It was clear when Lindsey Seybold first walked into the offices of the Independent that she was a different kind of woman with a different kind of purpose than many women her age. Tall, lovely, and self-assured with a ready, friendly smile, she spoke with a clarity and wisdom that isn’t typically found in someone who has so much of her life yet ahead of her. That clarity was most evident when she spoke of what she wanted to do.
Help people. Lindsey Seybold wanted to help people to learn about themselves, to discover those things that might be standing in the way of experiencing life to the fullest, to truly connect with other people so that they may enjoy deep and fulfilling relationships. And, last but most certainly not least, she wanted to help people in these profound ways by partnering with horses. With a degree in psychology, significant time spent after college becoming certified as an Equine Gestalt Coach and the recent opening of her business Blissful Strides, she was prepared to make it happen.
In a part of the country where people are reluctant if not resistant to speaking openly of their feelings, and horses are more often viewed as tools than partners, she definitely had her work cut out for her. But, as might be known by now, Lindsey is not afraid of hard work, and determination should be her middle name.
That first encounter was a year ago, and what a year it’s been.
While working full time with at risk kids in school, starting a clothing closet for kids in need of quality clothing plus learning all that’s involved in being the partner and fiancé of a farmer/rancher, Lindsey has also seen her practice at Blissful Strides grow slowly but surely as she’s coached kids and adults of all ages toward finding more enriching lives.
And now, she’s expanding her services even more.
~~A HERO’S JOURNEY~~
Starting in March, Lindsey will be offering a new workshop titled A Hero’s Journey. “A Hero’s Journey gives people the resources and tools to say what they need or want without being ashamed for feeling the way they do or hurting someone else’s feelings,” she explains. “In this workshop, people learn to find and identify someone they can trust to work things out in a healthy way.”
A Hero’s Journey was first developed by Lauren Munger, founder of Sacred Hoofprints and a professional in psychology and healing with decades of experience working with children and adults. During that time, Munger observed that people were so involved with technology—like cell phones and computers—that they had lost touch with themselves, other people and nature, as a whole. In response, she developed a self-esteem workshop to help people discover—or, in some cases, rediscover—how to communicate in healthy, safe ways.
Lindsey’s observations mirror those of the workshop’s founder. “Technology has replaced people having one to one conversations,” she says. “I’m in my late twenties, and even I can see the difference. I see people all the time with their family or friends and, even then, they still just can’t put down their phones. People don’t know any more how to disconnect from social media and relate to people around them.”
As is standard practice, Lindsey went through the workshop herself prior to being trained as a coach. She describes the experience as being a surprise, even though she knew what to expect. “It’s interesting to see what happens when you turn off the computer and put away your phone. You begin to talk…to truly express your feelings…and, sometimes, you find yourself talking about things you didn’t even realize you were thinking about.” She describes recalling a difficult event from her past that she wasn’t aware was still bothering her. “It was painful to talk about it,” she says. “I was surprised at how emotional I became. But once I worked it out, I felt so different. It was as if a huge weight had been taken off that I didn’t even know I was carrying around.”
Now, she hopes to provide the coaching that allows other people to feel that same sense of freedom.
“It’s difficult for people to sometimes admit or even recognize feelings that they have,” she says. “And the labels other people put on feelings make it that much harder.” For that reason, she’s also quick to dispel the misunderstanding that the experience is for “troubled” kids and adults. “Someone could grow up in a perfect environment and still benefit from participating,” she states. “It’s a camp for self-discovery.”
She also emphasizes that A Hero’s Journey is not focused on people doing something the right or wrong way. The goal is to help people learn to communicate what they feel in a sincere and direct but non-accusing way.
While the workshop is suited for people of all ages, Lindsey knows, from experience, that some people have difficulty with being honest about their feelings. Typically, those people are older. For that reason, the first workshops she offers will be for kids.
“Kids are usually more ready to talk about what they truly feel,” she says. “Since I like the participants to be about the same age so that they can relate to each other more easily, I decided to start with a younger age group.”
So, where do the horses come in?
Lindsey is reluctant to be specific because each situation has its own nuances, but she admits there are some common characteristics to the experience. “Involving horses makes this approach different from anything else,” she says. “They’re amazing animals with unbelievable intuition and are so open and tuned into what people are feeling. But,” she adds, “unlike people, they don’t judge. I’ve had people stand and just pour their heart out and when they step back into the pen, time after time, they say the same thing: they felt nothing but love from the horse. That’s where the healing happens.”
When asked how she responds to people saying they prefer to spend their money on, perhaps, more tangible things, Lindsey doesn’t hesitate to answer. “I understand that. People only have so much money to spend. But I also know what people say when they’ve gone through the workshop.”
And what do they say?
“The way they feel…or the light they see in the eyes of someone they love…that makes it worth every dime.”