• Stephanie

Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zones

I don't know a lot of people who wouldn't be nervous getting up in front of a group of people to present their work. Standing in your power as "expert" can be a daunting experience. Being truly seen can feel anything from exciting, to uncomfortable, to terrifying.

And when your ideas are outside the norm for the group to whom you are presenting, well, can we say EXTRA NERVES on the side?

Yet it's important to do things that make us uncomfortable, and if we want to make a difference in this world, it's inevitable that these opportunities arise that we have to say yes to even if they are new to us. Fear and vulnerability can feel similar. Both are valuable and have a purpose. Fear keeps you safe; vulnerability allows you to grow past your current comfort zone. Knowing how to recognize the difference in yourself is really important in being able to choose your next step consciously instead of reacting from the gut.

Luckily for me, I had some excellent 2- and 4-legged helpers in my ring, so I felt right at home pretty quickly!

I was honored to have the opportunity to present at Equine Affaire this April in Columbus, Ohio. When my proposals were accepted, I was thrilled and a little more than nervous about the whole thing, including wondering how many people would show up to hear about such unique topics.

BUT...turns out I didn't have to worry at all. I was encouraged by the attendance at both my events, the material I presented was well received, and the attendees were so insightful and interactive both during and after my presentations. It was SUCH a fun weekend and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again!

(I'd like to extend an extra special thanks to my demo volunteers Kira and Raven. I simply couldn't have asked for a better pair to be helping me! And more thanks to the Equine Affaire staff for being so well organized, helpful, and professional.)

I presented on two topics:

The Role of the Horse in Therapy and Personal Growth - I highlighted some of the not-so-obvious inner workings of horse-human interactions during equine assisted sessions. I especially focused on demonstrating how horses can best support us in these interactions by being themselves as fully and naturally as possible (as opposed to reacting to us with conditioned responses).

And What Horses Can Teach Us About Mindfulness - I discussed how horses, by their very nature, are excellent models of mindful living, and also how they can provide feedback to us as to our state of being from moment to moment, therefore giving us another path to self awareness.

These are at the top of my list of favorite areas to teach, talk about, share, and experience, and they provide the foundation for nearly all of my work with people and horses. If they interest you as well I would LOVE to hear from you!


​© 2016 by Stephanie Sawtelle