To deeply respect (a person, animal, plant, place, thing or...) is to be open to letting them change your mind - which therefore changes who you are.

“We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” - John Dewey

I have deep respect for Jackie Stevenson, her horse herd and the community that comes together in Spirit of Leadership. I’d also like to acknowledge the ancestors and teachers who have come before. I'm honored to know Jackie and full of gratitude for everything she's taught me. My facilitation style improved after experiencing her workshop as a participant. I began to allow more ‘space’ in my workshops and consultations, allowing for the most important part of the engagement - processing time / reflection of the learning experience.

Jackie's facilitation style is one of incredible flexibility, building a plan that shifts as new things emerge (and are revealed) from the individual or group, or as other environmental factors such as weather come into play. In this you can see how open she is to people and animals of all kinds, making sure to take everyone's needs into consideration, and inviting richness to their experiences.

She helps us appreciate that labeling what happens as good or bad is subjective and personal - and a dichotomy that doesn’t always serve to acknowledge that which fits into neither category or both. When we approach others with curiosity instead of judgement we find ease in living a more generative life, drawing out people’s stories and getting to the core of our individual and collective truths.

"For the last 20 years I have fully integrated into my coaching and consulting work my personal respect and passion for nature, horses, the intelligence of our bodies and experiential learning. I bring this approach to my work and the work of my clients at a time when we struggle with the changes brought by a highly evolved technological culture and a less evolved relational culture." - Jackie

It's Jackie's "respect and passion" that are contagious in the best way! She naturally and subtly encourages us to relish opportunities for relating to it all… a person, animal, plant, place, thing or…. Before we know it we’re evolving into better versions of ourselves.

Want to learn from Jackie with me?

Hire her as your coach or bring a team to the ranch for a custom program! You won't regret it. Also, read her new book, Someday We'll Live Like Horses; Authentic Presence in Leadership and Life. It feels authentic itself - right from the soul - sharing Jackie's experience eloquently.

Join me in participating in the October Experiential Learning with Horses Professional Practitioner Certificate Program from Oct 17 - 21, 2018 at Pebble Ledge Ranch in Novelty, Ohio!

The program is hands down amazing. I keep going back! It's 5 days in nature with the community and horses at the Ranch where you are invited to notice the qualities in you and around you - a practice that can lead you toward personal mastery in your professional practice and personal life. It's not about riding the horses, rather understanding how each horse relates to self, each other and the humans in the field, contributing to the social and emotional intelligence of the herd. There's opportunity to connect and learn from others in the community. Oh! And there are boatloads of skills to pick up when we geek out on the theories behind the exercises, too!

ALSO, I'll most likely be facilitating a Visual Communication Mini Workshop with Horses on Friday night (October 19, 2018). We'll take notice of human language and comprehension (which includes lots of visuals from seeing physically to visualizing and imagining and drawing) and perhaps begin to understand horse language.

How to appreciate visuals? How can we use drawings to solve problems or find insights in big complex systems? How might the horse herd inspire us to expand our understanding? This mini workshop will integrate into Jackie's longer program and ALSO stand on its own if someone wanted to come out for just this!

#experientiallearning #jackiestevenson #pebbleledgeranch #spiritofleadership #horsesheal #lessonsfromhorses #equinefacilitated #emerging #selfmastery #professionaldevelopment #facilitation #experientiallearningwithhorses #workshop #ohio #SomedayWellLiveLikeHorses #book

How might drawing - literally - help us connect with each other, our content and collaborations? How do we connect authentically?

Authority figures give prizes for speed and efficiency. Our bosses always want us to move faster, and marketing scientists (we haven't even met) have literally rewired our brains by using intense physical, mental and spiritual biases via television shows and social media. We are starved for connection - for meaning - for love.

I have the great joy of collaborating with two amazing women, Denise Easton and Barb Siegel. Together we are building a program based in complexity, art, communication, and neuroscience called DRAWN to CONNECT (currently in beta).

We're designing a program consisting of three online workshops and one in-person retreat. Our first online workshop, DRAWN to CONNECT: Meet the Technique, ran in June 2018 and was a valuable experience from many angles. It's multifaceted, allowing participants to benefit in ways that best suit them.

As facilitators, we're always re-learning what it takes to build and sustain a community. We asked many questions and had great fun experimenting in our first workshop by attending to what emerged from the group - and WOW!

We've learned to share information live only when it needs to be live in order to make the most of our time together; to allow for different levels of interaction thereby honoring the intention (and personality) each person brings individually. Individually experimenting with how we pay attention, how we present information, ask for input and respond to suggestions can lead to different insights.

There is a subtle art to hosting interactions that fit the group’s collective personality while inviting each individual to show up in their own way.

Shifting the content and modes of engagement to the needs and preferences of those who are present can make for a dynamic experience rooted in complexity. Operating in this way creates a mirror for us as we begin to see how our human experience is mirrored in nature AND how we are part of that nature. This means having a plan and being willing to deviate from it!

As we progress through our daily lives with technology at our sides we begin to find that the clear cut edges of efficiency (of how our apps work in a linear way - and how we interact with these apps) is how we try to live our lives - fitting them into linear processes and clear dichotomies. Hello, frustration!

See, we’re wired for change, for adaptability. Our bodies and minds hold so much information (energetically embodied and knowledge based), simultaneously taking information in and giving it out. What does it mean to feel free? We explored this question as a cohort. Everyone’s drawn answers were different. Below is my drawn response to what freedom means to me.

In the image, there’s a wave of a sort, dots of potential engagement and a few figures (or various perspectives of one figure) emanating energy. One could interpret this drawing in many ways. There is no ‘RIGHT’ way. As we chatted about what freedom meant for each of us we found smiles and laughter and were struck by emerging patterns.

We found through conversation that being open and honest in our conversation brought a sense of freedom, inviting us to be in touch with our most authentic selves. We were able to continuously keep the collective in mind and heart - allowing differences to exist in harmony (rather than always seeking agreement).

As for our DRAWN to CONNECT program, we'll be formulating our next steps soon! Want to be one of the first to know when it's up? Stay tuned via or email Denise at or reach out to me!

#drawntoconnect #plexusdrawn #onlinecourse #workshop #plexusinstitute #complexity

Updated: Aug 14, 2018

I'm both honored and excited to offer a workshop like STRETCH! (Stretch your body. Stretch your mind. Stretch your creativity.) There are so many brilliant highlights from our April 2018 experience that I want to share! I think it best to let the photos tell the story of this workshop experience. Have a peek!

Drawing, writing and exploring in nature!

Yoga with Miho to ground ourselves and notice how we move in our bodies!

Learning a bit about how horses communicate and move in the world! (Not riding.)

A collaborative art experiment process!

Our next STRETCH! workshop will be in October 2018. Details:

Curious about how the workshop was set up or interested in hosting a similar workshop? See more here and/or reach out!

#creativity #workshop #hudsonvalley #yoga #collaborativeart #art #horses #stretch

*photos by Amanda Lyons

© 2020 by Amanda Lyons

drawings + photos by Amanda Lyons

(unless stated otherwise)

ask permission to use!

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