Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes come on the heels of the continued judgments I have received from others, being compared to my past and still labeled as selfish, rather than seeing the selfless side of me and the good I do that I know God sees…

“If we judge others, it is because we are judging something in ourselves of which we are unaware.” (John A. Sanford)

“Let them judge you. Let them misunderstand you. Let them gossip about you. Their opinions aren’t your problem. You stay kind, committed to love, and free in your authenticity. No matter what they do or say, don’t you dare doubt your worth or the beauty of your truth. Just keep on shining like you do.” (Scott Stable)

“It’s easy to judge. It’s more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow.” (Doe Zantamata)

“Always remember that you do not need to explain yourself or prove anything to anyone. If they cannot accept you for you, then it is time to move on.” (Cath B Akesson)

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

God Focuses On The Good In Me, Do You?

There are so many times I feel like people can’t and just won’t stop focusing on their judgments of me, seeing me more in a bad light, than a good one, even when I’m doing my best these days to place others first before myself. Even when I do nine things out of ten to the best of any human potential, but fail at one of them, it seems as if that one failure gets focused upon with glaring energy more so than any of the other nine good things. I have often joked lately that even if I somehow could walk on water like Christ once did, that plenty would still find fault with me somehow.

I’ve noticed this pattern quite a bit in recent years the harder I’ve worked on my spiritual self. I seem to get more criticism than praise the harder I work, compared to how it used to be when I didn’t care about my spiritual condition at all. Then, I had plenty who liked to gossip with me and judge with me and act out in addiction with me. But that isn’t who I am anymore, and I work so very hard to not be that way. Even so, my flaws continue to be the main focus with too many, so I’ve come to accept that maybe my work isn’t in trying to get any of them to see I’ve changed, it’s in accepting that God has already seen that change in me and that’s ALL that matters.

Why some continue to only see my mistakes and not the heart I have, I don’t know. What I do know is that those who keep on judging me says a lot more about them than it does me. Regardless, I’m distancing myself from those people in my life now who can’t seem to find positive things to say about me and like to cite out my flaws and imperfections instead. Ultimately, I don’t want or need people like that in my life who do so, as that only reminds me of my alcoholic parents who disapproved first and praised second, a pattern that only ever led to me never feeling good enough in life and one where I always felt like I had to try harder.

I AM good enough and I AM a good person, just as I am. I do my best to love everyone with the unconditional love of Christ and I accept everyone with all their flaws and imperfections, always looking to see the good in everyone I meet. God sees that and has given me a clean slate to work with, one I feel He gives me EVERY, SINGLE, day. I don’t believe He holds me to my past failures, or even my present ones, and doesn’t dwell on when I make mistakes either. Only human beings do that, usually because of their own inner inadequacies.

Anyone who chooses to focus more on my flaws and imperfections, instead of seeing the good in me and how far I’ve come in my 26+ years of sobriety from alcohol and drug addiction and the almost 10 years of sobriety I have from sex and love addiction, isn’t someone I want or need in my life. I know there is nothing I will ever be able to do to change their opinion of me, as only God can do that within them, as He has done within me. It’s time for me to finally see myself in the same light that God does, with unconditional love, and to stop worrying about all those who continue to see me as anything else…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A third grade teacher asked her students, one by one, to stand in front of the class and tell the class what their Daddy’s do. Little Mary went first, “My daddy is a doctor and he saves people’s lives” “That’s wonderful Mary. Now how about you Jane, what does your daddy do?” “My daddy is a lawyer and he puts bad people in jail,” says Little Jane. “Very good Jane. Ok Little Johnny, what does your daddy do?” “My daddy is dead” says Little Johnny. “Oh, I’m so very sorry to hear that Johnny,” said the teacher, “what did he do before he passed away?” Little Johnny responded, “He turned blue and then crapped on the carpet!”

Silly Joke #2

WIFE: “Honey, there’s trouble with our car. I think it has water in the carburetor.”
HUSBAND: “Water in the carburetor? You don’t even know what a carburetor is!” Have you’ve been drinking?”
WIFE: “I’m telling you the car has water in the carburetor! And what does that matter if I’ve had a few drinks or not?”
HUSBAND: “Well, you sound a little drunk. Where’s the car now anyway?”
WIFE: “Ummm….in the neighbor’s in-ground pool.”

Silly Joke #3

LITTLE JOHNNY: “Dear God, so far today, I’ve done all right. I haven’t lied, I haven’t lost my temper, I haven’t been grumpy, nasty or selfish, and I’m really doing good! But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on, I’m probably going to do all those things and need your forgiveness and all ok? Thanks! Amen!”

Silly Joke #4 (Adult Humor)

Three priests went to the train station to take a trip to Pittsburgh. The senior father looked to the youngest and said, “Will you go to the booth and buy the tickets for us?” The young priest timidly replied, “Yes Father.” And he headed for the ticket booth. When he gets to the window, he sees that the young woman selling tickets is wearing a VERY low cut neckline and is VERY endowed. “Could I have three pickets to Titsburg?” he blurted. Embarrassed for his mistake, he quickly left and ran back to the other two priests and told them what had happened. The senior father then asked the middle-aged father if he would go to get the tickets. “And would you please get me two nickels for a dime while you are there?” he added. “Certainly!” the middle-aged priest replied, “I’ll be right back.” When he arrived at the booth, he said “I’d like three tickets to Pittsburgh, and could I have two nipples for a dime?” Embarrassed for what he mistakenly said, he abruptly left and ran back to the other two priests and told them what had happened. The senior father was angry and said, “You two wait here, I’ll obviously have to get them myself!” He stormed off to the ticket booth and when he got to the beautiful young lady’s booth he said, “I would like three tickets to Pittsburgh and two nickels for a dime.” “And you should be ashamed of yourself, young lady. Dressing that way in public! Why….I’m sure that Saint Fingers is shaking his Peter at you right now!” Turning beet red at his mistake, he then swiftly ran away as well…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…a fun and easy one…

One of my favorite shows is Netflix’s Cobra Kai, which is a throwback from the 80’s Karate Kid film trilogy that starred Ralph Macchio. On this new series there are 3 karate studios fighting for dominance. If you HAD to choose one of the following to be a part of, which one would you choose?

  1. Team Cobra Kai (“Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy”)
  2. Team Miyagi-Do (“Karate is for defense only”)
  3. Team Eagle Fang (“Always be a bad-ass on the offense, but do so with honor and a code of ethics”)
  4. I don’t really like karate and would probably never join any karate dojo…

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


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The Cost Of Not Practicing Forgiveness…

Why do people feel the need to hold onto resentments, anger, and the like? Why is it so hard to forgive? What benefit does it really offer someone holding onto all that negativity towards another? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you from my perspective, the only benefit it’s ever served me was my mind telling me it was to protect my heart from ever getting hurt again. Yet ironically, harboring all that inner anger and resentment, thinking it was protecting my heart, was only ever hurting me anyway, keeping everyone at bay overall.

Losing so many people throughout my life from family to other loved ones truly left me jaded and feeling broken. For the longest time, I didn’t let anyone in and walked around with an incredible amount of anger and resentment and a wall around my heart. I refused to forgive those who had left my life feeling so broken, which in turn left me a very bitter and very alone individual in life.

Developing close friendships and intimate relationships with others takes having an open heart. It takes being vulnerable. It takes letting go of the past. And it takes forgiving those who we feel broke our hearts. So long as we hold on to the pain of the past, keeping a wall around our hearts, living in resentment and anger, we’ll never let in anyone long enough and deep enough for them to stick around to love us for the rest of our lives.

I’ve worked hard in my life to remain vulnerable, to forgive those who hurt me immensely, to keep my heart open, which in turn has led to experiencing a closeness with friends and loved ones I wasn’t able to prior. People often open up with me now, feeling safe to do so, because I don’t walk around with a sword out and a shield up, like I once did, ready to stab the next person who came along and said or did anything that reminded me of the people I was still harboring anger and resentment towards.

Here’s the simple reality I came to see through it all. If you really want to be free of anger and resentment, if you truly want to experience closeness in your life, and don’t want to feel alone in this world, I’ve learned it means forgiving those that hurt us, I’ve learned it means not comparing others to those who hurt us in the past, and I’ve learned it means always keeping an open heart.

The only person who really ever ends up hurting by harboring anger and resentments towards another, by not forgiving anyone who led us to feel broken, is ourselves. Because in harboring any anger and resentments from the past will only leave us bitter and alone, complaining the world has done us wrong, when really it’s only ourselves that has done us wrong, by not practicing forgiveness and doing what we can to keep our heart open for new love to enter our lives…

Peace, love light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

I’ve truly struggled with the amount of long-distance friendships that have fallen to the wayside over the years, often not because of my own efforts to keep them going. Today’s set of quotes are ones I found comfort in surrounding this subject and agree with wholeheartedly…

“Long-distance friendships are like wind to a fire; it puts out the small ones, but inflames the big ones.” (Roger de Rabutin)

“The people who are meant to be in your life will always gravitate back towards you, no matter how far they wander.” (Unknown)

“It is easy to have a sense of connectedness through social media, but long-distance friendships, even close ones, may require more conscious effort to maintain. Seek out opportunities for “friendship renewal” through face-to-face time when possible. Making an effort beyond social media is what keeps a long-distance friendship intact.” (Jeffrey A Hall)

“Distance is just a test of how far friendship can travel.” (Unknown)

“Distance sometimes lets you know who is worth keeping, and who is worth letting go.” (Lana Del Rey)

“I’ve come to see that true friendships meant to endure the test of time and even distance comes down to one thing, both are willing to go the extra mile for each other.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the sole focus in my writing for the day, which for today is for all the effort my best friend Cedric continues to put into maintaining our long-distance friendship, matching my own efforts, that has kept our connection close for well over 24 years now, and for two others who continue to do similarly, that being my dear friend Dexter, and my sister Laura.

Maintaining long-distance friendships is tough. At least in my case I’ve learned that keeping one in a close fashion takes a lot more than just talking on the phone from time to time. Countless friendships in my life have fallen to the wayside whenever I’ve moved away, usually due to the lack of effort put into keeping them going. Out of sight, out of mind, is often what I think happens in these cases. While a phone call here and there does tend to stir my heart when I talk to a long-distance friend I haven’t seen or spoken to in a good while, it’s never been enough to help keep that bond feeling close like it once was when I lived close by.

Cedric and I have come to understand this over the years. To keep our friendship close, we have regularly scheduled phone calls with each other, usually twice a week, and visits to each other as well, usually twice a year. Ad one thing Cedric and I both do when we aren’t feeling up for a call on one of our regularly scheduled times is we immediately reschedule a make-up time, typically the next day or so. And when it comes to visiting each other, we alternate going to each other’s homes every six months, spending a week each time, as that has always been enough refresh our close bond.

I’ve tried to maintain other long-distance friendships similarly, but except for my dear friend Dexter, and my sister Laura, none have really seemed interested in putting much work into it, which has led to infrequent conversations over the phone and me feeling a growing distance with most of them. The fact that Cedric and I have maintained the closeness we continue to share for as long as we have is simply because we keep putting forth the effort to keep it going.

Close friendships, like any type of relationship, take a lot of work, and ours has definitely required much of that, especially in light of some of the differences in religious beliefs he and I have now. Yet, we continue to love each other dearly, accepting each other unconditionally, knowing the true bond that keeps us going isn’t really in our efforts alone, it’s in our devotion to God. As it’s God who has helped us overcome each of those ego-struggles we’ve had from time to time over the years, pushing us to go deeper within, which in turn has led to far stronger bonds and increased efforts to keep our connection spiritually growing.

One thing I’ve been very grateful about Cedric’s efforts specifically is his willingness to come visit me, even when my pain levels have been severe, when I haven’t wanted to do much of anything. He would tell you that his purpose of coming to see me isn’t for what he’s going to do while on his vacation time, it’s simply to just be with me, even if it’s only to sit around and reconnect. That effort alone is priceless in my spiritual book and something I’m extremely grateful for.

I honestly wish I had other long-distance friendships beyond him, Dexter, and my sister, with others who would like to talk to me weekly and see me each year, but I’m grateful nonetheless for the efforts the three of them continue to do with me, to keep our connection close, especially in recent years, where I’ve very much struggled with my health and feeling alone. Each of gone above and beyond to maintain a close long-distance connection with me, and for that I’m truly grateful on this Grateful Heart Monday.

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes continue to talk on the subject of male bravado, a trait that men often grow into, especially when they are raised without a father figure or with one who only knew that way to start with.

“Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado, or loneliness. It consists in daring to do the right thing and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political, or other. It consists in deeds and not words.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

“As boys without bonds to their fathers grow older and more desperate about their masculinity, they are in danger of forming gangs in which they strut their masculinity for one another, often overdo it, and sometimes turn to displays of fierce, macho bravado, and even violence.” (Frank Pittman)

“The hallmark of insecurity is bravado.” (Brandon Sanderson)

“There are a lot of false pictures of what being a man is all about. What we are NOT talking about is a false-bravado, overly masculine type of man, that when all is said and done is too manly to love, too manly to serve, too manly to care, or too manly to lower himself in humility. But what we are talking about is a man who is willing to be wrung-out for the good of his family, his partner, and his God.” (Matt Chandler)

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

The Male Bravado Syndrome…

Male bravado is a trait I used to be attracted to in another. Having grown up with a father figure who was mentally and emotionally absent and unstable far too often, I repeatedly found myself drawn through much of my childhood and most of my adulthood to males who exuded this trait that I erroneously thought to be a strong trait of masculinity. I find myself being turned off to that trait now though, as most men I know who exude it, have no idea how to truly be empathetic and intimate in non-sexual ways with another male, something I truly desire in my life these days.

Men often struggle showing compassion, empathy, and intimacy with other males because their raised to show it’s a sign of weakness. For plenty of male individuals I’ve sponsored over the years in the 12 Step world of recovery from addiction, most had absentee fathers and had to learn how to grow up and take care of themselves all on their own and became hardened in the process. Hardened in the sense that when any male came into their lives outside of maybe their own children, who were struggling with anything and just wanted some love and compassion, their response was always to essentially get over it, because it’s what they had to learn to do to grow up quickly and be the man in their household. The notion of showing compassion, hugging another male, offering supportive words was so completely foreign to them, that it wasn’t even in their makeup.

For much of my life, I honestly believed men like this were alluring, but the more work I’ve done on myself, the more I’ve seen it was only alluring because it’s only what I knew as a kid. Unfortunately, my father’s mental health issues and addiction issues often caused me to feel a strong distance between the two of us, so I never quite learned the love and support from another male. This in turn led me to seek peers in grammar school and friends and partners later in life who acted just like him, never feeling all too supportive on an empathetic level.

When I first began dealing with my sexuality, instead of seeking someone who was willing to offer me strong unconditional love and compassion, I sought those bad boys, closeted men, and men who had no idea how to be close to another man, because all in all, it was the only comfortable pattern I knew with men given I learned in with my absentee father.

Today, I’m finding myself more drawn to individuals who have gotten in touch with their feminine side and have a greater balance with both their feminine and masculine parts of themselves. Because it’s men like that who have developed the exact opposite of male bravado, who know how to be close to another male, and express a depth in intimacy that has nothing to do with sex whatsoever.

It’s ironic how one of my closest friends today was also someone I once dated back in 1995, who I passed up the chance to be with back then, all because of how much they were in touch with their feminine side. A male having this trait truly scared me back then, because I had never had any male figure in my life who had demonstrated it with me. I’m thankful to say this doesn’t scare me anymore and I’ve worked hard to be in touch with both my masculine and feminine side as well. I know how to offer compassion now to others deeply struggling in their lives, to hold their hands and show my true love and support, especially when they’re feeling broken.

People who struggle with this male bravado syndrome don’t know how to do this with others and quite often instead will judge when males are seeking compassion, as only being needy and living in self-pity. The irony in this I’ve discovered over the years working on this is that the very thing they’re truly seeking within is the very thing they’re constantly judging in their minds as weak and pushing away in the process. I know this because I once did it myself, that is until I saw it really wasn’t weak at all, it was someone being strong all along…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Little Johnny walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and proceeded to the checkout counter.
The man at the counter asked the older boy, “Son, how old are you?” 
“Eight,” Little Johnny replied.
The man continued, “Do you know what these are used for?”
Little Johnny replied, “Not exactly, but they aren’t for me. They’re for my younger brother.”
The man replied, “Son, I’m not sure if you really understand what these are used for?”
Little Johnny replied, “Sure I do! It said on TV that if you use these you would be able to swim and ride a bike without any problems! And right now, my little brother can’t do either one!”

Silly Joke #2

A married couple was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. At the party everybody wanted to know how they managed to stay married so long in this day and age. The husband responded, “When we were first married we came to an agreement — I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor decisions. And in 60 years of marriage we have never needed to make a major decision.”

Silly Joke #3

A passenger train suddenly slows down and comes to a complete halt. A passenger sees a conductor walking by outside. “What the heck is going on?” she yells out the window. “Cow on the track Ma’am!” replies the conductor. Ten minutes later, the train resumes its slow pace. Within five minutes, however, it suddenly stops again. The woman sees the same conductor walking by again. She leans out the window and yells, “What the hell! I guess we happened to catch up to that cow again!”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult Humor)

A doctor and his wife are having an argument in the morning over breakfast and the doctor blurts out, “You know what? You’re not that great in bed anyways!” So he goes off to work and thinks it over and decides to call his wife and make amends…..He calls the house and the phone rings many, many times and then his wife finally answers the phone completely out of breath….The doctor says, “What were you doing?” and she says, “l was in bed!” The doctor responds, “What were you doing in bed so late in the day?” The wife then curtly replied, “Getting a second opinion!”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the subject of death, a topic I wrote about yesterday when it comes to the idea of whether death can be prevented. I found much connection with the following quotes to help in discussing this subject…

“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” (Tecumseh) 

“All deaths are sudden, no matter how gradual the dying may be.” (Michael McDowell)

“Death is beautiful when seen to be a law, and not an accident.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” (Haruki Murakami)

“How can you treat death so lightly, she asks. ‘Because it happens,’ he replies. ‘It is inevitable. I do not mourn the falling of a leaf or the breaking of a wave. I do not sorrow for a shooting star as it burns itself up in the atmosphere. So why should I?” (Roger Zelazny)

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

Can Death Be Prevented?

Can death be prevented? This is a discussion that’s come up so very often in life these past two years during this pandemic. For each person on this planet, I’m sure their answer would be different. For me, I’ve felt for a long time now that our deaths in this world are preset, that when it’s our time to go, it’s our time and nothing can prevent that. But just as true, when it isn’t our time to go, something will prevent our deaths from happening. Watching my father’s repeated and unsuccessful attempts at suicide during much of my adolescence was when I first began to feel this way.

His first attempt came when I was 8. He had walked into the local apple orchard that bordered our neighborhood. There he drank a whole bottle of vodka in extremely cold weather, putting himself into a coma. Someone oddly enough found him deep in that orchard that day, getting to him just in time, where the doctors said he should have died from it, but thankfully he didn’t. Years later, he attempted it again when he swam well out into the frigid-cold winter waters of the Long Island Sound late one night, so far out that there was no way he’d make it back in without dying of hypothermia. As he waited for sure death, he said a set of circular lights appeared and surrounded him in the freezing water, where it warmed him up, and pushed him back to shore. When my father finally died during his last suicide attempt many years after that, it was no different from any of his prior attempts. So why were none of the prior attempts successful, when the last one was? I spent years pondering this until I finally accepted that “something” beyond my understanding must be in control when it’s our time to go and not us and I’ve chosen to label that “something” over the years as God. While that didn’t make it any less painful to deal with, it helped immensely in accepting my father’s tragic passing, especially when I saw how many good things never would have happened in my own life if any of those earlier attempts had been successful.

Not too long after his death, I dealt with this again with a friend I’ll refer to as “G”. “G” attempted suicide three times. The first time was after swallowing a whole bottle of pills where 911 got to them just in time. The second was when they tried to asphyxiate himself from carbon monoxide fumes from a tube they connected from their tailpipe into his car window, when an off-duty cop randomly found them there and got to them just in time. And the third, was when they fully loaded a revolver and tried to shoot themselves, where the first pull of the trigger ended up being a blank! I’m thankful to say that today they are alive and well, running a business and far healthier.

While these two stories deal specifically with suicide, there are plenty of others I’ve come to know over the years through my volunteer work where I’ve learned of people who should have died from various things from accidents to diseases to addiction but didn’t and went on to have drastically altered lives because of it, many becoming selfless and humanitarian in the process. I should include my own life here because I’ve skirted death multiple times myself. One instance when I used to deal drugs as a young kid, where the expensive gold jewelry I wore out one night, that I almost didn’t wear out that night but felt compelled to do so, ended up being the very thing that saves me from being murdered by rival drug dealers who used my jewelry as collateral.

All of this has led to me approaching death so very differently these days. While all death is tragic of course and painful to go through no matter what the cause, I accept that when someone dies now, it’s just their time, and couldn’t have been prevented. It’s how I’ve dealt with all the tragedy of COVID-19 thus far. So many have died during this pandemic, especially the non-vaccinated, but what if it was just their time? Maybe they would have died from some other tragedy around the same exact time in their life, even if they had been vaccinated? There was a great non-fiction book I once read that dealt with this concept. It was called “The Afterlife of Billy Fingers” and was originally suggested to me by my dear friend Caryn. It really helped to solidify much of my inner spiritual beliefs surrounding death.

Regardless, at my core spiritual essence now, I accept God is in charge of when it’s my turn to go. If it’s my time and God’s ready for my life-force to leave this plane of existence, I’m convinced it’s going to happen, not a day sooner, and not a day later, and not within my control. On some level, maintaining this belief has really helped me to live far more at peace during this terrible pandemic, rather than living in fear surrounding it, which sadly seems to continue to consume the majority these days…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes center around the subject of quitting/being a quitter, something my mother once accused me of doing/being, and something I’ve worked hard not to do or ever be in my adult life…

“Everything you need to be grate is already inside of you. Stop waiting for someone or something to light your fire, you have the match.” (Darren Hardy)

“I’m not a quitter. I will fight until I drop. It is just a matter of having some faith in the fact that as long as you are able to draw breath in the universe, you have a chance.” (Cicely Tyson)

“Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” (Orebela Gbenga)

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. But never quit.” (Samuel Beckett)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude always gets expressed in my writing, which for today is for reaching another annual milestone of maintaining this blog, a feat that continues to surprise me every year it arrives again, and for all those who continue to read along my spiritual journey in life as well.

I began this blog in the 2nd week of January in 2013 simply as a homework assignment to journal my life, past and present. I think the spiritual teacher who originally suggested I start a blog would be quite proud of me by now as I hit the ninth-year anniversary of keeping TheTwelfthStep going.

While there have been many moments I’ve considered shuttering this site and ending my writing due to having negative thoughts that maybe no one is reading my stuff anymore, I have occasionally received reminders that have helped me immensely to achieve yet another yearly milestone. I had one such reminder from a good friend in the DC area over the holidays who told me via a private message how much I’m doing a good service and how much of a good writer he felt I am. It truly was a blessing.

Ironically, this blog was never intended initially to help others, as it was more to help me get back into the habit of writing, something I had given up long before due to addiction. At first, maintaining this blog was easy, given the depth of material I had to write about from my life. But, over the years, after writing thousands of articles, and sharing countless unique quotes, questions, and even silly jokes, it’s become much harder to do so, as I’ve often felt repetitive. Yet, I’m reminded of something my spiritual teacher once told me after I began her assignment. She said there would always be someone new who would get something out of my writing, even if it was something I previously wrote about.

So, I trudge on, and will soon be approaching 3,300 published entries on this site, which if anything, truly is a major feat and something to be grateful for. Maintaining this blog for nine years shows I’m not a quitter, which is something my now deceased mother in her former state of alcoholism once accused me of from time to time.

While I may not be the most interesting writer in the world, or the least interesting, I have led a very interesting life and continue to do so, enough that I feel warrants me to keep writing and to keep being transparent with the world on TheTwelfthStep.

I’m filled with much gratitude today for sticking to this, for reaching nine years, for God helping me to find new and unique things to write about, and for all those who continue to support my writing by reading along with me, one day at a time. I love you all.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you have any household plants, what is the oldest one you’ve been able to keep alive and for how long?

Peace, love, light and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


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God’s Mysterious Ways

Thank you for joining in to another entry of my series, God’s Mysterious Ways, where I write about things that may be more than just coincidences, where God may very well indeed have a hand behind it, which for today is about a very old Christmas cactus that has been in my partner’s life for well over 60 years.

I’ve always been fond of Christmas cactuses. My mother had a massive one in our living room that I can remember was always there as far back as I can remember and bloomed every holiday season with these extremely beautiful pinkish-red flowers. When I met my partner Chris and visited him for the first time in early 2012, one of the first things I noticed in his home was one quite similar to my mother’s. He told me it was very old when I asked him about it. Botanists say that Christmas cactuses can live as long as 100 years, and my partner estimated his was well over 60 years old given it had been passed down from his mother to him.

When the first Christmas with my partner came later that year, I waited excitedly to see what his cactus would look like in bloom. But that moment never came, as it didn’t produce a single flower that year, nor the next, or the one after that, until eventually nine holiday seasons would come and go without a single bloom. We did everything one is supposed to do to help make a Christmas cactus healthy. From leaving it in rather dark rooms, to feeding it special cactus food, to me even talking to it regularly and asking it to bloom, we tried everything. Each holiday season the other Christmas cactuses around it would bloom, but never this one. Chris and I began to assume that maybe it was just too old to. In fact, he couldn’t even remember the last time he saw any blooms emerge on it.

But then 2021 came. A year that had far too many challenges I’d honestly like to forget about. My health issues alone and all my stress surrounding the pain that came from it was a major part of those challenges. One afternoon during a particularly difficult day of ailments, I found myself looking at that old Christmas cactus when suddenly I found myself praying for God to give it a single bloom this year, just to let me know I’m going to be ok with my health and that I’m still on the right path. I honestly forgot about that prayer, that is until I came home one day just after Christmas and went to close the blinds where our three Christmas cactuses sit on pedestals. As I closed the shades, I noticed something very odd. As I took a closer look, I couldn’t believe it, there wasn’t just one bloom on that ancient Christmas cactus, there were many!

I truly do think that whomever God is, He really does have a sense of humor. While many of my prayers often seem to go unanswered, the ones that do get answered are ones that tend to come in ways that really blow my mind. Why this 6+ decade-old Christmas cactus bloomed this year after having not bloomed in well over ten years or more wasn’t because of any of our doing, other than saying a prayer and leaving the rest in God’s hands. Hands that led to a beautiful reminder of God still being there in my life and hands that most assuredly made for another special entry in my series, God’s Mysterious Ways…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A retired sailor purchased a computer and began to learn all about computing. Being a sailor, he was used to addressing his ships as “She” or “Her”. But was unsure what was proper for computers. To solve his dilemma, he set up two groups of computer experts: one group was male, and the other group was female.

The group of women reported that computers should be refereed to as “HE” because:

1. In order to get their attention you have to turn them on.
2. They have a lot of data but are still clueless.
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems but half the time they are the problem.
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have had a newer and better model.

The group of men reported that computers should be referred to as “SHE” because:

1. No one but the creator understands their logic.
2. The native language they use to talk to other computers is incomprehensible to anyone else.
3. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for later retrieval.
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

Silly Joke #2

A customer at Green’s Gourmet Grocery marveled at the proprietor’s quick wit and intelligence. “Tell me, Mr. Green, what makes you so smart?” “I wouldn’t share my secret with just anyone,” Mr. Green replies, lowering his voice so the other shoppers won’t hear. “But since you’re one my my best and faithful customers, I’ll let you in on my secret. It’s fish heads. If you eat enough of them, it will definitely increase your brilliance.” “Really? Do you sell them here?” the customer asks. “Yup, just $4 apiece,” says Mr. Green. The customer buys three. A week later, he’s back in the store complaining that the fish heads were disgusting and he isn’t any smarter. “You didn’t eat enough, you only had three if I remember correctly?” says Mr. Green. So, the customer decides to buy 20 more fish heads. A few weeks later, he’s back and this time he’s really angry. “Hey, Mr. Green,” he says, “You’re selling me fish heads for $4 apiece when I can buy the whole fish for $2. You’re ripping me off!” “You see?” says Green. “You’re getting smarter already!”

Silly Joke #3

Kathy, a beautiful blonde woman began her job as an elementary school counselor and she was eager to help. One day, during recess, Kathy noticed a young girl standing by herself on one side of the playing field while the rest of the kids were playing a game of soccer. A while later, Kathy walked over to the young girl and offered, “Would you like me to be your friend?” The girl looked at Kathy suspiciously, then said hesitantly, “Okay, I guess so…” “Why are you standing here all alone?” asked Kathy. “Because,” the little girl said with great exasperation, “I’m the goalie!”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult Humor)

A college student picked up his new date at her parents home. He’d scraped together every cent he had to take her to a fancy restaurant. To his dismay, she ordered almost everything expensive on the menu. Appetizers, lobster, champagne. . .the works. Finally he asked her, “Does your Mother feed you like this at home?” “No,” she said, “but my Mother’s not looking to get laid, either.”

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

Thought For The Day

Have you ever spent time with people who talk only about themselves? Today’s quotes surround this subject.

“Self-centered people have only one topic to talk about…THEMSELVES.” (Stef Harder)

“Talk about yourself as much as you like, but do not expect others to listen.” (Mason Cooley)

“People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves.” (Dale Carnegie)

“When you find yourself spending time with friends who do nothing but talk about themselves, maybe it’s time to ask yourself why. Are they a mirror for you? Are you this way? If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that true friends will want to know more about those they spend time with than talk about themselves.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

How Feeling Invisible During Lunch With Another Became A Blessing In Disguise…

I was clearly reminded the other day during lunch with another, of a former life where I once had loads of money daily at my fingertips. A former life that would alter my ego so much, that I became totally oblivious to the fact that I cared more about myself and all my worldly life achievements than those I spent time with.

Having lunch or just spending time with anyone in general is always a blessing to me because I often find myself spending time alone. So, when I got invited to break bread with someone that I really didn’t know all too well other than from brief time spent with them in the rooms of recovery from addiction, I quickly accepted the invitation and looked forward to it.

When the day arrived for that lunch, this individual picked me up, as I didn’t have a vehicle given it was in the shop for repair. Upon entering their car, they immediately apologized for having to use their relatively new Lexus that was normally meant for transporting their dogs. I learned quickly after that they had at least six other vehicles in a ten-car garage, some being extremely high end, which suddenly led to this compulsion to verbally expel an apology for me living in the ghetto. Their response to that was how they once had to live in a place just like mine. Over the next two hours, I’d learn all about every place they’ve been recently and every place they’re going to in the upcoming weeks, as well as all the high-end suites they’ve stayed in during those travels. I’d learn how big their house is and how many Christmas trees they put up in it during this holiday season. And I’d learn about the many prominent business entrepreneurs they’re connected to and all their future business prospects as well. But what I didn’t learn is why they actually wanted to spend time with me in the first place because not once was I ever asked about anything in my life whatsoever. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not a single instance during our entire time together did they try to get to know me better, which by the end of it left me not only feeling less than, but also wishing I had just stayed home. When I got dropped back off at my house, I still tried to give them a hug though, like I always do with everyone I spend time with, but it was meant with an uncomfortable response of how their Lexus wasn’t conducive for hugs. But there was a blessing in disguise through all this.

I was this person not too long ago. Back before I lost my bed and breakfast in 2010, when I easily could spend anywhere between $5k and $10k a month, that is exactly how I used to be, except I didn’t know it. I was completely oblivious to how I acted with my income I had then. While I was surrounded by a lot of people then, it was all superficial and I never cared much to go deeper with anyone I spent time with. That is unless there was something in it for me. Rarely did I care about how others were doing or how they were feeling. I had little to no empathy for anyone or anything, except for myself.

Money has a way of doing that to a person. It has a way of going to one’s head, which is no different than any other addiction frankly. With any addiction, the quest is always on getting more of that addiction and chasing after what it has done, can do, and will do for an individual. In this case, money can become the focus of one’s life where it’s used for ego, to flaunt upon others. And I know that all too well from how I once was, but thankfully, I live quite differently now, having been humbled through many losses over the past decade or so. This humility I’ve experienced has really helped me to realize the power that money once held over me. A power that left me mostly void of kindness, unconditional love, and a true empathy for the people God placed on my path.

So, in the end, having this lunch with this individual where my life became invisible to all their financial successes actually became a blessing in disguise, as it clearly reminded me of how far I’ve come on my spiritual journey. Because today, I care more about the lives and hearts of those I spend time with, wanting to know each of them more deeply, rather than living in my ego, where I was always focusing more on myself and what I had than anything else.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What were you most grateful for in 2021 BESIDES continuing to remain alive in this world and that 2021 is finally over?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where I always express my gratitude for someone or something that has truly touched my heart and soul, which for today is for all those who brought happiness into my life this holiday season.

For my partner, Chris Falbo, who made plenty of special meals, gave me loving gifts including a new suitcase to replace the one I’ve been using for well over two decades, and who kept a positive attitude through it all even when I wasn’t, I’m grateful.

For my sister, Laura Curry, who always seems to find those unique gifts that simply seem to say, “I love you so much”, including a Marvin the Martian figurine (my favorite cartoon character) and a coffee mug whose picture on it summed up our friendship perfectly, I’m grateful.

For my closest friend in the world, Cedric Saunders, who came to visit me during the holiday season for a week, providing me many fond memories during our visit to Chicago and just sitting around and making each other laugh like we always seem to do together, I’m grateful.

For my dear friend, Dexter, for being there when I really needed some reassuring words, even in the wee hours of the morning, for understanding my pain, and getting me more than most people, and for continuing to refer to me as Boo Boo, while I with him as Yogi, I’m grateful.

For my therapist, Linda Smith, who helped me through all my pain and sorrow felt during this holiday season, always finding ways to lift me up when I’m down, and for being the unconditional loving person she is, I’m grateful.

For my friend, Michael Erskine, who thought of me with a special Carruth pottery gift and who spent much of this holiday season connecting with me in person over meals and movies, on video calls, and in funny texts and messages, I’m grateful.

For my friend, Judy Gordon, who took me to J’Alexanders for a wonderful meal, and continues to share with me on an intimate level I can really relate to, I’m grateful.

For my friend, Jewel Patterson, for spending a wonderful holiday meal at Real Seafood, sharing in laughter with both my partner and best friend, breaking bread, and giving me gift cards to one of my favorite hobbies (going to the movies), I’m grateful!

For my friend, Frank Murd, for sharing several holiday meals with me, including breaking bread on Christmas Day at the Motor City Casino Assembly Line Buffet, I’m grateful.

For my friend, Tom Benner, for being willing to work through a tough piece with me, for showing me the willingness to always keep trying, and for continuing to share your heart with me on a level I know you normally don’t with others, I’m grateful.

For my friend, Allen Collette, for sharing several coffees and meals with me during this holiday season, finding caring words to brighten it a little for me, and for simply being a good friend when I needed one, I’m grateful.

For my friend, Jym Shipman, for watching the Locke and Key series on Netflix at your house, for always making me burst out in laughter over his imitation of this kid on that show, and for his loyal dog, Jeepster, who always me smile over his vigor even during his final days, I’m grateful.

For my friends, Merle Peoples and Manny Portugal, for inviting me to their annual holiday gatherings, reminding me that I am remembered when it comes to that holiday party season, I’m grateful.

For my friend, Mark Heckman, for being his plus one at his dear friend’s wedding that took place during this holiday season, where I danced for the first time in years, something I never thought I’d do again, I’m grateful.

For my friends, Tim Wojtala and Roger Van Dylan, who broke bread with us at The Townhouse Restaurant in Detroit, where we laughed over the freezing wind hitting our table, one that got us a free amazing dessert that we all shared together, and for Euchre we played afterward and all the laughter as well, I’m grateful.

For my friend, Ronn Musser, for checking in on me from time to time, for providing reassuring words when I’ve been down, and the movies and meals we enjoyed together too, I’m grateful.

For my new friend, Mike Palumbo, whom I only recently met at one of those holiday gatherings, for being a very interesting person on many levels, for challenging my thinking and making me laugh at times as well, I’m grateful.

And for everyone else, who called, texted, and left me personal messages on Facebook, wishing me a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday, I’m grateful.

I love you all. Thank you for helping me through the most difficult holiday season I’ve ever had. I’m truly grateful for all of you on this Grateful Heart Monday.

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes start out this new year, 2022, with a fresh start, a fresh look, and a fresh attitude towards life…

“Why the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” (Vern McLellan)

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” (Socrates)

“And suddenly you know: it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” (Meister Eckhart)

“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach) 

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

The Powerful Affirmation I’m Claiming For 2022…

My first entry of the new year. 2022. Wow! It’s hard to ponder that number given I was born in 1972, a time when phone calls were only able to be made on one rotary phone in my home with a very long cord! HA! Anyway, as we all embark upon another year, I reflect upon this last one, especially this past holiday season, one I never quite got into.

Overall, 2021 was such a hard year for so many of us. All the losses of life. All the COVID weariness. All the political unrest and drama. All the shootings. All of it just made it so very hard to get into this holiday season. I did my best though, even going to Chicago in early December with my best friend to see all that glitz and glamour that one of the biggest cities of this country shell out during the holiday season. But, for as much as I enjoyed the company of my best friend during that trip, the season still rang hollow to me. And no matter what holiday things I tried to take part in after that trip, it still felt as if I was living in a world where the holidays weren’t even taking place, which honestly was a first in my life, as up until this calendar year, I’ve always felt at least some of that Christmas cheer.

So, as I reflect and look ahead to another year, I’m praying, hoping, and maybe even begging that 2022 will be the year where joy returns, not just in my life, but in everyone else’s as well. So many have seemed so joyless over the past few years, especially in 2021. I think this pandemic truly has taken its toll upon life for countless numbers of us and while this virus keeps on sticking around, wreaking havoc upon our lives, something that continues to frustrate and bring fear to many of us, I have faith and hope that a major shift will happen in 2022 for the better…for all of us.

A shift that not only brings greater joy, but also ones that brings greater peace. Personally, I haven’t been at peace within myself for a very, very, very, long time. I have sought it, channeled it, and worked so very hard to find it, but it has continued to elude me, as it has so many I know, especially over the past few years. And COVID has made that all the harder, truly challenging each of us to smile in a world that has honestly been hard to smile in.

With every new year up until now, I’ve always had hopes for this to happen and hopes for that to happen, making resolutions, promises, and the like, most of which often falling to the wayside at some point, or never manifesting at all. This year though, I’m choosing to do something very different. I’m simply going to claim the energy I desire the most. I’m going to affirm it right now. And pray this indeed manifests, not just for me, but for all of us.

So, Source, God, whatever You are…our world needs far greater peace and joy right now. Not the peace and joy that comes from all those worldly things, but the true peace and joy that can only come from within, from just being alive and existing. I believe only You can help us find that within ourselves so I affirm that in 2022, because of You, we all will find far more of that very thing. Peace and joy will come into all of our lives in 2022, including mine. I thank You God on behalf of everyone on this planet for this…for the peace and joy we all are going to experience. Amen.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

One Sunday morning the pastor noticed little Johnny was standing staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The youngest of seven had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up and stood beside him and gazing up at the plaque he said quietly, “Good morning son.” “Good morning Mr. Pastor” replied Little Johnny not taking his eyes off the plaque. “Sir, what is this?” he asked. “Well son, these are all the people who have died in the service”, replied the pastor. Soberly, they stood together staring up at the large plaque. Little Johnny’s voice barely broke the silence when he asked quietly, “Which one sir, the 8:30 or the 10:30, because I usually go to your 10:30?!”

Silly Joke #2

A 92 year-old man that was hard of hearing went to the Doctor to get a physical. A few days later the Doctor saw the man walking down the street with a gorgeous young lady on his arm. A couple of days later the Doctor talked to the man and said, “You’re really doing great, aren’t you?” The man replied, “Just doing what you said Doctor, ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.” The Doctor said, “Actually, I didn’t say that. I said you got a heart murmur. Be careful!”

Silly Joke #3

A young American tourist goes on a self-guided tour of a creepy old European castle. Near the end of her tour, she sees a young girl looking around in the last room she’s looking in who asks her how she enjoyed her visit. The tourist admitted to being a bit worried about seeing a ghost in some of the dark cobwebby rooms and passages. “Oh, don’t worry,” says the young girl, “I’ve never seen a ghost all the time I’ve been here.” “How long is that?” asks the tourist. “About three hundred years…”

Bonus Silly Joke

Last summer blonde Ed met a woman while on vacation and fell head over heels in love with her. On the last night of his vacation, the two of them went to dinner and had a serious talk about how they would continue the relationship. “It’s only fair to warn you, I’m a total golf nut,” Blonde Ed said to his lady friend. “I eat, sleep and breathe golf, so if that’s a problem, you’d better say so now.” “Well, if we’re being honest with each other, here goes,” she replied. “I’m really a hooker.” “I see,” Blonde Ed replied, and was quiet for a moment. Then he added, “Well, you know, it’s probably because you’re not keeping your wrists straight when you hit the ball.”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes all surround a subject I wrote about in yesterday’s blog entry how none of us are perfect in this world, how we all have our own flaws, imperfections, vulnerabilities, and insecurities. I felt this batch of quotes were quite inspiring on this subject.

“Do you hate it when people make a joke about you, about something you are actually incredibly insecure about and they don’t realize it, but every laugh feels like a stab in your chest, because it hurts so much and brings up memories you’d rather forget. But you can’t say anything, because then people would know your weaknesses. They’d know how insecure you really are. So instead you just laugh it off, and hide the pain you feel inside.” (Anonymous)

“I have insecurities, of course. But I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.” (Adele)

“I used to tell myself I had to be perfect and then things would fall into place, but only now do I realize that is far from the case. I am imperfectly perfect, I’m accepting all my flaws. I’m no longer letting my insecurities put my life on pause.” (Monica Carolan)

“Nobody is perfect. I just don’t believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, ‘This is who I am and look at me not being perfect!’ I’m proud of that.” (Kate Winslet)

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

What Are Your Insecurities?

I often feel like far too many people walk around claiming not to be insecure about anything in their lives. I tend to believe the reason for that is it makes them feel weak and vulnerable to the world around them if they openly admitted they had any insecurities. But truly, I think everyone, and yes, I do mean EVERYONE, has some sort of insecurity or insecurities in their lives. While some genuinely might be completely oblivious of them, I find most just do a pretty darn good job covering them up by always pointing out the insecurities in those around them, that they themselves battle within.

There are many insecurities I have seen in plenty of individuals over the years, mostly because I have dealt with the very same insecurities myself. Spending as much time as I have in so many different types of support groups, therapies, retreats, and the like over the years has totally helped me to “truly spot in others what I got”. Some of the top insecurities I’ve witnessed the most in this world deal with one’s appearance, finances, social standing and status in society, relationship status, sexuality, and health.

While most probably rarely consciously choose to ever talk openly about any of their insecurities with the world in general, such as on their social media, I decided to do that very thing today by sharing a list of my insecurities in this blog entry. Because I’m not perfect and I do have my own flaws and shortcomings, just as each of us do. We may do our best to tell the world we don’t have them, but deep down there’s always that part of us that knows otherwise. The more I’ve tried to deny this, the more I find myself living in ego, falling back into some sort of an addiction, and growing farther away from being the unconditionally loving being I want to be in this life.

So, am I doing this exercise for some sort of therapeutic reason? Partially. But ultimately, I’m doing this simply because I want to be more of an honest, vulnerable, and transparent individual in this world that people can relate to, because deep down we really all do have our set of insecurities. We just may not talk about them openly with each other. So here goes. This is the true fully transparent me…

  • I am insecure about my lack of employment and income.
  • I am insecure about my weight and my looks in general.
  • I am insecure about ever saying or doing anything that might offend or hurt another.
  • I am insecure about the many health issues I continue to endure with no end in sight.
  • I am insecure about dying a nobody and being easily forgotten.
  • I am insecure about being alone in this world.
  • I am insecure about what my closest friends, family, and loved ones think about me.
  • I am insecure about whether I’ll ever feel truly happy, joyful, and at peace in this life.
  • I am insecure about ever following in my father’s footsteps who took his own life.
  • I am insecure about ever expressing my sexuality openly.
  • I am insecure about God’s existence and whether I’m even doing God’s will.

And I will end with this. There is one thing I am absolutely secure in and that is I always do my best everyday to be an unconditionally loving, caring, and kind individual, something that only came about by becoming as open and transparent as I’ve become in my life, insecurities and all…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

As another year comes to an end, and another begins, what word do you want 2022 to become synonymous with? (ex. Peace, Love, Growth, Work, Travel, etc.)

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to the last chapter of Grateful Heart Monday for 2021, where gratitude has remained the sole focus on my writing at the start of each week. For my final grateful entry of the year, I decided to express my gratitude for the main lessons I learned in 2021. I honestly believe that life is a constant learning lesson if we choose to see it that way. There are always opportunities for growth, and I most certainly experienced much of that in 2021.

For starters, one of the biggest lessons I learned is how much I’m a different person (and not in a good way) when I’m on high levels of caffeine. While I might find more focus and creativity with my writing after ingesting a good amount of coffee, I also find my moods become erratic, I get short-tempered, and I yell and argue more, especially with my partner. I’ve been staying away from caffeinated beverages for well over a month now, something that’s been extremely challenging, but rewarding at times, because I’ve had far more stability in not only my moods, but in my relationship with my partner as well.

Another lesson I learned in 2021 is that it’s ok to step back from a friendship that isn’t feeding my soul. I’ve gone the extra mile in all my friendships in life, but often have felt in some of them that it wasn’t mutual. I’ve held onto friendships far past their shelf life, often at my own expense, mostly because of childhood angst about always being friendless back then. This year I took a hard look at my life and made difficult decisions to stand up for myself and draw closer to those who made concerted efforts to go the extra mile for me and distance myself for those who weren’t. And I’ve felt very empowered by that.

Another big lesson I learned in 2021 as well is that not everyone’s advice is healthy for me and more often than not, especially surrounding my health, has only led to greater confusion and frustration. I’ve worked far harder this year to stop talking about my health with people I meet, something I used to do regularly, because much of the advice I’ve received has regularly taken me into troubled waters and away from trusting in my Higher Guidance. I’ve come to really see that I need to trust more on my Higher Guidance and Inner Guidance than in the advice I receive from others.

A lesson that continues to repeat throughout my life that manifested again in 2021 was about realizing everyone is on a different spiritual path, at different paces, and that’s ok. I definitely tried to push others this year, especially my partner and a few other dear friends, on their spiritual journeys only to see the horns come out of their heads. A brother of mine in my men’s group always says that I have a deep insight to other’s paths, but that I often present steps on their paths too soon, and with force, which is only ever met with resistance. Thankfully, I did much better this year backing away from this behavior and have had a far better relationship with my partner and a few of my friends because of it.

A final lesson I want to mention that I learned in 2021 deals with addiction overall. Quite a few difficult things presented themselves this year that challenged me so much I thought about acting out in addiction in several ways. In the end, this was something to be thankful for because it reminded me that I am still very much the addict and I never want to let myself believe I could go back to old addictive behaviors without consequences.

Each of these lessons, and a few others I didn’t go into but are just as important, are all certainly things to have gratitude for on this Grateful Heart Monday. I truly learned a lot in 2021 and quite assuredly will have plenty more to learn in 2022 with lessons that may repeat themselves and new ones that may come my way as well. I am grateful for the spiritual growth I’ve made in life thus far and look forward to the growth I make in 2022 as well.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

You suddenly awake one morning and realize you have a new superpower, what is it?

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


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Why Superhero Films Continue To Be Box Office Successes, While All Other Films Aren’t…

Why are Marvel movies and other superhero-based films continuing to do a killing at the box office during this pandemic, when most other movies are either becoming financial bombs in theaters or barely making their budgets back? I’m sure industry experts are doing their best to figure that one out, but honestly, I think that answer is rather simple, and I don’t believe it’s what everyone else thinks the reason is, that being the fear of going to the theater and getting COVID.

Here’s why I say that. Spider-Man: No Way Home, another Marvel movie, just made $253 million on its opening weekend, and had a total global opening of $587 million, off a $200 million budget. Obviously, people are going to the movies with numbers like that! Personally, I sat in a very crowded 2pm showing of the new Spider-Man movie the other day, so I know people are going to the theaters in droves, but only for certain movies.

But take Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake for example. It cost $100 million to make, yet only earned $11 million on its opening weekend and $3 million on its second weekend. It was well-reviewed and well-liked by those who saw it, including me, but is most likely going to become a financial disaster when all is said and done.

And how about this interesting fact? Did you know that five of the six top grossing films of 2021 have been Marvel/superhero-based films with Spider-Man: No Way Home being in 1st, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in 2nd, Venom: Let There Be Carnage in 3rd, Black Widow in 4th, and Eternals in 6th?

So why are superhero films continuing to draw such large numbers at theaters when so many other films aren’t? My theory? People really need a serious escape right now from the stark reality of the life we are still having to live in, an escape of good winning over evil. Presently, I think people see this pandemic as an evil in our world and they are desperate for this evil to go away once and for all. What better way to feel amazing in a bleak pandemic-stricken world where isolation and worry surround so many of our thoughts than to go see a superhero film where good triumphs over evil. It does help to improve the mood for so many!

Look, people aren’t going to overcome any of their fears and worries during this pandemic by attending dark movies like Nightmare Alley, or artsy movies like House of Gucci, even when big-named stars are attached to them. For most movie-goers presently, having a plot that takes them out of this world and into another, where they can eventually leave a theater feeling more hopeful and uplifted because evil was conquered by humans that could be just like them, that’s what people want right now.

To further make my point, rounding out the top ten of this year’s box office are F9: The Fast Saga in 5th, No Time to Die In 7th, A Quiet Place Part II in 8th, Free Guy in 9th, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife in 10th. I saw each of those movies in the theater as well, which all dealt with some form of good triumphing over evil, where fantastical elements that really aren’t grounded in our current reality were present, (like Ludicrous and Tyrese Gibson going into outer space in a Fiero for example in F9!!!).

The reality is people want to escape the drama of this world and see a huge win over evil rather than watch something where the focus leaves them negatively charged. Why would the general movie goer want to go see any film presently that keeps them in their head and makes them feel more depressed and down, when their everyday world is already filled with so much of that right now. The fact is people want heroes currently to save the world from itself and so they’re looking for that in the theater and are willing to brave the pandemic for those types of movies. For the rest of films that aren’t superhero-based, well streaming has become the best solution for most now where they can hide in their own feelings in the comfort of their own home.

So, while Hollywood continues to try to figure this out in a world that has most definitely changed since this pandemic began, I decided to leave everyone with my own silly movie concept that might just work in these crazy times to become a box office hit.

Plot: A pandemic has hit our world even worse than COVID and has been around for a few years now. 1 in 3 dies from it by the time they reach 18 years old. But those who get sick and survive emerge with amazing new superhuman abilities and never get the virus again. Vaccines are available now to prevent any further deaths and can stop the virus even during a person being sick, yet they will also suppress any superhuman abilities from ever manifesting. Actor Timothy Chalamet and Actress Zendaya are the two lead characters, Eli and Ivy, who come from very different families in Chicago. Eli doesn’t believe in vaccination, but his entire family does due to all the losses they’ve endured, none having every survived without vaccination. Ivy’s family on the other hand are all unvaccinated due to their strong spiritual beliefs, including her father who almost died from the virus but survived and developed his own superhuman ability. He keeps his ability in secret though like most others do because most have vaccinated and those who haven’t and survived have become shunned in society, being blamed for why the virus is still around. Vaccination status is still kept private though and Ivy’s father works for Eli father’s company as a lead foreman for the largest construction company in Chicago. Eli works in the corporate office and occasionally is sent onto job sites for assessment. When one day he’s sent to Ivy’s father’s job site, a major accident occurs where Ivy’s father is forced to reveal his ability to save Eli’s life. Eli’s father fires him though over his superhuman status, knowing he was unvaccinated, even as his son protests his decision. When Eli decides to visit Ivy’s father’s home to apologize and offer help in any way he can, Ivy answers the door. Eli’s heart flutters as he lays eyes on her beauty for the first time, but Ivy slams the door in his face knowing who he is and what his father did. When Eli knocks again, Ivy reopens it choosing to hear out what he has to say. Eventually her heart will find a place for him, just in time for when they both succumb to the virus. Will they vaccinate to ensure their love’s survival, or will they take a chance to hopefully become a superhuman couple?

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A married couple were asleep when the phone rang at 2 in the morning, The blonde wife picked up the phone, listened a moment and yelled, “How should I know, that’s 200 miles from here!” and hung up immediately. The husband said, “Who the heck was that???” The wife said, “I don’t know, some woman asked if the coast was clear right when I picked up the phone!”

Silly Joke #2

A seriously drunk individual walked into a bar and, after staring for some time at the only woman seated at the bar, walked over to her and kissed her. She jumped up and slapped him silly. He immediately apologized and explained, “I’m sorry. I thought you were my wife. You look exactly like her.” “You are a worthless, insufferable, wretched, no good drunk you know that!” she screamed at him… “That’s funny,” he muttered, “because you even sound like her now too!”

Silly #3

An old man close to ninety was sitting on a park bench crying. A policeman noticed this and asked him why he was crying. “Well,” says the old fellow, “I just got married to a beautiful 30-year old woman. Every morning she makes me a wonderful breakfast and then we make love and I’m still able to do that even at my age!!! In the afternoon she makes me a wonderful lunch and then we make love again!!! At dinner time she makes me a wonderful supper and we make love one final time!” The policeman looks at the old man and says, “With all that, why are you crying? You should be the happiest man in the world!” The old man responds, “I’m crying because I don’t remember where I live!”

Silly #4 (Adult Humor)

A large, powerfully-built guy meets a woman at a bar. After a number of drinks, they agree to go back to his place. As they are making out in the bedroom, he stands up and starts to undress. He takes his shirt off and flexes his hugely muscular arms and says, “See that, baby? That’s 1000 pounds of dynamite!” She begins to get really excited. The man drops his pants, strikes a bodybuilder’s pose in his underwear, and says, “See these bulging thighs baby? That’s another 1000 pounds of dynamite!” She begins to long for some steamy action at this point. Finally, he drops his underpants, and after a quick glance, she quickly buttons herself back up, grabs her purse, and is heading towards the door. He catches her before she is able to leave and asks, “Why are you suddenly in such a hurry to go?” She replies, “With 2000 pounds of dynamite and such a tiny fuse, well…I really thought you were going to explode before we even began…”

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