Hardwired to the Natural World

E.O. Wilson wrote in 1984 in Biophilia of the ways in which humans are hardwired to have an interest in life and living things.  This biophilia hypothesis, as it became known, has been developed in various ways.  Katcher (2000) writes of the importance that paying attention to the natural had for humans as they evolved.  After all  if we did not pay such attention how would we know which animals were going to prey on us ? 

So if evolution demanded that we pay attention what happens to those neural pathways now ?  Researchers have found evidence that we now use that attention to engage with the living world.  Researchers have found that  neurons in the amygdala light up at the sight of animals and animal images (Koch et al 2011). There is much research to show that we are positively affected by animals and the natural world.  Evidence has been gathered to support the benefits of living with companion animals, working in the outdoors, having wilderness experiences and for a variety of roles that animals play in therapeutic and other environments.

As we become increasingly cut off from the natural world and experience a nature deficit so we seek ways to integrate animals and animal imagery into our lives.

Our work with animals in these workshops acknowledged the powerful effect that being with animals and in nature can have.  Just being outside in nature and with animals is a way to ground participants bringing them into the present moment.  Our work harnesses our interest in and relationships with animals and the natural world as an effective lens to explore our own individual behaviors and interactions with others.  Such is the backdrop for these workshops and events.

Download the notes below for more information on why horses are powerful allies in helping our human learning.

Customizing or Providing One and Two Day Workshops

Please contact us to talk about providing a workshop for your organization, team, community or faith group.  We can explore your learning goals around:

  • Improving Communication and Shared Vision
  • Developing Leadership Skills
  • Managing Change

and create an equine program for you

The Leader Within : Whose in Charge You or Your Lizard ?

These two workshop sessions explore the importance of
self-authorization and having a strong internal base for leading yourself, projects and others.  We call this the leader from within. We explore values, vision, power and ways to kick self-sabotaging behaviors to the curb.

Most of us have well rehearsed scripts that include
lots of unhelpful self-talk, give a lot of air time to our saboteurs and have refined a number of choreographed dances with self-doubt, imposter syndrome and other forms of self-undermining.

This workshop draws on  neuroscience, positive psychology, creativity, being in nature and being with horses (without horse back riding) to heighten your self-awareness and develop new skills and tools to strengthen your internal leader.

Developing Leadership Skills

What does it mean to step away from traditional models of leadership, which is often a short-hand for people leading from the front ?

These two evening workshops explore the power of outcomes from developing connection with others and some of the elements in developing and sharing leadership to create more impact.  We spend exploring what it means to be in relation with another and how to work in tandem.  You will leave with insights about your own default thinking and behavioral styles and insights into what you may wish to develop in order to more effectively co-create and co-lead.

Working alongside one another and taking one
another into account is highly appropriate in the context of the
activities which we will undertake with horses which demand that we see the world with quite other eyes.

Pitch With Difference

This event is for people wishing to pitch their business ideas more effectively and for those who would be interested in listening to some great ideas from solo and entrepreneurs.

We offer some instruction about the arc of the pitch and the idea and spend time on exercises that develop presence and awareness of the other.

An effective pitch is not necessarily about the benefits that you think are inherent in your product or service and then insist on sharing.  Rather it will be about how people see your ideas fitting into their world and how they can benefit personally.  This means slowing down and positioning yourself in relation to the other.