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My guest today is Jason Henderson.
We go deep talking about:
- Why Jason’s son’s first 2 words were so pivotal in his transformation,
- Men’s Group and why a supportive community makes it easier to do the work,
- Breathwork, meditation, and inner child work as healing modalities,
- Addictive behaviours to numb discomfort and how to break the cycle,
- Children as our biggest triggers and teachers,
- Showing up authentically with our children, and letting them see us do the work,
- Breaking the chains of generational trauma, and
- Deepening connection with our children through curiosity
Jason Henderson is a Men’s Coach & Men’s Work Facilitator at The BOULDER Man, whose focus is on helping men transform their lives and follow their hearts and embrace life – “Let your heart decide your fate”. He is committed to helping men heal their relationship with themselves and others, and move forward in their lives with purpose and fulfillment. He operates regularly within the Mental Health realm as an advocate, as well as facilitating Men’s Groups for Men’s Mental Health Organisations. He also facilitates Men’s Groups aimed at supporting men to connect, challenge themselves, and heal their conditioning within the setting of other conscious, like-minded men.
Find Jason online at:
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. My guest today is Jason Henderson and we go deep talking about why Jason sons first two words were so pivotal in his transformation, men's group and why a supportive community makes it easier to do the work. breathwork meditation and inner child work as healing modalities, addictive behaviors to numb discomfort and how to break the cycle. Children as our biggest triggers and teachers showing up authentically with our children and letting them see us do the work, breaking the chains of generational trauma and deepening connection with our children through curiosity.
Jason Henderson is a men's coach and men's work facilitator at the boulder man whose focus is on helping men transform their lives and follow their hearts and embrace life. Let your heart decide your fate is committed to helping men heal the relationship with themselves and others and move forward in their lives with purpose and fulfillment. He operates regularly within the mental health realm as an advocate as well as facilitating men's groups for men's mental health organizations. He also facilitates men's groups aimed at supporting men to connect challenge themselves and heal their conditioning within the setting of other conscious like minded men. You can find Jason online, on Instagram at the boulder man that's Bo U L, D er ma N, or online at the boulder man.ca. Again, Bo u l DR mn.ca. I really enjoyed this conversation. Jason is a father. He's gone through enormous life changes over the last number of years. And he was able to really dive in authentically and vulnerably in this conversation. And I learned a lot from him. I love talking to guys like Jason because you can learn so much about a man's life, about his struggles and about yourself, as you see yourself reflected in these stories. So listen to what Jason has to say, take some of the actions that he has taken if you find yourself sharing some of his struggles along the way. And just know that this whole story this entire episode, his story, my own story, their messages of hope. These are ways that men can learn about themselves and go deeper themselves and eventually heal to come out of whatever dark place you might be in to show up better for yourself, your partner and your children. So with that, no more ado, let's get into the conversation with Jason. Here we go.
Alright, I'm here with Jason Henderson. Thank you for joining me, man.
Jason Henderson 2:24
Thank you, Curt. Glad to be here.
Curt Storring 2:26
Yeah, we we connected over the last couple months because of mutual friend connection best for breathwork. For men's retreat, you are looking at hosting. And I just started started following you on Instagram, with your your coaching company. And I just love what I'm seeing, particularly because your dad, and you're doing this type of deep work, you're doing growth and men's work with other men as a coach, and you've posted something the other day about your transformational journey. And that like man, I would love to hear more about that. Because there's like a lot of intensity behind that by the sounds of it. And so I'm I'm going to just ask that you sort of walk us through your transformation from where you were, including you know, what country you come from, and why your life was in a state that needed to have a transformation. And then maybe just tell the story until you know, as close to modern days, you want to bring it because I think this is a fascinating story of growth and courage that a lot of men can get a lot out of. And then we'll go into things like the tools you use and all the rest of that stuff. So So what is the story of your healing journey?
Jason Henderson 3:29
Awesome. Well, thank you, Curt. I really appreciate it. Wow. So I grew up in South Africa. And I spend most of my life there, I think I left when I was about 29 or 30. That was at a point in time where I needed to make a decision for the future of myself and possibly kids that I would have in the future as well. Do I want to continue living there having them grow up in the same environment that I did? Or would I like to leave the country and possibly have a better future for them. And growing up in the environment that I did, I never felt really comfortable in it. never really knew exactly why just never felt comfortable in it. There's a lot of hurt and pain that resided in that country for me. And I couldn't really see for foresee a healing journey that I really needed in order to come into my own. And so I fled. I packed my bags and I moved to Canada. I moved to Toronto first and I lived there for a couple of years and then quickly discovered that that's also not a place that I would like to continue living in also didn't agree with me. And so I left Toronto and I moved to Vancouver and finally found my home. And it took me some time to discover why it was my home. But it was my home because it was open to the possibility of me just being authentically me. And it's it's very do much to do with the environment. But it also very much to do with how much it enables me to do it. And so growing up, I had a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety, I think I've mentioned quite a couple of times as well, I have tried to commit suicide as well, when I was in my teens when stuff got really, really bad. And so for me, unfortunately, up to very recently, suicide was never off the table, it was a, something that's always in the back of my mind that can really easily just slip in into my thoughts. And so, moving to Vancouver, went through another dark periods of my life, because I felt extremely lonely, I didn't feel supported or loved, I didn't feel as if there is someone that I can truly share with so that I can come more into my own authenticity. I didn't really have friends at that point in time, and my marriage was crumbling. I've been in relationship at that point in time for probably around 11 or 12 years, and had a son of two years old as well. And it came to a breaking point, a depression breaking point where I could sit in a sea of people and not feel seen certain sea of people and feel utterly alone. And when I was at my lowest, my son said his first two words, he said, more daddy. And as soon as he said, More, daddy, that's when I made the decision, when I made the decision to start taking better care of myself, and despite everything that's going on in my chest, and in my mind, to start reaching out. And one of the first things that I did was reach out to a men's group. Because there was something calling out within me. I didn't know exactly who I was or what direction I needed to take. So I really felt lost, I really felt stuck, I really felt as if I'm alone in this nobody that has my back, or nobody that can support me, right. And so that's what I did. That was a first step, I reached out to a men's group, I took that courageous step. And I moved into it. And it really challenged me on on a lot of different fronts. But I think that the one thing that had really brought out was, is a lot of more self awareness. There's a lot of things that that happened throughout my life that I was conditioned into believing about myself that I was conditioned into believing about the world through a variety of different traumas and events that happened, right. And so in order for me to really change that, in order for me to really change my life and transform it, I needed to become aware of how it drives my current day thoughts how it drives my current day perceptions, beliefs. And I think that's that was an integral step on my my healing journey, just becoming completely self aware and looking deeper within it.
Because a lot of the times what what comes up is the feelings of you're not good enough, you know, this, you know that. But there's a deeper level to it. That's, that's important for a healing journey. And it's discovering what that deeper level is, so that you can work from there, to really heal yourself to really change yourself. And I know that a lot of people say don't look towards the past only look towards the future and only the present moment. But it becomes extremely, extremely difficult to look towards the future in the present moment if the past hasn't been healed yet. And so that's where my healing journey started. And needed to go into the password.
Curt Storring 9:00
Thank you for sharing that. That's yeah, that really touches the heart or Daddy. What What were some of the things that this presented as I know, you were saying loneliness and suicidal ideation. But when you were at that point, like just before your son, son, and how old is he now?
Jason Henderson 9:25
He's, he's four and a half. He's turning five in three weeks.
Curt Storring 9:29
Amazing. So yeah, before that, like, I just want to get like a little bit more of a broad sense, or maybe not a broad sense, a more granular sense of just like what was so bad that you just felt like ending everything. What was your experience? Like? What did that loneliness feel? Like, you know, how did you wake up what was the day to day? Because that's a very extreme step. And I know, myself included, a lot of men have had at least thought about that when things are really bad. And it takes great courage. not to do that it takes great courage to start doing the work to get better. So what was that moment like before your son said more daddy, like what was going through your head. And then when he said more daddy and you decided to join this men's group, what sort of shifts mentally like self talk or whatever did you go through so sort of take us through the the transition from one mindset to the other.
Jason Henderson 10:22
I think here's the thing. When I felt incredibly lonely, it's because I didn't really have a lot of supportive people in my life and didn't have the structure in my life. So the thoughts that I woke up with, and this is the first thought I had, every time I opened my eyes for a couple months, probably about a year. Before that more daddy moment, the first thought that came into my life into my mind was, I don't want to live anymore. That was it. That's how I started my day. And that's what I carried with me throughout the entire day. And I think, I think what was in what, what I really struggled with at that point in time was a lot of low self esteem, a lot of self worth issues. And as a result of that, it makes it incredibly difficult to actually reach out and open up. And so the courageous step of actually going to a men's group and allowing yourself to be seen, right to be felt and to be heard for your experience. Not only opens up that bottled up emotions, thoughts and feelings, but what it also allows us that you sit in the company of other men who share their experiences, and through their experiences, you learn that you are not alone, that your thoughts and everything that you perhaps have shamed your feelings and your emotions that you have perhaps ashamed for what it is, is not just yours, it belongs to a bunch of other men as well. And I think that alleviates a lot of pressure. I think it alleviates a lot of pressure that we that I put on myself in order to be. And when I say to be it means it's it's a wound that came from my from my childhood as well, where I constantly felt like I needed to be something in order to be loved.
Curt Storring 12:12
Yeah, yeah, I resonate a lot with that. And my co captain in my own men's group, and I were talking about this the other day is simply sitting in the group, if we just sat there for three hours, didn't lead anything to nuni processes, maybe you could talk to one another. Like that would be medicine for the soul, and you didn't even need to do anything. It's just being with the men and realizing that your story is not necessarily unique. Other people have been there other people could feel the same things, and other people could just see you and have your back. Like that is a profound experience. At least it has been for me and it sounds like for you as well. And after you joined the men's group, are you able to just like jump in? Was it an immediate sort of thing for you? Or did you sort of sit there and get comfortable and like what other what tools allowed you to finally open up and like get that support?
Jason Henderson 13:01
I, I kind of jumped into it a little bit, not as much as I could potentially. So it did take some time for me to to get accustomed to it to grow into it. And once I did, it started to become easier and easier every time that I went. So it's just to just to put a realistic perspective on it. It's, it's not something that I just jumped into, and all of a sudden, everything's done. I have 35 years of conditioning at that point in time, and thoughts and problems and issues that that needed to come to the surface. It doesn't happen in one meeting. It happens over a couple. But I think what greatly helped is when I took courageous steps in those meetings, to allow myself to be seen to really tell my story, which was scary, really, really, really scary to allow myself to truly be seen to be that vulnerable. But as soon as I did, it allowed other men to open up about their things as well.
Curt Storring 14:05
Right? Why do you think it's so hard for us as men to open up like that.
Jason Henderson 14:13
Because of our conditioning to be men, you need to be strong, you need to be this you need to be that in order to be a man in order in order to be accepted into the world of man. And so it becomes pretty difficult to let the shields and the armor down in order for you to truly be seen. And I think a lot of the time that can creep back up as well. So it does creep back up for me from time to time. Where I feel really vulnerable that that old pattern of trying to hide myself and trying to figure things out on my own and the lone wolf narrative and all of that. It does creep up from time to time but at least now I know about it. I I can see it coming and I can I can interject it with a different way by reaching out. I think it was extremely difficult in the beginning to do that, because yeah.
Curt Storring 15:13
Yeah, do you still? Here's, here's a different question, do you? Do you feel like a man now that you've opened up and been vulnerable? Like, how does your relationship to being a man and feeling that masculinity, just because what I'm thinking here is like, a lot of guys have this same, like, oh, I don't really want to go there. Like you just said, it was just like a very courageous step to open up. A lot of guys aren't there yet. And they're scared, just like you said about like, Oh, I'm not going to be a man if I show weakness or have feelings. And to me, like having gone through this work and done that, I totally get it. And I've never felt more like a man than to fully own my authentic self to share everything. Because someone once told me, like, is it hard to sit with the uncomfortable feelings? Like, yeah, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. Like, this sucks. And they're like, well, strong men do hard things. And for me, that was like, wow. So like, how do you feel about it? Do you feel more embodied as a man like What is your relationship to masculinity now?
Jason Henderson 16:14
I think I do feel more like a man now. And it was a journey as well. I think the biggest part of me not feeling safe within myself and not being not feeling authentically expressed was my inability to, to accept different parts of myself. rejecting those parts and shaming those parts, is what made me feel less human. Right? Less of a man. Because the the, unfortunately, our guidance for what it means to be a man isn't really given growing up. Most of the guidance that I have was to be a man is not to be a woman. That that's it right? And nothing else. And so we kind of reject those, the feminine energies within ourselves, we kind of reject the Vedic part within ourselves that is absolutely needed in order for us to, to feel whole in order for us to heal parts as well within ourselves. And we were both made up of both the masculine and the feminine energies, and we oscillate between the two from time to time, and sometimes for more on masculine sometimes more on feminine. But for me, to completely reject the feminine energy within myself, doesn't help for my healing, because I need the feminine energy in order to move through a lot of things, in order to feel compassion, and all of these nurturing things within my life in order to heal myself in order to completely come home to myself. And in order to feel whole. And once I feel whole, that's when I started to be able to live authentically, the more and more I reject parts within myself, the more and more I can live with entity, the more and more I accept parts within myself and everything of myself, the more I can live authentically, that makes it that makes it easier. But what I want to add to that as well, is that what makes that journey worthwhile, or what makes that journey really easy, is if you have a tribe that can support you on that journey. But what I mean by that is when you start to authentically, live your truth, and bring up these different parts of yourself that you may have rejected in the past, it can get really messy. And if you have a supportive tribe around you, that can support you through that, right, that's not going to reject you or abandon you or bring in all of these primal fears of abandonment. That makes it easier because you feel like somebody has your back for who you are. Not for who you want to be or who they want you. To me, it's for who you are.
Curt Storring 18:56
Yeah, that I'm glad you brought that up. That's something that I have seen of the people I've talked to on this podcast, of the people who have done the work one of like, the most important themes in their journey has been like doing it with other people. Because you can do a lot yourself. And you know, I'm, I sometimes think like, Wow, I did a lot of good work by myself. I'm pretty good at doing this sort of self work journey thing. And nothing helped me like joining a men's group and finally opening up to elders and mentors and peers and getting that support. And especially what's coming up for me right now is like this, this nice guy syndrome. If I act a certain way, maybe they'll like me. No, that's like the very basis of it. And so breaking that by just being like, here's what's up and feeling the support of guys going like, yeah, okay, we still we're still here for you. That's mind blowing. Yeah, there's a lot out there look at joining a local one in person if possible. If that's not possible, there's a lot of good online ones as well. And as you were talking about, like coming home to yourself, I just thought, like a lot of this work we think about growth is building. But I'm almost hearing this, like dismantling of behaviors and things that you were conditioned in, as that seems to be your journey is like taking away all that crap, and finding out who you truly are, and then sitting with that, and not feeling shame about it. As soon as you do you feel the same way about that?
Jason Henderson 20:26
Absolutely. The reference that I've used in the past as well on, or at least when I started to see it within myself is the box, the box that I've been conditioned into where I've been told that this is who I am, this is what I believe this is what I need to do. That doesn't feel comfortable, because it is someone else's box, right. And the more and more I tried to fit myself within that box, the more and more I experienced anxiety, the more and more I experienced depression, the more and more I experienced all of the things that doesn't feel good. It's once you realize that, that is the conditioning, and you need to remove all of these things out of your life, and consciously for yourself, decide, this is what feels good. For me, this is what I believe this is what I want to do, right. And so in the integrity of that, that's when you start to realize that doing away with all of these things, I can make my own box, and it's not going to look like anybody else's.
Curt Storring 21:21
Love that. Next out, I
Jason Henderson 21:24
think I just want to add, while I think you mentioned something very important is that the importance of a tribe. So here's what I also realized. All of this inner work, all of this self development work is and especially the healing work, right? Is is great, you can read these books, you can do all of these things in order to try and heal yourself. And you can sit in your living room every night and, and working journal and do all of these things. But this is why a tribe is very important. A lot of the trauma and a lot of the pain that you're experiencing in your current day life is not just you, it was because of your environment because of your relationships growing up because of the society growing up. And so you learned all of these things, all of this conditioning, all of the pain, all of the trauma, you learned it through relation to others, and the only way that you can heal that is also in relation to others.
Curt Storring 22:26
Thank you for going there. That is such an important point. And I think we'll even touch on that later as we talk about some of the inner child work that's come up for you. But yeah, understanding that the environment that you came up in, what I like to say is it's not your fault. No, you don't like you've got all of these things, you act certain ways. But for me, my strong belief is that all things related to trauma, any most psychological things, most ticks, most habits are all trauma related, unhealed typically. And in an environment, where things are happening to you as children, we simply react, our ego creates defense mechanisms, and then that just is autopilot from then on. And it's important to know for our children, but it's also important to know for our own journeys, is that we have probably just been reacting our whole lives to something that's stored in the body that's stored in our memory bank, that doesn't actually affect us anymore. And so 100% environmental factors, it's like, what what how can I be intentional? Now? What parts of my life can I move forward and be intentional, rather than having inertia drag me along? So I think that's very important you brought up because I think everyone listening can be like, Oh, wow, like, maybe I could just journal on what I do every day. Like, why do I do that? I wonder how that feels? How do I feel when I do that? Oh, terrible. Oh, why just go into that rabbit hole and you know, use a coach as a therapist if you need to. But that's been incredibly helpful for me just going like, oh, yeah, all of this stuff happened. So what I wanted to find out more about is after you join the men's group, there is still a lot of change to come in your life from the sounds of it. So what were those next steps? Did you use any mindfulness tools? Did you take any big steps in your life? How did your progression go?
Jason Henderson 24:08
On I think, in isolation, it's very hard to figure out what the potential is for you, it's very hard to figure out what potentially you could use in order to help yourself. And so with a men's group, what happened is there was always a lot of suggestions that came out. Why don't you try this, this is really worked for me, this is how it worked for me. And so that that really opened up my, my, my view on a variety of different modalities, because that's where I got introduced to breathwork is where I got introduced to somatic work. That's what I where I got introduced to a variety of different other things that I could potentially sample in order to learn more about myself and in order to to heal those parts and reconcile those parts within myself. So I think that's why why it was really important for me to do that just to open my mind to new possibilities.
Curt Storring 25:00
Right. And so you did breath work. And are there anything that you still do today from that period that have been sort of fundamental pieces of your journey?
Jason Henderson 25:10
Well, obviously a lot of breath work, because there's a lot of nervous system regulation that goes into that. Stuff that I never knew about bird if you started your inner child work, and if you start to work with your anxiety and depression, trying to regulate your own nervous system is integral for you to in order to love yourself more in order to feel safe in order to do think a different way to think a little bit more grounded and objective. So breath work is definitely important for me meditation as well can underrate meditation enough, it's something that I did in my teens, and then gave it up for like, 20 or 15 years. But it is so important and why it's important is for me to, to reconnect to my body. So the meditations that I do as somatic meditations. And so it's, it's, it's a means for me to reconnect to my body, because my body has so much inflammation that it's flowing through. More often than not, if I meet another person, I, my body reacts or responds to them before my mind does. And so I try to use somatic meditation in order to find out what is going on in my body as a means to get more information about what it needs and what I need and how to take better care of myself. So that's, that is really important as well. But then a lot of different other things as well, like yoga, I mean, yoga and Avenue could potentially help with the emotional release and flow of stored emotions in the body. And so that's something that I embarked on as well. Somatic Experiencing really helped me to, to delve into different feelings in the body as well, in terms of what is this? What is this aching feeling in my chest? Where does it come from? Why is it there? And allowing it to speak, allowing it to to come up and tell me what is what is going on. So it says the body is an incredible source of information. And I've been trying to rely more and more and more on it in order to feel safe in order to feel secure in order to feel grounded. And in order to do the work that I do.
Curt Storring 27:24
Yeah, thank you for going into the body. My word for this year has been intuition. Because forever, I was just so up in my head that I ignored everything else. And I've gone with my intuition so much this year that you just have to keep practicing, you have to get more aware of how the body feels to do that. And so yeah, a lot of my own work has been the same thing. It's just like, what does each thing feel like? And then why. One of the other things that you mentioned in your story was that there's a cycle of sort of addictive behaviors. And those are extremely hard to get out of, as I'm sure many people know whether it's addiction to alcohol or drugs, pornography, or as something as seemingly, you know, simple as phone addiction, social media addiction. But how did you navigate that? Because you used it for numbing out? I think you said and what was that journey, like from addictive behavior, presumably to not being like that today.
Jason Henderson 28:22
So a lot of those addictive behaviors and stuff that I learned in my teens, so I don't have the coping mechanisms or the healthy coping mechanisms in order to not really having a supportive family structure for myself at home. loving parents as they were they they weren't able to provide in my needs and and that that leaves a scar as well. Because it makes you it makes you question a lot of things and makes you question whether or not you're lovable, whether or not you're enough and all of these other things. And so in order to numb that pain in order to have a sense of belonging in order to feel like I am part of something, that's where smoking where drinking really became my thing. That's where porn in isolation, and masturbation and all of these things came into play as well. And it really helped numb out the feelings of pain. But at that point in time, I didn't know that that was what I was experiencing. I know that something wasn't right. And I needed to get away from this feeling. But I didn't necessarily have the necessary support or the insight or the mentorship to help me through it to tell me that this is what you are experiencing. And this is how to healthy, healthily cope with it. And so that's when it started and it's been for most of my adult life as well where I realized that what I do is I run I run away from something consciously or unconsciously If I run away from something that feels uncomfortable, I run away from something that feels like pain, like hurt. And how I do that is I numb out and numb out through a variety of different things. And the thing is, as soon as you start looking into it, you you discover that there is a, there's more to it, there's more than just alcohol and drugs and porn and all of these things you potentially numb out with, like, you mentioned, social media, you know, not with TV, you know, not with a variety of different things in order to just feel good in this moment. But the problem is, it never lasts, and only lasts for a little bit. And the pain is still there. The pain you still need to work through.
And so I think my first introduction to to stop numbing out was a semen retention challenge that I did for for 30 days. So there was no social media, no porn, no masturbation.
Not even sexting, nothing, right? So nothing of the sort was allowed. And the guidance there was to sit with whatever comes up, what is the feeling that comes up? What is the emotion that comes up? And to really sit with it in compassion, to really sit with it, and in love, and to really sit with it in awareness? So that you can learn more about yourself? Why are these feelings coming up? Why? Or why am I experiencing all of these things now that I have removed this potential numbing agent out of my life? Right? And so focusing my attention on that, and focusing my attention on a different mindset is what really helped me to, to let go of my porn addiction completely. And that just set me on a trajectory trajectory of well, what about the other numbing agents that I'm using in my life, now I could potentially employ that same principle on something else, and take another step. And another step, and another step. There is great potential for healing. And there's great potential for learning more about yourself, because that was, that was the one thing that I wanted to do as well, I didn't know who I was a couple years ago, I wanted to know who I was, so that I can stand in the integrity of that. And if I continue to numbing that out, I won't never know, I will never feel fulfilled, I never feel satisfied. And so gradually taking those steps, step by step, and learning more about yourself, and the ability to sit with yourself and empathy and compassion while you're going through it was integral for me in order to do it. And another thing too, that is, once again, relation to others, you can't do that alone, a lot of the pain that you're trying to numb is as a result of your relational structures growing up, right, that's where the the addictions and running out and everything started for me. So I needed to do it with someone else. And in order for me to not hide away in shame of the addictions and stuff that I have, there needs to be radical honesty. Radical Honesty allows yourself to be seen, right? It's where you tackle shame, and where you douse the shame. But it needs to be with another person who can meet you with empathy. Because if they can't meet you with empathy, then it just increases the shame. It increases the self criticism and judgment, and it makes it worse. So integral to that Stape was radical honesty, with where you're at allowing yourself to be seen for your whole experience, whether or not you feel shame around it. But that being met with empathy so that shame can be doused. And once that shame is doused, that's where you have a more of a sense of belonging. So I feel like I belong to this because even with my shame that I brought to this tribe that's helping me through this thing, even with that shame, I still belong. And I think that was that was really, really important because that gives you courage to go on. I think the one thing that you mentioned as well as throughout this is courage, courage, courage, courage. And that's, that's the first principle of the bolder man as well, which is bravery. Courage is looking to your side, and knowing that there's somebody that cares.
Curt Storring 34:31
Going to I was going to ask you whether you needed an accountability with other men to sort of stop that challenge as a lot of guys go like two three days, and then they drop off. But it sounds like it was even more fundamental and important than simply having accountability partners. It was like, I need to know that if I do this, I'm going to be okay. Yeah, because my entire life and a lot of these numbing agents are because of how I feel with other people. And man, that's, that's very insightful and I I think a lot of guys can get, you know, a lot of just establishing what their relationships look like and how they feel in those relationships. Did accountability help you? Or was it just like, I need to do this so badly because I'm feeling so bad
Jason Henderson 35:14
accountability different thing out. Because I like I said, with the courage thing, bravery also for me doesn't happen in isolation. I'm I'm braver, if there is somebody who I know has my back, I have more courage that way, as well. And so accountability definitely helps because it feels like you're not alone on the journey. And that's the most important part. You struggled with addictions, because you're trying to have a sense of belonging initially, and then it takes a hold of your life. And now if you let that go, you need to have that sense of belonging again. And that's why accountability is so important. Yeah,
Curt Storring 35:54
thank you. What happened? After that? I know there is even more life changes for you, including divorce. What were the next sort of steps beyond men's groups starting to do these healing modalities? Letting go of some of these numbing behaviors? Was the divorce sort of around that time as well?
Jason Henderson 36:14
Yeah, the divorce was around that time, there was a job loss around that time as well. There was a there was a lot of losses. And I think the, what the divorce really highlighted for me was, I am a recovering nice guy. The divorce really highlighted that for me, and drain. I think that really highlighted the fact that I don't know who I am. So there was a lot of things that happened all at once. And I think that's why it was so incredibly important for me to reach out as well, to find accountability to find support.
Curt Storring 36:51
How do you make a decision to stop a marriage? Because, you know, you, you could wake up and try and grow together and all this kind of stuff? What was it for you that you knew, like there was no hope?
Jason Henderson 37:07
I think there's there's a couple things that led up to the end of the marriage, but a, a discovery that another person does not want to heal with you, or does not want to grow up with you. That That kind of makes the decision for you. When the love and the compassion and the empathy starts to wither away, because somebody can't see you for the struggles that you're going through, or for the changes that you are trying to embrace, that makes it really hard to continue. I know that in the beginning, all of us stand at the altar, and we say that this is going to be forever. The fact of the matter is that for me that if you can find somebody who can heal with you, and who are willing to heal their own things within themselves, right, so that they can see they can understand and have compassion, then it really helps. But more often than not, or a lot of the times we are completely blind to our conditioning, we completely blind to our traumas and the stuff that drives us subconsciously. So it needs to be somebody who has become a become awoke to that. And I have to say, I'm very lucky, I have found that person now, who's done their own work, who has really delved into our own healing. So even speaking very deeply about these thoughts, feelings and stuff that's going on. It can be met with somebody who completely understands and can it has embodied it in her own life as well. I think that that really helps. Yeah,
Curt Storring 38:44
thank you. Yeah, I've been married almost 10 years now. And I was extremely lucky that we have grown together, rather than a part because I can only see so many examples of this one person grows, one person doesn't. And then there's literally no connection. Yeah. I'm glad you found someone right now. Thank you. Congratulations. I, we haven't touched a lot on fatherhood yet. So I want to make sure that before we get there, is there anything else that sort of led from that all this change, too? Now? Is there any important story modality, anything that happened over the last couple of years to finish off sort of your personal growth story? That would be helpful to go into now?
Jason Henderson 39:33
Let's let's move on to the dead stuff.
Curt Storring 39:35
Okay. Yeah, this is what I would love to know is how were you as a father at first not having done any of this work? And then like, take us through a bit of the same story again, but like as a father now because, man my kids started out when I hadn't done any of this work triggering the hell out of me. And they were also my literally my biggest teachers and all this. So I'd love to hear how that went. for you from sort of becoming a dad to now,
Jason Henderson 40:02
I absolutely agree with you 100% on that, in the beginning, he was my biggest trigger, right. And before I did work, I didn't know that triggers are actually insights into ourselves stuff that we need to learn about ourselves stuff that we can bring out and healing and change. So it was just, it kind of felt like an opposing force me trying to be a great dad, trying to try continuously trying, right, and that not being met. So it felt like an opposing force, and then a lot of heartache as well as the same time because it's this little person that I brought into the world that I feel so much love for. But I can't really deeply connect with him. And it took me some time to discover this or figure this out. But I think that the huge change point in that in my own healing as well was when I did when I started to do inner child work, because I've been so completely disconnected from that. So I also learned that was really important for me as, as I'm doing the work. And I'm trying to get rid of the conditioning and the beliefs and all of these things I was imparted to me of who I am and what I need to like. And as I'm trying to get rid of all of these things, I started to realize that my greatest gift to my son is to allow him to fully be who he is, and appreciate him for who that is. And in order for me to do that, that means that I need to meet him every day where he is at, I need to meet this new person. It's not about me trying to impose what I want him to be or what experiences I want him to have. It's putting the experiences in front of him, and then seeing whether or not he enjoys it. So I needed to make that shift in my mindset so that I don't accidentally impose things on him. That's going to create box for him as well.
Curt Storring 42:02
Exactly. And I feel so seen by you just sharing that right now, because my experience was so similar. When we're doing this work, for me, at least it really gave me a perspective of okay, well, I'm both doing my own work, and probably causing wounds in my child that I don't even know about. And so the way that I've been thinking about it lately is that I have had to do the work. And I like to consider myself and the work that we do as generational chain breaking, really, we're breaking the chain of generational trauma, so that we don't pass it on to our kids. And we will no doubt give them their own trauma. For me, I had to find out what trauma was figure out why hurt learn tools to do something about it, use the tools to build stuff, learn the tools to take away all this conditioning. My goal now as a father is to understand that I will 100% Creative father when in my children, but unlike me who didn't even know the tools were exist, existed, and had to build them and find them in all the rest, I want to at least impart tools that they can use to work through that. So seeing them, like you said, as their whole selves. So they don't get that sort of internal shame, allowing them to see me meditate, do breath work, speak to them compassionately, and with empathy, all of these things. And men, it's sometimes it's hard. There's so much going on when you're trying to do your own work, and try not to screw up your kids and trying to love them. So like how do you balance all of the stuff you're doing for yourself and then showing up like, as the dad you want to be.
Jason Henderson 43:41
So you mentioned something really important there. The trauma and knowing that you are going to pass on trauma, or you there is a potential you're going to cause trauma in your child, no matter how good you are trying your best, there is a potential for it. And to me, it makes total sense. This is a completely different human being, right? different needs. You're trying to figure out what their needs are not necessarily always knowing but from the outside in, I could have lived in a wonderful home growing up with wonderful loving parents to someone else. But for me, that wasn't the case. And so there is trauma that you could potentially pass on to your kid. But what I think is really important that what you're doing as well is showing them your authentic self and imparting some of the tools that you have learned to deal with your own trauma which will enable them to deal with errors as well. I think that is an integral thing. Just tools that you learn important thing as well. You mentioned something about a transitional I can't remember what he wanted you to refer to it as transitional
Curt Storring 44:59
the chain breaking the chain break. Is that is that? Is that what you're referring to? Yeah, that's what I'm referring to break breaking the chains of generational trauma,
Jason Henderson 45:07
breaking the chains of generational trauma. And that's what we do. That's something that we do at the the older man as well. So we were we tried to cultivate transitional characters. And the transitional character is somebody who has decided that they're going to break, or they're going to, they're a transitional character for their lineage. So certain stuff is going to end here with me. And I'm not going to pass it on to my future, right. And in order to do that, I need to do the work. In order to do that I need to come home, in order to do that I need to heal. That's the way that I become a transitional character for my lineage. And so that's what we do at the border man as well. So when you say trying to balance the tools, and all of these things that you've learned, I think that's why it's incorrect and incredibly important for my child, or for my son to see me exactly who I am. In any given moment. So my son is seeing me cry, my son is seeing me angry, my son Assini. This explain or display a variety of different emotions and, and thoughts and feelings. But I think what what is really important for my relationship with my son is that I explained to him, What is going on with me that I deal with it in a way to enlighten them or to teach him that this is what it means to be human. This is what it means to be a man, as a whole, I'm going to experience all of these things, and doesn't make me good or bad, or any of these other labels that I could potentially put on myself. It makes me human. And this is how I deal with it. This is how daddy meditates This is our daddy sit in the mornings and make sure that he's calm and have a morning routine. This is how daddy takes care of his own body by making sure that there's nutritious meals and go out to exercise and go out into nature. And I think in the I've, I've adopted a strategy in the beginning, as well as that whatever I do, he does. So I have him 50% of the time, because we're divorced. But whatever I do, he does so on the days that I haven't, that's where I would like to go out on into nature and taking with. So he's done a couple of acts as long as only five years old. So I take him with me so that he can have the same experience in the same tools as well. But then also allowing for his freedom of expression. So allowing him to say what it is that he wants to do, so that he can experience new things. I think that really opens it up to me as well. Because if he says that he wants to go and do a certain thing, and I, my initial response is like, I don't want to do that. That is a potential for him to introduce something to my inner child, which may bring out something fun within me. So it's just allowing myself and going with the flow sometimes as well.
Curt Storring 48:08
I love that reframe. I have to use that personally because there are times indeed when you're like, Oh, no not. But thinking about it as a way to like open your own inner child up man I that's a very helpful reframe. So thank you. Would you say you have a general parenting style? Like what? What comes up to you as a goal for parenting? Whether that's a long term goal, or a daily goal or a moment by moment goal? How do you approach parenting now?
Jason Henderson 48:40
I approach parenting now, from the perspective of getting to know my son constantly, like the new human being that has been invited into my life, because there was a period of time where I really struggled internally with my own things. And I felt like I felt more disconnected from him. And when I came out of that, I started to ask them questions like, what's your favorite color? What was your favorite teacher? What's this? What's that? And it was almost like a first date again, and like, I don't want to lose that feeling with him. I want to constantly get to know him. Right? That's how he's going to know that I'm there to support him. I am there to be with him and help him. So that's my parenting style.
Curt Storring 49:33
Yeah, that being curious like that has been so helpful and asking good questions as well. I think there's a real opportunity for dads and parents in general to really get to know their children like you're talking about just by asking better questions because we default to how's your day? Good. Okay, and then what? It's like, I like to ask my kids what was the funniest thing that happened today? Who was funniest at school today? What was the thing that made you are you most fearful today? Like just getting them to go deeper than just? Yes, no good, bad. Those are great questions and just figuring out like, yeah, I assume that his favorite color is red. But what if it changed? Like, what is he like about that? You know, getting super curious is so good. And it's just builds this relationship as if he's a whole human, which Newsflash, your children are yo humans, and they are their own humans, and treating them like that. It can be revolutionary, because I didn't think that before I was like, Oh, well, when He's big enough, I'll just parent him later. I can't wait till I can do stuff that you can learn from me. And it's like, no, he's learning from me this whole time, and I could be learning from him. All right. Was there anything else in terms of like parenting or your, your transition? I guess from pre, more daddy, and I just man, it's so nice to have this like, one little thing that triggered everything. Is there anything else along there, parenting wise, fatherhood wise, that has helped you either, as a father, feeling like a man and a father, or, as a parent to him?
Jason Henderson 51:10
I think I can be incredibly hard on myself, I have in my entire life. And one of the things is to realize that the experiences that I want to have for him isn't necessarily the experiences that he is going to want to have. If I can show up with empathy and compassion, and I can be there for him. I've done 80% of my job. And so changing my perspective, from wanting to mold this little individual into something into being there for another human being that is growing up. Great.
Curt Storring 51:53
So let's talk about the older men a little bit. When did this come into your life? What is it what do you guys do? I would love to just learn more.
Jason Henderson 52:03
Awesome, thank you. So the older man is something that happens probably know about, it's a year and a half ago, that's when it really started. And my business partner and I, and probably be on here for another podcast as well. So we could speak about the bold around is, his name is Matt, him and I joined the men's group at the same time became friends, supporting each other through divorce, because he was going through divorce at the same time as well. And I think he got divorced about four, maybe five months before me, and then I happened. So we were right by each other side throughout that entire thing. And let me tell you, that's not a fun ride. But it's way better if there's somebody next to you. And so, in the end, that's where the boulder man originated from, it's us going through all of these internal work, wanting to change ourselves, wanting to accept ourselves wanting to get rid of our conditioning, so we can be authentically ourselves. And as we're going through the journey, we discover that well, this is what our calling is, because it doesn't just relate to what we're experiencing now, which relates to who we were growing up, it relates to our why it relates to a very, very deep emotional connotation for us, for how we came into who we are in this present moment. And so that is our way of being of service to men, is through mentorship, through coaching, through retreats through all of these other things to help them be a transitional character in their lineage, to change the Predict trajectory, to change the trajectory of their lineage, right, the man who wants to say that I don't feel fulfilled, I feel stuck, I feel conditioned into a box. And I can't take this anymore. And at that point, decide that they're going to change and not so much change but more come into their own. And so a lot of the work that we've done as well as through is with mental health communities where we support data for men out of Toronto, for instance. And that has been integral for my own journey as well struggling with mental health and then being able to give back so once you've once you've learned these skills, and you've learned this knowledge and you you start to reach a point where you want to give back you want to be of service to others. Well, you can see it's going through the same thing. I think for Matt and I the thing was we needed to really see and feel our pain. Because once we were able to do that now we can see it and others and once we were able to heal from it. Now we can help others as well.
Curt Storring 54:58
Yeah, that is exactly what has happened to me as well. I think the 12 step in Alcoholics Anonymous, the step program is that you basically can't help but you know, give this information out to people because it's changed your life so much. That's not the exact wording, obviously. But I felt the same thing. It's like this is so life changing. Like if you just knew how bad I felt, and now you realize, like, how good I feel like why shouldn't everyone have access to this? And so that's also the point of the podcast and the Dad.Work project as well. It's just like, yeah, please learn this. Here's the tools, do something with it. Because your life could change for the better in a way that you have no idea. I mean, you from suicidal thoughts, to connecting with a partner to building this business to being grounded and doing breath work? Like I bet you never would have imagined four or five years ago, being where you are now. And it's possible?
Jason Henderson 55:52
Absolutely not. I did not imagine there was no future for me. And now there is a massive one.
Curt Storring 56:00
That's so it's such a hopeful message. And I love that you were able to share that. Because, for me, I'm an optimist with everything, except when it came to my own mental health a few years ago, like the darkest part of my journey, it was the same sort of thing I was going, my kids and wife would be better off without me, because I'm treating them so poorly. I knew the statistics of what happened to kids with fathers that were absent. And I still thought I'm so bad, that they'd be better off without me. And yeah, going from that. And growing from that, like, man, it's so hopeful that this can be done, because I thought it was hopeless. And it turns out, it's not. So whatever you're going through, if you're listening to this, and it's super dark right now. And there's always hope, as you've just heard with Jason story in my own story, so don't give up. Jason, is there anything else you want to cover here? This has been like one of my favorite conversations we've had because you're so grounded and vulnerable that I'm just learning a ton. Is there anything else you wanted to depart with? Before we go on to where people can find you?
Jason Henderson 57:06
There's nothing else this was a really great discussion with you. And I really appreciate it was phenomenal. Thank you.
Curt Storring 57:12
Yeah, thank you. So where can people find you and The Boulder Man?
Jason Henderson 57:16
Oh, they can find that TheBoulderMan on Instagram on on the internet, they can find us at theBoulderMan.ca, we're in Canada. We're based in Vancouver. But our Instagram they can find us at the boulder man. And Boulder is spelled BOULDER. Boulder is an acronym for bravery, objectivity, understanding, love, discipline, empathy, and resilience.
Curt Storring 57:44
That's perfect. I love it. Okay, well men. If you're looking for coaching retreats support on your transitional journey into being a chain breaker of generational trauma. Check out the older men. Jason, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad dot work slash pod. That's dad.work/pod/. type that into your browser just like a normal URL, Dad dot work slash pod. You'll find everything there. You need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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