Daily Reflection

“Meditation is a lifelong process. Give it a try. As you get deeper and more disciplined into the process, you’ll get deeper and more disciplined in your mind and life.” (Brendon Burchard)

Many people pray on a regular basis, but so many never take the time to meditate. I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to live a healthy spiritual life, I needed to do both. Prayer being the action of communicating to my Higher Power, while meditation being that of listening for my Higher Power’s guidance and direction. Praying was usually the easier of the two for me, probably because I’ve spent so much time throughout my life asking my Higher Power for help with any number of things. But sitting still and becoming mindful of my thoughts always seemed far more difficult. Over the years I came to understand that the only way it would ever get any easier was if I practiced it on a daily basis. Initially I attempted to meditate in extremes, spending hours at a time trying to achieve some state of bliss and direct connection to my Higher Power. While I had some early on success with that, eventually I found I wasn’t able to recreate the experience. That only led me to sheer frustration and head in the opposite direction, putting aside next to no time for the practice. Ironically during that period I was quite far from feeling the presence of my Higher Power and my life fell to shambles. In recent years though, I’ve regularly returned to the practice, spending 45 minutes every day sitting in silence. Some days I’ve found this very challenging to do, especially when my thoughts run rampant or my body hurts incredibly. But on other days I’ve found myself having much greater success with meditation, feeling my Higher Power’s peace and serenity during a session. Regardless, practicing meditation regularly now has led to a far more stable life. That’s why I know I must keep on meditating in moderation, day in and day out. Because in the long run, it will not only continue to discipline my mind and body, it will also keep me become a much more open channel to receive and understand what my Higher Power’s will is for me.

I pray I continue setting time aside on a daily basis to meditate, no matter how I may feel when doing so. Because I know if I do, it will keep guiding me to a much more disciplined life and one that’s far closer to my Higher Power.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Andy’s Woodsy Adventure – Chapter 20

Q: What did the pirate say when he turned 80?
A: Aye Matey!

Andy’s Woodsy Adventure (Chapters 1 to 19)

Andy’s Woodsy Adventure – Chapter 20

“You know you’re going to need to teleport yourself back into your room from here right?” said Chris once we had reached the front of his driveway.

“Yeah, so my parents don’t see my costume all messed up with holes in it right?”

“Exactly. And you really need to destroy it as well.”

“What? How am I going to do that when my parents are probably going to ask at some point where it is?”

“Look, if they do, you tell them you left it at my house because we were going to use them again for another adventure.”

“Hey, that’s lying and I thought you were trying to set a good example for me?”

“Hmmm, you know you’re right. Ok, I have a better idea. Teleport yourself home right now and change into something else. Then teleport back over here and give me the costume. Then you’re actually not lying,”

“Ok sounds good. Capricorn!” I said as I pictured my bedroom.

VAVOOM…

I quickly entered and exited the vortex and was now standing by my bed. Thankfully my door was already closed upon arrival, as I had left it that way before leaving to go trick-or-treating. After setting my bag of candy down, I rapidly began taking off my costume, but unfortunately, it seemed to be taking me much longer than I expected. Parts of it had adhered to my skin where the intensity of the fire and heat had melted it onto me. I had to peel it off in those areas and all I can say is that it was a very unpleasant experience doing so.

“I knew I heard you in here! You used your powers to get home didn’t you?” My sister said suddenly barging into my room.

“Shhhh! Be quiet! Yes, I used one of my powers to teleport home.” I said hoping my parents didn’t hear her.

“You can do that? How cool is that! Oh, and you don’t have to be so quiet. Mom and Dad went out to dinner and left me in charge of giving out candy.”

“Phew! That’s a big relief!”

“Well, you might not feel that way after you see what’s all over the local news…”

“What do you mean?”

“Just meet me downstairs after you get done changing. And if you can somehow teleport Chris here as well, you might want to do that.”

 My sister then left the room and headed downstairs leaving me to finish peeling off the rest of my costume. I hadn’t the faintest idea as to what Laura was talking about, but by her tone I could tell she was pretty concerned.

After placing the now mostly destroyed superhero outfit in a bag and changing into some clean clothes, I teleported back to Chris and gave it to him. I then proceeded to tell him about what my sister had said and asked if he might be able to stay over for the night. He didn’t know and told me to wait on his front porch while he found out whether he could or couldn’t. Ten minutes later he re-emerged in his normal clothes with an overnight bag and said it was fine. I wasted no time and swiftly teleported us back to my bedroom. Once there, I quickly deactivated Capricorn, as I didn’t want a repeat of what happened last time I didn’t deactivate one of the signs.

“You know we should teleport ourselves to somewhere really cool sometime don’t you think?” Chris said as he set his bag down on my bed.

“Wouldn’t that be abusing my powers? Remember what the Council of the Zodiac said about that.”

“I honestly don’t believe that’s what they meant. I think you’re just not supposed to ever use your gifts to gain power or prestige, or to abuse another person on purpose.”

“Ahh. That makes sense I guess.” I said as we headed downstairs to where the main television and my sister were.

“…again what you have been seeing here is amateur footage taken from a cellular device.” said the news anchor on channel four as we entered the family room. “We’re going to go live now on the scene with Heather Sampson in Scenic Hills.”

“Thanks John. Yes, if you’re just tuning it, firefighters have been on the scene here for almost an hour now trying to fully put out a two-alarm fire that reportedly started from some faulty electrical wiring. As you can see there are still a few flames they’re trying to take care of.

The camera then moved off the newswoman and onto the charred remains of the house.

Sadly not much is left of the once beautiful two-story home owned by Kathleen Johnson. Thankfully, both she and her two children were unharmed and are now safe. That wasn’t the case though a short time ago when the fire trapped her two 8-year-old boys upstairs in their bedroom. By the time the firefighters arrived on the scene only she had escaped and the flames had reached such intensity that any rescue of her children was initially not possible. What can only be described as a miracle at this point is the mysterious costumed person who ended up being the one to actually save her two boys. We’re now going to show you the amateur footage again, taken by Billy Tilden who was able to capture their amazing rescue.”

Chris and Laura both looked over at me at the same time to see my reaction as I watched the shaky footage play out. My heart was completely racing, as this was something neither Chris nor I had anticipated would ever happen. First it showed me breaking in the rear door and running straight into the blazing fire. Not too long after I saw myself jump out the bathroom window and then catch the first twin. And finally the video showed me doing the huge leap up to the same window, pulling the other twin out, and then landing on my back while holding onto him. It even showed me getting up off the ground without a scratch and fully disappearing into thin air once the two kids had safely run towards the street.

“The identity of the individual who did this nearly impossible feat is unknown at this time and the only information the two children gave was that a costumed boy had been the one to save them. They indicated it was too smoky to see anything else and as you can see by this video taken on an Iphone, it was shot too far away to make out anything else…”

The female reporter then droned on about other aspects of the fire including how hot it would have been in the house when I stormed into it and how many feet the second floor window was that I jumped out of.

“Well the good news is that it seems as if your identity is still safe.” My sister said as she turned the television off.

“Yeah maybe, but I think those twin boys could have described a lot more about me. I wonder why they didn’t say anything else?”

“Maybe they’re in shock and really don’t remember much?” Laura said.

“Or maybe they know how important it is to protect the identity of a superhero?” said Chris.

“Regardless, as much as we agreed to never wear costumes Chris, I think I’m going to have to get one that protects my identity don’t you think?”

“Unfortunately yes, which means I need to start brainstorming on what that should be.” Chris said scratching his head.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

The automatic opening of the garage door abruptly halted any further conversation on the subject. It was apparent my mom and dad had returned from their dinner. I didn’t feel much like talking with them, as I was quite exhausted. Fortunately, Laura said she’d cover for me by letting them know Chris was staying over and that we had already turned in for the night. And with that, Chris and I sprinted back upstairs to my room.

When the door was safely closed, I watched as Chris immediately locked it. Before I had a chance to ask him why, he pulled my crystal out of his bag and said something that was the last thing I ever expected him to say at that moment.

Zōidiakos!”

As the crystal began to give that mesmerizing hum once again, while also spinning in mid-air like before, I looked over at Chris somewhat in alarm, wondering why we were returning to the Council of the Zodiac.

ˆAndy, in light of everything that happened tonight, I really feel we need some additional guidance from the Council on how to deal with you helping others. I’m hoping a quick visit to them will provide us some much-needed answers”. Chris said as the blur of the vortex grew bigger and several of my comic books began flying around my room.

“I really hope you know what you’re doing!!!” I said, hoping this time we wouldn’t return days, weeks, months, or even years later…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

 

“Proof”, A TNT Series That Asks, “Is There Life After Death?”

Is there life after death? That’s an age-old question that countless numbers of people have wanted to know for thousands of years. It’s also been the premise of TNT’s new summer television show appropriately titled “Proof”.

I was skeptical at best when I saw an early preview for this new series mostly because I’m a firm believer that something exists beyond this plane. What is it? I don’t know. But I didn’t really want to tune into a weekly fictional drama that might be slanted towards proving an afterlife doesn’t exist. I’m happy to report that wasn’t the case.

“Proof” stars Jennifer Beals as Dr. Carolyn Tyler, who is a very skilled heart surgeon incredibly dedicated to her career. After being initially approached by billionaire Alan Turing (Matthew Modine) and told he’s cancer-stricken and desires to know what happens after one dies, she indicates she really doesn’t know. That’s when the viewer sees a quick flash of her own near-death drowning experience (NDE) from years ago. When Turing says he wants to hire her to investigate cases to discover whether there’s actually life after death or not, she instantly balks at the idea and graciously declines. Like many of the doctors she works with, Carolyn tends to believe in science and fights the idea that anything beyond death even exists. But when her boss, Dr. Charles Richmond (Joe Morton), strongly suggests she aid Turing in whatever he needs solely because of the money Turing plans on investing into their hospital, she reconsiders for him. After accepting Turing’s offer, she then forms a team consisting of Dr. Zed Badawi (Edi Gathegi) and Janel Ramsey (Caroline Kaplan), who together go on to explore various events and instances of possible life after death.

Probably the most fascinating element of this new series is the fact that Dr. Tyler has her own hidden agenda. Not only because of her own NDE, but also because she lost her son in a car accident when she was driving the two of them some years prior. Struggling to move on and forgive herself, she hopes to find out whether her son lives on in some afterlife or whether his death was his ultimate end.

While I’ve never had an NDE myself, nor had any experience of seeing ghosts or anything else beyond this plane of reality, I’ve done enough research over the years to feel there’s got to be something beyond this life, I just don’t know what it is. Watching “Proof” reminded me of many of the books I’ve read about this subject and enthralled me completely through each of its 10 episodes.

There are plenty of moments where I’ve wished myself that I had my own proof of an afterlife, especially as of late over my frustration with all the pain I’ve been going through for so long now. But alas, I’m in the dark like most of us are here and do my best to live my life with faith that hopefully something really is beyond this life. Whether my Higher Power chooses to ever reveal any of that to me during the rest of this existence or not remains to be seen. Until then, I’m going to continue watching well-written television shows such as “Proof” because it shows like this one that ultimately help me to keep the faith that life after death truly does exist.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

August’s Questions For You To Ponder

Well we’re about to enter the month of September (man where did the summer go?) and you know what that means. I haven’t done the monthly spiritual questions for everyone to ponder yet. 🙂 So here they are. I hope each of you will take the time to mull them over and maybe even share a few of your responses after you have. And as always, my own answers are listed below as well.do you normally handle when someone cuts you off while driving?

  1. What do you love the most about yourself?
  2. What is your favorite thing to do that helps you feel young again?
  3. What would you say is something you do regularly that could potentially be an addiction?
  4. What is the biggest thing you keep putting off in life?
  5. If you had to get a tattoo and it had to be a spiritual slogan, what would it say?
  6. Name one thing that bothers you the most when you see it in someone else?
  7. What is the number one quality you look for the most when making friends with someone new?
  8. If hell existed here on earth, what would that look like to you?
  9. If you had to wear a shirt with a message on it every single day for an entire year, what would it say?

And one more for good measure as always:

  1. What aspect of yourself are you working on changing the most right now in your life?

My answers:

  1. I pray for them by immediately sending them love, forgiveness, peace, and floodlight.
  2. My determination to complete anything I start no matter how long it takes or how hard it is.
  3. In a good physical state, going on rollercoasters. Currently, making faces and weird noises and needling people in their sides.
  4. If you count trying to find more and more ways to serve God, then I guess that’s one. Ok well maybe going to the movies once or twice a week counts as well.
  5. Writing a book about my life. (I’m still waiting for my health to get a lot better before I begin doing that.)
  6. “Be Still…”
  7. Someone gloating about all the cool things they’re doing in life.
  8. Someone who puts their needs, wants, and desires second to those their with.
  9. I’m currently living in it with all my chronic pain.
  10. “Love God, Love yourself, and Love everyone else too ok?”
  11. Trusting myself and trusting God a lot more than I used to.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Choices Of Free Will

If you’ve ever attended a church service then you probably have heard the term “free will” before. If you haven’t, it is often said during many of them that all of us here on planet earth are given this from the day we are born, to the day we die, and what we do with it is up to us. For the longest time I utilized that principle to the extreme by living my life exactly how I wanted to live it, regardless of how God may have felt about it. But as I began to work a lot more on myself spiritually, the greater I became willing to give up my free will and ask instead for what God would want of me. Lately I’ve been struggling to stick with this though, solely because of the health issues I continue to deal with.

You see I’ve come to understand one thing about what it means to follow God’s will. Sometimes it involves a lot of waiting. In other words, it requires a tremendous amount of patience. While I’ve grown in that department quite a bit in the past few years, this summer has been particularly trying given how many I’ve already had to watch go by from the sidelines. Some of those who have witnessed my frustration over this recently have suggested that maybe God isn’t going to deliver me out of this and that I should use my free will to pursue other options. A few years ago it was rather easy for me to ignore when people said things like this to me, but now I feel it’s becoming more and more difficult to do and it’s caused me to occasionally ponder the free-will based choices I could pursue.

The first is one that any person who has lived with chronic pain on any level for an extended period has probably considered at some point or another, and that’s to take his or her own life. My father did this very thing because of his own pain and honestly, it’s really the last thing I would ever want to do. Yet on those days when my pain has been through the roof, I’d be lying if I said those thoughts didn’t cross my mind.

The second choice is to go back to an addiction-laden life. Basically, what that means is to spend the rest of my days in a haze of booze, drugs, and sex, because my brain says it will help me have a little more ease and comfort with what I’m going through. Unfortunately, my brain also tries to forget all the intense pain and suffering each of those addictions caused me the last time I engaged in any of them.

The third choice is the one that people seem to keep trying to push my way the most, and that’s to go back to doctors and get some prescriptions to help make things a lot easier for me. Ironically, my mind tries to convince me I should do this on a regular basis, even knowing that the last time I tried this route that it ended with me in even greater pain after a year of pursuing it.

Lastly, the fourth and final choice I have is to do keep on doing what I’ve been doing to heal, to adhere to my holistic path, and to trust and remain patient with God like I’ve been trying to do, day in and day out for a good while now. This of course is the healthiest choice of them all, and truly the only one where I believe my free will matches that of God’s will.

Thus I believe it’s pretty clear what the best choice is for me. It’s the one where I continue remaining patient, enduring this pain, and maintaining faith that the path I’ve chosen will pay off. I’ve made it this far under God’s watch, so as much as my ego keeps trying to convince me to exercise my free will and try something else, I’m opting to stay with option #4, because it’s the only one that I truly believe will bring me to the other side of this…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Oracle Card’s Message

I own both a Tarot and Oracle card deck that from time to time, I actually pray to God holding one of them in my hand and ask for a guiding message to help me when I’m really struggling with some aspect of my life. Recently, I did just that on a day when I was beating myself up a little around why I haven’t gotten healthier yet given all the hard work I’ve been putting in to get there the last few years. Ironically the card I pulled out of my Archangel Michael Oracle deck that day was exactly the message I know I needed to hear in that moment and it’s something I know I truly need to pay greater attention to.

But before I speak to what the actual card said, I feel the need to first say that I don’t believe card readings are evil or devil worshipping in any way, unless that is the intention one tries to place into them. For myself, anytime I’ve ever gone and had a reading done or given myself one, I’ve always asked God to guide it and to show me a message for my highest good. This is precisely what I did the other day when I was sitting in my office feeling extremely blue while holding onto my Oracle deck.

As I shuffled the cards from it over and over again, I kept asking God to let me know something…anything…that might help me on the healing path I’ve been on with God for so long now. I honestly was in serious need of a little hope at that moment. Suddenly, in the midst of me shuffling the 44 cards in my hands again for the umpteenth time, a card flipped out of the deck face up that said “Be Gentle With Yourself”. Immediately I began to tear up as I read the words in the guidebook that accompanies it:

“Archangel Michael is guiding you toward honoring your sensitivity – emotionally and physically. You’ve been pushing yourself too hard, while often berating yourself for “imperfections,” which are in your imagination. This card serves as a reminder that you’re doing the best you can in the circumstances you’re dealing with. So give yourself a break, slow down, and be good to yourself.”

And the prayer that followed these words made even more sense to me with where I’ve been at lately:

“Archangel Michael, please guide me in treating myself with gentle, nurturing love in everything I think, speak, and do. Help me know that I deserve this compassion. I release any feelings of guilt to you so that I may experience lasting inner peace.”

The reason why this card was so fitting for me and ultimately continues to be even now as I write this entry days later is this. I often beat myself up thinking there’s some part of my life that I’m not trying hard enough in or doing well enough in, that’s somehow preventing me from getting better. But seeing those words that said I’m doing the best I can given my circumstances, caused me to sob for a few minutes.

You see, having been in the place I’ve been in with high levels of pain over the past three years, I’ve driven myself so hard at times to reach a level of spiritual perfection thinking it will hopefully bring me out of the depths of despair I often find myself in. And on that day when I was doing this reading, what I really was thinking inside while shuffling the Oracle cards was maybe God would show me some area of my life that I can still work on to get me in a much better state of health.

Sometimes I think God and his angels and archangels have a good sense of humor because the answer I got from the card that flipped out of my deck then was exactly what I needed to be reminded of. I haven’t been gentle with myself much at all lately and I know I need to focus a lot more on doing that then I have been.

So in the end what I’ve taken away from the single card reading I did the other day is quite simple. I’m doing the best I can and truly the only thing I need to concentrate on is being a little more kind and loving to myself, because really, I think that’s something we all need to start doing a lot more for ourselves in life, especially me, don’t you agree? 🙂

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

To The 1.1 Billion Who Still Smoke Cigarettes…

Have you ever seen those commercials on television that show you the horrors of cigarettes? I know I have and honestly, as much as I wish the people who are still smoking would pay attention to them, sadly most of them won’t. How do I know this? Because I used to smoke and I remember how powerful that addiction was when I was doing it.

It’s probably best that I clarify something right off the bat first. I’m not writing this entry to convince you to stop smoking if you happened to be one of those 1.1 billion people who still do. I’m just writing this to tell you a little about the years I myself was hooked on them.

The first time I ever actually smoked a cigarette was on a hot summer night when I had been drinking alcohol pretty heavily. I was hanging out with a guy I was secretly smitten with and I thought I’d impress him by trying one. After pulling out one of the Newport menthols from his pack and lighting it, I tried to hold it in my mouth like he did and then inhaled. Like all those movies and television shows that often portray what happens when a person first tries to smoke a cigarette, I began to cough and gag uncontrollably. But I was determined to be more like this guy, hoping somehow it would draw me closer to him. Little did I know though that the only thing it would draw me closer to is an unhealthy life? Needless to say, once I got past those initial problems, its effect on me was electric. Not only did it give me a buzz and a sense of ease and comfort, it also enhanced the effect of all the booze I was beginning to consume in greater and greater quantities.

For a while I’d only smoke when I was drinking and I’d often tell myself I wasn’t addicted to cigarettes because of this. I’d usually only consume maybe five or six throughout an entire evening while I drank, but the thought of doing them the next morning when I awoke was initially never there. In fact the smell of them on the two fingers I used to smoke the night before, as well as all over my clothes and pretty much the rest of my body, totally repulsed me at first. But as I grew more restless, irritable, and discontent with my life, I found that I wanted to get more of that ease and comfort during the day when I wasn’t able to drink. I found I could get a little of that by smoking a cigarette after lunch and after dinner. Soon it became one of those things I had to do after every meal or I just didn’t feel relaxed and complete.

Then came the stress from various aspects of my day-to-day living. At this point in my life, I was in college and deeply closeted. Cigarettes began to offer me some relaxation either before or after big exams, or while hanging out with someone I was attracted to but couldn’t admit to it. Eventually, it felt as if everything else there started to get to me as well, like traffic around campus for example. The more I became stuck in it, the more smoking a cigarette seemed to help me deal with it somehow. Then I noticed I had problems moving my bowels in the morning, but smoking a cigarette always corrected that somehow. And just like that, cigarettes soon became my answer for all of life’s problems.

Like any addiction, the bad effects of this growing habit didn’t happen right away. The first negative thing from doing it didn’t really occur until a few years down the road when I began to easily get winded while playing sports. My stamina in turn then became less and less the more I kept on smoking. Soon my white teeth started becoming really yellow and my breath more and more foul, and then I began to go through regular episodes of bronchitis.

Yet I continued to do this habit and would even try to enhance the buzz at times by using chewing tobacco, which was definitely a sign of this growing addition. But one day when I lit up a cigarette as always and inhaled the first puff, something happened. My throat spontaneously closed, almost as if it was attempting to reject the nicotine all on its own. I’d try several more times to inhale the smoke and only got the same exact result. Unfortunately, I was completely oblivious to the notion my body was trying to send me a warning message to kick the habit. Instead, I kept on doing it, finding ways to distract my mind so that I could override the constant strange throat reaction and inhale the smoke.

When I began suffering from serious anxiety and depression and found that cigarettes (and alcohol) were only making it, and the rest of my health worse, I knew I needed to do something. That’s when I sought a Higher Power for help through a humble prayer on my knees. The result was swift when the compulsion to do both was immediately lifted. I truly consider myself one of the lucky ones these days because of this. I have seen plenty of the horrors that an addiction to smoking cigarettes ultimately leads to, from COPD, to heart disease, to high cholesterol, to poor vision, and of course many forms of cancer. I knew most of this when I used to smoke yet I kept on doing it.

You see that’s the problem with all addictions. Once a person finds some ease and comfort from the substance of any addiction, it becomes next to impossible to have any desire to stop doing it until the pain and suffering gets great enough from actually doing it. This is why anyone who is a prisoner to smoking isn’t ever going to give much mind to all those commercials on television that constantly show people on breathing apparatus, or having lost limbs or parts of their face, or even the ones lately that are trying to cater to the young crowd by showing a pack of cigarettes come alive like one of those creatures from the Alien movie series.

That’s why I feel it’s so sad that 1 in 3 adults on our planet continue to engage in a habit that could eventually destroy their mind and body and possibly even take their life the more they do it. I have plenty of friends totally addicted to cigarettes that constantly tell me they plan to quit, but the reality is they won’t until something really bad happens. Hopefully each of them and anyone else suffering from this addiction will one day wake up like I did and ask their Higher Power to guide them away from something that’s so deadly.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“As psychiatrists have often observed, defiance is the outstanding characteristic of many an alcoholic. So it’s not strange that lots of us have had our day at defying God Himself. Sometimes it’s because God has not delivered us the good things of life, which we specified, as a greedy child makes an impossible list for Santa Claus. More often, though, we met up with some major calamity, and to our way of thinking lost out because God deserted us. The girl we wanted to marry had other notions; we prayed God that she’d change her mind, but she didn’t. We prayed for healthy children, and were presented with sick ones, or none at all. We prayed for promotions at business, and none came. Loved ones, upon whom we heartily depended, were taken from us by so-called acts of God. Then we became drunkards, and asked God to stop that. But nothing happened. ‘Damn this faith business’, we said. When we encountered A.A., the fallacy of our defiance was revealed. At no time had had we asked what God’s will was for us; instead we had been telling Him what it ought to be. In A.A., we saw the fruits of this belief; men and women spared from alcohol’s final catastrophe. We saw them meet and transcend their other pains and trials. We saw them calmly accept impossible situations, seeing neither to run nor to recriminate. This was not only faith, it was faith that worked under all conditions…” (p. 31, 12 Steps and 12 Traditions)

My faith has definitely been wavering tremendously lately with all the intense mental, emotional, and physical pains I’ve been struggling with. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed to God for a very long time now for my suffering to end and have yet to see that come to fruition. While I may not understand why, I still continue to trudge forward, waiting patiently, and constantly asking for God’s will to be done in my life. That’s only because I grew tired of waiting on God to answer my prayers just over four years ago, when I spent an entire year taking matters into my own hands. That year didn’t end well, as that bout of defiance only caused me to have a nervous breakdown and attempt suicide. I have since spent almost three and a half years now trying to become more and more reliant on God. But it’s truly hard sometimes, especially when great pain is involved. I mean who really wants to walk through pain on a daily basis anyway? I sure don’t, but I continue to do so anyway, because I know exactly where defiance led me the last time I grew impatient and stopped waiting for the miracle to happen. It will happen though, in fact it is happening, because I know with me writing about it here that it’s helping me to remain reliant on God, and ultimately, I believe that’s the only solution to finding eternal peace and serenity for all of life’s impossible situations.

I pray I keep the faith that God will eventually deliver me from whatever troubles I’m going through. And I pray I remain fully reliant on God, and never return to a life of defiance, even when my mind may try so desperately to tell me otherwise.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

“Sense8”, An Exciting, Original Netflix Series That Bends Your Mind

I’ve been hit or miss when it comes to the films done by the Wachowski siblings. If you’ve seen The Matrix or either of its sequels, then you’ve already witnessed as I have, the incredible originality from them as both writers and directors. I felt the same sense of awe with them when I watched Cloud Atlas as well. But I became somewhat disenchanted after watching their work in Speed Racer and Jupiter Ascending. This is why I had very mixed feelings when I heard over a year ago that they were collaborating with Netflix to create a new scripted television series peculiarly titled Sense8. But I’m happy to report now, just over a year later, that I’ve actually finished watching season one and thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of its 12 episodes.

While I’m not sure if I can truly do Sense8 the justice it deserves without spoiling anything, I will say that it took me at least four of its episodes to become completely hooked. The series begins with the scene of Angelica Turing (Daryl Hannah) sitting on an old mattress in a very run down church, looking very much like a junkie. Suddenly a man named Jonas Maliki (Naveen Andrews) appears and tells her she knows what she needs to do to save the others. She immediately pulls a gun out and holds it towards herself when another man named Mr. Whispers (Terrence Mann) abruptly shows up and tries to convince her not to do it. The viewer at this point has no idea whether these men are actually there with her or are simply figments of her imagination. But when Mr. Whispers walks into the church a few minutes later with several armed men, Angelica takes her life and we’re led to believe she was just a crazy person. Shortly thereafter her death though, 8 people from around the world begin getting visions of her and of each other, as somehow they’re now all connected. When they begin to realize just how connected they can become with each other, they also find themselves being hunted one by one by the very strange Mr. Whispers who seemingly has unique abilities himself. The viewer is then catapulted into a series that’s filled with everything from action, to an edge of your seat thriller, to comedy, to a heart-filled drama.

I must make a point to say that Sense8 really does a wonderful job representing and connecting so many different types of people to each other through its main cast of 8. They all come from various ages, races, creeds, colors, sexes, national origins, religions, gender identities and sexual orientations. Capheus (Ami Ameen) is a black man from Nairobi, Sun Bak (Doona Bae) is an Asian woman from Seoul, Nomi Marks (Jamie Clayton) is a transgender woman from San Francisco, Kala Dandekar (Tina Desai) is an Hindu woman from Mumbai, Riley Blue (Tuppence Middleton) is an Icelandic female DJ living in London, Wolfgang Bogdanow (Max Riemelt) is a German male locksmith and safe-cracker living in Berlin, Lito Rodriguex (Migeul Angel Silvestre) is a closeted Spanish actor living in Mexico City, and Will Gorski (Brian J. Smith) is a male police officer from Chicago. Ultimately I believe this is how all television shows and movies should be, giving us a great picture of the entire diversity that our planet has become.

When I finished watching the last episode of Sense8, I was glad that the series helped to reinforce one of my own spiritual beliefs, that somehow I too am connected to everyone and everything here on Earth. And while there may be some science fiction and fantasy elements drawn into this show that go a little beyond those beliefs, I’ve always felt that each of us here can tap into the energy and resources from each other to help us all grow closer to the Light.

So if you happen to be looking for an exciting and original show that does a superb job demonstrating not only how we all are connected, but also representing so much of our world in an unbiased way, then I encourage you to check out the Wachowki’s Sense8 on Netflix. Doing so might just bend your mind and leave you thinking, and also wanting more. (Note: Netflix gave the green light already for Season 2!)

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

“My First AA Meeting”

On Friday’s at my five day a week AA home group, it’s open topic day and one never really knows what’s going to be brought up during them. Usually I contribute something at each of them, but a few weeks ago I found myself struggling to share anything when the subject brought up was to describe our first AA meeting. The reason why I struggled so much was simple. I simply just couldn’t remember it.

The original AA meeting I actually went to was somewhere during the first part of summer of 1995. I had a social worker at the time counseling me who suggested I try attending a few. About the only thing I remember from the first one I checked out was how smoky it was, because back then you could still light up a cigarette during them. Having just quit cigarettes in addition to alcohol, my initial impression of AA quickly became biased. I tried a few others in the days and weeks ahead, but I can’t say I remember any of them either. Part of the problem was that I had an ego a mile wide and I felt that the only thing I needed to do was not drink, not do drugs, and not smoke cigarettes. I never realized that those meetings were a lot more than just dumping one’s drama out there and I didn’t understand that there was a lot more work to do on myself after becoming clean and sober. But the reality was I wasn’t open to doing any of that work on myself back then. My ego had convinced me I was absolutely fine as I was, so long as I was not drinking, smoking, or doing drugs. Over the course of the next 12 years, none of that changed much either.

While I remained clean and sober and hit random meetings here and there, the only things I remember about any of them were whether there was anyone attractive present. Sadly, meetings to me for all those years were nothing more than a dating pool or a place to find a hook-up. My first real memory of an AA meeting didn’t really come until I became so powerless over my addiction-based insanity that I found enough willingness to get to one and actually listen for once. That moment was on the first Friday night of September in 2007 when my only real recovery friend invited me to go to his home group after I told him how miserable I was in life.

I remember walking through the church doors to his group that evening observing how everyone there appeared to be happy, yet I was so incredibly depressed. How could someone with 12 years of sobriety feel this way is what I thought inside as I greeted my friend with a hug? The immediate thing I told him was that I was in a very dark place and needed to share that night. He let me know I wouldn’t be able to though because they had an incoming group coming to share their experience, strength, and hope. I didn’t quite understand what he was talking about though because the only meetings I had ever attended in the past were ones that were open discussion. I proceeded to pressure him with the notion that I absolutely needed to share what was on my mind and after seeing I wasn’t going to give up, he ended up letting the incoming commitment know of my desire. Ironically, they eventually called me up to the podium where I clearly recall feeling a lot of fear inside.

As I stood there and began to speak in front of more than 100 people at a podium, the only thing I ultimately remember saying was how sick I was after all those years of being a dry drunk and that if I didn’t get help that night I was going to kill myself. I then burst into tears and rushed back to my seat. When the meeting ended not too long after, I got my very first sponsor and it was then I definitely began my true path to recovery.

While I’m slightly saddened that it took me as long it did to get there and create a strong enough of a memory to remember my first true AA meeting, I’m still thankful for all those prior ones I went to. Because it shows me how much I’ve grown since that very first smoky one I sat down at all those years ago where I let my ego run the show. I truly consider myself one of the lucky ones now because so many others have walked in my very same shoes and either relapsed, died, or remained a dry drunk. Thank God none of those happened with me and thank God I found enough willingness to finally come to an AA meeting with an open mind, as doing so has saved my life.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could: and the other, to accept spiritual help.” (p. 25 Alcoholics Anonymous)

I’ve often been told throughout life I was too much of a black-or-white thinking individual, constantly going from one extreme to another. It was repeatedly suggested to me because of it that I should try finding more middle-of-the-road solutions to my problems instead. I actually spent greater than two decades trying to find exactly that when it came to recovery from an addiction-based existence. It never worked out quite well though because I always seemed to end up right back in the same addiction or just engaging in another. It wasn’t until I asked my Higher Power to help me find freedom from them all did any of this change. Thankfully, I’ve been able to go for over three years now without partaking in any of my former addictions and I know the only reason why is due to the spiritual help I continue to ask my Higher Power for on a daily basis. So when I awake in the morning nowadays, I make sure to consistently pray to remain clean and sober from all addictions and that each of my thoughts, words, and actions follow only my Higher Power’s will for that day. It appears to be working far better than all those years where I tried to moderate each of my addictions or find solutions to them that only occasionally used spiritual help. While I may have found plenty of healthy middle-of-the-road solutions to other dilemmas in life over the years, I have to agree that at least for this one, an addiction-based existence, the only one that’s achieved any success is having 100% total dedication to my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God.

I pray to be able to differentiate between the problems in life that would benefit from a middle-of-the road-solution from the problems in life that wouldn’t. And I pray that for each of those that wouldn’t, that I fully seek spiritual help to find total freedom from them, once and for all.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Archangel Michael And His Feathers

My spiritual teacher has told me more than once that I could call upon an Archangel named Michael and ask for his assistance whenever I feel like I needed him. Lately, I’ve actually been doing that very thing quite a bit and truly believe I’ve received many signs of his guiding presence. But the journey to even feeling comfortable doing this has definitely taken some time getting there.

It all started when my spiritual teacher informed me I might find help with my debilitating struggles around my health issues by calling upon this Archangel named Michael. Initially, I was skeptical at best mostly because I was originally taught to only pray to God or Christ and that anything else would be blasphemy. Over the years though, I came to feel that this was too stifling of a view of a God often said to be all encompassing. In my recovery life, Bill Wilson said that God is either everything or he is nothing. For me, I eventually cane to accept the former, and in turn found myself researching and learning about many other ways that God manifests in. At first it was more in notable figures from the bible such as the 12 disciples, of which I did pray at times to some of those like Paul or Peter. But as time moved forward, I learned about the presence of God through other beings such as Archangels from the various books I read. It was said in them that an Archangel was simply one of God’s angels of high-ranking order. I didn’t connect much to this hierarchy at first because it seemed far too military or political and was beyond the realm of understanding I had at the time. But over the past five years, I’ve become open to the existence of God in so many more things, mainly because of where my health and healing processes have taken me.

This is why not too long ago, I found myself researching on the Internet about this Archangel named Michael. Through those studies I learned he helps to release fear and worry so that one can be more open to experiencing the incredible love and light of the Angelic Realm, as well as to live a fun, fulfilling, and passionate life. I also discovered he can help to release negativity, is able to bring the necessary courage for making positive life changes, and can bring comfort to those going through times of great sadness. The most interesting thing I found about Archangel Michael though is that he usually makes his presence known through the use of feathers.

After doing all the research on him and many of the other Archangels as well, it still took me some time to actually feel comfortable enough to call upon Michael with a sincere desire for his help. I’d have to say that the first moment it ever happened was on a particular day when my pain was severe, both physically and emotionally. I can’t remember anymore what I specifically said that day, but the gist was that I truly needed some comfort and reassurance that I was going to be ok.

When I found my first feather, a small white one, shortly after that, I just assumed what my ego was telling me was correct, that it was a mere coincidence. But as time went on, the more I prayed to Archangel Michael, the more it seemed as if feathers of all shapes and sizes were popping up around my everyday life. One morning, there was even a trail of them down my driveway. Another time, I chose a specific place to kneel down in my yard and pray and there in front of me was a small one, but after scanning the ground everywhere else, there were no others discovered. In recent months, they’ve been even more pronounced, some even falling out of the sky from nowhere, landing near or even on me.

As a man who once believed everything could be proven through science, I’m finding that hard to do anymore with the number of times these feathers have so randomly and oddly appeared in my life. I’m sure many might say each were always just a coincidence, but for a man of growing faith such as myself, I take them all now as a sign from one of God’s main helpers, ever reminding me that I’m going to be ok.

So whether you buy into the existence of God or Archangels or anything greater than yourself that’s up to you. But I myself am really coming to accept that there is a Higher Power out there of sorts who does have a team of beings working for him, trying to help us all find greater love and light in our lives. I ultimately feel Archangel Michael is one of those helpers and I’m forever grateful for each one of those feathers he sends me because each bring me a little more hope and a little more joy to help me keep going on all of those days when my ego tells me to give up. Thank you Archangel Michael for not letting that happen…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

“Made A Decision…”

The words “Made A Decision” are quite important when it comes to recovery from addiction, as they are part of what I deem to be the most vital step, which is Step 3. It reads, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God” and thankfully, I made three of these decisions over the course of the past 20 years that have fully transformed my life for the better.

The first of those came on June 10th, 1995. At that point, alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes were ruling my life. In fact, I was totally powerless over them and each was downright causing me to self-destruct on a daily basis. This is mainly why I will always remember the precise moment that day when I kneeled down in my bathroom and prayed to a God I had never spent much time with. All I asked in that prayer was for help because I knew if I didn’t get any, I was going to die from the damage these three things were causing me. Then something amazing happened. I felt a presence move through me, one I had never felt before, and when it was over the compulsion to pick up any of these substances left me. It was then I made a decision to never do any of them again and to this day I still haven’t.

The second time I made a decision to turn my will and my life over was on September 7th, 2007. When that day arrived, I had gone 12 entire years attempting to manage my life without any recovery program. Most would say I had lived the total time as a dry drunk because my behaviors were never much different from when I had been actively drinking, drugging, and chain smoking. But something truly amazing happened that night after calling the only friend who continued to believe in me. He had 14 years clean and sober at the time, but they were far different from the twelve I had, as he had continuously worked his recovery program during each of them. During our phone call he asked me to attend his home group in Alcoholics Anonymous that night, of which I accepted. It was there I spoke at a podium in front of at least 100 people where I said I needed help and was willing to do anything. And I meant it. By the end of that evening, after praying to God, I made a decision to work the 12 Steps with a sponsor for the first time in my life and have been on the recovering path ever since.

The third and probably most significant decision I ever made in turning my will and my life over was on April 23rd, 2012. It was on that day that I realized I had been playing tug-of-war with God on what I thought I still needed. While I had remained clean and sober from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes for almost 17 years by that point, I had discovered many other addictions that I wasn’t quite ready to give up. While God kept on giving me plenty of signs how none of them were serving my highest good, I never listened and was becoming spiritually sick all over again because of it. I remember waking up early that morning, shaking because of that growing sickness, and knew what I needed to do. I prayed to God for the strength and it came because when a phone call arrived from the last toxic person I was still engaging in addictive behaviors with, I said goodbye to him. It’s then I made a decision to turn my ENTIRE will and my ENTIRE life to God. Since then, I haven’t engaged in any addictive behaviors, not even one.

Nowadays, I wake up every morning and make the decision to ask God to guide all of my thoughts, words, and actions. So far, it seems to be working because my life has been filled with far less drama and instability than ever before, which is why I’m so grateful I made those decisions, three to be exact. As they have guided and shaped my recovery and spiritual life to a place I never could have achieved solely on my own.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Andy’s Woodsy Adventure – Chapter 19

Q: What did the janitor say when he jumped out of the closet?
A: SUPPLIES!!!

Andy’s Woodsy Adventure (Chapters 1 to 18)

Andy’s Woodsy Adventure – Chapter 19

“OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, PLEAAASE SOMEONE HELP!” The frantic woman continued to scream and sob.

“Ok, here’s what I want you to do.” Chris said trying his best to tune out the woman’s pleas for help. “First use the Libra power so that no one sees you doing any of this. Next, go around the back of the house and deactivate Libra and then activate Taurus, as then the fire shouldn’t hurt you while you’re in the house looking for Jake and Noah…”

“Hold on a friggin’ second. It SHOULDN’T hurt me? That’s not very reassuring now is it?” I said feeling somewhat concerned.

“LOOK, we don’t have time for this. Just trust me, it’s going to work. Once, you find the kids in there, take them out the back door, disable Taurus after you set them down, and then tell them to run away from the house towards the street and then to the nearest firefighter. Lastly, use Libra again, and then meet me on the corner of the next street.”

“Chris, for both of our sakes, I truly hope your plan works without any hiccups…”

“Have faith my friend…I know you can do it. Good luck.”

I knew I couldn’t waste any more time worrying whether any of this was going to work or not. Every minute I stalled was putting those kids more at risk.

“LIBRA!”

Chris was still staring at me, as I looked over his shoulder and saw the woman’s mouth opened in mid-scream. Just beyond her were the firefighters spraying water from two different hoses, one on the front door and the other through a broken window upstairs. The stream from both now looked rather like a long ice bridge suspended in mid-air. I quickly headed around to the back of the house and wondered if I could make this whole process much easier by leaving time frozen. Maybe fire couldn’t hurt me if time was paused? I decided to try it on a nearby torrent of fire that was coming out one of the lower side windows. It honestly seemed harmless enough, so I walked over to it and reached my hand up into the beautiful orange glow.

“OWWWWWW!” I retracted my hand as fast as possible, but not before it got burned pretty well. I guess that answers that question. Note to self, stick to Chris’s plan.

My burned hand was really hurting now as I reached the back door and lightly grasped its handle, which was surprisingly cool to the touch. Upon turning it, I discovered it was unfortunately locked. I had no other choice but to break it open.

“LIBRA!”

“TAURUS!”

Immediately my burned hand completely healed itself, which was a huge relief. I wasted no time to reflect on it though, as I hastily turned the door handle with next to no effort, breaking the lock mechanism in the process. I then pushed it opened and instantly a wall of flames shot out, yet they didn’t burn me this time. Instead, it almost felt like a warm breeze was passing through me. I couldn’t say the same for my costume though, as small parts of it began to melt. As quick as I possibly could, I sped through the wall of flames and entered the kitchen, managing to stifle the parts of my outfit that were burning.

“JAKE! NOAH! WHERE ARE YOU?” I shouted as loud as I could with hope I would hear them shout back.

There wasn’t any response though. I shouted their names again even louder, but still nothing. The house was rapidly becoming engulfed in fire and I could tell several wooden beams downstairs might collapse soon. Thankfully all the thick smoke surrounding me though wasn’t affecting my ability to breathe and keep a clear head.

Strictly on impulse, I decided to run up the stairs to where the bedrooms most likely were. The first one I entered appeared to be the master bedroom, of which not much was left. The next one seemed to be an office, and there too everything was already fully entrenched in flames. Parts of my costume were now beginning to disappear because of the intensity of the fire and heat and I knew I didn’t have much time left before I’d probably be totally naked. And that was definitely something I didn’t want to happen! I promptly raced into the next bedroom trying to forget any worry of that occurring, but had no success there or with the bathroom across from it. I approached the last room I hadn’t entered yet, except this one had its door closed. I swiftly kicked it open and there in the corner of it next to a bunk bed and some toys scattered about were twins Jake and Noah, huddled together, but definitely not alert. The smoke in the room was so thick I could barely see them through it, but thankfully it wasn’t bothering my eyes. I raced over to them and shook them both, but neither stirred one bit. Shit, Chris didn’t prepare me for this! I had no choice but to try something he hadn’t laid out for me.

“TAURUS!”

“VIRGO!”

I instantaneously started coughing and my eyes burning with the heat just as excruciating. While lying as close to the floor as possible and praying I didn’t pass out, I then reached out to place my hands on both boys at the same time. I really had no idea whether I could heal two people at once, but it was the only option I had. As soon as my hands were firmly pressed upon the chests of both Jake and Noah, that electricity-like feeling began to shoot through me like it had before when I healed Chris. The energy bolts then jumped down my arms and out my fingertips, causing my hands to become super-hot in the process. Suddenly both of the boy’s eyes opened with each taking in deep breaths…

“COUGH! COUGH! COUGH!” Jake and Noah proceeded to hack loudly like I already was.

“Are…you…here to save us?” One of the twins asked me in between coughs.

“Yes, Look, I’m about to do a little magic to get you out of here. Just trust me ok?” 

“OK!” Both twins responded in unison. I could tell they were very scared. I was too, as the smoke felt like fire in my lungs with each breath I took.

“VIRGO!”

“TAURUS!”

Phew. I could breathe again and my watery vision cleared itself up as well. I then hurriedly picked up Jake and Noah and placed one under each arm, as if I was carrying two bundles of wood. They were definitely a few years younger than I, but based upon their size, I would have guessed they were each at least 60 pounds, although it felt as if I was holding onto two kids that weighed next to nothing.

As I flew out the door, both of them started screaming due to the intensity of the heat. The stairs were now completely buried in flames and I knew there was no way I could take them through that wall of fire. I had only one possible exit at this point, the bathroom. It appeared to be the only thing that wasn’t on fire and there was a window in there.

“So do you guys trust me still?” I said to Jake and Noah setting them down near the window in the bathroom I had just entered.

“Yes, why, what are you gonna do?” One of the twins answered while the other started crying pretty hard, apparently quite scared.

“You’re both going to jump out this window one after another, once I’m down on the ground and I’m going to catch each of you.”

“WHAT?!” The crying twin abruptly said in between sobs.

“Please just trust me ok?” I said trying to reassure him.

I didn’t wait for them to say anything else as the flames had now blocked our exit from the bathroom. Both were coughing uncontrollably by the time I got the window opened and had thrown the screen to the ground. I then climbed out and jumped without thinking, finding it almost hard to believe how effortless it was when I reached the ground.

“Ok, come on. JUMP!” I said as I prepared my hands to catch whoever went first.

The twin that hadn’t been crying quickly climbed through the window with no hesitation and jumped. I caught him with ease and motioned for his brother to do the same, except he continued to peer over the edge fully paralyzed in fear. I yelled again for him to jump, but to no avail.

I knew there wasn’t any time left for this so I leaped as hard as I could and reached the window easily. I could see the flames had now entered the outer perimeter of the bathroom, leaving me with no choice but to grab the boy’s arm with one of my hands and roughly drag him out the window. As soon as I did, I let go of the windowsill with my other hand and fell to the ground. I landed on my back while still holding onto him, but thankfully it hadn’t hurt either of us. He immediately then bolted out of my arms and stood on his feet, next to his brother.

“Now run as fast as you can away from your house towards the street and then head over towards the firefighters ok? You mom is there with them now and I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to see you both are safe!” I said as I stood up and brushed myself off.

“Thank you mister superhero,” said the twin who had jumped first. “So who are you anyway beneath that mask and how did you do all that?”

“Don’t worry about any of that. Just run. Your mom needs to know you’re safe.”

“Thanks for saving me too,” said the other twin who had finally stopped crying.

“You’re both welcome, now go!”

I watched as they ran away from the house, making it safely to the street, and then disappear heading towards the firefighters and their mother.

“TAURUS!”

“LIBRA!”

I walked slowly back around the house, amazed I had actually pulled it all off. The rush of helping save Jake and Noah felt incredible. Once I reemerged on the other side of the house where the firefighters were still battling the blaze, I was able to see the teary mother with arms outstretched, and just beyond, the boys running towards her. A television crew had already arrived and was now filming the whole scene, which I’m sure, would make for great headline news later that night. When I reached enough of a safe distance where no one could see me, I unfroze time and saw Chris standing on the corner of the next street over as promised.

“Well?” Chris said in anticipation when I reached him, while handing me my bag of candy.

“They’re safe, but not without a few of those hiccups I’ll have you know!”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll tell you later, let’s just get out of here first. My costume feels like it’s totally stuck to me.”“Well at least most of it’s still on you, especially your mask, which means those boys shouldn’t know who you are right?”

“Yeah, I guess so…” I said, as we began to head down the hill to return to his house.

Little did I know though what was taking place at that very moment back at the still blazing fire…

“I think you’re going to want to see this!!!” said a man wildly shaking his Iphone in the air while racing over towards the filming TV crew and the female reporter.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“People cry, not because they’re weak. It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.” (Johnny Depp)

Crying is something I’m trying to do a lot more of lately, but unfortunately I’m often finding it quite hard to do. That’s mostly because I programmed myself over many years to believe it was weak. I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying that “Grown men don’t cry.” Well I’ve learned in recent years how very wrong that is. In fact, these days I’m more inclined to believe crying is essential to any healing I’m going through, as well as to my soul. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for when any of my tears should arise, like I was recently when I went into my backyard to pray early one morning. There, I watched as a young robin tried to fly up onto the safety of my fence when I got closer. It appeared to be injured, as it truly struggled to do so or even move. I could see it was very scared, even when I attempted to comfort it with a little love. After giving it some distance, I sat and observed another robin approach and feed the fearful robin with a berry. It was then, for whatever the reason, I began to cry. I’m not exactly if that was because someone was still watching over this injured robin, or if it was because I identified with it on where I’m at in life at the present time. Regardless of whatever the reason, it truly felt good to cry. I’m so grateful for each of my tears when they fall, because I know now that each are removing that false programming that made me think I had to be strong all the time.

I pray my body, mind, and soul each become more and more open everyday to crying, as I know my tears can truly be healing for each.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Integrity Mirror

I have a friend who seems to be living quite similar to how I used to when I had no real understanding of what it meant to live my life with integrity.

If you don’t know what I mean by this, having integrity is when you do the right thing in a reliable way on a consistent basis. It also means keeping strong moral and ethical values throughout your entire life. None of which I had much of when I was active in any of my addictions, unless I knew I was going to get something out of trying to be that way temporarily. The sad truth is that what my friend has been demonstrating to me over the past six months or so is truly but a mere reflection of my former self about four years ago on backwards.

I began to see the mirror of my own past integrity issues through this friend when they started to not return my phone calls. Then as time passed, I saw it further when they made several statements saying, “We really need to get together soon” but not following up with any of them. But that integrity mirror grew even stronger when I confronted my friend and asked why they were becoming more and more distant. That’s mostly because their response about their busy work life was all too familiar.

This is why I was ok for a while with my friend’s actions, because I know work does interfere with one’s personal life at times. But when I began seeing their postings on Facebook talking about all the fun things they were doing in their social life, I started to feel otherwise, as I remembered acting very similar not so long ago. But it was what happened next that I have to say was truly just a taste of my own medicine when it comes to having integrity.

I had finally connected with this friend over the phone one day and said I needed to spend some time in person catching up. They immediately invited me to a group function the following week that would involve a movie I wanted to see and a meal afterwards. I was thankful for the invitation and accepted. A week later, I waited for them to show up at my place or contact me back about where I was to meet. Unfortunately, neither transpired.

Most would probably say they would have given up by this point, but I tend to easily forgive, especially in light of the integrity mirror I kept seeing, which is why I gave this friend one more chance. When I managed to get them on the phone and was given a simple “I’m sorry, I totally forgot” in reference to the missed event, it too was another great reminder from my past. Saying “I’m sorry” were my two most frequent spoken words when I was lacking integrity the most in life. Nevertheless, I suggested another attempt to connect and we agreed to get together at one of my recovery meetings and have lunch afterwards.

When that day arrived, I kept the faith they’d show up, but sadly they didn’t. The only explanation I’d receive was a very short text saying that a work situation was taking longer than expected and that was it. I waited a few days after this hoping they might call and talk about it, but they never did. And in the end, I decided to leave them a voicemail letting them know I still loved them, but was done trying and that I hoped they’d learn about integrity down the road.

The unfortunate reality I had to face through all of this is that each of my friend’s integrity issues was no different to how I lived for years. And it actually makes a lot more sense to me now why most of my own friends walked away from me back then.

So if by some chance you still aren’t grasping what having integrity means let me summarize it as best as I can. It means calling people back when they leave you a message. It means following through when you tell someone “we really need to get together.” It means holding to any plans you might have made with another. And it also means making it up to them should any unforeseeable circumstances somehow preempt those plans.

In conclusion, I just want to thank my Higher Power for receiving such a great reminder of how I used to be with integrity. I’m glad I’m not that way anymore and only pray my friend will one day see the integrity mirror for himself…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Why Do We Judge Anyone?

Oh how easy it is to judge another person on what they’re doing. We’ve probably all done it at some point or another, some more than others, but the real question is why do we do it in the first place?

I have my own theories of course as to why I’ve ever judged someone. Most often it’s been because I’ve wanted to shift the attention off of me. You see if I placed the focus constantly on the behaviors of others instead of my own, than I never had to look at myself and see the fact that I was just as guilty of doing the same exact things.

Another big reason why I’ve ever judged anyone has been due to underlying resentments I had towards someone. Judging them was always my way of amplifying those resentments solely to justify why I didn’t like them. But this toxic process only fed on itself because the more I judged them, the more I became resentful towards them and the more I became resentful towards them, the more I continued to judge them.

One last reason as to why I’ve ever judged a person has always been related to the things they had that I didn’t. All to often in life I’ve looked at someone who was a good speaker, or had a great looking partner, or had an incredible job, or was financially really well off, or had achieved success in some way, and in each of these cases, I’d become jealous or filled with envy. And to deal with these feelings, I’d regularly judge them on the behaviors I saw them doing, hoping it would somehow detract from my desire to want any of those things they had that I didn’t.

But the reality I’ve faced for each of these three situations whenever I’ve judged an individual is that it’s truly not healthy to do it at all. Specifically why is directly related to what most often remained long after I ever made any judgment and that was the total lack of serenity within. Instead, more than not, I’d become totally irritable, which only caused me to continue seeing the world with judging eyes.

This is precisely why I’m convinced nowadays that judging anyone is not in alignment with my highest good. To walk the spiritual journey I’m on, I know that as soon as I start feeling like I want to judge someone, I need to pray to see the good in that person, I need to send them love, and I need to take a deeper look within myself as to what possibly still needs to be worked on within me. I have even go so far as to keep a great reminder of this on my license plate for the past bunch of years, as it says “DNTJDGE”. Thankfully I’ve become far less judging of others in the process and I plan to keep it that way…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:7)

Lately I’ve been finding it really hard to remain patient on God with my health and healing mostly because of what I constantly see going on around me. I know plenty of people who are receiving social security disability and are fully capable of working, and actually doing so under the table. I know of others who are regularly doing or selling drugs and prospering just fine as well. Then there are those I know who are married and been having adulterous relationships on the side for years, all the while having no real complaints in life. And of course there are those too I know who are overly engaging in any number of other things such as alcohol, gambling, sex, smoking, and the like, most of which haven’t been facing any real problems in life either. Yet I have been doing everything I can to stay healthy on every conceivable level and still find myself struggling on most days to feel any joy within due to the overwhelming level of pain I continue to experience. Maybe this is why human beings often tend to lack in patience because it’s generally far easier to find a quicker way to feel good in life. I should know I did that for years, but living that way did catch up with me eventually. So while I may not understand right now why I continue to deal with as many health issues as I do, I know I’m doing my absolute best to be still and wait patiently upon God for relief. Because I also know that any scheme I could try to pursue to quickly feel better in life will inevitably only end with me in greater pain and having to still wait patiently upon God for that relief.

I pray to continue remaining patient upon God for relief from all of my burdens in life and to not allow any schemes or quick fixes that others might be doing around me to lead me astray.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.” (Bill Wilson)

I’m often drawn to these very words that Bill Wilson wrote in the Alcoholics Anonymous book solely because I believe they can be related to a lot more conditions in life than just an alcohol problem. How many times I’ve come to that place in life where I realized I was doing something that was unhealthy for me, stopped it for a period of time, then told myself later it was never that bad and convinced myself to try it again. I’ve actually done that “controlled barroom drinking approach” in so many facets of my life I’ve lost count and every time I have tried it, my case of “jitters” only grew worse. In fact, the last time I tried to control one of my unhealthy behaviors, I ended up attempting suicide. I’ve come across similar horror stories from plenty of other people who tried the controlled approach themselves. Some went to prison in the process, while others suffered major medical traumas, a bunch experienced huge financial losses, and sadly a few even lost their lives. Unfortunately, in this day and age, the “controlled drinking approach” isn’t always ending with just a bad case of “jitters” anymore. Nowadays it seems to be causing a lot more damage and wreckage than ever before. That’s why I thank God everyday I don’t attempt this controlled approach anymore once I realize I have a problem with something, because I know the only thing that will come out of one more attempt at trying it, is a slew of pain, and doesn’t life already have enough of that?

I pray that once I realize I have a problem with something in life and know it’s not healthy for me to do anymore, that I don’t try to control it and instead, seek guidance from my Higher Power to abstain from it for good. 

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Hall & Oates Concert

I haven’t been to many concerts throughout my life so far, about three actually if I was to be exact. For some reason, it never has quite appealed to me sitting in a large crowd listening to someone perform their music very loudly when I could hear it much better in the comfort of my own home or car. While there have been a few artists who I always said I’d go see if they came around locally to perform, I never made any effort to do so when they did. That was until recently when one of my favorite groups of all time, Hall & Oates, came into town for a concert in the amphitheater at the Toledo Zoo.

I totally grew up liking just about every song Hall & Oates put out on the airwaves. Some of my favorites included Maneater, Kiss On My List, Private Eyes, and I Can’t Go For That. When I hear any of these songs or plenty of others from this group played on the airwaves today, I’m always reminded of some good memories from my younger years. My mother unquestionably loved this group as much as I did and the two of us would often sing the lyrics of the songs together when we heard them over the radio. I probably shouldn’t admit to the other good memory though because it’s a little embarrassing, but I will anyway by saying I used to dance to them alone in front of a huge mirror in the living room of my childhood home.

So you can probably imagine how excited I was when I learned Hall & Oates was coming to Toledo in the end of July to perform. And if it gives you any idea how much I truly like this group, I decided it was absolutely necessary to overcome my dislike of crowded concerts solely to attend theirs. I immediately purchased tickets for my partner and I the day they went on sale and we were four rows back from the stage with an aisle seat and the next one in.

I must say I did have a big fear sit within me on and off all the way up to the day of their actual performance. Given my health issues having been so unpredictable as of late, I worried that I might not be able to enjoy the concert if my pain levels were high. I’m thankful to report though that fear never came to fruition. In fact, I felt well enough to even stand and dance a little in front of my seat throughout the night. And other than a few drunken people who kept invading my personal space during it, I have to say it was well worth the $160 I splurged for the two tickets.

But I think the best memory I’m going to remember of me at this concert is the one where I paused bobbing my head for a moment while I sat there in my seat. As it was then when I thought of my mother, hoping she was there somehow, sitting next to me, and singing along just like we used to do together when I was a kid. This is why I fully believe that music really can be a key to the soul sometimes, because Hall & Oates did exactly that for me when one of their songs re-connected me to a mother who I miss dearly, and that alone was priceless…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Impasse At My Men’s Group

About a year ago, I helped to start a men’s group here in Toledo that’s part of a self-empowerment organization I initially joined back in 1999. We meet every other week with our only goal being we use the tools we learned from the organization to work through any of our own issues we’re facing in life. I’ve actually been a part of a number of these groups over the years in the various cities I’ve lived in, and have used them time and time again to break through many areas of my life I felt totally blocked in. Unfortunately, the one I’m currently a member of seems to have reached an impasse lately over an issue that deals with my partner.

Recently he decided he was finally ready to go on the same weekend retreat I went on all those years ago to join this organization. I was more than overjoyed to hear this news and truly looked forward to having him come to our group once he completed the weekend. You see the only requirement we initially established for our group was that each member had to have gone through the initial weekend. When I brought this information to the group and informed them my partner would hopefully soon be qualified to be amongst us, one of our members was completely against the idea. His reasoning was that he felt it might become couple’s therapy if my partner and I were in the same group together.

Sadly, after I said I understood his concerns, each of my suggestions on how we could handle my partner’s potential future presence was rejected. His only solution was that my partner locates another group to be a member of, but alas there isn’t actually one within 60 miles for him to attend. Upon further discussion around this issue, I discovered my fellow member wasn’t comfortable as well with anyone in the group being related to anyone else on any level. For him, it would make him feel totally unsafe. Ironically, I’m the complete opposite of him.

While the presence of any new member in our group (related to someone else or not) could cause me to feel unsafe, the tools of the organization allow me to work through them and grow stronger spiritually. Regrettably, my fellow group member disagrees and appears to be unwilling to even try using those tools to work through this issue at the present time. I tried my best to help him become more open to the idea, but it was to no avail. If my partner were allowed to come, he would leave. Unfortunately, his ultimatum has only caused the group to polarize, especially me.

Regardless of whether this was my partner coming to the group or someone else’s, or regardless if it was another member’s father, brother, uncle, or grandfather coming really doesn’t matter to me. I have learned through this organization that I can grow exponentially by walking through my fears and sitting amongst anyone who shows up, even if their presence makes me feel uncomfortable at first. Sure, I could have my judgments on the worst that could happen if two people connected so closely were sitting in the same group with each other, but allowing them to control me is only going to keep me in fear and prevent me from growing through those challenging places in life.

That’s why I choose today to walk through my fears, and do whatever it takes to get through them. Of course I have my concerns about my partner being in the same self-empowerment group as myself, but I also believe that if we use the same tools I learned so long ago in this organization that I know work, it may actually be a great thing, not just for our relationship, but also for the growth of the group.

Sadly, it appears as if my fellow group member is not so ready to walk through his own fears with this and feels that leaving the group is his only choice to deal with it if it should happen. I know that place very well in life, as I spent far too many years running away from one fear after another. The only good that did was keep me a prisoner of them and living a very unsettled life.

So while I can’t say I know what the actual outcome is going to be with my partner and my group, I can say my only desire is to continue remaining 100% open in life to walking through all of my fears, even when I have no idea what’s going to happen on the other side of me doing so. I only pray my fellow group member will one day be open to doing the same.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“How would your life be different if you stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” (Steve Maroboli)

I was invited to a couple’s 25th anniversary celebration recently where the entertainment at dusk was a one-man drag show. When the male performer took the small stage in bright red stilettos, a scarlet sleek dress, and an extremely large black wig, and immediately began singing several Macy Gray songs while strutting around the crowd, I rolled my eyes and said aloud “I don’t get it.” Indeed this is truly how I’ve always felt about this form of performing, never quite understanding the fascination or appeal of men dressing up as women and either lip-syncing or singing to various songs on a stage in front of a crowd. But when my partner looked over at me as I continued to verbally express my disapproval of drag, he said something that totally shifted my perspective. “What about your love of pursuing anything that deals with superheroes? Don’t you think there are probably many who won’t get that as well?” He was right, there have been many who haven’t understood my allure to everything superhero related, yet they never judged me negatively. Thus, why should it be any different for me when it comes to the art of drag? While it may not be something I’m into, I can clearly see how many others are. This is precisely why I’ve decided to keep an open mind the next time I find myself at a drag show, as only then will I be able to see the good and have respect for a form of entertainment that I know so many love.

I pray to keep an open mind and refrain from judging what others are into, and to always see the good in everything, even the ones I may not understand.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind…If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.” (Dada Vaswani)

I grew up in a family that had plenty of money and never went without anything. I travelled to tons of nice places, I went on many vacations, I ate out at loads of lavish restaurants, I received many expensive gifts and gadgets, and I grew to believe that happiness only came in the form of things like these. As I got older and ventured out on my own, my sole desire was to pursue even more of them, Soon I added alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sex, and control over others to the mix, believing each would also bring me great happiness. But in the long run none ever did. I should have known they wouldn’t though, because I never did see my family have any peace of mind growing up, even in all our abundance. Thankfully, I eventually went through a period where I lost most of everything I sought so hard after, and in the process, I discovered something my family never did, true happiness. It was always there, except I kept looking for it in the wrong places, mainly outside of me. I’m quite grateful I can say now that I fully understand why true happiness really only comes from an inner quality, and never an external one.

I pray I may discover the true happiness that has always resided within me and become open to letting go of all the external things I’m holding onto that are preventing me from seeing it.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson