Trying To Be More Patient With My Healing…

Learning patience has got to be the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to face in this lifetime. I’m speaking specifically to the healing process I continue to go through and how long it seems to be taking to physically recover from the unhealthy life I once lived. Upon deeper introspection, I have started to believe that my level of impatience is tied to more of a cultural shift happening in society now.

In the past three decades, there has been great leaps in science and technology including the development of cellular communications, quick acting medicines, faster diagnostic equipment for doctors to use, more powerful cars, the Internet, and so much more. Everything seems to be gearing all of us for ‘faster, faster, and faster’ and our lives seem to be rapidly following suit. This wasn’t always the case though.

I grew up in a time where I couldn’t text someone to get a quick answer and instead had to take the time to use a home phone. That was when cell phones didn’t exist and people weren’t living, eating, breathing, working, and sleeping with their phone on them. It was when messages had to be left on a house’s answering machine with the hopes that it would be retrieved at the end of a day when the person came home from work. It was also a time where there was no Internet to quickly look up the answer to everything and instead I had to travel to a local library to find those answers. If I wanted to see a movie, buy some music, or get some clothes, I had to leave my home and travel to various places to do any of them. Back then there also wasn’t high doses of caffeine in everything nor were there energy drinks. Television had only four major networks to choose from and I was usually forced to sit through an entire program and its commercials as there weren’t DVRs or hundred of other channels to surf to. And if I got sick during those years, there weren’t medicines to instantly make me feel better to mask what was going on inside and usually the only help was prolonged bed rest with chicken soup until it passed.

With all these advances that are speeding up society, it really does seem like everyone is becoming extremely impatient these days. What’s ironic though is that there are many locations in the world that I’ve travelled to, and many that I haven’t, where these advances still don’t exist. There, mainstream society takes things at a much slower pace. In rural China for example, healing is done through a very slow course that involves herbs and life changes. And there are still too those places out there which don’t rely upon cars and computers and mobile phones and minute clinics and prescriptions to get by. There people get along and live healthy just fine. Sometimes I wish I lived in a place like that. Many of the people I have met in those places seem so much more at peace then what it’s like to live in a major metropolitan area such as the one I do in the Boston, Massachusetts vicinity. One of my first experiences here with this city’s impatience level was a few years ago when there was a freak ice and snow storm that came on suddenly in the afternoon during the winter. Most everyone had headed home from their respective jobs at the same time as a result and the roads were almost at a standstill. As I was creeping along the road at 2mph, I had to stop dead in my tracks because the windshield wipers had completely frozen and I couldn’t see a single thing. When I got out of my car to get the ice off of them, another driver had opened his window nearby and shouted some terrible obscenities at me because I had made him slow down from his 2mph to 0mph.

I could go on and on with other examples of how life has grown more impatient with these advances in science and technology both in my city and many other cities as well, but what I feel is more important is to say that I’m doing what I can now to slow down and develop more patience in everything. On the roads, I am over on the far right lane driving the exact speed limit most often. At home I meditate and pray for a good hour each morning. During the day, I often sit outside in my backyard or at different places like a forest or the beach to silently observe life. Even with my writing I do in here each day, I am trying to slow down for several hours at a time as I chronicle my day to day experiences.

Unfortunately, even with my attempts to slow down, I’m still dealing with a level of impatience in regards to my physical healing. Having grown up with all this science and technological progress has left me wanting quick results with a lot of things in life, especially my healing. But today I’m doing what I can to be more patient with my body’s natural healing process. I admit it’s frustrating that I can’t fast forward it somehow with all these advances that exist. But maybe that’s a good thing, because as I try to have more patience with what I’m going through, I am also gaining a much greater appreciation for things in life again. Many of which I lost sight of so long ago, when I was that patient and much more technology-free, young boy.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

God Works In Mysterious Ways…

Have you ever had one of those days where you woke up and just felt like putting the covers over your head and not going anywhere for the rest of the day? Unfortunately, with the level of physical pain I am currently having to endure, I often experience days like that. But on some of them, God seems to work in strange ways to keep me going on this path of healing and recovery from the toxic life I once lived.

A few days ago, I awoke with such a severity of bodily pain that I spent that entire morning and a good part of the afternoon in incredible anguish and despair. Even after doing my normal spiritual maintenance routines, I felt no better. After a lengthy conversation with my spiritual teacher, I was given a few exercises to try that she hoped might help reduce some of the pain levels I was going through that day. One of which dealt with communicating to my parents through prayer (given they were no longer alive) and letting them know I wouldn’t accept anymore the low vibration patterns of living and behaviors they passed onto me. The other homework assignment was simply just to do some deep breath work in silence.

While both seemed to help reduce some of that anguish, especially with the tears that came up in my conversation with my parents, I still felt like Gloomy Gus and decided to get out of the house. I went first to a local coffee shop where I got myself something to drink and worked on my blog site. Upon leaving, I had already decided to go to a random local meeting that I had never been to before. While I was walking to my car, two young gentlemen at a table propped outside asked if I would help them with a donation to the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program they were part of. I gave them my support without hesitation and took a few minutes to tell them that I was actually heading to an AA meeting myself having been in recovery for eighteen years now.

By the time I got into my car, I already noticed I was feeling a slight bit better emotionally. Once I got to the meeting, I introduced myself to a few people that were already there and found myself a seat. When the coffee was ready, I approached the table where it was at and grabbed myself a cup of decaf. A nice woman introduced herself to me as the coffee maker and asked if I was new to AA. I promptly responded to her that I had been around for a while having just celebrated my 18th year of sobriety but that I was new to her meeting. What happened next I could only say must be God.

She shyly asked if I was willing to lead the meeting for that day because she had not found a speaker. My first sponsor always told me to never turn down a request such as that because it may be God working in my life, so I didn’t. And just over an hour later, after I had shared my journey to recovery and listened to all the people who had raised their hands during the open discussion, I felt amazingly better, as compared to how I started the day. Many people in that meeting room had approached me after it had ended to let me know how much they had connected to my story and thanked me for showing up and giving them my service. Some said it was exactly what they needed to hear with what was going on in their life lately.

Between my conversation with those two young gentlemen who were just beginning their journey of recovery and my being asked to lead a meeting I had never been to before, my attitude had completely changed for the better. While the level of my physical pain may not have reduced from both of those things, I had developed an attitude of gratitude which hadn’t been present for most of the day up until then.

Often I don’t truly understand much of what is going on in my life lately with all these levels of pain I continue to go through on most days. But there is one thing I do understand, and that is sometimes God has mysterious ways of helping us to keep going, especially when we think we’re down and out for the count. I’m grateful for each of those mysterious ways when they happen and will continue to do my best to realize that God may not be helping me in the way I think I should be helped, but God sure is helping me in the way I probably need to be helped.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Love Begins Within…

A few nights ago I went out to dinner after an AA meeting with a couple of friends. Another person from that meeting also joined us and ended up sitting next to me. I listened intently to him throughout the evening as he spoke of a lonely life he was living every day, which was greatly reminiscent of how I once felt.

He talked of how he’s spent the past six years being single during which he resorted to occasional quick hook ups and watching pornographic material on the Internet to deal with his loneliness. Upon hearing this, I shared with him about all the same unhealthy things I did to keep myself from feeling those very same emotions and how it destroyed my mind, body, and soul in doing so. I mentioned specifically about my affairs with married and partnered men, and the damage those relationships did to me, and all he could say was that he wished he could have those same experiences because something was better than nothing.

When I asked if he’d be willing to go through a period of sexual refrain so that he could work on loving, healing, and embracing himself a little more, he indicated he felt he had done enough through his state of being single for so many years. What’s ironic about that statement is that it’s one I used to say quite often to myself. For many years, I too was single and felt that being in that state was enough for me to learn to love myself. But during that time, I never totally faced being fully alone and instead occupied most of it with watching porn, chasing after unavailable and unhealthy people, and living in other addiction based behaviors.

I’m firmly convinced today that it is inherent to have a good capacity of love for oneself before any successful long-term intimate relationship can ever develop. To put it in another way, how could I ever have loved anyone else unconditionally, if I couldn’t look in the mirror on any given day and say I truly loved myself?

During all those years where I refused to work on finding that love for myself, I brought all sorts of people into my life that were just like me who didn’t love themselves either. Each and every one of those relationships was a just a mirror for myself to see more clearly who I really was inside. So when I was with dominant, controlling, and abusive men, it’s because I was also the same. And when I was with mentally and emotionally imbalanced as well as codependent men, it’s because that was I as well. Until I began spending that quality time with me and only me, I continued to find other broken men who forced me to see those areas of my life that needed to be healed the most, or I kept myself numb with various addictions such as watching porn.

After a period of celibacy and spending a lot of time alone to get to know myself much better, the healing of those broken parts within me began occurring and my love for myself started growing much greater. It was then that God saw fit to bring into my life a partner who was much healthier than just about everyone else I’ve ever been in a relationship with. While my partner does still mirror parts of me that I need to continue to work on, our relationship is not toxic like all my previous ones were. And I think it’s important to note that those previous ones were only toxic because I was, but without consciously knowing that, I sought others that were just like me to teach me that lesson.

It’s my hope and prayer that the man I had dinner with the other night, who could have been a snapshot of me several years ago, will take the time to work on loving himself a little more than he currently does. Until then, sadly, he’ll most likely stay in those same toxic patterns where his loneliness will continue to persist.

While I do still deal with loneliness, it’s not because of how I’m living my life anymore. It’s not because I don’t love myself enough. And it’s not because I’ve surrounded myself with toxic relationships and addictions. It’s only because I long for a closer relationship with God and it’s my daily prayer that it develops more and more as I continue to work on loving and healing myself daily.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson