It took Savannah Hanson not just one trip around the world but two to find her greatest love. Turns out she was with that person the entire time; she learned to love herself. Savannah explains how our children are really free zen teachers who reveal our greatest blocks and why self-love is really the key to living your best life.
Savannah Hanson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is certified by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists in Family therapy. She has a Master’s in Spiritual and Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on Consciousness, Health and Healing from The University of Santa Monica. Her Bachelor’s degree is from Northwestern University. She is also a Certified Cellular Memory Release (CMR) Practitioner. She has also done numerous trainings and taught many workshops and courses in consciousness and parenting, facilitated private sessions internationally and been a school counselor and cancer support facilitator.
THE SAGA (from Savannah)
For those who enjoy the backstory, here is some of the saga of how I began to wake up both to my true identity as Love and to my life’s purpose:
On New Year’s Eve of 1987 I committed to a new life. I had all the trappings of a seemingly successful life yet my heart felt empty. My mother had died the year before, leaving me heartbroken. I had a high paying job, a gorgeous boyfriend, owned my own home, traveled on vacations around the world. While I had met many of my worldly aspirations, a deep yearning within was not satisfied.
I began by going on a drastic weight loss program. I went on a 500 calorie medically supervised fast and dropped a lot of weight. I began therapy and broke up with my sweet boyfriend of 5 years. I then went to Mexico and met a man with whom I decided to answer one of my deepest life dreams and we made arrangements to travel the world. I quit my job after 10 years, left my home and began traveling with my new Austrian boyfriend. We lived in Austria for some months before embarking on what was to be one year traveling around the world. I returned to the USA after about two years away yet stayed only briefly as I felt very disconnected from American life. We went back to Europe then traveled in Latin America for months before embarking on another world trip. I knew I was searching for myself.
After being out of the country for about 5 1/2 years, I returned alone to decided about my relationship with my boyfriend and answer the questions that still gnawed at me. What was my purpose? What is Love? Who am I? I enrolled in the University of Santa Monica for my Master’s degree in Psychology. A former student had responded to my question about this education becoming my sole means of support by saying it would support my soul. That struck a cord and I knew I was in the right place. I received an education in spiritual psychology and gained a Master’s in Counseling Psychology with an Emphasis on Consciousness, Health and Healing. As part of my schooling, I did a year long project to answer my next life’s dream which was to be married and heal all the wounds preventing that. At the end of the year my boyfriend and I married. My next dream was to have a child. I had left it a bit late because I was adamantly opposed to bring a child into the world while I was still struggling with my life long anxiety. Having healed so much while obtaining my Master’s we decided to proceed. After a few years without a pregnancy, we chose to adopt. My husband chose an international adoption and I had to heal many uncertainties in order to move forward with integrity. Each of my dreams had brought up numerous areas of myself that felt limited. To bring each dream into reality, I had to heal so much. This was no exception. After we completed our paperwork with the last stamps from the Guatemalan consulate, we arrived home and I merely saw the blinking light on the answering machine and knew my daughter had arrived. Indeed, the message was that a two day old child was available. We quickly arranged to fly to Guatemala with all the attending anxiety one might expect with a 12 day pregnancy! We met her for the first time when she was two weeks old. The foster parent was late bring her to us and I chanted “God in me, me in God” in order to calm my frantic mind. When they placed her in my arms I saw she was covered in black fur. I asked my husband what that was and he told me it was a disease that would get worse with age. I initially felt my heart contract at that news which later turned out to be totally inaccurate. Yet after staring into her eyes for what seemed like eternity, I fell into a pool of benevolent joy and knew a home coming that surpassed anything I had ever experienced. There was a moment of such profound recognition I was shaken to my core. I KNEW HER! I recognized her at such an earth shattering soul level. As I stared into her eyes I saw heaven and all anxiety and uncertainty ceased. Her chosen name was Ciela which is based on the latin word for sky or heaven. I recognized her as a gift from heaven. That she was my daughter was one of the few things I knew with absolute certainty.
Afterwards I cried for days. My tears were ones of relief that this one soul yearning had finally been answered after years of uncertainty. I also cried with grief for the loss to her birth mother, for children everywhere without parents, for celebration and joy that I had finally found my daughter, for an overwhelming love that encompassed the planet. I then began saying, “I can’t leave” to my husband, chanting it life a mantra. He kept asking frantically what I meant. The long and short of it was we extended our stay to two weeks, returned to our home where I took a leave from my counseling internship and we returned to Guatemala to be with her until the adoption was complete in record speed. My deep knowing was the fuel that guided the entire process.
Upon my return I took more time off to celebrate her first year of life before returning to compete the licensing process to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. After a time of relative abundance, our finances took a turn for the worst and I realized we would have to let go of my dream home in Topanga. This caused huge internal upset that took me years to work through. Our home was built in 1921and somehow associated with Charlie Chaplin. When we realized we needed to sell, I determined I could not live in southern California without staying in this home, in that now very expensive area. No one ever questioned this decision and it was only later that I recognized how powerfully this certainty lived in me, as thought there was literally no other choice but to leave southern California. We began exploring from Arizona to Oregon, looking for a charter Waldorf or other good school. My neighbor’s children attended a Waldorf school and I was impressed by the children’s calm, grounded natures. We made a few initial exploratory searches. Then immediately after passing my oral exams for my license, we packed up and moved out with our daughter who had just turned three. We did not know where we would go and had left everything in storage. Looking back I am surprised that we would make such a radical move without specific plans. I now know it was a soul calling. We traveled and searched different areas for months. I finally chose an area in northern California. I was in doubt until I asked for a sign. I have been blessed with a few pivotal signs in my life. The first was finding a tiny cutout word “baby” on a street at night just after asking if I should proceed with my vision of adopting. The second was when I had just asked if Guatemala was where we should adopt from and I then, within hours, saw a small latin girl on the side of the road near where we lived. I later met this girl who was indeed from Guatemala. The sign about moving to the area where we know live came on a playground in Malibu where I fell into conversation with a woman and somehow learned that she had just moved to the area we were considering to attend the Waldorf school there. Holy synchronicity!
All this chaos and other factors led to conflicts in my marriage. At one point my heart began to tell me this was not where I belonged. Yet the sense of family and friendship was so powerful I could not imagine separating. As we were exploring where to move to, I fell into a deep depression, one that lasted several weeks and remerged later. I was losing so much, our money, our beloved home, the area where we’d lived, my dream of having a second child which was not feasible on so many levels and now my marriage. My world came crashing down and I began a long period of inner reflection, deep questions, profound wounds rising to the surface for healing. As our marriage was crumbling, I received inner guidance to buy a house and despite financial and other fears, we were able to buy a house in short sale. One month after we bought the house, our marriage took a definite turn toward dissolution and I was plunged into the deepest despair, panic, terror and loss. It is now clear this home was a gift from the Universe as I began four solitary years of intense soul retrieval work, sheltered by the silence of these five secluded, rural acres far from everything. The other gift from the Universe was a synchronicity that occurred as soon as we arrived in northern California. Immediately upon moving to this area I had met a man who did something he called Cellular Memory Release. I had become certified in this intense inner work. Now I needed it as I was catapulted into the deepest level of healing I had ever know. I was literally not sure either of us would survive this tumultuous period as my husband was going through his own agony. We spent a year and half trying to save our marriage, concerned for our daughter. Yet ultimately it became clear our marriage could not survive. While we both valued love above all things, we each had a different interpretation of the best way to serve love. The separation forced me to dive into my deepest wound, the belief that love was outside of me, that without someone loving me I was bereft of love. The agony of facing that gaping sorrow brought me to the edge of myself repeatedly. I felt at times I would not survive it, that I would lose my mind, lose my desire to live, lose all hope. After a year and a half, my husband made the finally decision to end our marriage. The divorce will be final in a few days as I write this. Yet the universe was kind. Our home sits on five pristine acres, in a valley with a view to the coastal range 80 miles distant. I was basically incapacitated for years. Somehow I survived by taking care of the simplest necessitates, caring for our daughter, having a few clients and students. I also began a blog about my inner journey that now reaches 96 countries and has been a source of great satisfaction. My work became ever clearer and now focuses on adoring ourselves and our children back to wholeness and joy.
I have had to cut back on my life style to give this inner journey the attention it needed. I let go of almost everything except my daughter. I felt forced to stay in solitude as I faced the deepest questions. Who am I? What is Love? How can I embody the love that I am? I had bought a license plate years ago that says B L❤VE. As I looked deep into my soul, I KNEW this was what I had to devote my life to. I have felt huge doubt and uncertainty, questioned my sanity, my responsibility as a parent given how much I have needed to let go of to keep my vision alive.Yet the yearning is so vast it must be answered. I KNOW love is who I am. I know this is what I must share with the world, this certainty that love is our essence. And yes, I continue to doubt, to question, plagued by my ego that this will never work, that I have devoted myself to an unrealistic dream. Yet when I consider letting go, my heart contracts. I KNOW I am meant to be love, to teach only love. Whatever it takes, this is who I am and I must answer the call or suffer the inner consequences of betrayal. This is what I cannot do so I commit fully to making my dream a reality, whatever it takes. As I looked deep into my soul, I KNOW this is my soul purpose to be an emissary for the universal awakening of unconditional love and joy.