Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

My sister left Massachusetts today with her family. Her flight left early this morning and I received a message that she arrived at her hotel in Nashville safely this afternoon. What I found most interesting was on Saturday for my final visit with her in this area, saying goodbye wasn’t difficult. Ironically, I felt more of a sense of peace. A few days ago I wrote about geographical cures and how I know my sister will learn that lesson one day. What I didn’t write about was the ups and downs that we have gone through in our relationship as brother and sister.

Growing up, my sister and I wanted nothing to do with each other. One would have thought that the two of us would have drawn closer with our parents being so dysfunctional and alcoholic. Instead we became polar opposites and took different sides. During my college years, when she had already begun her first post graduate corporate work, I was too focused on my drinking and drugging to care about her or anyone else for that matter.

All that changed in October of 1996, when I received the phone call from her that our father committed suicide. My sister and I spent a lot of time supporting each other after that. I even for a time lived extremely close to her home in one of my geographical cures not too long after my father’s death. Unfortunately, I became too self-absorbed to draw in a healthy loving sibling relationship and I abandoned the closeness that was growing between us. Over the years after that, when she needed me most, I avoided her. When I needed her, she was always there. If I was in a jam, she came to my aid. If I was feeling that death was better than life in one of my many suicidal moments that I once felt, she consoled me and kept me going. Hardly ever was I there for her. When I moved back to Massachusetts in 2007, she took me in as I had no where else to go. Over the course of the past five years, I have battled myself and had moments where I’m sure it felt as if I was finally getting healthier and becoming a real brother to her. Time and time again, I fell short of that and got wrapped up into any number of other addictions that I suffered from. A year ago, the pain became great enough to turn over all of my will to God and allow God to guide me in every part of my life. Since then, I have worked on my relationships with everyone that is still in my life, especially with my sister.

Actions have consequences and selfish ones can lead to a long time of recovery from them. Over the past year, I have done what I can to show my sister I’m getting healthier and never going back to the darkness and addictions I had lived in. Where I had been invited at least once a week to come to her house and hang out and then spend the night in the guest room, I was limited to a few hours of scheduled time, sometimes even just an hour and no more. At first I was angry and full of rage, demanding justice and saying that I need more time with her and my nephews. My anger distorted my thoughts and usually ruined my time with her when I was granted an hour or two. In the final months I had in Massachusetts with her, a shift began to happen within me about how to look at this differently.

I stopped looking at what I wasn’t getting and started being grateful for what I was. The few times I got to see her were not filled with arguing and drama because I came to understand within me that healing takes time, especially with how I treated her for most of my adult life. I realized that if all I was going to get was an hour or two, once a month, to see her, that I might as well make the best of it and show her and her kids how much I love each of them.

On Saturday, when I hugged her goodbye, I didn’t cry, at all. In fact, I didn’t even feel sad. Through my prayers, meditations, and having God at my center, I came to the realization that her moving away will give her time to heal from all the damage I’ve caused. It will give her time to clear her head and all those thoughts about how I once treated her. It will allow her to feel a little safer with knowing all we can do is communicate via phone or Skype for awhile. And it will allow her heart to miss me and maybe, just maybe, grow a little more fond of the potential the two of us have to be best friends and a loving brother and sister to each other.

We both have come a long way in our lives from our childhood craziness. I am beginning to see how my spiritual work in serving God is changing my life for the better. As for my sister, you can see it in one of the last messages she sent to my phone.

“Looking forward to the time when you can visit us in TN. Love you a lot. Thanks for being my brother. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better than you.”

Now I feel tears in my eyes…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

We Are All Teachers and Students To Each Other

Lately I have been getting more and more distant from my roommate who is also the landlord and owner of the home I live in. When I first moved in here, I was still partially active in some of my addictions and quite toxic on some level as well. Over the past year, that has dramatically changed and the more that I’ve grown spiritually, the more I seem to be clashing with my roommate.

Since moving in, I have butted heads with my roommate over different things, but all of them have an underlying theme. Generally, in each case, there was something that I’ve been doing that bothers him and he wants it to stop. It started first with the garbage can and the bag that is put within it. For whatever reason, I have had difficulty getting the bag in the can in the way that he does it. Ironically my partner has the same can and there too, I have the same difficulty. What started out as a simple suggestion of how I can do it better turned into him demanding I watch him more than once on how it’s done. The same behaviors of him having to show me how to do something as he does also has occurred with how I flush the toilet (as the handle sticks at times), with what I do or don’t place in the recyclables bin, with what I can and can’t put in the dishwasher, with water that I let drip after getting a glass of water from the refrigerator, with what is allowed to go in the garbage cans and what is not, and well the last one was a doozy for me. He had issues with the baby wipes that I use in the bathroom and how I dispose of them and went as far as getting on the web to look for alternatives for me to use.

In each of these things, arguments have ensued between us and I realized today that these battles aren’t between us at all, they’re between him and his father and me and my mother. The few things I know about my roommate’s father is only because I met him once for a dinner and I saw the way he treated his son at that time. Sadly, my roommate’s father looks down upon him and he’s not subtle about it. He judges his work, how he lives his life, and quite often is not so kind in things he verbalizes about him. While I don’t know the validity of this because I wasn’t there to see my roommate in his childhood years, I would gather that his father pointed out quite often all the things that he felt he was doing wrong. I’m sure that he even went as far as having to show him how to do those things the way that he saw fit rather than allowing his son to figure them out on his own. I believe that until one becomes more self-aware, one fails to see how much they are like their own parents or like those that raised them. It’s become clear to me that my roommate is very much like his father and that I’m just playing out that role of him as a young boy except he hasn’t figured that out yet.

I’ve been there, in that fog, acting just like my parents and not even realizing it. Through a lot of pain and healing, I’m very much more self-aware today of when I am acting like them. Let’s take my mother for example. She was very controlling of me. Quite often, what I did seemed never good enough in her eyes. Anything that I ever undertook, seemed to always need more suggestions on how I can do whatever it was better. And the more that she did that behavior towards me, the more I became resentful and enraged within. So while my roommate in all of those situations is playing the role of his father and I’m playing the role for him as a young boy, I have realized through my meditation and therapy that he in turn for me is playing the role of my mother and I am playing the young me finally standing up for myself. And what he isn’t seeing is that what I’m doing to him, standing for myself, is something he has wanted to do for most of his life to his own father. And as I do that, it enrages him, because he’s not there yet.

Unfortunately, when one person is self aware and one is not, it creates disruption between the two. I can’t make my roommate see that he is acting like his father when he points out things that I’m doing wrong in his mind. The only thing I have control over is how I react. That is the lesson I’m still trying to learn. While I’ve been standing up for myself a lot more lately, I continue to react with anger and I know that’s not the way of peaceful living and oneness with God at the center. I’m guessing there is still part of my parent’s energy that I haven’t let go of yet as I’m sure that if I had, I would be able to keep myself calm and collected when my roommate goes down the path of trying to control me.

Thankfully, I’ve at least learned that we are all teachers and students to each other and that when we find ourselves being challenged by someone, there is probably a lesson being taught by them that I still have to learn. Teachers come in all forms, they don’t necessarily have to be those we find at places of education. They can be roommates, friends, bosses, or people that we come across at any point of the day. Sometimes I wish I could show my roommate how we are just living out roles that we took on from our childhood when we get in these bouts, but his path is his path and mine is mine. All I have control over is my sense of oneness with Source and how I react to things around me. I am glad for all the teachers that come into my life, especially my roommate, as he is helping me to remove any unwanted energy I still hold within me from my past demons like my mother.

The lesson in life for me today is that when I find myself being challenged, getting frustrated, or being angry towards anyone in my life, I know it’s only a teacher that has come into my life to help me grow spiritually and let go of things that prevent that from happening.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Hoard or Donate

I had an interesting day today in that things I planned on doing came out differently than how I had originally intended for it to go. Sometimes that’s a good thing though…

When I headed out in my car today, my original intention was to take my old suitcase to a place in downtown Boston named The Zipper Hospital. After many years of beatings, my suitcase was in need of an overhaul and this place seemed like it could do the job. When my morning prayer and meditation routine was done, I phoned them and asked where they were located. After finding out that parking was not free and that they weren’t even sure they would be able to help me with it, I did a quick Google search for an alternative and found one in Sudbury about 30 miles away. I was up for the drive as it was sunny outside for once here and parking was free there. (For anyone that knows Boston, where the original store was, to park simply an hour or more, can cost anywhere from $15 to $30 on up.) As I headed out the door, I decided to take an old backpack with me that needed a new zipper to see if the store could fix that as well.

About 40 minutes later, I was happy to know they could fix both and that I could pick them up in a few days. While I had been waiting for the repairperson to look over my items,  I came across a new backpack that was on sale there. They had already informed me that the one I had was going to cost $20 to repair, so after about 15 minutes, I made the decision to take it back and buy the new one for about $20 more. In all honesty, I was glad to move on to a new one as the one I had been using was from an old friendship that had a lot of bad memories. When the woman brought my backpack out from the repair shop, I was shocked to find out it had already been fixed and told I could keep it with no charge.

I believe it’s a human trait to always want to get something for nothing, but I’ve learned over time that sometimes it’s better to pay it forward. After paying for my new backpack, I got in my car and decided to donate the newly repaired one that had nothing wrong with it now. The old me would have held onto it, thrown it in a closet and probably never used it again, and gotten some sort of selfish satisfaction that it was fixed for nothing. Thankfully, that’s not me anymore. I quickly looked on my phone’s internet and found a place not more than 10 minutes away called Global Thrift and decided I would make a quick stop there to drop it off. When I reached the store and went to the back where the donation area was, a guy smiled from ear to ear at me and thanked me profusely saying that my backpack probably would be out the door by the end of the day with some lucky kid as they were always in demand. I left the store with a smile on my heart and a kick in my step and felt a lot better that I had done that instead of what I probably would have done with it a few years ago.

I have a lot more things I want to donate in the near future and I’m looking forward to doing that. It’s amazing how a human being will hold onto something that is never used for years and years when someone out there could enjoy using it right here and now. Why does anyone hoard anything? I can only speak for me, and I know that it really is about my own selfishness and self-centeredness that generally is saying “well, geez, you might need this someday…” My rule of thumb today is that if I haven’t used it in over a year, it’s most likely I’ll never use it again, so donate it or get rid of it.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson