Ground Hog Day

squirrelNothing but ground hog day as I keep thinking the same thing over and over…dreaming of a nice 10 oz. juicy steak topped with mushrooms next to a beautiful baked potato covered with butter, sour cream and bacon, and broccoli dripping in a fine cheese sauce (mouth watering). Yummy!!  Oh, wait a second it was really my Top Ramen cup of soup I just ate with a slab of bologna topped with a squirt of mayo, LOL, LOL!! Wow reality has overridden the fantasy of my dinner.  That’s all good because I know it is out there waiting for me.

 

Another school semester over with 9 more units done.  I do enjoy this time to be a sponge absorbing new date and gaining knowledge in order to grow. Something I wanted to share, at the age of 42 I am learning to finally listen to others with empathy and to remember to appreciate the differences that we all have.  These differences are how we are able to grow and learn to solve problems that mutually benefit us all.

Anyways just another day here in prison :)

 

 

The days of our lives

cloudsAhhh… the days are just passing by and if you guessed that I am happy, you would be correct! However, that said, I cannot let go of the thought that there are so many things I am missing.  My girlfriend’s children getting married or the birth of a new baby boy. These moments are what give life such a wonderful meaning. I know, I tell myself, I know…be grateful for the things that I DO have in my life. Maybe prison is a place to reflect on what is important to a person and how choices being made now will have a bearing on the future.

 

Let’s see what else…Oh there is one of my classes and wow!  It is the “Neurobiology of Addiction” and it’s something special. I won’t go into details but when you open your mind to understanding how our brain works it helps you become more accepting of yourself. For so many years I have been very confused and very hard on myself as to why do I keep making the same wrong choices over and over?!?!  Answer – because our brain is hardwired for the purpose of reward from environmental and chemical stimulus.  In other words, I am responsible for making all these connections in my brain. So how do you change these connections? It is a process and sometimes a slow process. It does start however by looking in the mirror and asking yourself, “do I want to change for the good?”  Nobody else has that answer but you. The honest answer lies in your heart and soul.  Please believe me when I say this because I have been very confused for a very long time myself. If you really want to change into a productive good person, you will not stop seeking your own way to your own understanding.  We are not alone in the conundrum of life. All your questions have answers, you just need to ask and seek them.

 

Quote of the Day:  “Be easy on yourself and know that you are a very lucky being in the Universe.”

 

Random stuff…

learningI guess so much is going right at the moment that I am starting to worry about what and when things are going to go wrong?!?  This is why I journal, so I can purge my thoughts in order to even things out.  I have to remember that I am not in control of everything, just  my choices.

 

I remain strong even when there are others that want to bring me down.  As long as I am honest, do my best at whatever I do and do not take things so personally it’s all good.

Not much going on here in prison except that the place is getting fixed up with a new track to run on and a new wheel chair access making things easier for those.  On a funny note, this new dorm is like the dorm that time forgot…Everyone in here is above 60 and someone in here is 91 years old!!  Wow!  How do they freaking do it?  So that’s about it til next time….    :)

 

 

Moving house

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Saturday
Good news from inside the walls – after over two years living in the same dorm I have moved to another and I am grateful because so far it has been a really nice change.  My new dorm is much quieter so a person can read and actually think without too many distractions.  I have a great view of a street that is busy with cars going to and fro.  There is also a nice view of the hillside- oh yea! There are three big trees to sit under or hug, which by the way to you out there in freedomland, is a real treat because a lot of prisons do not have trees as part of their landscape. Also some incredible gardens that some of the inmates are taking care of too.

 

You cannot forget the love and caring from people beyond these walls which help remind you there is always hope for a better life. Having loving support is truly a motivating factor to help you get through any trials and tribulations here in prison. It helps you to never forget that the way to a well being is always going to have obstacles but the end result is pride in yourself knowing that you are doing the right thing.  Even when things do not go the way you expect.  These are things that a person should never forget in prison. As long as you are honest inside your heart you always a winner.  Sometimes that may mean you have to walk alone for awhile, but not forever. Remember you always walk with God, just take a look around you and you will see.

Sunday
It’s 7:05 am and I am sitting outside, my lungs filled with smoke from a fire burning out of control in some nearby forest.  I’m really waiting for the officers to tell everyone to go back inside until it is over. Even with the smoke it’s still great being outside :)

 

I am meeting some interesting new people who are pleasant to talk with. Again I say it is so interesting to be around such a diverse group of different social classes and personalities all trying to function together. Sometimes it is better to just sit on your bed and read or watch television.  Another piece of advice for a prisoner that has come to my attention is when you are having a talk with another inmate be very careful in discussing politics and religion.  Well heck, that goes for anyone, anywhere in life really doesn’t it!?!

Thanks for reading!!

Optimistic!

cloudsWonderful to be at the halfway mark this semester in college. It seems that when you arrive at the mid-term phase you feel a bit more relaxed. My anxious thoughts about how well I will do with the exams are at a minimal and that helps.

 

It is very strange to age in prison.  If you are a person that keeps good values about his or herself you will make it in here.  However if you keep those old negative values things can get very exponentially bad for you.  I have seen this happen over and over in prison.  In order to survive you have to remain optimistic at all times! You have to.

Spring is here and yes, all the birds, all the squirrels are in the midst of their mating rituals. I even saw two fly’s mating…I kid you not! :)  The trees are getting green and it is so very beautiful.

I thank the Creator for everything….

 

Feeling good…

2189900Today I am in a very good place because my thoughts are about what’s right and as a consequence my emotions are in tune with my thoughts. These types of days are limited but when they are here I do feel so at ease. I have to remember it’s not people, places or things that hinder my progress…it is all my own doing. I am responsible for my own thoughts and emotions.  Blaming my negative thoughts and emotions on others is just a cop out. Sometimes you really have to grab the bull by the horns and look into the mirror while you are doing it, LOL :)

 

So anyways everything else is good and I am half way through this semester, looking forward to the finals coming up. I really do thank everyone for their support in all I am achieving, God knows it helps!

 

 

School days

Crossed EyesHave had a super dynamite day here in prison so far, a bit lazy for the most part, after the morning workout of course. Not much to journal about except the upcoming mid-terms for this semester are next week.  I see so much anxiety in fellow students that are new to college.  I remember myself then and now and oh my, what a difference! But this is the process of learning and not just the material but learning about yourself and how to manage both.

 

I offer my help to anyone who asks, however honestly, I too can get anxiety to some degree.  I seem to be able to control my emotions so that I can think clearly and rationally. How do I do it?? Well I just have learned in order to think clearly your body must be calm.  So I believe relaxation techniques like meditation are good before taking tests.  It might sound corny or something but for me it really does work. Sometimes I put high expectations on myself but you have to remember as long as a person does their best – you are still a winner no matter what.  If you fail, do it again till eventually you get it…..and you will!!

 

 

Prison insights

bird on wire2What a very, very interesting place to be…in prison. We have a television channel that shows these reality crime cases like: Forensic Files, American Justice, etc. One day as I was watching there he was on television, an old cell mate I had for  3 years in another prison! I leave names out for privacy but everything he shared in confidence on the program was true as they portrayed the case file on him. You never really know who you are talking with in here…or who to believe.

 

One inmate here in Chino gave me some sound advice,” You really do not have friends here in prison, only acquaintances.”  This is some good advice to new inmates.  You must learn to have and create strong boundaries to protect yourself from the negative people that can influence your choices.  It has taken me a very long time to understand this and to put it into use in my life. Better late than never :)  Choose your circle of acquaintances wisely in prison!!

 

Random thoughts

4683609Another day has passed by like a flower tumbling in the breeze. Oh what a joy to be able to express my thoughts and emotions to anyone willing to read them. I give thanks for this blog and all those taking the time to read it!  :)

I am very grateful for college and the time I have to devote to learning. I realize that all this work is not just for myself but more importantly for those people (who are struggling with addiction)  in the future that I may hopefully help with my guidance. This is my hope and belief for my future goals in becoming an addiction guidance specialist. This time in prison is not for nothing, I will make sure of that!

Tonight however was a great night for dinner at the chow hall.  We had BBQ chicken with pinto beans and salad! It is the little things is it not!?!

 

What I know…

cloudsThis early morning as I watched the sunrise and sipped my coffee I saw inside my heart and realized how good it feels to give and to be kind. Something I have learned in prison is if you do not set a self protective boundary around you most people, not all, will use you for whatever means is necessary. For me there is also a good, effective and respectful way to do this and also a negative, discouraging way.  Of course if you want the respect of others then you have to be willing to give it as well no matter what the circumstances.

 

Another thing I have realized is the definition of a friend. There are so many but to me a friend is an unconditional, empathetic ally when things get rough, as well as a trustworthy person. In prison there are no friends…only acquaintances. It is important to understand the difference. Some advice to give someone new to prison is be aware of your surroundings: Look, Listen and Learn. The 3 “L’s”.  If you see someone is stealing from another inmate or lying to someone else chances are great that they will steal or lie to you!

 

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”
Proverbs  2:6