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