Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the kindness of strangers, something this world needs a more of right now in day-to-day life…

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

“The unexpected kindness of strangers when you’re having a stressful day just makes everything a little easier.” (Lacey Chabert)

Every single day, no matter who you meet in the day – friends, family, work colleagues, strangers – give joy to them. Give a smile or a compliment or kind words or kind actions, but give joy! Do your best to make sure that every single person you meet has a better day because they saw you. -(Rhonda Byrne)

“I often find myself grateful for the comfort of strangers; a man who gave up his seat for me on the bus, a woman who helped me out with a heavy shopping bag. Remembering small acts of kindness puts the world in a finer, sweeter order.: (Sally Brampton)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, which for today is for two people who’ve offered me kind words in my neighborhood for the ongoing efforts I’ve made to keep the streets and a number of yards clean, especially in light of some harsh criticism I received recently from another neighbor who took her own life’s anger out on me one morning.

As I’ve written about this a few times in my blog prior, I focus much of my angst in life over all my health issues and pains by maintaining a clean and manicured yard that includes both of my neighbors on either side of me. This summer, with nature having been quite strange where it’s been like fall throughout much of it, with many leaves dropping daily, leaving our street littered with debris on most days, I’ve included maintaining much of that as well. It’s become a ritual now of sots with me waking up each morning and going outside to clean it all up, going as far as 200 feet in either direction of my driveway, which is the length of the two electrical cords I use when connected together. I always feel better after completing this task and enjoy the look of a nicely swept street afterwards.

Recently, when a neighbor yelled at me over a pile of debris I had created across the street from her, most of which had emanated from trees around her property and curb, I really got upset, especially because I have kept her curb cleaned the entire summer. At that very moment, my ego almost got the best of me. I was about to give my daily task up over her negativity, but instead, chose to focus on the kindness of two neighborhood gentlemen who approached me separately recently, thanking me for my outdoor work.

The first came one day when I was deep in my work sweeping up a section of the street with a push broom about four houses away from my own. A car pulled up and inside was Scott who told me he really wished he could take some of the taxpayer’s money and send it to me for the great job I do for the city every day on our street. It meant the world to me to hear this at that moment and I felt totally energized afterwards, knowing that someone appreciated my work.

The second came as I was vacuuming up the leaves from a neighbor’s driveway one afternoon. David, the cousin of my neighbor across the street, walked over, put his hand out and shook my own, saying he wished he had a neighbor like me. He said my work never goes unnoticed by him and how much it’s a pleasure to come down our street and see how clean it is, as well as the yards around my home.

What Scott and David didn’t know was how much their words not only helped me to keep doing this task, but also to keep going in life, because lately it seems like there has been a vast shortage of kindness in this world, especially in my own life. I’ve seen so much negativity and criticism over the slightest of things, almost as if people are walking around like ticking time bombs, waiting for someone to lash out at.

That’s why I believe kind words go a long way, and Scott and David’s definitely did that for me. So, thank you Scott and David, for making my day on two separate occasions, for helping to temporarily overcome my own angst in life, especially when an angry neighbor yells at me for no reason. It’s because of both of your kindness, that I have found the energy to keep going for yet another day…

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

Thought For The Day

After yesterday’s posting about what’s happened in Afghanistan and the war the U.S. had there, I decided to compile a list of my favorite quotes about war…

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” (Bertrand Russell)

“How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?” (Howard Zinn)

“No solider ever really survives a war.” (Audie Murphy)

“War grows out of desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man.” (Napoleon Hill)

“The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)

“Religion isn’t the cause of wars, it’s the excuse.” (Jasper Fforde)

“The military don’t start wars. Politicians start wars.” (William C. Westmoreland)

“You don’t spread democracy with a barrel of a gun.” (Helen Thomas)

“War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.” (Carl von Clausewitz)

“There is only one way to win a war which has begun: To stop it immediately; that is the way!” (Mehmet Murat ildan)

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

2,443 People And 2 Trillion Dollars…

2,443 people and 2 trillion dollars. That’s the number of service members who died from oversees duty in Afghanistan and the amount of money that was spent by the United States on all the war efforts we had there over 20 years of time.

As I sit here and reflect on those numbers and the sudden Taliban takeover of Afghanistan just over a week or so ago now, I am extremely saddened. Saddened for the people still there who don’t want to be there anymore. Saddened for all those who can’t escape. Saddened for all those lives lost over there. Saddened for all the families affected by those lives lost. And saddened for each of those who returned home and have PTSD now, have become homeless, are addicted to drugs, or worse. I’ve met several of them.

People continue to compare what happened in Afghanistan to what happened in Vietnam. I wasn’t alive for the majority of the Vietnam War and was only three years old when it finally ended, so I can’t comment on any potential comparison. What I do know is that the $300 million that was spent per day in Afghanistan for 20 consecutive years could have changed countless lives for the better here within our own borders, through any number of programs. From hunger to homelessness, health care to addiction, and everything in between, I struggle to fathom all the financial waste our country put into the Afghanistan war and many other wars as well.

I’m sure there are many veterans who served in Afghanistan struggling right now to understand why they were even over there given the Taliban now have full control of the country. I personally have worked in the 12 Step recovery field with a few veterans of this war myself, who are mentally and emotionally unstable now, living with massive PTSD because of their time served there. The struggles they’ve had using drugs to cope with it all seems like it was so unnecessary and shouldn’t have ever happened in the first place.

Why our country must always put ourselves into the affairs of other countries when we have countless struggles going on here that are desperate for help, I have no idea. I’m not a fan of war, or violence, and have lived long enough now to know that much of our country’s money is spent on military efforts outside our borders.

I’m sure many of the veterans of this war itself believed in what they were doing for their years served. But seeing how none of it matters now, I can’t even fathom what they must be feeling, especially those who lost limbs, sight, hearing, or became disabled in some other way from their time over there.

I also feel sorrow for every single person living in our country who has family in Afghanistan still. I know of one person going through this presently and how deeply it’s affecting them, how powerless, and helpless they feel over it all and my heart reaches out to them and others just like them.

While I’m all for protecting our borders for any threats that may hit our soil, I’m definitely not in support of putting our countries interests in the affairs of other countries, because it always seems to come at the expense of our soldiers and many of our citizens as well.

That’s why I pray that the U.S. will one day stop spending so much money on military efforts and instead work more on bringing peace amongst ourselves here in our own borders, as there are countless people in need in every city, of every state, and probably even on the very street you live on.

Nevertheless, my prayers go out to all those who have been affected by the war in Afghanistan, who are presently experiencing the pain and brokenness of it all. May you each be comforted in knowing I care and may you all receive blessings in your efforts to heal and come to a place of  peace within.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A young pastor was sitting in his favorite restaurant eating lunch. He opened a letter he’d just received that morning from his mom. As he opened it a twenty-dollar bill fell out. He thought to himself, thanks, Mom, I sure needed that right now. As he finished his meal, he noticed a beggar outside on the sidewalk leaning against the light post. Thinking that the poor man could probably use the twenty dollars more than he, he crossed out the names on the envelope and wrote across the top in large letters, PERSEVERE! So as not to make a scene, he put the envelope under his arm and dropped it as he walked past the man. The man picked it up and read the message and smiled. The next day, as the pastor enjoyed another meal at his favorite place to dine, the beggar tapped him on the shoulder and handed him a big wad of bills. Surprised, the young pastor asked him what that was for. The beggar replied, “This is your half of the winnings. Persevere came in first in the fourth race at the track yesterday and paid thirty to one!”

Silly Joke #2

A man in his late 30’s rushes into the hotel lobby after exiting the elevator. He had flown in last night for a very important meeting this morning, which he was now running late for. He sprints up to the front desk and hammers on the bell. “Good morning, sir”, says the blonde receptionist who suddenly appeared from the office situated behind the front desk. “I’m in a hurry ma’am, could you check me out, please?” The blonde clerk stares at him, looks him up and down and immediately says, “Not bad, not bad at all!!!”

Silly Joke #3

A kind-hearted fellow was walking through Central Park in New York and was astonished to see an old man at the pond there, fishing rod in hand, fishing over a beautiful bed of lilies where his lure wasn’t even fully in the water. “Tch Tch!” said the passerby to himself. “What a sad sight. That poor old man is never going to catch anything! I’ll see if I can help.” So the kind fellow walked up to the old man and asked, “What are you doing, my friend?” “Fishin’, sir.” “Fishin’, eh. Well how would you like to come have a drink with me?” The old man stood up, put his rod away and followed the kind stranger to a bar nearby. He then ordered a large glass of beer. His host, the kind fellow, felt good about helping the old man, and asked, “Tell me, old friend, how many did you catch this morning?” The old fellow took a big gulp from his tasty beer and replied, “You are the sixth today, my friend!”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult Humor)

Little Johnny was sitting in class doing math problems when his teacher picked him to answer a question: “Johnny, if there were five birds sitting on a fence and you shot one with a gun, how many would be left ?” “None.”, replied Johnny. “’cause the rest would fly off.” “The correct answer is four,” said the teacher. “But I like the way you think.” Little Johnny said, “I have a question for you now. If there were three women eating ice cream cones in a shop, one licking her cone, the second biting her cone, and the third one sucking her cone, which one is married ? “Well,” said the teacher nervously, “I’ll guess it’s the one sucking her cone?” “Nope,” said Little Johnny, “It’s the one with the wedding ring on her finger. But I like the way you think!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“It is not so important what deeds we do when time are good, but what good we do in bad times.” (Jeffrey Fry)

Quote #2

“You can’t travel the back roads very long without discovering a multitude of gentle people doing good for others with no expectation of gain or recognition. The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines. Some people out there spend their whole lives selflessly.” (Charles Kuralt)

Quote #3

“Every time you do a good deed, you shine the light a little further into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.” Charles de Lint)

Bonus Quote

“If you offer your free time to help out at a charity or to read to an older person or silly to give someone something without ever expecting a thank you, it’s amazing how much more you are able to notice the blessings which fill your life.” (Josh Austin)

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

“Well, We Are Living In A Fallen World!”

My friend Cedric and I often joke about the times we are living in. Pretty much every conversation that comes up we tend to talk about any of the tragic current events happening around the world where inevitably one of us always laughingly reminds the other that, “Well, we are living in a fallen world!” But here’s the sad truth, it really does feel like we are nowadays.

All it takes to see this is to read any of the news headlines. I happen to glance at them last week and saw how quickly the Taliban terrorist group took over Afghanistan just as the U.S. troops were pulling out. Add in the ridiculously huge fires burning out of control. Massive droughts. Volcanoes erupting. Gun violence and mass shootings happening all the time. Political unrest. The pandemic of course and everyone yelling at each other at how it needs to be controlled. Then more local to home I notice how bad addiction has grown in the volunteer opportunities I do. People are dying from overdoses to alcohol and drugs more so now than ever before. And oddly enough, the strange weather patterns in my area have led to weird patterns like all the leaves coming down in droves this entire summer where it feels like I’m having to do fall cleanup every single day.

These are just some of the many things I notice seem off now in our world and I feel like everyone just keeps going on about their business hoping COVID will just go away and once it does, that life will return to some sense of normalcy. I question now whether it ever will. Because the one thing that doesn’t seem to be changing much is how we are treating each other through it all.

Yes, there are those out there who are doing their best to be selfless through these difficult times, who defy the “fallen world” concept and regularly help others from the kindness of their hearts. I’d like to believe I’m one of them, as I do try very hard to help others each day. I’m thankful when I hear stories of people doing Good Samaritan acts during these times, as I know it most definitely helps to reverse any “fallen world” trend.

My friend Steve told me how his partner Chris lost his wallet during a recent trip and didn’t have enough gas in his car to get home. A Good Samaritan filled his car fully up and then abruptly disappeared without asking for a single thing. I wish acts like this were the norm in our world. When the pandemic first hit, and people were forced to quarantine, I saw much of this happening. I saw many doing their part to defy the “fallen world” trend by paying it forward, like at many of the drive-thru’s I went through. I’m not sure what happened to all those good deeds people were doing on a daily basis, but if there is something we desperately need a lot more of in our “fallen world” right now, it’s people doing those Good Samaritan acts of kindness on a regular basis.

Look, people are frustrated. They’re tired. And they’re weary. The world feels more down than up these days to many of us. And loneliness seems to be one of the more common things I hear people suffering from, which I most assuredly can relate to. The best way to overcome all of this is to get out of ourselves and help another from the kindness of our hearts. Because the more we just take care of ourselves, focusing on our own selfish nature, the more our “fallen world” will only progress, and the more our world will continue to feel like it’s falling apart. But the more we do good unto others, asking nothing in return, the more we can reverse this trend and even shift the tide back towards the positive.

I really try every day to do something nice for another whether that’s with my partner Chris or with a sponsee from recovery or with a group I’m speaking to about addiction or with a total stranger in need. And I always feel better about myself and this world in general when I do. Today, I mowed a neighbor’s yard across the street just because I wanted to brighten their day and you know what, I saw the world in a far more positive light after I did, and at least in my own way, I feel like I helped to reverse the “fallen world”, even if for a moment.

When living in my former life of addiction on countless levels, I absolutely contributed to a “fallen world” on more days than not. Today, I do my best to live out the 12th Step to reverse that negative course of my addictive past, to help shift the present drama of the world around me, and make my own selfless mark upon society, something I desperately pray we all try doing far more of if we ever want to see the world no longer appearing “fallen”…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Which Aretha Franklin song would say you is your favorite of all time?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the sole focus of my writing at the start of each week, which for today is for the life and career of Aretha Franklin, someone I really gained much appreciation for after watching the movie “Respect”, which stars Jennifer Hudson as her.

Prior to watching the film “Respect”, I never knew much about Aretha Franklin’s life other than a few of her songs I often heard on the radio growing up and in movies I saw over the years. “Respect” was definitely one of them. “Chain of Fools”, “I Say a Little Prayer”, “Freeway of Love”, “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”, and “Think” were the others. What I learned about her life beyond the songs I knew truly showed me how groundbreaking of an artist she was and how much she changed not only the face of the music industry, but also our culture itself.

Probably the most impressive element of Franklin’s life for me was how active she was in the civil rights movement. Having minored in Minority Relations in my undergraduate studies, I had studied the lives of many civil rights activists. What I didn’t know was that Franklin was most assuredly one of them. I also had no idea she had a personal friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., who is absolutely one of my heroes in life and someone I have always aspired to be more like. Nevertheless, Aretha fought for not only civil rights, but women’s rights too, several other prominent causes, and was never afraid to speak her truth.

I think the thing that moved my heart the most though in her life was seeing her devotion and faith in God. She grew up singing in her father’s church in Detroit and always carried a passion for it through her entire life, even returning to make an entire gospel album after feeling distant from God for some time. Ironically, that album became her number one selling album of all time! I’d go so far as to say that her success most assuredly came from her devotion to God and helped her deal with many of her inner demons from her past.

One of those inner demons is something I most definitely have in common with Franklin and that was her struggles with alcoholism and being raised in an abusive home where alcoholism was present. The movie alluded to how this often drove her to drink, especially due to the abuse from her father and having had two children by the age of 14. Drinking was her way of coping with it all on many occasions. Honestly, it’s mind boggling to me how she was able to have such an incredible career with the battles she had with alcoholism and abuse. Personally, I know I would never have amounted to much of anything if I had kept on drinking in my earlier years.

Regardless, after 18 Grammys, 112 singles on the Billboard charts, over 75 million records sold worldwide, the first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the most charted female artist in history, a Hollywood Walk of Fame star recipient, a voice that was declared a “natural resource” for Michigan, a Grammy lifetime achievement award recipient, a Kennedy Center honoree, a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation given to her posthumously, Franklin stands in a league of her own. Over the course of five decades, Aretha inspired countless singers and people too, and will probably be forever remembered as the “Queen of Soul”.

I’m truly grateful for the life of Aretha Franklin, for how much she moved the hearts and souls of so many in this country, and the world, including mine.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What would you say is your biggest weakness in your life presently?

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


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My Biggest Weakness In Life Is…

I know what my biggest weakness in my life is. It’s something that’s been with me since I was a young kid. What is it? It’s the tendency I have to own what other people think of me.

I know how this began and why it developed into a repeating pattern, but I’ve been relatively unsuccessful in fixing it. I’ve done enough work in my life though to at least know it started with having an alcoholic mother and my codependent relationship with her, with me constantly vying for her unconditional love and undivided attention. Typically, I never got much of that no matter how hard I tried so I regularly tried instead to get it from others, which is when I really noticed I had the tendency to own most everything people said about me, especially the negative. I clearly remember people back then saying more than not that I was such a nerd, a dork, a geek, a loser, etc. And I believed them. That didn’t change until I became more of a chameleon in life, blending into my surroundings with each person I spent time with. I found it really helped in reducing all those negative comments about me. Sadly, I kept that fakeness up for a very long time, well over two decades really, until I finally reverted back to a much more authentic self. Unfortunately, becoming my authentic self has also caused a tremendous amount of polarization with others, especially in recent years, leaving me a target far too often for other people’s negative comments.

When someone on my blog not too long ago called me a “hot mess”, it really hurt because I owned it, but I know I shouldn’t have. When I spoke of my faith being stronger over any fears I had of COVID when the pandemic first started, I received an amazing amount of backlash and hatred, leaving me quite miserable and down. Talking about my past addictions as openly as I have has also led to many negative comments too, leaving me more down than up. In fact, much of the negative things that are said of me on social media or behind my back tend to stem from my articles or my speaking engagements. I seem to frequently be a target for people’s negative opinions the more truthful and authentic I am in life.

One thing that has helped me in this though is knowing that when someone says negative things about me, it says more about them, rather than me. I’ve learned that those negative things people say are generally projections from their own lives, from their own deep-seated insecurities. It’s essentially them just pointing the finger away from themselves so that they don’t have to look in the mirror at their own stuff. Regardless, here’s the bottom line that I know to be true about myself regardless of what other people think of me.

I’m a good person with a good heart and I do my best these days to help others. I have far more of a selfless nature now than a selfish one and I genuinely love and accept everyone for who they are, no matter what. Why I get attacked regularly, why people form such strong negative opinions of me, and why I often hear not so nice things about me, I’m not exactly sure. What I am sure of is that I don’t have to own them anymore. God loves me just as I am and I need to start doing a much better job of doing the same for myself, knowing that what others think of me, especially when it’s negative, has nothing to do with me, it has all to do with them and their own imbalanced natures.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Today’s batch is dedicated entirely to one mischievous Little Johnny…you’ll see…

Silly Joke #1

A father asked his son Little Johnny if he knew how a person gets saved. “We’ll be saved by going to our church every Sunday,” Little Johnny said without hesitation. His father explained that going to their church each week would not save them. “Well, then, I think we better start looking for another church Dad!!!” replied Little Johnny.

Silly Joke #2

Little Johnny greeted his grandmother with a hug and said, “I’m so happy to see you, Grandma. Now maybe Daddy will finally do the trick he’s been promising us.” The grandmother was curious. “What trick is that my dear?” she asked. Little Johnny replied, “Daddy told Mommy that he would climb the walls if you came to visit us again!”

Silly Joke #3

The Sunday school lesson for the day was about Noah’s Ark, so the teacher decided to get her small pupils involved by playing a game in which they identified animals. “I’m going to describe something to you. Let’s see if you can guess what it is. First: I’m furry with a bushy tail and I like to climb trees.” The children looked at her blankly. “I also like to eat nuts, especially acorns.” No response. This wasn’t going well at all the teacher thought. Finally Little Johnny volunteered: “Well, since I’ve been coming here to this church, the answer is always Jesus for everything!!! But it sure sounds like you are talking about a squirrel…”

Bonus Silly Joke

One day a father and his 10-year-old son Little Johnny were on a bus, when Little Johnny noticed a redhead with huge breasts…” Hey Dad,” the son cried, “look at those boobs!” The father, a religious man decided shortly after that day to send his son to an all male military academy for an entire school year in the hope Little Johnny would learn some appropriate manners. When the school year ended and Little Johnny came home, the father decided to take him on another bus ride. When another woman with very large breasts sat across from them, to see if his son had learned any manners while away at the military academy, the father exclaimed, “Look at the boobs on that redhead!” “Forget that Dad!” the boy replied with a smile, “did you see the a** on that blonde bus driver!!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Has there been any reoccurring theme or thing in any of the dreams you’ve had while sleeping? If so, what is it?

Peace, love, light and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


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How A Reoccurring Thing In My Dreams Is Connected To My 12 Step Recovery Life…

I dream a lot at night when I’m asleep and I do mean A LOT. Sometimes my dreams are precipitated by whatever happened prior to going to sleep. And sometimes it has nothing to do with that whatsoever. Often, I can’t even explain why I’m dreaming about what I am. But there is one reoccurring thing that I have had in a vast majority of my dreams over the past nine years or so that connects to my 12 Step recovery life and I’ll get to that in a minute.

Let me start out first in saying, I believe that many dreams have meaning. I also believe that many dreams hold no importance as well other than our bodies simply processing through various electrical stimuli and energies. There are dreams I wish I could remain in, where I’m playing sports again, running, jumping, and the like, and those of the sexual variety that probably will never happen in real life. And then, there are some dreams that absolutely would be classified as nightmares I hope to never have again.

Nevertheless, I have had messages come in dreams that have truly helped me on my path in life. Sometimes they’ve been answers to prayers and sometimes I believe it’s my inner guidance moving me forward on my spiritual journey. I was told long ago that any dreams we vividly remember from days to weeks to months and sometimes even years are ones that carry important guidance for us on our spiritual journey in life. I’ve most definitely seen proof of that with life playing itself out in front of me. There are countless books and reading materials out there on dreams, some having great depth and helpful insight, while others have felt like they were just trying to make a buck off of people.

Many say they don’t dream, but I tend to think everyone dreams, they might just not be as open to remembering them. Before I ever slowed down in life, that is before I learned meditation, I rarely remembered any of my dreams either. When the mind is racing as soon as one awakes, where one finds themselves thinking about this or that, it’s quite easy to forget about any specific dreams that played themselves out the night prior.

Regardless, back to the one reoccurring thing I continue to notice in a number of the dreams I’ve had over the years. Whenever my dreams are bordering on the nightmare variety or just dealing with themes that aren’t so pleasant such as sickness, things chasing me, people dying that I care about, etc., I’m consistently calling out to God for help in the matter. Sometimes I’ve even woken myself up as I’m literally shouting prayers out to God in real time. Why this is important to me and something I’m thankful to see, is that I realized, even on my subconscious level, I’m seeking something Greater than myself for help in life.

Why that’s important is this. Coming into 12 Step recovery many years ago, I never sought the help of anyone but myself. I thought I could do life all on my own and typically ran on self-will. It didn’t get me very far in life though and honestly, got me in more hot water than not. But, going through the 12 Steps and doing my best to live out the 12 Steps now has changed that. It’s helped me to see the importance of turning my will and life over to a Higher Power, something I really try to do every day. While some days are better than others with this, seeing myself seek God in prayer in a number of my dreams has been enough of a reminder that my 12 Step recovery life has been working on some level.

To be totally frank, turning my will and life over to something far Greater than myself is the ONLY thing that has kept me clean and sober from all of my past addictions and it’s the only thing that will continue to keep me sober from them for the rest of this life. That’s why I’m thankful for the reminder that even in my dreams, I’m still looking beyond my ego and self-will and asking God for help, proof that my 12 Step recovery is most definitely working and deeply within me at that…

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” (Mandy Hale)

Quote #2

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” (Tony Robbins)

Quote #3

“There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless.” (Eric Hoffer)

Bonus Quote

“Desire is the root of selfishness; clear your heart of desire and be selfless. Selflessness is the key to inner peace.” (Christofer Drew)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the only focus of my writing at the start of each week, which for today is for my next-door neighbor Veronica and the small tokens of thanks she’s given me for the work I continue to do in her yard.

It’s been well established that I’m quite anal retentive when it comes to my own yard and gardens. For the most part, I really do enjoy the hard work I put into making it look as inviting as it seems to be for others. Most people probably don’t know though that I also maintain the front yards on either side of my home as well. On my left, I began doing that when the health of its owner went downhill a few years ago. On my right, I started doing it just a few months back after learning the tenant, that being Veronica, was working double shifts, going through a difficult break-up, and struggling with depression through it all. Because I have a lot of free time, I decided to help her out like I have been with my other neighbor. My only hope was that her seeing a tidy and well-manicured yard after the long days she puts in would brighten her spirit. As I’ve continued to maintain it, along with my other neighbor, as well as my own, I’ve been grateful just for the feeling it’s given me doing something selfless for others.

Sometimes, my selflessness has brought me small tokens of thanks from others. Last fall for example, when cleaning up a good majority of our entire street from all the leaves and debris before a huge storm came in, a neighbor gave me a little money, while another gave me a huge box of high-quality garbage bags after I had used all my own for the job. Honestly, I never expect anything from any of the work I do like this. After all, it’s something I’m doing just to help make life easier for others. Twice now though, that help has come back in small tokens of thanks from Veronica who gave me $40 on one occasion and a $50 gift card to Starbucks on another. And I was extremely grateful for it.

Ultimately, I’ve learned in life how important it is to do selfless work through my 12 Step recovery program. Giving away part of myself for the benefit of others, asking nothing in return, has been an incredible joy in my life and a stronghold for keeping sober. In my recovery world, that’s translated to me sponsoring others, running meetings, volunteering at local addiction recovery centers, and providing alcohol and drug education to both nursing and Greek students from the University of Toledo. Outside of that realm, it’s also translated to me helping out both of my neighbors by doing my best to make their front yards look very welcoming.

While I have never expected any gift or anything really from any of the selfless work I’ve done, it’s always a true blessing and joy to receive one when I do. So, thank you Veronica for saying thanks in a special way. It brightened my day, as much as my work in your front yard has seemed to brighten yours. I’m grateful to You today for thinking of me and I dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to you…

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Until he has unconditional and unbiased love for all beings, man will not find peace.” (Buddha)

Quote #2

“I will never withhold my love from you, regardless of the circumstance. I will always love you.” (Jesus)

Quote #3

“You will not enter paradise until you have faith. And you will not complete your faith until you love one another.” (Muhammad)

Bonus Quote

“Buddha was not a Buddhist. Jesus was not a Christian. Muhammad was not a Muslim. They were Teachers who taught unconditional love. Unconditional love was their religion.” (Unknown)

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

“So, Are You Vaccinated Yet?”

On a very hot summer day recently, my partner Chris and I were lazily lounging and enjoying the peace and quiet in the outdoor pool at the YMCA we are a member of when suddenly, a woman approached us in the water and began loudly expressing her extreme displeasure of all unvaccinated people in our country. She had no idea I was unvaccinated nor knew of any of my health issues that have led to why I haven’t gotten one yet. I cringed as she continued to talk at a level where most around the pool could hear. When she said that all unvaccinated people need to be rounded up and sent somewhere outside our country where they can all die, I had enough. I was close to saying something that I knew I’d probably regret, which is why I quickly exited the pool. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s just best to keep my voice silent and pray for the person, because some people are just looking for an argument and there’s nothing that can be said to them where they might find greater understanding, love, and connection, especially when one of the first questions out of their mouth is, “So, are you vaccinated yet?”

The world lately seems to be filled with many people like this. How many times have I overheard people from both sides of this issue expressing their strong opinions for anyone to hear? Too many. Frankly, it’s got me so frustrated, because if I wasn’t going through all the health issues I have been for as long as I have, I’d already have gotten a vaccination, just like I did in my earlier years of life. Regardless, I’m so weary of these vaccination arguments and discussions, with people sending me article after article surrounding the science on this virus, the constant fighting and bickering on this subject, and the near-constant drama of pro-vaxxers versus anti-vaxxers. Last year was all about pro-Biden versus pro-Trump, of which I couldn’t escape no matter where I was. Now it’s all about this virus and I keep on seeing the fallout from it with friends walking away from each other, pointing fingers, and placing the blame on why they think this virus is still around.

I experienced some of this with a dear friend just recently. At the end of this month, I’m heading to the Washington, D.C. area to reconnect with several friends I haven’t seen in over 10 years. When one of them I spoke to over the phone asked me before our call ended, “So, are you vaccinated yet?”, I wanted to lie, but I’m not a liar. Yet, I knew where this was going to go at that point, but I remained honest and said I hadn’t been yet and explained why. It didn’t matter though. Even though I was willing to wear a mask, remain at a healthy distance, and even get a COVID test just to help them feel safe, they didn’t want to see me at all, even after 26 years of being the best of friends and even after not having seen me for well over a decade. I accepted their decision, but it hurt…A LOT.

The rejection from someone who’s been a part of my life for so long, all because of my unvaccinated status, made me wonder if that’s what happened back in the early 80’s with friends when HIV began spreading. Initially, it was called “GRID” or “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency” and anyone who was gay was chastised and blamed for the virus. Gay people became lepers in society, the total shame of the world. The news and the public in general pointed the finger solely at homosexuals and many stayed far away from them because of it, that is until science proved it was a sexually transmitted virus with both homosexuals and heterosexuals. Presently, science and the news continue to report the only reason why COVID is still a problem is due to all the unvaccinated people. Whether that’s 100% true or not doesn’t matter in my book, because like HIV, or when it was first known as GRID, each of those people who were gay were worthy and deserving of love then, just like all unvaccinated people are now.

Nevertheless, I’m afraid now to be in any type of public social setting, because it seems like that question of, “So, are you vaccinated yet?” continues to arise where the feeling I get each time it does is one of total repulsion from others when I answer it truthfully. It often feels like I’m getting the entire blame of the virus at that moment. I can’t imagine Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammad acting this way, given they were each about expressing unconditional love and acceptance of all. That’s why I am trying to emulate those qualities in my life as best as I can, regardless of whether someone has chosen to vaccinate or not, and regardless of any person’s stance on anything in life really, even if it’s something I stand completely differently on.

Ultimately, I just wish I wasn’t caught in the middle of this vaccination issue, but sadly, I am. But maybe that’s a good thing, for if it’s taught me one thing, it’s to love at a much Higher Level, one where it doesn’t matter whether someone has vaccinated or not, where instead what’s more important is loving someone no matter what, even the woman at the YMCA pool who wishes to banish people like me to another country where I can be left to die.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

The doctor has just finished giving the young man a thorough physical examination. “The best thing for you to do,” the M.D. said, “is give up drinking and smoking, get to bed early and stay away from women.” “Doc, I don’t deserve the best,” said the patient. “What’s second best?”

Silly Joke #2

Mr. Jones, the elementary school principal, made it a practice to visit the classes from time to time. One day he walked into Miss Sandy Smith’s 4th grade class, where the children were studying American History. Mr. Jones asked the class how many states they could name. They came up with 40. Miss Sandy Smith helped them with four more by giving them some clues. Not impressed at all, Mr. Jones told them that in his day every student knew the names of all 50 states. From the back of the room Little Johnny suddenly yelled, “Yeah, but in those days there were only 13 states!”

Silly Joke #3 (2 short ones)

A husband was speaking to my wife one evening when he said, “You know dear, your underwear fits way too tight and is a little too revealing,” She responded, “Well, maybe you should finally start wearing your own then?!”

As a mother was bribing her little boy with a quarter so he would behave, she said in frustration, “Why do I always have to pay you to be good? I wish you could just be good for nothing like your dad…”

Bonus Silly Joke

I had barely sat down in an airport stall when I suddenly heard a voice in the next stall over say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ While I’m not the type of guy to ever start a conversation in any men’s restroom, I don’t know what got into me, but I answered, albeit somewhat embarrassed, ‘Doin’ just fine!’ The other guy responded, ‘So, what are you up to?’ What kind of question was that I thought? At that point, I’m thinking this is getting a little weird, so I responded back, ‘Ummm, like you, I’m just traveling.’  I’m now trying to finish my business as fast as I could, when he asked, ‘Hey, would you like some company over there?’ Ok, now I was totally freaked out, so I immediately responded back quite sternly, ‘Look…… buddy, I think you got the wrong idea here.’ Then quite abruptly, he said nervously… ‘Listen, I’ll have to call you back. There’s some creepy guy in the stall next to mine who keeps answering all my questions!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“If we require some kind of sign, or “proof”, for our belief in God, then we believe, or place our trust, not in God, but in the sign or proof.” (Robert L. Short)

Quote #2

“If God allows proof that He exists, he robs people of faith and without faith what is God? Nothing.” (Douglas Adams)

Quote #3

“The great test of faith is to wait on God…not expecting to push a button and get whatever we want now.” (A.W. Tozer)

Bonus Quote

“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.” (Isaac Newton)

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

Can One Develop True Faith In God By Constantly Asking For Signs Of His Presence?

I know this is a subject I’ve spoken to before, but I think it’s one worth repeating from time to time in my writing, especially as of late where I’ve really found myself questioning if God is even real. The fact is, my health issues and ailments are really getting the best of me lately and when they have, I have found asking God via prayer for proof of His existence, most of which have gone unanswered. You know why I think that is? Because no matter how many proofs we may get, I think we will always keep questioning God’s existence each time the going gets rough, leaving us in a perpetual cycle of weak faith. I had a strong reminder of this recently in fact.

On one specific day when no rain was predicted in the local forecast and skies were clear, I knew I needed to water the yard, I just didn’t feel like doing it because of how crappy I had been feeling. So, I asked God to show He was still there for me by making it rain that night, and just after midnight, it did, for 15 minutes, in a downpour, fully removing my need to water the yard. Yet, it wasn’t long after that, maybe a few days later at best, when my pain got the best of me again. Once again, I found myself questioning whether God was real and asking for another sign to prove He was. This time it dealt with the winds outside. I asked God to calm the winds because they had been driving down droves of leaves into my yard for days like it was fall and I was getting so sick of cleaning them all up. According to all the weather forecasts, they weren’t supposed to calm down for another day, but ironically, they disappeared within 30 minutes after saying that prayer and never returned. You’d think this would increase my faith, but it did the opposite, making me become more dependent, almost like an addiction, on proof of God’s existence, versus just blindly trusting He’s there and still has a beautiful plan for me.

The reality is, I don’t think any number of signs of God’s presence will ever make me fully believe in Him, as my ego always seems to find a reason to prove otherwise. The fact is, God either is or He isn’t and coming to that place where one truly believes He is, will never come from receiving one sign after another of God’s existence, it will come though from having true faith within. Faith that develops from just blindly trusting, even when the mind can’t seem to find a reason too.

There is simply no way I would ever have made it thus far in life if God had answered me every time I asked Him for proof of Him. To stand in this storm I have been with my health, for as many years as I have, to have endured the level of pain I have with no relief in sight, has required incredibly strong faith, one that most assuredly has been tested repeatedly. This faith hasn’t come from signs at all, rather it’s come from walking through a constant darkness, hands outstretched, trusting that God is somewhere in front of me, beckoning me to keep moving forward, all while believing that when I finally make it to the other side of this, that I’ll have a far deeper unshakable faith, one that will need far less signs of His proof and instead whose life itself will become proof of God’s existence.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“God knows what’s up even in the middle of the silence, the stillness, the why-is-nothing-happening moments. He has a plan, and it’s always for our greater good. Actually it’s for our best. It’s not like He’s sitting on His hands. The truth is just the opposite. He’s been at work all along, laying the groundwork, orchestrating the details, and fine-tuning the outcome.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“God is at work on your situation. Heaven is preparing your miracle. When it comes, you will understand the delay.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Bonus Quote

“Open your heart and invite God into every circumstance of your life because when God enters the scene, that’s when miracles happen.” (Unknown)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, which for today’s piece of gratitude, I just wanted to offer many blessings and thanks to God for orchestrating a wonderful visit from my sister Laura and my youngest nephew Luke last weekend.

I truly must give the credit to God for bringing this together, because frankly, not more than a month or so ago, she and I weren’t even on speaking terms, mostly because I was being bull-headed about several things, none of which need to be gone into anymore. Regardless, it wasn’t my self-will that eventually overcame this stubbornness because it was much of my self-will that had prevented us from reconnecting. Rather, after praying over this repeatedly, somehow, I had a change of heart, and ultimately, so did my sister. Honestly, if you had asked me a few months if I thought I might actually see my sister this year, I would have said probably not, which is why this trip was such a miracle. Nevertheless, over the course of three solid days, we all did some rather neat things together.

On day one we went to a science museum in downtown Toledo called Imagination Station. It was my first visit there ever and I was so glad to have shared it with them. I was quite thankful that all their hands-on exhibits were able to be touched again, as COVID had prevented that up until just recently. One of the many highlights there included Laura and Luke getting a great laugh as I tried to do this pulley-thing that’s supposed to bring a person up into the air, but laughably, I kept falling to the ground. A few other notables included sitting in a flight simulator where Luke had us driving all over the runway and even flying upside down at one point, experiencing Level 1 hurricane winds in this huge tube where we both screamed over the noise of it all, riding a thrilling motion ride that we all felt dizzy after, and watching my nephew build circuits in a science workshop. After we left there, we had a cookout on our driveway where we scarfed down some tasty burgers, corn, potatoes, and slaw. At the end of the night, I took a swim in the hotel pool they were staying at where I felt some much-needed joy as Luke laughed uncontrollably at times while horsing around.  The evening ended after playing a few games of Harry Potter Uno. All in all it was an amazing start to their trip here.

On the middle day of their trip, I drove us to Sandusky, Ohio, where we had lunch at one of my favorite diners in this area, Berardi’s Family Kitchen. Everyone enjoyed their meal a lot, especially the Boardwalk fries they are famously known for there. After there, we went to Goofy Golf, which is one of the best miniature golf courses in the area. Before we started playing it though, Luke won a ton of tickets in the arcade and found a few prizes he liked, which made me happy. When we finally started playing some putt-putt, I think I had more fun watching everyone giggle as they hit their balls repeatedly on some of the holes, then me playing the game itself! We were all pretty hot after finishing, so we went to an incredible homemade ice cream joint in the area, Tofts Dairy Ice Cream Parlor, where the portions are always HUGE! After Tofts, I drove us to Marblehead Lighthouse, which is such a beautiful place to see Lake Erie and Cedar Point off in the distance. I love to take guests there and am so grateful that Laura and Luke loved it like I do. By the time we arrived back at my home, we were all starving again so we went and got a pizza at Mama Mary’s, which is the closest to New York style pizza here to what I grew up with in New York itself. The evening ended with another great swim and more laughter to brighten the spirit.

On Laura and Luke’s final day here, we visited The Toledo Zoo, as Chris and I are members there. We tend to take most of our guests there the first time they come for a visit. While my sister has been there a few times already, Luke hadn’t, which made for a new experience and appreciation, especially when he told us he liked the giraffes the best, which we all got a pretty good look at on the train ride we took. Unfortunately, the crowds were immense, so we didn’t stay as long as we usually would. Once home, Luke helped me pick up some leaves without me even asking and that truly moved my heart, specifically when he said that he knew I was going to have to pick them up later, so he wanted to help! What a great kid! That night we all went to Rosie’s Italian Grille, which has never disappointed me with anything I’ve ever eaten there. We got to sit on the patio near the ponds and appreciated listening to the soothing waterfall sounds along with seeing the playful coy fish and turtles in the pond itself. Our evening ended with multiple games of Harry Potter Uno again, where one game just went on and on and left us all in stitches!

Parting the next morning from them at the airport was truly difficult. After enjoying a breakfast at a local IHOP and dropping them off at Detroit airport, I sobbed uncontrollably in my car as I drove home. They were tears of sadness for them leaving and joy for such a wonderful visit. Overall, this trip was truly a blessing and a gift from God, and something I will forever remember and be grateful for.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you were suddenly given the ability to do one thing to excess for the rest of your life where it would never cause you any harm in doing so, what would it be? (Ex. Eat sweets, work out, drink alcohol, smoke weed, etc.)

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


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The Path of Sober Living Doesn’t Mean Living A Monastic Life…

It’s never intended for a recovering alcoholic to not get around alcohol ever again. It’s just not feasible to avoid being around it permanently when it’s present in so much of the world. The same principle holds true with recovering addicts of all varieties. Entering 12 Step recovery isn’t about living a monastic life, it’s all about helping an individual with a former addiction to learn how to live in a world sober where the substance of their addiction continues to exist all around them.

A recovering food addict for example can’t avoid being around food unless they want to starve themselves to death. A recovering sex and love addict can’t avoid being around attractive people in this world unless they want to become agoraphobic and never leave their home. Quite similar, the recovering nicotine addict can’t avoid people smoking or vaping pretty much anywhere these days. And with marijuana becoming legalized in one state after another now, it’s becoming harder and harder not to be around those freely smoking it, thus challenging a recovering drug addict. The list goes on.

That’s why I’ve learned in my 12 Step recovery life that the stronger my program is and the healthier my spiritual foundation of my life is, that I can be around any of my former addictions. Let me clarify this though, as some newly sober individuals from an addiction might run with this and justify actions that are very unhealthy for them.

I’m not saying that a recovering alcoholic should hang out in a bar regularly. Nor should a recovering drug addict hang out with a friend repeatedly who’s doing a drug regularly they once did. I’m also not saying a food addict should frequent dining places like buffets either. But should a recovering alcoholic be able to attend an event at a bar or shoot pool from time to time for example? Most definitely. Should a recovering drug addict be able to be at a birthday party for example, where someone suddenly lights up a joint for themselves and be ok with that too? Absolutely. And should a recovering food addict be able to be around someone eating something they once had no control over. Certainly. Trying to avoid being around every single trigger from a former addiction would lead to a very lonely and monastic life. But learning how to be around the substance of a former addictions truly takes time. And it takes a lot of work, the core of which is developing a strong relationship with a Higher Power, something all 12 Step programs lead sober individuals to.

My work in 12 Step recovery and my relationship to God has absolutely helped me to dine out with individuals having drinks, to attend parties where someone lights up a joint, to be around those who smoke or vape, and even be friends with people I’m attracted to.

The bottom line is that one doesn’t enter recovery for an addiction to live a monastic life. I tried that, attempting to block myself off from every possible way where the substance of former addictions was present, and I still came across them in some way, shape, or form. That’s why 12 Step recovery is all about learning how to live in a world where those substances of former addictions still exist and having enough of a spiritual foundation from their recovery to not fall back into any one of them whenever they come across our path.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Charlie’s wife, Lucy, had been after him for several weeks to paint the seat on their toilet. Finally, he got around to doing it while Lucy was out. After finishing, he left to take care of another matter before she returned. She came in and undressed to take a shower. Before getting in the shower, she sat on the toilet. As she tried to stand up, she realized that the not-quite-dry epoxy paint had glued her to the toilet seat. About that time, Charlie got home and realized her predicament. They both pushed and pulled without any success whatsoever. Finally, in desperation, Charlie undid the toilet seat bolts. Lucy wrapped a sheet around herself and Charlie drove her to the hospital emergency room. The ER Doctor got her into a position where he could study how to free her. Lucy tried to lighten the embarrassment of it all by saying, “Well, Doctor, I’ll bet you’ve never seen anything like this before!” The Doctor replied, “Actually, I’ve seen lots of them. I just never saw one mounted and framed.”

Silly Joke #2

A blonde gets an opportunity to fly to a nearby country. She has never been on an airplane anywhere and was very excited and tense. As soon as she boarded the plane, a Boeing747, she started yelling in excitement repeatedly, “Boeing! Boeing!! Boeing!!!” The passengers are getting disturbed and even the Pilot in the cock-pit hears the commotion. Annoyed by the goings on, the frustrated Pilot comes out and heads to her seat and says rather loudly, “Please Ma’am, be silent!” There was now pin-drop silence everywhere and everybody is looking at the blonde and the frustrated Pilot. She stares at the pilot in silence for a moment, then concentrates really hard, and all of a sudden starts shouting, “Oeing! Oeing! Oeing!”

Silly Joke #3

NASA had been interviewing professionals to select one candidate to go on a mission to Mars, except they wouldn’t ever be returning to Earth, as it was a one way trip. They were down to the last three candidates in a room together and were planning on choosing one of them. The interviewer asked the first applicant, an engineer, how much they wanted to be paid for going. “One million dollars,” the engineer answered. “And I would donate it all to my alma mater — Harvard University.” The next applicant was a doctor, and the interviewer asked them the same question. “Two millions dollars,” the doctor said. “I want to give one million to my charity and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research.” The last applicant was a lawyer. When asked how much money he wanted, he said, “Three million dollars.” “Why so much more than the others?” the interviewer asked. The lawyer replied, “You give me three million, I’ll give you one million, I’ll keep a million, and we’ll send the engineer.”

Bonus Silly Joke (For Adults)

Three couples went in to see the minister of a very conservative church about becoming new members. The minister said that they would all have to go without sex for two weeks and then come back and tell him how it went. The first couple was retired, the second couple was middle aged and the third couple was newly married. Two weeks went by, and the couples returned to the minister. The retired couple said it was no problem at all. The middle-aged couple said it was tough for the first week, but after that it was no problem. The newlyweds said it was fine until she dropped the can of paint. “A can of PAINT!!!” exclaimed the minister. “Yeah,” said the newlywed man. “She dropped the can and when she bent over to pick it up I had to have her right there and then, well, lust took over.” The minister just shook his head and said that they were not welcome at his church. “That’s okay,” said the newlywed man. “We’re not welcome in Home Depot anymore either…”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.” (Jim Ronn)

Quote #2

“In an effort to create safety and self-reliance in your life and relationships, you may have built walls around your heart and accumulated tension in your body. Although sometimes these walls of protection are useful, they can, over time, act like shells of fear that block your true love. These shells can keep in the love you want to offer fully and keep out the love your heart yearns to receive.” (David Deida)

Quote #3

“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” (Jospeh F. Newton)

Bonus Quote

“When we allow the walls around our hearts to become rigid, and stay that way, we assign ourselves a slow death. Like the very air and water that flows through our physical body to sustain it, love must flow through our heart to keep it supple, and to keep us truly alive.” (Jeffrey R. Anderson)

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

For All Those Who Keep A Wall Around Their Heart…

People who are negative and angry all the time usually don’t even know they are. At the source of it always seems to be the same thing, a closed heart.

The exact reason why I was so negative and angry for most of my life was due to the wall I had erected around my heart, which stemmed from all the pain I endured from parental alcoholism, being bullied, molested, and the like. I kept that wall around my heart solely for protection, as I had been hurt so much that I felt I needed it to feel safe. It was far easier to watch people walk out of my life with my heart closed, compared to when it wasn’t. But, keeping that wall around my heart ultimately led to a very lonely life, which in turn led to bitterness, and finally a life of negativity and anger. But I think it’s human nature to desire companionship in some form, so from time to time, I’d drop that wall around my heart long enough to let someone in for a time. Yet inevitably, at some point, something would trigger my fear of my heart getting hurt again. Maybe it was an argument, or a fight, or my trust getting broken, it didn’t matter, because there was always something that triggered me enough to erect that wall around my heart again and push the person away as quickly as I drew them in. I could always predict the end of my relationships because I was the one always pushing the other person away by constantly raising that wall back up around my heart. It wasn’t until recently did I finally begin to see what this behavior was like when I was on the other side of it with someone doing it to me.

Two years ago, I met someone and learned their father had abandoned them at 12 years old, leaving them to figure it all out, essentially to raise themselves. I could relate given how distant my parents were through much of my own upbringing. Regardless, I could see they had a wall up around their heart from the onset, which I’m sure could be traced all the way back to their father’s abandonment of them. I showed them I cared, and in a short period of time, I felt their wall come down. It wasn’t long after that they expressed how much they truly cared about me and for a while, we were inseparable as friends, hanging out all the time, and talking daily. We never argued and any hours we spent together flew by. But, one day, after a heated discussion, I felt their wall begin to reappear. I kept trying to get it to come back down, but I think each time I did, it only seemed to raise it even more. Eventually, I stopped feeling their compassion, love, and understanding altogether, which was so contrary to how they were prior. From that point forward, the only thing I ever noticed was them being irritable and angry with any subject that I brought up, especially when my opinion on it didn’t match theirs. When that finally got directed at me one afternoon in front of two other friends, embarrassing me in the process, and upsetting them as well, I tried to explain to my friend how unsettling it was, which only led to me being hung up on over the phone. While I haven’t heard from them since, I have only love and compassion in my heart now for them because I know at the source of it all for them is a closed heart, one that I’d place money on stems all the way back to when it first began, when their father abandoned them.

The fact is, any person with a closed heart usually carries a pre-recorded tape deeply embedded within it that says, “I’m going to push you away before you push me away…” And as soon as anything threatens to even hurt their heart in the slightest, the door into it gets closed, the wall gets raised, and the person once in it, is quickly pushed out. The sad thing about living this way, is that the end of every relationship is already written before it really even gets a chance to begin. My friend used to say to me how they always could predict when all their relationships were going to end. I hope one day they’ll finally realize that’s only because they have always been the one writing it themselves by keeping their heart more closed than open.

That’s why I’d rather have my heart remain open, even if it does get hurt from time to time. Because, a closed heart means a closed life, and a closed life means never knowing the true depth of love that can come when one heart connects to another for life…something that I see so clearly now, especially with God…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Name one thing you thought was beyond repair (animate or inanimate), that ended up being fixable and brought you joy because of it?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

It’s time for another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude is always at the core, which for today is for getting a very old Gary Fischer bike up and running again after it had been sitting in a storage unit or a garage for over 14 years!

Many moons ago, when my mother was still alive, one of the gifts she gave me and my partner at the time, Jerry, were two really nice brand new Gary Fisher mountain bikes in early 2004. They were meant for recreational use on the island I was living on at the time, that being Chincoteague, Virginia, where the bed and breakfast I once owned was situated. While Jerry didn’t use his bike that much, I was on mine on just about every day and truly loved it. At my peak, I’d spend several hours covering usually 27 miles on it or more, which I found to be such a healthy escape, one that cultivated inner peace each time I did. Sadly, when I left my relationship and my life at that Bed and Breakfast in May of 2007, my bike went into storage and remained there gathering dust ever since, floating from one storage unit to another, until eventually it made its way into my garage here in Toledo a number of years ago, where many times I’d sit on its seat, hoping to one day ride it again.

Up until my early June trip to Saugatuck, Michigan, I hadn’t ridden on a bike since 2010, when all my health issues began. My mind and body had never really felt up to it. But, after doing a few miles on a bike from the resort Chris and I were staying at during that trip, and then doing another 14 more on a rental during my visit to see Cedric in Massachusetts in late June, I thought it might be finally time to try returning to an activity I really missed, even if it was on a limited basis based upon my health. Looking at the state of my old bike in my garage was a sad sight though. The chain was a mess, the wheels weren’t spinning anymore, the brakes weren’t working, and the tubes in the tires were shot. The frame on the other hand still looked to be in good shape, so I had a little faith. Enough so, that I loaded it into my partner’s vehicle and headed to CycleWerks Bicycle and Fitness in Whitehouse, Ohio, as they had been recommended.

The first question I asked as soon as Luke, one of the repair technicians there, approached me was whether it was financially feasible to repair my bike or should I scrap it. Truthfully, I think if he had said it was beyond repair, I probably would have just left it with him to scrap and left all desire to bike again on the back burner. Thankfully, he didn’t say that though and instead said he could get it back up and running for less than $200! I was ecstatic to hear this news, mostly because the bike also represented a loving memory of my mother.

A week later, I was back at the shop to pick my bike up, where sitting on it once again and taking it for a quick test ride on a trail nearby felt totally exhilarating. When I got it up to almost 20mph, I smiled, feeling grateful to have it fully functional again. But, truly the most grateful moment in this experience has come right now with a thought.

Maybe just like this bike being able to get fully restored when I thought it was truly down and out for the count, that my health can be too. All it took was holding on to a little faith when I brought my old Gary Fisher bike to a shop simply because its frame still looked ok. So, maybe I just need to keep a little faith in the Master Technician as well, leaving my frame in His hands, continuing to believe that He too can and will still fully restore me as well…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

How do you best offer your heart to others in this world? (ex. Singing, cooking, gardening, writing, preaching, playing an instrument, etc.)

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


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