Daily Reflection

“You can put things off until tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come.” (Gloria Estefan)

“I should spend more time with my Dad.” “I should make more time for him to visit me or vice versa.” “I should call him and take the time to see how he is”. These were all things I used to tell myself quite frequently when it came to my relationship with my Father, always putting a closer connection with him off for another day, until one day, the phone call came where I learned my Dad was gone and there wouldn’t be any more chances to connect with him except in memories and in prayer.

Have you ever been through something this? Have you ever put off making time for another repeatedly, only to have a day come before that ever got to happen, where that person was no longer alive and there weren’t any more chances to connect with them?

Losing my Father and Mother, and a number of dear friends over the years as well, so abruptly due to tragic means changed my outlook upon life with all those I care about. Without any addiction driving my life these days, I’ve learned to place greater value upon those I care about, knowing a relationship with any of them may not be around tomorrow.

I had a teacher once who asked me when I was going through a difficult ordeal with an ex of mine, whether I’d be acting the same towards them if I suddenly found out they had six months to a year left in their life due to a rapid onset of some terrible disease or illness. The answer was always the same, I wouldn’t act the same. In fact, I’d do everything I could to spend as much time with that person. My teacher’s response after hearing that was how I should be acting that way all the time then with them, because that tomorrow I kept putting reconciliation off to, may never come.

In the past few months, I’ve been going through a similar situation with my sister. While I’ve spent the last few years being willing to go to whatever lengths to spend time and connect with her, I’ve struggled with how busy she is and how limited our time is connecting. I’ve often wondered if she would do more to connect with me if I suddenly developed some condition that gave me less than a year left to live. Would she then make more time for me? I don’t know, but what I do know is how easy it is to put something off to tomorrow under the guise of how busy we are today. But tomorrow is never a guarantee and may never come for us, not just for reaching out and spending time with those we love, but also for ourselves too. I learned that pretty quickly after losing my health literally overnight, back in late April of 2010. In the years since, I’ve had to face the reality that there are things I once said I’d do, that now my physical body isn’t capable of doing.

The fact is, life is too short. We’re here today and gone tomorrow. So, if you have a loved one you keep thinking you want to connect more with, or if you have something you’d love to do in life but haven’t yet, and you keep putting either off for one tomorrow after another, know that tomorrow may never come. And if it doesn’t, it may just leave you with an ache in your heart and a longing that you’d wish you had made the time for whatever it was, when you could…an ache I know oh, so, very well…

Dear God, help me to not put off anymore, anything that my heart desires to do today, knowing that tomorrow may never come.

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

Daily Reflection

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” (Confucius)

The following is a true story from one of the spiritual publications I read daily that really reminded me of an invaluable lesson I’ve faced in life a number of times.

“Many years ago, my stepfather, a retired engineer, went out to oversee his vegetable garden. He noticed excessive puddles of water scattered throughout his yard. There had been no rain and so it seemed that an aging pipe or water main break was to blame. He estimated the route of the underground line and began digging up the lawn in hopes of finding the source of the problem. Holes turned into trenches, and his backyard soon became a mixture of dirt piles, mud, and mysterious expanding puddles of water. After fruitless hours of digging, he searched for the garden hose to clean himself off and call for backup. It was then he discovered the outdoor faucet was already turned on. Water had surged out of the mouth of the hose and had been flowing into the yard for well over a day. He had forgotten to turn it off the last time he’d watered the garden.”

How many times have I done something just like this? Countless. There was that time I was at the International World Convention for Alcoholics Anonymous in San Antonio in 2010 where I had just gone to the bathroom and was now out in a very busy hallway with thousands of other people heading to various meetings. I went to make a phone call when I suddenly realized I couldn’t find my cell phone. I frantically searched the floor around me and then retraced my steps to the bathroom, thinking maybe I had placed it on the urinal, only to discover from some very annoyed individuals attempting to relieve themselves that there was nothing sitting there in front of them. As my heart raced and raced, panic setting in, I emerged back into the crowded hallway once more and thrusted my hands in frustration into my back pockets to rest them there from swinging so wildly in the air, whereupon I discovered my phone had been with me the entire time!

Why do we make things like this so complicated? Is it our ego? Probably. I’ve definitely wasted countless bouts of energy over the years in many different projects overcomplicating things that were meant to be so simple. It’s why I tend to avoid at all costs doing any of those assemble-at-home types of furniture from places like IKEA. And dare I say how many times I’ve had incidents just like that “lost phone” occur in my life? If I only took a moment to slow down and take a deep breath when things like this happen!

You see, that’s always been my problem. Fear strikes and I react. I run headfirst into a situation trying to solve it with rash thinking, rather than slowing down, assessing the entire situation, breathing deeply, and allowing the Spirit from within to lend a hand. But, I find the more I slow down when any crisis strikes, rather than exasperate myself into anger, frustration and fear trying to solve it, the more I allow myself to breathe through the issue, and the more the solution seems to come through something very simple and usually quite painless too.

Dear God, please remind me the next time any problem strikes, to take a moment and breathe, and allow You to work from within me, so that I may see the solution with far more simplicity and far less complexity… 

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

Daily Reflection

“Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.” (Ephesians: 4:29)

Have you ever noticed how many people these days seem to like using social media to criticize someone else’s posts, rather than focusing on anything positive about them? Why do so many seem to steer more towards seeing the negative in another and commenting on that, rather than commenting on any of their positive qualities? Is it just easier to express negative viewpoints of another, rather than ones that uplift and praise them?

First off, I’ve always learned that one can only see the positive in another, if they see the positive in themselves first. When one is a positive person, it’s usually because they have a good amount of self-love behind it, which in turn leads them to see and concentrate more on the positive traits in another. My mother didn’t love herself much at all when she was alive and because of it, she tended to be more negative than anything. She frequently cited out all the things about my sister and I that she felt could use improvement, instead of lifting us up and praising our accomplishments. All that did was give us the worst of self-esteems, even though she truly believed it was going to help us to become healthier and better individuals.

Ever since, I’ve had many friends and partners who have been just like her, constantly pointing out all my flaws and shortcomings and any areas they felt I could improve. None of it was ever really helpful for me in the long run, because it only made me loathe myself a lot more and in turn, made me see the negative in others, because that’s what I saw in myself from all that constant criticism.

Thankfully, I’ve learned through it all that it’s far better to offer helpful words, to praise and uplift one’s achievements, then to cite out anything negative. As when someone places a negative comment on my any of my blogs for example, and then justifies it’s just them being honest and helpful. It isn’t helpful to me at all, in any way, shape, or form, as it only makes me doubt myself even greater. The same is true when someone hears me at a speaking engagement and the first thing out of their mouth is a comment on something they didn’t agree with. That too is more harmful than helpful because ultimately, I’ve had enough criticism of my life to last an eternity.

The last thing I need are people in my life these days who tend to comment on the negative parts of me, rather than the positive ones. What I need more of now are people who utilize helpful words, that build me up rather than tear me down, that motivate me instead of discourage me, that nurture me, rather than harm me.

Nevertheless, if we want to build a world with a lot more positivity, wouldn’t it be better for all of us to cite out the good we see in others, and not the bad? I’m inclined to believe from my own journey that citing out anyone’s negative attributes will only lead to them seeing themselves in greater negativity, which in turn will lead to them seeing the world around them in greater negativity as well.

So maybe we should all begin to use more helpful words than harmful ones. Ones that focus on a person’s achievements, accomplishments, and positive traits, that build a person’s character more up than down. And maybe we should all start by doing that with ourselves first, as when we do, we’ll be able to see that far greater in the world around us to the point where we share from that perspective instead…

I pray to love myself enough that I focus on all the good I am and all the positive traits I bring, and in turn, start seeing that in the rest of the world enough to where I communicate that more so than anything else.

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