Walking Through Those Paralyzing Fears…

Fears can be paralyzing for many people. There are an infinite amount of things in this world that often drive people into that type of fear. Some of the ones I’ve faced throughout my life have included the fear of economic security, of being alone, of having health issues, of certain animals or creatures, of bosses at various jobs, of my sexuality, of my parents, and even of God to be totally honest.

Each of those fears have completely shut me down at times to where I feel incapacitated to do anything at all. But I’ve learned that the best way to overcome any fears is to confront them head-on and walk through it with faith that everything will be ok in doing so.

A good and simple example of this is the fact that I used to be completely freaked out by spiders. There came a time when I got tired of jumping every time I saw one, no matter what its size or shape was. During a moment of meditation on a retreat many years ago, I was able to remain calm enough when I saw one crawling near me. Instead of doing my usual running away, I did the exact opposite by asking God for protection and then reaching out and touching it. And ironically, since then, a spider’s presence doesn’t overwhelm me like it used to. And instead of running from them or squishing them as quickly as possible when I see one, I either observe them, or if they’re in my house, I take them outside.

The main reason why I’ve shared this minor example with you is that it’s my belief today that I can apply it to anything that causes me that paralyzing fear. For years I stayed in the closet about my being gay and drank massive quantities of alcohol to deal with the terrible fears I had surrounding it all. But there came a day then too when I called upon God and asked for help in dealing with those fears which in doing so, I was able to pick up the phone and call my parents where I told them I was attracted to men. I fully accept my sexuality today as a part of who I am because of those actions.

Time and time again, I have gone through many other examples where I have had those paralyzing fears and initially did nothing but crawl into my own tortoise shell and hide. But rarely have I ever stayed in that shell for very long because of my inward desire to not let any fears control me.

Currently, I’d have to say that I’m facing the biggest fear in my life yet and that’s over my current health situation. Many of my previous entries in here have touched upon what I’ve been going through on that realm. It certainly has been a challenge to walk through a lot of fear every single day as my body aches and groans continuously with no reprieve. But there was a time that I didn’t want to face my health issues and instead took a lot of medications to numb myself from feeling anything or acted out in various addictions to shift my attention away from dealing with them. Thankfully, each day now, I awake and ask God for the strength and courage to walk through these fears I have over my health issues for another day so that I don’t fall into any old patterns of numbing myself. I truly believe that just as I overcame those paralyzing fears with spiders, my sexuality, and so many other things in life, there will come a day soon where I have no fear surrounding the state of my mind, body, and soul either.

Don’t get me wrong, facing any paralyzing fear is a difficult thing. But, in seeking out God’s help for all of the major ones that I’ve confronted in my life, I have successfully been able to overcome each of them.

I encourage all of you to take a moment today and breathe as you think about any fears in your own life that are paralyzing. Seek God’s help to confront them head-on and know that they will begin to lose the power they had over you in doing so. In time, I’m sure you will look back with amazement on how you walked through each of them, which only will make it easier for any future ones that come along your way.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

“I Don’t Know Why I’m Always In Debt?!”

There have been several people throughout my life who’ve at times made comments that they don’t understand why they’re always in debt. They question why it is they can’t get their head ever above the water. They don’t understand why it’s a perpetual problem for themselves. Unfortunately, what they don’t understand, is that the source of their money issues is really just the emptiness within themselves.

I spent seven years in a relationship with a person who could never quite figure out his money troubles. Sadly, when I went into business with him, I too suffered at the hands of his financial woes and began to grasp why so many people rack up too much debt. The bottom line to his and so many other’s money troubles come from their spending habits and rationalizations surrounding them.

Do you ever catch yourself saying any of the following statements before you spend money on something?

I deserve this…

I’ll just pay this off later…

It’s on sale!

This will make me feel so much better…

I’m just going to buy it this one time.

I don’t have to make payments on this for several years!

It’s too difficult to do that project without this.

I don’t feel like cooking as I worked really hard today, so let’s eat out…

This will save me so much time.

This is a great investment!

This will end up saving me a lot of money.

Look, I saved money here, so why can’t I get this…

I won’t be spending anything, I have the points built up!

You have one already, so why can’t I?

Well you bought that for yourself last week, so why can’t I get this for me now?

These are just a few of the many things I’ve heard from my former partner and many others, who have racked up debt for themselves by the thousands. In regards to my former partner’s spending issues, it became an addiction for him and there was no reasoning with him. There was no getting him to understand why his debt kept piling up. Spending money was what made him feel comfortable. And ironically, he was no different than when I was actively taking alcohol or drugs, except the substances being consumed were different. For him it was money and it made him feel good temporarily to spend it on whatever his mind would send him off to buy. While for me it was the alcohol and drugs that brought me ease and comfort.

In similar fashion, I’ve started seeing my sister’s family following in my former partner’s footsteps. They just came back a short while ago from a ten day vacation and I was informed the other day of their family plans to go to not only Boston during the upcoming Thanksgiving timeframe but also to take a triangle flight down to Florida for yet another vacation. This comes after several conversations we’ve had in recent months about the debt they’ve been incurring. When I told them I thought it might not be a good idea because of their growing debt issues, I became the recipient to several of those italicized statements I listed above. I think it’s important to note that all of those statements are generated from the ego.

The ego does a very nice job to justify the spending of money. For the longest time I was just like my ex-partner and my sister’s family on how I used it to find happiness in the spending of money. My ego always told me to buy something that it believed would make me feel better in acquiring it. And I learned it was no different than food to an overeater, alcohol to an alcoholic, a drug to an drug addict, a slot machine or poker table to a gambling addict, and so on. Happiness can never come from any of those things. I often compare all of this to that of a kid who gets a great shiny new toy for Christmas. In a short period of time, the child loses interest in it and starts asking their parents for the next shiny thing they’ve seen. Many of these kids then become adults who find ways to buy those things they need and want through the use of credit cards and other various ways. Eventually there comes a day when they are completely in debt and in over their heads.

I lost that business I had with my ex-partner for this reason and had to learn through that difficult lesson that spending money on anything I desire will only ever bring me temporarily satisfaction. I also learned that not spending my money on all those urges can bring about much greater and more lasting happiness. When I’m feeling empty today and have wanted to go spend money on something, I’ve started filling those empty areas with love for myself and others instead of with more debt. It may sound silly to someone reading this, but it really is the emptiness that exists within us that often drives us to overspending. By resisting all those urges, I have worked on finding and healing those sources of my own emptiness.

If you are falling into or already have your own debt troubles, I encourage you to take a moment today, breathe, and pause before you may that next purchase. Know that all those things your brain is telling you right now on why you need it, want it, deserve it, or have to have it, are the sole reasons why you are in debt in the first place. Begin to ask God for guidance in all your financial affairs and in time I’m convinced you will begin to fill that emptiness with things that money can’t buy.

Peace, love, light, and, joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Pruning My Garden Of Spirituality

I don’t proclaim myself to be a great gardener but I certainly enjoy working in one. Over the years, I’ve come to learn that it’s important to prune many flowers, plants, and trees so that they can grow healthier, stronger, and a lot more lush. I’ve also come to learn more recently that this same principle holds true within the spiritual me as well.

As a gardener, pruning something normally requires some form of shears to get rid of the unwanted parts of vegetation being grown. But pruning oneself can be a little more complicated than that. To better understand what it involves, picture yourself as one of those flowers, plants or trees that has been growing for as long as you’ve been alive. For all those times that you have done kind and loving acts for not only yourself, but others too, and kept yourself in a healthy state of mind, body, and soul, those were the times where you were regularly pruning yourself. Now for all those moments in your life where you might have fallen into various addictions, or brought toxic people into your lives, or earned money in ways that produced mostly stress for yourself, or eaten totally unhealthy, those were the times where you weren’t pruning yourself.

So what happens for a gardener when they don’t prune their flowers, plants, or trees? I’ll take the petunias that have been growing all summer in my garden as an example. Having originally planted them in the late Spring, I left my petunias unattended for several months, except for making sure they stayed watered. The result was that they began to grow in various directions, looking oddly shaped, where parts of them even started to die off. This made all of them appear rather unattractive and unhealthy. So with each one of them, I took a pair of shears and cut them 3/4’s of the way back. To a passer by, this might have seemed drastic because I got rid of so much of the plants producing these flowers. But within a week or so, they had all grown mush bushier and more vibrant, and created many more flowers than what had even been there before I had done the pruning.

In my own life, to prune means to cut back the unwanted growth that came during all those periods where I wasn’t living in that good state of mind, body, and soul. Over the past few years, what that has entailed has been letting go and saying goodbye to those toxic people I brought into my life. It’s meant staying away from all the things that I got addicted to. It’s meant finding a job or work that brings me peace, happiness, and joy in doing it. And it’s meant eating a lot more healthier on a daily basis. All of these actions have pruned back that spiritual tree within me and as a result, spurred a lot of spiritual growth since.

Because of the regular pruning I continue to do in my spiritual life, I find I am becoming a lot more peaceful and content, and that my mind remains more clear than clogged up. I believe the writing I’ve been doing in this blog is the sole result of this spiritual pruning that I’ve been doing throughout my life. Prior to doing any pruning at all on myself, I couldn’t even spend a few moments writing anything at all. It was as if my mind was off in too many directions to get any type of focus and clarity. That is no different than taking a flowering plant and letting it grow unattended for years.

For a gardener, pruning is often a crucial step to maintaining beautiful flowers, plants, or trees. For a person that desires to become spiritual, pruning oneself is just as crucial to maintaing one’s brightness, beauty, and love. I encourage everyone today to take a moment, breathe, and look at the ares in your life that could use some pruning. Don’t be afraid to use those shears to prune out parts of your life. You might be surprised to see the spiritual growth you spur within yourself by doing so.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson