Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where I bring light at the start of each week to something I’m truly thankful for, which for today is for being able to celebrate a seven-year anniversary of having a monogamous relationship with my partner Chris, something I thought I’d never achieve.

You see, relationships and me were never very simpatico before Chris. Staying with someone for any length of time prior to him was always accompanied by various acts of addiction and indiscretion. True monogamy on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual plane was never fully present for me and I had every excuse under the sun as to why, none of which I ever owned either.

Before Chris, the longest I was ever completely monogamous with anyone was about three years. While my last partner and I did reach our seven-year mark, we had broken up for extended periods during it and were never fully faithful to each other after them. Why my current relationship has been far healthier for me is directly related to two things, my spiritual thirst for a closer connection to God and my diligence to my 12 Step recovery work, neither of which ever mattered to me with any sort of regularity before Chris came along.

In fact, I used to think that every time a relationship started to go south that it was my partner’s fault, which I made sure to constantly blame it on rather than me. Believe me it’s pretty easy to do when the person you’re dating has glaring toxic behaviors that can be easily pointed out. But, when I finally began working on the 12 steps and focusing on my own spirituality, I quickly realized that much of my relationship woes were actually due to me.

My codependency, insecurity and abandonment issues often drove partners away or into unhealthy behaviors, but instead of focusing on changing those parts of me, I’d focus on what I felt was wrong with them instead, which only contributed to the relationship’s demise. Thank God I see this so clearly now, as I don’t think Chris and I would have made 7 years monogamously if I didn’t.

While we’ve had our ups and down over the years, there is definitely a spiritual bond shared between the two of us now that keeps getting stronger. We both are working on growing spiritually and have our own recovery programs as well, something that never existed in any of my previous relationships.

Honestly, I truly believe it takes a lot of work to remain in a long-term relationship and monogamous at that. And to place blame on the other partner for when things go astray, rather than look at oneself, is precisely why so many loving connections end up failing in the long run. Whenever tension hits the fan between Chris and I now, we both work to clear our side of the street and to see how we both had a part in it.

We really have grown incredibly in the past few years and frankly, I’m amazed at how much our relationship has changed for the better. With the recent addition of us finding a spiritual place to worship, I really feel the both of us are in it for the long haul now and I’m quite thankful for that, as I don’t believe any relationship can last without a spiritual bond.

A spiritual both that at seven years, I can truthfully say Chris and I still treasure our intimacy together, to laughing and joking together, to watching our regular tv shows together, to going to the movies together, to dining out together, to exploring nature together, and to experiencing plenty of other things together as well.

While our biggest challenge at this point is letting go of control at times, I have no doubt that we are at this very moment meant to still be together, celebrating this amazing achievement of seven years. Gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe how thankful I am to God for this. To look back at where Chris and I both were in the beginning and to see where we both are now, is truly a night and day difference.

So, as Chris and I begin our eighth year together, I find myself feeling so very thankful for finally being in a relationship where both partners continue to grow closer each and every day, solely because we each know there’s work to be done both on our own and with each other. Work that most certainly, one day a time, keeps us remaining faithful and monogamous to each other, and devoted to God…

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

A Spiritual Perspective On That Mexico Border Wall…

As most of my friends know I’m not a fan of politics whatsoever, which means I’m not very aware of most current political issues, although there is one that’s been hard not to hear about or ignore these days like I do with anything else political in nature and it’s about the proposed Mexico border wall.

Because I didn’t know much about this issue, I decided to research a little further and discovered a few simple statistics. It’s meant to be 1,150 miles long, 40 feet high, 10 feet deep into the ground and 1 foot wide. It’s going to cost $8.7 billion in concrete and $3.6 billion in steel. Labor is currently being estimated at $12.3 billion. And there’s also the actual rest of the land acquisition that will cost around $200 million, leaving a whopping total of $25 billion at the bare minimum for this entire project.

$25 billion!

It’s hard for me to fathom that a wall costing $25 billion is more important than taking care of the forty percent of American adults who don’t have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense, or the forty-three percent of households who can’t even afford the basics to live, or the quarter of adults who annually skip medical care because they can’t afford it, or the twenty-two percent of adults who can’t pay all of their bills every month, or the 1.5 million who are homeless, or the more than 25 million who have a drug problem in this country, and so on and so forth. It’s also hard for me to fathom that a $25 billion-dollar wall would even stop the influx of illegal immigrants, as well as drugs and guns, because they probably would just find some other way to make it across the border.

In light of the main reason why this wall is being pushed so hard by the President, that being to prevent illegal immigration, my deepest truth is that I just don’t quite get it. Over the years, I’ve meant a number of individuals who were illegal immigrants and they were some of the nicest people who do the hardest work, and often for the cheapest wage, which for the record I never thought was fair. While there may be documented cases of people who are illegal immigrants that have added to the crime rates in our country, there’s a much greater share of those who haven’t and instead, have done the exact opposite to bring greater beauty, love, and light here. People who in my opinion have done a far better job of that than many of our own citizens, including myself when I used to be in the throngs of addiction.

Nevertheless, this proposed wall tends to remind me of an episode in the Brady bunch where a line was drawn down the middle of one of the kid’s rooms and all the anger it caused because of it. It also reminds me of when kids used to play in the sandbox and draw a line in the sand saying any toys on their side was theirs and theirs alone. And it even reminds me of all the other boundaries, borders, and walls that each of us have erected throughout our lives solely to keep people from getting to close, something that has most definitely created more disunity and discord than unity and harmony.

This is why I for one, am not for this Mexico Border wall and continue to hope that it will never come to fruition. While I absolutely don’t believe it will solve the problem the President thinks is such a major problem, I also feel it makes our country look even more segregated and standoffish than we already appear with the rest of the world, and maybe even from itself. Walls like this, or of any sort for that matter, usually only create more problems in the long run, which is why I’m doing everything I can these days to drop any of my own still remaining. Instead, I’m working on replacing them with open arms, as for so long, I erected such monstrosities that they always left me quite empty and devoid of feeling any real love and compassion for anyone or anything.

Regardless, for $25 billion, I truly hope for our country’s sake that rather than using it to limit our openness at our borders, that it will end up utilizing it for the many things within our borders that are currently crying out for assistance.

And maybe, it isn’t this Mexico Border wall that we should all be focusing on anyway.

Maybe we should be focusing on all those walls each of us keep constructing within our lives that continue to make us feel separate from each other? As maybe when we work on removing them, we might see how we are all connected and when we do, we’ll finally begin to realize there’s no need to ever have any sort of border wall erected within us or around us…

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