Taking responsibility for your life is a vital step but being RESPONSIVE is the way ?
The ‘problem’ with us human beings is that we can get caught up in thinking our DEFAULT human way of thinking is the way things actually are.
Yeah, we have to ‘think’ to function and make sense of life but if we fall into the trap of thinking that our thoughts are WHO WE ARE or WHAT LIFE IS then we’re gonna have a ‘bad’ time (by adding friction to our lives).
A more REAL approach is to be HORSELIKE and to try and learn to respond to life instead of neurotically trying to control life.
The short-version of this is that we CHOOSE where we want to go and what we WANT to do in the moment and then we ride ourselves in that direction with a sense of spontaneity and presence.
This requires a lot of higher-level human (and horse!) qualities like learning to trust, being outcome-independent, and understanding the limitations of identity but it’s always REAL and REAL ALWAYS WORKS.
Jocelyn Ring (@jocelynjring) is a brand expert and coach and also – rmore relevantly to this episode of Creative Status – a Horse Medicine Leadership mentor and guide who uses the (direct) wisdom of horses to help people figure out some of their blindspots and to tap into their deeper intuition.
She provides equine guidance, training, mentorship, and retreats to help people improve their relationships with themselves and reality by using these powerful animals as a path to discovery and insight.
In this conversation, we wanted to explore some of the lessons that could be extrapolated from the lessons she’s learned working with horses and to see what we could learn about the creative process and life itself… The short-version is that there was LOADS.
Some of the things that came up:
-How horses teach us certain qualities that are essential for getting where we wanna go in life.
-How horse can give you FEEDBACK about your own ego and what you have going on with your own ‘stuff’.
-What horses have to teach us about being tribal mammals.
-How horses can show us a better way into managing our own intuition and instincts.
Listen using the player above or on any podcast platform!
(Scroll down for the show transcript)
Leave a voice message to share your thoughts and to be (maybe) featured on future episodes of the podcast: anchor.fm/creativestatus
Jocelyn’s website: jocelynring.com
Jocelyn’s branding website: theringeffect.com
Stay up-to-date with Jocelyn on Instagram: instagram.com/jocelynjring
Creative Status Links:
Show Transcript: Being Horselike for Real Life & Creativity
Oli Anderson: Oh, hi there! Oli Anderson here, you’re listening to Creative Status. If you don’t know, this is a podcast about using your creativity to improve your life. Improve your life in this context really just means that you’re doing things that allow you to move towards a whole more integrated version of yourself that is aligned with reality and all of the wonderful things that can take place there.
Reality has a bad reputation, but if you think about it, it’s the only place where anything happens. I am a performance coach and an author. And well, I realized that ultimately it all comes back down to this kind of stuff, this idea of finding some kind of a creative project or a creative vehicle or a creative vessel that will allow you to bring the real you to the surface. And so then I just decided to start interviewing people about that kind of thing.
So here we are. Today’s interview is actually one of my favorite ones so far. Like I say that hand on heart, it’s with Jocelyn Ring. Jocelyn, she does branding and coaching and all that kind of stuff, but she also works with horses, which is just super cool in itself.
So she spends a lot of time outside. This conversation, what we wanted to do was ultimately to explore what horses have to teach us about the creative process. That was a creative challenge in itself, potentially.
But actually, as we got into it, it just opened up into this huge kind of thing about how horses are just so real and they can give you feedback, almost instantaneously about your own relationship with yourself and your own ego. We looked at how the wider creative process comes into all this, how we need to learn to manage, I guess, and get a rein on our instincts.
Basically, there’s loads. There’s loads of metaphors that are very practically applicable to the creative process and life itself that comes from the horse thing. So hopefully, by the end of this episode, you’ll be more horse like or you’ll feel more horse like and you’ll go out there and be more real. Jocelyn, thank you so much for coming on and having this conversation with me. Everybody else, hope life is good.
I hope you enjoy the interview and see you next Monday for another one.
Oli Anderson: Oh, hi there, Jocelyn. Thank you so much for joining me today on this episode of Creative Status. Before we get into it, and I start asking you a million and three questions, do you feel like introducing yourself and letting people know what you’re all about? And why you’re here?
Jocelyn Ring: Yes. Well, thanks for having me. My name is Jocelyn Ring. I have spent the last almost 20 years working as a brand strategist, and I have evolved my practice to integrate a lot of different modalities that I have taken a long way that I find very effective to kind of turn into my own secret sauce when working with clients.
So anything from traditional brand strategy to business strategy, coaching and personal development. And then this last layer that I’ve incorporated in the last few years is working in partnership with horses to teach people about their personal brand and leadership.
Oli Anderson: Wow. Like the horse thing, this last layer that you’ve just mentioned, that was the thing that made me really want to talk to you because I just think that it’s so interesting, especially from the point of view of this whole podcast, which is ultimately the abridged version, that we can use our creativity to become more real, which just means getting more closer to reality and becoming more present.
Your work, what I read about it, and saw you talking about online, was very much aligned with that because you’re using horses, are you allowing horses to show you more about what reality actually is, and that’s allowing you to get results for your clients because they’re learning from that experience and becoming more real as all. So really, what I wanted to do in this conversation is just unpack that to death and learn everything that we can about what horses have taught you.
So where would you say is a good starting point for that conversation about horses? Like why horses, I guess, are not some other animal?
Or yeah, what do you think?
Jocelyn Ring: So I’ll start with I’ve been around horses my almost entire life. And even though I was a competitive equestrian, my favorite time was just being in the barn or out in the field with them. I had this like deep sense of peace being around them.
And I kind of intuitively understood that, but didn’t really know it. And then my journey with horses continued. And I worked with them in a therapeutic setting. So they’ve been used to help people with different emotional and physical challenges. And I just think, you know, to that question of why horses versus other animals, I think there are some animals that have kind of showed up on the scene to help humans along.
You know, dogs, you often see them in situations where they can help with search and rescue, they assist with the blind, they can even detect, you know, disease and seizures about to happen in people. And horses have that same quality. And so why that works very well is that they are prey animals. So they are highly, highly attuned to their environment to one another. And they can even pick up things that are going on with us that we’re not aware of at a conscious level.
So that’s where that’s where that all begins.
Oli Anderson: Wow, so what kind of awareness do you think that they have or what kind of lessons can we kind of learn about ourselves from the feedback they might be giving us if that makes sense?
Jocelyn Ring: Yeah, that totally makes sense.
So this is where my work starts to kind of converge. So when I work on branding, whether it’s with an organization or with it, whether it’s an individual, I don’t like the word authenticity. I feel like it’s been used to death, but it’s really like pulling out the realness of that organization and the essence and the heart of that company or the individual because I think we spend so much time when we’re marketing is looking at what other people are doing, putting together a strategy that we think is going to land for a client or a customer.
And it really, it starts to remove us from what we do really well, who we are. And the horses unpack all of those layers and that kind of BS that we’ve built up and really force us, if we’re willing to look at ourselves and who we are.
And they do that by when you, when I take people out to the field with a horse, the horse has no ego. It has no agenda. It doesn’t care what your job title is. It doesn’t care how much money you have.
It doesn’t care about your client roster. They basically, they force you to, they don’t force, they, they provide you the invitation to be really present in the moment. And all a horse is going to do is mirror back what’s going on for you.
Oli Anderson: Do you think, and I suspect you already do, do you think there’s a kind of parallel there between this relationship we can have with the horse and the relationship that we can have with life itself?
Jocelyn Ring: So, I mean, again, it’s that like we can. So I’d say probably in the last year that I’ve switched my definition of branding to branding is your presence in relationship. It’s how you show up.
You can choose to show up very superficially or you can choose to kind of peel back the layers and really show up kind of in the truth of like actually what is happening in the moment. And it’s, it’s funny, like I’ve taken people out with to the horses and we do an exercise in the beginning where we just observe the horses. And I try to get people kind of out of their heads and into their body and they, they’ll say, I thought I was really grounded in this moment, but I’m still spinning around in my head.
And so when you’re spinning around in your head, what that does is it blocks you from connecting with yourself, which blocks you from connecting with other.
Oli Anderson: Yeah. Yeah. That’s exactly how I see it as well. So I think the main thing that causes issues in our lives is some kind of disconnection of fragmentation within ourselves that causes our relationship with ourselves to kind of distort our view of life or to stop us from really connecting to people and to life in the highest way that we possibly can.
And what’s really interesting is something that you just alluded to actually, like a lot of the time people are running around, living their lives on the hamster wheel of the same old thoughts and the same old things that they do every day again, the same old results, but they think that they are being very present. And then something will happen in their lives or they’ll come into contact with something that maybe shows them there’s a gap between the ideas about themselves and the reality of themselves.
And if they can go through the process of closing that gap, that’s when you get transformational change. But it sounds like what you’re doing, you’re actually kind of speeding up that process in a way because the horse is a way of getting actual real-time feedback, I suppose, about how wide that gap is within yourself.
Jocelyn Ring: Yes. That’s exactly what it does. It also, because it’s experiential, when you land on that awareness, now you have a felt sense. And so my clients will say, after they’ve gone back to their home or their work, they can drop into what it feels like when they feel more aligned.
And what the horses also do is they, like you said, they help you listen to those thoughts that are constantly running through your head on like an auto loop that we don’t have any awareness of. And so as a facilitator, when I see an interaction with the horse, I can ask somebody, like, what thoughts are coming up or what are you feeling?
And they’ll express the thought that’s run on autopilot. And then they can decide if that’s helpful or if that’s something that they need to shift.
Oli: So have you noticed any patterns, I suppose, like in the kind of thoughts people are having? Like, maybe that’s too broad of a question. Sorry. Like, what are the main barriers, would you say, the main ideas and beliefs that we tend to carry as a species that are stopping us from being as real or as present as we might need to be to get the results that we actually want from life?
Jocelyn: I mean, I think, like, kind of in a broad sense, what I’ve seen is people just get very heady and trapped in their thoughts. Like if I ask people to choose a horse that they want to connect with, they’ll get they’ll get frozen in decision.
Right. Do I pick this one? Do I pick this one? And all the reasons of like how they decide, they don’t even realize that there’s so much processing that goes on within a decision. And the different kind of forks in the road they have is they’re trying to make a choice. And so that’s just it’s fascinating to take with the internal dialogue and, you know, bring it out and take a look at it and see, wow, this is how I’ve been running my life without even thinking about it.
Oli: Wow. Is there something here to do with control? Because one thing I found when I’m like working with people like in my coaching practice is that the main thing basically, the main problem that most people have in life is that they’re resisting things that they can’t change and they’re trying to control things that they can’t control.
And actually, if they have a lot of underlying shame or guilt or trauma in the most extreme cases, I’m always talking about the same three emotions, but if they have a lot of unresolved shame and stuff like that, then they compensate for that a lot of the time by trying to control everything in their lives. They become control freaks.
Yes. But actually that just causes them to not be able to ride the horse, so to speak. And so they don’t get the results that they want from life. And so actually the only way to really ride the horse and to win the game is to not control it or something like that.
Jocelyn: Yeah, it’s just it’s that like being able to be with what is rather than trying to change it. I mean, I think it sounds so simple, but one of the biggest takeaways that people have is because we do spend a lot of time just quietly observing and being with the horses, not asking anything of them, not asking anything of ourselves.
And they say it’s very uncomfortable to try to just be. But then once they do, they’re like, wow, this is this is quite interesting. And, and then they can see where they try to control things. Like if I’m if we’re watching the dynamic between two horses, they’ll project a relationship that they have onto that and they can see how like what the dynamic is and how, you know, something.
that they can’t control like a partner leaving them or somebody dying and the things that they do to try to you know avoid feeling the sadness that would come from that right but already is like that’s but that’s not even what’s happening right in this moment like That person is alive or that partner is still here So, you know, we can that’s another thing is that we we tend to either live in the past Right and then or we start worrying about everything in the future the horses don’t do that That’s another thing they teach is you’ll see that as you’re watching our herd of horses. It’s very fluid Right, they’ll shift and change roles.
They will see what’s happening in the environment They will respond to it as soon as the shift happens. They shift again And they’re not sitting there, you know stewing about what one horse did to them five years ago Or they’re not worried, you know that food isn’t gonna show up.
So it’s just watching them just kind of navigate moment to moment is is That’s a nice example.
Oli: Yeah, it’s amazing like actually it just reminds you what life is I know that’s another kind of simplistic thing to say, but it’s so true like the main problem for human beings like I already said is that our conceptualizations and interpretations and All of this stuff we’ve got going on in our head that stops us from actually seeing what’s right in front of us , that’s what causes the issues and actually like you said, you know, really we don’t need to be worried all the time about like, you know whatever food and scarcity and all these things we with the horses if you’ve got that horse mindset of whatever you call it horse Magic, I think you call it horse medicine.
Sorry Then wait if you’ve got that way of being and way of seeing things then You’re just more aligned with the way that reality itself actually works. It’s like you’re plugging back into your nature ultimately.
Jocelyn: Yes, and I think I think what it also helps people see is like Here is a situation the situation is neutral. It’s not good.
It’s not bad. This is happening Yeah, yeah, and I am a creative resourceful and whole person, right? I have and so and so empowering people to see I Have a lot of options here and because that’s the thing we can do too, right? Is we get into tunnel vision like I have this problem, you know and a lot of times in business It’s like I have this problem in my business. The solution is money.
I need more money Like is that the ants? I know and they just and then they can start to Wow, you know really kind of Not be able to problem solve right then then all the like the old stories come in and the Kind of the walls close in so if if you can then just look at a situation and then and Then this is another thing too, right?
The horses are herd animals They’re not solitary like some other animals So they have other members of the herd that they can lean on So that’s a lesson to us like if you do get to that place where you start to go in the tailspin Who can you call on to help pull you out of it? Who can give you a different perspective?
Who can step up and lead when you just you are not capable of it right now?
Oli: There’s so many things that you said that I’ve just sent my brain in all these different directions It’s all kind of linked though to this idea – which is becoming the main theme of the conversation, actually – of stepping back from the filter that we place between ourselves and life Because of our identity basically and the stories that we tell ourselves because of that…
And so when you were talking about the horse has been fluid that is actually just a reminder that You know we can change the way that we see ourselves actually like if I decided that tomorrow I don’t want to be a coach anymore and I want to go down a totally different road and do something else that’s fine.
Like the only thing that would really stop me doing that is my attachment if I have one to an eye my identity. That’s that’s a huge thing obviously but then the other thing that you said just then that was super super interesting to me and which is related It’s this idea that the horses themselves they remind you actually that all of these interpretations and stories we have are value judgments so we judge everything as either being good or being bad.
And when we do that like you said it limits the options that we perceive to be available to us but reality itself is beyond duality it’s not about good and bad reality just is what it is – and if you can get into that place of non-duality or just is this or being or presence or whatever we call it that’s when you have freedom like you there were there were infinite or myriad at least options that are available to you.
And that is an amazing reminder right there what you just said, so I’m rambling I can tell you want to say something.
Jocelyn: No, I love and I love that I think that’s that’s really as I’ve Evolved my work with the horses. I’m like wow this is it’s that and it’s it is the identity You know and you talked about trying to control things and I think we try so hard We get we get attached to our identity, right?
Yeah, a lot of times especially when you’ve worked very hard at a building a career, right? You know people say, you know, what do you do or who are you don’t talk? You don’t start with your your hobbies or your family or your friends you start with your job title Right and then you you work so hard to do things to make sure Your identity in someone else’s mind because if somebody else thinks that you’re Competent Experienced trustworthy then that means that you are do you know what I mean like book book placing? Your identity in someone’s brain to validate what you believe your identity is.
Oli: Yeah, that happened a lot Yeah happens a lot, but I always think if people are doing that It’s because they don’t truly believe in identity like it’s tenuous. Yeah, and so There’s an element here then about Outcome independence so ultimately the horses I suppose if we’ve got this this horse. I keep saying the horse mindset like how would you reverse with you?
Jocelyn: So that’s what I say. I say, you know thinking like a horse.
Oli: All right So if we’re thinking like a horse and being like a horse,we’re not gonna be concerned actually about the outcomes that we get from the things that we try to do if that makes no we’re just doing it and if it works out, that’s obviously amazing And if it doesn’t work out well, we still feel really good about ourselves because our identity is not contingent on the results.
Jocelyn: Right and even like when they’re in a herd You know, they’re typically is a hierarchy, right?
There will be a lead mayor in the wild and I’ll lead stallion which is a very interesting dynamic It’d be like having co-ceos one man one woman and then you know They tend to generally have kind of a pecking order and you can see how they maintain that by the way that they interact with one another. But like I like I said, it’s very fluid.
So if there is a lead horse If he or she needs to rest, they will lie down and someone will step into the role of leader and cut and then there will be other ones that stand guard over the resting horse like again because they’re prey animals. They’re very vulnerable and then it shifts and changes. I’ve seen situations where one of the youngest members of a herd stepped up to lead Because he had there was something in our environment that the other horses were not sure of so again prey animals it could be a plastic bag blowing in the breeze or it could be a mountain lion and they can’t discern immediately.
But they know they have to take action to get away from it and then reassess when they’re safe and you know See if that was a threat that they really need to worry about or not But so there was something in the environment and one of the youngest horses approached it it was a road sign on the outside of their pasture Decided it was not scary and led the entire herd from one field to another Wow, right so it’s not like his identity was like arm.
I’m the youngest I probably shouldn’t step up and do this because I’ll offend someone , like that was the situation. That was his capability So it’s they’re not wrapped up in identity that we are and not trying to like protect Their identity.
Oli: Yeah. Yeah, it’s more about just uh necessity, I guess like what do they need to do? What’s the the best thing for the the tribe or the herd as a whole right and just getting it done like you’re right.
We could we could learn so much from that to be honest so much and I think.
Jocelyn: I mean I adore the clients that I work with they’re They’re committed to their work to their craft You know trust and integrity are usually top values for them And so if they’re if they’re ever becomes a situation personally or professionally where they feel like they have to let someone down that to them is Like death by a thousand paper cuts, right? They would rather turn themselves inside out. I’m like, but you know, is that a reasonable request?
You know, could you you know renegotiate the contract? You know, is this not the right, you know, so they guess they just think like Failure or letting someone down or not being being able to deliver That’s their identity. So if they can’t do it, then what does that say about them?
Oli: That’s um Going back to the emotional thing. I guess and like the the control free agree like how How do you think people can get over that kind of?
I suppose imposter syndrome or people pleasing or something like that?
Jocelyn: And it goes back to what you say you have to really Believe that about yourself like yes, I am still capable and trustworthy and I operate with a lot of integrity But this external Extenduating circumstance has come up, you know and I can deal with it if and then, you know, sometimes you do have to let people down.
Oli: That’s it. like letting people down is actually It’s something we’re all going to do. So it goes back to this idea of You know accepting reality like we don’t need to be perfect all the time. We just we are what we are is a get away from the value judgment.
Yeah. What one question I’ve got now is – s o we’re talking a lot about how the horses remind us to ultimately be present to step out of duality and judgment and all these things that hold humans beings back because of their um their identity and all that stuff – but one thing that I often think is like human beings need to, we need to do the being part, but we also do need to do the doing part.
That’s just a strange sentence in order to um to to keep growing and evolving in the way that we need to and so if we can choose something that we want to do that is aligned with you know, our real values and our real intentions and whatever else we need to bring to the surface well, we can set a vision for ourselves and then move towards it in a real way which is where we’re going to be kind of aligned with who with nature and all the things we’re talking about are an unreal way where we’re trying to transverse that territory by using our ego basically in order to try and control everything.
So I always think that what we need to do actually is is to be spontaneous and controlled at the same time if that makes sense? Or to Inject our being Into the things that we do.
So we’re not just doing things for the sake of it.
Yeah, I can tell you you get one coming from but how does this fit into the horse thing?
So the way that I’m thinking of it is say you want to ride a horse you’ve got a destination so in terms of you know, what this podcast is about creativity and everything you might set a destination for yourself so you’re going to paint a picture you’re going to write a novel whatever the hell it is and you’re going to get on the horse, basically of life, to take you there Is there a lesson there somewhere? That was very convoluted.
Jocelyn: I totally get it and I I’ve struggled with the being and doing I I came from a very doing background, you know productivity and hustling and Achieving and then it was funny. I found myself almost um, you know, kind of black and white thinking because then I then I went into the well What if you just you know, lean into your being and just are but I mean like you said there we have to do also, so It’s I think it’s coming from a place of beingness And then again looking at all the different options.
So if you talk about setting a vision I’ll work with clients and we set a vision And I say that’s fantastic now We will Back it up to where like where are we today? And then um, it’s more of I think I’m allergic to step-by-step programs and very discrete instructions because say you map out this plan and then you get to a step and something happens and it just blows everything apart. Then what do you do?
I like a more fluid planning. So you start with your beingness. You figure out where you want to go and then it’s more like a GPS, right? So it’s, you know, how a GPS you would set your destination and then you get going and there’s a traffic jam and it routes you around or, oh, I’m running low on gas and you can push, you know, a button to find out where the next gas stop is. And so it’s not, you’re not looking at mapping out the 500 mile journey. You’re doing it like kind of one step at a time.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then assessing, okay, how did that work? Yes, that was productive but it really didn’t feel aligned to how I like to do things. All right, to get to the next piece. We want a little more of this and a little less of this.
So it’s very, it’s a lot more dynamic and organic doing this but you still achieve and get things done. Yeah, that’s kind of the way the horses are, right? So if we watch them in the pasture, you know, I’ll say, what are they doing? And people will say nothing, just standing there.
I’m like, there is so much happening out in that field, right? They’re grazing, they’re making a decision about whether to move. One horse will move and invite another one to come along with it or break off from the herd. They will be, you know, picking their heads up to assess the environment, you know, you watch their ears, you watch their eyes, you watch their posture. So I mean, they’re achieving the mission of keeping the herd safe. They’re staying fed, they’re moving around, they’re connecting with one another. So yeah, it’s very, and it doesn’t look forced.
So I’ll ask people, like this is, this is your level set. This is kind of your everyday existence. This is what we call back to grazing. So this is you getting stuff done, but it doesn’t look frantic. However, should you need to lie down and rest, you can go down into resting mode. If there is something that requires your immediate attention, because life happens, right? Whether someone gets sick or a project starts to go sideways or, you know, a supplier cancels something on you, then you might have to like sprint into a gallop to get stuff done.
But you can’t maintain that, right? So it’s that, like, there’s that back to grazing of productive, but not frantic rest and then stepping up into that kind of what we call like a fire drill, and then coming back down. So that’s, that’s kind of the getting things done model.
Oli: Yeah, I love it. It’s basically, instead of just making a plan, and then rigidly sticking to it, which never ever works, because the plan is always just, you know, it’s based on our best thinking at the time, but the journey’s going to change us anyway.
It’s about the interplay, isn’t it? Like horses, the way that they’re doing it is an interplay between whatever they’re actually trying to achieve. So the map that they’ve set off on themselves, the plan, but also what’s going on inside of themselves. So actually, they’re more intuitive, I guess, in the sense of they’ve got self awareness, okay, but they’re intuitive, intuitive enough to be responsive to life, if that makes sense.
Jocelyn: Yes. I mean, they deal with what comes up, right? It’s a nice peaceful afternoon. They’re grazing. And then something starts wrestling in the, in the woods, you know, to the side of their field. Oh, well, we got to get up and move. It’s not like they sat down in the morning and said, we’re going to go for a sprint at three o’clock.
Oli: Yeah, it’s, they’re responsive. It’s a responsive way of being and living.
So obviously, like human beings, apparently, we’re more rational than horses and other animals. So we can use our heads as well as our hearts. In a way, the head-heart thing is, it’s like the being-doing thing. But I often find, especially online, people fall into this trap where they think all they need to do in life is to just follow their heart.
But actually, if you just follow your heart, well, you know, you’re living in the short term, you might have a nice time, but probably, you know, you might end up in jail or something will go wrong horribly. And, you know, you, so you need the head and the heart. And based on what we’re saying, maybe I’m pushing it a bit, but the head and the heart thing is kind of like what happens when you have a person who is in touch with themselves, enough to be, you know, sensitive enough to the feedback they get from life and to not have this ego thing causing friction and blah, blah, blah. It’s a person like that riding a horse to where they want to go. And they’re following, they’re responding to the territory of life, not just the map in their heads.
Jocelyn: Yes. And then, you know, at the decision point, it’s both and, right? It’s my heart, which is my values and my, how I want to live my life and how I want to show up to challenges. And then there’s a rational problem solving of like, okay, how, and and it is possible to align the two.
Oli: This is, is taking it down a bit of a rabbit hole potentially. But do you think when you’re in this horse mindset, thinking like a horse living in this way, being responsive to life, ETC, do you get more synchronicity?
Jocelyn: I believe so, because I think like when you’re in that very strict control mindset or like following the, you know, step by step plan to the dot, you’re very focused and you’re, you’re not open to alternative opportunities, right?
Like if I just think about myself the time that I you know, decided, even when I decided to learn how to do this work with the horses, it was crazy how things lined up for me. And when I was, and if I, if I think about, so back in 2012, I was rebranding my consulting practice and I remember I was in a mastermind and I was trying to name it and I was also, I was trying to force like the horse piece into it because I was explaining like everything I’ve learned about nonverbal communication and how teams work and just the lessons from the horses. I was trying to jam that into my facilitation and branding and it just wasn’t landing for people and they weren’t getting it.
So it was just, it was, it was kind of crazy because in that frustration, 10 years ago, somewhere, I don’t know, in my heart, in my soul, wherever it was living was like, you’ll get there. You’re forcing it right now. You need to do more work on the kind of getting experience with the brand, the facilitation and building up that part of your practice, but the horses will come. And then when I was ready for it, the right mentor showed up the right opportunity for horses to practice with showed up.
I mean, it was, it was funny how it works.
Oli: Yeah, but I found that in my own life as well. So if I’m living like, like a horse, which I didn’t realize I was doing until this conversation, like because I’m not blocking my own path and I’m more connected to life like as a whole. So do you know what I mean? Like it’s not like it’s just me and life.
It’s all one thing. When you live like that, well, you do get more synchronicity and things kind of working out and it’s very surreal, but you just have to go with it. And if you go with it, that actually just kind of solidifies this, this horse mindset, because you’re, this is getting a bit too philosophical maybe, but in those cases, it’s almost like all the things that we’ve said about riding the horse. And if we have less barriers in ourselves to, you know, being connected and blah, blah, blah, then we’ll get the horse will trust us and it’ll go where we want it to go.
Life does the same thing if we have this same mindset. And so actually, there is no separation if that makes any sense.
Jocelyn: No, it makes total sense and I get where you’re going with this. And then the reminder is, we use the horses as a model for how they operate with one another in a herd and how they are able to stay in the moment.
We will never get there as a human. So it’s funny because I always find myself, like if I can find myself moving more back into that doing this and trying to be productive and work really hard, now I have awareness around it from the horses and I can see what’s happening and kind of pull myself back. So I like using them as a kind of like a guardrail, right? As opposed to like, I want to be just like them. So, all right, you’re kind of wandering back into your old patterns, you know?
Let’s take a breath for a second and check in with why you’re overworking.
Oli: Wow, yeah, that’s super interesting in itself. Like actually human beings, the human condition, I guess, is that we are for whatever reason because we’ve gone too far technologically or just the way we structured society or the way we think, whatever it is, we’re always going to be slightly disconnected from nature if that makes sense.
And like actually, there’s the whole thing, isn’t there? Like in coaching and the self-help community or whatever we want to call this community, where it’s about the difference between surviving and thriving and when we talk about the horses, they’re in the fields, they wake up and they respond from one moment to the next and they just do whatever they’re being tells them to do. They’re actually thriving, if that makes sense.
From an outside point of view, they’re surviving. Okay, they’re in the fields. I mean, obviously if it’s a farm, they get involved after all, but we would think that they’re just surviving whilst we’re thriving, but a lot of the time it’s the other way around.
Jocelyn: It’s been very interesting to move away from how I grew up with horses, especially in that competitive environment where we project everything that we feel like is comfortable, like we put them inside a barn and we put blankets on them and we feed them a diet of grain that’s high in sugar that they would never eat out in the wild. And then as I’ve learned more about equine behavior, like we’ve got a cold snap that’s about to come here and I’ve been, do we blanket them? Do we bring them inside?
What do we do? But they’re built for, I mean, their whole physiology is built to deal with the elements and if they’re out in the wild, they will lose weight during the winter and it’s okay because they will come back in the summer when they follow the patterns of nature much differently than we do and they’re fine with that. So when I’ve returned my horses to as much of natural state as can be even while they’re domesticated, so they live outside, I’ll show up at the farm and it’ll be rainy and cold and I’ll think that they’ll be under their shelter no, they’re outside, they’re fine.
Oli: Do you think, like all this stuff we’re saying about horses, do you think you could learn more of this or more deeply or more quickly or whatever from wild horses versus the domestic animal? And if so, what’s the main difference between them? I mean, behaviorally, there’s a lot of similarities that are kind of ingrained in them.
Like I was watching some work of an equine behaviorist that follows wild herds in Spain and she was showing how they eat grass and so they’ll put one foot of front foot forward and they’ll graze like in the shape of their foot around that one foot and then they’ll take a step forward and they’ll graze around the other foot. Now, sometimes when you put a horse in a stall inside it will start weaving from side to side and what it’s imitating is that motion of what their body would be doing if they were grazing out in the wild.
So it’s like for humans, we would say that horse has a vice. He has a dysfunction, he’s a weaver. It’s like, well, is that really true or do we have him in the wrong environment? So I’ll say to people in companies, they’ll talk about an employee, I’m like, is he in the wrong position?
Does he not have the right support should he is this just even the correct culture? Right, so being able to look at somebody not as what they’re doing wrong or their behavior but like really thinking about what is that showing or telling us. So it’s interesting like that. But then I mean, even in a domesticated situation, the horses will, especially in the facilitation work, they’re still gonna have that response to us in the same way that like intuition and sensitivity.
So that’s not my experience. The horses that I’ve worked with in a domestic setting that hasn’t been doled, but I imagine that it could be.
Oli: Yeah, I think I was just romanticizing the wild horses but the lesson there is that actually the instincts and the nature of the horse itself and its capacity to be what it is, is never gonna go anywhere, is it? And actually that’s super interesting as well if you apply that to human beings.
Cause I think a lot of the time, like the tendency in our culture at the minute, definitely is to look at, you know, nurture before the nature thing. But actually probably there’s a human nature actually that we all need to embrace to be as happy as we could possibly be if that makes sense. Cause then we’re living with our reality.
We’re not blocking it with all this social programming and stuff like that.
Jocelyn: And you know, experiencing all of the emotions, right? So it’s not just my main goal is happiness.
No, my main goal is to experience everything that I get to experience. Like you said, it’s the non-duality. It’s the, it is what it is. Yeah, and then the other thing I think that’s interesting about the horses is they are incredibly patient with us humans.
So if you think about the evolution of our, like relationship to them, so they have been, you know, humans have ridden them to be able to get to places that they couldn’t have gotten, you know, on foot. They’ve been beasts of burden to help us with agriculture. They’ve been helped us with transportation. They showed up on battlefields. A horse that’s a prey animal that has a like serious like flight instinct to, you know, say, okay humans, this is where you are in your evolution.
I’ll help you here. And then, you know, the competitive world of horse racing and show jumping and, and, you know, now I think their work is evolving into more of this therapy and leadership development. I’m seeing that type of work gain more momentum.
So it’s just, it’s fascinating to see how they’ve partnered with us for thousands and thousands of years.
Oli: Yeah, literally. Like actually human civilization would not be what it is now without horses. That’s basically a fact, right?
Joceylen: Yes. Yeah.
Oli: It’s kind of, kind of amazing. Just with the nature nurture thing or just looking at how society is structured You’ve mentioned a few times like some of the values I guess that horses embody or that they remind us to have
Just to kind of bring this whole thing like into like a full circle kind of thing What? What are the main values?
The horses have do you think that our society or human beings in general would benefit from cultivating.
Jocelyn: Um Fascinating question. I mean, it’s hard to not project our, you know, kind of human mindset onto that, but I mean I think if you Look at them out in the wild the mission is you know protection and safety of the herd and they all align to that and If there is a herd member that doesn’t go along with that they’re Reminded of what it is and then they you know then they you know, they have they have a kind of a neat like a natural way That things get organized and they just, yeah, they integrate and respond to the environment and I mean they’re still here. They keep going
Oli: Hmm like one of the values mentioned was patience, so I suppose, you know, that’s one and I suppose I don’t know if I want to say courage presence is definitely something that it seems like we need to value more.
Yeah with would you um I’m kind of backtracking a little bit, but a lot of this stuff that we’re talking about is about how Basically people can be too Individualistic and if you’re too individualistic That actually Dehumanizes you basically it dehumanizes you because you forget that you’re a tribal creature we’re all interdependent and we’re all linked to each other and what you do affects everyone else So you get that problem, but also by thinking you’re too independent It takes you out of reality in the way that we’ve been talking about Because actually all this control freakery and ego that we’ve mentioned Is just the illusion that you are it’s just you you’re separate and that it’s all about you and you’re gonna take what you come From the world and control everything and you know just try and meet your own emotional needs so Would you say horses?
Are they dependent on each other or are they actually embodying that? Interdependent.
Jocelyn: As you were talking like I’ve seen that illustrated in a herd Like I said they have you know, they have like a Hierarchy of lead lead horses and I remember once I was observing a herd of 26 or so horses and a new mare was integrated into the herd and she just kept challenging the lead mare Right that like I want your position.
I want your position. I want your position And she just she caused all of this chaos in the in the herd and what happens when a horse does that is your You’re wasting energy right because they need to conserve that energy Like I said in case there’s a threat that that becomes present They need to get up and go and if she’s you know harassing the other horses and you know kicking and biting and just you know causing a ruckus while everybody’s trying to graze Other horses will let her know like that’s not acceptable and so you know they may One horse will stand next to another horse and get that horse to move and the horse that moves is kind of lower on the in the hierarchy and so She just wouldn’t stop and it it doesn’t like a lot of people will be around horses They never walk behind a horse.
They’ll kick you you’re getting a lot of warning before a horse kicks Right, they will if you watch the herd like they made faces at her like ears back, you know I wrinkled nose, you know then some teeth come out Then you know they would ask her to move and finally they just you know like you’re not getting the message And so another horse walked up to her backed up and double barrel kicked her in the side Well, and it stopped right so the message was like well, you know You you kind of move along with us and Integrate yourself and find your place in the herd or else you’re gonna be out like will ostracize you and a horse Can’t really it’s so vulnerable.
I mean a national horse by itself in a field Surrounded by mountains with bears and coyotes and wolf mean that’s it So they can’t so but she you know if you think about a person that’s you know trying to control the situation It’s very political and is advancing their own agenda. I mean, what does that do to the people? They’re with and then what does it do to themselves just like you said.
Oli: Wow. So yeah, like if that situation with the man was like human being like if somebody, you know, maybe wouldn’t like barrel kick them in the side or whatever it was, like you might, you know, castigate them or say something or whatever to kind of put them back in their place and to bring the group back together. Some people might think that’s actually a bad thing.
They might say, oh, that’s really offensive or you know, you’ve been horrible to this person, whatever it is. But if you look at the dynamics, well, actually, in the, in the long term, if that group offers that person survival value, then it’s actually for their benefit that we do act in this kind of interdependent way because actually what those horses are doing, they’re protecting the culture. If that makes, they’re protecting their culture.
Jocelyn: 1000%. Yes, that’s what I was going to say because say, say that human, you know, ascended to that position of power they wanted, but they still had that way of being. How toxic wold that culture be?
Oli: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Wow.
Jocelyn: Like these are the rules of how we operate and how you’re welcome to come on board. We will find a place for you. We appreciate your strengths, but you know, these are the hard lines of what we do and do not do.
And people think that that’s cruel. But I mean, think about it in a personal relationship. If you’re constantly like, you know, like adapting yourself to somebody’s behavior that you don’t particularly like, and you just keep people pleasing and overextending yourself, that’s not an authentic relationship. But if you can, if you can have open communication with somebody about, you know, this is how I feel about this. I mean, again, going back to that presence and relationship, if I can say, “Hey, that’s, I don’t appreciate that”. Or “Hey, I would appreciate if we could communicate this wa”y or I mean, even think from like a work standpoint, right? If you go back to overextending yourself for work, I’m available for my clients 24 seven.
What does that do it? Like, you start to resent people reaching out to you at one o’clock in the morning with emails and expecting a response. If you like, if you have boundaries around your day, look, I am here for you from nine till five, and then I will respond within 24 hours.
Oli: Wow. Yeah. So even with like boundaries, which is just saying no, the horses actually, they instinctually understand it overall.
Jocelyn: I mean, they get a message like, and it’s just like people, right?
Some people you might have to say, Hey, you know, would you mind doing X, Y or Z and other people they need to hear it several times, or you need to escalate and become more assertive.
Oli: That’s what I think. So a lot of the time when, you know, human beings become people pleases or whatever it is, they have actually something has happened to them that has conditioned them out of having those natural instincts to set boundaries and to protect themselves. Actually, that’s what I think.
Like, maybe they’ve been shamed by somebody or I don’t know, they had a strict parent, whatever it was. But the actual, the natural instinct is to protect ourselves, I think, or to protect the tribe as a whole. And actually, if we go against that, then I don’t know, some things happen somewhere to condition us into an unreal way of being.
Jocelyn: Absolutely. And then I mean, think about like, like we’re, we keep connecting the dots forward backwards and sideways. Like it feels like we’re going all over the place. But in my mind, I can see how this all makes it.
Think about people pleasing behavior. That is you’re trying to control your identity.
Oli: That’s exactly what it is.
Jocelyn: If I people please the heck out of you, you will like me, you will not abandon me.
Oli: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s that fundamental disconnection from the self that we talked about. It’s always shame. So the way I see people become ashamed of themselves are sometimes trauma in extreme cases, then they just end up hiding and they try and, you know, win love for other people or whatever it is through people pleasing and stuff like that, because they don’t know how to give themselves that love or more accurately, they don’t know how to let it flow because it’s already there. They’re just blocking it with their mental stuff. And so the horses, they’re actually showing us, you know, how we’re supposed to be.
I suppose it’s a mammalian thing or something like that, but we’re all wired in the same way, basically.
Jocelyn: Yeah. And here’s the thing too is they had that, you know, the horses had that interaction where they had to kick her, which is, you know, pretty aggressive behavior.
But then it went, it went back. So if you think about like, all right, if I disappoint somebody and they get annoyed with me, that’s like, that’s life. People are going to get, you know, things happen and people are going to experience whatever emotions they are. But, you know, you can come back to the herd or, you know, like if it’s not the right fit for you, you know, sometimes relationships end or it’s not a good fit or you move on, but, you know, trying to control like keeping everything the same is just, that’s not what the horses model is.
Oli: Never going to work. I’ve got one more question about this situation with the mare. So obviously the mare that was trying to take over and become kind of a dictator within the herd. Why do you think she became that way? Was it just because of her, you know, the chemical makeup of her hormones or whatever it was?
She’d like maybe have those testosterone or something.
Jocelyn: So she, she, and this is where it gets interesting with domesticated horses. So she came from somewhere else.
So it could have been, I don’t know a ton about her history, but she might have been a lead mare in another herd.
Joceyln: And then got to this place and was like, hold up. Somebody has my position.
Oli: Yeah. So in a way, that’s the identity thing.
Like she might not have, you know, not literally had thoughts in her head saying, oh, I’m the leader, but she was accustomed to being treated in a certain way.
Jocelyn: Right. And I tell people that story is, is basically the example for onboarding.
Right. Somebody starts at a new company or starts in a new friend group, or, you know, they’re going to try to, they’re going to try to figure out where they fit. And some people are going to come in with very sharp elbows. And this is how I did it at my old company.
And this is the, the role that I had. Some people will come in with humility and just wanting to observe and see how things work first before, you know, finding their way. So it’s just, yeah.
Oli: Like every, every culture that you enter is basically a, it’s a new system, isn’t it? And so the system, it’s going to, all systems eventually reach a state of homeostasis where there’s balance.
And that’s the culture that you’re talking about. But if something new comes in, obviously it’s going to disrupt it. And there is going to be that, you know, forming, nomen, storming, whatever it is, period, where things have to readjust.
But like it always goes back to a baseline. That’s really amazing. I’ve been talking a long time. This has been really interesting.
Like honestly, thank you so much for this. I could keep going for a lot longer. I know. Me too. I won’t. So don’t worry. But have you got, have you got anything just to wrap this up?
Like how would you summarize, I suppose, the main lessons or insights from this conversation, if there are any? And can you tell people where they can find you as well, if they want to learn more about this stuff or work with you or anything?
Jocelyn: Yeah, I think, I just think it’s fascinating that, you know, my work with the horses translated to the work that you do, and we were able to find so much common ground and so many threads and themes.
Like you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t really think that. So I love when I have the opportunity to do the work with the horses, to, you know, talk to other people who have the same kind of ethos and things that they do in their work and just see how, you know, how it can be applied to everything.
So I loved it. Like I said, I feel like, you know, maybe we did go all over the place. But if I map this conversation out, I’m like, Oh, look, no, there were some, there were some common themes and threads in there. You can connect the dots.
Oli: Yeah, yeah. Like that’s the way I like to do things anyway, is to just take it where it needs to go. Like a horse, I’ve been horse-like.
Jocelyn: You are horse-like.
Oli: But like, the dots always come back, ultimately, to us just understanding more about truth. Like all of these things are just different ways into the same reality.
And I feel like I’ve, you know, when I first got in touch with you, I was saying, look, there’s got to be something here about this horse thing and like reality. Like I was super interested and excited. And I think like, it is cemented all of that in my head.
So I’m so happy that we have this conversation. What’s your website and stuff like that? Just so people can find it.
Jocelyn: Sure. So my, I have, I actually split my practice into two last year. And so my more traditional brand consulting can be found at theRingEffect.com. And my coaching and personal leadership and more of the horse work is at jocelynring.com.
Oli: Brilliant. So I’ll share all that stuff in the show notes. But Jocelyn, thank you so much.
Jocelyn: Thank you so much.