“You Need To…” NO, I DON’T!

“You need to…” Those were the words my partner spoke at the beginning of a sentence a few weeks ago one morning when we were in a heavy discussion about my life in general. Before I knew it, I was in a total tailspin reacting to those words, oblivious to the fact that the anger I was dispelling at that point wasn’t about him at all, even though I was directing it at him. Once I became more level-headed though, I realized the anger was actually with my mother, someone I desperately tried to make happy for as long as she lived, by constantly changing parts of my authentic self, or said in simpler words, trying to people-please her. And people-pleasing would become a toxic pattern that carried on well into my adulthood.

The fact is, I don’t “NEED” to do anything to gain the favor of another. I am me and I am working quite diligently to love my authentic self now. But for many decades I didn’t live in my authentic self. So, when anyone said to me “You need to…” and finished that sentence with something I should change about myself, I’d do it. I’d become a chameleon of sorts, changing my stripes to fit in, all because I was so desperate for the approval of others, all stemming back to where it began, wanting my mother to just love me for me. But, my mother struggled to love me for me because she didn’t love herself. She tried to change that inappropriately by constantly looking outside of herself and using many “You need to’s’” in life with myself and my sister. After a childhood of listening to her countless “You need to’s”, I allowed the pattern to continue into each of my friendships and relationships. I stopped being anything close to authentic because of it. The list became endless on how many things I changed about myself, all stemming from someone saying, “You need to”. Heck, my best friend in my senior year once said to me, “Andy, you need to change your name because Andy doesn’t sound cool” so I changed it to please him, by allowing myself to be called by the name he came up with, that being “A.D.” I became ashamed of my name so much so because of it that I didn’t go by my biological name for over 15 years. Today I go by “Andrew”, because it is a part of my authentic self, something I appreciate now more than I ever used to.

I believe everyone in this world has a truly authentic self, with authentic likes and interests, that make them who they are. Changing any of them because of someone saying “You need to…” is not only people-pleasing, it’s codependent. When my partner spoke those words a few weeks ago, what followed after it was him suggesting that I’d have more friends in life by knowing my audience and not sharing as openly about my life or being as deep as I am with others.

But you know what? That’s me. I’m a deep question kind of guy who loves to share openly about my life. But, I stopped being that in my early childhood because I so desperately wanted the love and approval of my mother that I thought I’d get it by obeying all her “You need to’s.” So, I spent my life trying to be everything I wasn’t and that always seem to come at my own expense, sacrificing my authentic self in the process. And you know what happens when you sacrifice your authentic self in the process? You get depressed, you develop anxiety, and you start living in a codependent relationship where your authentic self isn’t appreciated, where your flaws and shortcomings are pointed out more than the love another has of your authentic self. And unfortunately, one will remain in that type of relationship for as long as they continue listening to those “You need to’s.”

I have very few friends in my life today not by choice, but because I refuse to listen to those “You need to’s” anymore, as I don’t want to compromise my authentic self. Sadly though, it seems that living in my authentic self makes many people I meet uncomfortable. Some say I can be intimidating by how personal I am about my own life and how direct I am with others. Could I be less personal? Could I be less deep? Could I be less of who I am now? Sure, but I don’t want to be “less” anymore, because what I really want to be is “more” of me. The true me. The me that I was as a little boy who just wanted to explore life on his own terms. The authentic me.

Today, I don’t need to be what anyone wants me to be. I choose to be what I want to be and will only give that authority over to my Higher Self, to God, to figure out what that is. I don’t believe a person will ever be truly happy so long as they keep listening and obeying statements from others that start with “You need to…” Because in all reality, the only thing any of us ever need to do is to stop listening to those who think they know better for us what we need to do in life when only God and the Spirit within us ultimately knows what that is…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

How many surgeries have you had in your life where anesthesia had to be administered prior to it?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a series in my blog dedicated to finding and focusing on the gratitude in life, which for today is for my partner Chris’s recent successful back surgery and for the one who performed it, Dr. Healey.

About a year ago, Chris began complaining about pain going down both of his legs. I thought it was just sciatica brought on by stress and tension. Over the months that would follow though, his pain grew stronger, causing him to walk with a waddle of sorts. Initially I joked about it, which I regret now, calling him a penguin. Little did I know there was a serious compression growing worse by the day upon a bundle of nerves in his low back. By late summer and well into the fall, his ability to walk any distance became seriously compromised. We often had to stop and sit on benches, which I know so very well from suffering from Fibromyalgia-related complications. When Chris finally caved in and went to see a back specialist, they attempted at first, as they always do, to see if medications might help. They didn’t of course, so they tried the second course of action for back pain, which is cortisone shots directly into the area where the pain was emanating from. Chris did that several times to no avail, which eventually led to back surgery being scheduled. Unfortunately, that surgery was delayed from January into late February due to both of us getting COVID.

When the day of his surgery finally arrived, I was holding onto a lot of irrational fears because my hypochondria often gets the best of me, even when it comes to other’s health, especially those I love deeply. Fears that included me thinking my partner would undergo the knife and never come out of it, that he might get paralyzed, or that there would be no benefit at all and he’d be put on permanently disability. Thankfully, none of those worries came to fruition.

Dr. Healey opened the area in Chris’s back with such precision and smoothed down the bone area that was pressing into his nerves so well, that Chris’s recovery was immediate from the time he opened his eyes after the surgery. The only pain Chris felt post-surgery was in the actual area where the surgery had taken place. But, all that pain that had been plaguing him going down his legs, all that numbness, and inability to walk normally was totally gone!

It’s now been well over a month since his surgery and I have seen such an incredible healing in Chris. The scar on his back is minimal now and the effects of the surgery have been only positive, which I’m so thankful to Dr. Healey and to God of course for helping my partner through something that I know initially caused him some fears as well.

I’ve known of many who’ve had back surgery over the years, and multiple ones at that, some of which regret having them because of now having permanent pain and damage from it. Thankfully, my partner isn’t one of them and is well on the road to living a great sense of normalcy again. I truly am grateful to Dr. Healey for being such an expert surgeon and grateful to God for guiding his hands so successfully and am dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday for them both having ultimately restored my partner’s back to a level he’s now able to function and live his life again.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.” (Allan/Madden)

Quote #2

“Hazing does not equal team unity, loyalty, brotherhood, sisterhood, fellowship, strength, honor, dignity, or respect. What it does equal though is abuse and any way you look at it, it will never add up to anything else but abuse.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

Quote #3

“We’re very early in this movement to address the most common form of violence there is for children, which is bullying, and hazing is a type of bullying. Hazing in children is caused by adults, through modeling hazing behavior and responding inadequately when it occurs. That creates hazing.” (Stuart Green)

Bonus Quote

“Hazing is an extraordinary activity that, when it occurs often enough, becomes perversely ordinary as those who engage in it grow desensitized to its inhumanity.” (Hank Nuwer)

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

Sadly, I Know All Too Well About The Tragic Effects Of Fraternity And Sorority Hazing…

Fraternity and sorority hazing recently arose in nationwide news once again with another tragic passing of someone who was pledging a fraternity where alcohol was the cause. In this case, it was a young man named Stone Foltz, a 20-year-old attending Bowling Green State University and also pledging the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity there. Since 2000, there have been more than 50 hazing-related deaths like Foltz’s in the United States. While that number may seem insignificant, there are countless hazing-related incidents that never get reported, many of which end up causing PTSD to the one hazed. I should know, as I went through it myself during my freshman year at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

I’m thankful I can start this article out with at least one positive statement about hazing in that my fraternity at RIT, Phi Kappa Psi, has strong policies in place today to prevent hazing from ever happening. But back during my fraternity days, hazing happened all the time and it was just an acceptable thing. On some level, I think the movie “Animal House” made hazing seem cool. That’s probably why I saw so many incidents of it not only in my own chapter, but also in many others on campus as well.

Over the years whenever major hazing incidents would surface in the news, like in Foltz’s recent case, people tend to ask what the purpose of hazing actually is. Originally, hazing was seen as an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline and loyalty within the group, quite like what many branches of the military still employ to this day. But is it really effective? From my experience, it wasn’t and only created more pain in my life instead.

One of the biggest incidents of hazing I went through that to this day I still remember quite vividly was the night I and my five pledge brothers were blindfolded and guided onto a sand volleyball court that was near our chapter house at the time. There we were told to dig. Eventually we discovered five very warm cans of the cheapest beer you could buy locally, deep in the sand. The brand was one called Golden Anniversary. After the five were unearthed, we were instructed to each take one and down it as quickly as possible. It was nasty and felt as if it had baked in the sun all day. After plenty of dry heaves, I finished the task and thought, “Thank God that’s over!” But it wasn’t, because after silently being guided back into our chapter house, we saw on the bar there, five nicely organized rows of five cans of the same brand of warm beer. We were instructed to each choose one of the rows to stand in front of and once we did, informed we needed to finish all 25 cans of warm beer before they all finished their one can of cold Coors Light they held in their hands. Oh, and we were also told to make use of the garbage can in the center of the room if needed during the task, but not to stop until the warm beer was all gone, even if that meant throwing up repeatedly. With none of my pledge brothers being big guys with high alcohol tolerances, and with mine only being about three beers before I started to black out, I wasn’t all too keen on doing the task. But I wanted the acceptance of those brothers so bad! So, I didn’t question the task. Once they counted back from 3 to 1 and said “Go!”, I began to chug as fast as I could. I hurled along with my brothers and even took over some of the slack when some of my pledge brothers gave up. We finished the task and were all miserably drunk and sick to our stomachs because of it, but then we then got to celebrate with more drinking. I don’t remember the rest of that night, like I didn’t on most nights I drank back then. But unlike Stone Foltz, I’m alive today to live and tell a true story of the horrors of hazing. Sadly, that was just one of many others I could speak of, which regrettably, became a sad rite of passage that continued on for a while longer in my chapter until ramifications from it finally led us to thankfully put an end to it, once and for all.

Hazing never made me a better brother, a better person, or a better anything. If anything, what it did do was lower my self-esteem, increase my PTSD, and make me an angrier and more mentally imbalanced individual. While I don’t know anything about the life Stone Foltz once lived, I wonder if he was like me, a shy, nerdy kid that was always overlooked for much of his younger years, who just wanted for once in his life to find acceptance and love, and was willing to do whatever he had to, to get it, even at his own expense. Regardless, hazing is stupid and toxic to the health of everyone involved. Earning respect, learning discipline, and garnering loyalty have come in my life today through acts of service, unconditional love, and kindness. They come naturally from my heart and not from someone shouting in my face during line-ups done in 90-degree rooms where people called me a total piece of shit because I didn’t remember some trivial piece of information in my pledge book about one of the brothers. Yes, that did happen, and yes, a lot more even worse than that too.

The bottom line is that all forms of hazing need to stop, immediately! Because people like Stone Foltz deserved to live a far longer life, one where people got to love him for just being himself. Not because he was willing to drink to excess for acceptance, not because he was willing to do anything for acceptance, but just because he was good enough for just being himself. I am thankful my Phi Kappa Psi chapter at RIT today believes in this and I hope that I may somehow have helped in sharing my experiences with hazing.

So, if you happen to be someone who is currently being hazed or suffering from PTSD from it being done to you at some point in your life, know you’re not alone. Please, find someone safe to talk to about it because it will help, and if you can remember one thing from all this, you truly are fully worthy and deserving of being loved and accepted just as you are.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A woman takes her 16-year-old daughter to the doctor. “Okay, Mrs. Jones, what’s the problem?” The mother says, “It’s my daughter, Debbie. She keeps getting these strange cravings, she’s putting on weight, and she is sick most mornings.” The doctor gives Debbie a very quick examination, then turns to the mother and says, “C’mon Mrs. Jones, it’s obvious that Debbie is pregnant–about four months would be my guess!” The mother says angrily, “Pregnant?! There’s no way, my sweet innocent little girl, she has never been left alone with a man! Isn’t that right Debbie, tell him!” Debbie says, “No mother! I’ve never even kissed a man!” The doctor suddenly walked over to the window and stared outside. About five minutes passed before the mother sounding very irritated said, “Well, are you just going to stand there and stare out the window in silence?!” The doctor said with a slight grin, “Well you seem Mrs. Jones, the last time anything like this happened, a star appeared in the east and three wise men came over the hill. So, I figured I wouldn’t want to miss such a thing right?!”

Silly Joke #2

Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When little Logan received his plate, he started eating right away. “Logan, wait until we say our prayer,” his mother reminded him. “I don’t have to,” the little boy replied. “Of course you do Logan,” his mother insisted, “you know we always say a prayer before eating at our house to bless the food.” “That’s at our house Mom,” Logan explained, “but this is Grandma’s house and she knows how to cook, so I assumed we didn’t need to bless it.”

Silly Joke #3

A husband and wife are watching “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,” and the husband winks and says, “Honey, let’s go upstairs…” The wife says no, so the husband asks again. Again she says no. So the husband says, “Is that your final answer?” The wife says yes. The husband says, “Well, can I phone a friend?”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult humor)

A man is dating three women and wants to decide which to marry. He decides to give them a test. He gives each woman a present of $5000 and waits to see what they do with the money. The first does a total makeover. She goes to a fancy beauty salon, gets her hair done, new make up and buys several new outfits and dresses up very nicely for the man. She tells him that she has done this to be more attractive for him because she loves him so much. The man was impressed. The second goes shopping to buy the man gifts. She gets him a new set of golf clubs, some new gizmos for his computer, and some expensive clothes for him as well. As she presents these gifts, she tells him that she has spent all the money on him because she loves him so much. Again, the man is impressed. The third invests the money in the stock market. She earns several times the $5000. She gives him back his $5000 and reinvests the remainder in a joint account. She tells him that she wants to save for their future because she loves him so much. Obviously, the man was very impressed with that. So, he thought for a long time about what each woman had done with the money, and the answer seemed overly clear to him now which one he should marry, so he chose the one with the largest breasts.

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes are six anonymous inspirations that come from the LGTBQ community and those who lovingly support them:

  1. “Someone told me being gay is wrong because we can’t reproduce. I said, ‘Well then, let the gays adopt all the kids that the straights abandoned after reproducing.'”
  2.  “If you have to make laws that hurt a group of people just to prove your morals and faith, then maybe you have no true morals or faith to prove.”
  3. “Claiming that someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being angry with someone for eating a donut when you’re on a diet.”
  4. “I don’t understand why people think that having a gay child means they failed as a parent. Disowning a child for being gay does mean they failed as a parent though.”
  5. “Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is only found in one of them.”
  6. “Maybe one day we’ll no longer refer to our weddings as ‘gay weddings’ and they will just be referred to as a wedding. Maybe one day we won’t have to label our sexuality either where it won’t matter whether we love a man or woman. Maybe one day, all that will matter is that we love each other unconditionally instead of hating or judging one another for what we don’t understand. Maybe one day…”

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

Has “Homosexual” Always Been In The Bible?

Recently, I came across an article that a friend posted to my Facebook timeline in response to a blog I had written about the inconsistencies of the Bible, especially when it relates to homosexuality. I’ve known many in my life who feel homosexuality is a sin because of what they read in its pages, yet I have always felt the original intention of those passages in question have been taken far out of their original intention and context. I’m more than sure now after reading this article my friend shared with me of the truth in that and am very thankful to be able to re-post it here for all of you. Please take it as you wish, and maybe it might just enlighten you, as it did me. (Note: If you’d like the original link to the article, please private message me and I’ll send it to you.)

Has “Homosexual” always been in the Bible?

The word “arsenokoitai” shows up in two different verses in the Bible, but it was not translated to mean “homosexual” until 1946. We got to sit down with Ed Oxford, a graduate of Talbot School of Theology, to talk about this question. Ed, you have been part of a research team that is seeking to understand how the decision was made to put the word “homosexual” in the Bible. Is that true?

ED: Yes. It first showed up in the RSV translation. So before figuring out why they decided to use that word in the RSV translation (which is outlined in my upcoming book with Kathy Baldock, Forging a Sacred Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay) I wanted to see how other cultures and translations treated the same verses when they were translated during the Reformation 500 years ago. So, I started collecting old Bibles in French, German, Irish, Gaelic, Czechoslovakian, Polish… you name it. Now I’ve got most European major languages that I’ve collected over time. Anyway, I had a German friend come back to town and I asked if he could help me with some passages in one of my German Bibles from the 1800s. So we went to Leviticus 18:22 and he’s translating it for me word for word. In the English where it says “Man shall not lie with man, for it is an abomination,” the German version says “Man shall not lie with young boys as he does with a woman, for it is an abomination.” I said, “What?! Are you sure?” He said, “Yes!” Then we went to Leviticus 20:13— same thing, “Young boys.” So, we went to 1 Corinthians to see how they translated arsenokoitai (original Greek word) and instead of homosexuals it said, “Boy molesters will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

I then grabbed my facsimile copy of Martin Luther’s original German translation from 1534. My friend is reading through it for me and he says, “Ed, this says the same thing!” They use the word knabenschander. Knaben is boy, schander is molester. This word “boy molesters” for the most part carried through the next several centuries of German Bible translations. Knabenschander is also in 1 Timothy 1:10. So the interesting thing is, I asked if they ever changed the word arsenokoitai to homosexual in modern translations. So my friend found it and told me, “The first time homosexual appears in a German translation is 1983.” To me that was a little suspect because of what was happening in culture in the 1970s. Also because the Germans were the ones who created the word homosexual in 1862, they had all the history, research, and understanding to change it if they saw fit; however, they did not change it until 1983. If anyone was going to put the word homosexual in the Bible, the Germans should have been the first to do it!

As I was talking with my friend I said, “I wonder why not until 1983? Was their influence from America?” So, we had our German connection look into it again and it turns out that the company, Biblica, who owns the NIV version, paid for this 1983 German version. Thus, it was Americans who paid for it! In 1983 Germany didn’t have enough of a Christian population to warrant the cost of a new Bible translation, because it’s not cheap. So, an American company paid for it and influenced the decision, resulting in the word homosexual entering the German Bible for the first time in history. So, I say, I think there is a “gay agenda” after all!

I also have a 1674 Swedish translation and an 1890 Norwegian translation of the Bible. I asked one of my friends, who was attending Fuller seminary and is fluent in both Swedish and Norwegian, to look at these verses for me. So we met at a coffee shop in Pasadena with my old Bibles. (She didn’t really know why I was asking.) Just like reading an old English Bible, it’s not easy to read. The letters are a little bit funky, the spelling is a little bit different. So, she’s going through it carefully, and then her face comes up, “Do you know what this says?!” and I said, “No! That’s why you are here!” She said, “It says boy abusers, boy molesters.” It turns out that the ancient world condoned and encouraged a system whereby young boys (8-12 years old) were coupled by older men. Ancient Greek documents show us how even parents utilized this abusive system to help their sons advance in society. So, for most of history, most translations thought these verses were obviously referring the pederasty, not homosexuality!

So, then I started thinking that of 4 of the 6 clobber passages, all these nations and translations were referring to pederasty, and not what we would call homosexuality today.

Q: How did the translation teams work?

ED: Well, they didn’t operate out of a vacuum when they translated something. They used data available to them from very old libraries. Last week at the Huntington Library I found a Lexicon from 1483. I looked up arsenokoitai and it gave the Latin equivalent, paedico and praedico. If you look those up they means pederasty, or knabenschander, (boy molester, in German.) 1483 is the year Martin Luther was born, so when he was running for his life translating the Bible and carrying his books, he would have used such a Lexicon. It was the Lexicon of his time. This Lexicon would have used information from the previous 1000+ years, including data passed down from the Church Fathers.

Q: So, there is historical tradition to show that these verses aren’t relating to homosexuality?

ED: Absolutely! Sometimes I’m frustrated when speak with pastors who say, “Well I believe the historical tradition surrounding these verses” and then proceed with a condemnation of LGBTQ individuals. I challenge them to see what was actually traditionally taught. For most of history, most European Bibles taught the tradition that these 4 verses were dealing with pederasty, not homosexuality. I am saddened when I see pastors and theologians cast aside the previous 2000 years of history. This is why I collect very old Bibles, lexicons, theological books and commentaries – most modern biblical commentaries adjusted to accommodate this mistranslation. It’s time for the truth to come out!

Yes, my brother, who is a pastor, also told me the same thing, that every sector of the church has seen same-sex relationships as sinful for 2,000 years. But the more I read and study though, the more I just don’t see this being true.

Q: What was used before homosexual showed up in the RSV version?

ED: King James Version triumphed the land and they used the phrase, “Abusers of themselves with mankind” for arsenokoitai. If you asked people during that time no one really wanted to tackle it. So that’s why I’m collecting Bibles, Biblical commentaries and lexicons, in order to show how theologians dealt with these passages.

Q: In Your opinion, how would the church be different if the RSV didn’t change “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi” to homosexual in 1946?

ED: In my opinion, if the RSV did not use the word homosexual in first Corinthians 6:9, and instead would have spent years in proper research to understand homosexuality and to really dig into the historical contextualization, I think translators would have ended up with a more accurate translation of the abusive nature intended by this word. I think we could have avoided the horrible damage that was done from pulpits all across America, and ultimately other parts of the world. But let’s don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater — the RSV team did a great job on most everything else. It was an honest mistake.

Q: And do you think your life would have gone differently as a result?

ED: Yes, absolutely! I think my life would have been starkly different if the translation would have been translated with the accurate historical contextualization – especially within my own family, since they rely so heavily on the English translation and put a lot of faith in the translators for the final product in English. Since most people haven’t studied Greek or Hebrew, they have no concept of challenging a translation, and any potential errors that may have occurred during translation. Therefore, many people are unable to consider the implications of the text beyond the English translation in front of them.

Q: Based on your research, what advice would you have for LGBTQ Christians today?

ED: My advice to LGBTQ Christians today would be three things:

  1. As difficult as it may be, try to extend grace and patience to the Church. The vast majority of pastors in America have not done their due diligence on this topic, so we can’t expect them to be any further along than they are currently. In the same way that God has extended grace and patience with us when we sin, we need to extend grace and patience toward others regarding their error on this topic. Bitterness will only manage to create further damage.
  2. Seek out other LGBTQ Christians who have already done their due diligence on this topic and reached a point of peace between their sexuality and God. We can learn a lot from others who are a little further up the trail.
  3. Often remind yourself that this mess is not caused by God, but instead is the result of people who have been entrusted with free will.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is a fun and light one…

What is one thing you should always have in your vehicle at all times?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Thanks for joining in to another entry in my blog series, Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude continues to remain my only focus of my writing. For today, I am dedicating my gratitude to all those I’ve come to know over the years in recovery whose lives were eventually taken away by their addiction, including my friend Anthony A., who just recently passed away due to an accidental overdose.

While I know there are some who probably would be grateful for unhealthy reasons, thinking things like “good riddance”, when an alcoholic or drug addict they once cared about suddenly dies from an overdose, I’m not one of them. That’s because I consider it a great loss each time anyone loses their life to a tumultuous addiction. While it indeed may be heartbreaking for me to see any life lost to an overdose, rather than focus on that tragic loss, I’ve always felt it important to dwell on the positive parts they left behind, as they’re always there.

In Anthony’s case, he was a good father to his daughter Mia, a loving partner to his sweetheart Kara, a funny guy who knew how to make plenty laugh, a caring guy with a caring heart who would help out when needed and called upon, and someone whose smiles and grins could make others follow in suit. Although it’s been well over 7 years since I last saw Anthony in any my 12 Step social circles, I will always remember his good-natured charm each time I saw him when he’d give me a big hug.

Dwelling on any of the negative legacy an addict leaves behind when they suddenly die from their disease though just leaves the door open for unhealthy resentments. That’s why I find it important to shift any negativity onto remembering the good the person did while here, as it helps immensely in the grieving process. What also helps in that is remembering that each was a child of God, worthy and deserving of love, rather than focusing elsewhere, leaving a door open in the process for judgment and hatred to form.

Nevertheless, I have seen lately that addiction and deaths from overdose have been increasing rapidly in these pandemic times, which most likely is due to the very limited in-person 12 Step meetings, infrequent social gatherings, and a serious lack of human interaction and touch, each being things meant to help an individual remain clean and sober. It’s in those three things where I regularly saw the good in Anthony, as well as in a number of others who have since passed on due to overdoses as well.

People like Aaron, Derek, Danny, Charlie, Bobby, Paulie, Beanzy, and countless others who came into my life at various points in my recovery and blessed it far before their addiction took them out of this world and into the next. So often people navigate to anger first when an addict dies from their addiction. I think it’s easier to feel angry than feel the pain of their loss. But as a person grieves, they find that below their wall of anger is a well of sorrow and tears emanating from the love and the good that person once shared with them.

Frankly, it’s never easy when any addict, who was also a loved one, suddenly passes away from their disease, but it’s far easier to deal with their death remembering the positive things they did while here, rather than dwelling on the negative, which is how I’ve learned to be grateful each time another tragedy like this occurs.

So, I dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to you, Anthony A., and the countless others I once knew in my recovery life who have each at various points touched my heart and helped me to keep going, clean and sober, one day at a time, and for that alone, I’ll be forever grateful.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“A healthy relationship will never leave you feeling disoriented or drained. Loving too hard is not synonymous to losing yourself.” (Meggan Roxanne)

Quote #2

“It’s tough to have satisfying relationships when your needs are being tossed aside – especially when you are the one tossing them.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“You know you’re codependent when you feel guilty for everyone else’s mistakes.” (Sarah Jayne Court)

Bonus Quote

“Codependency is the disorder of attempting to control aspects outside of yourself that are uncontrollable. By doing so you forfeit your innate ability to take control and create your true life.” (Unknown)

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

I Truly Love My Sister In Every Way But One, Her Codependency…

My sister doesn’t like me writing about her, but she also doesn’t like talking about the one thing I often need to talk about, something that keeps on affecting my life quite painfully, so I’m choosing to talk about it here today, because I need to, because my heart is hurting a lot and I don’t have a voice for it anywhere else.

I absolutely, 100%, love my sister with all my heart, mind, and soul and I know deep within her the same is true as well. Yet, there is one thing I don’t like about her presently and that is a behavior our mother instilled in us long ago that I have done a lot of work to break free from, but she hasn’t yet and that is codependency.

For a long period of my life, my codependency led me into one unhealthy relationship after another with people I allowed to control my life, frequently at my own expense. How many times I allowed that to negatively affect my relationship with my sister and her family is countless. Thankfully, I finally woke up to this about ten years ago and realized how much I had become just like my mother. I have worked hard though to change this by not allowing anyone in my life anymore who is toxic like my mother, who uses fear and control tactics to make others do what they want, and I do my best now not to be that way with others either. Sadly, my sister still allows my long-deceased mother to control her on a regular basis, especially where I am involved, because of how her husband feels about me.

While I’ve done as much as I can to eradicate my addictive past through amends both written and in action, for whatever his reasons, my sister’s husband has been unable to come to a place of full forgiveness and acceptance of me and made it almost downright impossible for me to have any type of healthy relationship with my sister and her kids. While I don’t expect him to ever have to like me, I do at least know in the evangelical Christian world he lives in that I am worthy and deserving of forgiveness and acceptance, but I have never been given that. How that affects me in my relationship with my sister and her codependency with him is this.

I haven’t been allowed to stay at their home for years and presently am not even allowed to be in their house if her husband is home. My days are limited on how long I can come for a visit, which is never more than once a year, and when I’m there, I’m not even allowed to have time with my youngest nephew alone because of her husband’s irrational fears that all gay people are pedophiles. I often find myself on the defensive there, walking on egg shells, trying to be perfect, and when I make a mistake, any mistake, it’s verbally pointed out a number of times to me. Any promises made surrounding my visits seem to get repeatedly broken or changed when there as well. And even on my sister’s once a year visit alone to me, they’re often compromised too with her limiting her days to see me and her regularly receiving texts and phone calls from her husband that negatively affect what little time I get with her during those trips.

Countless friends, therapists, spiritual teachers, and the like have all asked me over the years why I continue to subject myself to this. The truth? I feel guilty about my own past behaviors of addiction that once affected her family greatly, so I carry this guilt, and in doing so, I’ve realized I’m leaving one bit of codependency still active within me by accepting whatever crumbs I get from them, telling myself I deserve to be treated this way because of how long I treated them in the same way. But continuing to live in this way is causing me too much pain now, especially when I see how many of my friends have some pretty awesome relationships with their siblings, talking to them multiple times a week, some even daily, having visits and vacations several times a year with them where they are welcomed with opened arms and love, where there are no special rules, regulations, or conditions surrounding their time together. So, I have to do the one thing that Al-Anon says to do when someone you love is living in a toxic addiction and affecting you negatively and that’s to detach with love. To do that, I end by declaring the following once and for all:

I am a good brother and a loving brother and a good uncle and a loving uncle who deserves to no longer be held to any of his past iniquities. God has forgiven me for them, now I must fully forgive myself for them as well by detaching with love to someone I love dearly who doesn’t clearly see how their addiction is painfully affecting others, just like I once didn’t. Sometimes it’s painful steps like this that need to happen for an addict of any caliper to finally wake up and see the truth. I pray my sister does one day and ultimately releases my mother and all my mother’s toxic behaviors once and for all. Whether that ever translates into a better relationship with my sister isn’t what matters the most for me, as what matters the most is my sister’s happiness, something that I know will never come to fruition so long as she continues to lead a codependent life.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Bill: Say, where’d ya get that nice gold watch Joe?
Joe: I won it in a race!
Bill: Oh yeah? How many people participated in it?
Joe: Three, a policeman, the owner of the watch, and me!

Silly Joke #2

A new business was opening and one of the owner’s friends wanted to send him flowers for the occasion. They arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card, which said: ‘Rest in Peace.’ The owner was angry and called the florist to complain. After he had told the florist of the obvious mistake and how angry he was, the florist replied: ‘Sir, I’m really sorry for the mistake, but rather than getting angry, you should imagine this – somewhere, there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying: ‘Congratulations on your new location!”

Silly Joke #3

At a church meeting, a very wealthy man rose to tell the rest of those present about his Christian faith. “I’m a millionaire,” he said, “and I attribute it all to the rich blessings of God in my life. I remember that turning point in my faith. I had just earned my first dollar and I went to a church meeting that night. The speaker was a missionary who told about his work. I knew that I only had a dollar bill and I had to either give it all to God’s work or give nothing at all. So at that moment, I decided to give my whole dollar to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today.” When he finished and moved toward his seat, there was an awed silence As he sat down, a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said to him, “I dare you to do it again.”

Bonus Silly Joke

Frank always looked on the bright side. He would constantly irritate his friends with his eternal optimism. No matter how horrible the circumstance, he would always reply “It could have been worse.” To cure him of his annoying habit, his friends decided to invent a situation so completely bad, so terrible, that even Frank could find no hope in it. On the golf course one day, one of them said, “Frank, did you hear about Tom?” “He came home last night, found his wife in bed with another man, shot them both and then turned the gun on himself!” “That’s awful,” said Frank, “but it could have been worse.” “How in the hell,” asked his bewildered friend, “could it have been worse?” “Well,” replied Frank, “if it happened the night before, I’d be dead now!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Everything is temporary; emotions, thoughts, people, and scenery. Do not become attached, just flow with it.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“Every good thing has a bad attached to it. Every good time has a bad attached to it. Every good has an evil attached to it. Life is made up of everything good with a bad attached to it.” (Halima Shan)

Quote #3

“Don’t get too attached to moments. Good or bad, they all pass.” (Yasmin Mogahed)

Bonus Quote

“Sometimes people throw away something good for something better, only to find out later that good was actually good enough and better never even came close.” (Unknown)

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

Daily Reflection

“Sāi Wēng lived on the border and he raised horses for a living. One day, he lost one of his prized horses. After hearing of the misfortune, his neighbor felt sorry for him and came to comfort him. But Sāi Wēng simply asked, “How could we know it is not a good thing for me?” After a while, the lost horse returned and with another beautiful horse. The neighbor came over again, but this time congratulated Sāi Wēng on his good fortune. But Sāi Wēng simply asked, “How could we know it is not a bad thing for me?” One day, his son went out for a ride with the new horse. He was violently thrown from the horse and broke his leg. The neighbor once again came over and this time expressed their condolences to Sāi Wēng, but Sāi Wēng simply said, “How could we know it is not a good thing for me?” Not too long after, the Emperor’s army arrived at the village to recruit all able-bodied men to fight in the war. Because of his injury, Sāi Wēng’s son could not go off to war, and was spared from certain death.” (Old Chinese Proverb)

There is a great passage in the Bible that I feel applies to this old Chinese proverb as well. It says, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” (Ecclesiastes 7:14) So often in my life I have become angry over things that have brought pain upon my life and when they have, my emotions often have gotten the best of me. On the contrary, whenever things my ego deems as good occur, I usually rejoice. Oddly enough though, I’ve seen the inherent truth behind both this old Chinese proverb and Ecclesiastes 7:14 because I’ve experienced it firsthand.

When my father took his life in 1996 for example, the pain from that was incredible. Yet, it was the very thing that eventually led me to go on a retreat with The ManKind Project, a spiritual men’s organization that would go on to change my life and something I remain active in, even to this day. On the other hand, joining the ManKind Project would directly contribute to a number of broken friendships and the loss of connection with people I truly loved over the years. But, even there, through those losses, doors would close while others would open to even closer connections, and so on.

The same could be said for my mother’s passing, as there too, the pain that came from her tragic fall down the stairs while drunk was incredible. But, it was what directly led me to go on a 10-day silent retreat to deal with it where I learned how to meditate deeply and connected to something far Greater than I ever had before. Yet, when the buzz of that deep connection wore off after about six months of time, I felt a void within me like I’ve never felt before. Even there though, that void is precisely what’s driven me for the past decade to keep searching and experiencing more and more of the vastness of God, and so on.

On a much simpler level, I like to think of my partner Chris’s career path here as well, as when I met him, he was working quite happily at First Solar. When they laid off a number of their employees including him, the pain of that really depressed him immensely given his 11+ years there. That loss though would lead him to get a job at the Postal Service where he excelled right off the bat. There he found an amazing appreciation for being out in nature while he walked his routes, all while losing a ton of weight in the process, something he constantly struggled with doing prior. But then he took a serious fall one day on the job and ended up losing the job in the process because of it. Yet not too long after putting his resume back out there, he was hired by a company who found his resume, a place he’s still happily employed at now. There he’s gone on to get his bachelor’s degree and become the lead in his position as well.

Life is so much like this. We hate what we think is “bad” and crave the “good”, yet it’s the “bad” that always tends to lead to the “good” at some point and the “good” that always seems to bring about some “bad” at some point as well. Buddhism talks about suffering in this way. That suffering is essentially craving what we deem as good all while trying to avoid the bad, but freedom from that suffering comes from accepting both without purposely placing attachment to or detachment from either.

So, in the end, I see both the Chinese proverb and Ecclesiastes as great reminders that I don’t need to create more suffering upon myself by labeling anything as bad or good, when in reality, it’s all relative and it’s all God.

Dear God, I pray to fully accept what my ego often labels as either good or bad, knowing neither are inherently good or bad, and are instead just things happening in life in perpetual motion. Help me to experience the synchronicity of You, rather than constantly living in the suffering that comes from craving the good and running from the bad. 

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Happiness doesn’t always come from a pursuit. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it.” (Dalai Lama)

Quote #2

“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.” (Nicole Reed)

Quote #3

“Sometimes the best things happen to us when we least expect them, like the best ideas popping up at the last minute and I mean literally the last moment. So wait for them to happen.” (Lakshmi Muthu)

Bonus Quote

“You know, the smallest thing can change a life. In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance, and when you least expect it, setting you on a course that you could have never planned, into a future you never imagined. Where will it take you? That’s the journey of our lives: our search for the light. But sometimes, finding the light means you must past through the deepest darkness.” (Nicholas Sparks)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains my only focus at the start of every week, which for today is for a big repair getting done on my car for free from damage done to it 10 years ago!

My car is old, 14 years old to be precise. It has over 271,000 miles on it and it’s a Camry Hybrid of which I’m the original owner. I’m quite thankful for this car and continue to do what I can to keep it going, given I don’t have a job and regular income to justifiably purchase a new vehicle or even a used one for that matter. Unfortunately, my car has sustained a few accidents over the years that have led to some major repairs. One such repair took place in April of 2011 when someone hit the entire left side of my vehicle. This repair was done at a small body shop in a town named Woonsocket, which is in Rhode Island. About two years after that repair, I moved to Toledo, Ohio and shortly thereafter, while washing and waxing my car one day, I noticed a small pea-sized bubble in one of the areas that had been repaired at that body shop. I had no idea what it was but assumed it was just a minor flaw from that body’s shop’s work and given I was now over 650 miles away, I had no choice but to do my best to ignore it.

As time went on and the years passed, that bubble grew larger and larger, until rust began to show its ugly face there, eventually turning into a much bigger problem. From time to time, I’d get estimates as to how much it would cost to fix the problem. All usually came in around $3000 leaving me with no choice each time but to accept the issue and tell myself it’s just an old car. Unfortunately, that was the only area of rust on my entire vehicle, which irked me at times given I couldn’t afford to take care of it. After going through an incredibly snowy and salt-drenched road winter here, the problem exacerbated all the worse.

One day though, about four weeks ago now, I had a strange thought and wondered if the claims area of my insurance company might be willing to fix the problem since it originally stemmed from a claim. I had nothing to lose so I called them up and quickly received the first piece of gratitude when I discovered the repair would indeed be warrantied if proven to stem from the original job, because it had been done at one of their licensed body shops. The second piece of gratitude came right after that when they told me I wouldn’t have to go back there to get the work done and could take it to one of their local body shops. About a week later, the third piece of gratitude came when the estimator showed me where the original job hadn’t sealed the paint correctly and how that rust bubble began, solidifying that it was a warrantable repair.

So, by the time this article gets published, my car will be in a local body shop getting fully repaired, and for free! After having dealt with this problem for the past decade, it’s a no brainer for me to dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to this good fortune, for something good happening for once in my life, and for a problem that has most definitely frustrated me for far too long, finally getting the much-needed repair that has been long overdue.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

Sometimes it’s better to just let things be, let people go, don’t fight for closure, don’t ask for explanations, don’t chase answers and don’t expect people to understand where you’re coming from.” (Rania Naim)

Quote #2

“You may never know why things ended or why it fizzled out, was it you or was it them, and so many other unanswered questions. You will learn that if the relationship was never defined in the first place, then it will end without explanations too.” (Rania Naim)

Quote #3

“People often leave without an explanation and it hurts like hell. It’s wildly confusing. But, the only thing you can really do is take everything you learned from the situation, grow from it, and leave the rest where it belongs, in the past.” (Andrea Davis)

Bonus Quote

“The most painful thing about when a loved one abruptly leaves your life without telling you why is not in the abandonment itself, it’s knowing you weren’t worth an explanation.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

Creating My Own Closure When I Wasn’t Given Any With A Friendship That Abruptly Ended…

Have you ever had someone you cared about abruptly leave your life without any understanding as to why or “ghosted” you, as it’s often referred to in today’s terms by a loved one who suddenly disappears and leaves you wondering if or what you did wrong with no real semblance of closure?

I recently went through this with someone I at first was merely a Facebook friend with. Over time though, we got to know each other much better, going from acquaintances to close friends. While we never did meet in person given him living several hundred miles from where I reside, we did speak frequently via text, phone and Facebook video for almost a year. I was most drawn to his career path, as he had been a pastor for over three decades of his life and often had a number of conversations with him that were quite deep involving God. I was grateful for each of them, as most of the friends I’ve had in life don’t have much of an interest in regularly discussing religious or spiritual types of things.

Nevertheless, when I contracted COVID in the beginning of 2021, I never heard from my friend whatsoever, which left me real surprised. Once I began feeling well, we would speak only twice more, on two separate Sunday evenings, where I truly thought each of those conversations went well as always. One of the things he consistently told me was how much I got him to think about life in different ways from the norm and was grateful for that. But when it came time to talk on the subsequent Sunday after our last chat, he didn’t answer his phone. The next day I’d receive a very brief email void of any real connection or emotion that simply said “he was going through something dark that he didn’t want to discuss with me and was only going to focus on his career and studies until he felt better and that he’d contact me once he re-emerged back into the land of the living.”

At first, I accepted his email at face value and responded briefly by saying I’d be praying for him and looked forward to him reaching back out when he felt better. Over the course of the next few weeks though, he continued to post things on Facebook and communicating with others on there, including expressions of humor that really didn’t seem to appear as if he was in a dark place at all. I totally began to question if his email hadn’t been the real truth.

I finally opted to email him after almost a month had gone by without any communication and asked for reconnection or closure. Honestly, it had been kind of painful watching him connect with a number of others on his Facebook timeline, but never once reaching out to me in any fashion. In that email, I’d let him know I missed chatting with him but also asked if we could reconnect and talk about what was really going on, as friends are meant to share in each other’s burdens like he and I had already done thus far. I mentioned as well that if he didn’t want to connect anymore with me to please just let me know so that I could have some type of closure. I waited a full week after that, but never got any response, which is when I realized that sometimes in life we have to create our own closure when we aren’t given any, so I did.

A full five weeks from the last time we had spoken, I emailed him a final heartfelt letter essentially saying that while I didn’t understand his complete silence with me, I accepted it and needed to create closure for myself. I said goodbye in a loving way and let him know I wished his ministry and life well and then finished in saying to please reach out if he ever wanted to connect again. I then unfriended him on Facebook and went on with my day feeling much better.

In the past, I’ve waited around indefinitely when things like this have happened, only to leave me feeling angry, hurt, and resentful, always wondering if I did something wrong. Creating closure for myself this time around seems to have prevented this from happening, of which I’m very grateful. It’s not only helped me to move on, but also accept it was his stuff and not mine and his loss in the end.

Personally, I live by a strong integrity and accountability today and I’d never do what he did to me to another, especially someone I love or grown to really care about. I tend to believe that we all deserve some sort of closure when a close connection comes to an end, but often we aren’t given that, so I’ve learned it’s up to us to either continuing living in pain and resentment, or to create closure ourselves and move on, which I’m thankful to report now I was finally able to do the latter.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

It has been determined that having sex before participating in athletic activity, such as a marathon race, does not impair the athlete’s abilities. In fact, men have known and displayed this for centuries. After sex, they glance at their watches and say, “Oops, gotta run!”

Silly Joke #2

Earl and Bubba are quietly sitting in a boat fishing, chewing tobacco and drinking beer when suddenly Bubba says, “Think I’m gonna divorce the wife… she ain’t spoke to me in over 2 months.” Earl spits overboard, takes a long, slow sip of beer and says, “Better think it over… women like that are hard to find.”

Silly Joke #3

A man walks into a pharmacy and wanders up and down the aisles. The sales girl notices him and asks him if she can help him. He answers that he is looking for a box of tampons for his wife. She directs him down the correct aisle. A few minutes later, he deposits a huge bag of cotton balls and a ball of string on the counter. She says, confused, “Sir, I thought you were looking for some tampons for your wife?” He answers, “You see, it’s like this, yesterday, I sent my wife to the store to get me a carton of cigarettes, and she came back with a tin of tobacco and some rolling papers; cause it’s so much cheaper. So, I figure if I have to roll my own … so does she.”

Bonus Silly Joke

A tourist climbed out of his car in downtown Washington, D.C. He said to a man standing near the curb, “Listen, I’m going to be only a couple of minutes. Would you watch my car while I run into this store?” “What?” the man huffed. “Do you realize that I am a member of the United States Senate?” “Well no,” the tourist said, “I didn’t realize that. But it’s all right. I’ll trust you anyway.”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Do you feel the Bible is…(1) the absolute irrefutable truth of God, perfect in every way? OR (2) a book of great stories and lessons containing a number of definitive truths? OR (3) mostly a man-made work of fiction made to conform people out of fear?

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


I Don’t Believe The Bible Is The Absolute Irrefutable Truth Of God, But My Best Friend Does!

My best friend and I occasionally spar in friendly debate surrounding the Bible and it always boils down to one thing, that he believes the Bible is the absolute irrefutable truth of God, while I believe it has some truths, a number of great stories and lessons, and a whole lot of misconstrued words that came from man.

My biggest issue with the Bible continues to be how people for over two millennia have used it for their own gain, interpreting its words to suit their agenda, all while saying it’s under the guise of God because it’s in the Bible. But you know what’s in the Bible, in the New Testament in fact, is a bunch of words from a guy name Paul, who was inspired by Christ, but wasn’t God or Jesus. He was a man who had his own biases, issues, problems, and the like. And yet his words today continue to be considered as from God himself just because they are in the Bible and were inspired by God. Look, I’ve been inspired by God and have definitely felt the presence of God leading me at times in my life. But those words of inspiration won’t and should never be in any book that’s considered the word of God because they’re coming from my own interpretation of them, just like Paul’s was.

While I truly appreciate Apostle Paul for his dedication to spread the love of Christ, Paul was human and had his own flaws in life. He believed that women should be submissive to men, rather than ever being their equal and he also turned a blind eye to slavery, essentially accepting it as part of the customs of the time. But over time, religious scholars have refuted all this and said that both were signs of the times back then and are no longer applicable today, which I’m exceptionally thankful for because women should be equal to men, and slavery itself is such a terrible and wrongful practice. Yet, countless religious people still say homosexuality is a sin even though religious scholars have shown that the same sex practices Paul was referring to had nothing to do with one man or one woman deeply loving a same-sex other. Rather, Paul was speaking about pedophilia, adultery, orgies, and dominance, but that continues to be overlooked and discounted again and again. So, why is it ok to interpret Biblical passages about women and slavery in a healthier way today, but not homosexuality amongst other things? Why are some passages justified as erroneous today while others aren’t?

Well the common argument that comes up here next always seems to point back to Leviticus where it says a man should not lie with man as a man lies with a woman. But if you go that route in an argument, then you need to remember in Leviticus it’s not ok to eat shellfish or wear leather on one’s shoes, and plenty more. So, if we all are supposed to obey those laws in Leviticus, we might as well start heading to hell right now because none of us are practicing any of them with any sort of regularity or consistency.

The fact is organized religion has and always will be built upon fear and fear drives the acceptance or denial of various things, calling one thing a sin, while another acceptable. Men were afraid of losing their power to women at one point in time just as much as they were afraid of other races becoming more in power. So, suppression was born out of this, which ironically, my best friend would have fallen into way back when in Biblical times, because he is black and most likely would have been made a slave then. It’s precisely how the terrible institution of slavery came into our country and did such horrendous things to people, all in the name of God and the Bible, and for a time it was totally acceptable. But now it’s not. And thank God!

I believe religion fears homosexuality for similar reasons. The fear that if homosexuality isn’t a sin, that everyone would just reduce themselves to their lust-based desires, that no one would procreate, and so on. I beg to differ for the several decades long relationships I’ve known of others living lovingly and monogamously that I can’t imagine God not blessing, especially because of the unconditional love they share for each other. My best friend has never experienced that type of same-sex love nor been in a multi-year long relationship with anyone monogamously. I believe that if he had, he might be able to see this quite differently. I can totally see my best friend right now reading this, crossing his arms, and finding every possible way to refute all of this by scripture, maybe even suggesting that the Devil is influencing me right now as I write this. I know him that well and love him dearly, but this is the very problem I have with religion, where some type of fear leads to judgement, and judgment eventually leading to division, separation, hatred, and worse.

While my best friend and I may never agree on our interpretation of the Bible, I’ve come to believe that doesn’t matter. Because the only thing that does matter to me now is the very thing that Christ cared about the most, which was for all of us to love each other and God unconditionally, and letting God be the one to communicate within us as to what is right for us and what is not. Thankfully, my best friend and I do a great job here accepting each other for our differences in this area, even though we might have friendly debates from time to time.

So, while my best friend and I may always disagree on what the Bible represents for us, when it comes right down to it, I’m thankful we both agree and see that the love of Christ is what keeps us bonded together after almost 24 years now, and that says something, especially when he sees the Bible as the absolute irrefutable truth of God, when I most assuredly don’t!

Peace, love light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“God’s timing is always perfect. Trust His delays. He’s got you.” (Tony Evans)

Quote #2

“You are where God wants you to be at this very moment. Every experience is part of His divine plan.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“Faith in God includes faith in God’s timing.” (Neal A. Maxwell)

Bonus Quote

“God is not punishing you, he is preparing you. Trust His plan, not your pain.” (Trent Shelton)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter in my series, Grateful Heart Monday, where I write about a piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for the mere five seconds I was ahead of being hit by a huge Ford F150 fleeing from policeman who had guns drawn, an incident that ended up totaling several cars directly behind me.

Some say that timing is everything and I often feel that God has a hand in that. I once saw an amazing movie about this with Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Anthony Mackie. It was called The Adjustment Bureau and was about angels in human form, invisible to us, who influenced daily things in our lives through even the simplest of actions like spilling a cup of coffee onto a person or abruptly changing a traffic light when a car approaches, where in doing so allowed for something to happen or not to happen. I’ve often wondered if this very thing occurs in real life and I say this in all seriousness, I tend to believe it does.

How many random elements impacted the timing of my drive that day prior to me coming upon this unfolding crime scene I have no idea. Mathematically the number’s probably quite staggering. Forgetting my sunglasses and my bottle of water before I left the house, the home phone ringing (twice in a row in fact!) just as I went back in to get them, all those traffic lights I hit or missed along the way, the many cars, especially a few 18-wheelers that affected my drive on my way that day, there were so many factors that influenced the precise timing of where my vehicle was at any given time on the drive that day to my appointment with my sponsor in 12 Step recovery.

Nevertheless, when I ultimately found myself slowly inching around in the left lane by this large F150 stopped in the right lane on a local road near where I was meeting someone for coffee, an officer had his hand on his holster while he talked to the guy in the passenger seat of the truck. They both were yelling at each other, although I couldn’t hear what was being said because my widows were up. I could still feel all the tension though and was thankful once I got in front of the whole thing. Not five seconds later, I suddenly heard this huge kaboom and looked in my rearview mirror to see the driver of that truck trying to flee the scene and was now in the process of ramming multiple vehicles directly behind me as he tried to get away. Even after he had badly mangled at least three of them, he tried to continue driving his truck, but at that point it had become inoperable. As soon as that became apparent to him, he raced out of his truck that was now smoking and blocking both lanes behind me, all this unfolding only 50 yards or so from where I just was.  The man was tackled in the middle of the street and placed in handcuffs and I continued on to my destination visibly shaken. Five seconds earlier, my car would have been one of those totaled and the fact that it wasn’t, and the fact that I wasn’t involved in any of that crime scene is something I’m extremely grateful for.

I already have enough physical pain in my life to deal with that I can only shudder to imagine how much more I would have had being struck with the force he did to those cars behind me. Beyond potential whiplash, PTSD, head or neck trauma, and of course the notion that I was driving my partner’s still relatively new car that day, I feel like I have a lot to be grateful for here. So, I’m dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday to the 5 seconds of time that meant all the difference. Did God influence those 5 seconds somehow? I choose to believe God did and I’m grateful for those 5 seconds I was ahead of that crime scene unfolding because they meant all the difference with my health, my partner’s car, and my life in general.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Those who leave everything in God’s hands will eventually see God’s hand in everything.” (Travis Greene)

Quote #2

“Divine Intervention happens every day…It’s called Synchronicity.” (Wayne Dyer)

Quote #3 

“Stop trying to control your life. It gets in the way of Divine Intervention.” (Cheryl Richardson)

Bonus Quote

“Many times the wrong train took me to the right place.” (Paulo Coelho Aleph)

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

God’s Mysterious Ways

Thank you for joining in to another entry of my series, God’s Mysterious Ways, where I write about things that may be more than just coincidences, where God may very well indeed have a hand behind it, which for today is about the unique timing of a call I made to a close friend of mine recently that might have just saved his life.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my friend Frank in Tiffin, hanging out at his home for a while before going out to dinner, which we usually do bi-weekly. As I was taking a closer look at the few plants in his home, none of which seemed to be doing all that well, I noticed on the table behind one of them sat a carbon monoxide detector. I asked Frank why it wasn’t plugged in and he mentioned that it had been having issues and believed it just needed a new battery. I thought nothing of it and off we went to dinner shortly thereafter.

About a week later, I sat in a hospital room with my partner Chris, keeping him company as he had just had back surgery that morning. While we watched a film on my laptop, Frank messaged me to see how Chris was doing. I responded that all was well and he said we’d both be in his prayers. When I finally left Chris’s room after 10pm to head home while he got some much-needed rest, I checked my phone quickly to make sure there were no calls or text messages to return. There wasn’t. Typically, I don’t make calls or send text messages after 10pm unless someone has either previously set up a scheduled call with me or someone has reached out to me. So, in this case, I had no reason to contact anyone and began my drive home.

A few minutes into my drive, I felt this sudden urge to call Frank, even though there was no reason to call him. I had already spoken to him earlier, both on the phone and via text. Yet, the desire to call him was quite overwhelming. So, I dialed his number, which he picked up after a few rings. I asked how he was doing and as he responded, I could hear in the background a very loud and annoying alarm going off making it hard for me to hear what he was saying.  I asked Frank if he had gotten a burglar alarm in his house and he told me it was his carbon monoxide detector acting up again. Almost as if I was on auto pilot at that point, I told him to bring that detector into his garage and see if it went off in there. After waiting a few minutes and then returning to his garage, he told me it wasn’t going off anymore. I then told him to immediately call the fire department and remain in his car until they got there. An hour passed and I grew concerned so I called Frank, only to find out that he was now at a local hotel. Why? Because the fire department had discovered immediately upon arrival that there were lethal doses of carbon monoxide in Frank’s place and told him that if he had gone to sleep that night, there was a pretty good chance he wouldn’t have woken up the next morning, or simply put, ever again.

So, did the sudden and overwhelming urge I had to call Frank that night, when there was no need or reason to do so, come from something Greater? Or was it just another coincidence in my life? Of course, I don’t have the answer to that, but I choose to see it as God using me in a way that potentially saved my friend’s life and for that I’m truly thankful. Thankful for feeling like I still hold a purpose in God’s world from time to time and thankful that my dear friend Frank is still alive and well!

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A soldier at the Pentagon got out of the shower in the men’s locker room and realized that his clothes were missing. While searching around for them, he accidentally locked himself out of the locker room, and found himself completely naked in the halls of the world’s most powerful military organization HQ. But, luckily, no one was around to see him. So, he ran as fast as he could to the elevator. When it arrived, it was empty. He breathed a sigh of relief and got in. When the doors opened on his floor, there was no one waiting outside. “This must be my lucky day,” he said to himself. He was now only a few yards from his office where he had some spare clothes.  Suddenly, he heard footsteps coming from around the corner and heard his General’s voice. There was no way he’d make it to his door in time, so he ducked into the closest office available, and suddenly found himself in the laboratory for research & development where the lead scientist there paused from working on one of her experiments with puzzled interest at the naked man in front of her. The soldier thought quickly, stood up straight and saluted. “I am here to report the partial success of the Personal Invisibility Device,” he said.  “I see,” the Head Scientist said. “But the Shrink Ray seems to be working perfectly.”

Silly Joke #2

A very heavy snowstorm had closed all the schools in town for a few days. When the children of St. Mary’s Elementary returned to their school a few days later, one of the nuns asked her students whether they had used the time away from school constructively by talking to God more. “I sure did, teacher,” one little girl replied. “I prayed several times everyday for a lot more snow!!!”

Silly Joke #3

Morris asks his 13-year-old son Michael one day if he knows anything about the birds and the bees. “I don’t want to know!” said Michael and suddenly burst into tears. Confused, the father asked his son what was wrong. “Oh dad,” Michael sobbed, “at age six you gave me the ‘there’s no Santa’ speech. At age seven it was the ‘there’s no Easter bunny’ speech. Then at age 8 you hit me with the ‘there’s no tooth fairy’ speech! The last five years have been pretty good so if you’re going to tell me now that grown-ups don’t really have sex, is there anything really left to live for?!”

Bonus Silly Joke (For Adults Only)

A blonde and a brunette were taking the elevator to the lobby from the 25th floor. On the 23rd floor, a great looking man with ruffled hair gets into the elevator. The women exchange a look acknowledging just how good looking this man is. The man gets off the elevator on the 12th floor. The women watch him exit the elevator. The brunette turns to the blonde and says, “God, he was really good looking, but someone ought to give him some Head & Shoulders.” To which the blonde replies, “How do you give Shoulders?”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is the biggest extreme you’ve ever taken to either discover more about yourself or to heal from some deep pain within?

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


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“Land”, A Film That Beautifully Portrays The Extremes Some Go In Life To Heal Their Brokenness Within…

It’s actually been a good while since I saw any movie that truly moved me enough to write an article about it in my blog. That all changed when I caught a screening of “Land” starring Robin Wright in the theater recently.

Wright plays a woman named Edee, who from her very first moments on screen shows how extremely unstable she’s become, both mentally and emotionally. Something tragic has obviously happened in her life that has caused her to find no reason left to live. Her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) is distraught over this and pleads for Edee not to take her life. While the viewer has no idea exactly what has caused Edee to feel like this, it’s apparent it’s something horrific. As a last-ditch effort to cope with whatever she’s dealing with, Edee decides to completely go off the grid in a remote part of the Wyoming wilderness and start up a life of complete solitude. Little does she know she’s bit off far more than she can chew when she arrives at the very old mountainside rustic cabin she’ll now call her home. In the middle of nowhere, without any attachment left to the living world, including no phone or car, electricity or otherwise, Edee begins a spiritual journey within, one that will face her two biggest fears, that being the pain within herself and the fear of connecting with another human being again, one that will only come by way when another lonesome soul named Miguel (Demian Bichir) enters her life by happenstance.

“Land” is exactly the movie I needed to see lately. Watching a seriously wounded woman overcoming the greatest of odds and finding herself along the way is the hopeful story my soul has been calling for. Most of the films I’ve watched as of late are depressing. They’ve all dealt with fighting, bickering, cheating, stealing, and well pretty much every type of low vibrational behavior that’s filling our world quite a bit now, especially as everyone continues to cope with this ongoing pandemic. What my soul needed the most was a spark to uplift it and “Land” most definitely didn’t disappoint in that.

What I think I related to the most in “Land” was the number of times I saw myself feeling just like Edee, having no purpose to keep going, that life doesn’t matter anymore. That’s a very scary place to be in, where every day you awake and feel that life is pointless. I know the pain of that oh, so, very well. Watching Edee in “Land” walk through that pain is something I continue to face myself. There are countless days where I don’t know if I can take this pain anymore, but like Edee, there’s an inner resilience somewhere deep within me that keeps me going. While I’m not sure if I’d ever go to the extreme of living in a remote mountainside wilderness-based existence to find myself, I am spending more time alone in stillness, as I too hope to find greater inner peace and serenity, just like Edee desperately sought in the movie as well.

By far, “Land” is at least a four out of five-star film with Robin Wright giving an Oscar-worthy performance that was more than believable and well worth its hour and 29-minute running time. While the film takes one through the most heart-wrenching of moments via Edee’s eyes, it’s one I definitely felt ended on a positive note and left me with exactly what I needed, which was the courage to keep going.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Name one thing in your life that’s easy to take for granted, that you truly are grateful for?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where expressing a piece of gratitude remains the only focus in my writing at the beginning of every week, which for today is for something that I took for granted until I lost it, and now have thankfulness for it, as it starts to return, and that is my smell and taste.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever in my entire life expressed any form of gratitude over my senses of smell and taste, but definitely for my sight and hearing though. I just assumed that something like my smell and taste were two things that would always be there. Then I contracted COVID. And well, as most know by now, a great majority of people who come down with COVID also lose some or all of their smell and taste for varying lengths of time. Prior to getting sick with COVID, I had a relatively good sense of smell and taste. Things like hand soaps and shampoos were usually very strong smelling, even when I got a cold. And most foods I consumed I could taste even the slightest of spices and such. But, a day after I came down with COVID, I lost all of my ability to smell anything and the only thing I could taste was either sweetness or saltiness.

It really is true that when you lose something, you really begin to become grateful for what you had before you lost it. Maybe that’s why we all seem to be so unappreciative of those cloudy or rainy or snowy days that go on and on, that is until those crystal clear blue sunny skies return where they then seem all the more amazing. If we didn’t have those long periods of weather we didn’t want, would we ever appreciate the weather we did want? Maybe that’s why we occasionally need to lose things to find more gratitude in our lives. Well I can definitely say that entirely losing my sense of smell and taste brought an incredible amount of appreciation for two things I never have thought about much and just took for granted.

Nevertheless, as my smell and taste has slowly begun to recover, catching occasional whiffs of my orange-vanilla body soap or tasting the sharp tanginess of some cheddar in my salad has been absolutely something to celebrate and be grateful for. As these two senses return and fluctuate in their efficacy, I am doing my best now to express my appreciation to God and offer gratitude for them.

Out of all this, I think the biggest lesson I learned and the most gratitude I have is for the simple fact of how important it is to remain grateful for even the smallest of things we might not ever think about in our lives, including all the parts of our working bodies. So, yes, I’m thankful today and dedicate this Grateful Heart Monday for my fingers and toes being able to still function, for having all my limbs still, for all my organs continuing to work, for bodily waste happening as it’s meant to, for all that my body still does to keep me up and running, which of course includes now two senses, my smell and taste, that are two things that I will never take for granted again.

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