Be Grateful And Don’t Take For Granted Even The Simplest Of Things

It’s very easy to take for granted things we have all the time, until the day comes when we no longer have those things anymore. Have you ever truly thought about what it would be like if you suddenly lost your eyesight permanently? How about your hearing? Or what your ability to move your legs? Having endured for some time now high levels of physical pain that have severely limited my day to day functioning in life, has gotten me to thinking about this and how I took all of those things and more for granted throughout most of my life.

On most days now, I struggle to stand for any period of time and walking is limited to very short distances. Tasks I once never put much thought to such as taking a shower, going grocery shopping, walking through a mall, and so many other things are now extremely difficult to do. It’s also been hard to go through the past four summers where most of my friends and acquaintances partook in things I wanted so badly to do but couldn’t such as hiking, biking, jogging, going to amusement parks, taking long walks on the beach, or even playing various sports. Thankfully though, all of this has taught me a very important spiritual lesson and that’s to be grateful for ALL of what I have, even if it seems like the simplest of thing.

So for that set of eyes I have that are still functioning, I’m grateful to God because there are more than 39 million people out there in this world who can’t see a single thing with the ones they have.

As for that pair of ears I have that are also still functioning, I’m grateful to God because there are more than 15 million people out there in the world who can’t hear a single thing with the ones they have.

And then there’s my legs. While they aren’t functioning as best as I know they could be, I’m grateful to God anyway for them as they still have the ability to be used because there are over 130 million people out there in the world who have legs that no longer function to walk or even stand.

The list goes on and on with the amount of disabilities that people endure in the world these days which so many of us won’t ever have to deal with. I have a lot more compassion now for all of those people in the world who can’t see, or hear, or are paralyzed, or have any type of disability because of my own pains I’ve endured. And ironically, I’m even grateful for having all these pains and limitations in the first place because of how long I once lived my life completely oblivious to how good I really had it, as compared to how many people were suffering so much more in the world around me.

I have a gratitude journal now that I write in every single day. When each of my days come to an end, I open that journal and give thanks to God by writing at least nine things I was grateful for during that day. And I’ve been doing this for several years now and don’t plan on ever stopping. In fact, one of those things I’m grateful for right now that I’ll be writing in my gratitude journal tonight is my ability to use my hands as it has allowed me to type one more entry into this spiritual blog.

God willing, I don’t believe I will ever take for granted anything anymore that I have in my life. Having gone through the temporary loss of much of my normal state of being has given me a very deep appreciation for what I still have. Even more importantly, my heart is filled with a lot more love, light, and compassion now for all those people who live in the world with some form of a disability.

So the next time you find yourself being ungrateful for anything, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and try to “see” all the things you still have that so many others might not have in this world. And in all seriousness, if you are reading this right now with your eyes, be grateful for at least that, and understand there are 39 millions others who won’t ever be able to do the same.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Stop Blaming The President…

Since being born in 1972, I have been alive for the Presidency’s of Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. While I may not remember much about the first few of those Presidents during the early years of my life, I do remember the majority of them since Carter. And if there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about all of them, it’s that no matter who the Head of State is at any given time, someone is always blaming them for the ills of the nation that happen during their term. But often, it’s not even the President’s fault.

Throughout my life, I have watched my grandparents, parents, my sister, both her first and second husbands, friends, partners, and other loved ones, complain time and time again about each President and how they feel the problems in our country are because of them. While some of the President’s decision making may not at times be in the best interest of the entire country at whole, it’s easy to place the blame on them for all our country’s troubles anyway. Many people look at the President as a god of some sort that is “way up there” and believe that each of them has some godly power to control and fix every single ill of society. But what most often forget about is that not only is the President just one person in a position of leadership within a large government structure, there is also a system of checks and balances for them with the Legislative and Judicial branches affecting much of what happens during their term. With the Senate, Congress, and the Supreme Court each having their own forms of control, it’s often that vetoes and decisions overrule the President’s attempts to make many of those positive changes people are seeking.

Many years ago I lived near Washington D.C. and got to see the first screening there of Michael Moore’s controversial movie entitled Fahrenheit 9/11. This was a documentary film about the events that happened during 9/11 and it showed evidence that proposed President Bush being a big cause to what happened on that tragic day. As I left the theater, there were news crews present that were interviewing people about their opinions on not only the movie but also on President Bush. One of them stopped me and ask if I felt the current President was the main problem for our country. My response was swift and to the point. I simply stated that too many of the citizens of our country are always quick to blame each and every President for every single problem. And I told them that the real work for changing our country to making it a happier, and healthier place, is done through each and every one of us. The news person was stunned and had no other questions to ask me after that.

Unfortunately, what people aren’t realizing is that if all of us could unite together with a lot more love and light, things would automatically change for the better without having to rely upon the President, or anyone else in political power for that matter. If we could just be more giving of ourselves selflessly to those less fortunate, things could move in the direction that we want the President to make them move. If we could practice greater peace making efforts with each other day to day, things could move in the direction that we want the President to make them move. If we could focus on unity rather than division, things could move in the direction that we want the President to make them move. And if we could work on integrating all walks of life together and embracing total equality, instead of using religious and other various platforms to segregate, things could move in the direction that we want the President to make them move. But instead, too many of us just sit back and point the fingers at the President, and do nothing more than continue to be selfish and self-centered in life which only makes our country a lot less loving of a place to be in.

The reality is that each of us have to do our part to making this country and this world a better place. The President is not the total cause of all the problems that revolve around our countries issues with drugs, poverty, the economy, job availability, gay marriage, health care, gun violence, and more. The finger pointing at others, especially the President really needs to end and instead be pointed directly back at oneself because that’s where the changes truly need to begin.

So the next time you might find yourself wanting to chastise the President to someone around you because of something bad happening in the country or the world, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and realize the President is not the person to blame. There are many others in political power affecting all of the unfortunate conditions in society who have just as much of a say. And if you are like me and not one of those in any position of political power, the changes you want to see the President make can still begin with you. Seek a Higher Guidance and begin practicing loving yourself and all others a lot more unconditionally and I’m sure you’ll not only start seeing the President in a very different light, you’ll probably stop blaming them for every problem too.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Why You Should Tip Your Server That 20 Percent Or Even Greater…

It always saddens me when I see people leave poor tips in restaurants when they are dining out. I’ve come to learn over the years with eating out quite often in so many various establishments, that most waiters and waitresses depend upon the tips given to them to earn their living. In our country, most wait staff receive only a few dollars an hour for just showing up to do their jobs. The rest is up to how many customers show up and how much they get in their tips.

All too often in my dinners out and about with friends and acquaintances, I’ve silently observed how people will make an assumption that for anything which goes wrong during their meal, that it’s the waiter or waitress’s fault. So in all those cases where foods don’t come out the way they’re ordered, or when they are prepared poorly, or when they don’t taste that good, or when they takes a long time to get to the table, it’s usually reflected in the server’s tip by these same people. But ironically, I’ve found it’s often the kitchen that is making many of these mistakes. And sadly, the kitchen is not the one that suffers the consequences from that poor tip. It’s the waiter or waitress that does, even though it frequently wasn’t even their fault.

There are cases too when the wait staff in a restaurant is grossly shorthanded. That can occur when people don’t show up for work or for the times when crowds are surging more than what the wait staff is set up to handle. I’ve dined at restaurants where these conditions have occurred and it really is not a reflection upon the waiter or waitress in those situations when the dining experience is not done to a level that my ego might think it should be.

The bottom line here is that the first person people tend to blame in a restaurant for anything that goes wrong during their dining experience is the waiter or waitress, when in fact, that’s often not the case. It’s the ego that makes that assumption and because of it, the tip that’s left to them is usually lousy. And that’s completely unfair to these waiters or waitresses who may have done their absolute best to make the meal experience the best it could be.

I think about this all the time now when I dine out and do my best today to always tip at least 20 percent of the total bill regardless of how bad my meal experience was. Even if it really came down to the fact that the waiter or waitress was truly the problem, I always tell myself I don’t know what’s going on in those people’s lives. Maybe they’re new to being a food server. Maybe their boss at that restaurant is constantly yelling at them for no reason. Maybe they’ve just had a serious blow in their lives such as someone close to them dying, or their health is deteriorating, or someone just ended a relationship with them. Regardless of whatever the circumstance is, doesn’t each of them warrant my compassion? Don’t I want others to have that same compassion for me if there comes a time when I’m not performing up to my par?

The next time you find yourself dining out and are about to leave your tip, I encourage each of you to take a moment, breathe, and try to be more generous to your waiter or waitress with the tip you are about to leave them. Even if your meal didn’t meet your ego’s expectations, it’s often not the wait staff’s fault and in those cases where it truly might have been, you never know what’s really going on in your server’s life that may warrant your love and compassion instead of your stinginess. Please also try to remember that the tip you’re about to leave your server is the sole source of their income. Think what it may be like for you if your job didn’t give you your paycheck because they felt you didn’t quite live up to their expectations. Hopefully now, you’ll want to leave your server that 20 percent or even greater…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson