A Life of Gratitude

It’s quite easy to be negative. Sometimes it seems that more and more people are becoming that way all around me. I feel it’s like a virus that slowly creeps upon me, ready to invade all the parts of me trying to stay as positive as I can with what I go through pain-wise everyday.

For most of my life I was a negative person. I saw the sky as always full of clouds regardless if it was a sunny day or not. The slightest thing would turn a great day into a horrible one. And I criticized just about everything in my daily conversations with anyone.

I’ve really worked hard on this, and I do my best today to keep my distance from those who are like I once was. I’ve learned that the more I spend time around those that are highly negative, the more I start to become like them as well. On my recent vacation, I was on a cruise where it was apparent to my partner and I that the ship had an abundance of negativity present. During a massage that I splurged for, the masseuse commented similarly saying that the rest of the spa practictioners were noticing it as well.

It’s hard for me to fathom why there was so much negativity present in the first place. Just being on a ship in the carribean with sunny 80 degree days, having meals served to me in several courses daily, and having a room steward to clean up after me is more than most people will ever experience in their lifetime. My cruise stopped at five different islands in the carribean. At each island, I spent time on some exotic beach while the rest of the people I knew back home were dealing with another 24 inches of snow dropping and freezing cold weather while they went to work.

With the transition I’m going through to become a more God-centered individual, I have tried on every level to remain grateful for what I have in my life. For most of my life prior to the past few years, I was probably like the vast majority of the complainers on the ship I just sailed on. Spending a lot of money on a vacation in the past would raise the bar level for me on what I felt like I deserved. My expectations became higher and at the same time so did my dissastisfactions. It made me wonder if that was what was happening on my cruise. During it,  I noticed that when I spent time talking to people around the ship that were criticizing it or anything else for that matter, that I slipped into my old behaviors and became just as critical.

I’ve had more in my life than what 90 percent of the world’s population may ever see. I’ve been to places most never will be able to afford to go to. I’ve dined out at many four and five star restaurants when so many are starving to death somewhere in the world.  I’ve lived in homes that many homeless people would dream of living in. I’ve owned possessions such as cars or other gadgets that are considered luxuries and unobtainable to most families. And up until a few years ago, I was completely and utterly ungrateful for what I had and what I was still able to do. Over the past year, I’ve prayed to God to become more grateful on every level and in every area of my life. I write every night in a journal at least nine things that I’m grateful for in the day that has just passed. And I thank God verbally each and every moment when I’m experiencing something that I know most people might never be able to see or do or buy or own, in their entire lifetime.

Being on a cruise and having gourmet meals, visiting beautiful islands, and even just being able to take a vacation like that is something I’m extremely grateful to God for today. While the ship may have been full of negative people, there was one who was doing his best to focus on what was good and wonderful, than what was lacking and frustrating. I had my downfalls at moments during my vacation, but all in all, I was more positive than negative than any other time I’ve travelled in the past. I only have God to thank for that. I know the more I strive to be a God-centered individual, the more I will remain grateful in my life for all of what I have and all of what I experience.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Kings Cream

I decided I wanted to write about a really wonderful place I found in my recent stay in Ponce, PR. Whenever I travel somewhere lately, I generally like to try something of local flair. With a few days to spend on my own, I decided that I would do some venturing out during that time. In a recent posting, I talked about how there are things that sometimes are right in front of us when we are looking for them. The subject of that posting was this specific night that I went into downtown Ponce. That evening I had planned to dine at a local Spanish restaurant, see a few sites within walking distance, and then have ice cream at a very well known place in all of Puerto Rico named Kings Cream. Thankfully I was able to find all three, especially Kings Cream, after spending time being lost.

In most cases, Kings Cream is a place that if one was driving down the street and saw the sign, they probably wouldn’t stop. Appearing essentially as a hole in the wall in a slightly run down section of the city, I parked and walked in to look at the flavors. Everything was in Spanish which I kicked myself for not knowing. I found the place on Trip Advisor, which I use often when I travel. It was rated by quite a number of people with close to five stars. What Kings Cream is known for is having unique flavors of ice cream that one probably wouldn’t find anywhere else. I recognized one word, “Coco” and ordered a medium cup of coconut ice cream. And it was amazing.

What’s funny is that the old me would never have ventured out alone to a place in an old city that primarily speaks a language I didn’t know. What’s even funnier is that I went back again another night and got a tropical fruit flavor named guanabana which was even better than the coconut. While I was there, I found out they even had passion fruit, corn, and pineapple as flavors. I had a sample of the corn ice cream which was definitely unique. Regardless, for a place that only charged a couple of bucks for a very large portion of their delectable ice cream, I was glad that I made the trip and am even more glad that I’m much open in my life to trusting in God to try new experiences.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

What Is God’s Will?

For years, I went about looking for God’s will in the way that was presented to me from when I was a young child. I would go to church each week, volunteer, pray, and wait for an answer but many times no answers came for what I was seeking. As I grew older, I found that I was too busy in my life, especially in my head, each and every day to even hear what God’s will may be for something I was praying on. I’ve come to learn in my life that while prayer is the active form of communicating with God. Meditation is the active form of listening and waiting for those answers. One of those things that I prayed upon for years and years was about God’s will with my sexuality. This entry is about my journey in receiving that answer from God.

As a child I stayed in the closet. I dated women. I played it “straight”. I was too afraid. So many people still say today that gay people choose their lifestyle and of course, much of those same people also say it’s a sin and against God’s will. I grew up Methodist and while I don’t remember people like that or sermons based around homosexuality, I do remember friends making fun of those that appeared gay. Sadly, I was one of them. I was so deeply afraid of my attractions to a guy that I ridiculed those that were a mirror for what I felt inside. My life became a fantasy world where I lived in my head about what I wanted. On the outside, I appeared “normal” to everyone else. Yet inside, I was completely miserable. I couldn’t understand how God would create me this way and have attractions and feelings towards the same sex if it was a sin.

I drank and took drugs for many years to hide this part of me and kept it suppressed. I found that when I was drunk or high I could fake being heterosexual and be with a woman. Usually, I was thinking about a man during those times anyway. Never did I feel a strong current or attraction towards any of the women I dated. It was all a front. A good one at that. After years of therapy trying to figure out me, I came to the conclusion that I really was gay but it still didn’t answer what God’s will was for me on that issue.

There are many who say that being gay is a choice. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t choose to be gay in a world where there is so much prejudice and hate towards it. But I don’t have a choice. It’s who I am. And when I began to realize that, I tried praying to God to take “my gayness” away. When that didn’t work, I came to the acceptance that it was the way I was meant to be from the day I was born. It brought up a lot of fear because of my religious upbringing and what I knew the Bible said. Questions began to come up every day around it.

Did God want me to be celibate the rest of my life and never find love with anyone?

Did God want me to find a woman and just force myself to be with her and trust that the parts might somehow work as time went on?

Would God be ok with me being with a man?

Was the Bible really stating God’s will?

They all led up to one big question. “God, what is your will for me with my sexuality?”

I prayed about it.

I wrote about it.

I prayed some more about it.

I cried and felt like I was being punished.

I even tried to “ex-communicate” myself from being gay.

After many therapy visits, reading spiritual books on the matter, talking about it to pastors and friends, I was no closer to knowing what God’s will was. The more that I took action to figure it out, the more I was overwhelmed with data on how it was right or wrong depending on the source.

Finally I took the one action I didn’t want to take, because it was too fearful for me. It’s an action that many people don’t even realize is one. I became still. I stopped taking physical actions and sat down, and started meditating. Initially for short periods of time, and then eventually for hours on end, I was silent. One night I was so fed up with my life and feeling confused about this issue and so many more that I said I wasn’t going to stop meditating until I got some answers, or any answer for that matter. I started meditating that night, sitting on the floor with my back to the couch and a candle lit in front of me. My breathing was in and out in a regular repeated pattern. Thirty minutes became an hour. An hour went into two hours. Two hours turned into four hours and at some point something happened that never had happened before. A beautiful vibration swept through my whole body and I suddenly felt lighter than I ever had felt before. All the fears, worries, and concerns of my day to day life seemed to disappear immediately. The place I arrived in that moment was more peaceful than anything I had ever experienced before in my life. And that’s when I heard the answer to the prayer I had so often sought after from God.

As clear as day, I heard a voice that said to me that as long as I love one person, whether it’s a man or a woman, that I was to love them with all my heart, mind, and soul. There were other prayers that were answered at that moment too but for this entry’s purposes, I’ll stay on topic. I realized in that moment, that fantasizing about someone else while I was in a relationship wasn’t in God’s will. I realized that looking at porn while I was in a relationship with someone wasn’t in God’s will. I realized that God was trying to tell me that if I am with a man, to just love them with all of me. Tears of joy flooded my eyes and face and I knew in that moment, that I was hearing God’s will and not some Darkness or Satan as some have said.

Many years have passed since then. I fell off the path many times and didn’t stick to God’s will. I became toxic and hurt myself and many others. A year ago, I pledged 100 percent of my life to God. For the first time in my life, I can say that I am loving the man I am with now with all my heart, mind, and soul. It is the best relationship I’ve ever had. It’s God centered. And I’m becoming brighter and lighter in the process.

If anyone out there is struggling with their sexuality, please, don’t listen to anyone else tell you what God’s will is. Don’t let a single person tell you that it’s against the Bible, or God, or any other religion. All of those are coming from human beings who have or had opinions and are potentially flawed. God WILL give you the answer you are seeking. Sometimes what it takes is to just be quiet and listen. Wait patiently and meditate on it. It took me many, many years, to get my answer. But no matter how long it may take to get His answer, it will come. When He feels the time is right. It did for me and I know it will for you.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson