martha dawson

errant inspiration

the extraordinary lives in the ordinary

burning down the house!

Be careful what you wish for. 
Because it WILL come true, but usually not in the way you imagined.

For example, recently I described my internal state as this:
I have burned down my home, and I am naked and living in an empty tent with only dust in my toolbox.

 Any guesses as to what my wish was that landed me in that delightful position?

I wished for authenticity.

I want to live as the fullest expression of my essence as I can, not as some watered-down version of myself that I cobbled together out of my fears and other people’s expectations. I want to stop using chronic optimism and idiot compassion to avoid suffering. I want to be open to the Truth.

Turns out this can be a very messy proposition.

Without the buffering effects of the afore-mentioned chronic optimism and idiot compassion, I feel a broader, more intense range of emotions, both mine and other people’s. It’s like seeing a movie in technicolor for the first time. I cry more now, not just from pain, but also for joy. Some of my favourite sobfests involve the beauty and unconditional generosity of the natural world. I cry when the trees outside my windows appear lit from within, filling my apartment with soothing green light and shading me from the sun. They also entertain me with the most mesmerizing shadow dances on the living room wall on sunny afternoons. Another time I wept with abandon while watching a video my daughter sent me about how magpies saved a woman’s life and now she returns the favour every day. 

But to live the Truth means being open to experiencing its full palette of colours. I no longer get to hide from anger, hurt, shame, grief, and their cohorts if I want my wish of authenticity to be a reality. No more putting pretty party dresses on the black sheep of the emotional family. Yes, they can be acutely painful guests, but when I allow myself to feel them they share potent information and reveal their hidden gifts. I know that Anger’s secret identity is The Great Motivator and Hurt’s superpowers are to support me in speaking my truth and setting healthy boundaries.

The biggest challenge I’m having right now with this expanded, less filtered, grown-up girl way of seeing the world is coming to grips with what people are willing to do to each other, both on a personal and global level, to maintain their own comfort zones and supposed power. I have witnessed or experienced thoughtlessness, deception, and even cruelty in sizes ranging from petite to extra large, and even though I know it comes from a place of fear, I often find it disheartening. Giving up my rose coloured glasses has been tough.

But I digress.

I was living naked in a dingy, old canvas tent with an empty toolbox.
I was vulnerable, acutely uncomfortable, with absolutely no idea what to do, but at the same time I was also alive with curiosity about what might happen next. 

I waited.

One morning this arrived in my email box: Deep Listening for Suffering Souls

That would be me. 

While I read my way through the article this subtitle grabbed my attention: Why undigested emotions are your worst enemy.

All kinds of bells and whistles went off inside of me. It’s time to digest the internalized festering pockets of goo I’ve been harbouring. I decided to try deep listening. I figured it would take some practice, but I was excited, and honestly how can you go wrong doing a present moment awareness exercise?

You can’t go wrong, but you can unleash some monsters.

Breathe in. Breathe out. I’m listening.
I hear the cars.
I hear the birds.
I hear the refrigerator.
I hear my breath, my heart beat, my nervous system.

I know why I had to torch the house.

If I want to live authentically, I must have the courage to release EVERYTHING that no longer speaks the truth of me whether they be thoughts, behaviours, people or situations because authenticity cannot live peacefully under the same roof with half-truths and lies. You can’t keep some of the not so truthful stuff and expect to be my authentic self, but as with most things it’s a process. Some of those outdated beliefs I’ve been sheltering didn’t just pack their bags and leave quietly. 

Do you know how hard it is to evict a self-sacrificing, must be perfect, goody two shoes girl from her 1970’s pink bedroom or give the heave-ho to the spectre of a judgemental mother rummaging around in the attic looking for ammo? It became clear that the very structure of my house was riddled with non-truths.

So I burned it down.

And sat naked in a tent next to the cellar hole doing the deep listening thing.

It became clear that I was not alone.
My father slithered out of the cellar hole and grabbed me by the ankles! 
Note: He’s been dead for almost 46 years and was a pedeaphile. I told you there were monsters!

I then committed an outrageous act of violence. An act that in the past I would not even have let myself think about.

WARNING: There’s a bit of graphic violence ahead.

I screamed at him to let me go and get out.
He doesn’t.
I kicked him in the face repeatedly to give emphasis to my words.
I broke his nose. There was blood everywhere.
He still wouldn’t let go.
I reached for a sword and I cut off his hands.
That surprised him, but he still didn’t leave.
I sliced off his genitals and stuffed them in his mouth and asked him how he liked it.
I blew giant holes in him with a big gun. (I have a big gun?!?!)
He didn’t go.
I called for assistance. 
Two pearly grey beings with wings showed up, grabbed him under the arms and took him away with his severed hands running after them.

Good riddance and don’t come back!

I turned to re-enter the tent and found everything transformed!
I was wearing soft, comfortable clothes including a pearly grey sweater. 
The tent had a bohemian flair, created out of many beautifully patterned fabrics.The ground was covered with a plush Persian rug and there was an inviting bed covered in rich coloured pillows. I curled up in the pillows and fell asleep.

When I woke up I was told that there was nothing left for me at the house site and that my fabulous tent came with an intricately carved wooden boat that sat in the quiet stream nearby. I reassembled the tent and bed on the boat. My kitty and I made ourselves comfortable and we gently floated downstream. 

That act of liberation in another dimension has affected the way I behave in the physical world. For one thing, when faced with hurtful, less than truthful, disrespectful behaviour it is no longer my top priority to make that person feel comfortable. As an empath, I frequently sensed the origin of their fear and pain, and I believed that the most compassionate thing I could do was to excuse their behaviour and not hold them accountable. Wrong!

Compassion is a versatile tool, but attempting to take away another’s suffering or trying to do their work for them are not on its list of effective uses and usually requires a large dose of self-betrayal. I know. I was the young woman who spent an hour trying to get out of a professor’s office when he had his hand up my shirt because I didn’t want to make HIM uncomfortable. Listening, witnessing, speaking honestly, long hugs, walking away, and on occasion a swift elbow to the gut are on that list. For me and my work, it also includes helping someone to recognize their inner wisdom and intuitive abilities and encourage them to trust them. 

It turns out my toolbox isn’t empty. I just need to learn how to use my tools for what they were actually designed for. Screwdrivers are not the best for digging holes and pencils make lousy Q-Tips. 

I have established some new boundaries in both the physical and spirit worlds. For instance, bullying, entitlement and gaslighting no longer get you what you want from me unless I feel it benefits us both, but I recommend that you try an honest, kind approach if you don’t want splinters of mistrust in our relationship. I have informed the ancestor on the other side who in the past had brought my father to me in hopes of facilitating his healing to never do so again without my permission. His healing is not my job, and if they do not respect my wishes they too will lose the privilege of interacting with me. 

I have choices and I am not afraid to use them.

I continue to learn and am more forgiving of my clumsiness as I do so. 
That is self-compassion.
I feel freer, stronger, and more peaceful, and my new internal home, the beautiful floating tent boat, reflects that.

I was not without loving support or moments of peace and contentment while huddled in that nasty, empty tent. I am very blessed to have some trustworthy people in my life, both here and in spirit, who are always there for me and are willing to listen to my suffering and still love me even when I find it difficult to love myself. I am also grateful that I am able to find peace when I’m connected with Spirit through meditation or with people’s soul selves during readings. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

If you would like to evict your monsters, burn down your out-dated internal house and would like some support, I’d be more than happy to help you find your matches. Or perhaps you have a flamethrower? 

From my heart to yours,

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