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Merlin’s Gift: Horse Sense for Challenging Times
March 9, 2022 – March 12, 2022
Introductory or Advanced — Facilitated by Linda Kohanov
Time: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Cost: $1800 (includes lunch and workshop materials)
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
Significant social change is not going to occur until sensitive, caring people become empowered rather than overwhelmed. We need thoughtful, compassionate individuals to enter situations where suffering and conflict proliferate, and show a different form of strength, one that holds people accountable without becoming abusive. Otherwise we will continue to see frustrated, disillusioned teenagers acting out violently, bullies stirring up fear to gain control, and sociopaths callously thriving at others’ expense.
Merlin’s Gift brings horse sense to human situations. Best selling author and equine-facilitated learning pioneer Linda Kohanov shows how the skills she accessed to rehabilitate a dangerous formerly abused stallion can be translated into communicating effectively with challenging people.
In doing research for her fourth book The Power of the Herd ten years after she first formed a partnership with a volatile horse named Midnight Merlin, Linda realized that gaining the trust of an aggressive stallion was an ancient power story. Alexander the Great, the Buddha, and George Washington were among those talented horsemen renowned for calming violent horses that no one else could touch, skills they also used to calm and focus groups of frightened or aggressive people. Based on twenty-five years experience training horses, and twenty years teaching personal and professional development skills to people from around the world, Linda has adapted these “horse whispering” principles to human contexts.
This seminar is for anyone who wants to learn new ways to transform interpersonal conflict, power struggles, bullying, and other challenges at home, school, and work, as well as in political, religious, or social activism contexts. You’ll learn to engage compassionately with others while holding them accountable for unproductive behavior, creating constructive alternatives to interactions that normally result in shame, blame, and retaliation. And you’ll learn how to negotiate blocks to success while keeping your heart and mind open, allowing you to tap the power, vision, and courage to follow your dreams.
“At home, school, work, and most definitely in politics, we often find ourselves standing by, watching nasty altercations we can neither predict nor stop, knee-jerk reactions that start unnecessary battles that sometimes do erupt in shootings, beatings, and large scale acts of terrorism,” Linda says. “It’s not enough to ask, ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’ We must make some serious culture-wide efforts to ask, ‘How can we all get along.’ To even attempt to answer this question, we must stop playing the victim and demonizing others. We must stand up to aggressors, some of who also see themselves as victims of past injustice (and occasionally truly are). And we must resist the urge to use shame as a weapon. To do this we need power combined with compassion. We need to exercise emotional heroism.”
In peace and in war, George Washington exhibited emotional heroism, advising his closest associates to “Let your heart feel for the affliction and distress of everyone.” Dealing with the pain and resentment experienced in his own war-torn country 200 years later, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh observed that ‘When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply in himself….Happiness and safety are not an individual matter. His happiness and safety are crucial to your happiness and safety.”
“No one made this controversial notion more apparent to me than my stallion Merlin,” Linda emphasizes. “Misunderstanding and punishment created the monster he became. I knew I would never be safe around him until his trauma was transformed, not through naive, ‘it’s not his fault’ indulgence, but through a heroic use of power combined with mindfulness, compassion, and self-control. Whenever I achieved this balanced state of power in myself, Merlin would shift from violence to thoughtfulness and respect, learning over time to trust feelings of safety, connection, affection, and wellbeing. If a horse can achieve this, why can’t we?”
This workshop is for leaders, teachers, parents, counselors, health care workers, clergy, social activists, first-responders, law enforcement personnel, and people who work or live with those who act out in aggressive or intensely fearful ways at times, including trauma survivors, soldiers and veterans with post-traumatic stress, and their spouses and other family members.
No horse experience or previous interest in horses is necessary. The workshop employs safe and fun ground activities with specially trained horses to help you exercise the confidence and nonviolent power you need to effectively transform interpersonal challenges into trust building, problem solving experiences.
In this workshop, you will learn how to:
- Foster trust, respect, and connection in challenging situations
- Help others manage fear and anxiety in times of significant change or competition
- Recognize the antiquated, often unconscious power plays that people engage in regardless of culture, religion, nationality, or social status
- Employ nonverbal and conversational techniques for diffusing conflict and gaining cooperation from dominant, confused, frightened or aggressive people
- Use emotions as information in professional situations (without ironically discussing the emotions themselves)
- Develop emotional heroism, that rare combination of power and compassion, courage and self-control, accountability and forgiveness that great secular and religious leaders throughout history used to create significant social change
Do You Have Question?: Contact the Eponaquest office at 520-455-5908 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- All participants are required to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test administered within 72 hours of the start of the workshop upon arrival at Eponaquest at Eagle Way. Individuals who fail to meet this requirement will not be permitted to take part in any program.
- All participants will have their temperatures checked upon arrival each day and will be asked a list of Covid-19 screening questions.
- We will maintain social distancing of at least six feet at all times, while indoors and outdoors. Masks will be required to be worn when indoors. Most of our activities will take place outdoors.
Cancellation Policy: Cancellation up to 30 days prior to the event start date results in a credit of one-half the workshop tuition. There is no tuition credit for a cancellation 30 days or less before the event start date.