Completing A 10-Year Promise, Taking A Much-Needed Break, And Becoming Open To What’s Next…

Today’s article marks the end of a 10-year promise that I made to myself and marks the beginning of the next chapter of my life as well, to whatever comes next, one that has yet to be written. For what began as an online journal of sorts and morphed into something much bigger, for something much Greater, I have continued to expand both my mind and my heart in the process.

TheTwelfthStep has been an amazing adventure that so many have supported me along the way in my efforts to keep this going. While there have been many blessings and many heartaches through it all, each has helped me onto a much Higher Path of consciousness and one I am thankful for every individual who publicly and privately messaged me along the way. Each of you, in your own unique expressions of God has helped me to become something more, and as I continue to spiritually grow, after posting 3,650 entries in here, I know it’s time to take a much-needed break from this.

Every late night, just after midnight, for the past 10 years, I’ve written from my heart, about gratitude, about addictions, about my painful journey, about life experiences, about love, about heartache, about jokes, and everything in between. I grew to become more and more transparent in each of the things I posted, including so many pondering questions to insightful quotes. And somewhere along the way, I became someone else, and something else, and each of you helped to play a part in that.

I actually don’t know exactly who I’m becoming now, but what I do know I’ve done is achieve something I set my mind and my heart out to do ten years ago, and that was to write for ten consecutive years, every, single, day, all to reveal each and every thing I went through in life to make myself fully transparent with the world.

What I’ve learned through this all is that it really is ok for each of us to be ourselves, even when fear tries to tell us otherwise. And it really is ok to step out on our own and beat to our own inner drum, even when society tells us we shouldn’t. I’ve done that now for ten straight years and I most assuredly can tell you it’s been so very freeing. I’m a better man now because of it and have become far lighter and far brighter because of it as well.

I know I will miss my daily interactions with everyone that came from maintaining this blog on a daily basis, but I’m not saying goodbye to it either. I’m just choosing to take a much-needed break to see what God has in store for me next. Maybe it will be taking my writing in a different direction or reporting on a whole new chapter in a life that begins elsewhere. Regardless of whatever comes next, I love all of you unconditionally and hope that TheTwelfthStep has blessed you in some way, shape, or form somewhere along the way.

From my heart to yours, one soul to another soul, thank you. I truly love you all unconditionally.

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

From Seeking Immortality To Accepting Mortality…

There’s a short story by a man named Jorge Luis Borges from Argentina, which tells of a soldier from Rome who drinks from a secret river that provides immortality. Over time the soldier realizes immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, that life without limits is life without significance. Eventually, he comes to understand that it’s death itself that gives meaning to life and so thus begins his search for an antidote to his immortality, which ends up being in a secret spring that restores both his mortality and ultimately, his peace.

Gaining immortality is definitely something that has fascinated me ever since I was a kid. I have watched countless science fiction and fantasy-based TV shows and films on the subject including “Forever”, “Highlander”, “Tuck Everlasting”, and “The Age of Adaline”. And now having turned 50 in 2022, I find the subject even more alluring. While I used to think if I ever found some elixir or some fountain of youth that could create immortality for me that I’d drink from it as quickly as I could, today I find myself rethinking that notion quite differently.

Truth be told, what I hope for now is to live another half century of life where I am focused on three things. Selfless giving, spreading love and joy around the planet, and spending every second of it growing old with just one person to love who I get to share my entire heart and soul with, who shares the same with me in return. And I believe that will happen. I truly do. But to think of doing this with someone I love that deeply who I’d eventually outlive, who I would endure having to watch wither away and die while I continue to go on, brings up a great despondency within me.

I don’t think I’d ever want to experience a love as deep as this leave this planet of existence while I continue to go on forever, only to repeat the cycle again eventually with another and another, watching love repeatedly turn to heartbreak, until life itself becomes lonely and pointless.

On some level, this is precisely how I feel about what I did with the first half century of my life, as I made it pointless. I spent the first half of my life mostly pleasing myself, my carnal senses, fulfilling all my selfish desires, only to leave me feeling broken and alone time and time again. But through it all, I’ve learned one invaluable lesson.

What really matters in this world is not in attempting to remain youthful, trying to look immortal, or buying and consuming anything that makes you appear or feel temporarily better. What really matters is simply just being close to another’s heart and soul, in sharing love with them from the deepest of places, spending countless hours talking about life, and being close in a way that words just can’t describe.

Words for this type of love come from something Greater and are something I am only just coming to learn about now at my half-century mark in life. So, as I begin the next half century of my life, I find myself no longer interested in immorality or attempting to remain youthful through any of what this world has to offer to elongate life. I’m simply looking to share what I have left on this plane of existence with someone to age with, who wants to live life to its endless possibilities, embracing what matters most through it all, and that’s one thing and one thing only, it’s unconditional love, and it’s the only thing that matters to me anymore when it comes to accepting my mortality.

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

The Type Of Love I Truly Deserve…

As I sit here in Starbucks drinking my cold brew during what feels to have become the loneliest holiday season ever, I find myself pondering something I’ve realized I’ve let everyone else dictate for my entire life and that’s the type of love I truly deserve. Ever since I was a young kid, I’ve allowed myself to be told I’m being too needy. Having had alcoholic parents who couldn’t give me love freely or unconditionally is where this pattern began.

Here’s the thing, when you try to go to someone who’s broken and ask them for love, well you’re going to get a broken answer, which usually equates to being told you’re being too needy. Because in reality, they can’t offer you the very thing you deserve. You can ONLY get unconditional love from someone who knows how to love themselves unconditionally. My parents never loved themselves unconditionally so they couldn’t ever give me that type of love and neither could any of those I pledged my heart to afterwards for the same reason. And that was only made worse by the fact that I didn’t love myself unconditionally as well, mostly because I never learned how to.

I believe that like attracts like, which led me to attracting people who were only mirrors for all my brokenness stemming from my childhood. Everyone became mirrors of my dysfunctional parents and each reaffirmed the broken patterns I learned way back then from them, leading me again and again to the same conclusion in their minds, that I was too needy. When in reality, I only needed to learn how to unconditionally love myself for this pattern to finally end. And when I finally did learn how to do that over the past few years, I realized what I want now is someone I’ve never been with yet.

Honestly, it took me living an entirely broken childhood and five long term relationships to finally grasp the type of love I truly deserve and always have. And I know God wants this type of love for me now as well. I know now that I deserve to be in a relationship with someone who wants to grasp my heart and never let go of it, who wants to hold me and love every minute of that without counting the minutes of how long they have to do it, and who wants to embrace my lips with such passion that they feel my soul through them. Throughout my entire adult life thus far, I’ve chosen one person after another who has never been able to offer me love like this.

Instead, I’ve allowed myself to be embraced in worldly ways with mostly carnal expressions of love with those who always seem more concerned with my appendage size, what I look like without my clothes on, what type of body hair I have, what sexual positions I like best, and countless other lower vibrational things that honestly don’t matter if you want to have a relationship filled with unconditional love. But when you choose to live in a relationship with someone who begins it with carnal expressions of love, when their fantasy of you runs out, so does that type of love, and that’s precisely when you start getting told you’re being too needy each time you approach them for greater expressions of love.

I know what type of love I want now and I’m waiting for it. Because I truly deserve it. And always have…

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

Spiritual Attraction, Not Promotion…

I’m all for spiritual attraction and not promotion, and this correlates directly to why I don’t like organized religion and am not a member of any church. This became even more clear to me during a recent vacation to see my best friend when I went to a living nativity event at his place of worship one evening during my visit.

While I support everyone on their own individual spiritual paths, including if they choose to be a member of a place of worship or follow some organized religion, the main reason I do not have either in my life is related to my dislike of being proselytized to, which is the very thing that happened to me while I was trying to warm myself up inside during this church event.

As I sat in a room set aside for prayer that evening, trying to heat up my hands, and doing my own form of spiritual connection with God, a man walked in and asked me point blank, “So, have you found Jesus and declared him your Lord and Savior?” As he waited for me to answer, he smiled in a way that made me feel so extremely awkward that honestly, I felt creeped out by it all. Even so, I told him my truth in that I had found a relationship with Jesus after a suicide attempt in 2011 and have been on a path with him strongly ever since. What I didn’t tell him though was how I am also a strong blend of other spiritualities as well, including some Buddhism and other energy practices. I knew telling him those things wouldn’t bode well if I did, especially when he said he had been on his path for over 50 years and went on to discuss things I didn’t really feel comfortable talking about with him.

Honestly, I don’t understand why people must throw their religion and their beliefs upon another who isn’t asking for it. I’ve come to learn in my life that everyone has their own unique tailored approach when it comes to spirituality, which is why I simply let people find their own way with it all. Sometimes people ask me about my own spiritual practices, and I’ll tell them what I do on my own path, but I also tell them as well that they don’t have to follow any of it if they don’t want to. And never do I tell anyone that they need to be saved and declare anyone or anything as their Lord and Savior, because for me, doing so is judging another’s spiritual walk in life and me claiming to know what God wants for them.

Frankly, I don’t even know if I buy into the concept of being saved as anything but something humans created. I feel it’s become a lot more about what man believes must happen than what God desires for someone. What I do buy into is that there is Something up there, out there, around here, and in me, that continues to guide me. There is some Higher force, some Being of Light, one that I choose to call God, and It has been the closest thing I’ve come to know in my life thus far by practicing the main principle of what Christ represents, which is simply to just love God and others unconditionally and nothing more.

While I follow the love of Christ, I also have passion for other spiritual teachings as well, all of which continue to lead me to become more of my Higher Self. But that is my spiritual journey, and not anyone else’s, and one I would never place upon another. So, having anyone approach me and try to “save me” only turns me off from wanting to even connect with that person or their place of worship for that matter.  The fact is, if I had never found or been introduced to God at the very point where that man had approached me, I wouldn’t have pursued God any further there, that’s for sure. I do not say this with anger or hate, I only say this with love in that it’s not my place to push my spiritual path upon another like this man tried to do with me.

As for the rest of my experience that evening at this living nativity event, I also observed two members of the church angrily discussing the current political administration of our country, talking quite negatively about “all the bleeding-heart liberals who are making our country a total mess”. I was so turned off by overhearing their conversation about this, I went down a quiet hallway, planning to go into a family restroom where I could lock the door and find some private serenity for a few moments. But before I could, I also overheard two other individuals nearby discussing a third individual who wasn’t present, a person who apparently was going through some struggles with addiction. One of them was quite heatedly bashing this individual behind their back which brought me great sadness to hear.

While I know there are no perfect people, and there is no perfect place of worship, for someone who might be looking to become more spiritual, I can assure you that after all these things happening to me, I had no desire to be a part of what was being offered at this church. Sadly, this is what I’ve come to know from many people in this world who have left religion and organized places of worship, all due to experiencing things like this.

What I am attracted to when it comes to spirituality and religion is full acceptance of everyone, full unconditional love, and full embracement of each person’s walk. I accept each and every person on their own individual path, even if it isn’t one that’s spiritual at all. Because I believe that deep down in every single individual on this planet is a soul worthy of being loved, which is the very thing I work on daily rather than proselytizing someone or talking in a way that might create polarization and make me appear to be self-righteous.

Ultimately, at my core, I simply believe in spiritual attraction and not promotion, which is something I often find doesn’t exist when it comes to organized religion and its various places of worship and that is the very reason why I stay clear of it all now. Because the closest I ever feel to God is never at a church, or with religious people, or in trying to convert anyone to my own spiritual path. Rather, it’s always when I am showing someone that God loves them just as they are, by simply loving them unconditionally.

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

The In-Between Place.

The In-Between Place. I know today’s title sounds a lot like it’s taken straight from the pages of Netflix’s Stranger Things, except in that show it’s actually called The Upside-Down place, but I digress from what today’s article is ultimately about.

Here’s a question for all of you to kick the real purpose of today’s article off. Have you ever felt like you were stuck in some in-between place in life, where your past self no longer works, but your future self is one that’s still being written and extremely unclear? That’s what this In-Between Place feels like to me and precisely where I find myself living in presently. It’s like living in limbo, one that no matter what I’ve tried to do, I can’t seem to make it change.

I often compare this in-between place, this limbo, to that of being on a plane on a runway, waiting to take off. But for some reason, the plane just sits there for minutes that eventually turns into hours, where you can’t do anything but remain in your seat? I actually had this happen to me once, where I remained on a plane on a runway for 3 hours and couldn’t even get up to go to the bathroom! Thankfully, FAA laws have changed to prevent this from happening anymore, but once again I digress.

Ok, so here’s the thing. This plane I’m on can’t return to its gate because the person I was before I boarded it was one that relied upon countless lower vibrational patterns to exist, none of which work for me anymore. I see that so clearly now with the countless individuals I had been surrounding myself with, all who I relied upon to feel better and ended up becoming overly needy and dependent upon somewhere along the way. With each of them, the very thing I sought from them was never fulfilled, that being a desire to build a connection of the heart, where instead sexual innuendos and banter became my everyday language with them instead. I don’t want connections like this anymore. But, at the same time, now that my 10-year relationship is in shambles and nothing to keep me in this city I moved to solely for him, my plane feels like it’s readying for takeoff, but to where, I don’t know. What that translates to is a feeling like I’m on that plane, sitting on some random runaway, waiting.

I believe waiting is one of the most difficult places an individual will ever experience on a spiritual journey to find themselves. I now find myself in that very place, waiting on God for answers as to where this plane is heading next and it’s something that is requiring me to bear a lot of uncertainty and do a lot of prayer. My heart seems to ache all the time now bearing the brunt of this waiting, where loneliness feels like my constant companion. But I’m going through it this time with something different as compared to the last time I faced it, and that’s in how I’m handling it. Because what I’m doing now is that I’m not trying to numb myself from feeling any of it. I’m choosing to sit in all this emptiness instead of filling it with yet another aimless addiction. I’m simply allowing myself to feel it in all its entirety, which often feels so very painful and one I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

I don’t think there’s a single day over the past six weeks where I haven’t sobbed incredibly in whatever seat I’ve been sitting on in this plane. But, the fact remains, I’m allowing myself to remain on it, to wherever it’s heading, rather than trying to force it to head back to its former gate or busting through the pilot’s door to make it takeoff immediately to where I want. Instead, I’m fully trusting in God now, that my plane is headed to somewhere pretty amazing. I only have to wait a little longer.

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

To Keep Going Or Not, That Is The Question…

Pretty soon I’ll be coming up to the 10-year anniversary mark since I began writing for this site, Presently, I’ve written well over 2000 original articles for it, but I find myself now at a crossroads with it wondering if I really want to keep it going.

One thing I have the ability with when it comes to this blog, is to see how many are actually reading it daily. It has a tool built into it behind the scenes on WordPress that shows me the level of traffic hitting my site each day, including where that traffic originates from and any specific terms searched for within it. For the longest time I was averaging between 50 and 100 readers a day, which in all honesty I was thankful for. I know that those numbers are pretty minuscule when it comes to social media presence, but I was thankful for each of my daily readers nonetheless. I also learned to not care about having more of an Internet presence because I enjoyed writing about my life and sharing my experiences transparently with the rest of the world.

When I got on Facebook and Twitter years ago, I found they were a great way to increase my site’s traffic by reposting links to each of my blog entries. I became thankful for every time a reader who reached out publicly or behind the scenes to tell me how much my words affected them. Unfortunately, my site’s traffic and visibility on Facebook and Twitter have been reduced to a mere handful of people checking it out now on a daily basis, mainly due to social media changing their formulas for what they feel deserves to show up everyone’s individual’s newsfeeds. Sadly, Facebook’s and Twitter’s formulas don’t find what I write to be important enough for the world to see anymore, so when I repost my excerpts on either, they get completely suppressed now. Most of my friends have told me they never see my articles showing up on their timelines anymore. So, in all reality, I am simply writing for myself these days, making this blog mainly an online journal or diary of sorts and nothing more. It’s why I find I am questioning my motive lately whether I want to keep this going. Because I don’t find that I am feeling fed anymore by all the work I keep putting into it and that’s something I’m not taking lightly.

To keep this blog going actually costs me about $700 a year and takes about 6 to 7 hours of my time every week. In the grand scheme of things that’s not much of a commitment either financially or with my time, but for me, it does add a lot of stress. While I originally began this blog as a cathartic way to work through my own inner demons of my life, I had always hoped it would grow in size and gain better readership along the way. It hasn’t and in fact is now losing most of my original readership, all because of what social media considers important these days. Writing about self-healing, life experiences, and the spiritual journey I’ve been on, which is quite unique in of itself, seems like it’s not that important as far as where the rest of the world is concerned.

While I haven’t made a final decision yet whether to close this site down or continue keeping it up and running, me writing this very article is simply putting it out there to the Universe, or God if you may, asking for some sort of sign whether I’m meant to keep doing this. Look, I love writing, truly I do, but I feel I’ve exhausted most of my life’s experiences in here and have been re-sharing things in recent years that I know I’ve already shared before in some fashion. It almost feels as if I’m just repeating and rehashing the same material now again and again, simply for the sake of producing yet another article. I find this isn’t being productive anymore for my spiritual journey and I am praying for guidance from God surrounding this.

I don’t know if this article will even be read by more than a dozen people or less, but if somehow even one person responds to me and asks to keep it going because it’s helped their life somehow, then I’m going to take that as a sign from God to not give up. But if no one responds to these very words I write from my fragile heart, then I plan to take it as a sign it may just be time to call it a day and shut this site down, once and for all. It’s in Your court God now. I leave this with You…

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

The Biggest Challenge Of My Life These Days Is…

I think the biggest challenge in my life these days is keeping my heart open, especially when much of the world around me seems to not be doing so and instead chooses to lash out more than not from their hardened hearts.

I have spent decades working on opening a heart that got trampled upon and abandoned by one person after another for the majority of my life. I could write an entire novel on this, where each tragedy added layer upon layer surrounding my heart, making it become almost impenetrable at times. I’m thankful though this isn’t the case for me anymore because of all the work I’ve done around this. But active addicts who aren’t in 12 Step recovery usually have hearts that are almost entirely closed, something that tends to leave them in varying states of anger and rage.

One of the main goals of recovering addicts is to drop all the layers surrounding the heart that get piled on as the disease gets worse, and that often is a very scary thing to do. Much of the reason why an addict picks up alcohol and drugs or some other addiction in the first place is to numb themselves from the pains that life has served them. I can attest, as I spent decades perfecting the art of remaining numb by closing my heart off with one addiction after another, making my heart become a very heavy mass indeed.

Over the past decade, I have successfully been able to shed one layer after another surrounding my heart, thanks to my 12 Step recovery and my spiritual work on myself. But there are times I honestly struggle with it, especially when hatred, spitefulness, resentment, and the like is thrown my way, things I find hard to deflect and not feel when it happens. On a recent trip back to my fraternity, I felt that very thing from an active brother I didn’t know well at all, and it caused me to immediately shut down. I began to go to anger, as I sought to place a layer back around my heart not wanting to feel the pain of someone else’s hatred of me, one I know I didn’t deserve. While I knew it wasn’t about me, it was still hard to deal with. I’m thankful though that I was able to work through that anger quite quickly and find forgiveness due to the help of another brother I was there to connect with further. They assisted me that night to get me back into my heart, and into my tears, something that was able to lead to forgiveness, leaving my heart open.

While I know that having an open heart leads me often to feelings things that hurt, so much so that I shed a lot of tears, I believe it’s much better to remain this way. What I’ve come to learn on my 12 Step journey is that addicts who choose to live with hard and heavy hearts, always end up descending further and further into addiction, adding layer upon layer around their heart, leaving them in a vicious cycle of addiction that never goes anywhere but down. It may be the biggest challenge of my life these days to keep my heart open, but in the long run, I see in doing so the rewards far outweigh the costs, especially when I continue to remain clean and sober day in and day out, year after year.

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

When A Friend Says They Can Always See The End Of Their Friendships…

I spent several years getting to know an individual I eventually came to consider a pretty close friend who consistently told me throughout how they were always able to see the end of their friendships. I always found the statement alarming and never quite understood how they could see such a thing, that was until I experienced it first-hand myself, when I came to believe it’s something they probably have done before in prior connections and made a repeating self-fulfilling prophecy.

Friendships, like any relationship, take work on both parts. Sometimes even a lot of work. But not everyone wants to work on keeping a friendship going, especially when the newness of it has long worn off and all those quirks from both individuals seem to become more of a challenge to accept. I believe this became the case of this friendship, at least in respect of how they felt towards my quirks. While I’ll admit I definitely bring my own challenges to any friendship I make, I constantly do my best to grow, change, adapt, and adjust to each connection and joke it comes easily because I’m a Gemini. This friend however was far more set in their ways, and became even more so after the newness of it wore off. And once the pandemic came and went, they became even more reserved, and dare I say extremely resistant to change.

For the longest time, I think we both did our best to both adapt to the differences each other brought to the table in our friendship, but eventually, it began to feel like I was the only one trying to make it work. When they started to not be as motivated to drive the 30 miles to where I live on the weeks we alternated visiting each other, when they stopped being open to taking day trips somewhere more than 30 minutes away, when they stopped enjoying going into Starbucks with me, a place our friendship began in, when they lost interest in going to the movies, something we once did with regularity, it ultimately began to feel like they were only interested in doing what they wanted to do and I had to just be ok with that. But, the last time I drove out to their home to hang out for dinner they made and a movie I brought, they feel asleep for the entire running time and barely said anything to me while I was there.

Trying to talk to anyone set in their ways rarely goes anywhere, as was the case with this friend. It became very frustrating to me, wanting to explore more in the friendship and them becoming less and less interested in doing anything but quick dinners and sitting around watching tv. When I asked them if they still enjoyed hanging out with me, their answer was sometimes. Their answer stung, as this very individual once told me how much they considered me to be their best friend. But best friendships take an immense amount of work to keep going and my best friend Cedric would attest to this, as we’ve successfully navigated plenty of troubled waters for 25 years now to still be the closest of friends.

This friend though didn’t seem interested in doing that type of work to keep it going so I thought that maybe they just needed some time apart from hanging out. They agreed that would help and said they’d get back to me in a few weeks to set up our next hangout time. It’s been months since I’ve heard from them. In light of that, I accept now this friendship is over, but I also accept that it wasn’t because of my doing. It was because of the very principle I’ve come to learn in how friendships sustain the test of time and that’s how much work an individual is willing to do on themselves to keep connecting with someone who’s different than them.

When one individual in a friendship stops working on it and becomes more set in their ways, it makes for a very lop-sided feeling, one where the interests of the other often don’t feel as important. All that leads to in the end is being able to see the end of that friendship because for one set in their ways, it becomes very easy to predict the end of a friendship when they are the one causing it to happen.

They say friendships come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, and I’m blessed for the bunch of seasons I had with this individual and all the spiritual lessons I learned along the way spending time with them. I still love them immensely and always will. I just hope one day they may realize the only reason why our friendship ended is not because I stopped trying to make it work, it’s because they did, which in the end, made their self-fulling prophecy come true…

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

Friends Who Say, “I Only Pick On You Because I Like You” And “You Need To Develop A Thicker Skin”

Have you ever had a friend who seems to make fun of you all the time or much of the time you spend together, regardless of whether it’s just you and them, or the both of you with others present? If so, have you ever confronted them and asked why they pick on you so much? If you have asked that very question, was their answer ever something along the lines of, “I only pick on you because I like you?”

Let me be very clear in saying this.

Being picked on, no matter what the reason, is nothing more than a form of bullying, especially when the person getting picked on isn’t laughing.

I can attest to a lifetime of being picked on that often felt like nothing more than just being bullied. People have told me time and time and time again they only pick on me because they like me and yet when they’re doing it, getting a good laugh off of my expense and I’m not laughing, why do they keep doing it?

Maybe it has to do with this quote I read the other day from a man named Benjamin Walker who once said, “I always felt that if someone picks on you it’s because they’re not happy doing what they’re doing…” and I tend to agree. It actually makes a tremendous amount of sense that the only reason why anyone picks on another is because they aren’t happy with some part of themselves and so they deflect from that and instead pick on another, tearing an individual down, rather than building them up, temporarily feeling better about themselves in the process. People like this also tend to deflect even further from looking at themselves and the parts they aren’t happy with when they’re answer to a friend asking them to stop picking on them is, “You need to develop a thicker skin…”

I don’t need friends who act like this. What I need are friends who lift me up, who point out my assets, rather than make fun of my flaws or imperfections. I once had a friend who used to constantly point out that I had a bald spot growing on the back on my head and would laugh incessantly each time they mentioned it to me. It was never funny to me and even when I told them to stop saying things like that, they kept doing it. Not once did I ever make fun of their biggest struggle though, which was their weight. Rather, I accepted that part of them unconditionally.

People who continue to make fun of some part of you that you might be struggling with, even when they see you aren’t laughing about it, are nothing more than an insecure bully who isn’t happy with some part of themselves, even if they say they are happy with every part of themselves. How can you tell? Because they typically can’t take getting picked on themselves and get angry about it when they do. A more important lesson here though that I’ve come to learn is that someone who truly loves and accepts themselves unconditionally usually does the same with others and doesn’t enjoy having fun at their expense. But if they don’t love and accept themselves unconditionally, they often will pick on or pick apart those closest to them and find enjoyment in having fun at their friend’s expense. While I do have a few close friends that can pick on me at times, as I can with them as well, it’s only because it’s with aspects of ourselves that we’ve come to love and accept unconditionally and even share in common. Generally, we both laugh about those things profusely, rather than only one laughing at the other’s expense.

I’m thankful for those friends, friends who know me well enough to know when it’s ok to pick on some part of me and when it’s not. But friends who say, “I only pick on you because I like you…” and respond with, “You need to develop a thicker skin…” when I ask them to stop, aren’t friends I need or want in life. They are nothing more to me than a bully picking on another they deem as weaker than them, all to deflect from actually looking at the parts of themselves they aren’t ready to face or see, parts they still struggle unconditionally loving and accepting, instead lashing out at another’s expense…

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

Life Sure Has Become A Dichotomy…

I find it ironic how much life sure has become a dichotomy. As a teenager and eventually a young adult, I never wanted to sleep long hours, was active in so many things I barely ever had any free time, enjoyed big group get-togethers, struggled to settle down with one person in a relationship for very long, had to always buy a ton of in-things, chased whatever would bring me large paychecks, and loved living in or around some large city that seemed to consistently support all of that. But now as a middle-aged man, none of that is true for me anymore.

As a middle-aged man, I like to sleep in late and like taking naps when I can. My activities are kept more limited, as my downtime has become more precious. I feel like a fish out of water at big group get-togethers and would rather hang out with one or two people at the most. I hardly buy any of those in-things anymore because I don’t feel I need them nor the stress they seem to create having them. Usually, I just let things age until they stop working. I’m finally having to face that with my iPhone 6s Plus that I purchased back in 2015. I also don’t desire to have a job anymore that pays me incredible sums of money and am more inclined to do work that just feels satisfying even if it pays me nothing like my current path with all the volunteer work I do. And where I once loved city and surrounding suburban dwelling, lately I long for the peace of rural living where I won’t have to see or hear neighbors within a few feet from my home.

With all these personality changes, I’ve been wondering lately if this huge contrast of who I once was from my younger years is just a factor of getting older. I’d argue it’s not necessarily that because I know many who are still living as much like their younger selves, except now having just more responsibilities in life. So if that’s not it, why have I become such a stark contrast from who I once was?

There is only one thing that’s different in my life today and in the past decade or so that wasn’t present in my old personality, and that was seeking a Higher Power, whom I choose to call God. Up until I was in my mid to late 30’s, the concept of God was just something that I sought when life got out of control. But as soon as I regained control, I didn’t ever seek God. Now, I seek God all the time because my 12 Step recovery showed me a healthier way of living by seeking something Greater than myself to guide my life. When I was guiding my life more than not, I sought a lot of things that I don’t believe were ever authentic to my heart and soul. They were only authentic to what my ego thought it needed for survival and happy living.

Nevertheless, the more I seek out God in my life these days, the more I find myself not relating much to a vast number of people on this planet where the focus seems to be greater with pleasing oneself than others. I truly believe human nature is inherently selfish and I was so incredibly selfish in life until I began seeking something Greater to guide my life. Now that I try to do that on a daily basis, something I give credit to my 12 Step recovery program, I feel what I seek in life is far different than what most others are seeking. I face a lot of adversity now more than ever because of it, especially whenever I do actions out of selflessness, much of which are often met with suspicion, judgments, and attacks upon my character.

I see my future evolving now into something so drastically different from what my youthful self once envisioned because of my relationship with a Higher Power. A future self that most likely will involve only a few spiritual friends and a hopefully a continued monogamous relationship, weekends spent more home than out, travel to places that are quieter rather than bustling with nightlife and activity, employment that isn’t about its pay and more about its fulfillment for God, and living in the country where I don’t find myself stressing out over neighbors living essentially on top of me.

Life sure has become a dichotomy from the person I once was…but I’m becoming ok with that. Because I’d rather have a life with a Higher Power at the helm, where life finally seems to be heading somewhere, as when I was at the helm, like always felt like it was going nowhere, except down…

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

Are People Losing Their Minds?

The other day I was driving around locally, passing through a yellow light that was about to turn red. Just as I was almost through the intersection, it indeed turned the scarlet color, momentarily blocking the forward progress of some guy in a brand-new Jeep for a millisecond of time. He immediately flipped me off and loudly yelled out his window some very strong expletives at me, leaving me wondering are people losing their minds, as this seems to be becoming the norm these days.

People really seem to be flipping out so very quickly now, living on such short fuses. Why are people acting like this so much these days? There is a growing number of alarming examples of this, of verbal and physical violence over even the most minor of things now, things that once never created any sort of issue whatsoever and were easily diffused with an “I’m sorry” when they happened. Except that’s not happening anymore.

Take for example the movie I watched recently in a local theater where some guy was ready to go to blows with another guy simply over him asking the other to turn his phone off. Or a neighbor telling me about a person who followed them home one afternoon, all because some driver was mad at how slow they had been going in front of them, who wanted to make sure they knew how mad they were. Or what about that guy who shot a McDonald’s employee recently because their fries weren’t done right??? Seriously, what is wrong with this world presently?

What is causing this? Why does everyone seem like they are boiling kettles ready to burst at any given moment at someone else? Some say it’s due to our political climate that started a few terms ago. Others say it’s an energetic shift happening on this planet. There are those who say it’s what the pandemic caused. And some ultra-religious believe it’s the sign of end-times to come. What I believe is that this world is becoming more and more godless, choosing self over anyone else, paying more attention to one’s own needs, wants, and desires, more than anyone else’s, being more self-absorbed, then selfless in life. It’s easy to do so when fear consumes the mind and fear is what is racing around our planet now with all that has been going on.

There is only one reason why I don’t act this way with others. It’s because I believe there is something out there, up there, around us, and in us, or all of the above, which I choose to label as God, that I feel guides me to be a better person, one more selfless, than selfish. Yes, our world has changed dramatically in recent years with one terrible thing happening after another. But one thing hasn’t changed for me during all of it, and that’s my seeking a Higher Power to guide me through it all, rather than me looking to guide myself through it all, making myself my own higher power in the process. Unfortunately, I think more and more people are choosing to be the center of their own universes now, guiding themselves through all this drama in any way they know, which often ends up being more selfish and self-centered than selfless.

So, do I think people are losing their minds? Not exactly, no. What I do think though is that more and more people are living out of their minds with this increasing fear, choosing themselves before anyone else, focusing on pleasing their own nature, rather than being respectful of others. I know that pattern well having been an active and seriously sick addict for well over two decades with a number of addictions. Living in addictions often leads a person to act this way. I pray daily to my Higher Power to not be this way anymore, as I too have felt the desire to lash out at times with all this fear. And for the few times I have, I realize how toxic it’s been, not just for my spiritual path, but also for the world in general.

There indeed is a lot of fear in our crazy world right now and yes, the world does often feel so very upside down. But the answer to dealing with this isn’t through acts of expletive outbursts, rage, or physical violence. That will never change anything and will only make this problem grow worse. The answer I believe is to go within, to calm the mind enough to reach the heart/soul, as there seems to be the main place I always find a Greater love for others more so than myself. And the more I work on connecting to that place, the easier it’s been to diffuse and disconnect from any heightened situation that might otherwise become something far more out-of-control if I was to try to navigate it from my mind instead…

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

Social Media And “FOMO”

Do you ever feel the desire to permanently remove yourself from all social media, yet at the same time feel as if you can’t, because doing so might mean you’re going to miss out on something or be disconnecting too much from the world around you? This dilemma has become a regular thought for many now, me included, even just now as I sip my beverage in this Starbucks watching a young woman in front of me snap a quick picture of her Grande Pink Drink and post it all over her social media sites, most likely with the hope she’ll now receive a bunch of likes and recognition from it.

I’ve been guilty of this very same behavior. How many times have I posted some candid picture of myself somewhere or of some neat place I’ve just visited, solely in the hopes to gain my own set of likes and recognition. Could this be the primary motive deep down within most of us who regularly post things on social media? Do we do this just because we want to be seen, heard, or known a little more in life?

Here’s an interesting question to ponder for all those who regularly use social media. If no one EVER liked any of your postings and you never got any recognition from any of them ever again, would you continue to post anything or even use social media at all? Is it a safe assumption to say that many of you probably wouldn’t solely because social media has primarily become a tool to post pictures of ourselves, our meals, our drinks, our vacations, our gardens, our animals, and everything in between simply to makes us feel a little more important somehow in a world where it’s easy to feel so unimportant now. At the core then, has social media become more of a selfish tool than a selfless one, with most sharing things more for their own gain than for truly connecting with others?

What was first meant to be a way to connect individuals together who normally might not be able to, now feels more like it’s creating a disconnect between so many, with plenty of unhealthy emotions being cultivated in the process. It’s why I typically don’t spend time looking at anyone’s timelines on any social media anymore, because each time I do, it just seems to make me feel like I’m always missing out, which is better known these days as “FOMO” (The Fear Of Missing Out).

FOMO is described by mental health professionals as an emotional response to the belief that other people are living better, more satisfying lives or that important opportunities are being missed out on. And it has become widely observed that having this condition often leads to feelings of unease, dissatisfaction, depression, and stress.

I can attest to this, as within 15 minutes or less looking at other’s timelines, I begin to feel more down than up, more disconnected than connected, more left out than part of, all as I observe one person after another who seems to be more desirable than I ever will, or see all the places I’ll never be able to visit that others have, or witness all the parties I wasn’t invited to from people I knew, or visualize all the possessions individuals acquired that I’ll never be able to afford, or view all the talent someone has that I may never have, and so on. This is precisely why I find myself not wanting to be on social media anymore.

My original intention and only reason why I still remain on social media is not necessarily for cultivating connection with others, as I rarely feel that happening anymore. Rather, I remain on it solely to share this blog with others, not to get likes, but with the hopes it will help others with specific parts of their own spiritual journey. This I can say is truly more of a selfless action than a selfish one, something I can’t say is true each time I post pictures of myself or of my life. Honestly, I kind of liked life long before social media ever came around when sharing photos from hand-held albums within our homes was more about creating joy and connection with those we were doing it with, than about creating FOMO with countless individuals we’ll probably never meet or spend any time with.

While I really don’t know where this social media journey is heading for all of us in this world, if I were to guess, it’s a life where one will only feel like they matter when they have a ton of connection, likes, and presence in the digital realm. I honestly hope to never live life that way because ultimately, I believe I matter solely because I am a child of God with a loving soul who longs for heart-to-heart connections, something social media never seems to bring me, but something that I know plenty of my in-person interactions have, which is why I will probably always seek that over improving my social media presence, for however long I have left in this life…

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

The Type Of Grieving That Comes When Both Parents Are Now Gone…

Several people I know have lost their only remaining parent recently and currently are going through the grieving process of that. This type of grieving is most definitely different when both parents are now gone, as it often triggers deep feelings of abandonment and loneliness.

When I lost my mother, who was my only remaining parent at the time, while I was grateful that she was finally out of her pain and suffering from her chronic alcoholism and mental health issues, I was also detrimentally sad for no longer having a parent to connect with about anything in life. Even though both my parents had their faults and struggled with the sickness that came from their addiction and untreated mental health issues, they still loved me and did their best to show it. While that love may have been tainted at times due to the sickness they carried, I noticed I started to feel very alone in life once they were both gone. Although one could argue that I had felt that way for years by that point due to their sickness, there were still moments in the last few years of their lives that left a positive impact upon my heart, which is why I began to miss them both greatly when they were both gone.

The type of grieving that comes when both parents are now gone feels far different than when one parent remains alive that you may continue to connect with. When both parents have left this plane of existence, it triggers the little boy or little girl within us to long for the care of their mommy or daddy, especially when you are going through a lot of your own pain and suffering in life.

I’ve lost track of the number of days over the years, especially the past five, where my pain and suffering created a longing in me to hear my mother’s or father’s voice again. After my mother passed, I kept calling my home number that remained active for a period, just to hear her voice. The same was true with my father’s answering machine after he passed. Ironically, not too long ago, I actually dialed my old childhood home number just to see what would happen. It was a very rough day where I thought in some crazy science fiction movie type-of-way that one of my parents would have picked up and said, “Hi Andy”. Sadly, the only thing that happened was hearing the number was disconnected. Even so, I can still hear my parents saying “Hi Andy” and it brings a tear to my eye thinking about it, something that was exceptionally strong during the initial grieving process once they were both gone.

I will probably always miss my parents on some level and while the grieving of their losses definitely got easier over time after my mother’s passing and while the abandonment feeling eventually lessened as well, the loneliness remained. Loneliness that came from knowing there wasn’t a parent to go to anymore to hold me when I needed safety and reassurance that can only come from a parent. The love of a husband, a wife, a partner, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a best friend, or even the love from children if you have them, will never be able to replace the emptiness that comes when both parents are now gone. It just doesn’t compare to the protection parents often give their children.

This is why I miss you Mom and Dad as much as I do, even decades later beyond both of your passings. Even though I feel like you both could still be alive and well if you had just worked through your addiction and mental health issues, I continue to feel blessed for at least remembering the love you were able to offer me when you were alive, as it was plentiful at times, I see that now. The grieving I eventually came to experience in life after you were both gone was long and arduous, but what has remained behind beyond the emptiness of it, is a heart full of love for two parents who did their best to be there for me, when push came to shove…

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

How Pets Are Simply Mirrors For Us…

My two cats, Grace and Frankie, frequently demonstrate many of the very same behaviors that humans do when it comes to their interactions with each other. They are sisters having been with each other since birth, with my partner Chris and I being their second owners. Over the several years now they’ve been our pets, I certainly have come to witness quite a number of behaviors that remind me how pets are simply mirrors for us. It’s probably best to at least explain this by describing some of the personality traits of Grace and Frankie first.

Grace has to always be the center of attention. She never grows weary of being touched and will at times do her best to ensure you pay attention to her by inserting herself under your hand or using her paw to touch it, all to show she needs more love. And, she’ll whine loudly with one specific type of meow whenever she’s not getting it. She also becomes extremely jealous whenever her sister is being shown greater affection and has been known to get into a fight with Frankie over it. In addition, Grace likes to do certain things that only she can do but never done back to her. Take for example the action of grooming. She loves to groom her sister, even her sister’s butt of all things. I know, gross! But she will most certainly swipe at Frankie when Frankie tries to do the same with her. And when Grace wants you to know she’s not getting what she wants, she’ll disappear down the hall giving you the clear silent treatment. She most assuredly has positioned herself as an alpha cat here and comes across more than not as needy, selfish, and self-centered.

Frankie on other hand is the exact opposite. She likes to groom anyone and everyone, including our guests. She’ll do this on the couch behind you, licking the hair and scalp of whomever is there, including rubbing herself against your head, all to show her unconditional love for you. She’s also overly humble and will actually wait for her sister to get served food and treats first before she’ll even touch any of her own. Frankie does withdraw far more than Grace into secluded parts of our home and likes her solitude generally getting annoyed when Grace tries to disturb that. But rarely does Frankie ever stand up for herself during those times either. Instead, she just gives up, which sometimes even includes her favorite bed, perch, or sitting area, all to avoid having a confrontation with Grace.

What I find most interesting though about all this is how much Grace and Frankie are simply mirrors for me at times. I’ve been irritated with Grace for being so needy, yet how many times have I been needy, demanding attention in life? I’ve been irritated with Grace as well for all the rules she makes up and breaks whenever she feels like it, but how many times have I done the same, only keeping to the rules I make that benefit me? I’ve also been irritated many times with Frankie for not standing up for herself, where she gives up something precious to her like a favorite toy, yet how many times have I given up things that are precious to me for the happiness of another, while at my own expense? I’ve even been irritated with Frankie when she rarely puts herself first, but how many times have I done the same with my own health needs. The point is, I love the fact that I can see how my cats are simply mirrors for me, especially when I get frustrated at any of their behaviors, something I know now is just a projection of things from my own life.

So, maybe our pets are simply mirrors for us. And if that’s truly the case, the next time you find yourself getting angry or irritated at your pet for some behavior you don’t like, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and look for what that mirror could be, as you may just discover a piece about yourself that your pet is merely reflecting back onto you, all for you to see more clearly…

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

The Wealth And Richness I Sought As A Kid Isn’t The Wealth And Richness I Seek Now…

One of my fraternity brothers, Felix, sent me the following on a Facebook message recently that he felt really would be a great blog topic for me. I agree, as after reading it, it left me pondering the message behind it for a good long while…

“My wife grew up thinking that having water/ice dispensers in the fridge door was a life goal. I grew up thinking if you had a basketball hop with a clear/plexiglass backboard, you were rich. What are some things you thought were indicators of wealth when you were a kid?”

As a kid, having Air Jordan sneakers was probably the biggest thing I thought indicated you were wealthy, given their $120 price tag back then. A close second to that would have been someone who had a full-size video game in their home, just like one you’d see in an arcade back in those days. To round out the trifecta of what I thought represented wealth as a kid, was anyone who had cable in their home, especially HBO. As a kid, I had none of these things and I coveted each of them in those who had them. I longed and longed and longed to have what I didn’t and one day, when the tide turned, when money came into my life, I was able to obtain those things, and guess what, none of them mattered in the end. I’ve come to learn that acquiring what most think represents wealth doesn’t ultimately matter. Why? Because it doesn’t bring ever-lasting happiness.

Having the most amazing car doesn’t bring ever-lasting happiness. I’ve had one and all it brought was a temporary and quickly fleeting sense of happiness. Having a humongous home in an exotic locale doesn’t bring true happiness either. I’ve had that too and all it brought me was the same, a temporary and quickly fleeting sense of happiness. This list is endless of the things that I thought at varying points in my life represented indicators of wealth and were initially life goals of mine. Home theater systems, video game consoles, vacations to faraway places, the latest phone with all those gadgets built into it, state of the art computers, blah, blah, blah, when I’ve had them, I was happy for a moment, until I wasn’t. In those first moments of having them, I always felt I had finally arrived. I finally had what my mind thought represented being rich. Having acquired something most others didn’t, initially made me feel good. And for those brief moments, I believed I had finally become someone in a world that was always so easy for me to feel like I was nobody.

Nowadays, I don’t have any of those things that most people in this country would associate to having richness and wealth. Ironically though, those who live in third world countries would probably say otherwise, as living in the humble home I do with running water and a hot shower is one that represents having wealth to many of them. But, chasing whatever one associates to wealth that can be acquired on this planet, regardless of whatever it is, eventually becomes a futile effort. If one’s path is to seek something that another has that they label in their own minds as having richness, it ultimately leads down a path that goes nowhere, where happiness diminishes more and more, until one is constantly seeking one shiny thing after another they believe represents wealth.

This is why I seek a different type of richness now, a richness in spirit and in closeness to Source, or God if you may. Having that type of richness is the only thing that’s ever left me feeling complete in a world that often feels so dam incomplete. It’s a joy like no other. Label it however you will, the joy I’ve felt from God when it’s come has been better than anything, any shiny wealthy and rich thing has ever given me. This is why I struggle so much now because I haven’t felt that in some time no matter how hard I’ve sought after it, which has left me teeter-tottering on the edge of going back down that endless quest of seeking after some worldly wealthy and rich thing all over again. While it may not be an ice/water dispenser, or a clear/plexiglass hoop either, whatever it is, I know there will always be something beyond each thing I associate to wealth, that my ego will want to get, all to keep proving to itself that I must be somebody in this world.

But you know when I’ll really know when I’ve finally arrived in the state I believe I’m meant to be in, a state that I believe represents a true wealth and richness? When I awake one morning and feel complete just being me, just feeling that deep love for God and for just being alive taking one breath after another, as experiencing that feeling is a joy like no other…a joy that I never found on my endless quest to acquire one thing after another that I kept associating to having richness and wealth…

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

The Growing Anger Problem On Our Planet…

Is anger growing on our planet? Or is it just me? I normally am not an angry person myself, but honestly, it feels like there is a growing energy of people on edge, ready to blow at the slightest thing that irritates them and I’m really struggling with that, as I’m extremely sensitive to it all.

Growing up with anger present more than not in my family household, I cringe when anyone these days is yelling or raising their voice or releasing anger in some way. Case in point, I was on the highway the other day driving 62 in a 60-speed limit in the middle lane when suddenly an 18-wheeler to my right laid on their horn for more than 2 minutes at me because I was going too slow in their opinion. It definitely rattled my chain quite a bit. This incident is so symbolic of how I see our world is becoming. where more and more people would rather be angry than not.

Our world resembles so much like one of those old kettles on the stove now, one that keeps reaching that boiling point where it emanates that loud scream-like noise each time it does, which roughly translates to one terrible tragedy after another, one we keep seeing in the news that’s violent in nature. Heck, it’s become a regular thing on my street these days to hear people ragefully screaming from within their own homes at another, especially late at night.

Why are people so angry? Is it because of the state of our world? The state of our country? The state of this pandemic and other growing diseases? The state of our economy? The state of our financial status? Or….is it simply due to the state within each of us? Maybe the real reason why there is so much anger right now is that all the stuff so many of us have kept suppressed for years, if not for our lifetime, is finally surfacing, forcing us to face it? Unfortunately, many are still trying to avoid doing that by choosing either addiction or lashing out in anger at another to deal with it each time it arises.

I’ve come to learn in my own spiritual journey that when I’m angry, it’s never about someone else, even if there is some event that seems to trigger that feeling within me. It’s ALWAYS about me. ALWAYS. But sometimes I don’t see it right away and instead regrettably end up taking it out on another, hurting them in the process, only furthering this anger problem on our planet.

The anger in our world will never go away until we address all the anger going on within us and find its true source. Unfortunately, most are prone to believe their anger is the fault of another. I can promise you that even if everything actually went out way, every single day, and even if everything we think should be happening in the way we want, actually did happen in that way, we still are going to remain angry people until we address all our unresolved issues, traumas, wounds, past pains, and the like. And just because they are in the past doesn’t mean they are truly gone. Just because you may not feel angry at some past negative part of your life right now, doesn’t mean its fully healed either. A great example of this was someone lashing out in anger at me recently when they thought I was using them, when I wasn’t. While my actions might have seemed like I was from their perspective, I honestly believe it was simply a triggering event from them allowing themselves to be used many times in the past by others.

Nevertheless, whenever I’m feeling angry, there is only one solution I’ve found to dispel it, and that’s not to take it out on another, as doing so only leaves me feeling guilty and still angry, often at myself in the process. The solution is prayer, even if I don’t know the true purpose and efficacy of it, given how many prayers often seem to go unanswered in this world. Because whenever I’m angry and choose to pray, once I find my heart during it, where tears flow from my eyes, the anger always leaves me, leaving behind a cooled down kettle, and a person far more open to unconditional love and understanding.

Look, our world is a ticking time bomb right now, and the explosions only seem to be getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I hope for the sake of each of us, that we stop blaming others for any anger that arises within ourselves and instead start taking a hard look at why we’re getting angry in the first place. When we stop lashing our anger outward and instead start addressing the source of it within us, our world will become one more filled with peace than volatility, as we become one more at peace with ourselves and everyone around us…

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

You Truly Do Get What You Pay For, Or In This Case, What I Didn’t Pay For…

People always say you get what you pay for, especially when you try to cut corners in life, and due to my own ego, I’ve had to learn that lesson far too many times, including one just recently when the air conditioner in my vehicle began having a minor issue again.

About a year ago, my car’s AC was on the fritz. So, I took it into a local car repair shop I frequent often whenever I have any need of a repair. It’s a shop I trust, as I know the manager well and consider him a friend. All they needed to do was recharge it, essentially filing the refrigerant back up and placing dye in it as well for the sake of seeing if there were any pronounced leaks. Thankfully, there weren’t, and it was an inexpensive repair to get my car’s AC running smoothly again.

Zoom forward a year later to a very hot and humid afternoon about a week ago, where I noticed a slight increase in the AC’s temperature coming out of my car’s vents. I wondered if my AC needed another recharge as I was told by the car repair shop the year prior it probably had a very small leak. Rather than taking it back to them though to do another recharge, I opted for a cheaper alternative. So, I took it to a local auto parts store where a friend works. There, his boss was willing to have me buy some refrigerant ($60) that he’d put it my vehicle for me, which would roughly save me between $60 and $80 from what I would have been charged at the car repair shop. After he was done with the free service, I was left with an AC system blowing out nothing but hot air, as compared to the mostly cold air it had blowing prior to the refrigerant being added by him. I had no choice at that point but to take my car back to the local car repair shop.

For the next 16 hours or so, I’d spend most of that time beating myself up, not getting any real sleep, wondering if I had caused more of a problem in trying to save a buck. When I finally got the call late the next morning, I discovered all that had happened was that my AC system had been overcharged. In other words, the man who had done the quick fix for me had put too much refrigerant in my vehicle causing the system to shut completely done. Once the entire AC system had been evacuated and refilled, it was returned to its normal functioning.

While I once again had to learn this invaluable lesson that has repeated many times in my life, I did have some good news come out of it. Not only was I able to get my money back from the refrigerant I had bought at that parts store, but the local repair shop also didn’t charge me their AC diagnostic fee, because they knew exactly the source of the problem given the details I had told them. Yet, while the cost of this entire process didn’t set me back much, it did cause me an undue level of stress and anxiety.

How many times I’ve done things just like this in my life, always trying to save a dollar somewhere, is countless. Trying to cut those corners and make out more ahead than behind, only to cause myself more problems and usually more financial hardship in doing so, it’s never worth it. You truly do get what you pay for, or in this case, what I didn’t pay for, which I pray I’ll clearly remember the next time I’m presented with a potential solution to some problem I’m having, where it seems like it will cut a corner for me and save me a dollar, where I know it won’t…

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

“I’m Slowly Learning That I Don’t Have To React To Everything That Bothers Me…”

Sometimes I come across motivational words sent to me by others that I feel truly represents much of what I’ve learned or am learning on my own spiritual journey in life. Today’s entry is one of those that my therapist sent me which I wanted to include in my blog today for others to hopefully draw inspiration from. It’s titled, “I’m Slowly Learning That I Don’t Have To React To Everything That Bothers Me…” and I feel it needs no further words on my part other than to simply include it in its entirety below. I hope you find meaning with it as much as I did…

I’m Slowly Learning That I Don’t Have To React
To Everything That Bothers Me…

I’m slowly learning that I don’t have to hurt those who hurt me. 

I’m slowly learning that maybe the ultimate sign of maturity is walking away instead of getting even. 

I’m slowly learning that the energy it takes to react to every bad thing that happens to me drains me and stops me from seeing the other good things in life. 

I’m slowly learning that I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and I won’t be able to get everyone to treat me the way I want to be treated and that’s okay.

I’m slowly learning that trying so hard to win anyone is just a waste of time and energy, and it fills me with nothing but emptiness.

I’m slowly learning that not reacting doesn’t mean I’m okay with things, it just means I’m choosing to rise above it, to take the lesson it has served and learn from it, to be the bigger person, to keep my peace of mind, because that’s what I truly need.

I’m slowly learning that I don’t need more drama, I don’t need people making me feel like I’m not good enough, and I don’t need fights, arguments, and fake connections.

I’m slowly learning that sometimes not saying anything at all says everything. 

I’m slowly learning that reacting to things that upset me gives someone else power over my emotions.

I’m slowly learning that I can’t control what others do, but I can control how I respond, how I handle it, how I perceive it, and how much of it I want to take personally, and that these situations say nothing about me and a lot about the other person.

I’m slowly learning that if I do react, it won’t change anything, it won’t make people suddenly love and respect me, it won’t magically change their minds.

I’m slowly learning that sometimes it’s better to just let things be, to let people go and not fight for closure or ask for explanations, to not chase down answers or expect people to understand where I’m coming from. 

I’m slowly learning that life is better lived when I don’t center it on what’s happening around me and instead center it on what’s happening inside me.

I’m slowly learning that working on myself and my inner peace that I’ll come to realize that not reacting to every little thing that bothers me is the first ingredient to living a happy and healthy life…

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

What Are The 5 Love Languages?

The subject of the “5 Love Languages” are something that continues to pop up throughout my life via my cognitive therapy, my MKP men’s group, and my 12 Step recovery work. The love languages describe five ways that people receive and express love in a relationship. Many are often not even aware of what theirs is. I wasn’t, that is until just a few years ago when I first heard about these love languages and wrote about the ones I connected with the most. Today I decided to put a placeholder out there in my blog for others to know what the actual 5 love languages are, as it can help relationships grow closer, once each partner is able to fully identify what their love language(s) are. So, here are those five love languages I’m speaking of:

  1. Words Of Affirmation – This is where a person expresses their love in sincere words and verbally explains all the reasons why they love the person. It’s all about expressing words of encouragement, appreciation, and empathy. They tend to be regular complementers of others. The opposite of this love language is offering non-constructive criticism, rarely recognizing, or appreciating another’s effort, and instead negating another’s accomplishments in life.
  2. Physical Touch – This is where a person uses non-verbal forms of communication through body language to show their love for another. This person tends to show their love through hugs, holding hands, pats on the back, or just being close to another when in their physical presence. The opposite of this love language is neglect, any form of abuse, long stints without intimacy of any kind, and receiving affection coldly.
  3. Receiving Gifts – This is where a person offers their love through thoughtful gifts that generally have a symbolic meaning behind them and often shows the other person they matter and how much they really get them. This person tends to symbolize the statement, “It’s the thought that counts!” The opposite of this love language is forgetting special occasions, giving gifts with no meaning or heart in them, and receiving gifts themselves unenthusiastically.
  4. Quality Time – This is where a person spends time together with another one-on-one and remains fully present. They tend to give their full undivided attention, especially in eye contact, rarely interrupts the other when they’re talking, and makes a very concerted effort to really get to know what the other person is going through. The opposite of this love language is getting caught up in distractions such as using a cell phone when spending time with another, avoiding spending one-on-one time for long periods, and constantly interrupting the other only to talk about themselves.
  5. Acts of Service – This is where a person eases the responsibilities and burdens of another. It’s where one regularly goes out of their way to do something for someone else and is usually a sacrifice. This person tends to make the requests of another a higher priority, where helping do things like chores (especially together) to alleviate the other’s workload is typical for them. The opposite of this love language is laziness, broken commitments, making a person wait to get chores done, and adding more to a person’s workload.

These five love languages have been helping me see my partner and my friends in a much better light. It is said that these five love languages can improve relationships when each person identifies what theirs is, as well as what they want from the other. Once that’s figured out, it becomes easier to see how love is being uniquely expressed in connections between two people. Personally, I absolutely excel in offering words of affirmation, physical touch and acts of service, but I could use serious improvement in receiving gifts and quality time. With others, what I seek the most is quality time and acts of service.

Nevertheless, I hope today’s article may help you figure out what your love language(s) is/are, as I know it can and will help you, once you identify it/them. And when you do, not only will your own unique expression(s) of love be more identifiable by those you are in connection with, but vice versa as well…

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

What Will Really Matter The Most When Our Life Comes To An End…

Have you ever wondered if every one of those things many of us have worked so hard to obtain or achieve in life isn’t what really will matter when our life comes to an end?

Whether that’s achieving a dream position/title at some job with amazing pay and a great benefits package, or acquiring a dream home in a neighborhood you desired with a great backyard/view in a coveted school district, or owning a dream car or some other long sought-after valuable possession, or going on a dream vacation to some exotic locale, or reaching a level of income you always dreamed of earning, or experiencing a level of sex/intimacy that satisfied all your sensual dreams and desires, or reaching a level of popularity you only ever dreamed of having, or getting an award you only ever dreamed of achieving, whatever it is you’ve attained from your dreams in life, in the long run, has it left you feeling fully complete? I ask this because I’ve had enough of those things in my own life to realize that none of them made me feel any better or left me feeling fully complete in life after I had attained them for a while. Along the way, I discovered what left the biggest betterment upon my life were each of those loving marks I made upon another’s heart and soul, and never what I personally obtained or reached in life for myself.

Look, I once had that dream job, title, and income, owned that dream home, taken the dream vacation, garnered those dream possessions, experienced those dream sexual encounters, reached that dream level of popularity, earned that dream award, and achieved many of those self-desired dreams, yet none of them ever left any lasting impact upon my own heart and soul, and instead only left me coveting something else to seek in life.

So, what has mattered? What has made the biggest difference within me? What has left the most lasting of impact upon my life? It’s been in those hugs I’ve given to another when they’re in need of support. It’s been in telling someone I’m proud of them for an achievement they’ve made. It’s been in all those times I’ve let someone know they’re not alone in this lonely world. It’s been in all those tears I’ve shed alongside someone suffering from deep grief and loss. It’s been in helping someone desperately in need, especially through my 12 Step recovery. It’s been in all those gestures of kindness I’ve extended to another even as small as holding a door open for them. Ultimately, each of those times I’ve put someone else before myself, showing them unconditional love from my heart seems to leave the most lasting of impact upon my life. This is what I believe will truly matter the most when my life finally comes to an end, that being all those times I did my best to be there for another, rather than all those times I accomplished something for myself.

For that very reason, now I see that to live a life where I’m more there for another than myself, where my heart finds a way to connect to another soul in need, is what truly matters in this world and will consistently leave me feeling more full than empty. So, in the end, maybe that’s all that really matters and anything else we strive after for ourselves is really nothing more than a fruitless quest to please an ego that will never fully satisfy us and only leave us wanting something more…

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

Playing That “What If” Game…

I’m sure every single one of us on this planet has played that “What If” game at some point or another in our lives. You know that one where we find ourselves questioning if we could have had a better outcome arise from making a different decision than the one we actually made in our past, one that typically has a less than desirable outcome.

Playing this game is one that only seems to occur when we think some present circumstance in our life could have been better if we had chosen differently in the past. While I recently wrote about a similar subject where sometimes those past decisions are ones that our Higher Power has a hand in to save us from experiencing greater pain, there’s still plenty of times I’m left wondering where my life would have headed if I had just chosen Option B over Option A.

Do you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels from the 80’s where you reach a page in the book and have two options to choose from, where one option takes you down one path in the story, and the other takes you down a completely different path? That’s about the extent of what I’ve done in my brain far too much in life, wondering how things would have unfolded if I had chosen differently.

What if I hadn’t pursued that friendship with Carmine during my senior year of high school, that guy who led me to my first alcoholic drink and to quit the swim team? 

What if I hadn’t gone to Rochester Institute of Technology and instead chosen the other college I had been accepted into, that being Northeastern?

What if I hadn’t pledged Phi Kappa Psi, or any fraternity, and had instead focused on developing my sexuality and spirituality during my collegiate years?

What if I had spent more time getting to know my father prior to his suicide, instead of avoiding time with him? 

What if I hadn’t gotten into relationships with 1st Jerry, Kevin, 2nd Jerry, Barry, or Carl?

What if I hadn’t purchased that bed and breakfast and instead remained in my home outside Washington, D.C. working at my last corporate job with U.S. Customs.

What if…

What If…

What if…

The fact is, I realize today it’s a complete waste of time playing this “What If” game, writing out my own “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel in my head surrounding all the decisions of my past life. While this type of game may be great subject material for some science fiction series on television (ex. Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch on Netflix) or for some major theatrical release (ex. “Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow”), it’s only created more pain and suffering in real life the more I’ve dwelt on my past decisions with thoughts I could have done better.

I’ve made tons of decisions in my life I feel I could have done far better with, but after watching enough science fiction surrounding this and meditating on all those decisions I’ve labeled as poor ones, I’m inclined to believe that everything really does happen for a reason, including each decision we make. Because I’m just as inclined to believe that even if we had made a different decision, that eventually the outcome would still have been the same, it might just have taken a slightly circuitous path to get there.

So, maybe it’s a totally pointless exercise to play this game because who we are now, what we are now, what we stand for, and everything in between, is precisely the person we’re supposed to be at this very moment in time? Maybe every possible decision we could have made in our past would have resulted in us becoming the very same person we are now? And maybe all that’s important today is simply to accept ourselves right now, just as we are, and continue to explore our spiritual growth in life, learning as we do, rather than wasting any more time living in the past playing that “What If” game that never goes anywhere but in circles in our heads…

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

Are We Moving Farther And Farther Away From Having Healthy Communication With Each Other?

One of the things I think I’m probably most concerned about with the direction our society is heading in, is the growing disconnection we seem to have with each other, especially when it comes to much of the new generations in life where the strongest form of “healthy” communication seems to be in texting.

I’ve been reading about how addictions are massively on the rise in our culture, especially since the pandemic first came upon us, and I tend to believe much of that is due to our present forms of “healthy” communication. Because the forms we are using now are really less about communicating and more about avoidance. How many times I’ve called people in recent years who’ve had voicemails that are full, I’ve lost count. I spoke to a college student last week here locally who told me they never listen to their voicemail and tend to leave it full. Most of their generation say the best way to reach them to communicate is via text.

People want to know why depression and suicide attempts continue to increase every year. This is why. Human beings weren’t born to simply immerse themselves in text messages, social media and the like. While one may have tons of friends or followers on their social media, that doesn’t translate to having healthy communication and connection. Isn’t having healthy communication and connection more about one person meeting another for a coffee or meal, or maybe taking a stroll through a local park with each other, to talk about life, and show  how much they matter to each other.

Many addicts have also been relapsing into old addictions in the past few years while others began a path of addiction, all because the pandemic moved them further away from having healthy communication due to quarantine and isolation. While video chats helped to alleviate some of the loneliness, it wasn’t enough for some who chose addictions to cope with the lack of real human connection.

Nevertheless, I miss those days when people actually had healthy communication with each other on buses, in stores, at restaurants, in public places, amongst strangers even. Today, not so much. Today, all it takes is a quick look around in public where you’ll see so many blankly staring into their phones rather than at the people they’re spending time with. Believe me, I’ve fallen into this pattern at times as well all because of the fear of missing out on something. But this is one of the main reasons why our world keeps digressing more and more from healthy communication.

Healthy communication is about being there for each other, learning about each other, supporting each other, making eye contact, and showing in those moments, that one doesn’t have to be alone in a world that these days seems so easy to feel alone.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling disconnected, alone, or isolated in this world, try reaching out to a friend over the phone, or better yet, meet one in person and be fully present with them, rather than immersed in whatever forms of the digital realm you carry with you. Because it’s in those moments you dedicate to another human soul, that often become the very thing that not only will help you feel less alone in this world, but also help another feel less alone as well, especially someone like me who has always felt more overlooked in society than embraced. I treasure real human interaction and thank all those who continue to call me or meet me in person. It’s each of you who have demonstrated healthy communication and reminded me I do matter in a world I often feel like I don’t…

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

Sometimes When We Don’t Get The Results We Want, Maybe We’re Actually Being Spared From Even Greater Pain…

A valuable lesson I continue to learn in life is that sometimes when things don’t go the way I think they should be going and I end up not getting the results I want, may actually be my Higher Power sparing me from even greater pain if I had actually gotten what I wanted.

In the beginning of January of 2010, I would experience a day where I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. On that day, I’d sign on a dotted line for the short sale of my business (a bed and breakfast) and my home, where I officially lost $660,000 of cash that I had invested into both over the previous 7 years.

When I began that path in 2003, acquiring that business and home, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed so to speak when it came to the new life I was building. As each year passed, I kept sinking more and more money into the business attempting to keep it afloat, with constant promises by my partner at the time that one day we’d sell it for well over 7 figures, and all of it will have been worth it.

In 2009, during the tail end of the housing crisis/shortage, we weren’t even able to pay a single mortgage bill for the entire year. Frankly, I was amazed that we didn’t go through a foreclosure that year. With little money left in the bank and not enough customers to support the business, more money was going out than coming in. Through a miracle, the owners of a competing bed and breakfast in town purchased it from us at the 11th hour, allowing me personally to walk away from it with nothing more than the shirt on my back. As the years passed after that, I checked on my old business from time to time, even stopping by at one point to see how it was faring. I was amazed at how even more beautiful it had become and thought for sure it had more than earned a 7-figured value. The thought of that though made me sick with all the financial loss I incurred from it.

I let this occupy me for years, often making me very resentful at times. I frequently wrestled with the thought that maybe I could have re-financed or invested a little more into it to get out of the hole we were in. But then one day, when I was on my own personal website, checking the links on my “About Me” page, I realized the hyperlink to my old bed and breakfast had become a dead page. I hit the link a few times thinking maybe it was a mistake. I even typed in the URL directly and the result stayed the same. After some digging, I discovered the bed and breakfast I once owned was no longer a bed and breakfast and had become a weekly rental property. After further digging, I discovered the innkeepers who bought the place from us in 2010 had sold it at the beginning of the pandemic for $765,000, which was only $80,000 more than I had originally paid for it, a number I was at least spending every year to keep it afloat.

Learning this blew my mind! After 10 years had passed since I had last owned that business, it had never even came close to the value my ex had promised we’d get from our investment. I realized that If I had remained in that business, spending even more to keep it afloat, refinancing, or doing something more to not lose it, I would have experienced far more financial loss than I did.

So yes, while I learned an incredible number of spiritual lessons from my life surrounding my old bed and breakfast and home, the most recent one I learned is one that continues to show me that my Higher Power always sees the bigger picture, even when I often don’t, and does spare me at times from even greater pain if I had actually gotten what I wanted…

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

Did The Pandemic Make People Angrier?

Anger seems to be a topic I’m writing about a lot lately, as I’ve been seeing so many examples of it when I silently observe the world around me, which is why lately I find myself wondering if the pandemic has led to this. It really seems as if everyone is on edge now, extremely irritable, and that it doesn’t take much to set someone off in a spew of rage or anger.

Case in point, when I was sitting in a theater the other day watching a movie, some guy near me had been looking at his phone briefly when suddenly another near him started shouting obscenities over it. Soon, the two were in a heated exchange, causing everyone nearby to miss an important part of the movie. I did my best to tune it out and thankfully the feud stopped shortly thereafter without any acts of violence.

Has the pandemic somehow made people become more like this, like ticking time-bombs, waiting to jump on someone else for doing something they feel they shouldn’t be doing? Are people purposely wanting to get into verbal fights or worse now? Gun violence seems higher now since the pandemic began, and frightfully it’s also becoming easier to carry a concealed weapon, making me feel so unsafe, as I’m more of a pacifist, even in the face of anger and violence.

My truth is that I don’t like anger, rage, people raising their voices, or anything of the sort. It’s why I tend to steer clear now of people who are like this, including my partner when he exhibits it, as I don’t want to be around anyone who’s primary exuded emotion is that of anger. Frankly, it makes my health issues feel even worse and my pain far higher.

The fact is, I have never seen anything good come out of uncontrolled anger, especially when it’s been inflicted upon another. It never brings people closer and instead, typically creates more division and chaos, sabotaging all feelings of closeness, and sometimes even ending a beautiful connection because of it.

I’m reminded of what Bill Wilson once said in his book Alcoholics Anonymous when it comes to anger. He stated that “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.” I agree. I know many would argue though that even Jesus got angry. This of course is in direct reference to the tables he overturned in the temple where the moneychangers were doing business there. What is often misunderstood here is that the only times Jesus got angry was when God was being dishonored. Never did Jesus lash out just for the sake of lashing out. Rather, Jesus used compassion more than not for teaching lessons. But compassion isn’t the primary emotion that seems to be emoting from most right now.

Personally, I don’t have the luxury of getting angry because anytime I get that way and remain in it, I look for some addiction to numb myself from the strong emotion. That’s why I regularly use prayer and meditation now, as that seems to help keep me more at peace, especially when anger crops up.

So, whether the pandemic has increased people’s anger or not I don’t know, but what I do know is that quieting my mind is necessary to deal with it when it appears. Trying to control it though without any prayer or meditation only leaves me in even worse of moods and more heated than anything. The bottom line is that if one truly wants to see their anger die down within themselves, it’s never going to happen by trying to control any situation to fit what their ego thinks should be happening. The change must come from within and that can start by quieting the mind to get to the source of that anger, something that will never happen when one chooses to yell or scream instead, as doing that only brings about greater pain and suffering for all involved, even though one’s ego will often try to convince oneself otherwise…

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

There Is Nothing In This World That I Want Anymore…

There is nothing in this world that I want anymore. Please let me clarify that statement though before your mind starts taking that off in any specific direction with it ok?

In this world, I’ve experienced A LOT. I’ve seen some pretty amazing places. I’ve had some very amazing relationships. I’ve owned lots of cool stuff. And I’ve dabbled in enough alcohol, drugs, sex, and many other temporarily stimulating things for a lifetime to know what they all bring. Except the best moments of my life haven’t ever come from any of those experiences. The best moments of my life have come when I’ve felt the Presence of something Greater guiding me, something that I’ve haven’t felt for almost five years now.

As a kid I was driven for popularity. As a young adult, I was driven for financial success. As a middle-aged man now, I’m driven for only one thing and that’s to feel the Presence and peace of God again, something that instantly seems to turn people off anytime I talk about this, where I’m typically given negative labels, unfriended, blocked, or ghosted, with people believing I’m just some religious nut. Believe me, I’m not and am not here to preach religion, even if your mind thinks that right now. Please keep reading and I hope you’ll understand better by the end.

Up until the age of 23, I had never experienced anything greater than what this world could offer. When my alcohol, drug, and cigarette addiction had finally gotten the best of me, I turned to something I never turned to before in my life, and that was some God that I was brought up with in a family who didn’t practice good Christian values. And when I did turn to that God in that moment, on the side of a bathtub, with hands clasped together, and asked that God to help me, I felt some Presence, a Presence, and a tremendous amount of peace wash over me, something I had never felt in my entire life before that. None of the worldly things I had experienced prior to that moment could even compare to that feeling. Honestly, it was that feeling that would help me through the next 90 days of hell when I detoxed from all three addictions at once. That feeling, that Presence, left me though by the end of that period and I would go on to spend the next five years seeking what the world had to offer all over again, landing myself in another bunch of addictive behaviors, becoming even more miserable in the process.

In the middle of my 27 to 28th year of my life, I had become broken all over again, sick and tired of the world not filling that hole in me, so I went off on a weekend spiritual retreat, where I faced one of the biggest wounds of my life, my father’s suicide, and asked God in the midst of that work for help, and it came. That peace, that glow, that Presence, came over me all over again, and I cried. Oh, did I cry. That Presence lasted once more for a few weeks at best, reminding me there was something Greater out there. I struggled to call it God though due to my abhorrence to religion.

Unfortunately, I’d fall hard back into worldly clamors, looking to the world for answers for another three years or so. When they didn’t come, when enough sex and money and things I bought for myself didn’t satisfy anything, I sought a friend who did spiritual body work, who on a table one day helped me experience an awakening like no other that brought that Presence back, this time for about three months. When it left, I couldn’t figure out why and descended all over again back into the illusion that the world could change that.

When my mother died in 2005, I was so seriously broken that I used the world with her money for all it had. I became a user of everything, until that didn’t work anymore. So, in desperation, I went away on a 10-day silent retreat, looking for answers. At the end of my fourth day on that retreat, that Presence swept upon me again, when I least expected it. It would last for six months, but this time I did as much as I could during that period doing what I thought I needed to do to keep it around. It’s during that period I learned to write and speak more eloquently about all that I had been thorough thus far in life. That Presence still left me though and devastated me. This time the hole it left in its wake was life shattering.

I tried everything to bring it back, even going on another 10-day silent retreat to recreate the experience. I did body work, affirmations, long meditations, changed my food, changed my friends, changed everything, yet nothing worked. Six more years of agony I’d endure of chasing one thing after another that the world offered, from people, to places, to things, none of it brought me any deep fulfillment. I hurt a lot of people during this period, much of which I came to regret and experience sorrow over many years later. In 2012, after a suicide attempt, I asked a Shaman for help. Not too long after, I began to feel that Presence again. It came more subtly yet was still there and I’d feel it more than not over the next three years, until one day that Shaman told me I was going to experience a downward shift for a while before I emerged on the other side. It was all vague and made little sense, but she proved right, as I felt that Presence leave me in 2015 on a return flight home from a vacation.

I wouldn’t feel that Presence again until late August of 2017, when I was on a trip to visit my sister and her family. It washed over and through me immediately in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, as if the sunlight had become brighter in there. I’d experience five days of it after that. It left me as quickly as it came, yet it restored my hope that God was still there, that is until too much time went by after that without feeling that Presence.

It’s been almost 5 years now. That brightness, that glow, that joy, that peace, that Presence, I haven’t felt it since that trip to see my sister in 2017. While I haven’t fallen back into toxic addictions and toxic behaviors this time nor chosen the world for answers and while I have kept my spiritual routines up and fought constant thoughts of taking my life and checking out, I live with sorrow every day knowing there is nothing this world has to offer that will brighten my life. Believe me when I say I most certainly have tried.

While I love my partner, the friends who have stuck by my side, my cats, the people who read my blog, and all those I continue to help in my volunteer efforts, what I love and long for the most is not of this world and is not something I’ve ever been able to obtain by any of my own efforts. I don’t understand why that Presence has left me for so long, as I know now it’s not because of what I’m doing. I only pray for its return, as the thought of it coming back is the only thing that’s kept me going now in a world where everyone else around me seems to seek what the world has for answers, when I know for me it has none…

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

How Do You Define Who You Are In This World?

In just over two months, I’ll be 50 years old, and I’ve been struggling a lot with that fact. Because honestly, as I hit that mid-life stride, I’ve really been struggling identifying who I am.

There is one school of thought that says who we are is defined by what we go out there and make happen with our own actions. There’s another school of thought that says who we are is based upon waiting upon God for guidance and direction to know precisely what that is to go do. And there’s yet another school of thought that says the answer lies somewhere between those two. So, in the process of trying to define who we are, many of us choose to base it upon what we do for a living. Others of us base it upon the status we hold in society. Some of us base it upon the titles we hold in the world around us. There are even those of us who base it upon all the awards we garner in life. And in the past decade or so, many of us are basing who we are upon how many followers we have gained on our social media. Honestly, I don’t want my life to be based upon any of these things. I want who I am to be defined by something else, something far deeper.

I guess you would say this is the very reason why I’m in the middle of having somewhat of a mid-life crisis over this. Unfortunately, most of my life I have based who I am on each of those things and more and all of it feels so very superficial. Who I am shouldn’t be based upon what I’ve seen and done, or the jobs I’ve held, or the titles I’ve gained, or the money I’ve had, or all the partners I’ve dated, or the friends I’ve friended, or any popularity I’ve ever come into, or on anything externally whatsoever, as none of that is going to matter when I die.

I realize now that I’ve consistently been basing who I am by the world’s standards all because I got so overlooked so often in my life starting back when I was a young kid. Being ignored more than not by own family and peers throughout my childhood, I eventually turned to drugs and alcohol and many other addictions to numb myself from it all. Soon I forgot about who I was entirely and began basing who I was on those around me and what they thought of me, making me completely miserable in the process. But here I am about to turn 50 in a few months, and I can at least say there is one thing I’ve come to see is necessary to defining who I am and that’s having a relationship with my inner child, something I ignored for most of my life. I nurture my inner child now and do my best every, single, day to listen to what is important to him. And if there is one genuine thing that comes from doing so, it’s deciding who I am from a much deeper perspective than what much of the world uses as a defining perspective of themselves.

At my core, who I am, is just a kid with a big open heart, who truly loves people on a very deep level, who has a great imagination, who is extremely sensitive to others, who believes in the best in everyone regardless of their past or present, and who cares about even the slightest of pain in another when he sees it. That is who I am today and while on the grand scheme of things that won’t make me very memorable on this planet when it’s my time to pass from this plane of existence, I at least feel I’m being authentic now to the real me, the me that I abandoned as a kid because the world told me I needed to be something otherwise to matter.

I matter because I exist. And who I am in existing is a really great kid who’s grown up to see the world with an unconditionally loving heart. In the world’s standards, that may not matter, but in God’s standards, maybe that’s all that matters…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

“I’m done, Andrew. I wish you well.”

I recently lost what I thought to be a good friend from my life. Not by an actual death per se, but a death by ghosting, where the final words I received after months of silence were “I’m done, Andrew. I wish you well.” I have struggled immensely with this loss, because at one point, this friend was also the subject of one of my Grateful Heart Monday entries, someone I truly was thankful for being a close part of my life.

This friend was someone I spent one evening with almost every week throughout the entire pandemic. We usually had a movie or tv night where we tended to delve into some science fiction, fantasy, or superhero type of thing, something we both were really into. We usually gorged on some type of fast food and always had a sweet treat on hand as well to carve out each of those evenings. What I liked best about this friend was that it wasn’t based upon physical attraction, it was just a true friendship founded upon some similar interests, one that initially began with a mutual like of superheroes and comic books.

If you’ve ever watched the tv show, Mystery Science Theater 3000, a series about a man and his robot companions that watched B-movies and made fun of them to pass the time by, that indeed would be the closest comparison to how much of my evenings with this friend were like. We often laughed so hard at the insanity of some of the things we watched that I left for home at the end of the night with my facial muscles hurting quite a bit.

The how and why this friendship ended seems so silly now. It all started when I completely forgot to call my friend on Thanksgiving Day to wish them a happy one. I was away on travel at the time in Savannah, Georgia with my partner for a vacation and a wedding we attended. When I finally remembered, we were on our drive home the next day. I quickly dialed them as soon as I realized my mistake and got their voicemail. I proceeded to leave them a message saying I was sorry for forgetting and hoped they had a great holiday. I didn’t hear back from them that day like I usually would via text messages anytime I ever left them voicemails prior. I texted them the next day as I was concerned and asked if they had gotten my voicemail, how their Thanksgiving was, and if they were ok. Their response was brief and felt rather cold. They said they got my message and was busy with their kids on travel seeing their family and they’d get back to me when they returned. They didn’t ask how my Thanksgiving was or my vacation, which I found odd. After asking them why, it began a series of text messages that spiraled totally out of control with us going into separate corners. The last full text I got from them said they needed a break from hanging out, not permanently, but just for the moment. With the stress they’d been facing in a rough divorce and financial issues, I understood and responded that we should take the month of December off and regroup in January. I wished them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and asked them to contact me after the holiday season was over. My intentions were pure, as I really didn’t want to add any further stress to their plate and I thought a decent break would help ease any tensions between us. Sadly, I never heard back from them after the holidays though. Another month and a half would pass after that. I didn’t reach out because I truly thought maybe they needed more time. I honestly wanted to do the opposite of what I usually tend to do, which was to try to fix things.

In mid-February, I began watching Ted Lasso, a show on Apple+ streaming, something they incessantly told me I should watch with the thought that it would uplift me. I kept refusing to give the show a chance and it became a running joke every time I left their house, that I should go home and start watching it. I’m glad I finally did because it moved my heart tremendously, enough so that I opted to finally email them and thank them for the suggestion. I followed that the next day asking them if they wanted to reconnect or if they had moved on. I waited a week for a response and decided to message them one final time, as I honestly didn’t want the friendship to end. Sadly, the response I got the next day was the title of today’s entry.

I spent a number of weeks fluctuating between anger and sadness over this. I beat myself up thinking I caused it, but eventually forgave myself saying I did my best. Frankly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever understand why something so trite was enough to end what I thought to be a close friendship. Heck, at one point, they even told me they considered me their closest friend. I don’t take things like that lightly. Regardless, it’s over now and time for me to move on, knowing that friends come in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I’m thankful I had a few seasons with this friend, as they were truly fun to be around, often lifting me up when I really needed it. I learned a lot from this friendship and feel much freer sharing my heart about it with all of you as I say goodbye to someone I care about and probably always will…

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

Now That My Week Of Solidarity From Writing Is Over…

Now that my week of solidarity from writing is over, I’ve had plenty of time for reflection, especially upon this Russian/Ukrainian conflict. I was most hit hard during this reflection when I read about one Russian soldier’s dying text to his mother who told her he was afraid and was questioning why he was even in the war. Many polls overseas suggest similarly that plenty of the Russian population doesn’t support Putin’s war effort to recapture Ukraine. What I personally see in it all is a leader who’s more interested in garnering power than fostering peace amongst his people, and in the process, has created another global conflict, just as we begin to truly emerge from a deadly global pandemic.

My best friend Cedric always tells me we live in a fallen world and in fallen times and judging from the way people have treated each other ever since Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump went head-to-head, ever since Trump’s four years of presidency, and ever since the last two of years of COVID-19, I tend to agree with him now. So many seem to be consumed with their own needs, wants, and desires right now, than others.

Take for example the other day when my friend Tom was trying to merge into a line of slowly moving cars in a plaza we were leaving. A woman wouldn’t let him in and angrily laid upon her horn letting him know so, giving us a dirty look in the process. This is what I see around the hearts of most people right now and I too have been on the receiving end of this. Most don’t appear to want to hear about my message of fostering peace and unconditional love and I have begun to wonder if people are sick of hearing from me. Sadly though, the truth is that people really seem to be becoming more and more selfish in our world, thinking only of themselves and what they need for happiness, forgetting about all those around themselves who are suffering.

Of course, there are diamonds in the rough. People who continue to put themselves out there, in the line of fire, just to make a difference, just to bring greater Light onto our planet. Yet, they seem to be grossly overshadowed presently by all the constant acts of selfishness, including even on the global scale with someone thinking an invasion of another country, where thousands upon thousands of deaths of innocent people is the best course of action, when indeed such action is only going to drag much of our planet even further into a fallen world, into darkness.

To be perfectly honest, I’m weary of trying to be the good guy, of keeping my faith, of doing the best I can to bring my own Light into the world. Sometimes I fail miserably in the process, especially with my partner, especially when I come home and have been yelled at by one person after another in the places I speak at, or from text messages filled with judgments of what some think of me. Why people see me as a threat, and label me with the judgments they do, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the darkness of this world trying to convince me to give up, on myself, on God, and on ever finding peace and joy within.

Frankly, it’s hard to find peace and joy within, as beyond the incredible pain I continue to live with, beyond the constant turmoil of Democrats versus Republicans, beyond the ongoing battles of vaccinated versus unvaccinated, and beyond all the opinions emerging now of Putin and his wartime efforts overseas, I find it rare to see people thinking of each other and doing their best to be there for each other. If we can’t even treat each other with the unconditional love and respect we would want for ourselves, we are only going to create more and more wars no different than what Putin is presently doing. All wars begin within an imbalance within, a conflict of ego, a battle of the mind. No war will never create any lasting peace and love. And neither will any act of selfishness. Our world will never change until all of us change ourselves and start being far nicer to each other than we are.

Nevertheless, I pray that somehow Putin and any other Russians supporting his war efforts will see how all of it is only going to bring about more pain, hardship, and loss, than any good. And hopefully one day, all of us will realize that the wars we keep creating, no matter small they are, always begin within ourselves and can only be resolved by working through it within ourselves and never by controlling someone else…

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

A Week Of Solidarity – The Final Day

I am 100% against all acts of war, violence, invasion, and the like. I also am extremely saddened by the current state of our world and how so many continue to treat each other. I’ve become very weary of all the judgements people keep on throwing at each other, the constant pointing of fingers, and the placing of blame everywhere else, but on ourselves. If you truly want to see change in the world, you must become the change, as no one can do that for you but yourself. Because of this, I have chosen to stage my own form of protest, my act of solidarity, by taking a full week off from my writing between Saturday, March 5th and Friday, March 11th for reflection and prayer. I will only be re-sharing these words each day and providing a single quote. May we all start loving each other a lot more unconditionally and work on building our own inner peace.

“Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.” (Og Mandino) 

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

A Week Of Solidarity – Day 6

I am 100% against all acts of war, violence, invasion, and the like. I also am extremely saddened by the current state of our world and how so many continue to treat each other. I’ve become very weary of all the judgements people keep on throwing at each other, the constant pointing of fingers, and the placing of blame everywhere else, but on ourselves. If you truly want to see change in the world, you must become the change, as no one can do that for you but yourself. Because of this, I have chosen to stage my own form of protest, my act of solidarity, by taking a full week off from my writing between Saturday, March 5th and Friday, March 11th for reflection and prayer. I will only be re-sharing these words each day and providing a single quote. May we all start loving each other a lot more unconditionally and work on building our own inner peace.

“Inner peace is the key. If you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility. Without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances.” (Dalai Lama)

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

A Week Of Solidarity – Day 5

I am 100% against all acts of war, violence, invasion, and the like. I also am extremely saddened by the current state of our world and how so many continue to treat each other. I’ve become very weary of all the judgements people keep on throwing at each other, the constant pointing of fingers, and the placing of blame everywhere else, but on ourselves. If you truly want to see change in the world, you must become the change, as no one can do that for you but yourself. Because of this, I have chosen to stage my own form of protest, my act of solidarity, by taking a full week off from my writing between Saturday, March 5th and Friday, March 11th for reflection and prayer. I will only be re-sharing these words each day and providing a single quote. May we all start loving each other a lot more unconditionally and work on building our own inner peace.

“The peace process we all aim for will not necessarily be a result of the mere singing of a treaty or agreement. It must become a matter of our everyday lives, so that peace settles and lasts and becomes supported by everybody. We therefore have to give peace all the required care and preserve it and promote it.” (Hassan II of Morocco)

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