FAQs about Equus Coach® Training by Student Coordinator Lori Moskal

Travis Stock
January 2023

What does it mean to you to live with intention?

Living with intention is my way of co-creating with all that life has to offer. Nature, other people, traffic, etc. are all going to do what they do without taking into account much of my feedback. And while there are many aspects of life that are simply out of my control, living intentionally helps me see what choices I can make. For example, I don’t get to decide how many sunny days there are when living in Seattle, WA (six years in and I still find myself trying to bargain for more blue skies). I do, however, get to choose how I want to engage with my life, regardless of the weather. That choice is living with intention. 

Why is this so important?
For me, living with intention is important because it allows me to guide (notice I didn’t say control) my lived experience amongst all the other moving parts of life. Most of us had our eyes opened to how much is out of our control over the last few years while navigating Covid-19. With all the social and work disruptions, loss, health related complications, and impacts on our economic lives it can be easy to feel at the mercy of it all. But, all of that is the context of my life, not the content. The content of my life is created by understanding which of my hopes, dreams, desires, and preferences are worth taking action toward. 
Personally, I used to believe it was easier to live disconnected from my desires because then I did not have to navigate huge disappointment if those desires were absent from my life. While I was trying to protect myself, that strategy over time left me feeling pretty depressed and a bit victimized by life. It has been the practice of checking in with myself and making choices that align with my wants and needs (aka living intentionally) that has freed me. Living with intention allows me to sit in the metaphoric driver’s seat, steering toward what I want.

What are the benefits of living intentionally?
As I mentioned before, the biggest benefit to living intentionally is feeling empowered and connected to myself. It allows me to participate in life in a way that honors what is important by creatively figuring out how to bring forward my wants and needs. That does not mean I get what I want all the time. It does, however, help me orient myself to what I do have control over, what is available for me to influence, and what choices I want to make given the context of my life.  

Do you have any tips when it comes to creating the life you want vs being stuck in old patterns or routines? 
Feeling stuck in old patterns or routines is often a recognition that you’ve outgrown your comfort zone. In fact, that’s what I’ve learned to expect about comfort zones — eventually the comfort wears off and they become restrictive. So, I suggest starting with the caring recognition that although those patterns and routines once helped you navigate the world and were (as was in my case) likely protective in some way, they are now between you and the life you want. Then, I suggest brainstorming some behavioral changes you can experiment with to see what is just beyond your comfort zone. 

I always come back to the importance of the balance of challenge (the things that encourage us to stretch out of our patterns/routines) and support (the people, places, and things that help us succeed) when in this process. I, personally, need to experiment with small behavioral changes (the challenge) at first in order to sustain any changes long term. Leaping too far outside my comfort zone causes whiplash, and I quickly retreat back to my old, well-worn patterns for comfort. And I often need to ask for help (the support) even when I do not want to. It’s totally possible to make little intentional choices add up over time in the direction of the life you want. And if you are the “throw caution to the wind” type, feel free to make those behavioral shifts as big as you want.

Can Equus Coaching sessions help as a motivator or first step to living more intentionally? 
Equus Coaching is one of the spaces I have probably learned the most about intentional living. The opening to every session is the coach asking the client for an intention or an area with which they could use some support. That intention helps guide and inform the rest of the session. Just like when people decide on a mantra or a new year’s resolutions at the beginning of each year, it highlights what that person most wants to keep at the front of their mind. So, Equus Coaching sessions can be a great place to practice living intentionally because you can count on your coach to ask you to choose a focus for each session. That practice of checking in with yourself and stating what’s most important can easily become a habit you bring into all areas of your life.
Horses can also help by getting you in touch with what is and is not within your control. It doesn’t take long to recognize how little control you have over an animal that doesn’t speak the same language as you do and that is close to 1000 lbs. Once you realize what isn’t in your control, there is an opportunity to get curious about what is in your control (made easier with the support of an Equus Coach). I’ve witnessed clients become more mindful of the beliefs they carry around with them, notice relational patterns that are no longer serving them, figure out when they are showing up authentically vs moments when they aren’t, and many more insights. From there, those insights serve as the next layer of intentional living because they help someone unhabituate their lives and seek new patterns that better align with the life they want.