In the 1970s, Japan gained unfortunate fame for “karoshi”—“death from overwork”—a word coined to describe deaths caused by work-related stresses and pressures. In the new millennium, North Americans are grinding themselves down to the nub with our vaunted “hustle and grind” culture. Work is a necessary, often fulfilling, aspect of life, but too much of anything can take its toll.
Nobody knows this better than Jenny Natyshak.
“I’m a fourth generation Reaume,” she says during a conversation with The Drive Magazine. “I am very proud of my family legacy. My dad is amazing. He built the business, he grew it, and I learned so much working at the family auto dealership, starting at the reception desk and working my way up to owner and general manager. This was not handed to me. I worked for it. I enjoyed it.”
Jenny is a Type A personality, and anything less than going full tilt was not an option. Everyone, however, has a point where moving at the speed of life becomes dizzying and disorienting.
“I like working,” Jenny says. “I enjoyed that reward and accomplishment, but I’m also a mom who had all the stuff at home—sports, household—while competing with my brothers, working the same hours, telling myself ‘I will do what everyone else does.’”
Then, one day, Jenny realized that she was not on her To Do list.
“Having so many balls in the air, you can only do that for so long,” she continues. “If I were to have a nervous breakdown, it would only last a day—that’s all I had time for! At some point, I was on the brink of burn-out. I felt like I was living my life on auto pilot. I thought: ‘This is not sustainable!’”
So, Jenny began working with life coach Heather Chauvin.
“I finally took the time to put myself on the schedule,” she says, “to remember who I was, to rediscover my desires. I loved working at the car dealership. I just forgot who I was in the meantime. I worked with a meditation coach. I had to be still but couldn’t give myself permission to do that.” She pauses, reflecting. “There is so much wisdom when you stop and pause. Be curious about yourself, your emotions. If you never give yourself time to stop, you’re just on default. I didn’t want to continue that way.”
During a retreat at the end of Heather’s program, Jenny broke down the walls, all the armor, and that was the beginning of her new journey.
“I did my inner work and started running retreats on my own time away from the dealership,” she says. “After I did a few of them, I realized: ‘I love this. We need this. Women need this.’ I also do couple’s retreats, men’s, kids’, corporate retreats.”
Jenny retired from the family dealership on September 1, 2022. The log cabin that would be the Lodge in Lakeshore went up for sale on September 25th.
“I bought it on September 26th,” Jenny says. She and her husband, Taras, began renovations soon after.
The Lodge in Lakeshore is a beautiful multi-use space where practitioners can lead sessions in their individual practices.
“We have yoga teachers coming here,” Jenny says. “We have practitioners leading paint, ecstatic dance, and meditation sessions. There are women I meet every day who don’t have a space, or float from studio to studio. They can run their classes here.”
These classes include Qi Gong yoga. The literal translation of qi gong is “energy work,” a form of yoga that has been around for thousands of years.
A practice that Jenny found particularly helpful to her own development is breath work.
“Typically, I do sessions with eight to ten people,” Jenny explains. “After sharing a little about ourselves, I have them lay down blankets and pillows, and we begin the meditation, dropping into their bodies, letting their thoughts float by, dropping from their heads to their hearts.”
She continues: “There are emotions stuck in our bodies. Everything is energy. I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff that I had stagnant in my body until I did my breath work. You release so much tension, emotion. You feel lighter, more connected to yourself.”
Another practitioner led a meditation and intuitive paint session attended by fifteen to twenty people. It began in meditation. Some journaling prompts were offered to get people thinking, and then they moved over to the other side of the loft to begin painting.
“Just whatever comes through,” Jenny says. “You choose whatever colours, put the brush to the canvas and paint. People of any age can do this.”
Recently, there was a session called “Women’s Circle and Sound” which involved “sound baths” using crystal bowls, chimes, and gongs. The session centered around frequency and sounds, and this was incorporated into a Women’s Circle, which involved people sharing and opening up. So much healing can take place when people come together in circle. It’s the same for everyone: people just want to be seen and heard.
Another recent session involved drumming circles.
“These modalities have been around for thousands of years, and western culture is only now rediscovering them,” Jenny says. “People are struggling in this hustle and grind culture. We have forgotten these ceremonies, gatherings, and practices, around the fire pit, getting in nature.”
The Lodge in Lakeshore continues to evolve. Future plans include outdoor thermal wellness in the form of cold plunges, saunas, and a complete Nordic spa.
“That’s my husband’s dream,” Jenny says.
She is quick to note that “self-care” is not selfish. It’s necessary.
“Once you take care of yourself,” Jenny says, “then you’re being of service from a full cup.”
The Lodge at Lakeshore is a safe space for people to learn, heal and grow. They offer classes and workshops, such as wellness workshops, corporate team building workshops, leadership workshops, self-care workshops, group healing circles, day retreats and weekend retreats. View the gallery of this stellar location or inquire about using its space on its website www.thelodgeatlakeshore.ca.