Spiritually Reflecting On Jorge Garcia’s Deportation…

Two months ago, Jorge Garcia, a 39-year old man who’s lived in the United States for more than 30 years, was deported to Mexico due to current legislation targeting undocumented immigrants. Left behind were his wife, Cindy, and his two children, Jorge Jr, 12, and Soleil, 15, all of which are U.S. citizens.

Jorge, was brought originally to the U.S. by an undocumented family member when he was 10 years old. Since 2005, he has been searching for a path to legally live in the U.S. and has racked up over $125,000 in legal costs in the process. While he has actually faced deportation ever since 2009, the previous administration had provided him stays of removal that kept him here. But under the current administration, he was officially ordered back in November to return to Mexico. And unfortunately, Jorge was too old to qualify for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which protects children of undocumented immigrants, thus leaving him with no options and his forced exit from the United States on January 15th.

Currently, Jorge is now living with his Aunt in on the second floor of a small house and has been feeling completely lost ever since, as he resides in a country that doesn’t feel like home whatsoever. With no criminal record here in the States, not even a single traffic violation ever, a solid work history, and someone who always paid his taxes every single year, I’m truly struggling to understand why this had to happen to Jorge.

Sadly, it’s been almost two months now since his deportation and his demise seems to have completely drifted out of the news. I have looked at the picture of him and his family hugging each other at the Detroit airport multiple times ever since I first came across his story and have felt a pain in my heart that I don’t know if I have the right words to back the feeling up.

What I can say is this. I have great compassion for Jorge Garcia and the family he had to leave behind. While I do know there are undocumented immigrants in this country that abuse our system, that deal drugs, and create more problems than provide benefits of remaining here, I wish there were changes to this legislation that would take each situation case-by-case, that looked at things like criminal records and tax histories, and maybe even got reports from previous employers. But alas, there is nothing of the sort and now an upstanding husband, father, and former three-decade long resident of the country I’m from is barred from being here. And for a man who worked morning to night doing landscaping to support his family, raising his kids, and loving his wife, I struggle to find any valid reason, other than broad legislation, why Jorge should have been deported.

If you’re wondering why I feel so passionate about this, enough to write an entry in my blog about it, it’s because of the great pain his story brings to my heart and soul. I can’t imagine what it must feel like right now being in Jorge’s shoes or even in his wife’s or kid’s either. I’m sure there have been many tear-filled nights on all parts concerned, as I would have plenty of my own too if I was in their situation. Nevertheless, I pray that somehow Jorge may one day be allowed to return to the United States and get official citizenship and I pray for all others who may have fallen into a similar situation as he.

In the end, my parting thoughts are this. I totally understand why so many are struggling right now to feel proud to be Americans. Hopefully, this will change soon, but until it does, I can only hope my words and my prayers may at least bring some light into the darkness of Jorge’s situation and the darkness that feels so present right now on our very soil…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Finding Self-Worth

For years my self-worth was based upon what everyone else thought of me and that pattern began all the way back in my childhood with me constantly seeking my mother’s approval.

Truth be told, whenever she disapproved of me in some way, I ended up not liking myself that much, which in turn caused me to feel next to no self-worth. But on the contrary, when she did approve of me in some way and would vocalize that, then for at least those few moments, I’d feel some sense of value for myself. This is what began a decades long pattern of me looking outside of myself to everyone else in this world to define my level of self-worth. Thus, whenever I accomplished anything and felt proud of myself for a short period, if someone else didn’t like my results, say a boss, or a friend, or anyone for that matter, I’d beat myself up, feel like a failure, and lose any sense of self-confidence that I might have begun creating for myself.

For example, early on in my recovery from addictions, whenever I’d do a lead in front of others, even if I felt good about what I had said and had done the best I could during it, I’d always ask people afterwards if they thought I did a good job. If even at least one person made any sort of negative remark, I’d usually lose all sense of self-worth I’d found for myself after finishing that lead. When I finally broke free of the last addiction that had been controlling my life though, something changed within me. It was then I truly saw for the first time in my life this illusion that my self-worth needed to come from others. Ever since, I’ve been working on shifting out of this, but recently, I ran into a dilemma that made me see how I was still looking outside of myself for that sense of self-worth, except now it was in a slightly different way than before.

How this realization came about actually is tied to my ongoing health issues. For the past bunch of years, they’ve limited me in so many ways of being who I once was. That athletic, outgoing, and vibrant individual who was always more extroverted than introverted, has rarely been able to emerge given the level of pain and limitations I’ve had to endure. This in turn, has led me to believe I don’t have much value on this planet and am just a waste of space. Yet, my therapist helped me to open my eyes recently and see that my self-worth isn’t based upon the things I do externally, it’s just in being.

WHOA!!! (Mind exploding…)

Yes, that’s pretty much how I reacted when the light bulb first came on in her office the day I comprehended this.

This world in general makes it so very easy to believe that one’s self-worth comes from their accomplishments. Accomplishments like earning a high position at some job, achieving a six-plus figure salary, acquiring expensive possessions, becoming moderately to majorly famous in some type of way, travelling much of the world, saving lives, having a life-long intimate partner, volunteering, etc., etc., etc.

There are countless things many of us push ourselves to gain, day in and day out, hoping that with each we get, we will acquire more self-worth. But in the end, the pursuance of which only makes us all nothing more than overachievers looking outside of ourselves for self-confidence.

This is precisely what’s pushed me to sponsor more and more people in recovery. It’s what’s driven me to perfect my house year-round with its gardens and holiday decorations. It’s what’s compelled me to examine tons of self-help books and seek the help of countless guides and gurus. And it’s what’s propelled me into being that type of guy who pursues one task after another, hoping with each that I might generate that self-confidence, that feeling that I matter, that I am somehow of value in this world.

Yet, with these health limitations that have been more high than low in recent months, I haven’t been able to pursue anything even close to what I once was, thus lowering my sense of self-worth even more, which is exactly what led me to examine this in therapy recently and discover that self-worth doesn’t come from any of those things I’ve wanted to pursue and achieve. Instead, I’m seeing with clarity now that it really does come from just being, not doing. And you know what, aside from a few months here and there in my life when I had meditated into very deep states that led to me feeling incredible peace from within, I don’t think I’ve ever lived in that state of just being. Rather, it’s always been that state of doing! And it’s been exhausting to say the least.

So, here I am, in a new place in life, one where I can clearly see now that my self-worth isn’t going to come from what you or anyone else thinks of me, or from anything I might do that creates some type of impact in this world either. It’s going to happen from within and I am praying now that God helps me to begin feeling that more and more every day.

Ironically, I’m inclined to believe I’m already on that path and am finding some of that self-worth by me typing these very words. Whether that’s true or not, I must say I’m looking forward now to the morning I’ll wake up one day and simply be thankful just to be alive, just to be me, even if I never, ever become anything more than this: Andrew Arthur Dawson, a guy who’s currently living in Toledo, Ohio, who has a heart filled with unconditional love, and a soul that longs for a life filled with total devotion to God…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

“Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound To Hawaii. Seek Immediate Shelter. This Is Not A Drill.”

“Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” These were the words that came across as an emergency alert on every cellphone in Hawaii on January 13th around 8:07am.

While this message proved to be a user error that happened in a shift change during an internal drill at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, there were many who thought it was real for a short time period and began to prepare for the worst. By the time I caught wind of this news headline, this major mistake was well over with, but it still left me thinking.

What would I do, if this ever happened to me and the warning I received on my mobile phone wasn’t a mistake?

In today’s day and age where war seems like a constant threat, especially between North Korea and the United States, I’ve often asked myself this very question. While I certainly hope I never have to face something like this in actuality, I’m not afraid to die.

Look, I’m a firm believer that when it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go and there’s nothing I can to avoid that. I tend to believe that each of us have a set expiration date on God’s calendar and that if our time is up, it’s up and there’s nothing that can be done to change that. But if it’s not our time, then nothing we can do will change that either.

The main reason why I have this attitude is because of my experience with death so far in this life. I’ve witnessed people that should have died from multiple suicide attempts, but were never successful. I’ve known of others who did die from suicide on their very first attempt, where others it took countless attempts. Then there’s those I’ve known who’ve been on drugs for years and never died from an overdose and those who got high for the first time and died instantly because of it. There’s even those I’ve known who’ve died tragically from things so bizarre and those who’ve lived through them as well that should have taken their lives. And so on and so forth. Death seems to have its own expiration date for each of us where there’s never any rhyme or reason for what takes one’s life and what doesn’t.

Nevertheless, I say all this because if I was going to be in the vicinity of where a ballistic missile was about to explode and it was my time to go, then I fully believe there’s nothing I can really do to change that. Thus, running around and screaming, crying and looking for some type of shelter to save me most likely wouldn’t happen. Instead, I’d attempt to call my sister and tell her I love her and then embrace my partner one last time. Yet, in the same breath, if I was meant to survive a tragedy like a ballistic missile landing near me, then I also fully believe that God would guide me and protect me somehow through it all.

Regardless, I still hope I don’t ever end up seeing a message come across my phone, like the one Hawaiians saw just over a week ago. But if one like that somehow ever does, I truly do at least have that much acceptance in my life that if it’s my time to go, then there’s nothing I can do about it and I’m really ok with that, just as much as I’m really ok with living through it too, if that was what was meant to be instead…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Parable Of The Jogger, The Elderly Woman, And Her Turtles…

Every Sunday morning, a man enjoyed taking a light jog around a park near his home. There’s a lake located in one corner of the park and each time he jogged by this lake, he saw the same elderly woman sitting at the water’s edge with a small metal cage sitting beside her. On one of those mornings, his curiosity got the best of him, so he stopped jogging and walked over to her. As he got closer, he realized that the metal cage was in fact a small trap. There were three turtles, unharmed, slowly walking around the base of the trap. The elderly woman had a fourth turtle in her lap that she was carefully scrubbing with a spongy brush. When he approached her he asked, “I see you here every Sunday morning. If you don’t mind my nosiness, I’d love to know what you’re doing with these turtles?” She smiled and said, “I’m cleaning off their shells. Anything on a turtle’s shell, like algae or scum, reduces the turtle’s ability to absorb heat and impedes its ability to swim. It can also corrode and weaken the shell over time.” “Wow! That’s really nice of you!” the jogger exclaimed. She went on: “I spend a couple of hours every Sunday morning relaxing by this lake and helping these little guys out. It’s my own strange way of making a difference in the world.” “But don’t most freshwater turtles live their whole lives with algae and scum hanging from their shells though?” he asked. “Yep, sadly, they do,” she replied. He then scratched his head and inquired, “Well then, don’t you think your time could be better spent? I mean, I think your efforts are kind and all, but there are fresh water turtles living in lakes all around the world. And 99% of these turtles don’t have kind people like you to help them clean off their shells. So, no offense… but how exactly are your localized efforts here truly making a difference?” The woman giggled, as she looked down at the turtle in her lap, scrubbing off the last piece of algae from its shell, and said, “Sweetie, if this little guy could talk, he’d tell you I just made all the difference in the world!”

Have you ever thought you weren’t making any bit of difference in the world with the efforts you’ve made to make it a more loving place? It’s often easy to do when one begins to compare themselves to others who always seem to be doing much greater humanitarian efforts that have far larger positive impacts upon the planet. But, this parable is a great reminder that sometimes that can still happen in even the smallest of actions.

Personally, I’ve asked myself a lot over the past few years if any of my own efforts of reaching out and helping others has even mattered. The answer I’ve arrived at time and time again is that I believe they have, it’s just that in most cases, I never receive confirmation of that. Occasionally though, I’ve gotten an email or a text message from someone somewhere in the world who has thanked me for my efforts, and ironically, they usually have come when I’m at my lowest point and questioning whether I’m making any bit of difference. Thankfully, I do think there’s something much Greater than I out there who is always listening to my thoughts and feelings and sees each of my efforts to help others, no matter how small they are, and sometimes lets me know that these efforts really do matter.

So, if you are someone who wonders if your efforts to make this world a better place are important or even matter, trust me when I say that I totally believe they do. Keep doing what you are doing and know that there is a Higher Guidance out there who continues to notice and when you least expect it, will remind you how much they and you are appreciated.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson