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Ep 109- Zen Dad Method- Jay K. (Full Transcript)

Jey (00:08.288)

I know our live in-studio audience is absolutely amazing. Welcome to another episode of the Young Dad Podcast. I'm your host Jay and I'm super excited to be here with you today because I'm joined by my friend Jay. Try not to get confused as to which Jay is which Jay, but the Jay joining me today is the founder, the mind, the all the above behind the Zen Dad Method.

The Zen Dad Method works with fathers to create a life based around intentional parenting. I'm super excited to have Jayon to talk more about the Zen Dad Method, what it is, and how you guys can learn more. So Jay, welcome. Go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself, about the Zen Dad Method, and anything you want us to know about your life and your story.

Jay Kalryzian (00:55.534)

Well, that's huge. Well, thank you so much for having me on the show first, Jay. It's an honor to be here. I know you're a very intentional dad. You love being a dad, so it's great to have some dad chats with you. What is the Zen Dad Method? The Zen Dad Method is, it's all about creating a life that you want as a father. And all we do is help guide you through that to figure out what your priorities are, how to implement things.

so that you're actually living the life that you wanna live. And I mean, if you look at it, there's coaches in business, there's coaches in sports, there's coaches, there's life coaches, there's all sorts of coaches. And we found that dads don't really have something to fall back on. So there was definitely a need for it. And so we created it. And now we're helping dads with countless issues, countless, countless issues. I mean, dads have all the stress and the world on their shoulders constantly. So.

who do you turn to and say, hey, I've got this specific problem, I need a sounding board, I need somebody to bounce these ideas off with, I've got this really unique problem that I don't know who to go with, and that's where we help support dads with that. So yeah, it's kind of what we do in a nutshell.

Jey (02:11.256)

I love that. So you became a parent about nine years ago or a dad about nine years ago. Take us through what that journey has been like for you over the last nine years from that first moment when you found out you were going to be a dad to present day.

Jay Kalryzian (02:25.014)

Well, we were planning to have a kid. We tried, we were in the process of doing it. So I was really intentional right off the bat. I knew that fatherhood was gonna change me. So I wanted to get right into the role. Within the first year of us having our first child, I became a stay at home dad. So that was a really big one for me. My partner wanted to continue with her career and it was really hard for her to keep up with the baby and I've got a lot of energy.

And I was like, well, let's switch. And she's like, game on, let's do this. And we didn't really think about it a whole lot. And then like six months after, I'm like losing my mind because it's really hard to be a stay at home parent. And I figured it out. I was like, I'm gonna tough it through. And my partner did really good in her career. And I loved it. I was the stay at home dad for seven years. So we had a second son. So I've got two boys. They're now nine and five.

And I love it. I still love it. We separated, me and my partner separated a couple of years ago, and I wanted to know what's, like what was I gonna do with my life now? You know, I wasn't a stay at home dad anymore. I had to get back into the workforce. And I had a coach actually, I was working with a coach at the time, and he said, well, if you could do anything, if you could do anything, what would it be? And that was kind of what started the whole Zen Dad method. Just all the things that I went through as a stay at home dad.

and I didn't have the resources. Everything was based towards moms. Everything was really like for mompreneurs or like mom groups. And I was like, well, I think there's a real need for working with dads and helping them. And I've learned so much through my last 10 years of being a father and all the things that come along with it. It was like, let's create something. So I actually worked with my coach to create this. He's the head coach of the Zen Dad Method now. His name's Roger Ruge. He is...

phenomenal world-class coach. He's worked with military, first responders, police, you name it, he's been doing it for almost 30 years on a one-to-one resilience level, bringing mindfulness to first responders. And what we've created is just absolutely phenomenal. So it's been changing lives, he's been doing it for decades. I've been helping him for, well, we've been working together for almost three years now. Wow, that's crazy to think about that.

Jay Kalryzian (04:52.502)

But yeah, it's been a story, it's been a journey for sure.

Jey (04:56.464)

That's awesome. So how did that, so when you and your now ex-wife separated at the time, what did that, how did that change like your parenting, parenting style, interacting with your kids? Like what was, what were some of those changes that brought along? Because I know for me personally, like when that happened, like my life was like, you know, like I wish I had a glass shattering like sound effect because you know in cartoons,

Jay Kalryzian (05:22.978)

It just exploded, yeah.

Jey (05:23.412)

Yeah, when the glass shatters, it just explodes. And it's crazy because when mine happened, I'm about three years removed from it now this year. And at first, it was a mess. My health went to crap. I was, at the time, I think I told this story previously on podcast, but at the time I was about two thirds, I'm six feet tall. Yes, I'm actually six feet tall, not five, 11, three quarters, I'm actually six feet tall. I'm a little bit over.

I was about 235, 238. I was the heaviest I've ever been in my life. Like I was so unhealthy, pushing an XL shirt. Like I know the camera adds 20 pounds, so that's why my face looks so big on the screen, but I was super unhealthy. Like I just had terrible habits. I wasn't really exercising. I wasn't really supplementing anything. I was just super unhealthy.

Jay Kalryzian (06:00.481)


Jey (06:20.952)

So then after my divorce happened, separation that led to my divorce, I had lost probably in about six months. I dropped from 230 down to 170 something. Like I dropped so much weight super quick and it wasn't healthy. I kept getting complimented at like work like, well, you look so good. You're looking so much better. You look so much healthier, except for the people who like really understood what was going on like behind the scenes. Like there were certain people that were like, you look exhausted. Like what you're going through.

Jay Kalryzian (06:32.331)


Jey (06:49.32)

Like I see it on your face. I had big old bags under my eyes. Like my bags probably went down like by the, by the edges of my nose. I was supplementing caffeine all the time. It was insane. I was crying a lot. I was barely eating. I was just tired and I was depressed, anxious, all the things, all the bad thoughts, negative. I was angry. Every, everyone I would lash out on.

Jay Kalryzian (06:57.451)

It's hard.

Jey (07:17.904)

No one wanted to be near me because I would likely lash out on them for pretty much no reason. It was just rough. I'm just, I'm very lucky and very fortunate that even though addiction runs in my family through my biological mother, that I didn't step into that world. Very lucky because that would have caught me hardcore. And so for me, it was just the opposite effect.

Granted it led to that set me down a path of you know going to a doctor talking about my health Doing an extra checkup that eat that same year Him noticing it kind of waking me up a bit to get some things together and then set me on the path, but everything kind of took a break my schooling took a break my Blog that was just getting going and one of my YouTube channels and a podcast was just growing and then that how they take a

two year break from that, because I just didn't have the energy or motivation to create. It took a lot to get back into it. So yeah.

Jay Kalryzian (08:18.199)


Jay Kalryzian (08:25.022)

Well, like honestly, this is, this is, thank you so much for sharing that. That's very vulnerable and transparent of you. I've heard the story and this is the thing, when guys separate from their mother of their children, it's hard, it's super hard on them. For me, it was crushing and it sounds like for you the same thing, right? That glass shattering, that,

Oh, my whole world just broke apart and it's pieces and I don't know how to put it together. And what do you do? You know, and for me, honestly, when we did separate, it was because of drugs. And me and my partner got into this and she dove right into the world of drugs and it was therapeutic trips and she had all this research done about it and it got real messy real fast.

And when you're involving small kids and drug habits and all sorts of stuff, it just, it tears families apart. And it doesn't matter. I know a lot of people that think they're smarter than drugs and it's like, you're not gonna beat it. You know, you're not gonna be able to infuse this into your life and manage it. And I've just seen it crush families and it crushed ours. And knowing that now and going through it and looking back, I'm like, wow, yeah, that was hard.

It was so hard and I'm super, I'm honored to be able to have worked with the people that I'm now working with and having them help guide other people through because I know how challenging it is. It was a point in my life where, it was when I was contemplating suicide, you know? It was, you're just so low. You can't sleep. You're not doing anything. And for me, my whole life shifted so much and I had to get off of drugs. I wasn't,

I couldn't do anything. I wasn't working. I had to find a job, had to make money. I had to do all of these things, manage them all, figure out that separation, figure out how to parent my children still. I'm still the primary custody parent. I'm the primary caregiver of these two small kids. And I had just, the whole world came steamrolling at me as fast as it possibly could. And I couldn't pivot fast enough.

Jay Kalryzian (10:45.482)

And what do you do? And it was just like, you gotta slow down and just really prioritize what matters most to you and get your life as stable as possible. And every day, just take that one step at a time, one step at a time, one step at a time. Looking back two years now, two and a half years, it seems like I climbed an impossible mountain. And I could have been easily just ripped apart, lost everything.

but it was having that support, having people there that you can count on and know what to do. Because I went to everybody, what do I do with this situation? What do I do with this situation? And nobody knew. And your friends, they're always like, well, let's go have a drink. Let's drink it away. Doesn't do it. It just, I needed solutions. I needed actual things that I could do that were helping me pivot and make these decisions.

Jey (11:28.424)


Jay Kalryzian (11:39.946)

so that I could create a life for my kids, for myself, that I was proud of, that we were thriving in, that we weren't just surviving through, but like how do we change that whole paradigm shift and actually thrive in life again and be happy again? Because my kids were sad. I was sad, I was depressed. And how do you parent when you just like, you don't wanna get out of bed in the morning? It's hard. So putting those tools in place and having somebody guide me through that.

It was a lifesaver. It was a literally, it was literally saving my life through that whole situation.

Jey (12:16.904)

100%. And I think that's where I feel like I was honestly really blessed was my brother Aaron had come in to my life. So we were raised separate. I've told this story before, but we were raised separate. He was raised by his fraternal grandparents. I was raised by our maternal grandparents. And then we didn't really grow up together. We didn't really talk. We knew about each other. Like I remember going through school saying, oh, I have a brother I never met.

I have these siblings and whatnot from my dad, he's from my mom and all this fun stuff. And then we probably started talking to less than a year before I got divorced. Really getting to know each other, mingling, hanging out, playing games together and all that fun stuff, less than a year. So when the first big event before my divorce happened, happened in August of 2020,

Jey (13:15.52)

before my youngest daughter was born, I remember telling him and he was so new to my life and everything. So I'm pretty sure we started talking and everything in 2020. He was so new to my life that I felt bad going to him, but I had nobody else because I had no support system here outside of work. I had no family. All my family's on the west side of the state. And so I had him, that was it. He helped get me through that. And then, you know, for eight months later,

everything happens and completely blows up and goes out of proportion and now we're here where we are. But it was less than a year he was in my life so I was very grateful I had him but I didn't have any other support system outside of work. I would have people who reached out to me that had heard through the grapevine one way or another and people put things together like when you post on social media and you change your relationship status, you both change your profile pictures to not include the other.

and it's just you and the kids. Like people pick up on that stuff. Like I picked up on it. A family member of mine, she posted just her and her dog. It was like, oh, well, I guess that wedding's off. Kind of thing. Not to like make fun of her, just anything, just to try to bring some humor to the situation. But, you know, I was very lucky that I had my brother and I was very lucky that I had my job to just...

Jay Kalryzian (14:15.714)

Yep. Yeah. Yes.

Jay Kalryzian (14:33.206)


Jey (14:42.176)

distract me and then I had baseball season right after that which was really nice to have because I had another just big distraction But no it was really hard and it you know, you mentioned your thoughts of suicide depression the sadness it's And if as far as I know you were in your 40s when it happened, right?

Jay Kalryzian (15:06.398)

Yeah, yeah, I'm 45 now. I had kids a little bit later in life. I have a pretty wild past. And I was like, there's no way kids kind of fit into that lifestyle. And when I was like, okay, we're gonna have kids, I knew I had to shift and pivot. So I just kind of got it all out of my system. I really did.

Jey (15:08.406)


Jey (15:25.8)

Makes sense. And I just want to confirm that because it goes to not prove the statistic right. So you're not a part of that statistic. But usually men in their 40s are the highest at-risk population for suicide, especially Caucasian men. Caucasian men in their 40s are the highest at-risk population for suicide and have the highest suicide rates in North America.

Jay Kalryzian (15:51.914)

pressure is immense.

Jey (15:56.176)

And it's nor- you're right, it is men in general too. In America at least, it's a four to one ratio. I'm pretty sure Canada is also right there as well, around three to one or four to one men to every one woman. I'd have to look it up. I haven't looked up in a while. I just know America's for sure. If you didn't know Jason Canada, that's why his O's sound weird when he talks, but I'm just playing.

Jay Kalryzian (16:20.628)

No dude about it, eh?

Jey (16:24.028)

But no, it's a devastating time. Like mine, I don't really talk about mine because I don't want to bash or bring any of that to light on the podcast about my ex-wife or anything. But yeah, it was a really hard and dark time. And when you separate from your kid's mom, the mother of your children, there's always a part of you that just feels like it's gone.

and that it's crushing, it's soul crushing, because that's like the person you imagine the next 18 plus years with your kids, doing all the things with, doing all these different things with. And it takes a lot of mindset shifting. It takes a lot of, I don't even know how to say it, or how to describe it, but it just takes a lot to shift that, to change that, definitely.

Jay Kalryzian (16:53.41)


Jay Kalryzian (17:21.578)


Jey (17:23.296)

Circumstances can help kind of change that and whatnot based on what happened, what happened, or how it happened. But it's really hard to change that. And it's, the hardest thing for me was after the separation was this new found silence and all this time, because I have my kids half the time, I'm the custodial parent according to the court paperwork and everything, because I got out in front of it. But.

Yeah, that silence, it was drowning. I was drowning in this new silence.

Jay Kalryzian (17:59.486)

Yeah, yeah, I totally understand that. Yeah, especially when they're gone. Like when my kids go two nights a week, they go to their mother's house. And for the first, oh, I don't know, three months, I couldn't even stay in the house. I was gone. I was just gone, because it was just too weird to me to have such a silent house. And now I love it. Now I'm like, oh, I get peace and quiet for a night. You know, I get to clean the house.

Jey (18:23.601)