Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is your most favorite ice cream flavor and what is your least favorite?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude begins each of my weeks in writing. For today, I want to express how grateful I am for my dear friends Tom and Bill, a couple who recently just married after 30 years of being together.

For what seems like ages ago now, I had the pleasure of first meeting Tom at a social group that’s here in Toledo. My partner and I had been looking to make new healthy friendships with other people in the area and found this men’s group that did food and coffee socials on a weekly basis. At that outing I first met Tom, I learned he had a partner of many years named Bill and not too long after that, the four of us began hanging out.

It’s been several years now since our first couple’s hangout together and it’s truly been a blessing to have them in my life. They both make me laugh quite often and most definitely know how to lighten my mood. There was one night I went over to their house for a meal not too long ago, where I felt so exceptionally depressed. But, it didn’t take long for the two of them to find a way to lift my spirit like they always seem to find a positive way to do.

One thing I really love about these guys is how much they enjoy the quiet downtime in small social settings. Like Chris and I, Bill and Tom traditionally prefer our couple’s hangout as compared to going to parties or bars. Up until these COVID times, we were regularly going out to dinner and would traditionally end each of our evenings at one of our homes playing cards, usually Euchre. Over the past few months though, in light of all the social distancing, we’ve spent more time at each other’s houses cooking meals instead and have even started playing another card game now, that being Hearts. It’s become a weekly thing for the four of us to spend time together and it’s something I’ve come to really look forward to.

There are plenty of other things about Bill and Tom that I love beyond their humor. They have a wonderful sense of hospitality, have opened their homes to Chris and I on a bunch of holidays including Christmas, have consoled both of us during hard times, have frequently reached out over the phone just to check on us, they’re great huggers, amazing cooks, and well, they’re just those type of people you find yourself wanting to be around because they welcome you in as if your family.

While I’ve truly struggled much in the Midwest making friends, I haven’t had to struggle at all when it comes to my connection to Bill and Tom. While both like to pick on me, there’s a level of love and care that comes along with it, that makes it far different than others who have picked on me at my expense. I can actually see Tom grinning right now as he reads this, because he has this overly dry sense of humor that I know only comes from that soft spot he has in his heart for me! Right Tom? 🙂 As for Bill, well, Bill reminds me a lot of me, especially in his level of energy and the fact that he’s in touch with his inner child like I am. We both tend to be pretty goofy much of the time around each other.

From Bill’s explosive laughter to Tom’s southern drawl, I’ve grown quite fond of the two of them in so many ways. Handsome, charming, and truly great friends to Chris and I, I’m thankful to know they’ve finally tied the knot after 30 years! I’m so grateful to be a part of their lives and just wanted to dedicate this week’s Grateful Heart Monday to them, because my life is far better in Toledo having them a part of it!

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Listen. People start to heal the moment they feel heard.” (Cheryl Richardson)

Quote #2

“Sometimes you need someone to be there for you. Not to fix the problem or offer advice or do anything in particular, but simply to be there. To show up. To be present with what you’re feeling. To see what you’re going through. To see you, understand you.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“Many times, people just want your ear, not your voice.” (Rob Kish)

Bonus Quote

“Stay to yourself, just listen. Do more listening than talking. They more you speak, the higher the chances you sayin’ the wrong thing…” (Curtis Jackson)

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

Daily Reflection


“I’ve heard that no matter what you’re going through, someone has it worse. I don’t like that statement. I’ve never liked it. It’s emotionally dismissive, and it teaches us our personal struggles are insignificant. So, we hide, and we refuse to cry out, and we try not to burden others with our pain. Someone might have it worse, true. But we are all broken, and we are all human, and we are never alone.” (Sarah Beth McClure)

A long-distance friend of mine texted me one day recently and asked if I was free to catch up with them over the phone during an hour-long drive I was on to see another friend I visit each week. I wasn’t in the right headspace to have a conversation with them that day due to my health issues and how heightened my mental and physical suffering felt. So, I politely declined via return text, letting them know I wasn’t in the best headspace and was having a rather difficult day. I told them I didn’t want to risk getting into any heavy conversation (as many of my prior conversations with them often tend to get that way). I then asked for prayers and said I loved them, hoping they would understand. What I got in return was a message that reminded me how I had a car that had gas, with good tires, and insurance, along with a legal license, and how I was on the road to visit a friend who was looking forward to spending time with me to have a decent meal together. All of which was followed with “and you’re in bad headspace, yep, you definitely need some prayers.”

At first, I was extremely vexed at their response, and responded via text that carried much of that tone. Later, after talking it through with my partner, as well as the friend I had visited, I simply was left feeling quite sad. Sad for the amount of people that have often done this to me, whenever I’ve shared with them about the pain and suffering I continue to go through.

This experience reminded me of Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, who in the Bible showed up just after Job had gone through a tremendous amount of loss and was now sitting in great pain and suffering. They initially offer him comfort that lasts for about a week and then proceed to start lecturing him about all the things he has either done wrong to lead to his pain and suffering or is currently doing wrong that’s making it remain. Thankfully, God eventually has the last word, and strongly reminds Job’s friends how none have spoken any truth whatsoever.

What my friend and so many others never seem to understand is that reminding a person going through great pain and suffering of all that they should be grateful for, or reminding them of all those who are far worse off in their own pain and suffering, doesn’t offer the sufferer any comfort or relief that they’re desperately seeking. It truly is emotionally dismissive. I’m sure all those out there who have experienced great pain and suffering, especially those who have for long periods of time, would agree.

Nevertheless, minimizing someone’s pain and suffering by comparing it to others who may be suffering worse or attempting to point out where gratitude should be instead, isn’t being compassionate, or unconditionally loving. It’s being judgmental and saying one’s personal struggles are insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

So, the next time someone opens up to you about their pain and suffering, even if they’ve done it countless times before, if you feel the need to say anything, just let them know you love them, as saying anything else is more for your own benefit than theirs, and probably only coming from your ego and not your heart…

Dear God, may I always have unconditionally loving words of support for anyone who may ever open up to me and share about any of the pain and suffering they’re going through. 

Peace, love, light, and joy
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Here’s what the latest stock market report says, Helium was up, feathers were down. Paper was stationary. Fluorescent tubing was dimmed in light trading. Knives were up sharply. Cows steered into a bull market. Pencils lost a few points. Hiking equipment was trailing. Elevators rose, while escalators continued their slow decline. Weights were up in heavy trading. Light switches were off. Mining equipment hit rock bottom. Diapers remained unchanged. Shipping lines stayed at an even keel. The market for raisins dried up. Coca Cola fizzled. Caterpillar stock inched up a bit. Sun peaked at midday. Balloon prices were inflated. Scott Tissue touched a new bottom. And batteries exploded in an attempt to recharge the market…

Silly Joke #2

During work Mike and John are chatting…
Mike: “I’ve been taking night courses for five months now, and I have an exam next week.”
John: “Oh!”
Mike: “For example, do you know who Graham Bell is?”
John: “No.”
Mike: “He is the inventor of the phone in 1876. If you take night courses you would know this.”
The next day the same discussion took place:
Mike: “Do you know who Alexander Dumas is?”
John: “No.”
Mike: “He is the author of “The 3 Musketeers”. If you took night courses you would know this.”
The next day, once again:
Mike: “And do you know who Jean Jacques Rousseau is?”
John: “No.”
Mike: “He’s the author of “Confessions”, if you took night courses you would know this.”
Now this time John got irritated and said, “And do you know who Steven Turner is?”
Mike: “No.”
John: “He’s the guy sleeping with your wife! If you’d stop taking night classes you would know this!”

Silly Joke #3

A monkey is sitting in a tree smoking a joint when a lizard walks past and looks up and says to the monkey, “Hey! What are you doing?” The monkey says, “Smoking a joint, come up and have some.” So the lizard climbs up and sits next to the monkey and they have a few tokes together. After a while the lizard says his mouth is way too dry and that he’s going to get a drink from the river. The lizard climbs down the tree, ditty bops on thru the jungle to the river and leans over the river to get his drink. Well, the lizard is so stoned that he leans too far over and falls into the river. A Crocodile sees this and swims over to the lizard and helps him to the side, then asks the lizard, “What’s the matter with you?” The lizard explains to the crocodile that he was sitting in a tree and smoking a joint with the monkey and got too stoned and then fell into the river while taking a drink. The crocodile says he’s gotta check this hippie monkey out and walks off into the jungle where he finds the tree where the monkey is still sitting and toking on the joint. He looks up and says “Hey you!” The Monkey looks down and says, “whoaaaaaaa dude!!!!…………How much water did you drink?!!”

Bonus Silly Joke

All the organs of the body were having a meeting, trying to decide who was the one in charge. “I should be in charge,” said the brain, “Because I run all the body’s systems, so without me nothing would happen.” “I should be in charge,” said the blood, “Because I circulate oxygen all over so without me you’d all waste away.” “I should be in charge,” said the stomach,” Because I process food and give all of you energy.” “I should be in charge,” said the legs, “because I carry the body wherever it needs to go.” “I should be in charge,” said the eyes, “Because I allow the body to see where it goes.” “I should be in charge,” said the rectum, “Because I’m responsible for waste removal.” All the other body parts laughed at the rectum and insulted him, so in a huff, he shut down tight. Within a few days, the brain had a terrible headache, the stomach was bloated, the legs got wobbly, the eyes got watery, and the blood was toxic. They all decided that the rectum should be the boss. The moral of the story? Even though the others do all the work… The @$$hole is usually in charge.

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

How To Not Add To The Instability Of These Unsettled Times…

It’s quite easy to see how we’re not living in the most stable of times these days. COVID-19 has drastically changed life for all of us in so many ways. The constant reports of racism, police brutality, demonstrations, and riots have done the same to all of us lately as well. Volatile financial markets, business closures, and overall economic instability also continues to plague our everyday existence now. And in the very near future, the battle for our next President, along with those countless smear tactics, and smoke and mirrors techniques will probably only further add to all this instability felt amongst us all. But, there is one thing that we can be assured of that doesn’t have to add to even more of that feeling and that’s choosing to not numb ourselves with some type of addiction from what’s going on in the world around us.

Let me clarify this with even greater simplicity. Choosing to numb ourselves from all this chaos in our world right now by heavily engaging in drinking, drugging, smoking, gambling, overeating, promiscuity, pornography, infidelity, going from one relationship to the next, overspending, etc., is only going to add to any feeling of instability we already have.

Addiction to something, no matter what it is, doesn’t do anything more than create a terrible instability in one’s life in the long run. Sure, it may provide some much-needed ease and comfort at the onset from whatever one’s worldly stressor may be. It initially takes that “edge off” so to speak. But, that’s how addiction always begins. A pattern of craving begins as soon as that “edge is taken off”, because when that effect wears off, as it eventually will, the addict then seeks the substance of their addiction again to recreate the same effect. Soon, they’re off and running in the pursuit of that addiction each time their worldly stressor comes clamoring upon them.

After 25 years of sobriety from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, and 8 years from toxic sex and love behaviors, I’ve learned a little to know that addiction always starts from a desire to numb oneself from someone or something. I’ve already seen this happening a lot more lately in our current unsettled times at my place of volunteer work. Many clients have been choosing to engage in one addiction after another or relapsing back into former addictions they had previously found recovery from, solely because they’ve been trying to numb themselves from a world they don’t understand anymore nor have any perceived control over.

Yes, there is a lot in our world right now that seems to be in control of us, but that doesn’t mean we have to become even more out of control by engaging in some addiction. Because by engaging in some addiction, although it may provide an illusion of some form of control, it’s really only making our world become even more out of control the more we engage in it.

The bottom line here is not to let the illusion of someone or something out there become our solution to dealing with all this craziness in our world right now. Numbing ourselves from any of it with some type of addiction is only going to add to the instability we feel.

So, I encourage you to remain sober by steering clear of choosing anything addictive to cope with these unsettled times, because you’ll find you have a much easier time navigating through these choppy waters if you do…

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“You are part of a puzzle in someone else’s life. You may never know where you fit. But, someone’s life may never be complete without you in it.” (Bonnie Arbor)

Quote #2

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou)

Quote #3

“When you help someone, you also help yourself. Instead of worrying about how much you get in return, you are better off helping as many people as you can.” (Tapan Ghosh)

Bonus Quote

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you are the world.” (Bill Wilson)

Peace, love, light, and joy
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grateful Heart Monday

Thank you for joining in on another Grateful Heart Monday, a day always set aside for reflection on a piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for “A”, a guy I met at the place I volunteer at, who truly experienced a spiritual breakthrough and offered me a priceless gift as well just over a week ago.

Every week, I volunteer at Rescue Crisis, a place where people come who are struggling with addiction, and/or mental and emotional imbalances. On Wednesdays, I run a 12 Step meeting there, mostly for those looking for help from alcohol and drug issues. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting “A” there, a man who at the start of the meeting was quite agitated and extremely vexed.

Ironically, I’ve really come to appreciate whenever I get clients like this, as I find them the most rewarding to work with, because the spiritual breakthrough tends to be pretty amazing to witness when I can find a way to connect to their heart. That being said, the first half of the meeting was spent with “A” being overly defensive and convinced that 12 Step recovery wasn’t for him, even though he admitted nothing else has worked for him over the years to remain clean and sober for any great length of time.

With about 25 minutes or so left in the meeting, and after several times of “A” angrily leaving the room, I questioned whether maybe I wasn’t going to get through to him, so I muttered silently to God for guidance to help “A”. Suddenly, “A” burst out and said, “You have no idea the pain I’ve had to go through in this life!” It’s then I told him that maybe I didn’t, but what I did know was all the pain I had gone through myself. He scoffed, as if saying nothing I had endured could match his. It’s then I felt God nudge me, as God usually seems to do in situations like this, to talk about all the painful things I’ve been through.

So, I talked about my parents’ tragic deaths and how it all began back in my early childhood with their alcoholism. I spoke about how I felt so alone because of it and constantly was bullied in school with no real friends around the same time too. Then, I mentioned how no one really paid any attention to me back then until I finally made a friend with one of the coaches on the swim and dive team I was a member of around the age of 12. When I revealed how that coach eventually violated and molested me after months of grooming me, “A” began to cry.

For the rest of the meeting, “A” became silent and kept nodding his head to the things I was saying. When the meeting came to an end, he apologized for how strongly he had acted in the beginning of the meeting and thanked me for my honestly. He also asked me for my number and gave me a fist bump just prior to us boarding the elevator. When I stepped off the elevator while he remained to head to the patient floor, he promised to call me, something I’ve come not to rely much upon over the years, as most never do. But, the very next day, my birthday, he actually did call me, not to ask for help though. Rather, he called solely to wish me a Happy Birthday, being that I had mentioned it during the meeting. Words can’t describe the feeling I had after that within me, but it most definitely was one that was filled with immense gratitude.

This is truly why I love 12 Step recovery as much as I do and why I love living out the 12th step itself. “A” is someone I will probably always remember, not only for the spiritual breakthrough his heart experienced during the meeting, but also for his thinking of me for my own celebration, a selfless gift from him that was truly priceless and well worth the subject for today’s Grateful Heart Monday!

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you were suddenly given the ability to fully remove up to three character flaws from your life, which one(s) would you choose?

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


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Loneliness, Neediness, And High Maintenance, 3 Unwanted Character Flaws That Have Plagued My Entire Life…

You would think that after experiencing a pristine weather day and two wonderful meals I was treated to on my 48th birthday by two wonderful people, that I’d be driving home at the end of it feeling quite happy and joyful, yet I wasn’t. Rather, I was feeling three unwanted character flaws that have plagued my entire life.

What are those three things?

Loneliness, neediness, and high maintenance.

As a kid, I always felt lonely and that I didn’t matter. My needs were often overlooked due to living in an alcoholic home with two mentally and emotionally imbalanced parents. Alcohol and drugs became my only solution to deal with it for my late teenage and early adult years until they got out of control and forced me to stop them both. Once I did, thus began an arduous two and a half decades of constantly feeling a level of loneliness that’s led to so much neediness and high maintenance-based behaviors with anyone who have grown close to me.

After spending my childhood with such loneliness and no real deep connections to speak of, I’d cling to anyone who liked me and became a friend or partner to me, always seeking and wanting signs of love and attention from them, two things I never got much of as a kid. It was almost as if I kept trying to make up for what I didn’t get back then. This persistent seeking of love and attention unfortunately showed up as neediness. And the more I became needy, the more I became high maintenance as well.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve tried to change that by removing these unwanted character flaws through one therapist after another, through diligent work in 12 Step recovery programs, through work in The Mankind Project (MKP), through countless self-help and spiritual empowerment books, through prayer and meditation, through loving myself unconditionally, and well, through a vast number of other things too. Yet, those flaws have remained, except for a few key moments in my life, the biggest being after I spent ten days on a silent retreat. For about six months after that retreat, I felt embraced by something so amazing that those negative traits seemed to have disappeared. Unfortunately, they came back when that feeling of being embraced so deeply, suddenly wore off one day, landing me right back into that perpetual state of loneliness, neediness, and high maintenance.

I tried to do that retreat again almost a year later in the hopes to regain that feeling of being embraced, but wasn’t successful. I tried plenty of other things as well in the years that have passed since then right up to the present, yet have continued to remain unsuccessful. So, at the tail end of my birthday, this is what I was feeling and it was totally brought on by the sadness I felt over a close friend not calling or texting me on my birthday. For as much as that shouldn’t have affected me so greatly, it did.

This has indeed become the most frustrating part of my life. Feeling lonely, needy, and high maintenance all the time hasn’t made for much of a positive space for others to stick around in my life. That’s why I’ve begged God to help me feel more of God’s presence, and have tried more than you could ever imagine or suggest might help to make this happen, even going so far as meditating for hours a day at one point until I passed out from holding my breath too long, which ended only in me bruising my skull!!!

While I’ve had some pretty incredible friendships and relationships in my life who have stuck by my side even with me carrying these unwanted flaws, and while I’ve also seen and done so many amazing things in this world too, none have ever been able to remove my feeling of loneliness and because of it, it’s left me in this constant state of neediness and high maintenance.

For as many paths as I’ve gone down to rectify this, for as hard of work I’ve placed in my life to be free of these defects of character, and for as much money as I’ve spent on each of the ways people have suggested may help, I continue to carry the burden from each of them.

The positive news is that I don’t buy into there being some person, place, or thing in this world anymore that will ever fully be able to take these character flaws away for good. Even the best sex in a new love relationship will only ever temporarily abate it because I’ve experienced even that.

In the end, I believe the only way I’ll ever become free from loneliness, neediness, and high maintenance, is to feel the true unconditional love of God within me, which for the life of me, I continue to pray for every, single, day…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A blonde and a lawyer are seated next to each other on a flight from LA to NY. The lawyer asks if she would like to play a fun game? The blonde, tired, just wants to take a nap, politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks. The lawyer persists and explains that the game is easy and a lot of fun. He explains, I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me $5.00, and vise versa. Again, she declines and tries to get some sleep. The lawyer, now agitated, says, “Okay, if you don’t know the answer you pay me $5.00, and, if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $500.00.” This catches the blonde’s attention and, figuring there will be no end to this torment unless she plays, agrees to the game. The lawyer asks the first question. “What’s the distance from the earth to the moon?” The blonde doesn’t say a word, reaches into her purse, pulls out a $5.00 bill and hands it to the lawyer. Okay says the lawyer, your turn. She asks the lawyer, “What goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four legs?” The lawyer, puzzled, takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references, no answer. He taps into the air phone with his modem and searches the net and the library of congress, no answer. Frustrated, he sends e-mails to all his friends and coworkers, to no avail. After an hour, he wakes the blonde, and hands her $500.00. The blonde says, “Thank you,” and turns back to get some more sleep. The lawyer, who is more than a little miffed, wakes the blonde and asks, “Well, what’s the answer? “Without a word, the blonde reaches into her purse, hands the lawyer $5.00, and goes back to sleep.

Silly Joke #2

A man comes home from working at a pickle factory and he seems troubled. His wife asks him what’s wrong and the man says, “Oh, nothing. I just… well… recently I’ve had an uncontrollable urge to put my penis in the pickle slicer.” His wife nearly faints, then she blurts out: “Why? You need to go see someone. I’m going to make an appointment with a therapist or someone tomorrow.” The man protests, “No, no. It’s fine. Really. I’m not going to do it.” Everything is fine for a few weeks, but then the man comes home early from work and he’s pale as a ghost. His wife inquires, “What’s the matter? You look terrible!” The husband tells her, “Well, remember when I said I wanted to put my penis in the pickle slicer?” The wife gasps, “You did? What happened?” The man starts to cry. “I got fired!” “I don’t care about that! Are you okay? What happened with the pickle slicer?” The man sobs, “She got fired, too.”

Silly Joke #3

On their honeymoon, the new husband told his bride, “I have a confession to make that I should have made before, but I was concerned that it might affect our relationship.  “What is it?” his new bride asked lovingly. “I’m a golf fanatic,” he said. “I think about golf constantly. I’ll be out on the golf course every weekend, every holiday, and every chance I get.If it comes to a choice between your wishes and golf, golf will always win.” His new bride pondered this for a moment and said, “I thank you for your honesty. Now in the same spirit of honesty, I should tell you that I’ve concealed something about my own past that you should know about. The truth is, “I’m a hooker.” “No problem,” said her husband, “just widen your stance a little, and overlap your grip, and that should clear it right up.”

Bonus Silly Joke

A group of kindergartners were trying to become accustomed to the first grade. The biggest hurdle they faced was that the teacher insisted on no baby talk. “You need to use ‘big people’ words,” she’d always remind them. She asked Chris what he had done over the weekend. “I went to visit my Nana.” “No, you went to visit your GRANDMOTHER. Use big people words!” She then asked Mitchell what he had done. “I took a ride on a choo-choo.”  She said, “No, you took a ride on a TRAIN. Use big people words.” She then asked Bobby what he had done. “I read a book,” he replied. “That’s WONDERFUL!” the teacher said. “And what book did you read?” Bobby thought about it, then puffed out his little chest with great pride and said, “Winnie the Shit!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Whenever there is a human need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.” (Kevin Heath)

Quote #2

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” (Bob Kerrey)

Quote #3

“Kindness is a wonderful way to let another struggling soul know that there is still love in this world.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” (George Sand)

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

Daily Reflection

“And Jesus concluded, ‘In your opinion, which one of these three acted like a neighbor toward the man attacked by the robbers?’ The teacher of the Law answered, ‘The one who was kind to him.’ Jesus replied, ‘You go, then, and do the same.’” (Luke 10:36-37)

One of my closest friends was struggling a few weeks ago with whether to remain on Facebook or not mostly for the very same reason why I have myself in recent times, that being due to the overall lack of kindness from numerous others in their postings and comments. Thankfully, I found a workaround for this long ago that I passed along to this dear friend, that being the “mass unfollow” option that allows a person to unfollow everyone connected to them so that their newsfeed becomes essentially blank, all except for their own postings.

Facebook, like much of the world seems to have become these days, is a big dumping ground for individuals to express their negativity surrounding all those hot-button topics out there, often with no regard for how polarizing their postings and comments can be. In the past six months, the majority of what I’ve seen on social media has been filled with vast amounts of criticism towards political and religious leaders, towards how people are handling COVID-19, and now towards police brutality and the racism that still exists in our world.

I specifically don’t follow anyone on Facebook for this very reason, as I don’t want to subject myself to anyone’s polarizing comments and postings that quite often seem to be weighted with unkindness towards someone or something. Some may say they are simply expressing what they believe is truth, but if expressing these “truths” means placing more unkind words towards anyone or anything out there, the sad reality is that doing so is only going to create more unkindness in our world.

Unkind words and unkindness in general only lead to more unkind words and more unkindness from others. For example, for every posting that places “truths” through the usage of unkind words towards say our President or those running against him, the opposing side then gets charged and sends their own unkind words back, thus creating a vicious cycle that truly goes nowhere. Hence the reason why I steer clear of following anyone on Facebook, so that I don’t have to see any of this whenever I log in. Instead, I always see a newsfeed of my own postings, which has provided me, and now my friend as well, some much-needed relief from having to see all that toxicity coming from so many postings weighted with unkindness.

The fact is, a kind word will go a long way, even when directed towards those we may not like, just as much as an unkind word will go a long way as well. Each ripple outward creating either more kindness or more unkindness, whichever is used. That’s why I never post anything unkind on Facebook and why I rarely look at anyone’s timelines, so I can remain free from feeling any desire to become unkind myself.

Like the good Samaritan who expressed kindness and helped a person truly out of generosity who would otherwise have spit upon them, I choose to be a vessel who wishes to do the same, in all my actions, including on social media and throughout the rest of my life as well. Thankfully there are options like unfollowing the masses on Facebook, to help keep that focus, rather than exposing myself to any of the many weighted postings and words out there on social media that far too often are filled with so much unkindness, yet labeled as “truths”. While indeed some of them may be “truths”, using unkind words to express them will never accomplish anything but creating greater unkindness and polarization amongst us all.

I pray to always use kind words in all my thoughts, words, and actions, so that I may do my part to creating greater kindness in this world. 

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What movie would you say you’ve watched the greatest number of times thus far in your life?

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


The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step


Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, where the focus is always upon a piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for reaching a quarter century of sobriety from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes!!!

Last week, on June 11th, I actually celebrated 25 years of continuous sobriety from three things that once ruled my life and were in total control of me. But, by the grace of God and 12 Step recovery, I’ve thankfully remained free from each of them now for 9,125 days. And I’m only qualifying that in the amount of days because as they always say in 12 Step recovery, it’s a one day a time type of program.

I must admit, there have been plenty of moments during many of those days where I’ve pondered the thought of taking a drink, doing a drug, or smoking a cigarette, mostly to numb myself from any painful feelings I was going through, especially when they’ve been physical in nature within my body. But what’s prevented that from happening is all the work I continue to do in my program and the guidance I continue to follow from my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God.

Nevertheless, it is often said that the longer one remains free from their addiction, the closer they are to a relapse typically because people tend to forget how painful their addiction was. I would agree, as I don’t really remember much of the painful parts of my life back then anymore nor any of the drama those three addictions used to create. But, I’m not willing to risk testing the waters with any of them ever again either, as I know my life is far better without them than with them.

How do I know that?

Because what I do remember is how my days used to fully revolve around having to have a drink, a drug, or a cigarette just to function, just to feel normal, just to exist, which only created an out-of-control selfish type of existence, one where I wasn’t the caring, kind, selfless, and loving type of guy I’m doing my best to be today.

So, yes, I have an immense amount of gratitude today for making it to a quarter century of sobriety from three things that absolutely screwed my life up more than not, even if much of the pain they once caused is vague nowadays.

Addiction, from what I’m told, never fully goes away, it only goes into remission, and at least for now, one day at a time, I can say my addiction to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes is absolutely in remission, which is most definitely something to  thank God for and dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.” (Jenny Uglow)

Quote #2

“Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.” (Allan Armitage)

Quote #3

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” (Alfred Austin)

Bonus Quote

“I’ve always felt that having a garden is like having a good and loyal friend.” (C.Z. Guest)

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

Yes, There Is A Reason Why I Spend So Much Time In My Yard And Gardens…

It’s a pretty regular occurrence for me to get asked why I spend so much time in my yard and gardens. While I know some of my neighbors and friends have had a good chuckle at times surrounding my OCD with it all, the easiest answer I can give deals with what I’m not doing during all those countless hours and meticulous care I put into it all.

What I mean by that deals with addiction. While some may argue that the incredible effort I put in daily to the upkeep of my yard and gardens is an addiction in itself, I’d gladly take that addiction over all the other ones I used to engage in throughout the many days of my life in prior years.

Being that I don’t have a paying job to speak of at the present, I have plenty of free time. That often translates into something that can drive a recovering addict back into addictive behaviors that aren’t good for them. That’s why it’s often recommended to have healthy addictions or healthy outlets to channel a former addict’s energy into.

For me, instead of sitting around the house drinking, drugging, and chain-smoking cigarettes, I’m doing things like trimming, pruning, weeding, fertilizing, and mowing. Instead of looking at pornography, living promiscuously, and fantasizing about others, I’m raking, planting, mulching, mowing, and watering. And well, I’m sure you get the point.

The fact is, I put so much energy into my yard and gardens because it not only prevents me from doing any of my old addictions, it also seems to help me feel better about myself and my recovering life. Recovering addicts tend to beat themselves up and think pretty low of themselves at times, something I personally have been guilty of doing to myself throughout many of my recovering years. Thus, channeling a ton of energy into the nature around my home has had a positive effect on my self-esteem, which in turn has helped to reduce any desire to act out in some toxic addiction.

That’s why I sometimes spend entire days outside in the scorching heat while my neighbors just shake their heads and think I’m crazy. It’s why I’m outside picking up all these countless whirlybirds that fall from the maple trees multiple times a day in the spring and it’s why I do the same with the leaves that come down during the fall. It’s also why I clean my ponds regularly and constantly prune my perennials. And it’s why it takes me several hours to simply cut and edge my postage stamp of a yard. The reality is on most days during the spring, summer, and fall, you can usually drive by my home and find me somewhere outside, doing the silliest of things like hand-picking every weed that I find popping up in my yard.

I know all of this probably sounds quite obsessive to the masses, but to me, I’d gladly take my yard and garden addiction any day over any of the former addictions that used to rule my life. And of course, being constantly in the nature around my home has one more positive effect on me as well. It always helps a little to feel closer to God when doing it.

Take today for example when I was watering for several hours in the blazing heat. A young robin landed nearby and appeared as if it recently had learned how to fly. As it stood there, mere feet from me, it seemed as if it was beckoning for some of water coming out my wand. So, I held the wand over it and watched as it splashed and played and cleaned itself in the cool shower over its head. When it was done, it looked up at me almost as if saying thank you, and then flew away. I truly felt closer to God after that and had a smile on my face.

So, for all those who ever wonder why I obsess so much in my yard and gardens, even when the holidays come where I look like Clark Griswold out there setting up all my decorations, know it’s keeping me sane and sober and helping me one day at a time find a little peace and serenity and connection to God…

Peace, love, light, and joy
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Spectrum Cable: Spectrum Cable, this is Sue speaking.
Caller: Hi, I have some questions about Spectrum before I join.
Spectrum: Okay, ma’am, what’s your question?
Caller: Well, a few of my friends who have Spectrum say they get something called “cybersex”. Does this cost extra?
Spectrum: (Quiet chuckle in the background) Well ma’am… I don’t know how to explain this, but cybersex is not part of Spectrum.
Caller: Oh really? My friends said they got it on Spectrum.
Spectrum: Well it’s something members may do when they are in some type of chat room.
Caller: Hmmmm . . . I still don’t understand what cybersex is?!
Spectrum: I’m sorry ma’am, I really don’t know how to explain it.
Caller: Hmmm . . . well, have you ever had cybersex?
Spectrum: Ma’am, I don’t think that’s an appropriate question to be asking me. Is there anything else you need?
Caller: Sorry, like I said I don’t even know what it is.
Spectrum: That’s okay ma’am, anything else?
Caller: Yes, I have one more question.
Spectrum: Go ahead . . .
Caller: What are you wearing?

Silly Joke #2

A blonde was driving home after a football game, and got caught in a really bad hailstorm. Her car was covered with dents, so the next day she took it to a repair shop. The shop owner saw that she was a blonde, so he decided to have some fun. He told her just to go home and blow into the tail pipe really hard, and all the dents would pop out. So, the blonde went home, got down on her hands and knees and started blowing into her car’s tailpipe. Nothing happened. She blew a little harder, and still nothing happened. Her roommate, another blonde, came home and said, “What are you doing?” The first blonde told her how the repairman had instructed her to blow into the tailpipe in order to get all the dents to pop out. Her roommate rolled her eyes and said, … “HELLLLO???” “You need to roll up the windows!!!”

Silly Joke #3

Two women were playing golf. On the third hole there was a four men in front of them but about 175 yards down the fairway. The first woman said I’ll tee off he is far enough away. She hit the drive of her life, like a shot straight down the faraway. She screamed fore at the top of her lungs and as the men turned, one was hit solidly. He was rolling on the ground in pain with his hands between his legs. She ran to him, apologizing and saying “let me help I am a physical therapist.” He protested but she got him to put his hands at his side. She unzipped his pants and began massaging him. “How does that feel?” she asked. He said, “Great, but my thumb still hurts like hell.

Bonus Silly Joke

A man walked into a bar and ordered a glass of white wine. He took a sip of the wine, then tossed the remainder into the bartender’s face. Before the bartender could recover from the surprise, the man began weeping. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m really sorry. I keep doing that to bartenders. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to have a compulsion like this.” Far from being angry, the bartender was sympathetic. Before long, he was suggesting that the man see an analyst about his problem. “I happen to have the name of a psychoanalyst,” the bartender said. “My brother and my wife have both been treated by him, and they say he’s as good as they get.” Six months later, the man was back. “Did you do what I suggested?” the bartender asked, serving a glass of white wine. “I certainly did,” the man said. “I’ve been seeing the psychoanalyst twice a week.” He took a sip of the wine, then he threw the remainder into the bartender’s face. The flustered bartender wiped his face with a towel. “The doctor doesn’t seem to be doing you any good,” he sputtered. “On the contrary,” the man claimed, “he’s done me world of good.” “But you just threw the wine in my face again!” the bartender exclaimed. “Yes,” the man replied. “But it doesn’t embarrass me anymore.”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Sometimes we need someone to just listen. Not to try and fix anything or offer alternatives, but to just be there…to listen. An ear that listens can be medicine for a heart that hurts.” (Steve Maraboli)

Quote #2

“Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“The most important part of communication is surprisingly not talking, it is listening.” (Elizabeth Bryant)

Bonus Quote

“Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. Instead of offering empathy, we often have a strong urge to give advice or reassurance and to explain our own position or feeling. Empathy, however, calls upon us to empty our mind and listen to others with our whole being.” (Marshall B. Rosenberg)

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

Listening Is Often The Only Thing Needed To Help A Person Going Through Prolonged Pain And Suffering…

Why is it that when we are going through great pain and suffering and choose to confide that in someone, that they often feel the need to give advice, provide guidance, and offer suggestions, instead of just listening?

Having gone through intense bouts of pain and suffering for years now, I’ve been on the receiving end of countless pieces of unsolicited advice, guidance, and suggestions. Regrettably, up until recently, I did the same with most who confided their trials and tribulations with me, always believing I was doing the right thing, that is until I realized not too long ago, due to how long I’ve personally been in pain and suffering, that people who share their sorrows and burdens in life with another are really only looking for one thing, an ear to listen. Yet, for whatever the reason, many of them tend to do the exact opposite of listening. The following is a top 10 list of the things that I, and plenty of others have experienced when sharing our pain and suffering with another, each of which has often made it worse for us than better…

  1. Telling the sufferer that there are people out there going through greater pain and suffering than we are.
  2. Telling the sufferer that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional (especially when they aren’t suffering in the same way, not suffering at all at the present time, or never suffered in the way we have).
  3. Telling the sufferer that some doctor, practitioner, healing modality, medicine, guru, guide, healer, class, book, etc. will help (especially when they don’t even know all that we’ve tried already). This often comes via a sentence that starts out with “Have you tried…”
  4. Telling the sufferer that maybe they’ve wronged God somehow and this is some sort of punishment, or that they haven’t done enough spiritual work yet to heal it, or haven’t prayed hard enough, or that their sin is preventing themselves from getting through it, or that their faith/beliefs need to be stronger.
  5. Telling the sufferer that it’s all in their mind and they just need more will power to overcome it.
  6. Telling the sufferer random clichés like “Everything happens for a reason!”, “Everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it’s not the end!”, or “Acceptance is the answer to all our problems today…”
  7. Telling the sufferer that things will be much better if they just get out and help another suffering individual (especially when the person may already be doing that or has limitations that prevent them from doing that).
  8. Telling the sufferer that maybe it’s their karma to work out and they just need to see it through.
  9. Telling the sufferer that they just need to not talk about it, get over it, and pretend it’s not there.
  10. Telling the sufferer, “You just have to keep the faith…”, that God has a reason and a plan for our pain and suffering that’s beyond our understanding, and that the other side of this will be better than anything we could ever imagine (especially when not knowing the person’s spiritual background, level of faith, or belief system).

I’m sure there is plenty more I could list here that have been quite challenging for each of us who’ve been on the receiving end of unsolicited advice, guidance, and suggestions after sharing our pain and suffering with another. The fact is, what we truly need the most is just a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a heart to understand us, as healing often begins to happen the moment we feel heard.

So, please remember this the next time someone opens their heart and shares a little of the pain and suffering their going through with you.

JUST LISTEN.

And…if you do anything else, show a token of affection such as a hug, an arm around them, or holding their hand. While this may feel uncomfortable to you, know it’s only your ego that really is feeling that way. Because offering your own guidance, advice, or suggestions to any of what they share with you, especially when unsolicited, is more to feed your own ego than to help ease any of the pain and suffering they are going through…

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” (G.K. Chesterton)

Quote #2

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness ay consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” (Henri Frederic Amiel)

Quote #3

“I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice.” (Mike Ericksen)

Bonus Quote

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, where gratitude continues to be the only focus of my writing to start each week off on a positive note, which for today is for all those who continue to read this blog, especially those who’ve found any guidance, direction, or connection from my words for their own spiritual journey in life.

While my blog’s main purpose has always been to help me on my own spiritual journey by getting my thoughts down on something that has become quite akin to my online diary, it has not gone unnoticed that a number of people have been reading the musings from my life from time to time, and some even every daily as well. That alone has been absolutely something to be grateful for in my life.

With today’s Grateful Heart Monday, which actually marks my 2,709thentry since I began it, I’ve received a significant number of blessings over the years from so many different individuals through various emails, comments on my reposting’s on Facebook, private messages, and comments left on my blog’s actual site as well. Some of those have even come on days when I’ve most needed them, often when I’ve actually been considering taking my site down and calling it quits. But for whatever the reason, it seems as if God wants me to continue writing in my online diary of sorts, because just when I think the expense of maintaining it isn’t worth it anymore, I’m quickly reminded by one of my readers how much they’ve been touched by something I wrote.

For the life of me, I normally don’t often understand how God uses me in this world for God’s purposes, but if there’s one thing I do know that’s been made quite clear where God has, it’s this blog. Based upon the overwhelming positive feedback I’ve received over the seven years since its inception, I’m exceptionally grateful to know that God has been using it to bless others. If there’s one goal I have in life, it’s to help others on their spiritual journeys in any way I can, so to know I’m actually blessing another individual by simply writing in my online diary of sorts, it makes me feel incredible gratitude.

So, for all of you out there, who have ever read even one of my articles, thank you! I’m grateful for each of you.

For all of you out there, who have ever left me some form of positive feedback for any of my writings in this blog, thank you! I’m grateful for each of you.

And for all of you out there, who have ever become encouraged, gained direction, or felt that my online musings have positively impacted you in some way, thank you! I’m grateful for each of you.

I’m truly filled with an immense amount of gratitude to know that this blog has been received as well as it has with so many individuals over the years, which is why I’m dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry to each of my readers, I’m blessed and thankful for you all!

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Never regret anything that has happened in your life, it cannot be changed, undone, or forgotten. So take it as a lesson learned and move on.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy. You can’t build on it. It’s only good for wallowing in.” (Katherine Mansfield)

Quote #3

“Living with regrets was like driving a car that only moved in reverse.” (Jodi Picoult)

Bonus Quote

“Never regret a day in your life: good days give happiness, bad days give experience, worst days give lessons, and best days give memories.” (Unknown) 

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

Daily Reflection

“Regret is the only wound the soul does not recover from.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach)

It is said that living with regrets isn’t healthy for any individual’s spiritual growth, yet many of us still harbor one or more of them for days, weeks, months, years, and sometimes even a lifetime. I’ve been guilty of living with regrets, especially on days when I find myself wallowing in self-pity and pain.

Regret is defined as a feeling of sadness or disappointment about something a person has or has not done in life, which is something I most definitely have grappled with. Over the years, I’ve found myself struggling with regret for all the addictions I succumbed to and the plenty of harm they caused others including myself, for all the friends I’ve lost due to the many selfish actions that came out of an addiction-laden life, for all those I could have had a relationship with but never invested or devoted enough loving time to, for all the business ventures I pursued that led to one financial loss after another, for all those negative things I said to my parents, especially during my final conversations with them before they abruptly died, for all the money they left me that I wasted after their deaths on so many needless things, for all the years I could have been working my 12 Step recovery program but opted to be a dry addict instead, for spending my entire college life getting drunk and high and having to live with fuzzy memories and lack of long-lasting bonds because of it, for all the people I sexually chased after who were so unhealthy for me that I allowed to lead me down such dark paths, for the computer career I once had but never felt passionate about that I spent 15 years in solely for the pursuit of money, and for how poorly I treated my sister for most of her life that caused many of the very problems we still have in our connection today.

I’m sure this list could go on and on, but here’s the thing when it comes to each of those regrets. They’re all in the past and I can NEVER change any of them, so it’s completely pointless to keep dwelling on them, because doing so only leads to greater suffering, something I don’t want or need any more of in my life. Equally as important is that each of those things that led to me feeling regret are things that helped me to become a far better person, a far healthier person, a far more caring person, a far kinder person, a far more selfless person, a far more devoted person, a far more loving person, a far more compassionate person, a far wiser person, a far more generous person, and a person I like far more than I ever used to.

The way I see it, instead of looking at all those things as regrets, maybe it’s better I see them as lessons learned. Maybe each of those things needed to happen exactly as they did for me to become the person I am now who’s full of heart and truly does his best to see the good in everyone, including myself. And maybe I just need to consciously choose now to live in acceptance of all of my past actions, knowing that doing so will lead to greater self-compassion and greater self-love. Because the greater I cultivate self-compassion and self-love, the lesser the chance I’ll find myself living with any regrets…

Dear God, I pray to live a life without regret over any of my past actions, just awareness of lessons learned and the wisdom of how to proceed forward with greater understanding and love for myself.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Phillip and Phoebe are parked in Lover’s Lane. He embraces her with one arm, and begins to explore with the other hand. Looking over her shoulder, he sees a policeman approaching. “Awwwww Hell !” he murmured, “Fuzz!!!” “Well, what did ya expect?!” Phoebe says, “A perm?”

Silly Joke #2

There’s a man named Ralph that goes into a bar, looking very depressed. A friend approaches him and asks, “Why the long face, Ralph?” “Oh, I’m just bored. I know every person in the entire world now, and there’s just nothing left to challenge me.” His friend says, “No, you can’t know everyone. Do you know Paul McCartney?” He says, “Sure, Paul’s an old friend of mine. Here, I’ll show you.” He goes over to a phone, dials a number. His friend overhears a British accent, “Hey Ralph, how ya doing?” He talks for a while, but when Ralph hangs up, his friend is not really sure that it was Paul McCartney on the other end of the line, so he asks him if he knows the president.Ralph says, “Sure, we go way back.” This time he lets him listen in as he calls a private number. It sounds like the president on the other end of the line, and they go into a big discussion of the current economic scene, and Ralph offers a few suggestions. Drawing the conversation to a close, Ralph wishes him well and hangs up. His friend is a little dumbfounded at this point. “Well, there must be someone that you don’t know.” He goes over a few more people in his mind, and thinks, ‘He can’t possibly know the Pope. After all, he’s a Protestant.’ But Ralph claims to know him, so to convince himself otherwise, his friend decides to fly both himself and Ralph to the Vatican to get positive proof of Ralph’s conviction. So they arrive at the Vatican, and Ralph suggests that his friend wait out in St. Peter’s Square until Ralph has cleared things with the Pope. He’s standing in the courtyard, when who walks out onto the balcony of the private residence, arm in arm with the Pope, but Ralph. Ralph looks down, sees that his friend has apparently passed out, and runs down to see what can be done for him. “What happened to you? Couldn’t you accept the fact that I really do know the Pope?” “No, I’d begun to accept that possibility. But what really took my breath away was some stranger standing next to me who said, ‘Who’s that guy standing there with Ralph?'”

Silly Joke #3

A woman from New York was driving through a remote part of Arizona when her car broke down. An American Indian on horseback came along and offered her a ride to a nearby town. She climbed up behind him on the horse and they rode off. The ride was uneventful, except that every few minutes the Indian would let out a ‘Ye-e-e-e-h-a-a-a-a’ so loud that it echoed from the surrounding hills. When they arrived in town, he let her off at the local service station and yelled one final ‘Ye-e-e-e-h-a-a-a-a!’ and rode off. ‘What did you do to get that Indian so excited?’ asked the service-station attendant.  ‘Nothing,’ the woman answered. ‘I merely sat behind him on the horse, put my arms around his waist, and held onto the saddle horn so I wouldn’t fall off.’ ‘Lady,’ the attendant said, ‘Indians don’t use saddles.

Bonus Silly Joke (2 short ones)

Little Johnny was being shown the shape of the earth on a globe atlas by his mother. After pointing to all countries with unusual shapes, she asks: “Now Johnny, what shape is the world?” Johnny, looking very wise and happy, said: “Daddy says it’s in terrible shape Mommy!”

A man and his wife were sitting in the living room discussing a “Living Will” “Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug!!!” His wife then got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all the beer.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What do YOU personally think needs to be done to reduce the police brutality and excessive use of force in our country?

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


The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step


Daily Reflection

“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence, toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love…Our aim must never be to default or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

George Floyd’s death was truly a tragedy on every level, and one that should never have happened. Sadly, police brutality and their use of excessive force continues to be a problem in our country and far too often it’s been with persons of color. Oscar Grant, Rodney King, Anthony Baez, John T. Williams, Christopher Harris, these are just a few of the many names of others who like Floyd, were victims of police brutality. While I’m in total support for change to come in our country to prevent police brutality from happening anymore, I’m not in support of it ever coming through acts of violence.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my hero’s, and someone I’ve always modeled in my own code of conduct in life. King believed in non-violence and peaceful demonstrations. He stood in the face of hatred and received many-a-beating, all unfairly, and yet never once fought back. In the end, it was his non-violence movement that helped to establish greater equal rights for blacks in our country. But, it’s apparent we still have a long way to go to fully achieve that, as evident in George Floyd’s tragic death.

The problem with violence as King once said, is that it only creates more violence. So, with Floyd’s death being a violent crime in itself by an officer of the law, the response from much of the public soon became a desire to give violence back. In the days that followed Floyd’s passing, demonstrations initially peaceful turned violent, leading to looting, fires, altercations, anger, and rage, none of which accomplished anything except the creation of greater fear and more violent responses from the police, which in turn is only going to lead to more wrongful deaths of people of color in the future. It remains a vicious cycle and thus, the main goal of reducing police brutality never even gets a chance to begin because as King observed in his time, violence never creates peace.

I get people are angry surrounding all this and rightfully so. Something truly has to be done about the police brutality in our country. But the answer’s not violence, as that’s only going to lead to more of the very same thing. Sometimes I really wish Martin Luther King, Jr. was still alive, as I know he’d have the answer on how to fix this, which I most assuredly would be following his lead. I can even see myself going to his first public demonstration surrounding this, all in the hopes of doing my part in helping to achieve greater peace, unconditional love, and equality for all, as the last thing I want is to ever let my own anger get the best of me, where I resort to some violent outburst that’s only going to lead to more violence and more police brutality.

I pray to be a vessel of peace, unconditional love, and equality for all.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“When a chronic pain sufferer sufferer actually opens up and talks about their pain, it’s not necessarily “a bad day”. It’s just a day they are choosing to make themselves more vulnerable to you by confiding more about it with you. When this happens, listen, refrain from judgment, and don’t offer suggestions unless asked for one, because the one thing most often needed by a chronic pain sufferer who confides in you is someone who offers them unconditional love in return, which can be as simple as saying ‘I may not understand, but I am there for you…’” (Andrew Arthur Dawson) 

Quote #2

“Do not resist the pain. Allow it to be there. Surrender to the grief, despair, fear, loneliness, or whatever form the suffering takes. Witness it without labeling it mentally. Embrace it. Then see how the miracle of surrender transmutes deep suffering into deep peace. This is your crucifixion. Let it become your resurrection and ascension.” (Eckhart Tolle)

Quote #3

“Healing severe or chronic pain, I believe, includes transforming our relationship to the pain, and, ultimately, it is about transforming our relationship to who we are and to life.” (Sarah Anne Shockley) AND “Don’t fight your pain…you can’t win. The paradox of recovery is that you have to surrender to win. Accepting what you cannot change makes the difference.” (Dr. Mel Pohl)

Bonus Quote

“It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes. Living with chronic pain and its limitations makes it hard not to but it is important that we do not let other people’s ignorance define how we feel about ourselves. We have to be proud of the things we are able to do because only we truly understand the strength that it took to do them.” (Unknown)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Thank you for checking out my Grateful Heart Monday series today, where the only focus of my writing is on gratitude, which for today is for something I never thought I’d be grateful for, that being all the physical pain I’ve endured for the past ten years.

Sounds crazy right? How can I actually be grateful for the very thing that’s brought about so much sadness and suffering to my life over the past decade. It’s quite simple really and all it took was taking a hard pause to remember how insane my life was prior to 2010, before the onset of it all.

You see, prior to 2010, I was mostly self-absorbed, selfish, self-centered, and focused on pleasing my own needs, wants, and desires before anyone else’s. On the outside, my actions tended to show this, which anyone who got close to me usually saw in a relatively short period of time. While deep down I did have a good heart, sadly, it was constantly covered over by addiction, fear, and plenty of walls I threw up to protect it. Essentially, I lived in self-preservation mode on a consistent basis because of all the pain I endured from my childhood.

When my adulthood began with my first year out of college in 1995, the same year I got sober, quit drugs, gave up smoking, and came out of the closet to my family, I had plenty of existing mental and emotional pain staring at me now in my face from all that childhood baggage. Baggage from growing up in an alcoholic family, from constantly getting bulled, and from being molested as well. Life after that became a whirlwind of seeking one pleasure after another for the next fifteen years to avoid dealing with any of it and to keep people away from my heart. I covered it up even more after the tragic deaths of both of my parents. While there were a few moments here and there where I actually allowed people to connect to my heart and where I briefly placed myself second to others, overall, I never allowed it to last and I rarely kept myself humbled. If anything, I lived the exact opposite more than not.

But, pain of any kind usually has a way of achieving the impossible, especially when it comes to physical pain, and especially when one doesn’t take any medications to cover it up like I didn’t. As each year passed with me enduring greater and greater levels of physical pain without relief, something slowly began to shift within me, a softening of sorts, or maybe a lessening of all those walls I had thrown up around my heart. Basically, as my pain levels grew, the greater my desire rose to release all that baggage that could be adding to it. And the more I worked through it, the more my heart opened. And the more my heart opened, the more my level of compassion for others did as well. Until eventually, I started to realize I was caring more for others than ever before, specifically those going through their own bouts of pain and suffering.

The fact is, my whole world has positively been affected today because of all the physical pain I’ve gone through. On some level, I really am a better person because of it. It’s kind of insane though to think I needed to go through so much physical pain to change me into a person who’s more selfless, kind, caring, compassionate, and truly concerned for those going through their own painful struggles. The reality was that my heart was buried below walls of resentments, anger, and fear and nothing was breaking through it, nothing that is until I spent the better part of a decade of my life enduring one physical pain after another that slowly eroded each of all those walls around my heart and removed all that baggage that had kept me from becoming a much better person.

While I may not like how long I’ve had to go through it all, I can see now why I had to go through it, because the heart I have today is one that would have never emerged without it, which is why today’s Grateful Heart Monday is dedicated to my physical pain and all the good it’s brought me overall…

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