Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you could become famous for one thing in life, what would it be for?

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


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When Meeting A Famous Person Reminded Me What My Addiction Took Away…

I’ve only met a few famous people in my life. Probably the most famous of which was Bill Clinton when he was President, which only happened because I’d been on a date with someone who worked for NPR that had gotten me onto the White House grounds, where there I had gotten to greet Clinton once he had exited his helicopter. That being said, I had another “famous-sighting” recently when I was in Columbus, Ohio that got me thinking about where my life would have taken me if I hadn’t followed the addiction-path I did.

Before I say who that famous person was, it’s important to note that quite often in the rooms of 12 Step recovery, you’ll hear stories from people who once had the chance to become famous in something, many of which often seem to be sports-based. But, due to falling into their addiction, each had lost that path. For me, that was with swimming, which all came back front and center when I recently met Tokyo Olympics Gold-Medalist swimmer Hunter Armstrong at his job at the Chocolate Café in Columbus, on a fun day-trip to the area.

Armstrong, a junior at Ohio State University, had just returned from Tokyo, fresh off his biggest achievement in life thus far, getting a gold in the 400 Medley Relay. I spent a good 15 minutes talking with him about my former love of the sport. He had just begun his journey with it and let me know his goal was to qualify for at least the next two summer Olympics and possibly even a third. I can honestly say I felt a twinge of sadness after talking with him because I had once been on the same path as he, that is until I became more interested in hanging out with someone I was attracted to at the age of 17, who told me swimming was for losers. And it would be this individual who’d also introduce me to the power of alcohol not too long after I left the sport due to their comment, a sport I felt I was essentially born into.

Here’s a little history for you when it comes to my former love of swimming. My parents had me in the water swimming competitively starting at the age of 5. By the age of 8, I had already conquered my first big feat in the sport by swimming over 120 laps in a marathon-type of benefit! I was swimming miles and miles a day by the age of 12, and had a wall of medals, trophies, and ribbons to show for it. During the summers, I’d either be participating on some private swim team or was in a swim camp improving my strokes. In case you’re wondering, 50 or 100 Back or Freestyle were my two favorite strokes in the sport. By the time I reached the age of 17, I could swim 2 ½ lengths underwater with the lung capacity I had, was a varsity swimmer on my high school team, and had the tendency to win more than lose in the events I was in. Most likely, I would have been captain in my senior year and would had received scholarships to several colleges with the sport. But, what I did instead would be to leave the sport I loved because of addiction, a sport I really never have returned to ever since.

Hearing stories like this in the rooms of recovery is truly one of the saddest parts of becoming an addict. The things one gives up after becoming heavily engaged in an addiction is incredible. How many former athletes I’ve met who could have turned pro if they hadn’t discovered a love for things like alcohol and drugs is countless. Who knows where my path would have gone if I had remained on my swim team in my senior year of high school? Could I have eventually made the Olympics? I’ll never know of course. What I do know is that I’m thankful for people like Hunter who have dedicated their lives to a sport they’re good at and have a sincere passion to put it first in their lives rather than some toxic addiction.

So, while I may never know where my life would have gone if I had stayed in the water all those years ago and continued to work on a sport I was pretty dam good at, I’m blessed to have made it out alive from an addiction that not only took me away from what I was good at, but almost took me out from this life as well…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the subject always looking to acquire those “shiny new things” in life…

“Don’t get seduced by the next shiny thing, because you’ll get caught up chasing shiny things and that will keep you from addressing what you really need to accomplish.” (Joe Tripodi)

“I’m lucky having parents that have been in show business for a while and they don’t care about the shiny stuff so much. They raised me in that way – to stay grounded, not to chase the shiny pretty things. I stay in the moment, because when you do that, the hype goes away.” (Zoe Kravitz)

“A new car is not going to change your life…” (Monica Ali)

“Humans metabolize their purchases very quickly, even if it seemed worth it for any number of reasons when you first bought it. After some time passes, people will go back to feeling the baseline feelings they had previously felt about themselves, no matter how shiny the object, the hair, or the experience.” (Debbie Millman)

“There’s a lot of shiny, pretty objects out there that when you actually touch them, they just fall apart. And it’s like, you need to be authentic, you need to be yourself.” (John Rzeznik)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another entry of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude always marks the occasion, which for today is for having a trait in my life now that I never used to have, one where I appreciate and hold onto things until they finally break, rather than always looking to acquire those “shiny new things” in life.

In all honesty, I’m actually amazed I’ve become this way in life. I truly do hold onto things now for as long as they will keep on working for me. My cell phone, computer, headphones, tv, necklaces, clothing, my car, you name it, each are considered so old by now that no one would question a decision to upgrade any of them.

My iPhone is from late 2015. My laptop is from early 2014 and my desktop is from 2016. My headphones are a 2017 pair from Bose. My television is a 55” Sony from 2014.  Most of my clothes and jewelry are many years old by now as well. And my vehicle is a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid.

People who’ve known me for many years can’t believe how long I hold onto things now. Because the person they remember is the one who was always getting the latest technological advancements on a constant basis. I once was that guy who would stand in line for hours for the latest iPhone. I was also that guy who sported a new wardrobe all the time. I was even that guy who kept trading out one car after another, always finding a reason to justify why I needed a new vehicle.

Believe me when I say the ego will always find a way to justify getting those shiny new things in life, even when the things they’re replacing are still working well enough. My present iPhone is the greatest example of that. My cell phone is almost considered obsolete by now, at least according to Apple standards. They plan on supporting it for one final year beginning with this month. Yet, it still works just fine for me. It makes calls. It sends and receives text messages. And it surfs the web perfectly fine. Sure, there are many cell phones that are blazingly faster these days with plenty of new features that often beckon my ego. I have friends who seem to fall for that sort of thing almost every year or every other year, constantly sporting the latest in mobile advancements. But I’m ok having my bulky and ancient cell phone from 2015 because it represents the new me, as the old me is someone I didn’t much like at all. The old me had to constantly have those new things all the time, because it was a status symbol, an ego booster, and a way to make myself feel better. But when you go down that path of consistently getting those new things, it becomes a never-ending cycle that leaves you always wanting more and never fully fulfills you from within.

There’s something to be said to hold onto older things that are still working but may just be a little slower and less technologically advanced. And there’s something to be said to even be wearing clothing that isn’t the latest fashion trend either. What is it? It’s that I know what is on the outside of me isn’t what matters. What does matter is the heart within me, the one that cares about people, and not things. The one that wants to be generous and kind, rather than selfish and always consumed with having those shiny new things.

My motto today is to keep holding onto things until they break, and if they can’t be fixed for an affordable amount, then it’s finally time to upgrade. When I recently thought it might finally be time to do that very thing with my iPhone 6s Plus because the charging port wasn’t working right anymore, I opted to take it to a shop called “UBREAKIFIX” in Perrysburg just to see what the problem was. Come to find out a piece of mulch from my gardens had lodged its way into the port itself, preventing it from charging correctly. Go figure. $30 later, my phone was back to working just fine, at least according to an ego-less standard.

So, I’m grateful to not be consumed anymore with having those shiny new things. And I’m grateful to not be coveting physical things like I once did. When I see my friends or anyone doing just that nowadays, I’m reminded they are simply a mirror of the person I once was, which always causes me to reflect on being grateful for being more concerned today for what’s on the inside of me, rather than what’s on the outside…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is one Biblical story you struggle to believe ever really happened or didn’t happen in the way it’s written?

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


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Noah’s Ark, A Biblical Story I Struggle To Believe As It’s Written, But Am Still Inspired By Its Message…

There are countless stories in the Bible I struggle to buy into ever really happening, at least in the way their recorded. But what I do know is that there are plenty of positive messages behind each of them that I do buy into, like the message behind the story of Noah’s Ark.

In general, though, sometimes I think many of the stories in the Bible are just ones passed through the generations that were meant to motivate the masses. Maybe there was some truth to them long ago, but over time, it was like the telephone game, where the story got passed along, becoming bigger and bigger, changing, and evolving into something far different than its original events that inspired the story in the first place. One such story is the one of Noah, a guy who was called upon God to build this huge ark, becoming a laughingstock of those around him, even his family in the process. But the message behind this story is what truly inspires me on my current path in life because it’s one of keeping faith in God, even when all rational sense says not to.

Noah couldn’t fathom the purpose of what he was doing for God, yet he did it anyway and eventually he realized why. But trying to put any sort of rationality behind the story itself of Noah’s Ark is terribly challenging for me. I mean how did that ark fit every single species on Earth? And did Noah and his family become the next Adam and Eve of sorts, essentially having to resort to incest to repopulate the planet? It’s questions like these that I just can’t wrap my brain around whatsoever. But what I can wrap my brain around is the amount of faith Noah exhibited in the story, to even create the ark in the first place. It’s much of what I feel when it comes to how I’m handling my ongoing health crisis.

Long ago when I was still physically healthy, yet spiritually sick due to active addiction issues, I begged God one day to change me, to free me of all that kept me separate from God. I essentially wanted to be free of all the addictions and spiritual sickness I had been living in for so long, both in this life, and what I believe to be a number of prior ones as well, if you can believe in that sort of thing.

Seven days after I prayed that prayer is precisely how long it took before all my health issues began. I tried for a few years to fix them through science and medicine, and even through many forms of natural healing, all to no avail. Eventually, I came to accept that healing myself was beyond my control and that what I was going through was the answer to my prayer. That every ailment I faced was my body purging itself of everything that has kept me separate from feeling the peace and joy of God.

For many, this has sounded so inherently crazy. Honestly, there are days I think I’m crazy for continuing to trust in this healing path after so many years feeling so crappy. Yet, even when I seem to be at my darkest moments, there’s some sort of faith that comes from deep within that says to keep trusting in God and what’s happening to me. I think that’s why I really like the story of Noah. Because Noah trusted in God even when all rational sense probably said not to.

Even if the story of Noah’s Ark is bogus and is nothing more than a bedtime story passed along the ages, it still brings motivation to my spirit, to keep trusting in God with faith, to keep believing that I’m not crazy for remaining on this painful healing path, that I am still healing, even for as long as it’s been.

While the Bible and plenty of other religious books may indeed not be perfectly true stories and instead could very well be fabricated well beyond their originate events, I choose to look at the message behind them, like the message of faith in the story of Noah’s ark. A message that inspires me to keep going, to keep building my own ark, as I continue to trust in what I believe to be a healing happening in my mind and body, even when the constant pain makes me want to give up on most days, and even when others think I’m crazy for continuing to trust “some guy in the sky” with my health and the path of my life in general…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

On his first day of school, Little Johnny handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read…”The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.”

Silly Joke #2

A grade school teacher was instructing her students on the value of coins. She took a half-dollar and laid it on her desk. “Can any of you tell me what it is?” she asked. From the back of the room Little Johnny suddenly shouted, “Tails!!!”

Silly Joke #3

Little Johnny walked into the kitchen, saw his mother making a cake and announced, “I’ll be playing in my room for the next two hours. I sure would like a piece of cake when you’re finished.” Later, when his mother brought him a piece of cooled cake, Little Johnny exclaimed, “Golly, it worked!” Puzzled, his mother asked, “What do you mean?” Little Johnny replied, “Daddy said that in order to get a piece around here, you have to spend a couple of hours playing first!”

Bonus Silly Joke

A friend and I were just finished golfing one day when this guy comes out of nowhere and asks if he could join us the next time we play. I tell him, “Well, if you want to join us tomorrow you can. We start at 8 o’clock.” He said, “Great! I’ll be here at 8 o’clock, maybe 8:05…” So next day he shows up at 8 o’clock and plays scratch golf; he was good. We were going to play again the next day and we invited him to join us again. He said, “Great! I’ll be here at 8 o’clock, maybe 8:05…” So the next day he shows up at 8 o’clock, plays with his opposite hand, and shoots under par! I’m a bit amazed with this guy so I ask him, “You’re a pretty good golfer, beating us with scratch golf and then showing-off by playing just as good with your opposite hand. Just what is you secret?” He said, “Well…when I wake up in the morning and my wife is lying on her left side, I play left-handed. Or when I wake up in the morning and my wife is laying on her right side, I play right-handed.” So out of sheer curiosity I ask, “What if your wife is lying on her back when you wake up?” “Well, that’s when I get here at 8:05…”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Do you have a tee shirt with something written on it, that whenever you wear it, it always seems to get someone to comment on it? If so, what does it say?

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


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God’s Mysterious Ways

It’s been a while since I really felt I had anything of value to write about regarding “God’s Mysterious Ways”, a category I began a few years ago where its intended purpose was to share about things happening in my life that seem beyond explanation and often feel like signs or messages from Source. Thankfully, I finally have one to share again.

Before I get into what it is, it’s important to note that if you follow my blog at all, then you already know I struggle immensely with chronic pain and have been for years. What you may not know though is that I’ve been frequently praying lately, or more like begging, for a sign or message from God surrounding it, as it’s gotten to the point now where I feel like giving up any hope it’s ever going to get better. Nevertheless, I’ve remained open to God answering my plea for guidance, something I used to get regularly from Source a few years ago to be honest. I’d frequently get signs like extremely vivid dreams that kept my hope alive, ones that I’d awake feeling so loved and connected to God. Signs like strange encounters with creatures in nature like a foot long praying mantis sitting on my door handle one day that wouldn’t move until I looked up the native American symbolism of it. Or even signs from total strangers who randomly approach me like one person did in a detox I spoke at years ago who told me they saw a huge angel standing behind me and that all was going to be ok. But, as I said it’s been a long time since I’ve had anything like that happen, where I felt God had a personal hand in it, where I couldn’t explain it away with science or rationality. That is until just last week when I received something in the mail that I feel was absolutely from Source.

On an overwhelmingly pain-filled afternoon, I arrived home to find my only piece of mail was an envelope from Guideposts, a publication I’ve subscribed to for several years now. I thought it was my bill, but upon opening it, I saw it was some random gift they sent me, something they do occasionally, but usually nothing I hold onto, as typically, it’s just a snippet from a new publication they’re hoping I’ll subscribe to. In this case though, it wasn’t. It was actually a tiny devotional of sorts they sent me purely as a gift with nothing to subscribe to. Its title was “Hope for a New Day”, something I really connected with. When I quickly flipped it open, it landed on the very middle of the book where the staples came through. On that page was the title “Small Steps.” I’m not sure why I opted to read it, because frankly, I get plenty of devotional type stuff in the mail all the time and usually just throw them away, given I already read six devotionals every morning. Regardless, I read it and am convinced after doing so, that God loves to answer us in unique ways, we just have to remain open to however it may come. The following is that reading and something I feel speaks for itself. And oh, in case you’re wondering, if any of the other brief devotions in this small booklet had been what it opened up to, none of them would have felt like any sort of message whatsoever for what I’m going through.

Here’s the “Small Steps” entry from that booklet, as it’s printed:

“HUMAN BEINGS can be very impatient. We want things right away. We believe our time is our own, and, when we have to wait, we become frustrated. God, however, is patient. His timetable often seems uncomfortably slow, rest assured that God’s timing is not only perfect, it is just what we need.

It is important to remember this when recovering from a crisis. Often we pray for solutions, for strength, for calm, for change – only to find our troubles persisting past what we thought was our breaking point. The temptation is great to conclude, God has forgotten about me.

That is the wrong conclusion. God has not forgotten about you. Rest assured, He is working mightily on your behalf. However, He is working toward the right solution, not necessarily the solution you want right now.

This can be hard to accept. But you must remember that God sees your whole life, not just this difficult moment. He does not simply want to put things back the way they were. He wants to make a new and better life for you from the ashes of the old.

So stick to your plans. Go through them step by step. And if you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself of God’s great truth: hard experiences will pass away. Not on our timetable. On God’s timetable. The best timetable.”

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

 

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the subject of the importance of offering thanks and having gratitude in life, something many of us often forget to do in our hurried lives…

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” (Lionel Hamptom)

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others.” (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

“Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component to gratitude. And gratitude is a key component to joy.” (Amy Weatherly)

“Be thankful for all the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Since it’s Monday, that means it’s time for another entry of gratitude in my blog, which for today is for all the baristas at the Starbucks locations I regularly go to in the Toledo vicinity, who have often made me feel not so invisible in this world.

While I know it’s part of the normal training of employees at Starbucks to greet customers when they walk in, I’ve been extremely thankful for the baristas who have gone beyond that by taking the time to learn my name, ask me about my life, and even remember some of the drinks I frequently order.

Why does any of that matter to me? Honestly, it’s because I often really do feel invisible in this world and have struggled feeling like I don’t matter. Having the long-standing health issues I do, my thinking hasn’t always been the most positive, especially as of late, so it’s most definitely been a blessing when I’ve walked into a Starbucks location on one of my down days when suddenly a barista greets me by my name with a huge smile, asks me how I’m doing, and whether I’m going to have one of my usual beverages or even food items.

I often say it’s the little things in life that make the most difference and sometimes it’s little things like this that do. Things like people remembering my name and my high maintenance coffee drinks, that truly end up touching my heart, usually when I most need it.

Here in the Toledo area, I’ve frequented the Starbucks Westgate location the most, especially during this pandemic. I’ve lost count of the number of days where I’ve felt more down than up through it all and actually looked forward to my daily visit to this location because typically there at least one barista has made it a point to help me feel more than welcomed. Most recently, I’ve been going quite a bit to the newest Starbucks location in my area which is out in Perrysburg at the intersection of Route 25 and Eckel Junction Road. There too I can absolutely attest to always feeling better as soon as I walk in their doors.

I know it may seem silly to some, for being grateful for Starbucks employees, when there is probably plenty of other things in this world to offer gratitude for at this time, but, to me it absolutely has made a difference in my life, especially over the past two years or so.

So, to all the baristas I’ve met at the Westgate and Eckel Junction locations, and the others I’ve met in a number of the other Starbucks stores as well, I just want to say thank you, as you really have made a difference in my life on so many-a-days, just to keep going, to keep believing that I do matter in this world, that I’m not invisible, and that the world isn’t always such a lonely place.

Thank you Alex, Audrey, Selena, Joe, Casey, Lizzy, Liz, Alyssa, Mickey, Katherine, Adrienne, Jake, Angie, Staci, Corey, Ciera, Jazz, Will, Haley, Laura, Molly, and all the others whose names are failing me at this moment, who have taken the time to get to know me, when you didn’t have to, you truly have been shining stars in a world that often feels far too dim to me on most days. I’m grateful to each of you and dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday to all of you.

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the subject of the importance of having the quality of transparency in life…

“Your transparency will lead to other people’s transformation.” (Trent Sheldon)

“I find that when you open the door toward openness and transparency, a lot of people will follow you through.” (Kirsten Gillibrand)

“The single most important ingredient in the recipe for success is transparency because transparency builds trust.” (Denise Morrison)

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” (Mother Teresa)

“There is no beauty without truth and there is no truth without transparency.” (Carry Somers)

“Without transparency, you don’t have a relationship, you have an acquaintanceship.” (Jay Cadet)

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

The Truly Transparent Me…Sharing From The Depths Of My Pain

Most people aren’t fully transparent in this world, usually out of fear of being judged. Today I want to show you what being truly transparent looks like by sharing from the depths of my pain.

Many of you may not know what it’s like to walk around for years on end in severe chronic pain. In fact, you might even go about your ways, oblivious to those around you who may be suffering incredibly all the time like me. And even if you do know of someone’s suffering and try to understand, it’s very hard to, unless you’ve suffered in pain for a long time too. And sadly, when people don’t quite understand, it’s precisely when they begin judging, something I’ve been a recipient quite a bit of in recent years when it comes to my health.

Many have insinuated I relish in self-pity and like living in my pain. I don’t. The truth is that if I could have one wish, one prayer, one hope to come true, it would to be free of this burden once and for all. Regardless, I do my best to put a smile on my face each day, to keep my faith in God, and find some sort of solace in this never-ending sea of frustration over how I feel inside from the very moment I wake up every morning. As when you’re in constant pain like I am, the sky always seems gray and everyone feels like a million miles away. Especially God. I doubt God far too much now. Does that make me agnostic? This pain has really made me question the existence of God.

Have I done something wrong? What more can I do? Is God mad at me? Is God waiting on me to do something? Am I supposed to keep waiting on God? These are all questions I ask myself frequently now and if I hear one more person tell me in response to them that when God feels distant, it’s not God who’s moved, it’s me, I think I’m going to scream!

People have had so many suggestions on how I should be handling what I’m going through and I’ve tried so many of them to no avail, which has led me to accept that removing this is totally out of my control. Yet, my ego still desperately tries to find a solution and so do some of my friends. They google this or that online, hoping to understand and find an answer. I know they mean well, but when you’ve tried so many things with no success over the course of 11 years, you already know google and the world in general isn’t going to have the answer.

All of this has led to me feeling like I’ve been running a never-ending marathon; one in fact I don’t want to run anymore. It’s why painkillers often beckon my ego, painkillers like medical marijuana. For an addict like me, I just can’t go there. Because I know deep down where it’s going to eventually take me, because it’s taken me there before. Because anything I’ve ever taken over the years to numb my pain has never been enough to fully silence it. And each time I’ve gotten any bit of relief from any painkiller I’ve taken, I’ve always only wanted more of it, creating another vicious cycle of addiction.

The path I embarked upon many years ago now was to be free of living my life in this way. It was to stop numbing myself with one thing after another, including drugs, medications, people, and a number of other things as well. That’s why for as bad as this feels inside, I have chosen to not numb it with anything. Why God hasn’t freed me from this after all this time, I don’t know. People suggest that if God hasn’t healed me by now, He probably won’t. Others say it’s dumb to have faith in God instead of medicine. What they don’t understand is that the last time I placed my faith in medicine, I tried to kill myself. Because numbing myself with medicine felt like giving up to me.

I’m quite sure some of you reading this are probably shaking your head right now, thinking you know better than I do. Like I just need some anti-depressant or some other pill, and all will be well. There is no pill that is going to fix this and until you’ve walked a day in my shoes, you’ll never be able to understand that. Nevertheless, my mother once said I hadn’t kicked hard enough in this swim race I had finished last in, at the young age of 12. But you know what? I was kicking hard enough then and I’m still kicking hard enough now by doing my best to keep my faith in God and in this healing path I remain devoted to.

So, this is the real me, the truly transparent me. One that most rarely post about themselves on social media. While my present world doesn’t make sense to me anymore and I often feel invisible because of this sea of chronic pain inside me, I still believe in God and cling to my faith that He has a beautiful plan for me, in this life…even as my pain continues to scream at me, always trying to make me believe otherwise…always trying to make me give up…while I keeping praying that I don’t…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Four priests board a train for an overnight journey to an annual church council conference. They are all sharing a private room together. Shortly into the trip, one priest says, “Well, we’ve all worked together for many years, but don’t really know one another’s worst sin we struggle with the most. I suggest we do a confession right now.” They look nervously at each other but all nod OK. The first priest says, “Since I suggested it, I’ll go first. With me it’s the drink. Once a year I take off my collar and go out of town to a pub and drink myself blind to get it out of my system.” The other three look at each other nervously as the next priest slowly says, “Well……with me, it’s gambling. Once a year, I take my collar off and remove a considerable amount of money from the collections. I then head to the casino and typically spend it all on the blackjack tables to get it out of my system.” The third, who is really nervous now reluctantly says, “This is really difficult, as I think my sin is worse than both of yours. I take off my collar once a year and hire a prostitute. I usually spend all night with her to get it out of my system.” They all look at the fourth priest now who hasn’t gone yet. He doesn’t say anything. The first speaks, “Come now, we’ve all told our worst sin, now it’s your turn.” The fourth priest then looks at the others and starts hesitantly, “Well, once a year, I take off my collar and totally gossip about the juiciest confession I’ve heard and well, honestly, I can’t wait to get off this train!”

Silly Joke #2

A guy receives an ad in the mail for a golf resort where everything costs one dollar. He jumps at the offer and heads off for a weekend of fun in the sun. He arrives and plays a round of golf. It cost him a buck. When he goes for dinner that evening, it costs him another buck. His room is only a buck a day! The day before he’s to check out, he heads out to play a last round and stops by the pro shop and charges a sleeve of three balls to his room. When he’s checking out next morning, he looks at the bill and sees:
Golf: $1.00
Dinner: $1.00
Room: $1.00.
Sleeve of golf balls: $3,000.00
He asks the Manager, “What is this all about? Everything is supposed to cost one dollar, and you charged me three thousand for three golf balls?” “I’m sorry, sir, said the manager, but you didn’t read the fine print in our promotional brochure. That’s what our golf balls cost.” “Well, said the man, If I wanted to spend that kind of money, I could’ve gone to that luxury hotel across the street and paid them a thousand dollars a day for a room. At least I would’ve known what I was paying for!” “That’s right, sir, you could have, said the manager. Over there they get you by the room. Over here we get you by the balls!”

Silly Joke #3

A well-respected surgeon was relaxing on his sofa one evening just after arriving home from work. As he was tuning into the evening news, the phone rang. The doctor calmly answered it and heard the familiar voice of a colleague on the other end of the line. “We need a fourth for poker,” said the friend. “I’ll be right over,” whispered the doctor. As he was putting on his coat, his wife asked, “Is it serious?” “Oh yes, quite serious,” said the doctor gravely. “In fact, three other doctors are there on the scene already!”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult Humor)

A man escapes from a prison where he had been kept for 15 years. As he runs away, he eventually finds a house and silently breaks into it, hoping to find money or guns, but only finds a young couple asleep in their bed. He immediately orders the guy out of the bed and ties him up in a chair. He then ties the girl up on the bed, after which he leans in and kisses her on the neck, then quickly gets up, and immediately goes to the bathroom. While he’s in there, the husband tells his wife, “Honey, this guy is an escaped prisoner, look at his clothes! He’s probably spent lots of time in jail and hasn’t seen a woman in years. I saw how he kissed your neck. If he wants sex, don’t resist, don’t complain, just do what he tells you, just give him satisfaction. I don’t want him to get angry because he’ll probably kill us both if he does. Be strong, honey. We’ll make it through this! I love you!” The wife then responds, “Dear, he wasn’t kissing my neck. He was whispering in my ear. He told me he was gay, thought you were cute, and asked if we kept any Vaseline in the bathroom. Be strong, honey, We will make it through this! And I love you, too!”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes are good ones surrounding yesterday’s article that was about when mistakes are made and finding forgiveness for them, something I believe our world needs a lot more of right now…

“Today I decided to forgive you. Not because you apologized, or because you acknowledged the pain that you caused me, but because my soul deserves peace.” (Najwa Zebian)

“Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.” (Dave Willis)

“When you choose to forgive those who have hurt you, you take away their power.” (Unknown)

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” (Brynt H. McGill)

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

Daily Reflection

“Everyone makes mistakes, if you can’t forgive others, don’t expect others to forgive you.” (Unknown)

I was driving on a highway a few weeks ago when I went into the next lane on my right. What I didn’t know was a car was already there in my blind spot. Thankfully, I didn’t hit them, which they let me know I was in the wrong with a strong blow of their horn. I was honestly grateful for the warning, as without it, my mistake could have turned into a major fender bender. What I didn’t know was going to happen was what came next. After realizing my mistake, I sped up and got away from the car, to give them enough space. I then got into the lane I needed to be for my upcoming exit. Suddenly, the other driver sped up and cut in front of me, braking hard, as if trying to set a strong example of how wrong I was. I became nervous over the situation, as I’ve seen things like this lately go very sideways and end in violence. So, I went back into the left lane and sped up enough to get several cars away from the individual. They proceeded to then follow me, right on my car’s tail end. When I came to my exit, I waited to the last second and then turned onto it, which they did as well. I wanted to believe I was just imagining what was happening, but I wasn’t. When I reached the next light that I normally go straight through to head home, I abruptly turned right, as did they. Now I was heading away from my home with an obviously very angry person still following me. When I reached the next stop sign, I took a right, which they did as well, keeping right with me. I became really scared at that point because there have been cases of serious road rage around here. I decided to drastically speed up at that point purposely trying to evade this person, which eventually I thankfully did.

Why people struggle to forgive mistakes like this and instead resort to anger and sometimes even violence, I don’t know. I’ve had many people almost hit me, cut me off, and sometimes even worse on the roads, which I simply just silently forgive them and let them be on their merry way. I rarely ever resort to even blowing my horn unless they don’t realize I’m there. Never do I feel the need to teach someone a lesson, to intimidate, or threaten anyone for a mistake they’ve made, regardless of what it is. I’ve learned far and wide in my life, that mistakes happen, and everyone is worthy and deserving of forgiveness, for even the worst of mistakes. And truly, if I can’t forgive, no matter what the mistake is, why should anyone ever forgive me when I make a mistake. Nevertheless, hopefully this angry driver who felt the need to follow me for over 15 minutes on the road may find forgiveness for whatever is going on in their life that would lead them to do such a thing in the first place, as I know ultimately this wasn’t really about me. Regardless, I’m quite sure whatever it is, that they were looking to diffuse their anger on anything, which I just happen to be the recipient of in that moment when I made the mistake. Mistakes happen. I only pray this individual may learn to forgive the next time it does.

Dear God, may I always forgive when a person makes a mistake that affects me, no matter what it is, as I know I’d want forgiveness if I made one, just as much as I know that not forgiving someone’s mistake is only going to cause me more harm to my spiritual journey than good.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you could safely travel back in time to witness one full day on this planet anywhere and then be brought back to the present, when and where would you go back to? (NOTE: Not traveling at all isn’t an option either…)

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to today’s Grateful Heart Monday, which for today I wanted to share my gratitude for the Mankind Project (MKP) men’s group I remain a part of here in Toledo, The Brothers Of The Black Swamp, a group that continues to both bring positive challenges and great blessings upon my spiritual journey in life.

When I joined MKP well over 20 years ago now after going through the New Warrior Training weekend, I delved into the group work that came afterwards, where a man had the option to continue going deeper into their life’s work by becoming involved in something called an I-Group. Ever since, I’ve had the pleasure of sitting amongst men in a number of these groups in each of the areas I’ve lived in, developing closer bonds to men, breaking through blockages within me, and rising to higher levels of strength, leadership, and loving connection in my life.

Presently, I am an active member of The Brothers Of The Black Swamp I-Group, which presently consists of eight individuals. We began this group almost four years ago now in Toledo because there weren’t any active I-Groups in this area for MKP brothers to be a part of. Our group has evolved quite a bit ever since, having several original members leave and some new ones arrive, having gone on two bonding retreats together, and having spent every other Tuesday utilizing the tools MKP taught us to better ourselves in life.

What I truly treasure the most about my present I-Group is the willingness of each man there to continue showing up, no matter what struggles they are facing within themselves and their lives. Far too often in life, I’ve seen people often make excuses to not show up for the I-groups they were a part of, which only ended up hurting both themselves, for the potential work they could have done on themselves, and the group itself, for any benefit they may have brought the group. While our group may be small compared to some others I’ve been a part of, we sure do have a big strength, like I witnessed in a recent Saturday occurrence of our meeting.

While tensions flared at times during that meeting, all of us worked together on some difficult issues we were facing, including cancelling what would have been our third annual retreat and re-declaring our commitment to the group itself. I’m so grateful to say that by the time the meeting ended, I felt nothing but love for each of the men there, something I haven’t always felt in many of the I-groups I’ve been a part of since I began my journey with MKP.

Indeed, each of the men in The Brothers Of The Black Swamp are uniquely different from each other, with varying belief systems, ideals, and the like. Yet the one thing I am thankful to say we all have in common, that I’ve witnessed time and time again, is our desire to deeper our brotherhood with each other, to work through our differences, and grow in connection as a result.

The fact is, every I-Group I’ve ever been a part of has become a blessings upon my life on some level, usually after working through a number of challenges to my ego in many of those meetings. The Brothers Of The Black Swamp continues to prove that to be true as well and is the very reason why I not only remain a part of this amazing group of men, but also with MKP in general.

Thank you, The Brothers Of The Black Swamp for continuing to work on not only your own journeys of spiritual growth, but help me with mine as well. I love you all for that and dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry to our amazing group of men! Aho!

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

Thought For The Day

The following are the quotes that I found moved me the most when reflecting upon the tragedies of 9/11/2001, 20 years later…

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” (Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl.)

“For me and my family, personally, September 11 was a reminder that life is fleeting, impermanent, and uncertain. Therefore, we must make use of every moment and nurture it with affection, tenderness, beauty, creativity, and laughter.” (Deepak Chopra)

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim the spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” (Barack Obama)

“I give speeches around the country. I tell how Stanley and I made our way out of the tower. Life is precious, I tell them. It can be gone in an instant.” (Brian Clark, 9/11 survivor who worked on the 84th floor of 2 World Trade Center.)

“On September 11, I always take the day off. I want to be in a peaceful, quiet place praying. It is a day I both mourn and celebrate.” (Genelle Guzman-McMillan, the last 9/11 Ground Zero Survivor pulled from the wreckage 27 hours after.)

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

Remembering 9/11, 20 Years Later…

I’m sure we all have our stories, of where we were when the first plane hit the first trade tower in New York City, now 20 years ago today. People don’t talk as much anymore about those events that unfolded on 9/11/2001, as there have been so many others to focus on in all the years since, especially lately with this ongoing pandemic and continuing losses of life from it.

Personally, 9/11/2001 hit me far harder and affected my life far deeper than this pandemic has having been from New York, having had a family member on that first plane, and having personally witnessed a part of it so close to my home back then. The fact is the events on 9/11 will most likely be ingrained upon my brain for the rest of this life for me.

I clearly still see myself standing in the café at the job I was working at back then, watching news coverage of the first tower smoking from the plane that had hit it. Seeing another plane hit the other tower, I quickly realized this was far more than an accident. Silence was all that could be heard amongst those around me after that. I went back to my desk and ate the egg sandwich I had purchased at that café. I kept trying to get onto the Internet to no avail when a co-worker suddenly yelled a plane had just crashed into the Pentagon. My heart raced, given I was living and working a mere 10 miles or so from there. My employer quickly rushed us all out the door to go be with our loved ones. I silently wondered if this was the beginning of a war.

The highways around D.C. were all gridlocked as everyone else scrambled to get home. I was quite sure they were all afraid like I was for our major metropolitan area. As F-16’s screamed overhead, the Internet still not working, and all cell phone towers down, my drive home seemed to go on forever. I found myself really worrying about my partner who had a much farther drive than I to get home. Thankfully, he was already there by the time I arrived. While he sat glued to the news on the television, I was in shock, given I was from New York, that I had just gone up those towers the year prior, and that I knew people who worked in the towers and the pentagon. At that point I didn’t know who was affected or how bad this was going to end up being, so I did the only thing I had to do, I went out and cut my grass, trying not to think about it. It didn’t work.

I think at that point I was already developing PTSD over the events unfolding, with the news continuing to show the towers collapsing repeatedly. On some level, I wanted to believe none of this was real, so I got into my car with my partner and drove to the Pentagon. Seeing the plane smoking in the side of the Pentagon made the events of 9/11 far too real. Learning shortly thereafter of the loss of one of my family members on my sister’s husband’s side, who wasn’t even meant to be on that plane that day but took an earlier flight home to surprise his wife, hit my heart hard. Having my cousin who was NYPD, call me from the scene in New York, describing what he was experiencing was even worse.

It took me a year to get over the shock of 9/11’s events, which at some point I realized I had to stop watching all news coverage of it, for it was only preventing that from happening. I was in therapy solidly for that entire time to get through the PTSD from it all, which to this day, 20 years later, I still don’t like seeing the news footage of smoking and crumbling buildings, people jumping from them, soot-covered faces, or the like.

I visited Ground Zero a few years after those tragic events to come to peace with it all and have since visited there a few more times. If there is one thing comes up each time I do, it’s the sadness I have that anyone could ever believe God would ever advocate for such a terrorist act, when in my book, God is unconditional love, and destruction and death like 9/11 is the exact opposite.

May all those who died or were tragically affected on 9/11 be at peace now.

It’s most assuredly a day that I’m sure many of us will never forget…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Little Johnny came running out of the bathroom in tears. “What’s the matter?” asked his father. “I dropped my toothbrush in the toilet…” Little Johnny said teary-eyed. “Okay, don’t worry, but we’d better throw it out…” his father responded lovingly. So the father fished the toothbrush out of the toilet and put it in the garbage. When he returned, the boy was holding another toothbrush. “Isn’t that my toothbrush?” the father said. “Yes,” said Little Johnny, “I think we’d better throw this one out too, because it fell in the toilet four days ago!”

Silly Joke #2

Two men were down at the pub talking. The first man said, “My wife, she thinks so much of me that she won’t let me do any work around the house. It’s incredible !” The second man says, “That’s nothing. My wife thinks I’m God!” The “first man then said, “She thinks you’re God? What makes you say that?” The second man then smiles and says, “Well, every night I come home after work and sit down at the table where she places a burnt offering before me!”

Silly Joke #3

A young college student had stayed up all night studying for his zoology test the next day. As he entered the classroom, he saw ten stands with ten birds on them. Each bird had a sack over its head; only the legs were showing. He sat straight in the front row because he wanted to do the best job possible. The professor announced that the test would be to look at each of the birds’ legs and give the common name, habitat, genus and species. The student looked at each of the birds’ legs. They all looked the same to him. He began to get upset. He had stayed up all night studying and now had to identify birds by their legs. The more he thought about it the madder he got. Finally he could stand it no longer. He went up to the professor’s desk and said, “What a stupid test! How could anyone tell the difference between birds by looking at their legs?” With that the student threw his test on the professor’s desk and walked to the door. The professor was surprised. The class was so big that he didn’t know every student’s name so as the student reached the door the professor called, “Sir, what’s your name?” The enraged student then pulled up his pant legs and said, “Well, why don’t you tell me buddy!!!”

Bonus Silly Joke

A married man and his secretary were having a torrid affair. One afternoon they couldn’t contain their passion, so they rushed over to her place where they spent the afternoon making passionate love. When they were finished, they fell asleep, not waking until 8 o’clock that night. They got dressed quickly. Then the man asked his secretary to take his shoes outside and rub them on the lawn. Bewildered, she did as he asked, thinking him pretty weird. The man finally got home and his wife met him at the door. Upset, she asked where he’d been. The man replied, “I can not tell a lie. My secretary and I are having an affair. Today we left work early, went to her place, spent the afternoon making love, and then fell asleep. That’s why I’m late.” The wife looked at him, took notice of his shoes, and yelled, “I can see those are grass stains on your shoes. YOU LIAR! You’ve been playing golf again, haven’t you?”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes are some of my favorite ones that deal with the subject of living with regret…

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

“Living in regret will become your biggest regret.” (Bill Johnson)

“Living with regret is a pain with no mercy.” (Awomi Aambo)

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.” (Jonathan Larson)

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” (Victoria Holt)

“There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.” (Jennifer Anniston)

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

Getting Over Regret With 3225 Nealon Drive…

Have you ever gone back to look at an old home you once lived in and have fond memories of? Maybe a childhood home? Or a home you built your own family around? I recently did that at 3225 Nealon Drive, Falls Church, VA, which was the address of the first and only home so far that I’ve ever purchased in this life, and it was most definitely an emotional event for me, one that initially brought me regret.

On a recent trip to Northern Virginia, I opted to head over to my old neighborhood where the home I once owned and place so much TLC into still stood. The last time I had visited the property was the summer of 2011 and much of what I had beautified the place with continued to flourish. The serene backyard and gardens were still there just like the day I had left them behind, which brought me great happiness. But, when I pulled up to the front of the same home just over a week ago now, 10 years later almost to the day, everything I had put into it was now gone. The crape myrtle I had planted in the front, the lush green backyard, the gardens around the front and side, and the Japanese maple that I had received as a gift for my 30th birthday, were now all gone. Even the huge deck I had built in the back to overlook the creek that lay beyond was now converted into this strange makeshift sunroom. All of this brought me great sadness. Sadness because none of the love I had put into improving the home and property remained there anymore. Essentially all of me was now gone from there. As I stood there and stared at the property, even talking to one the new owners who really loved the place, I found myself experiencing regret. Regret for what the place was now worth and regret for how none of what I had given to it from my heart and soul remained. For a while after leaving, I allowed that regret to consume me.

I couldn’t believe the place was now worth well over $600K, which incidentally, was not from any improvements made to it. It’s only because of its location being inside the beltway and so close to Washington, DC, as well as a Metro transit stop. And while I had sold it for a profit back in 2003, sadly, I lost it all in a business that eventually went belly up, that I only bought into because I codependently had been trying to save a relationship back then. And then thinking about all those improvements I had made both inside and outside now being completely gone, it was just too much for my mind and ego to comprehend.

To get over that regret, it took me remembering that quite a few good things came into my life only because I had sold that home and moved on. Good things like meeting my friend Steve Furness on the island where that business was, who was the sole reason why I eventually became a writer, as he worked for two local newspapers and helped me to become a columnist for them. Good things like developing a close friendship with Christy Lynn, a person I only met because she worked for our business and helped to manage it. And then I can’t forget that my entire life in Massachusetts only arose when my life on that island ended abruptly. As in Massachusetts it’s where I’d grow closer to my sister, my twin nephews, learn 12 Step recovery, volunteer and become more selfless in life, and develop closer relationships with my dear friends Cedric and Debbie.

So, while my mind struggled completely with regret over the value of my old home and the improvements I made now all being erased, I was able to find peace in my heart and get over any of that regret by remembering that some pretty dam good things wouldn’t have happened in my life if I had chosen to remain at 3225 Nealon Drive to this day.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Continuing in the same line of the question from two days ago…and because my partner Chris loves watching this show’s reruns every late night ever since it went off the air decades ago, I figured I’d ask the masses…

If you had to pick one of the main cast members of The Golden Girls that you most related to, who was it:

  1. Dorothy
  2. Blanche
  3. Sophia
  4. Rose
  5. Stanley
  6. Who really cares about The Golden Girls TV show?!

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

 

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday! My gratitude for today is for Peter Ramey, Steve McKee, Sterling Washington, Louie Ratchford, and Lee Lampos, each being old friends who reconnected with me on a recent trip to Northern Virginia, a place I used to live for well over a decade.

Just over a week ago now, I finally got the chance to visit one of my former areas of living, that being Northern Virginia, a place I called home until mid-2007. The last time I had a visit there and reconnected with old friends was in 2010. Considering all the loneliness the pandemic brought on, I decided it was time to take a trip back to a place that holds plenty of fond memories to this day. Sadly, I soon learned that not everyone I once spent time regularly with in Northern Virginia wanted to reconnect, mostly due to ongoing fears surrounding COVID. It was heartbreaking, especially with one individual from my former 12 Step life there, but, I’ve chosen to focus on those who I did see and all the time I got to spend with them.

First was Peter who made this all possible by allowing me to stay in his home in Front Royal. Peter is the kindest of individuals, who would gladly give the shirt off his back to help another. We truly had some wonderful conversations throughout my stay, and I always felt welcomed in his home. Not only did he accommodate me graciously there, but also, he drove us everywhere throughout my stay. We really covered some serious miles given Front Royal is about an hour’s distance from Washington, D.C. where I met several of my old friends. From meals he took me out to, to being a great listener, and having a contagious laugh, Peter is a genuine friend and a keeper.

On my first full day with him, after a tour of Front Royal and a leisurely drive along part of Skyline Drive, a national park in the mountain range nearby, I had the pleasure of seeing my old neighbor and friend Steve, someone who used to live directly across the street from my home many years ago, who now lives in Front Royal himself. I very much enjoyed my coffee with him reminiscing about the 30th Hawaiian birthday party that he and his partner threw for me almost two decades ago, the Sunday evenings we spent watching a series called “Queer As Folk” on Showtime, and the bowling we did weekly on a team together. Later that night Peter treated me to pizza from a local joint called Melting Pot that was awesome while we watched a movie.

The next day, I got to see Sterling, who was so thoughtful because he got up early in the morning and acquired two tickets for Peter and I for the National Museum of African American History, a museum I have wanted to go to since it opened in 2016. After enjoying several hours there and also a drive afterwards around D.C., we met up with Sterling for a wonderful Ethiopian meal at Tsehay. Sterling was the first to turn me onto this amazing cuisine eons ago and it was awesome to try a new Ethiopian restaurant with him. It was just mind boggling that Sterling and I met and began our friendship in a gay men’s support group at a former therapy office back in the late 90’s! Our evening ended with Sterling taking us to a placed called “A Baked Joint”, which had some scrumptious desserts and iced cold brew.

The next morning, my friend Louie came out to Front Royal and treated us to breakfast at “The Apple House”, where we reminisced on our old card nights, jokes we used to tell each other regularly, and plenty of warm times spent together. As I finished my homemade apple donut from that meal, I reflected on how Louie is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known and always seems to find a way to make me laugh, even when I’m down and is also an incredible master gardener who I learn something new from each time we talk. After he departed, we headed to Falls Church where we drove around my old neighborhood. I talked to the new owner of my former home, which had changed so dramatically! The entire backyard was now a massive vegetable and herb garden for the owner’s Vietnamese restaurant! On a sad note, I grieved the loss of two trees I had once planted there that they had removed, one being a Japanese maple and the other a Crape Myrtle. I was grateful though for all the years they blossomed there. Nevertheless, Peter and I met up with Lee afterwards for a coffee in a completely new plaza in Dunn Loring that didn’t exist when I lived there, after which we had dinner in one of my favorite diners, The Silver Diner, a chain that opened in the DC area when I first moved there. The evening ended with Peter and I playing a fun game of miniature golf at The Magic Putting Place.

On my last full day, Peter took me to Winchester, VA where we walked the downtown Old Winchester mall, checked out some local shops, had a wonderful meal outside at the Water Street Kitchen, and drove around the town seeing things that were well over 200 years old! Later that evening, I had the pleasure of finally meeting in person his best friend Sammy Campbell, a delightful man who made me burst out laughing quite a few times over dinner at the 50/50 Taphouse and coffee afterwards.

On a final note, I wanted to also express my gratitude for seeing my favorite barista from Toledo, Mickey, during this trip, who I learned had just changed their name to Astral. They moved recently and now work at the Starbucks in Clifton, VA and it was such a delight to have some time catching up at their new place of employment.

For as much as my pain levels and health issues plagued me greatly during this trip, I’ve found that expressing gratitude like this is crucial to looking at it all in a positive light. So, thank you Peter, Steve, Sterling, Louie, Lee, and Astral, for reconnecting with me on my trip. You all mean the world to me and I’m very much grateful for each of you.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you had to pick one of the main cast members of Friends that you most related to, who would it be:

  1. Joey
  2. Monica
  3. Chandler
  4. Phoebe
  5. Rachel
  6. Ross
  7. Gunther
  8. Who really cares about the Friends TV show?!

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


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Daily Reflection

“One of the most powerful things I’ve learned since getting sober is to love and accept life on life’s terms. Alcoholics have a hard time doing this; we’re little id-driven crybabies, guzzling and complaining about how nothing in this life goes the way we think it should. Accepting and even embracing the world as it is can be radical, and it can have powerful, positive results.” (Michelle Tea)

Just over a week ago now, I was embarking upon a trip to Northern Virginia to visit a few of my old friends I hadn’t seen in over a decade. As I entered the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and approached the ticket terminals to print my boarding pass, I was seriously dreading my flight, not because I don’t like traveling, but because my pain levels were through the roof. Once I had my boarding pass, I noticed my seat had been changed from the one I had booked months prior. I had purposely selected the seat I had because it was near the back of the plane near the bathroom, given I have the tendency to go frequently during a flight.

When I finally made it out to the gate where my plane was leaving from, I spoke to the agent there and asked about my seat. She said it had been changed because she was trying to accommodate a family that wanted to sit together. I was in my head, being selfish, and expecting the seat I had been changed to wasn’t going to meet my expectations, so I asked for my original seat back. After she re-printed my boarding pass with my original seat, I felt a ping from my Higher Self saying I really should accept the seat she had moved me to. After much reluctance and a quick fight between my brain and my heart, I told the agent I was sorry for being so difficult and said it was fine to put me in the seat reassignment she had. She was very grateful.

About 30 minutes later, I boarded the flight and headed to my new seat assignment. It was then I discovered I was in an exit row now with an incredible amount of leg room, something a 6’5” guy with chronic pain issues can find an extreme appreciation for! But what was even more interesting, was where I would have been sitting, where that family was now in one single row rather than across from each other, was also their baby, who cried quite loudly the entire flight. I would have endured not only very little leg room there, but a screaming kid for about an hour and a half!

I guess it just goes to show that acceptance can have powerful, positive results sometimes…

Gracious God, help me to love and accept life on life’s terms, rather than allowing my ego to always convince me otherwise…

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

 

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1 (2 quick ones)

A blonde lady in the pet shop asks about buying a gold fish. The salesperson ask if she needed an aquarium. She replied, ‘I really don’t care what sign it is.’

A husband was angrily throwing darts at his wife’s photo tacked to his dart board in the basement. He hadn’t successfully hit it yet when suddenly his wife called to him downstairs.
Wife:  “Honey, what are you doing down there?”
Husband: “MISSING YOU, DEAR!”

Silly Joke #2

Store Manager: “I saw you arguing with that customer who just left. I told you before that the customer is always right!!! Do you understand me?!”
Salesclerk: “Yes, sir. The customer is always right.”
Store Manager: “That’s better. Now what were you arguing with the customer about?”
Salesclerk: “Well, sir, he said you were an idiot…”

Silly Joke #3

An 8-year-old girl went to her dad, who was working in the yard. She asked him, “Daddy, what is sex?” The father was surprised that she would ask such a question, but decides that if she is old enough to ask the question, then she is old enough to get a straight answer. He proceeded to tell her all about the “birds and the bees.” When he finished explaining, the little girl was looking at him with her mouth hanging open. The father asked her, “Why did you ask this question anyway?” The little girl replied, “Well, mommy told me to tell you that dinner would be ready in a couple of secs.”

Bonus Silly Joke

There was a baby born in the hospital and he weighed ten pounds. The odd thing about him was his body weighed five pounds and his testicles weighed five pounds. All the nurses and even the doctor didn’t know what to do with him. Then, the chief surgeon who had a terrible sense of humor walked in and asked what was wrong. The head nurse replied, “We don’t know what to do with this baby.” So the chief surgeon took one look and said, “I think we might need to put him in the mental ward.” “Why would ever say such a thing?” asked the head nurse shocked he’d say such a thing. “Well…” replied the chief surgeon, “Take a look at him. The boy is obviously half nuts.”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you had the power to make one issue in this world go away forever, what would it be?

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


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The Source Of That Negative Energy We See Isn’t “Out There”, It’s In Us…

I often think that the main problem in our world is how many of us focus vast quantities of negative energy on some issue that’s “out there”, rather than working on the source of all that negative energy, which is ultimately within us.

Lately, it seems as if everywhere I go, everyone has a negative opinion about this pandemic, especially when it comes to the vaccinated versus unvaccinated. At the gym the other day, I overheard a guy angrily talking about one of his wife’s family members who wasn’t following the same path he was when it came to how the virus was being handled. He spent at least 30 minutes bashing this other person who wasn’t even present to defend themselves. Last year this negative energy was focused on the Biden versus Trump and Democrats versus Republicans ordeal. Just prior to that when the pandemic began, it was the masked versus maskless. And before that was how people viewed the “MeToo” movement and so on. All of this has left me wondering why we keep on focusing on what’s wrong with the world, rather than looking within at the source of all this negativity.

I love what Bill Wilson once wrote about this very thing in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous so long ago now. He said, “Our actor is self-centered, ego-centric, as people like it to call it nowadays. He is like the retired businessman who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politician and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity? Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.”

Look, I’m not innocent in any of this and am just as guilty. I can easily get caught up in the latest drama in the world and how I think it should be handled better. But, in all reality, does any of my negative opinion surrounding some issue make any bit of a difference. The reality is no.

Buddhism talks much about this, that the world will always look imbalanced to us for so long as the world within us remains imbalanced. 12 Step recovery says it slightly different in that every resentment and every bit of negativity we feel towards someone or something is really about ourselves and some selfish, self-seeking, dishonest or fear-based thing within. In light of that, at the core, here’s the harsh reality I’ve come to learn as the truth in my own life.

Even if this pandemic went completely away right now, in the blink of an eye, something else is going to take its place that will annoy me, where I’ll want to channel my negativity energy towards, talking about it to anyone who’ll listen, expelling it outward, even going so far as to share it in one negative posting after another on social media, thinking it will somehow make a difference in how I feel. It never does, as doing so only expands the negative energy we feel. I’ve experienced this quite well when my health gets the best of me and I start sending that negative energy outward towards some issue I see in the world I don’t like, when it’s really my pain that I don’t like.

Nevertheless, at some point, this pandemic will end and when it does, are you just going to shift your negative energy about it onto the next thing in life? Maybe it’s time for all of us to really take a hard look within and see why we are being negative in the first place about one issue after another in this world. I know from personal experience that doing so does a far better job of dispelling that negative energy, just as much as I know that continuing to share it outwardly is going to do nothing but make it grow even stronger within us…

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