4 September 2016 ~ Today feels like an opportune time, an energetic confluence and renewal point of different aspects of my life stream, to fill out the bigger picture related to what other journeys have been central in my ongoing embodiment in this walk, flow, and dance of life. Over the last few months, I have welcomed and taken up the invitation to enter into a review process of the last 20 years of my walk in this life. And this “about” comes out of that process.
What I am drawn to include now in a new telling of the essence within me is that one of the deepest streams of nourishment for this being has been movement, both movement of the body internally and externally, as well as movement of the heart or Spirit in relationship to All That Is. There is a inner sound or music that has a vibrant and infinite source within. This Sound has had many other recognizers (individuals and cultures) and names, as it seems to be the very source of something original or essential to the very existence of life itself.
For me, I know myself within and as this very vibration, but it is through movement and voice in numerous forms of manifestation that I have received the deepest confirmation of the co-existence of the inner and the outer, the Seen and the Unseen. I have experienced this confirmation in the company of others in both ceremony and dance, chanting and invocation, as well as in deep energetically contemplative and creative collaboration with others.
This meandering journey, just as a healthy river must meander in its course, has included exposure to and sometimes deep saturation in the following movement and dance forms: Continuum, Authentic Movement, 5Rhythms, Contact Improv, Nurture Dance, Body Tales, Anna Halprin’s expressive dance work, improvisational storytelling, and culminated in a collaboration with my former colleague, Christina de Cossio, in our movement modality called Somatic Inquiry back in 2006. Interwoven with these engaged movement forms and embodied exploration is a deep study of the nature of healing the spirit within us. Of the many healing modalities that I have studied and worked with both myself and clients, Holotropic Breathwork, Hellinger Family Constellations, integrative Thai massage, and Reiki are ones that I would like to include here as having been foundational for me. The Human Design system is not considered a healing modality, but it, too, has been exceptionally foundational for me in my own experiential self-healing.
The split that can so easily happen in these times of “modern” humanity calls for a very deep or concentrated invocation of all that we have somehow forgotten (i.e. who we really are) in order to regain our natural birthright of self-healing. We can see an example of this self-healing when we look at nature, the Earth principal itself, sometimes called Gaia. Something we see again and again within nature, when nature is allowed to stand undisturbed within its highest intelligence, is that self-healing is essentially synonymous with Gaia’s own sentience of self-knowing.
It is that self-knowing and self-healing that I have accessed through movement, sound and sounding, ceremony and invocation, which is also at the deepest core of this contemplative fire within my very being. It is a time now in which that elemental intelligence (perhaps in each one of us) is being invited out to both dance and play in a new order or volume. I look forward to inviting you to enter with me into this ever-unfolding and self-healing dance of collaboration.
May it continue…
12 August 2015 ~ This past winter and spring, I’ve been living 15 miles or so north of Taos, New Mexico in San Cristobal. I’m enjoying the summer in Arroyo Seco currently. I’ve been slowly arriving here in northern New Mexico since my first longer stay in March 2013.
The road to ‘who’ is not a road, in my experience, but a continual arriving at a place that cannot be marked by an arrival or a departure. There can be telling ‘about,’ but even that is a facsimile, an exercise in looking at, or a momentary pause from What Is.
‘About’ is what can drop away again and again, which it has and does over and over. Being, on the other hand, is the ‘who’, ‘where’, or ‘how’, which just is, and it is this Being that most informs the ‘what’ being written and shared here.
An “about Janice” from the earlier days of Contemplative Fire – 2012 ~
Contemplative Fire, as a blog, emerged in 2010 as a virtual hearth for words, postings, contemplations, and poetry brewing within my awareness and asking for an externalized place to be seen and possibly shared. I was intrigued by the blog as format, as a vehicle, but had not yet tried out blogging. Have I arrived at the art of ‘blogging’ even now after two or more years of hosting Contemplative Fire within my creative life and work? I don’t know. What has come along with many sittings writing poetry is the sharing of my vocation: my animal care and communication and my Human Design consulting. I started on a somewhat esoteric footing and have come ’round to find two practical feet on the ground and singing the tune: on poetry, humans, and animals with Janice Sandeen.
And what shall I share about myself? I love to write. That is a simple way of saying that as I experience life, words seem to be a given or a calling. Language has always intrigued me, such that the language of form has captured my attention again and again. I created visual art for many years, starting as a toddler in the 1960s and continuing as a nationally exhibiting visual artist, sculptor, mixed media, and installation artist up until the year 2000 or so. Poetry and writing happened all that while, as soon as words could be penned with some dexterity. Words also had a place in my visual and materially based art.
The study of pattern and form and the language of ‘invisible structures,’ as observed in the art and science of Permaculture, became a new-found calling in the late 90s. Poetry stayed with me as an ideal vehicle for me to continue exploring and seeing anew. And with patterns in nature now more attenuated, I began to look at both the human form through Human Design and the Gene Keys and the animal form through my communing with animals work. As much as I love to write, I also am drawn to influence or teach what I have come to see and more fully explore through direct experience. Thus my Communing with Animals and This Human Journey pages here on this blog.
I’ve been living and working within the west Marin and central Marin areas of northern California since 1995, when I left a teaching post of four years at CCAC in Oakland (now known as CCA). I had arrived in California in 1990 after teaching briefly in New York City upon completing my graduate work with an MFA from RISD. I grew up in New England where my family lived in Connecticut starting in 1970. I was a contemplative back then as well, although I may not quite have had the words to know or describe myself in that way. And the animals and nature, well they have been an incredibly consistent presence and point of reflection and interaction for me from my earliest memories.