because ultimately, I’ve always been, I guess what you would say like an an introvert. an extroverted introvert. I much prefer one on one connection. And so once I found my my grounding in it, I really preferred it. And interestingly, in the last year, I’ve gone back to working in groups and from a different aspects. So in the past, I would say I was I was an educator in a group format, and now I’m coaching in a group format. So I have a group coaching programme, that is now taking what I’ve been doing for the last six or seven years. was with individuals and putting it into a group format. And it’s back, you know, to being terrifying all over again.
Tony Winyard 10:09
Are you finding it very different to work with groups now from how it was before?
Jay Fields 10:14
Um, gosh, good question. I haven’t really had a moment to pause and consider that. Yes, and no, I think, you know, even back when I was teaching yoga or leading programmes, or working with people, and in the wilderness, there was still facilitation involved in that it just looked a little bit different. And I think I think what’s different about it now is my own awareness of myself in the group and the dynamics, meaning in what was it 2010 I think one or 22,008, like I said, when I wrote the book, teaching people not poses, the subtitle to that book was 12 principles for teaching yoga with integrity. And after I published it, I thought, oh, my gosh, what have I done, I’ve, I’ve put out a book that says, I know how to do something with integrity, I guess I’m gonna have to do something, do this with integrity. And so similarly to putting out this group coaching programme on called Yours truly, which is really about creating new, new and healthy or relational templates, you know, the capacity to show up as a whole person, and like who you are, and the relationships that matter to you most, I realised, oh, now I’m, now I’m putting myself in the hot seat again, of, I really have to walk the talk, I can’t be a hot mess. When I’m doing this, I have to demonstrate that I have boundaries, I have to demonstrate that I can know what my needs are, and communicate them hear what other people’s needs are created shared space where people feel seen and heard, like all of that stuff, it just feels like it’s on a it’s the next level. In terms of Alright, Jay, what do you got?
Tony Winyard 12:10
And so what did you do in order to to handle that to prepare for that?
Jay Fields 12:16
Well, I, I have great supervision, in the sense of I have someone that I I go to and say, Hey, here’s what’s happening. Can you help me see my blind spots in my in my stuff, I also am part of a fabulous business coaching group with women entrepreneurs who are inspirational and can definitely call me out on places where I’m, I’m not stepping up fully. And then really just practising what I preach in the sense of, you know, a lot of the techniques that I teach around embodiment, and regulating your nervous system, and, you know, putting into practice new ways of speaking and knowing how to set boundaries and make repairs, when there’s ruptures and relationships. I’m doing all of that, as much as I possibly can catch myself in them. You know,
Tony Winyard 13:17
The phrase you used a few minutes ago; you went to see someone to help you see your blind spots. If you were to give a rough estimate… this is a very strange question. But if you were to try and guess, how many people in the average population, do you think are even aware that they have a blind spot?
Jay Fields 13:38
Oh, gosh. I have no ideas to statistically but I would say a whole bunch are not even aware they have blind spots. Yeah, it’s that whole Johari Window. piece, if you know about that. It’s the what I know. I know. What I know. I don’t know. What I can’t remember, I’m going to tangle up. But what I what I don’t know. I don’t know. And that what I don’t know, I don’t know, place is such, it’s so tricky. It’s so destructive. It’s it’s, that’s the place where I meet my clients in and I think that is, as a coach, the place where I really had to step into my confidence in the sense that I started working with people in this capacity when I was 19. You know, like teaching and people looking to me in that way. Have your the teacher tell us the answer. And I didn’t know I was 19 You know, so I really am 42 now so I feel like I’ve had a little bit more life under my belt but to I think as a coach in order to really help someone. You need to be able to say there’s things that I know you know, And there’s things that I know from my seat where I sit, you don’t know. And I do. And I’m going to ask you to trust me on that. And it’s a it’s a tricky balance to not be hierarchical or directive. But to rather hold kind of a, you know, a mirror of like, Hey, check this out. Here’s a, here’s a view you haven’t seen because you only see this view.
Tony Winyard 15:34
And how do people react when you say that?
Jay Fields 15:38
depends. Depends on the client. I think some people I get this sense of like, they’re thirsty. And they’re like, Oh, yes, please tell me. Because I know, I’ve been tripping over myself for years. And I know, there’s gotta be something I’m not seeing. And if you could tell me what the thing is, I’m not seeing that I’m tripping over? Oh, my gosh, yes. And then there’s people that are more, I would say, defended. Where it’s, it’s scary. And, and when I say people, what I guess would be more accurate is, there’s parts of people, because a big part of my work is understanding the different parts of us. And as sitting in the seat of coach, part of my job is to understand which part Am I talking to? Am I talking to a part that’s here to protect? Or am I talking to a part that’s here to grow? And there’s nothing wrong with the protectors, it just means I have to meet them where they’re at? And, and name, name? What’s happening?
Tony Winyard 16:58
How long have you been able, had that ability to be able to see people’s blind spots?
Jay Fields 17:09
Oh, gosh, I mean, who? It’s funny question, Tony. Because now I’m sitting here thinking, well, maybe I have a blind spot. I think I can do this. And someone else would say, Oh, sweetie, that’s not what you’re doing. But it’s, gosh, these are such good questions, because I think, you know, I would identify as, as being a highly empathic person, you know, in the StrengthsFinder assessment, empath is my number one by far. So I would say that, from even my childhood, I had a sense of when people weren’t being true. You know, I had, I’m one of those classic people where I’m like, I can see the potential in someone really clearly. I can see past the BS that they’re there, whatever they’re doing to, I feel like I’ve had that since I was a kid, which is part of the the pain and the struggle I’ve felt in my life is feeling that dissonance between what seems real and what’s happening. And so I think that’s part of what makes me good at what I do.
Tony Winyard 18:27
I was looking at your website earlier, and I saw that you’re, actually I was going to describe it. But I think it’d be better for you to describe it; Polyvagal Theory. Talk about polyvagal theory. And for anyone listening who has never heard of that, what is it? Why is it important for you?
Jay Fields 18:44
Gosh, if you haven’t heard of polyvagal theory, I think this is one of those things, it’s kind of like the world is isn’t flat. It has the potential to really change how one experiences themselves in the world. And the gist of it is that, you know, our autonomic nervous system is the part of our like, internal detection system for what’s safe, and keeping us alive and our survival. And we used to think that it had kind of two major functions, the one that we think of in terms of the stress response of fight flight freeze, and then the one have rest and digest coming back down. But in the 70s, a man named Steven Porges discovered that there’s actually a third state or a third function that humans have, has related to the vagus nerve, which is where poly vagal came from, because there’s two main parts of the vagus nerve and depending on which is being stimulated, you have a different experience in your nervous system in your body. And so now that that third state is one that’s called social engagement, so it’s the state that It our nervous system is in when we feel safe, when we feel like we’re not threatened, or we’re not in danger. And it’s the state that allows us to have a conversation like this, right? It’s the state that allows us access to our prefrontal cortex to our ability to communicate to our beauty, our ability to be creative, to be collaborative, you know, everything that makes us really great as a human in this idea of like, social and emotional intelligence. We don’t, you know, when you’re in a state of fight, flight freeze, you don’t have access to the part of you that’s going to be able to have a rational conversation, or the part of you that’s going to be open to curiosity and possibility. That’s just, that’s out the window at that part at that point. And the thing that I think is so powerful about understanding these different states and polyvagal theory is that, depending on what state we’re in, it massively impacts or influences the way we see ourselves and the way we see our, the world around us. When I can unpack that, if you want me to say more about that. Yeah. If we’re in that, what’s called like a mobilised state, like when we’re in a stress response, you know, think about a time when you’ve had that experience of maybe your heart rate is racing, you’re breathing fast, you’re sweaty, your muscles are tense, you’re not feeling you’re feeling stressed, you know, whether you’re at work or whether you’re in a personal situation. If I were to ask you, when you’re in that kind of state, if you would complete the sentence, I am. How would you? How would you complete that sentence?
Tony Winyard 21:56
So, if I’m in a stressed state, yeah. I am feeling stressed, maybe?
Jay Fields 22:04
Yeah. Yeah. Or I am trying to keep my head above water. I am
Tony Winyard 22:10
anxious, or I am struggling.
Jay Fields 22:14
And the world is when you’re in that state, how do you see the world,
Tony Winyard 22:20
maybe it’s not a safe place, it’s the world is against me or whatever.
Jay Fields 22:26
Absolutely, not safe, against me. So in that I hear, you know, the kind of resonance of you’re in fight. You’re ready for the world’s against me, I’m going to I’m going to be prepared the other state, when we’re more in a immobilised, you know, we’ve been high stress, high mobility for a long time, and you just kind of collapse. This is where I say, you know, that actions, people when they’re here, it’s like, binge watching Netflix, sleeping a lot. You don’t want to pick up the phone and talk to anybody, even the people that you love. Tired, heavy, you know, so if you’re in that state, what would you say? I am, the world is. Putting you on the spot now.
Tony Winyard 23:18
I’m trying to think what someone who is in that kind of word would be thinking. I am not bothered? I don’t know. Is that what they’re thinking?
Jay Fields 23:31
Yeah, for it? Well, I’ll tell you mine from for me, when I’m in that state, I would say something effective. I am shutting down now. I am, I’m done. You know, it’s like, where you just want to withdrawal. It’s the turtle in the shell kind of. And the world is overwhelming. The world is abrasive the world is asking too much for me all the time. That kind of feeling. So then socially engaged. You know, when we’re in the state of our nervous system, where we, we do feel safe. And we do want to learn, we do want to be around people we want to have, we want to sit down to have a meal with people and have conversation. We want to start a project that requires thinking and creativity like that kind of for me when I’m in that state my I would say I am I am okay. I am fundamentally going to be okay. And the world is a complicated place. But I love it. You feel Do you sense the difference of Absolutely. And here’s the thing, back to the point I’m trying to make with all this is nothing about the external world has changed. Nothing about my life situation or circumstances has changed. What has changed is the information emotion that is getting from my nervous system to my conscious thinking, and how I interpret my experience and my world. And if you are in that place like that you just said, where you feel unsafe and like the world’s against you. I mean, think of how much isn’t possible there.
Tony Winyard 25:27
And so is it a case that many of your clients when they initially come to you are in that place? Or what is it people come to you for the first time?
Jay Fields 25:38
Great question. The people who come to me whether or not they can speak the language of polyvagal theory, though many of them can, they found me because they know about polyvagal theory and they want to do work with it. People will come to me know how to get the social engagement. They’re not stuck in that mobilised or immobilised place because, really, and I’m, I appreciate you asking this, Tony, because this is a good distinguisher I am not a resilient coach, resilience coach, I am not a trauma coach. Like, if you’re truly stuck in one of those mobilised or immobilised places, I know who to send you to, but it’s not me, the people who come to me, and this is, this is where I get really geeked out and excited is they know how to get to social engagement. Though, like any other human, they naturally get dysregulated like, alright, you know, everybody does and will. But what they found is that now that they can more reliably be in that social engagement state, they don’t have skills. They don’t know how to actually communicate from that place, meaning, they might be able to now see more clearly, oh, gosh, I’m a people pleaser. And it doesn’t feel good. When I people, please, I get dysregulated or, you know, a lot of my clients are alcohol free, they’ve chosen to not drink anymore, because they know that drinking was a part of how they manage that mobilised state or put themselves into that more numbed out immobilised state. But now that they’re not drinking anymore, they don’t have the social skills and the relational skills that they needed in the first place that they were covering up with, I’m just going to numb this out, because I don’t know what to do in this setting. So that’s where my work comes in, is that you know, now that you understand that your body and your nervous system are a part of your behaviour. And how you show up, let’s look at what blueprint or templates you got for being a good person for love and relating, let’s build some new healthy templates and then get skills on board for how to for example, set a boundary or make a repair. When you’ve say had a knee that you communicated in someone in your life who you really care about is upset now. Just because they’re upset doesn’t mean you don’t get to have a need, it means there’s a conversation that needs to happen. But we didn’t we meaning the collective we didn’t learn those skills. You know, I think we we learn, we have a lot of templates for performing for achieving, for being smart. For being needless. We don’t have a lot of templates for being an actual human in a whole holistic way relating to other people.
We hope you enjoy this episode of the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you’re looking for deep support to create the health and life you want, we invite you to consider one on one coaching sessions with Tony. coaching sessions give you personalised guidance to fit your unique goals and life situation. Only a limited number of spots are available. But you can easily get started by booking a free introductory call at Tony winyard.com. Now back to the show.
Tony Winyard 29:29
There’s a philosopher called Alain de Botton, he talks about something similar. In as far as love is concerned. He says if we want to be a mechanic, we have to study and learn about cars and this and that and if you want to be a cook, you learn how to cook and prepare food and everything. But when it comes to love, we’re expected just to be experts. We don’t learn anything about But we’re never taught anything about it. And this is the reason why so many relationships struggle.
Jay Fields 30:05
Yeah, I would wholeheartedly agree with that. And you know, on top of that, not only do we not learn the right or the healthy ways, we learn all sorts of screwy things about romance and happily ever after. And, and also just that sense of even to take it outside of the realm of romance. But you know that once you get the good job and the nice house, it’s happily ever after. And it’s like that, that’s a painful moment, when you get to check all those boxes and you realise you’re still unfulfilled.
Tony Winyard 30:41
I get the feeling that you’re either maybe quite choosy, you’ve reached the level where you’re able to be quite choosy about what clients you take on. Would I be right in that?
Jay Fields 30:54
Yeah, I think so. Enough, I’m really happy to say that in the sense that, in my own journey, as a bend over backwards people pleaser operate from fear kind of place was I used to say yes to anything. Oh, you want me to do that, I could do that. You want me to do that on this day, at this time, at this point, I can do that. And now I’ve, I’ve really gotten to a place of knowing one, what I’m good at, and to what I enjoy. And you know, that that kind of confluence of, of my, my fulfilment and impact. And I’ve also been in the space long enough to know that if somebody comes to me, and they’re not the right person, I typically know who is, you know, and it’s, it’s not a, oh, you can’t work with me. It’s more of like, you know, I, I’m not your person. I’m just, I, we could dance around in this room together for a little bit. And I would just feel like I’m taking your money. And that doesn’t feel good to me. I’d rather you go see, Tony, because he’s great at that. But if you want to talk about this specific kind of thing, I’m your lady.
Tony Winyard 32:10
I know you’ve created a course on LinkedIn, and LinkedIn learning. And what’s the aim of that course? And how does that help people in a different way, from you working directly with someone?
Jay Fields 32:24
Yeah, great question. The LinkedIn learning courses came about because I was doing a lot of corporate work, and work in organisations and also a lot of work with nurses and doctors and direct care professionals. And what I was doing was teaching them the fundamentals of embodied self awareness, and nervous system regulation, and how leveraging themselves from the neck down would help them be better in their job. And I really enjoyed the work. But I also was starting to travel more than I wanted to, and then of course, pandemic hit, and nobody was travelling, and it was kind of a relief. And so what I decided is that I wanted to put those fundamentals into a course or now a couple of courses that can reach a huge audience because the the fundamentals look, I’m not a researcher, I didn’t come up with any of this stuff. I’m a, I’m an aggregator and a educator, you know. So I wanted people to really understand in a very approachable way. This is what I mean, when I say embodied self awareness, this, this is what’s important about knowing your nervous system, because that is, you know, like, in the same way that everybody has to cook, but not everybody is a chef, right? Or everybody drives a car. But not everybody’s a mechanic like everybody has a nervous system and a body. And this is useful information. Now, if you want to take it to a specific type of conversation, that’s a whole different sort of engagement level, investment, training, all of that. But those LinkedIn learning courses are for the masses to say, Hey, you’re a human being in a body, this stuff could help you and it can help you at work, it can help you at home. So yeah, I have one LinkedIn learning course, it’s on managing your emotions at work. And I have one that is on regulating your nervous system to reduce stress. I don’t know a single human being that doesn’t need either of those two things. And I have a third one that’s in the making. Right now. I’m scripting and we’ll be filming in August and that is going to be about more looking at this idea of having different parts inside and moving from an insecure part of you to a more confident part of you at work.
Tony Winyard 34:52
How did you find creating those courses? I get the impression, I’ve never created a course so I’m just guessing here, but I’m getting the impression it’s similar to writing a book, you put together a lot of content and then you got to decide what you include in what you leave out and so on. And once you’ve published or recorded the video, whatever, you then may have loads of; I could have put this in and I could have put that in. Is it easy to change when you do a course on somewhere like LinkedIn?
Jay Fields 35:23
No, not particularly. I mean, if there’s an edit or you know, I need to go in and change one of the graphics that goes with it, that’s easy to change. But we have not re recorded anything, although I know other authors who, after a few years, will rerecord to update some research or, or simply to update, you know, their their look, you know, like they’ve aged eight years. And now, they’re, you know, no, no more present differently. But it’s, it’s, it was a fascinating experience, because LinkedIn learning in particular is very particular about their courses, they, at least in recent years, they want everything to be under an hour. But within that all the videos have to be under four minutes. So it was, I mean, as someone who’s been an educator and a writer, most of my life, I loved the process, I thought it was it was challenging, but it was like, you know, break up what it is that you say to people in your three hour presentations into 15, three minute videos. And that’s all you get. So it was really honing down to the, to the very fundamentals. And so I look back on what I shared. And it’s been a few years since the first course published, and I wouldn’t change any of it because it really they did, the producers and directors did such a great job of getting me to hone and hone and whittle and whittle, so that it’s really just the basics that can then be it’s kind of like having a palette of the primary colours. It’s simple. But then you can do whatever you want.
Tony Winyard 37:13
That brings to mind that quote, is it Mark Twain? I wrote you a long letter, because I didn’t have time to write you a short one.
Jay Fields 37:23
Yeah, exactly. It, you know, making those courses made me better at what I do with individuals as well, it really got me to get cut out the fat, as it were, you know, speak, speak to the heart of the matter.
Tony Winyard 37:38
And have they been received?
Jay Fields 37:40
Really well. incredibly well. I’ve been blown away, I think my first course has been viewed by over 250,000 people, which is, and I get notes on a daily basis through LinkedIn, from people all over the world who’ve watched it and, you know, thanking me or letting me know how it impacted them. And it’s been really rewarding. And it seems to be well received and helping people.
Tony Winyard 38:07
Fantastic. Yeah. And one of the things that you emailed me when we were having communication before the recording, and you talked about, you’ve got a couple of habits that have had a big impact on your life.
Jay Fields 38:20
Yeah, the habits. I think the the first the primary one I listed was the simple habit of just checking in with my body, knowing what’s happening from my neck down and being able to track that, you know, in back in the day when I was 18 years old starting yoga, that was what the basic teaching was right? Can you stay present in your body, the shape shifts, the posture shifts, can you know, notice and experience what is happening for you? And over the years, I’ve taken that into right now in this moment, you know, I noticed my left foot is on the ground and my right foot isn’t because my my legs are crossed, I noticed that my hands are kind of cold. I noticed that my shoulders are hunched. You know, I noticed that if right before I was paying attention, my stomach was a little bit knotted up and then when I paid attention to it, I realised Oh, I can let that go. It’s that kind of being able to track my own experience through what are the sensations I’m aware of in my body? Because if I’m sitting here talking to you, Tony, and I’m tight all over. And I’m sweating like crazy and my heart’s pounding. It’s a very different conversation than if I can realise Okay, so that might be happening, but I can shift that by being aware of the fact that my my see Eat is in my chair. I’m supported. You know, I can see the tree outside moving in the breeze and understand that like, oh, yeah, there’s more going on than what I’m tunnel visioning on on my computer right now. So the habit is, what’s the most prominent sensation I’m feeling right now? And what does that tell me about my experience? Does that make sense?
Tony Winyard 40:31
Do you do that in some kind of reflection exercise on a daily basis? How do you bring that into your life?
Jay Fields 40:39
it started as a more formal kind of check in, the sense of, I’m going to, well, for me, it really was something I did in the morning, I would practice yoga, and have a full on a session where I tried to get in my body. And then before every client, in the last couple minutes, you know, before you log in to zoom, there’d be you know, I’d take a moment and maybe stand up and stretch my arms and take a breath and see, kind of feel my feet on the ground. You know, can i Is there anything I need to shake, and just get rid of tension. So it was something that I was doing on purpose, typically, before something scary, you know. And then it became as, as with anything, what you practice is what you just start doing, unconsciously became something that I more did like. When I’m brushing my teeth, you know, when I’m walking out to get the mail, noticing, oh, gosh, I’ve been my shoulders are tense, what’s happening there. And there’s a practice that I really liked, called shuttling. And that’s the practice of when you’re with another person or a group of people, paying attention to what I’m reading in you, and then paying attention to what I’m reading in me. And this is one of the things that I did quite a lot when I worked with doctors and nurses. You know, this idea that when you go into a room to work with a patient, most direct care professionals have been taught once you’re in the room with the patient. It’s about them entirely. And no reason. I mean, no surprise in that so many healthcare professionals burnout, because you’re still a person, you’re still in that room. And you know, my mom was a nurse, and she was a night nurse, and she worked 12 hour shifts overnight. And she would tell me when she got home like, gosh, I didn’t, I didn’t go pee the entire night. How do you do that? While you do that by not having any idea of what’s happening in your own body. So the shuttling practice is, you know, I’m going to pay attention to you and what you’re saying and what’s happening in the outside. And then I’m going to bring my attention back to me and notice, how am I sitting? Would it be better if I sat up straighter, and then I’m gonna pay attention to you again. And so it’s shuttling like in a loom, you know, you’re weaving a fabric back and forth. And there’s two of us here. So there’s two experiences, there’s two realities. And I’m going to show up as a better version of myself if I’m able to track both of us.
Tony Winyard 43:22
Has your life changed since you’ve started doing that?
Jay Fields 43:26
Tony Winyard 43:28
In what ways
Jay Fields 43:33
are the combination of one knowing how to feel myself, like have embodied self awareness? Along with having some of those regulation tools means that when I do check in with myself, and let’s say, I get, like I was saying earlier, the most primary sensation I feel is I’m tight all over. Most likely, I’m in that mobilised state where you said earlier for you, it feels like the world is against you. If I can recognise that, that’s what my body’s doing. And I can sit up taller and maybe shake off that tension. I have access again, to more of a sense of the social engagement. When I’m in social engagement, I have access to all the things that I know, because here’s the thing that’s true about my clients, they know better than how they’re behaving. In the same with me, like, I studied a lot. And I knew conceptually, you know, that it’s good to have confidence and it’s good to have self worth and all these different pieces, but I didn’t know how to do it. Because that requires a nervous system that’s on board with that idea of showing up more confidently. So yes, my life has changed entirely. Because now that I am not in a state where I feel like the world was against me, or I need to control my external situation in order to have a more pleasant internal situation, I can be in integrity with myself, I can seek out the things that actually are fulfilling, because I’m not scared all the time. And to be, you know, just be fair here, I’m scared a lot. But I know how to be with that fear as opposed to be run by it.
Tony Winyard 45:38
Something you said a few minutes ago, I forget how you worded it, but something along the lines of, there’s things we all know that we should be doing or want to be doing or whatever, but it made me think, Is there something along those lines, Is there something that you’ve want to be getting yourself to do for a long time, like a new behaviour, a new habit, whatever it is, and for whatever reason, you haven’t managed to make that automated in your life? That if you did, if you were able to, would bring more happiness in some way to your life? Is there anything that comes to mind?
Jay Fields 46:14
Oh, gosh, can you say it again? I’m sorry, Tony. So it’s something that I’ve wanted to be able to do
Tony Winyard 46:22
Some thing you’ve been wanting to do. You want to implement a new behaviour, a new habit in some way, something that’s been on your mind, you know it would be good for you? And for whatever reason, you just haven’t been able to do it as yet.
Jay Fields 46:38
Yeah, so I’ll out myself here and say, you know, back to some of the beginning questions, you’re asking me about the trajectory of my career in my adult life. And in my 20s, I had a lot of might have been a mess, in my relationships in my career. But I had a really devoted, I was very devoted to my spiritual practice, you know, what I would say, like, contemplative time in nature, quiet time in meditation on my mat. And I spent a tremendous amount of time doing that in that decade of my life. And then I, in my 30s, I realised again, like, gosh, my, my outer life is kind of a mess, I need to clean that up. And I need to step into my career and grow in all those ways. And I think I lost some of that, just habitual default, I’m going to get on my mat in the morning and practice, or I’m going to go out every, like, I’m going to go out first thing every day and just take a walk in nature. My life is a lot busier now. And I’m, instead of living alone, I’m now engaged and you know, have two families that were navigating it’s there’s just a lot more complexity. So for me, it would be I know, I’m a better person, when I get at least one hour, a day, where I’m beholden to no one, but myself and spirit. And I’ve been taking little sips, here and there. But I haven’t been having full, you know, a full glass.
Tony Winyard 48:32
So I’m going to change the topic and go back to you mentioned about that you did a book. I think it was about yoga. When you were the integrity fpiee. I remember you talking about that was part of the title. So when you’ve been doing the content for the LinkedIn courses over the last couple of years, has that given you any ideas about maybe putting another book together?
Jay Fields 48:53
Ah, yes. And I get asked a lot. It’s really sweet. I get asked, because I do. I do write on a regular basis, I send out newsletters to my list. And I really enjoy that. And I get a lot of people writing me back, saying I love these would you write more? Write a book about that.
Tony Winyard 49:16
Sorry to interrupt you, because I looked at some of your blogs and you’ve got, they’ve got a very personable style to your blog writing.
Jay Fields 49:23
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, I mean, I do try to part of part of this integrity work is you know, show up as who you are, no matter where you are, it’s that idea of like, if you’re first dating somebody and and they’re a jerk to the waiter, but they’re nice to you walk in the other direction. You want to be around someone who’s the same no matter who they’re with them what they’re talking about. And so I do try and come across when I sit down to write, as if I’m just talking to one person that I know. So yes, I would love to write another book. And it’s probably like anything else in my my career I’ve, I’ve, I’m not turns out I’m not a good planner. Like, I’m not one of those people that’s like, here’s my two year plan my five year plan. I’m going to execute it this way. And I’m more of a, I don’t know, fly by the seat of my pants sort of person or what’s what’s here, what’s alive? Where’s the juice? And thus far the stars have been aligned in terms of writing another book, but I’m sure it’s out there.
Tony Winyard 50:38
Staying with books? Is there a book that that you can think of that’s really moved you in any way?
Jay Fields 50:44
Oh, my gosh, there’s so many. I’m a I’m a book nerd. I read all the time. But when you ask me that question, in light of our conversation, and book that really moves me in an incredibly impactful way, was a book called talk to me like, I’m someone you love. And it’s written by Nancy Dreyfus, who happens to be my supervisor, I found the book and then I reached out to her and was like, I need to work with you. And the reason why it was so impactful is it’s a series of this, the subtitle is relationship repair in a flash. And it’s really a book of essentially flashcards for statements that you can say, in certain difficult situations in relationships. The first time I read this book, I had a visceral, full body experience of reading these statements and thinking, Oh, my gosh, yeah, that’s the only the only thing you could possibly say in a situation like that. And I never in 1000 years would have ever come to that. And there was this real sense in my body of this is how I would speak, if I had known from day one that my experience mattered. And that it was okay to have my own needs in and still be close to another person. It’s a fabulous book, I send it to all my clients, when we first start working, I just like, ship it to him like you need this guarantee it.
Tony Winyard 52:22
Is that a book you’ve read on more than one occasion?
Jay Fields 52:26
Oh, yes,, you should see my copy, it actually has, none of the pages are really attached to the binding anymore.
Tony Winyard 52:34
If people want to find out more about you Jay, where are the best places to look?
Jay Fields 52:40
my website is jay-fields.com on that website, there’s a page that will link you to the LinkedIn learning courses if that’s what you’re interested in. And there’s also a page that will tell you more about my group coaching programme, because I have started working in this group setting like we were talking about before, as well as the one on one coaching, although I have just a small number of people, I coach a year, and usually there’s a waitlist for that. But all in all the writing I have, that’s all on there, too. So jay-fields.com is the hub for anything that I’ve put out there in the world.
Tony Winyard 53:26
And I would suggest to anyone listening, you want to check out Jays blog, and you might want to subscribe to it. Because it’s a good good blog from what I could see.
Jay Fields 53:34
So yeah if you subscribe to my newsletter, that’s what you’ll get a piece, once once a week, and then all the old ones I eventually put up on the blog.
Tony Winyard 53:45
Well, to finish Jay? Is there is there a quotation that you like?
Jay Fields 53:49
Yes, there again, I’m a bookie word person. So there’s about 1000. But the one that came to mind today is the Rumi quote, your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
Tony Winyard 54:09
And why does that resonate with you?
Jay Fields 54:12
Because, again, back to that idea of, you know, we are relational beings, from from the moment we’re born to the moment we die, and so much of our fulfilment comes through, relating in love. And it’s there that you know, love is everywhere, inherent in everything, but our lack of, or our inability to feel it is usually because of old patterns inside old beliefs, old templates, the way our nervous system is telling us we need to do this in order to survive, we can’t be vulnerable we can’t be open. And once we find and remove those barriers inside, the love is everywhere. So I love that quote as a reminder for that.
Tony Winyard 55:03
Well, Jay, it’s been a real pleasure. Speaking with you. Thank you for your time.
Jay Fields 55:08
It was totally worth a half hour of sitting there trying to work through our sound issues. Absolutely, Tony, your questions have been wonderful. And I’ve really enjoyed this.
Tony Winyard 55:18
Thank you. Next week, episode 67 is with Amy Novotny, who is a doctor who founded the PABR Institute with the mission to provide pain, stress and anxiety relief to those who seek a naturalistic form of treatment when other treatment methods have fallen short. So we talk about her methods and the countless number of people she’s helped to eliminate pain and stress and so on. And she’s authored a couple of books as well. So we will talk about that. So that’s Next week, episode 67 with Amy Novotny. If you know anyone who would get some real value from the wisdom and experience that Jay shared with us, please do share the episode with them. And I hope you have a great week.
Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at Tony winyard.com See you next time on that habits and health podcast.
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