|Diane and Stormy|
What do you do and how long have you been doing it? I have been an artist for over 25 years and have been creating something my whole life. I've owned horses for 11 years (Stormy is my second horse, a very special horse that has brought a lot of positive change to my own life), and have been a trained personal life coach for 4 years. I consider the kind of coaching I do a unique art form within itself, where I guide my clients to experience deeper personal discovery, spiritual growth, healing and creative expression. Coaching can be with or without the presence of a horse, with or without art,whatever is the client's preference. I also coach clients on the phone. In the last year, I have developed two very fun, meaningful, and rewarding coaching and painting workshops that combine horses with personal and creative expression through painting.
Who inspired you/who are your mentors? It all started with Linda Kohanov, who writes and teaches from a human-evolution perspective and is the author of several books I adore, including The Tao of Equus. I attended a workshop with Linda in 2003 and was greatly moved by the experience and potential of the horse/ human connection. More recently came Kathy Pike, with whom I did my coaching training. Another beautiful person who influenced me greatly because of his wise and gently insistence on "softness" when being with and working with horses is Mark Rashid from Colorado.
What previous life or work experience applies to what you do now? I guess it is no surprise that everything I have lived and learned so far in my life has brought me to this meaningful and rewarding work, so it’s been wonderful to have it all come together this way. My personal spiritual life has expanded and grown, too. Over the last ten years, my horse has taught me how to truly love myself and to know that I, and we, all matter greatly in the bigger picture of meaning and Spirit.
You mentioned the term non-predatory so do you think we (humans) are naturally predators? Me: I am fascinated by the psychology of animals, especially horses, and you spoke about us (humans) moving away from the predator-oriented world we now live in toward a more non-predatory orientation, and how this allows not only for us to have a better way to understand the horse, but also for horses to fulfill a greater spiritual purpose with humans.
Can you please expand a little more? Sure. This whole non-predatory idea is at the heart of what I do and what I myself am patiently striving to become. We as humans are predators and have been since the fall of man as described in the Bible. We changed from being non-predatory to killing our way through life for food, emotional release, and justice. Horses are prey animals, which means they do not kill other animals for these reasons, but rather can get eaten by animal predators such a mountain lion, and used by humans in a variety of dominating ways. Many women resonate with this understanding and that is why they are often so quickly drawn to horses. Both predators and prey live in a world of relationships. To be non-predatory is to consciously choose to act in non-predatory ways even though as a species, we are predators. To do this, to make this choice, changes us gradually from the inside out, and can change the world into a much more cooperative, peaceful, and loving place.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your work? Helping others feel heard by gently examining and exploring the aspects of their lives they want to change. Also to help others feel inspired, see and experience greater dimensions in life and their relationships through being coached in the presence of horses. I believe in the beautiful spirit of horses, their requirement for honesty to survive, and their innate abilities to "read" our thoughts and feelings, to clearly sense their environment and elements in nature, making them amazing companions and vehicles for our advancement as human beings.
Would you like to share anything else for others reading my blog, wishing to make a transition and follow their dreams? Our lives are all about the choices we make. As a coach, I encourage your readers to listen to that still small voice inside them that wants to show them their deepest desires, purpose, and dreams. And then I encourage them to choose to seek out someone who can help them find their own pathway to make those things real and to come true, to find a better way to be and enjoy life. As an artist, I encourage your readers to see creative expression as a blessed avenue of choice and discovery that awaits each one on their own unique journey.
I hope you enjoyed reading Diane's interview and learning about all the layers that make her so real and spiritually-rounded. There is no doubt something magical about her, and I can't wait to meet Stormy some day soon. Additionally, she has written a life coaching workbook and and art handbook, and leads coaching and painting weekend workshops for small groups. The Heart2Horse workshop emphasizes coaching with horses, and Heart2Art workshop focuses on painting. She has Heart2Horse and Heart2Artworkshops coming up this year in May and June in the mountains near San Diego, as well as upcoming workshops planned for the spring and summer in Prescott. Her greatest wish is for her clients to open their hearts to do the things that will bring long-lasting, positive change to their lives that they may deeply desire. Diane moved with her horse, Stormy, to Prescott last fall, a place she had felt drawn to for some time. Her coaching website is: http://www.dianeolsen.org.