Don’t Forget Your Inner Child

I may be in my 40’s now but that hasn’t stopped me from tapping into the little kid that still lives within me. Each and every one of us has a little boy or girl still inside. Unfortunately, too many of us are told to put on our “big boy or girl pants” or to just plain grow up. While in some moments that may be important, there are plenty of others where it’s equally as important to remember and honor one’s inner child.

For years, I neglected my own. During all that time, I hung around people who I allowed to abuse me. In each of those terrible moments, I could feel a little kid inside me crying and wanting to feel loved and accepted. I ignored those pleas and cries and avoided doing most of the things that this little child within liked doing. My whole world gravitated towards being a strict and closed minded adult. As a result, I grew more and more miserable and found it harder to smile about anything. When I finally removed all the people in my life that told me I had to be a certain way, that were toxic, or that didn’t accept me for me, I began to honor my inner child. As time has moved forward since then, I have tried to do things daily that honor this little kid that lives within me.

One of those happens on many mornings where I wake up and grab myself a bowl of some type of cereal and watch cartoons, mostly superhero based. It was something I did throughout all of my childhood that brought me great joy and truthfully still does. There are many other things as well though that I do now to respect the little boy that lives within me who I once did my best to keep tucked away. I go out for gooey ice cream sundaes. I jump up on shopping carts and ride on them when I’m leaving a store. I make goofy faces and odd noises. I play board games. I mix weird food combinations together just to see what it tastes like. I like to make roaring fires and toast marshmallows. I sleep next to a teddy bear. I enjoy telling corny jokes that an eight year old might say. I take great pleasure in playing in the sand at the beach. And well, I could go on and on.

It’s not that I am a kid all the time either. I have learned in my closer relationship with God that life is all about balance. There are times I know I need to be a grown up and there are times I know it’s ok to be a kid. The main point though is allowing both to exist equally. Too many adults are doing what I did for years where they feel as if they need to “act their age” all the time. I have found in doing so, it only brought on more sadness and misery because I neglected a part of someone still living inside me.

I encourage everyone today to take a moment, breathe, and do your best to find and spend some time with your inner child. I’m sure there was at least one time in your life where you loved being a kid and were able to find great happiness and delight in doing something simple. Try to focus in on remembering just one of those things and then do it. You might actually find it brings a huge smile onto your face and allows you to feel something you haven’t felt in a very long time…the joy of being a kid again.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Body And Blood Are For Everyone

On my most recent visit to my partner, I decided to attend his brother’s Catholic church for a Sunday morning service. It had been the first one I had gone to since Christmas. I struggle with organized religion and the structure that comes within most of them so I rarely frequent any service, but given that my partner was working all day, I decided to tag along with his brother’s family.

During the car ride with them to the building where the church service was at, I asked if communion was being held that morning. While I thought the only answer was either going to be a “Yes” or a “No”, what I received instead surprised me. They thought that communion could only be done for those that were Catholic. I had never heard of such of thing as I’ve attended many church services in my life who opened their communion tables up with words stating that everyone was welcomed to come up and receive the sacraments.

I can be a Google fanatic when it comes to not knowing such things so I decided to look up the factual information based upon their claim. Sadly, there was great truth to what they were saying and then some, at least based upon the Catholic religion. From what I read, the long and short of it is that there are a set of five requirements that one has to adhere to in order to receive the sacraments of communion. They were listed as follows:

1. One must be in a state of grace.

2. One must have gone to confession since their last communion.

3. One must believe in transubstantiation (which means one believes that conversion of the body and blood from within occurs when taking them).

4. One must have fasted at least one hour prior to taking communion.

5. One must not be under an ecclesiastical censure (which means not being excommunicated form the church).

I read in more depth about each of those five requirements and frankly, it exhausted me. I definitely failed to meet several of those requirements as based upon the language I read. One description even said that no practicing homosexual was ever supposed to partake in communion. This is the main reason why I continue to refrain from taking part in any organized religion on a daily basis in my life.

In my spiritual path with God, everyone is welcomed, all the time, to come before an “alter” of God and take part in any practice that helps bring on closer to God, such as communion. Each and every day, I ask God to guide me in all my thoughts, words, and actions, and at the end of the day, I do my best to account and pray for release from anything that I may have done that wasn’t in love and light. I also have come to the belief that God brought me here as a gay man to learn how to love those who may not love me and to understand the pain of racism and prejudice. In my heart, I know God sees how much I do everyday to grow closer to him. And to be denied communion because of rules and regulations seems like something that doesn’t come from God, it comes from man.

So ironically, I chose to go this church’s alter and take the sacraments. I asked God as I took them, to bless the Body and Blood as they entered me. I believe that God always welcomes me and continuously has open arms to embrace me. Unfortunately, as I continue to see in society today, organized religion conforms people to restrained mentalities which only persist the fear out there that not all are welcomed before God.

It pains me to say this but there are many people out there who are so misguided and fail to ever find a close relationship with God solely because they are pushed away due to the rules and regulations that organized religion brings. But I will continue to accept things differently in my spiritual journey by trying to help those who might not feel accepted at God’s table. I believe God loves everyone, at all tables that come before God. I believe that everyone, from all walks of life, can receive the Body and the Blood or any other message of love from God. The only rejection that comes at any table before God is what man defines and no one else.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

A Chinese Fortune Worth Mentioning

I’ve never really been a big fan of the taste of a fortune cookie but I have always enjoyed looking at those little slogans that come within them. Sometimes much to my dismay though I’ve gotten one with no fortune inside. Ironically, there have been other times I’ve gotten a cookie with two stuffed inside where they both were blank. But in most cases, there’s usually just one waiting for me that has some corny saying I generally laugh at.

Back in my fraternity days, my brothers and I would dine at a local Chinese buffet where we would read those corny fortunes aloud to each other but add the words “…. in bed” at the end of it. Often it proved to bring about quite a number of laughs amongst all of us especially when someone would get a fortune that said something like “You are talented in many ways (in bed)”. But over the years with my many visits to Chinese establishments, there have been a few slogans I’ve read, which I’ve tucked away in my spiritual locker because they inspired me. Just the other day at my most recent visit to the Asian fusion restaurant chain named PF Changs, my partner got one of these that I felt was worth writing about. It read as follows:

“Love is a present that can be given every single day you live…”

Many people often think that the types of presents that come out of feeling “love” are things such as flowers or chocolates. Some also think it’s just a verbal gift that’s used towards a partner, especially during sex and intimacy. But there is another type of love that I have been coming to understand much more about in recent times and that’s one I feel towards every single soul and living thing on this planet. And that love is really all about caring passionately and deeply for everyone and everything in this world. The more that I have worked on myself and grown closer to God through my healing and recovery, the more I’ve seen that this type of love is something I can offer as a present every single day in infinite ways.

Here are just some of those ways I’ve been trying to do just that…

1. Holding a door for a stranger

2. Buying a coffee for a stranger

3. Telling a friend how much they mean to me

4. Taking someone out to a restaurant who can’t afford to do so on their own

5. Tipping a server an amount equal to the bill itself at a restaurant just dined at

6. Preparing someone their favorite home cooked meal

7. Praying for healing for the world

8. Praying for only good things to come to those who I know really don’t like me

9. Doing a random act of kindness for someone who doesn’t like me

10. Taking care of someone else’s chores that I wasn’t asked to do

11. Donating money to a charity like the Jimmy Fund during a visit to the movie theater

12. Volunteering my free time to help inspire those who are trying to recover from addictions

13. Asking in prayer every day for all my thoughts, words, and actions to follow God’s will

14. Doing my best to embrace and never take the life away from any living creature

15. Talking to a random stranger who is ailing in any way with the desire to lift them up

There are many other ways than just these to gift love in some way to this world. I continue to find more of them as I work on deepening my relationship with God. I’ve learned that love is not just about kisses and hugs and intense passion for someone. It is so much more than that and can be a way of being throughout all of my life. And it’s one where I know now that love really can be a present in any moment of any day as long as I’m still alive and breathing.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson