Ditch New Year’s Resolutions and Join the “Become Your Own Rescuer” Challenge

I often get asked if January is my busiest time at Urbanfitt and gladly answer, NO. New Year’s Resolutions often feed the cycle of shame that is core to addictive or compulsive behaviours.

2015-11-25_1024

In fact, periods of deprivation or hyper controlled behaviours fuel (and unconsciously justify) periods of compulsive/addictive cycles.

Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, resolve to know your heart and soul better and put your self-care at the top of your to do list in 2016 in my:

IGCHALLENGE

Small daily practices can change your mind, body and soul in a much more holistic and lasting way.  

Follow me on Instagram now to join the challenge.  There’s a big prize at the end (apart from feeling more empowered and embodied)!

Instead of waiting for something to happen to make our lives better or for someone to do something for us we could have been doing for ourselves, we become our own rescuers and do what we could do for ourselves all along.  Put our self-care at the top of our list of to dos.

How it works:

I’ll send out a new simple and easy to accomplish self-care challenge every morning.

You take a picture of you completing the challenge.

You post the picture with hashtag #yourownrescuer or #janeclapp

Simple.

The post that best embodies ‘Becoming your own rescuer’ will win the prize of

A personal online holistic fitness coaching session valued at $135 and a ‘Become your own rescuer’ t-shirt.

becomeyourownrescuer

 

What have you got to lose.  Let’s do this!

Read full story · Comments { 2 }

Equine partners: mind body and soul

Last May, I was in France co-facilitating a retreat.  One of our truly amazing daily adventures was a trail ride.   I hesitated joining in.  I had been so allergic yet equally in love with horses when I was in my teens.  When I would visit my great aunt and uncle in the Okanagan, I would come into contact with horses on the farm next door and go for annual trail rides.   If I spent too much time in contact with horses, I would be knocked out for the day in bed hardly breathing with terrible hay fever.  Since my teens, I’ve kept my distance.

But how could I pass up on a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride in the French countryside?  Allergy meds have improved in over 20 years, right?

When I met my horse for the day, Desperado, we bonded immediately.  And I didn’t sneeze.  Yay.  It was really one of the most beautiful moments of the retreat and the most life affirming moments of my year.  While walking the gorgeous trails, I just closed my eyes and trusted him, breathed into my belly and felt some of the intense and historic stress and trauma in my body melt off my bones.  I knew as soon as I got back to Toronto, I’d have to start taking lessons.

I searched around at different stables and most of the lesson times didn’t work for my schedule or the lessons in the city were extremely expensive.  I couldn’t afford private lessons either.  Well lucky me.  I ran into a very generous woman I know who boards her retired police horse, Lincoln, just north of Oshawa and was willing to let me ride him.  On weekend mornings, it takes just an hour to get there.   The owner of the property, Karen Goranson, was willing to coach me.  As it worked out, Lincoln has had to take it easier in his ‘older’ age but Karen has graciously let me ride her very well trained and loved horses.  When I’m there, I’m the only one riding.  It’s quiet, focused and so personalized to me.  I lucked out.  It’s a much different experience than being at a busy stable with horses who are ridden all day.

I’m quite happy to share that Karen is taking more students.

Her contact is: karengoranson11@gmail.com or (905)925-9834

Here are some pictures of Karen’s property.   It’s even prettier in person!

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender(1)  FullSizeRender(4)FullSizeRender(2)

Here’s some words from Karen about what she does:

“Ever since I can remember, I have had a deep connection with animals. I spent many of my younger years fostering injured or orphaned wildlife believing that I was the one healing them. It wasn’t until I made the transition to working with horses that I realized that they, in fact, were the ones healing me! Horses have an integrity of spirit that I have had yet, to experience with any other living creature. Each relationship is based on mutual, earned respect. Horses truly mirror us and because of their purity we let go of negativity and destructive behavior. We learn to become the best version of ourselves!! Not only is my relationship to horses one of love and kinship, we are also partners in different disciplines of equestrian riding. I train and compete in the art of classical dressage, which in essence, is a form of equine gymnastics. Every subtle movement of my body, every shift of balance effects my horse. I move with him in harmony and balance while creating positive energy. This fluidity creates unity – whereby I can ultimately “dance” with my horse! I also train and compete in Hunters which, in essence, is jumping over a series of obstacles while maintaining an equal rhythm and balance. Aside from the gratification of learning to harness the power and grace of these beautiful creatures, I do not know of another sport in which one’s “equipment” captures our hearts like those of our equine partners! Riding truly pushes us past our self-imposed boundaries and challenges us, mind, body and soul. The magic is that this transformation occurs without any sense of awareness because, aside from everything else ….. riding is just so much fun!!”

Here’s Cirrus, an Arabian.  He’s so sensitive and gentle.  I feel privileged when he grooms me back and softly nibbles at my clothing.  The best.

IMG_4434

Here’s me with Rocky, feeding him treats for the camera.   He is truly a gem.  So patient with me.  I feel so safe on him.

FullSizeRender(3)

Karen speaks my language.  For example today she asked me, “How does his energy feel”.  I could sense Rocky was frustrated and it was in direct response to how I was holding my own body and tensing it up in trying to get him to move faster.  The tuning in happens repeatedly in a lesson.  She lets me feel my way into figuring how to post on the right lead.  Just the right amount of instruction, not too much, which is the hallmark of any good coach.  She has immense respect for horses and all animals.  She’s teaching me it’s not about controlling them and dominating them, it’s about leading them and partnering with them.
There’s a term in trauma focused healing called, co-regulation.  When we are chronically stressed or traumatized, our bodies get out of their natural physiological rhythm and it’s hard to attune with other people and move into healthy social engagement.   Learning how to be with and ride a horse is all that and much more.  It’s about feeling moments of pure flow, mind body and spirit completely integrated but also in relation to another sentient being.
I didn’t plan on this being about learning for work, but in what I do, learning about myself and through my own body and experience always ends up filtering into what I do.

Here’s a little video of me after just two months of lessons with Karen. Relaxed, focused, joyful.  Isn’t that what we all want to be more often?

Contact Karen Goranson for more information about lessons:

karengoranson11@gmail.com or (905)925-9834

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Should we idealize releasing?

These days, the language around release pervades the movement and healing world.  When the use of language becomes trendy, I think it’s wise to step back and ask ourselves what we really mean when we say release?

The definition of release is:  “allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free.”  If we focus on releasing tension as the ultimate goal in stress or trauma treatment and healing, I think we might be misguided.

Before we focus on releasing, we need to understand why the tension or restriction is there and what purpose it is fulfilling whether it’s physical or emotional tension.

Our bodies are held together with tensile integrity and so are our psyches.  Tensegrity is a term first used in architecture by Buckminster Fuller.  We have now come to understand the same properties of tensegrity apply to the human body.

Physical tensegirty is the property of skeleton structures that employ continuous tension members and discontinuous compression members in such a way that each member operates with the maximum efficient and economy.

Here are some pictures of human-made structures built on the principle of tensegrity.  Imagine taking one of the points of tension away.  The whole structure collapses.

tensegrity1 tensegrity2

 

 

We need tension to keep our bodies moving through the world and we also develop a psychological structure and ways of coping with life that allow us to move through the world as functioning people, going to work, taking care of family, doing what we need to do and sometimes we develop coping strategies that were once survival based that might become dysfunctional.

If we focus on releasing both muscle tension and emotional tension and pain as the ultimate goal without asking the question:

WHAT AM I RELEASING INTO?

We might not be fully understanding the complexities of healing our bodies or our minds.  We can only truly release when we have a sound physical and psychological container to release into.  Otherwise, we might release and then need to habitually pull ourselves back together.

Sure it feels good to release emotional or physical tension and pain.  It can be extremely cathartic to let go.  But what if the act of releasing and the highs of catharsis are just that, highs we chase?

For example, how many people love feeling pain during exercise because of our good it feels after or love hard myofascial release that only feels good when it stops or those of us who need intense emotional pain and the accompanying expression of that pain to get to a more calm place?  I’m not saying catharsis is bad.  In fact, 90% of my clients cry during our first meeting but that’s because I create an environment or a container where it’s SAFE to let go.

safety

I like to think we could replace the language of release, let go etc. with the idea of regulation in both our physical and psychological tensegrity.  We need to focus on creating a sense of stability and safety both physically and emotionally, sense our boundaries on both levels to have a safe and regulating container to release into.  We can also look more kindly on our physical and emotional tension as things that have gotten us this far in life that we need to  pay homage to instead of pathologize as maladaptive.

Have you ever noticed how certain muscles that hold tension become the enemy in certain movement or healing circles.  Or how over eating or compulsive behaviours become things about ourselves that we feel shameful about.  But the truth is they were survival strategies at one point.

We can only let go of what has become maladaptive movement patterns, muscle tension or emotional coping strategies or even addictions when we feel safe to do so.

We might consider blending the idea of bridging a need for safety with the ability to release on every level of our beings.

More to come on this topic but here are some initial thoughts.

Be well.

Jane

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Incomplete grief and lethargy: you’re not just lazy

Long term psychotherapist, Peter Gerlach says, “grieving is nature’s way of helping us adapt to special broken bonds’.  A good and wise friend of mine (thanks my smart friend!) passed along Peter K. Gerlach, MSW, website and a lot of what he said resonated for me so I thought I’d pass it along.  Since I’m interested in breaking cycles, this was poignant. 

This is a beautiful talk from him if something in your gut is suggesting this might be you:

I see many people who are having a hard time getting themselves moving and doing right by their bodies.  It’s not because they are ‘lazy’.  It’s more complex than that.  It could be depression and it could be incomplete grief.

Sometimes we need to grieve what we never even had.  Sometimes we need to grieve what we have lost.  If we have grown up in families who are uncomfortable with strong emotions (other than anger and rage possibly), we can grow up with values of ‘must keep a happy face’.  This will become a very draining way to be in the world and lead to feeling low energy and lethargic.  In running away from grief, we end up running away from our true selves too and we might find ourselves engaging in behaviours that help us numb out like compulsive eating, love addiction, a little too much wine every night, spending money, over working (oops guilty of this last few days) and any thing else that is distracting in an obsessive sort of way.

lethargy

My absolutely favourite people in my life are people who let the full range of human experiences flow through them  and are compassionate with themselves and aren’t afraid of feeling vulnerable.  They give me permission to be with wherever I’m at as well.

I think we are afraid of difficult emotions in our culture.  So we take on an attitude of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep charging ahead.   If we stop, we might actually feel what we are running away from.  But eventually, this strategy doesn’t work, like with many of the people I see who are forty plus.  Sometimes, allowing ourselves to grieve, we can eventually free up lots of energy to fully live our lives.

Sometimes we need to pick ourselves up, suck it up a bit and do what we don’t feel like.  But I like the idea of respecting the natural process of grief as well.

This last year has found me letting the grief of my past losses, some ancient, catch up with me so I can process them, instead of running away from them.   It isn’t comfortable.  It’s hard at times but at least it leads up to acceptance and out of resistance so that our life force can flow through us unobstructed.

(*just a note that if you are suffering from depression or intense grief and you’re not currently in any type of treatment, go seek it out.  These are just musings and not instructions in any way.)

Love,

Jane

Read full story · Comments { 0 }