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Savannah Hanson: Holding in presence

As I write this column, it is May 15 — the lunar eclipse — and the energy is soaring! The amazing thing about these energies is we can transmute intense inner density at jet speed. The less comfortable news is that for many, suppressed trauma, conditioning and false beliefs will be surfacing faster than ever and may feel overwhelming.

You may notice increased aggression and tension. You may notice increased expressions of love and affection. As I read collective energies, I see the energy headed in both directions. In my personal circles, some are feeling greatly challenged, some are feeling very free, all are doing their best to stay on the love train.

How do we best navigate these interesting times? With presence, presence, presence. Despite knowing for decades that we are energy beings and thus not being surprised at how the intense and continuous solar activity, CME’s, flares are impacting each of us, I continue to be surprised by how much attention it requires for me to stay present. Yet I have chosen to devote myself to this practice of presence. Why? I notice it is the one thing that works, that brings more experiences of peace, more ability to stay neutral rather than triggered by previous irritants. Of everything I have done to make peace with having a highly sensitive nervous system on a currently very dense planet, this is the one that has brought me the richest rewards.

In presence, we are not trying to fix or change ourselves, rather we stay focused on what is arising in the now, what sensations are in the body, what emotions, what thoughts. Once we are able to observe our own experience with the light of awareness, we gain the opportunity to choose. Without awareness, it is inevitable that we are at the effect of inner triggers and trauma. Dismantling those booby traps is no small thing. It has taken me a very long time yet the increasing inner peace is priceless.

Given how much the mass media keeps attention glued to fear and separation, it behoves us to make presence the priority, having an embodiment practice, grounding, spending time in nature, in silence. I have a friend who is also a psychotherapist yet does not know how to work with her own body or with clients to transmute what arises. Despite the number of times we have spoken about how essential it is, she continues to try to resolve it at the level of mind; she continues to suffer from ongoing depression.

I mention this example as it surprises me how many times we may need to be exposed to this information before we finally decide to dive in. Sometimes the discomfort must become very intense before we decide to choose again and find another way.

So what does it really look and feel like to stay present? In my Wild Hearts group we often begin our practice spending five minutes only noticing physical sensations. This requires us to be present to notice what we are feeling in the body. It may be, as was in my case, we feel nothing, we feel numb. This is a tricky one to stay present to. I felt so overwhelmed by my emotions as a young adult, I managed to actually shut them off. Sounds good until I realized I had also shut off joy and pleasure. So first notice sensations. The next step can be to spend another five minutes focusing on sensations and emotions. The next step is to add a focus on thoughts. Watch how quickly thoughts can create monkey mind and it is off to the races! Thoughts can pull us out of presence faster than a wink of the eye.

Yet if we continue to practice, stay present for longer periods, mediate or do some sort of awareness practice, we develop an inner holding. Instead of needing others to turn to, we discover an inner support we may not have previously known. We begin to tap into the part of ourselves that is eternal. We begin to come home to the truth of our own infinite nature. While in the past, these could have felt like new age buzz words, there is nothing like direct experience to convince us of how liberating presence is. For me, it has been to discover a key that allows me to access increasing spaciousness, vastness, peace. In that peace, I notice I am more able to truly be with another, have the space to really get to know them rather than always filtering their experience through my own. A definite side benefit to presence can be greater intimacy and feelings of connection with all of life.

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 RisingasLove@gmail.com


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