Everything Happens For A Reason…

Much of my healing process I’ve been going through in the past year is centered around my desire to heal holistically from the numbness and sciatica I have on my left leg and foot. From something that originally started in 2010, my perspective on it has changed dramatically since then.

I believe strongly today that there is a mind-body connection. Having read a few books on this subject by a Dr. John Sarno many years ago, I learned that the mind can create pain in the body due to emotional turmoil. Essentially, when an emotional trauma is too painful to deal with consciously, the mind creates a pain or pains in the body to shift the focus away from it. The more that a person focuses on the emotional trauma, the more the pain dissipates. The more the person focuses on the pain itself, the more it increases. For years, I followed this theory, and consistently was able to combat various phantom pains that came about in my body as each of them were connected to one of many emotional traumas that I had endured in my life. But then April 27, 2010 arrived and I developed sciatica and numbness in my left leg and left foot.

When it began, I tried to apply the same principles from the mind-body connection, but as time went forward, I lost faith in what I had learned. As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and months turned into a year, I lost confidence in the path I had followed for so many years and figured it was something more serious. I went to the doctors and had test after test done and then had an MRI which showed a minor protrusion in L5-S1 on my spine. I consulted with the best back specialists in the Boston area at Massachusetts General Hospital and was told that the disc may or may not be causing what I’m experiencing. Even worse, I was told that if I pursued surgery, it may or may not alleviate the symptoms I was dealing with. I opted for a cortisone shot path with physical therapy instead. Neither helped. I then went to chiropractors, took pain meds and anti-inflammtories, and followed the doctor’s orders explicitly on his other suggestions. None of them helped. In fact, more pains developed as time moved forward.

What I didn’t understand then that I do now, is that I was focusing on everything that I could do externally to treat it. I would go to this doctor or that doctor, take this pill or that pill, have this test done or that test done, and was getting nowhere. After a year of doing this and a seonc year had gone by with me enduring so much pain, I realized that there was one path I hadn’t tried. I hadn’t gone within to look at some very deep seated emotional issues that I have avoided for all of my life.

In the first two years of enduring this, I was engaged in highly sexual addicted based behaviors. I spent most of my time toxically with people that were active alcoholics and drug addicts. I didn’t follow any spiritual routine or seek God’s will on most days. And I continued to look for quick fixes and highs in my life to make me feel better. Worse of all, I hated to spend any time alone and had no relationship with myself and soon came to realize I never did.

So at the two year mark, I then made the decision it was time. Time to get to know me. Time to go back to the last memory I had of when I did, and start again. The first action I took was telling all the people in my life that were part of my addictions that I had to say goodbye. Then I started removing friends in my life that were codependent with me or vice versa. And then I began following a daily spiritual practice that I maintained diligently with God at the center of it. I started going deeper within myself in therapy and began spending time alone doing things that I might normally do with someone else. Little by little, I began to develop a relationship and best friendship with me.

It’s now been almost a year of following this spiritual path and I definitely am noticing a difference. Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, I have had many better days and feel a lot lighter more than not. Since the end of 2012, I have even begun to have a few hours here and there where the physical pains in my body seem to disappear. I’m confident that these are all signs that I’m on the right path now.

Where I once looked at the sciatica and numbness as the end of my life, I now look at it as a gift. I was on a serious path of destruction where nothing was slowing me down. I’m convinced that I would still be on that dead-end path if this had never happened. I use a comparison today that seems to make sense to others when they ask me how confident I am that I’ll heal in this way with God’s help.

For a cancer patient, most times the course of recovery is through chemotherapy. Week in and week out their bodies are exposed to the radiation to eradicate each and every cancer cell. There are times during that process that the patient wants to give up and feels it’s just not worth it. The truth is that if even one cancer cell is left within the body and not eliminated, that full blown cancer could return. So they trudge on, trusting it’s helping, and for many, the chemo ends up working and they return to a life free from cancer. I believe that the same thing holds true with my sciatica and numbness. I look at God now as my chemotherapy. I believe God knows exactly when to stop it. I am convinced that God knows when the last bit of toxins and poisons from my life are gone and at that moment, I believe that’s when I will see the sciatica and numbness lift.

The first year I had this, I was angry, I begged and bargained with God to remove it. I busied myself with addictions to pass the time by. And I watched 365 days go by with no avail.

The second year I worked with every doctor and practitioner I could afford with both time and money and focused all my efforts on getting it out of me by all of their help. And I watched another 365 days go by with still no improvement.

In this third year, I have done the one thing I never wanted to do throughout the whole process and throughout my whole life for that matter, I remained still and have begun to get to know me. And now I can say that in this 365 days that are passing, I am healing.

Be still. For a body in pain, that’s tough. Especially in that I don’t take any medications. How much longer must I endure this pain? I don’t know. But I believe that God knows. Until then, I believe I have one job and one job only and that’s to continue to do what I can to stay healthy on every level and place God’s will before mine. And as much as cliches can be annoying, everything really does happen for a reason.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

There Are Many Perspectives Than Just My Own…

I was driving down the road coming from the grocery store the other day when suddenly there were quite a number of cars stopped. Was it an accident? Was there construction? Was someone trying to turn down a street or into a driveway? Nope. None of the above.

A wild turkey was in the middle of the road. Several of the flock she was part of were on the other side of the road in the woods pecking at the ground for food. My first reaction was all ego. How she was preventing me from getting to where I was heading! Thoughts ran in my mind about why the closest car didn’t get out and just “shoo” her across to the other side! Then, my spirit took over and I realized how self-centered I was being. I didn’t really have any where that I needed to be any time soon. I took a deep breath and then suddenly, the turkey came into full view as she had been hidden by the car closest to her.

She was absolutely breathtaking. Her full feathers were cropped out like a big puff ball and her tail was completely extended outward for full viewing. There were several bright colors she bore and I immediately felt compassion for her. What would it be like for me if several large vehicles were staring me down and I couldn’t see the rest of my friends on the other side? She continued to try to walk in one direction but with the impatience of drivers and their vehicles, they prolonged her reunion by cutting her off each time she would try to pass. Thus she was essentially going around in circles. Eventually she did made it across with I’m sure, a much calmer feeling within.

How much of life is like that for all of us? I know for me at times that when things are looming in front of me, staring me down, antagonizing me, or intimidating me, I can come out in full view. And while I don’t sport pretty feathers, what I show outwardly is a lot less attractive. I’m not sure anyone would feel safe and comfortable in the position the turkey was of being cut off from her friends and loved ones and having to fend for herself from foreign objects with loud engines in front of her.

Sometimes I wish all of us in this world would practice just a little more patience. All I can do is my part and I know that the next time I am seeing something try to cross the road and I’m closest, I know that I will wait patiently for it to get to the others side before I move forward and create more confusion and problems for it.

So why did the wild turkey cross the road anyway…? To prove she wasn’t a chicken… Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha….

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Living in Integrity – Part I

I belong to a wonderful men’s organization called the Mankind Project (MKP). In 1999, I was introduced to MKP by a friend who was going away on a weekend retreat for it and asked me to go. He told me it was called the New Warrior Training Adventure. It sounded amazing by name alone. At the time I was harboring a lot of pain inside and was told the weekend may help get to the root of it. Given my analytical nature, I wanted to know a lot more about what goes on and consistently I was given vague answers which irritated me yet made me that much more interested. The best description I could get was that the weekend was there to help me find me. And I needed that. Badly.

During that time of my life when I was considering going on the training, my father’s suicide had been weighing heavily on me. I had been carrying a lot of anger, sadness, rage, and disillusionment in my life since his death and hoped somehow the weekend might help alleviate it. It did. And it was the spark I needed in my life to begin a spiritual journey of growth, reflection, and change.

Today, I am part of what MKP refers to as a “IGroup”, which is a group of men that meet together in various frequencies, some once a week, some every other week, and some once a month. During one of these meetings, each of the men present have a chance to reinvigorate themselves drawing closer connections to themselves and to the other members (referred to usually as brothers). More importantly, each man also has the opportunity to work through any issues they may be facing, utilizing tools that the initial training first exposed each man to.

Most of my life I’ve tried to work through many issues on my own and did not get very far. Before MKP, I also was a bystander in my own life and expected things to change without putting forth too much effort. In other words, I didn’t want to have to work too much to get what I wanted in life. Even worse, prior to MKP as well, I blamed everyone and everything for what was wrong in my life and I took no responsibility for things that I committed myself to. This organization helped me to go deep within and find the root causes of why I was that way. It helped me to heal many wounds that were buried deep within me. And most important of all, it helped me to move forward in my life being accountable and in integrity with myself and with all others. I believe it created a foundation in my life that I never had growing up in such a dysfunctional family.

I’m currently in an IGroup that meets twice a month. In my last meeting, about 30 minutes into it, I was feeling disconnected to everyone and wasn’t sure why. There’s a part of the meeting where I am able to identify whether I’m “clear” or present with everyone else that’s there. I spoke up and said I wasn’t clear. Through a small piece of work that followed, I verbalized that only one person had hugged me prior to the start time that night. In the past, my ego would have felt that everyone who walked in after me should have come up and initiated a hug. My IGroup on the other hand, helped me to see that my piece of work in this was to be the initiator of each hug. I know it might sound rather simple but for someone like me who for so long expected everyone else to change to make me happy, hearing this was profound. And so I had the chance to express my needs and wants at that time and offered to give everyone there a hug. At that point, each man accepted and stood up and embraced me with warmth and connectivity. And guess what? After that, I was clear. Not just with each of them, but also with myself, remembering this was why I joined MKP in the first place.

While MKP helped me to create a platform to have an accountable and integrity based life, separating myself from all the addictions that once controlled my life, and asking God to be at the center of my being each and every day, has created a lot more peace and happiness within me. One of the greatest lessons MKP first taught me is that change begins from within. I’m glad I took the time back in 1999 to do that initial training. I’m even happier that I’m currently active in an IGroup again. But most importantly, I am confident that God guided me to this group of men, as I can already see the positive changes happening just from showing up, being accountable, and living with integrity.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson