My Love-Hate Relationship With Facebook…

I most definitely am having a love-hate relationship with Facebook these days. What began as a simple effort for reaching a wider audience with my writing has grown into something far more complex for me, one that holds both the positive and the negative, often leading me to question whether I want to remain on this social media tool at all.

Let’s start with the negative first. I’ve regularly found myself measuring my self-worth by how many likes I get to each of my postings, sometimes even posting pictures of myself just to boost my self-esteem through the likes I get, been envious of postings by others who appear to be far happier in life doing things I’m not doing or may never be able to do, struggled each time I’ve gotten unfriended and/or blocked without any reason, especially by those I considered to be real friends, grown weary of the constant arguments I’ve seen between others due to religious and political differences, taken it personal each time I’ve experienced friend request rejections, especially when my partner’s gets accepted and mine doesn’t, felt disappointed each time a personal message I’ve sent doesn’t get responded to, and battled at times with old addiction urges that used both Facebook pictures and Facebook messaging as tools of acting out.

That seems to be quite a bit of negative reasons my presence on Facebook brings me doesn’t it?

So why bother remaining on Facebook at all?

Well for as much as there are those negative reasons, there’s just as much positive reasons for me to remain on Facebook as well. Of course, the original reason is still true in that I continue to reach a far wider and more diverse audience with my blog writing, some of which have even become daily readers because of it. Beyond that, there’s those friends I’ve lost track of long ago who were able to find me and reconnect with me only because of my presence on Facebook. Then there are those friendships that started on Facebook, that eventually moved beyond that to real life, some of which have even become my dearest of friends. There are also amazing public events I’ve been able to attend I probably never would have known about if it hadn’t been for Facebook. The same holds true for Invites to parties I’ve been sent that I really enjoyed going to that I might have missed out on if it wasn’t for Facebook. I also treasure all those people who have related so much to what I’ve shared that they’ve either commented publicly so or personally in the private messaging tool. It’s also been a great tool to find inspirational quotes and pictures that have helped to motivate me at times. And lastly, being on several Facebook groups have assisted my spiritual journey quite a bit too.

So, I’m sure you can understand now why I have such a dilemma when it comes to Facebook and why I feel this love-hate relationship with the social media tool. I know many others share the same feelings as I do about Facebook, a number of which have chosen to remain active on it, while an equal number of others have chosen to free themselves of it completely, expressing it was the best decision they ever made.

For the moment, I continue to be undecided as to whether I want to remain on Facebook (and Twitter for that matter, as it’s the only other social media tool I’m still on). While I know it’s been a benefit on many levels, it continues to also be a burden at times on my spiritual journey. I pray that in time it all becomes a little clearer, as to whether it really is serving a Higher Purpose for me or only feeding my ego…

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

Another Political Conflict, When And How Does It Ever End?

As I drove through the intersection of Secor and Central here in the Toledo area a Saturday ago, I suddenly became bombarded with 100+ people shouting and yelling on one of its busy corners. Many had signs in hands, but all were protesting the new Iranian conflict that has now become an issue due to the recent military airstrike that killed a very prominent Iranian general.

While I don’t support the killing of anyone, no matter what they’ve done, I’m also not one who feels that protesting it is the answer either. Sure, some of those protestors I saw on that corner genuinely looked like they just desired peace and were demonstrating in that way. But others there looked the opposite and were angrily holding their signs, almost shoving them into the windows of some of the cars that slowly passed them by.

I have my opinions about pretty much every political and religious hot topic in this country including this one. But unless someone asks me for that opinion, I normally don’t share it. Why? Because freely sharing my opinions without being asked has only ever created more separation and division, which is the very thing our country doesn’t need right now. Rather, don’t we need a lot more unity, love, and support for each other? Sadly, it seems we don’t have much of that nowadays. Instead, everyone is taking a side on what they believe should be happening with each of these hot topics.

I typically don’t share my views only because I don’t truly know what the best solution is on any of them. I don’t know because I’m not God. I’m not all seeing and all knowing. What I do know though is that we are all fighting amongst ourselves these days because of our opinions being thrown upon each other. And this latest conflict is just another example of it. Each of these conflicts remind me of kids on playgrounds fighting over some toy or a swing to ride on or simply for attention. Yet, below all of it is nothing but fear. Fear of losing something we have, that we think we’re always supposed to have, or fear of never having something we want, that we believe we deserve to have.

So, our fears cause us to invade other countries, killing prominent generals in the process. And in turn, our fears also cause us to protest those invasions and killings as well. Yet, what’s below those fears? And what can safely remove those fears?

I have preached this from my writing for years now and believe the only solution for those fears is simply and quite basically to love each other a lot more than we all are doing right now, no matter what our views, no matter what our beliefs, no matter what!

Shoving our viewpoints down the throats of one another is no different than invading another country, as it’s only going to create more division and move us in the exact opposite direction of that where love gets cultivated.

I stand with love. Even when it hurts. Even when hatred gets thrown my way. Because it’s the only solution I’ve ever seen that has overcome fear, no matter what the fear is. And while I’m not saying that those protestors are wrong for demonstrating their views of the Iranian invasion or that the United States is wrong for the Iranian invasion itself, what I am saying is that maybe greater efforts of expressing love for each other is actually a better solution, one that CAN in the long run, prevent all of this from happening.

Maybe if we just start lifting each other up, no matter what our beliefs, instead of putting each other down for our views, is the solution?

Maybe the solution is a lot simpler than we all keep trying to make it?

Maybe the solution is within us and not out there in trying to change someone or something?

Maybe the solution is in working on letting our fears go and trusting in a greater principle, one that’s founded on the basis of love?

Maybe by working on fixing ourselves and loving the parts of ourselves we really don’t, will help us to see through eyes of greater compassion and love for others, where both going to war and protesting those wars becomes unnecessary, where who’s president doesn’t ultimately matter, where sexual preference or identity doesn’t matter either, and where the same holds true with things like corporal punishment, abortion, religious identity, gun control, etc.?

In the end, what if what does matter is just looking at each and every person as a part of ourselves and as a whole? Maybe then, in doing so, we might see that hating another is really only just hating ourselves…and that the only solution is to love, no matter what…

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

For Those Who Don’t Have That Holiday Cheer…

This is often one of the hardest times of the year for many people. Even with all those lights, decorations, gifts, parties, and holiday festivities, there are plenty out there who don’t or won’t have this season’s cheer. It’s easy to overlook them with all those faces of joy that seem to be everywhere. But they’re there, right amongst you, yet sadly, they tend to regularly be overlooked.

So, as I ponder these days, the ones between Christmas and New Year’s, I find myself thinking a lot of those individuals, the ones who probably won’t have a smile on their faces or experience any type of cheer.

I think of those who have lost loved ones, including pets, who are experiencing life for the first time without them.

I think of those who are sick and ailing, bed-ridden in hospitals or other places of care, especially the ones who get no visitors, other than from their doctors or nurses.

I think of those who don’t have any family to be with, who will spend these days entirely alone.

I think of those who are homeless, who might not even have a warm bed to sleep in at night.

I think of those who are losing the battle to an addiction and can’t seem to find any way to stop.

I think of those who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental and emotional problems, who struggle to see even a ray of hope and instead see more blackness than light.

I think of those who are starving, barely having enough money to feed their family or even themselves.  

I think of those who haven’t received a single gift from anyone, who end up feeling like they could disappear and it wouldn’t matter.

I think of those who cry themselves to sleep at night, feeling like they are utterly alone in this world.

I think of those who are getting abused, used, or being taken advantage of in any type of way, and continue to endure it hoping their nightmare will end.

And I think of those who are single and wish only to have someone to just love and embrace in their arms.

While I’m thankful for what I still have in this life, it’s all of them I think of through much of the holiday season, like I am right now. So, as I ponder all those who are going through it more down than up, filled with greater sorrow than happiness, I hope I can make a difference in one of their lives today. And maybe you will too after reading this, after all, there may come a day when you will be needing some love and support yourself, when life has handed you a burden and leaves you feeling anything but that holiday cheer…

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