Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday where I begin each week writing about a single piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for one of my readers, Jean-Marie. But before I tell you why I’m grateful for her, I think it’s important to say I’m also extremely grateful for all the rest of my readers as well, especially to those who found spiritual connection and healing from any of my words and took the time to let me know.

You see, receiving positive comments from readers often helps me to keep writing, as writing day in and day out for over five years now has the tendency to frequently feel quite arduous. Sometimes it really takes a lot of energy to even sit down at my computer to write something, particularly when my levels of pain and mental anguish are utterly high. So, receiving positive feedback is something I don’t take for granted and something I tend to use to motivate me on those difficult health days to keep writing.

Nevertheless, given that I also made a commitment to keep writing as a way of giving back a gift I feel God gave me and as a way to help myself heal, I continue to write on a very personal level, which from time to time has deeply touched a reader, like it did most recently with Jean-Marie.

When I received her Facebook message last week in a response to one of my blog postings, one that dealt specifically with a fear about God abandoning me, I can honestly say I couldn’t place her name or how I actually knew her, other than the fact that I knew we were connected as friends on social media.

As I read her response and tried to remember how I actually knew her, I could see how she and I were much alike. Jean-Marie is one of those people who isn’t afraid to share openly about the struggles she’s facing in life and as she did so in her response, she let me know how much she related to my ongoing struggles with chronic pain, emptiness, and feeling a lack of connection with God. But, it was in something she said after that, which made me grateful enough to write about it. And while I was plenty grateful that she thanked me for my article and told me to not give up, it’s in these following words she shared with me publicly on Facebook that moved me greatly and filled me with the most amount of gratitude…

“Andrew, you have been a vessel to me. You probably don’t remember me, but I met you 8 years ago at a friend’s house which you had come to perform a guided meditation. Your God given gift touched me that day and I will never forget you opening my eyes to a better way of life. That night I put your number in my phone with full intentions of setting up another meditation. Time went on, much life happened, good and bad, 7 years went by and I became sick, my husband left for another women, house in foreclosure, just to name a few life situations. Then in one of my darkest moments, somehow my phone connected your phone number to my FB and was receiving your blogs which I had never seen before. I’m technology disabled, lol, so I’m not sure how it happened and as I scrolled through the mundane of FB posts and memes I stopped and read a blog from you. Your blog was about self-discovery and how to find yourself in the midst of turmoil. I am communicating this with you because you are completely unaware of how you have helped me get through some of my darkest times. Hence, the vessel. God worked through you to reach me and help me. My point, we don’t know his workings and do not always see how he uses ours gifts to touch other people. Your blogs, which I believe are a gift given to you from him, helped me through a time where I did not want to live anymore. And again, you had no idea!!! That my friend is God.”

So, in light of that, in the midst of me questioning whether God is still with me or not, I received these very beautiful words from a woman I couldn’t remember for the life of me, but a woman nonetheless who very much helped to remind me that I do have a purpose, even in this weakened state I often find myself living in.

I’m truly filled with an immense amount of gratitude today for Jean-Marie because of this, as she gave me a much-needed reminder that God continues to work through me, even when I think I’m totally lost and useless. It really is a beautiful thing indeed to see how a gift of writing that God gave me is also helping to bless, heal, and guide others around the world, like it has for Jean-Marie…

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Happy Grateful Heart Monday everyone! As I begin another week with a new piece of gratitude, I have plenty of thanks for my Higher Power for a few “lucky” things that happened during a 14-mile boat trip I took to Put-In-Bay island just over a week ago now.

I use the word “lucky” in quotes here solely because I honestly don’t believe much in luck these days. Rather, I feel my Higher Power has the tendency to place a helping hand out there for me from time to time, just to let me know He’s got my back, as I feel He did in the case of this recent boat excursion.

On a warm and sunny day where the weather was perfectly pristine for a ride on the lake, my friend invited my partner and I out on his 22-foot boat that he had just purchased the summer prior after getting his first boaters license. He was more than happy to take us over to this touristy island that’s busily travelled to during summer months. I had already visited it once before, by Cessna plane several years ago, but had wanted to go back the next time by boat to experience what it felt like being out on the open waters of Lake Erie.

You see, I grew up enjoying much of the summer months on a lake myself, at Lake Houston that is, where my Grandparents once owned a home directly on that lake’s edge in Crosby, Texas. They had a 22-foot boat themselves that I enjoyed quite a bit during many of my visits there. So, on some level, I was reliving one my fonder childhood memories as my friend’s boat slowly ventured out from its marina dock and filled it up with a little gas at a waterside station along the way. Shortly thereafter, we left the channel, merging onto the lake, and quickly picked up speed. The waves gently bounced the boat up and down while I stared out into the crest of the water being made by the boat’s engine. As I meditated on that and soaked up some of the sun’s rays, I felt relaxed and had a good natural buzz going.

Within 45 minutes or so, we arrived at the area where the majority of the passenger boats dock on this island when suddenly we noticed how crowded it was. We soon discovered from a few individuals sitting on a nearby boat that it was a special weekend there for boaters and from what we were told, every dock was booked and occupied.

At that precise moment, those fond childhood memories and natural buzz I had going started to evaporate as I began wondering if I was going to lose my non-refundable $75 golf cart rental (the majority of transportation on the island) I had paid for the night before online. After checking with a dockmaster who confirmed that everything was indeed booked and being unsuccessful in getting through to the one place he suggested, that buzz was totally gone. In a last-ditch-effort, I randomly called the only other dock company nearby to only discover they too were entirely booked. When I expressed my disappointment and told the woman on the other end we were new boaters to the island and how I was going to lose my already-paid-for cart rental, she told me to hold on. A few minutes later she kindly offered us a four-hour stay at the only space they had left at their docks, that being the one they use for themselves, which oddly wasn’t occupied. I thanked her profusely and thanked my Higher Power as well.

Once docked, I raced over to the rental place, wondering if they had given my golf cart away, given I was almost two hours past the time I had told them I’d pick it up and the fact that I noticed all the other rental places were entirely sold out. When I approached the rental desk, I was pleasantly surprised to learn they had kept my cart aside, even though plenty had inquired about it. After handing me the key to the 4-person cart and wishing me a good afternoon, I was feeling even more grateful. Over the next four hours, I got to enjoy a tasty lunch at a local restaurant, gorged on a few truffles at a homemade chocolate shop, played a challenging game of mini golf, and explored a 52-degree cave, all before it was time to head home.

Unfortunately, after returning the cart and getting back into the boat where the engine was promptly started, it began smoking and sputtering a little. We swiftly uncovered it while I said a little prayer and by the time we hit the open waters again, the smoke had all but disappeared, yet I still kept a watchful eye on the 30-year-old boat’s engine. About thirty minutes or so later though, I began having another worry, one that we were heading in the wrong direction. When I opened the maps app on my phone, my suspicion was confirmed. We had been travelling in the south east direction when we really had needed to be traveling in the southwest direction. After changing course, we eventually found our way back to the channel and had just entered it when suddenly the engine let out a little smoke again, sputtered, and then died completely, leaving us drifting. But, while my friend called his boater’s tow insurance for help, I was actually still feeling pretty grateful because I realized it could have been far worse with that engine dying in the middle of those open waters, when none of us had had any cell phone reception.

Nevertheless, my final piece of gratitude for the day actually came while my friend was still on the phone with his towing insurance company. After many boats had passed us by and did nothing more than ask if we were ok, a large boat from Florida pulled up and said they’d give us a tow themselves. Ten minutes later they dropped us off at the only marine gas station that was still opened, but for not much longer. There we learned we had simply just run out of gas.

So, in the end, once we were docked and headed home for the night, I truly had plenty to be grateful for on my first boating trip to Put-In-Bay. I was grateful for my friend who graciously treated my partner and I on our first boat trip to the island. I was grateful for that dockmaster who gave us a dock to park his boat at. I was grateful to the cart rental place that had kept my cart reserved well past my reservation time. I was grateful for all those fun activities I got to do during my four-hour stay on the island. I was grateful that the engine had died once we were back in a well-travelled channel. And I was grateful for those boaters who had ended up giving us a tow. All-in-all there was definitely much to be grateful for by the end of the day, especially to my Higher Power, who I felt truly was the hand behind it all…

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to Grateful Heart Monday! Today I’m choosing to begin my week with a piece of gratitude for having overcome something I struggled for years with and that’s being able to enjoy spending time alone with just myself.

Spending time alone with only myself is definitely something I used to despise. Whether I was at home or out engaging in some activity, I always occupied any of it with someone else. Why? Because the idea of being alone used to make me feel extremely uncomfortable inside. Much of that dealt with abandonment issues I hadn’t worked through, while another big part of it dealt with the deep-seated insecurities I had with the person I saw in the mirror every day. My reality back then was that I really didn’t like me and the idea of doing anything alone made that feeling grow even stronger. Over the years though, I gradually worked through all the underlying issues surrounding this dislike of spending time alone and have come to truly appreciate it now.

Take last Tuesday for example. I got in my car around 12:30pm and drove a good hour and a half north to an artsy movie theater where a small indie film was playing that I wanted to see. As I sat in the auditorium watching it while eating some snacks, I found gratitude in the number of times my Spirit and heart connected to the main actor’s angst in the film. After it was over, I drove to a miniature golf course nearby and played a game for the first time in my life totally alone, which I found oddly satisfying. Ironically, I also shot the lowest score I think I ever have on any miniature golf course and thus was able to drive home with even more gratitude.

The fact is, I enjoy my time alone so much these days, that I often prefer it over spending time with others. Now, when I’m at home, I don’t constantly lock myself in conversations on the computer or on my phone with someone else. Instead, I find joy working on puzzles, coloring, or watching my favorite shows and tend to talk to God while doing any one of them. I also find joy in maintaining and talking to my yard and gardens on a spiritual level, which I’m sure probably sounds totally weird, but it’s just something I like doing by myself now. As for when I venture from my home, I enjoy taking long rides in my car, sitting by the water, going to the movies, playing games in arcades, dining at new restaurants, taking strolls through picturesque parks, and now mini-golfing as well, all alone.

You see, it’s in all those moments spent alone, where I discovered not only a greater love and appreciation for myself, but also a deeper relationship with my Higher Power. Far too often, I think too many of us keep ourselves so busy and occupied, that we fail to hear our Higher Power’s attempts to communicate to us. And because of it, we reject our Higher Power as not existing or not caring, and in turn keep ourselves even more occupied so we don’t have to feel the pain that can come from this.

Believe me, I spend years keeping myself so occupied that I probably missed out on many moments my Higher Power was trying to talk to me. But, when my health forced me to slow down and start spending a lot more time by myself, I began to see that my Higher Power seems to talk to me more in those moments, as compared to all the times I was rather pre-occupied with someone else.

So, as I start a fresh week off with this new piece of gratitude, I find myself feeling exactly that inside my very soul, all because I learned how to appreciate any moment I get to spend alone, as there I stand my best chance on hearing from my Higher Power, which is definitely something to be grateful for when it happens, now isn’t it?

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