Snow, Snow, And More Snow

For once I must say I’m grateful that I’m missing one of the largest snowstorms in the history of the New England area.

Currently several states away and out of the storms reach, I have been watching the news report on how the snow has impacted everything so far. All the states in the region have declared emergencies, power is out for hundreds of thousands of people, a mandatory order has been made to stay off the roads, and people are doing their best to occupy themselves in their homes while the snow drops up to five inches per hour in some places.

My home currently resides in Weymouth, MA where the expected snowfall total will be between 2 and 3 feet once the storm is completely over. I’ve already spoken to my roommate several times and he continues to remove vast amounts of snow from the driveway hourly.

Growing up in Poughkeepsie, New York, I have seen my share of pretty incredible snowstorms. One of my earliest childhood memories is of the snow being so deep that I was able to build a tunnel system throughout the front yard. When I went to college upstate many years later in Rochester, snow was a daily occurrence from late October to late April. Seeing snow on the ground and even watching storms drop several feet of snow over the course of several days didn’t really phase anyone. But there was one storm that I remember so vividly. Over the course of 24 hours, several feet of snow dropped onto the northern city just like the one happening right now in the New England area. Rochester normally being prepared for any level of snow couldn’t keep up with the rate of descent, and everything shut down for about a day after, including my college which hadn’t cancelled classes on any given day for more than several decades. I spent the evening having a party and the next day swimming at the local hotel’s pool on campus nearby.

In 1995, I decided to leave the north and move to warmer climates and less volatile winters. I lived in Fairfax, VA which was a city just outside of Washington, DC. Ironically, in my first winter there, an unprecedented snowstorm hit that paralyzed the city and closed down the government and all corporations for just about three days. Funny enough, I had just come back from a college visit to Rochester. Go figure.

Since living in the New England area, there were a few storms here and there that were bothersome but nothing that prevented me from going anywhere. Two years ago in the winter of 2010, 82 inches of snow dropped throughout the season reminding me of my college years when that was the norm.

So I have to chuckle in that here I sit with temperatures above freezing, on a completely dry driveway with no snow in the forecast. For once I’m grateful to be nowhere’s near a storm like that. While I find the snow mesmerizing and tranquil, I’m happy to say that I won’t be straining my back shoveling it this time and I pray for all those that will.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Case of the Menacing Black Spots

My partner’s cat’s name is Driggs. I met her for the first time when I came to my partner’s house in February of 2012. My reception was not warmly welcomed by her. After much hissing and running away, as well as some swiping and attempting to bite me for most of my first stay in the same home as her, I fondly nicknamed her Cujo Kitty as based upon Stephen King’s story about Cujo, the dog who got rabies and went crazy.

Since I was a little kid, I was allergic to cats and could barely be in the same room as them. Over time, that has changed and as long as I stayed away from the combination of petting a cat and rubbing my eyes, I fared ok. I have also learned that cats are pretty intuitive and can sense where a person’s energy is. When I was angry for much of my life, cats hissed all the time at me and never let me get close to them.

Over the past year, I have worked on myself to let go of repressed anger and become more at peace. In time, Driggs has changed with me too. She wants to curl up in my lap now all the time and meows quite a bit when I’m not paying attention to her. Last night as she lay on me resting, I noticed several black spots on her that if on a human, one might think they could be cancerous. My tune definitely has shifted on my partner’s cat where I once wanted to keep her closed off in a room. I immediately called the vet and scheduled an appointment to have them looked at today. I known she means a lot to my partner as she has been with him since before my partner’s mother passed away.

Thankfully, the spots proved to be nothing more than some dermatological issues on the cat’s skin and after a quick antibiotic shot and taking some advice to give her a little bit of moist food with Omega’s in them, we were back home and she was much happier (She’s not really a fan of the car or being in the travel box.)

It’s interesting how much I care about a cat that I once called Cujo Kitty every time I was around her. Menacing black spots or not, I like her now and I’m glad she is ok. As my soul has become lighter, and I have felt more at peace in my life, I have found that I care about every living thing a lot more. Does Driggs somehow know that? Is that why she wants to be around me so much now. I don’t know the answer to those questions but I am grateful because she has helped me on many days of great pain when she lays there on my lap, purring, and letting me know that I’m not alone in my healing journey.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Rush Rush Rush

Have you ever noticed when you are driving how much everyone around you seems to be rushing from one place to another? For a long time I didn’t because I was one of those doing the rushing.

Lately I’ve been trying to slow down in all areas of my life especially in my driving. About a year ago, I began to notice just how sped up people are on the highway when I was driving on one of the roads in Massachusetts, a state known for it’s crazy drivers. Instead of driving as I normally would, based in the left lane and weaving in and out of traffic, I went at the exact speed limit in the far right lane. It was amazing to see what happened in doing that. Drivers flashing their lights, honking, flipping their lights on and off, tailing just a few feet back from my bumper, or even speeding up and going around me and then slowing down in front of me. Sadly, I couldn’t point any fingers. I was just as guilty as I had done all of those things and more up until that point.

A study or two was done some time ago where two drivers left during rush hour to head to the same destination in a major city. One drove the speed limit and stayed in the same lane for the whole drive and the other drove recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic. Guess how many minutes the reckless driver got to the destination ahead of the other driver? Five. Five minutes…

When I was employed in the corporate world, that was me, trying to shave those five minutes. I was the one doing the reckless driving, cutting people off, flashing my lights, honking my horn, and all the while my heart was racing, my mind was racing, and I’d arrive at my destination unsettled with five extra minutes. Was it really worth it? If someone had asked me then, I probably would have said yes because I always wanted to have instant gratification in everything. I wanted and needed to be first in everything. And on some crazy level, I seemed to get satisfaction in annoying other people when I drove that way. It justified the unsettled feeling I had within me.

Truthfully, I was lucky and probably blessed for all those years of driving that way. I never had any real severe consequence come from driving that way. BUT, would those five minutes have been worth it if I had injured a pedestrian? Would those five minutes have been worth it if I was in a major accident and was paralyzed? Would those five minutes have been worth it if I killed another person from an accident I caused? Would those five minutes have been worth it if I had lost my license or even worse, been sent to jail? Sadly, I never have to face those things. And I’m sure most people never do ask themselves those questions. Like so many probably do, I stayed revved up all the time, especially on the highway, doing exactly what it is I feel like I needed to be doing until something slowed me down. Sure, along the way I got a few speeding tickets here and there and for a short period of time, that slap on the wrist slowed me down. But eventually I just sped back up again. Whether it was the adrenaline rush, the “control” I thought I had over other drivers, or just not really caring about myself or anyone else, I kept on being reckless.

So what changed to cause me to do something different when I drove? What caused me to want to slow down?

Pain of feeling unsettled all the time. Pain of feeling overwhelmed in life. Pain of feeling like I had to be first in everything. Pain of feeling empty inside. And physical pain in my body that was already forcing me to slow down in my day to day routines.

Through meditation, prayer, mantras, therapy, and various holistic healing modalities, I started to slow down in just about everything I did in my life. I believe that God truly does answer our prayers except that sometimes, there are actions I need to take to help the cleansing process that God can drive. After all, I do have free will. I can ask God to help me feel less pain, but if I continue to drive super fast, keep toxic people in my life, eat unhealthy, and more, well is the work that God is going to do on me going to be effective? Probably not.

So for almost a year now I’ve been in a major cleaning in my life and through that cleaning, I am now able to be on the roads and drive so much slower. While I’ve already explained what the benefit was of driving recklessly…five minutes…here are some of the advantages that have come from me slowing down when I drive. I know see a lot more beauty in nature. I get better gas mileage in my car and am not filling it up as much. I have avoided accidents in front of me with cars that were doing what I used to do. I have stopped at unannounced destinations out of curiosity that I never noticed before. And best of all, I arrive at my destinations in a positive space and with a normal heart rate.

It really is worth it to drive slower and follow the speed limits. Is rushing worth it? Are those five extra minutes worth all the risks and potential downfalls?

Not for me. Not anymore. I’m grateful to God for this awareness.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson