Savannah Hanson: The present
This game of consciousness is not for the faint of heart, yes? The contrast of where we are and our remembrance of our true nature can be the rocket fuel that keeps us on track.
We may study with various teachers, mentors, taking numerous workshops and still experience ourselves falling short of where we imagine we “should” be by now. All of this is just egoic nonsense to keep us cycling in a game called seek but do not find.
A huge awareness arose during the holidays, shifting the “seek but do not find” game for me. I realize that a vital stage of our awakening is to learn to have compassion for ourself, to love ourself.
In 2005 I began teaching a class called “Self Love is not for Wimps!” because I literally could not remember one good thing about myself. I was convinced everyone else felt wonderful while I felt totally bereft. It took me many years to develop compassion for myself.
Spiritual teacher Matt Kahn urges us to say “I love you” to our own hearts. This is acknowledging the fact that our love goes to our true self. Saying “I love me” would actually be saying we love the egoic part of ourselves.
I used that practice for years until I realized I did love, even adore, myself. Yet it turns out I was bringing compassion and mercy to my own suffering while inadvertently still believing that was who I am.
When I was young my mother went all out for Christmas and birthdays, showering us with presents. It turns out I formed a strong attachment to presents, learning to equate them with love.
About 20 years ago I figured out this pattern. I asked loved ones to give me gifts to let that scared part inside know she was loved. This was personal will in action. Many of us have learned to use “I” statements to make requests, in line with non-violent communication.
Yet many of us slip from requests to demands as I unknowingly did, falsely believing others can give us what we are ultimately searching for. Over the years, I came to expect loved ones to give me presents and let them know directly or later more passive-aggressively that I was unhappy if they did not comply.
Eventually, the slaves rebelled and gifts became fewer. I became desperate, cajoling all with increasing resentment to just give me a darn gift. Didn’t matter so much what, just wrap it! Now, this sounds crazy I know, and it was, yet it ruled me until this year. No matter how hard I tried to let it go, it still kept me in chains, made me a beggar and victim to what others did or did not do.
So this year my commitment to the truth was finally powerful enough to allow me to jump through the fear so that I could truly surrender this limitation. Before I really tried, but my desire was not totally sincere. Underneath I still wanted the gifts as they felt like vital proof I was loved.
This year I said, I do not care if I never get another present, I pray to end this infernal suffering. I ask Holy Spirit/Jesus/God that this be resolved (a la “A Course in Miracles”) at the level of cause, of right-mindedness.
I recognize that trying to resolve it at the level of form, in the material has not worked. In other words, I jumped out of the egoic thought system altogether. No matter what happened at the level of form, I would be OK.
It worked and I was finally free whether I was given a gift or not. Can you begin to imagine the inner jubilation to get this debilitating source of suffering off of me? Freedom!
The true gift
Ironically, a few hours after I had this epiphany, I hear a car on our rural driveway. It turns out my “wasband” (ex) had driven the half an hour just days before Christmas to deliver a gift from my daughter. I was moved to tears knowing the true gift in my life was the presence of loved ones, the joy they add to my life.
No present could compete. I then apologized to loved ones for all the years I had been demanding, even manipulative.
This opened up a whole new world.
When our car would not start New Year’s Eve, I remembered not to ask/pray for this to be fixed at the level of form. I knew the true liberation was to be restored to right-mindedness. So when the engine would not turn over, I immediately went inside.
My daughter said, “shouldn’t you do something?”
I said, “I am. I am getting centered.”
From there everything unfolded miraculously with ease and grace. Yes, our car was towed, yet I did not suffer or see it as a “problem.” I had learned perhaps the most important lesson of my life about how to eliminate suffering by exiting the egoic thought system entirely.
I pray that my words may hasten the liberation of at least one person reading this.
For information on private sessions or classes or to schedule a free 20-minute consultation, contact Savannah Hanson, M.A., MFT #40422 at 530-575-5052 or savannah@RaisedinLove.com.
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