I believe that all people want to experience being fully alive as their truest self, but they just don't know how to get there sometimes.
I grew up in a family and a culture that valued thinking over feeling, doing over being. I was the sensitive one with big emotions, and learned pretty quickly that if I did well in school (got smart) and was a pleaser (cut off from myself) things would be all good.
Fast forward to age 22. I had just graduated from college, had been practicing yoga for fours years and teaching it for three, and I was just beginning to get to know myself. Me. Outside of what others expected of me, or what I thought I should do or be.
It dawned on me that I had an awesome life. But it just didn't feel like my life.
Thrilled to finally be getting to know myself--dare I say, falling in love with myself--and armed with very little external support or inner resources, I went about completely obliterating my year-old marriage and all the other structures in my life pretty much over night.
In the wake of the destruction of my life, I spent another couple of years spiritually bypassing all the pain, shame, sadness and fear that was under the surface. I told myself it was all meant to be, and that I was a better, more spiritual person for not having those structures. When I woke up from the fog of my own bullshit, I was raw and perplexed.
How is it that I could have gotten so far away from myself to begin with?
How do I get to know myself--my true self?
How do I grow trust in myself that I can be the one in charge of creating my own life?
How do I create a life that is meaningful to me without hurting those around me?
I spent the next decade exploring these questions personally and professionally. I practiced and taught yoga and meditation. I worked with adjudicated youth in wilderness therapy, and spent countless moons on my own in the backcountry.
I participated in and guided vision quests for adults. I found a mentor and therapist. I got a masters degree in Integral Transformative Education, focusing on how to help people find, trust in and act on their inner knowing. I wrote two books, scores of articles and had an award-winning blog. I taught workshops, retreats, trainings and worked with hundreds of people all over the world.
In short, I apprenticed myself to the pursuit of finding freedom, simplicity, authentic connection and joy in my life. I did the work. I read everything I could get my hands on. I practiced. And I looked for what worked so that I could share it with others.
What I discovered was that everything I had done that seemed to give me myself back was experiential and integral, meaning it addressed the mind, body, heart, spirit and consciousness. All of me.
And in particular, I discovered that growing sensitivity in my body and learning how to be with my emotions instead of resisting or ignoring them was the key to being myself, trusting myself and having clear discernment about decisions, big and small, in my professional and personal life.
So now, whether I'm working with an individual or a team, teaching yoga or a corporate training, the heart of my work is teaching people practices that help them to stay with themselves--even when what they feel is uncomfortable--so that they can feel a sense of agency and freedom in their life.
It's an honor to get to be with people as they courageously look at what is real and find themselves astonished to be falling in love with themselves and crafting lives that feel fully alive. Truly, it brings me so much joy, and I'm constantly learning and becoming more and more myself in the process. And ultimately, I think that's what it's all about. Because if you're not being you as big as you can in this one precious life you have, what's the damn point?
the official bio:
Jay Fields has taught the principles of Awareness-Based Self-Regulation to individuals and organizations for 18 years. Her approach is based in yoga, somatic experiencing and modern neuroscience, and is gritty, relational and intelligent. Jay received her BA from the College of William and Mary and her masters in Integral Transformative Education from Prescott College. She is the author of the books Teaching People, Not Poses and Home in Your Body, is on the faculty for the Awakened Heart Embodied Mind Training in Santa Monica, California and on the board for The School of Lost Borders. Jay works all over the world with entrepreneurs, executives, creatives, teachers and people who are interested in experiencing the freedom of truly being themselves.