martha dawson

errant inspiration

the extraordinary lives in the ordinary

further teachings from my 14 year old self

…..And my 14 year old self keeps on teaching! She has turned out to be a fabulous traveling companion on my journey.

Who is the People-Pleasing Rule Breaker?
The Compassionate Curmudgeon?
The Procrastinating Creator?
The Snarky Empath?


These are some of the contradictory, confusing, and what I perceived as unflattering aspects of myself that made me feel like a fake, full of shame and tortured by guilt. I would try to hide them away, deny them a voice, and even try to amputate the “bad” parts from the “good” parts.

And now… I have found good reasons to love them all.
This messy bunch comes bearing gifts.
Come, meet one of them.

The People-Pleasing Rule Breaker
I arrived as a rule breaker, conceived before my parents were married in the 1950’s swimming in a womb infused with my mother’s shame and guilt. Tough start, but I signed up for the challenge. I grew up playing with faeries, seeing dead people, traveling outside of my body, and loving the magical beauty I found in the world. I went on to attend an alternative school followed by art school, broke gender and age rules, and could never get onboard with who and what was popular. I was intrigued with what lived outside the box, and I loved my individuality.

But here’s the thing, I lived in a family that was riddled with sexual and emotional abuse, narcissism, and substance abuse. I didn’t feel loved, and I certainly didn’t feel safe. So what could I do? I couldn’t feed, shelter, or clothe myself, and I really wanted to be loved.

As a child I didn’t make a logical decision on how to deal with this situation. I didn’t even know there was a decision to be made. Children adjust by just doing what comes naturally. I was born with empathic wiring. I could sense what people were feeling and what they needed. I didn’t know that at the time. It was just the way I experienced the world. So to survive my homelife I became a people-pleaser to the nth degree. I put my needs aside for the most part and gave my parents whatever they wanted in hopes that they might love me. Needless to say this behaviour did not stay within the confines of family life. It was with me wherever I went. I rescued, fixed, and soothed people everywhere I went trying to be worthy of love. It was exhausting, and it didn’t work. I felt guilty because I didn’t always want to spend my energy on others by being what they needed, and that just magnified the shame I was already carrying. I was terrified someone would find out what a fraud I was. I harboured resentment, anger, and fear towards what might be asked of me next. I wasn’t the good girl they thought I was.

Now the funny thing was that the people-pleasing did not extinguish my expression of individuality in my interests or my drive to break rules that seemed unjust or just plain stupid. I was unable to conform in those areas.

Turns out this gloppy stew of inner duality was my saving grace.

The people-pleasing allowed me to survive my family life. Being the good girl allowed me not to be the primary target of anger and judgement, and I was given more freedoms. I was given chances to push the envelope when I desired because, rightly or wrongly, they trusted me.

It also gave me a chance to practice my empath skills which helped to develop compassion for others and an understanding and appreciation for the unique individuality they expressed. It also gave me first-hand experience of how everything is connected.

The gifts of the rule breaker seem obvious to me (I like rebels!), but here is the most important one.

It harboured my true essence and sustained it by giving it the means to express itself so it wouldn’t wither in the darkness of self-neglect, betrayal, and people-pleasing. Being born an Aries was no accident! That astrological energy is there to keep my sense of self alive and kicking no matter the circumstances.

Together these contrasting aspects of myself are also responsible for me finally nurturing the tender shoots of self-love and understanding what real love is. I never knew. Until a few years ago I thought it needed to be earned by what I could do for others, and I would cling to anyone that showed me a bit of affection or attention. I thought that was love. I hoped it was.

But it wasn’t.

I now know that I want to be seen, valued, accepted, trusted and loved for just being me, and I want to give no less than that to the people in my life.

Now that I have a definition of real love, I can actually recognize it. I’m happy to say that I can now see and feel the wonderful examples of it I have in my life.

Duality is a powerful learning tool. I came here with both a strong desire to express my individuality and the empathic ability to merge with all energies. Both have given me pain and pleasure. Seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Until you realise that is actually a recipe for integrating the temporal and eternal selves while in physical form.

We are all traveling towards wholeness.

Each of us has chosen a particular route and speed at which we want to travel. The trip could be completed in a blink of an eye or take many lifetimes. There is no one right way. There is only your way because you are the map and the driver.

All roads lead home to oneness, to love.

So consider making friends with those wild, stinky, badly dressed, nasty, twisty, orphaned parts of yourself and receive the gifts they offer you. Your suffering will diminish. The guilt and shame will recede and your inner critic will have less to yell about.

Having this duality in our lives gives us tools to bring forth our authentic essence enabling us to express the love that we are.

Find the way to loving yourself and your heart opens to all.

Find the tools and the people who can assist you on your journey to wholeness.

And if my services resonate with you, let me know. I would be honoured to journey with you.

Travel on, travel well.

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