martha dawson

errant inspiration

the extraordinary lives in the ordinary

how your underpants can change your life

yellow granny underpants

Apparently I am too impatient to sit down to put on my underpants.

Therefore I was destined to repeat the jig of the perpetually clumsy and pulled my hamstring for the second time this year. @#%*!!!

After howling in pain and doing the doggy paddle in a puddle of self pity, I pulled myself up off the floor and took stock of the situation.

yellow granny underpantsInjured hamstrings like to rest, take their own sweet time to heal, and can easily be reinjured during the process. They enjoy epsom salt baths and plenty of ibuprofen. Something I denied it in the first go around because I don’t like to take drugs. I didn’t make that mistake again when I learned it helped with the inflammation and not just the pain.

The pity swim wasn’t about the discomfort. It was because I knew for the next couple of weeks (again!) I would only be able to sit in a chair for very brief periods of time, stand for slightly longer, and lie down in a pile of pillows for the majority of the day.

Did I mention that I am a sitter?
I write, paint, read, work, and eat perched on a chair. 

Did I mention that I live on the third floor?
Going down the stairs wasn’t an issue. It’s the coming up that’s the challenge.
Thank goodness my clients come to me!

There it was! The first sign of a shift in perspective, a blessing. It was just enough to remind me that there are gifts in EVERY situation. No exceptions.

I took a moment to consider and discovered Ms. Hamstring’s gifts:

    • Better body awareness and a chance to practice proper self-care
    • More time to meditate and read
    • Slowing down which helped me to be present in the moment
    • Better use of computer time since I never figured out how to type lying down
    • How to do a graceful arabesque to avoid pain when retrieving dropped items from the floor

Remember I said that without exception there are gifts in EVERY situation? Pulling my hamstring was an easy one to do this with once I got past my frustration (Mind you, I still had to have the experience twice to get it!), but what about the traumatic experiences that arise in our lives such as a death of a loved one, abuse or chronic illness? Are there gifts hidden in them?

In my experience this has been true.

This is not about stuffing your emotions or becoming a vapid Pollyanna pretending that everything is all sweetness and light. Honouring the full range of our emotions is a very powerful experience both from a human and a soul perspective. It provides us with the opportunity to accept and embrace our whole self, step into our own power, heal, and change how we experience and participate in the world.

The best way I can illustrate this is by sharing a personal experience.  

Ten years of sexual abuse by my father and over three decades of emotional abuse by my mother played a profound role in shaping my perceptions about myself and the world around me. My feelings of self-loathing led me to become an overachiever and people pleaser in the attempt to earn love and worthiness. I felt like a fraud and feared I was truly unlovable. To me, the world and the people in it were not safe or trustworthy, but I tried to pretend that they were. Unlike the hamstring episode, the unfolding of these gifts has taken place over decades and still continues.

Here are a few highlights:

    • Being more honest with myself. I do make mistakes. I do hurt people sometimes. Accepting these facts is freeing and has helped me to be more compassionate with myself and others, including my parents. It released me from my obsessive striving for perfection to disguise my self-perceived fatal flaws and my over identification with victimhood.

    • Increased ability to accept and express a much wider range of emotions. For example, I found out that anger is not meant to be taboo (as my mother insisted it must be). It can be a great motivator.

    • I am not here just to meet the needs and desires of others and certainly not at the expense or betrayal of myself. I am now surrounded by people who love, respect, and appreciate me for just being me as I do them. I am also free to discover what I like instead of being a chameleon to suit others.

    • Due to the disassociation from my body as a result of the abuse, my energy was pushed up into my upper four chakras where the spiritual aspects of our being are focused and away from the lower three which are associated with our physicality. This has given me pretty much an uninterrupted awareness of my psychic senses throughout my life. It has also led me to the quest to learn how to enjoy being in a human body.

    • The foundation for the awareness of my Soul’s growth focuses for this lifetime were laid down early and loudly making them practically unavoidable in adulthood. They include things like the healthy embodiment and expression of personal power especially in the arena of gender roles, releasing judgement, what is true compassion, and the integration of my physical and spiritual senses while in human form.

    • My Dad dying when I was seventeen was a difficult and confusing event for many reasons, but his early departure actually cleared the way for me to get the help I needed sooner. At the time I was incapable of facing what I thought would cause the destruction of my family while he was still here. This gift literally saved me from self-destruction.

I won’t lie, this journey has been arduous at times, especially in the beginning, but when I could no longer bear what I was experiencing a door opened, and I was faced with a choice on how to end my suffering. In my late 20’s for a brief moment I considered removing myself from this life. That was swiftly followed by the realization that I wanted to heal. I had absolutely no idea how it could be accomplished. I couldn’t even imagine my life without the self-hatred, and in that moment of complete uncertainty I chose to trust there was a way out of hell. For me it began that day with a phone call and my first visit to a very special therapist.

Is suffering necessary for the expansion of consciousness here on earth? I don’t know. But have you ever known a human being to make any changes or shifts when they were cruising down Easy Street?

Like labour pains before birth, these obstacles are part of the awakening and expansion of consciousness. They alert us that a change is coming. We can accept it or fight it. One of the ways we can lessen our suffering is to experiment with shifts in our perception.

Even though I cannot always see the gifts while I am in the midst of a great struggle, they do become apparent more quickly because I have allowed their existence into my field of awareness. In holding this belief, I am able to witness my experiences with new eyes and see opportunities for growth and healing that I would have missed before. This reduces my suffering and love gets a chance to fill my being.

And here is the greatest gift of all.

Because we are all one, our expansion of consciousness benefits everything in creation!

Thank you, Dad.
Thank you, Mom.
Thank you, Ms. Hamstring.
You continue to be great teachers.

With all my heart,

Martha

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