Tag Archives: human/animal conversation

Meeting profound change together at the very core of relating ~ Communing With Animals

Testimonial ~ Communing With Animals ~  

I first met Janice when I was out on a walk with my dog. I took Dennis out into a snowy field to avoid an unpleasant interaction because my dog used to pull and lunge toward other dogs when he was on the leash and Janice was walking down the road with her dog Blue.
Although I was way out in the field, Dennis who weighs 90 pounds still pulled me down into the snow, as I was trying to stop him from lunging toward Blue. Janice and I were able to talk a bit over the commotion and she told me she works helping people and dogs communicate better.

Dennis with his ball cropped

Dennis with his ball ~ photo Cindy Brown

Dennis and I have met with Janice several times over the past months. We have walked together and practiced working with Dennis when he is approached by other dogs. To my amazement, the very core of my relationship with Dennis has been impacted in a profound way through our work with Janice.
She has given me practical techniques for working with Dennis in high stress situations, including using the leash in a different way and getting his attention to me when he is distracted by another dog, person or squirrel. As a result, the whole nature of my walks with Dennis has changed. Rather than pulling me, Dennis now walks beside me and is even able to walk calmly off the leash quite often. When we pass by another dog, I know how to give Dennis a gentle, but firm physical touch to remind him to pay attention to my directions.
Just as important as the physical techniques, Janice has introduced me to new ways of thinking about my relationship with Dennis and how we communicate and make agreements on working together. For instance, I no longer see Dennis as “misbehaving.” I see that he is acting out of some deep desire to protect me and himself when we are approached by another dog. I feel I am more able to see the situation from his perspective as animal, dog, Belgian Malinois, and Dennis. I find that there is a stronger and more loving connection between us now.
Of course, there are set backs, but now when something goes wrong, I know that I will be able to address it in a positive way, using the knowledge I’ve gained from working with Janice. It has truly been a life-changing experience for me. I worry so much less about the trouble that Dennis might cause. He seems very aware of my state of my mind and also more relaxed as a result. 
Cindy Brown
In response to Cindy’s wonderful testimonial: First off, I’d like to say to Cindy, your commitment to expanding in a sustainable way beyond current limited habits and beliefs is highly commendable. You are a true pleasure to work with. Thank you.
How the opportunity came up to work with Cindy and Dennis was a beautiful example of right timing. I’ve recognized over the years of working with individuals in their personal growth and expansion process that the potency of the work has a lot to do with right timing, as well as having sufficient resources to meet the needs or challenges that those individuals may face at that time. Cindy’s story of how we met that snowy day, Cindy and Dennis in the field and Blue and I on our road taking our morning walk together, reveals how the right timing was indeed at hand. The right timing was not only for Cindy and Dennis but for the four of us, to meet for the first time in that way, initiating our collaboration.
Our work together, over a series of three sessions, gave us opportunities to draw on a range of different resources, both inner and outer. Cindy engaged our sessions fully and willingly. Her receptivity to guidance and seeing new ways of relating with herself and Dennis were key resources that I could also draw on as a facilitator. Cindy also drew on internal resources that she embodies, such as her mindfulness background and practices.
A resource that I draw on frequently is the power of perceiving the felt sense present in the relating between human and animal, as well as animal and their environment. Listening to the intelligence available in that felt sense (using all the senses), I am able to feel into the energetic connection the person shares with their companion animal. (We all do this, often unconsciously more than consciously.) I also draw on the transparency innate in animals to communicate their experiences directly through signals portrayed in their body language.
Another resource that I drew on with Cindy and Dennis was years of experience in spontaneously accessing and implementing practical ways to either trouble-shoot or enhance the situation at hand, as we encountered those situations. As an example, Cindy mentioned the different ways of working with the leash; there are so many more possibilities with leashes than how we tend to use them!
Clearly, the emphasis is not just on me as facilitator of the sessions to bring the necessary resources. These sessions are truly collaborative! When a client can find within themselves ways to be self-revealing, even when it feels risky, the capacity of the working relationship expands exponentially. Cindy modeled that beautifully, such that she stepped into a place for herself and Dennis to mutually benefit from this work, on multiple levels for each. The more shared resources made available, the more transformative this work has the possibility of becoming.
Some particular gems that came up in our sessions were about attention, both fixed attention (something that Dennis was getting waylaid by and Cindy caught up in, sometimes literally) as well as how to shift to more receptive or fluid attention. Again and again, I have been shown by all sorts of animals that I have had the opportunity to commune with, what fluid attention and receptive awareness can look and feel like. I often credit my Permaculture training (I was certified in 1995) as the beginning of cracking open my own capacity for a different kind of attention, one without so many fixed notions or ideas of what is “better” or “worse” and one that ultimately can restore us to our innate receptivity, vitality, and capacity to be at ease in our bodies, our lives, and our relationships.
In one of her examples, Cindy mentioned something I can expand on about Dennis and seeing from his perspective “as animal, dog, Belgian Malinois, and Dennis.” A change in perception, such as in this example, brings the possibility of immediate expansion into a wider lived reality. The inspirational perception I drew on in this particular session with Cindy & Dennis is that our companion animals are much more than just the one we mean when calling them by name or relating to them through their personality. We love our animal companions and their personalities, yet what often gets overlooked in this predominantly affection-based relating (literally repeating a dog’s name is a stimulation, sometimes affectionate, sometimes confusing or even punishing) is the rich array of internal resources our companion animals actually bring to our shared relationship.
Our canine companions experience interrelated realities of their breed along with their simple dog-ness. There is also a very essential aspect of their reality, the more primal experiencing of mammal or animal (one which we share in through our limbic brains). We can choose to relate with our companion animals including all four of these aspects: 1) their primal animalness, 2) their species of animal (i.e. their dog-ness), 3) their breed/genetics they carry (wow, what differences!), and finally 4) their unique personality. We know that our animals so easily mirror things about ourselves back to us, but the exploration and depth of new ways to relate really opens up when we begin to tap into the resources found at all four of these levels of being and perceiving.
Thank you again, Cindy, for this opportunity to share the benefits of our sessions together with a much wider audience. The cool thing is that each person and animal that steps together into a fresh or newly vitalized way of relating and communing can become The Model for what is possible in this awesomely expanding, shared consciousness field of inter-species relating. Namaste, I bow to this awesomeness in you! 
~ Janice Sandeen
If you, the reader, have questions about or interest in further elaboration on any aspect of what was shared here, please write your question in the comments below. I will answer or elaborate further. I will be creating new blog posts dedicated to some of the themes mentioned only lightly here. You are welcome to suggest topics or themes, as well. Thank you for reading this blog post!
To learn more about Communing With Animals or to talk with me about enhancing and expanding your inter-species relationships through an interactive consultation (can also be with wild animals or any life forms that you encounter somewhere in your life), please visit my CWA pages on my blog or on Facebook. A link to my Contact page is here.
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Five Tails

Steady ground of multitudinous paws

with limitless capacity to reflect

I gaze through dog windows seeing

laying  there aspects of my self

true and false  whole as well as partial

muddied then still and clear

what a day of five tails telling

what might not otherwise be seen

a) Attentive

foundling shaped coddled softened

from the inside out Mystic Eye of

the Beholder tender and fierce

at times rapidly interchanging

hesitant yet braised in a longing

contained by eons of shadowing

supplicant of the human heart

when opened  vastly free

b) Bounding

naked nighttime new moon confab

juxtaposes playful boundless reverie

extremes of pursuit and contentment

don’t tie me down but keep me close

tender toothed kisses unfettered affection

I see my own innocence here glowing

even with misunderstandings speculation

and day rises again the bright clear sun

c) Chivalry

the heart that opens deeply softly

eyes eyes eyes seeing watching tasting

putting all aside ready to desire delight

transparency confluence of many worlds

easy traveler buoyant riding over surface

and depth his role clear certain allowing

leave it in his hands but paws and nose

return again and again ever welcoming

d) Dear

unsettled bashfully brazen welcoming

committee of one of anything needing

alerting exuberantly caught in her own skin

and grace melting icebergs in her sleep

where all previous proclivities disperse

just give me something soft to curl onto

something to gaze into calm me full

in these simple yet abiding nourishings

w) Exceptionally

no other steps in here in This Way

fraught with complexity and oh so

vulnerable would it could it be seen

only only only ready ready steady

bound within an unspoken allegiance

being everything and plus some to His

and yet what has been asked is more

than some could bear this bare note

• • •

And five tails told but only wagging

can tell what more is to be seen

dog windows to the soul of so many

internal worlds open space off leash

the human and animal conversation

Local and non-local are terms that figure into a human and animal conversation. Many of us humans haven’t a real sense of what it can be like to live within a non-locality frame of reference. However, this frame of reference is exactly what animals can give us a sense of if we shift out of our ordinary state of mind and allow ourselves to perceive the world through a body that doesn’t live exclusively in a state dictated by time and measurement.