How Did My Health Get This Bad?

The last few years of my life have been challenging as I’ve been facing physical health issues that surfaced. How I’ve handled them is ironic as it’s paying attention now to the messages I was getting when it all started.

Physical health issues more often than not are the result of imbalances within ourselves that began a long time before the first physical symptom manifested itself. April 27th, 2010 was the day the severe sciatica and numbness began in my left leg. This progressed into developing prostatitis and then other aches and pains that fell under the label of Fibromyaliga. For the first two years after the initial onset of these physical health symptoms, I looked for physical causes and physical treatments. What I didn’t realize is that this all began on a spiritual level a young age.

I, like everyone else, is a spiritual being in a human vessel. I believe we all come here to learn various lessons but in each of them, we are meant to love and embrace each other unconditionally. Sadly, along the way, life happens. Hardship happens. Bad things happen. And our focus shifts to preservation of self we we find ways to be happy that are very selfishly centered.

I was born into an alcoholic family and I was neglected and unloved by them and molested by an outsider in the first 16 years of my life. Spiritually, I had no conception of unconditional love, hope, joy, and peace. Shortly after turning 17, I found my solution to be alcohol and drugs. From then until the age of 23 when they no longer quieted my spiritual imbalances from my childhood, I found my mental thoughts becoming more and more negative. My outlook on life was looking more clouded. I was seeing things through a set of jaded eyes.

Between 23 and 35 years old, I sought out other addictions as my solution rather than finding spiritual peace within and healing from all that unrest as a child. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I chased sex and love, gambling, caffeine, geographical cures, shopping, traveling, and more until eventually between 35 and 38 years old my emotional state went to a constant up and down with anxiety and depression.

I still didn’t listen to the messages my own body was giving me. I kept myself in unhealthy and abusive friendships and relationships, I chased after people who didn’t want to be with me, I indulged in things that were poisonous to my body, until I found myself in a relationship with a married man (to a woman) who was closeted, a homophobic, and an alcoholic. On some level, I had come back around full circle to my life as a child where I was a son to two very sick alcoholic parents. And then after many days of enduring incredible sadness with this relationship, and many days of carrying constant worry and fear about it, the physical pain started in my left leg. April 27th, 2010.

The messages to heal were there a long time ago. I got sick first spiritually when I grew up in a family that was unhealthy. I didn’t choose to work on releasing that sickness through therapy or some other healing modality when I left home, I chose things to numb those feelings. As time went on, I chased thing after thing and person after person, growing first mentally sick with constant negativity and doubt about my future and then emotionally sick with anxiety and depression. My intuitive self along the way continued to tell me that this person wasn’t good for me, this decision wasn’t the right one for me, this job wasn’t a good fit for me, and this relationship wasn’t healthy for me, but I wasn’t listening.

Those messages got louder, the pain got stronger, until it had to manifest itself somewhere and the only place it had left to go to release itself out of me was on the physical level. So here I am today, January 24th, 2013, still dealing with physical pain. There is a difference though. I realized I can heal and will heal but I have to start from the beginning.

About 9 months ago, I parted ways with all things toxic in my life including possessions, people, meetings and anything else that was perpetuating these life patterns of pain. I then had a baseline to start with and I reached out to God and said to please heal me from within. There are many drugs out there both legal and illegal that have been produced to bring about less pain. All of them on some level simply suppress the body’s own ability to heal. I went down that path for the first few years of this pain and got nowhere other than more angry in life and seeking out worldly things to cope with a miserable existence.

In the past 9 months, I have worked on my spiritual presence here. I pray throughout the day to live in my higher self and to serve a higher existence. I seek God to run my thoughts, words, and actions. I meditate at least 30 minutes in silence once a day. I spend between 30 and 45 minutes every day stating positive mantras. I listen to a spiritual message each morning for 20 minutes to start off my day. And I end my day with writing 9 different things to be grateful for to God in that given day. With all that work, my life has gotten better. First mentally. I noticed my thinking became more positive. My words became more positive. Life seemed a little less negative and clouded. And the more days that I continued to do all these actions, I noticed the depression and anxiety lessened as well. I added in bi-weekly acupuncture, polarity and reiki, and weekly therapy sessions and eliminated all chemical medications and caffeine in the process.

I have started to get some slight relief in my physical pain on many days. I believe that the more I continue my path of healing in the order I got sick, I will get better. I realized I decline first spiritually, then mentally, then emotionally, and finally physically. My healing has been in that same order. I had to work on the spiritual unrest from my childhood first and all the things. I followed on with that throughout my life. Then, I worked on my mental thought process through the mantras and therapy. Thought that and other positive actions, I found emotional healing taking place.

It’s just a matter of time with God at the center now for my life and my healing that the physical relief will come. In the meantime, all I have is today, one day at a time, and I will live it with having God at the helm guiding me on how to be the most loving, spiritual being that I can be in this lifetime.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Gay Stereotype

“Seriously, you’re gay?”

“You don’t look gay?!”

“You don’t act gay?!”

These are just a few of what many have said to me when I talk openly about my sexuality. It’s been 17 years now since I “came out of the closet” and began to deal openly with my sexuality. Before 1995 when I was on the other side and “in the closet”, I remember the many taunts at people that others viewed as gay even if they didn’t know if that person was gay or not. A lot has changed since then with both those that are gay and those that are not and well, a lot hasn’t changed either.

I’m 6’5″, about 170 pounds, with a short crew cut hairstyle and blue eyes. It’s hard not to notice me and most wouldn’t know upon looking at me or spending time with me that I am in a gay relationship. I don’t like labeling myself as gay primarily because of the stereotypes that are associated to the term and lifestyle.

Wikipedia describes a stereotypical gay male as the following: “Homosexual men are often equated interchangeably with heterosexual women by the heterocentric mainstream and are frequently stereotyped as being effeminate, despite the fact that gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation are widely accepted to be distinct from each other. The “flaming queen” is a characterization that melds flamboyance and effeminacy, remaining a gay male stock character in Hollywood. Theater, specifically Broadway musicals, are a component of another stereotype, the “Show Queen”, generalizing that all gay men listen to show tunes and are involved with the performing arts, and are theatrical, overly dramatic, and campy.”

I did a search on Google to see what many say a stereotypical gay person is like. The Wikipedia definition is tame compared to what some think. What’s sad about these generalizations is that they are the same as when I was growing up. In 40 years of my life, it hasn’t changed. Television continues to bring shows on the air such as Will & Grace and Modern Family depicting these stereotypes. People love these shows and they win a lot of Emmys. Modern Family is the latest to win year after year and have nomination after nomination for their portrayal of gay characters. Eric Stonestreet was nominated this year for that very specific role. It’s very believable that he’s gay when you watch him on the show. In real life, he’s not. Neither was Eric McCormack who played the gay man Will on Will & Grace. In a movie, most often a “gay male” is depicted as weak, feminine, flamboyant, and promiscuous. Are there gay males in the real world that are feminine and flamboyant, promiscuous, and like show tunes? Of course. Are there many other gay males out there that are completely different? Most definitely. It’s not even just with gay men. Lesbian women get the wrap with being described and portrayed as being overly masculine, having a deeper voice, short cropped hair, and wearing male clothes. The only main thing different with lesbians on TV and movies today is that they are showing more strikingly beautiful women be sexual with other women. My guess is because it is within many straight male fantasies to be with two women into each other and themselves.

When I tell people about my sexuality, I get a lot of dropped jaws and the questions that I began this posting with. I’ve even got the “but you play sports” and the “are you sure” comments. Is it difficult for mainstream America and really the world in general to embrace a masculine acting man who finds attraction in another man because of these stereotypical portrayals of a gay male? Lesbians don’t get the same treatment. It’s becoming more and more common to see a lesbian woman openly showing affection to other woman in public. I have seen it myself with many women holding hands and kissing in public. Television shows and movies are quick to show this as “it’s more accepted in society”. But have two men regardless of how masculine or feminine acting they are, hold hands in public and/or kiss, and it’s like a needle scratches across a record and the whole room looks up and stares negatively at you.

If the portrayal in mainstream media could shift their focus and start portraying men that are extremely masculine, such as in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, people might begin to remove those stereotypes in their thinking. I’m not living a promiscuous life. I don’t talk with a lisp. I don’t have a swish when I walk. I like sports. I’m not really into Broadway. I wear jeans and Harley Davidson shirts. And…I am attracted to men.

Unfortunately with Hollywood and media portraying the same characters over and over again that people remember easily such as Jack in Will & Grace, the judgments and labels easily continue within mainstream society about what a gay man is all about.

I used to make a joke a long time ago that the main difference between a gay man and a straight man is a six pack of beer. Interestingly enough there is truth behind this joke. I’ve met many men who are married and extremely masculine acting that like men and are sexual with other men. Even worse, it’s usually when their intoxicated on some level. And sadly, it’s usually those same men who are openly calling gay men “fags”, “homos”, and “queers” and spreading those stereotypical labels out there about what a gay man is like.

There is a lot more to a person that is gay then what television or movies portray. Just as there is a lot more to a straight person than what you see portrayed. Does the shift need to happen with Hollywood depicting gay characters and gay relationships as more masculine? Or do more people that are gay and not fitting those stereotypical images need to overcome their fears in public and hold hands and show affection?

There are no differences between gays and lesbians and heterosexuals other than what happens behind a bedroom door. These stereotypes and all others polarize each of us from loving each other. We are all God’s children and all connected in some way. Isn’t it more important to focus on developing unconditional love and acceptance of all people then on segregating each other with how we see things with our eyes, hear things with our ears, and label things with our words?

Peace, love, light and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Ups and Downs of a Sports Fan

It seems a long time ago when my life had a large amount of it revolve around certain pro sports teams. Living in the New England area, it’s hard to exist as a non sports buff. On some level, everyone here seems to wear around a type of paraphernalia favoring one of the local teams. I will admit that I do have a few articles of sports based clothing that place me here in this area.There is a major difference though with me and most people I meet here when it comes to sports. I don’t follow any of the local pro teams nor any of the other ones outside this area. There was a time I did though.

If you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont, your bound to be a loyal devotee of one of the New England based pro sports teams which include the Boston Celtics ( NBA ), the New England Patriots ( NFL ), the Boston Bruins ( NHL ), and the Boston Red Sox ( MLB ). I grew up in New York though and for most of the younger years of my life I followed two local teams, the New York Mets ( MLB ) and the Buffalo Bills ( NFL ), and one other team, the Chicago Bulls ( NBA ). If a game was on with one of those teams, there was a strong likelihood that I was watching it, face glued to the television. If my team won, I was so happy. If my team lost, I was miserable and criticizing the players or the coaches. And then there were the debates I got into with people about how “my team” was better then “their team”.

All of this shifted in my life just past my college years when I lost my father and then my mother both tragically. During those years of grief, I sought healing through several things but one that specifically changed my whole level of interest in life. When I discovered meditation, my life changed dramatically. It was at a silent retreat that I had gone on for ten days that I was given a crash course in meditation.

During that retreat, all the creature comforts of life were removed and I spent ten complete days in silence meditating, walking, and reflecting. There is no media on any level and no writing instruments either. It’s just myself and my thoughts. That’s when I realized how I was on hyper speed in most of my life every single day and how I spun myself up and down based upon so many external things.

When I emerged from the retreat, my eyes were focused differently on life. While everyone and everything seemed to be on a freeway racing at top speeds, I was at a snail’s pace. That’s when I really started to see how I was allowing things outside of me influence how I felt every single day.

Why did I get so bent out of shape when one of the teams I liked lost? Why was I so hyper when one of my teams was winning? Why was I so angry and irritable at life and people around me when my team was doing poorly? Why did I treat everyone around me so much nicer when my team was in first place? Meditating helped me to go deeper with these questions and find some answers.

I wasn’t connected in ANY way to ANY professional athlete on ANY team. Yet I based a large portion of my life around those things and my life reflected it depending on how each was doing. I bragged about how great my team was to others, especially to fans of opposing teams, and I got into arguments to those same people just trying to defend something I wasn’t even connected to.

Upon moving to the New England area, I immediately felt different than most people here. There really are a vast amount of avid fans here of the local pro sports teams, especially the New England Patriots. A few years ago, they went 16-0 and then lost in the superbowl in the final minutes to the New York Giants. I swear you could have heard a pin drop in every house, on every street, throughout all of New England when that happened. And then the next day, it was the most called in sick day that whole year. No one was on the roads, as if it was Christmas Day. A few years later, the same thing happened again in the Superbowl, to the same team, in the last few minutes. And once again, life shut down for another day and everyone seemed angry and irritable. On the news they show people near the stadiums destroying property, shooting guns, getting in fights, and more whether the teams have won or lost.

I’m not sure why I ever was so deeply invested in any team. Maybe it gave me something to believe in. Maybe it was an escape. Maybe it was just something to do. Whatever the reason, it’s not me anymore. I’m not following any team or any player or any sport anymore and interestingly enough, I’m a much calmer person in my life. I’m concerned more today about reaching out and helping others and focusing in on people that are suffering and how I might be of assistance. The other night when the Patriots were playing the Ravens (and lost) I was at a Detox speaking to alcoholics and addicts that were needing help. To me it was a no brainer of where I wanted to be that night. To others that I called and asked if they wanted to join me, I was told I was crazy for wanting to miss “the big game”.

My truth is that I don’t want to feel anxious and jittery anymore and that happened a lot when watching a game. I don’t wish to subject myself to the highs and lows that come throughout the minutes I glue myself to a television during a sports season. I’ve dealt with enough anxiety and depression in my life that I don’t need to enhance it by tying myself so closely into the life of a pro sports team.

The biggest pro sporting event in the country is coming up in two weeks. The Superbowl. Will I watch it? Yes. But not for the reason one may think. I like the commercials and the halftime show. If I could string that all together for 60 minutes of viewing and remove the game, that would be a great hour spent for me.

I really am not on a roller coaster anymore of ups and downs and don’t plan on being again in this life. I like being a much calmer person throughout the day and I know that I wasn’t when I invested hours of my life each week cheering a team on. I’m happy for the athletes if that’s where their passion is. I pray for the best in each of them, their teams, as well as for their safety. That’s about the extent of connection I have anymore to sports. I like feeling more at peace and I’m grateful that meditation helped me to look at my life a little deeper to see what things kept me from getting centered and balanced, being an ups and downs kind of sports fan was just one of them.

Peace, love, light and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson