Weekly Thoughts

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It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they  take themselves seriously. Oscar Wilde

Learning to laugh at life is key to finding joy within your day. When someone becomes so serious that life becomes problematic in all aspects we laugh at the farce that we see, but to often we make tragic comedy out of our own lives by the same means. When we see others making mountains our of mole hills we actually see our own issues because of empathetic recognition but we are often in denial of such things. It is absolutely okay to be driven and goal oriented, but if that is all you see then you miss out on the rest of life and your happiness lost. Who have we become when humor falls on deaf ears? When we become so serious there is nothing but stress and grief that leads to darkened days of despondency and pain. You are witnesses yourselves of when a person that does nothing but take them selves seriously is nothing more than a caricature of life walking mechanically to and fro, ready to fight and bite anything and anyone they meet. Life is not a joke but makes jokes about life and it won't seem so cumbersome. Laughter colors life and has been proven to be our greatest asset and medicine us it freely.
Thomas Atkinson
S.T.A.R.T. Today:
Live, Laugh, Love..


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Meditation

Peace and serenity are things I think of when I think of meditation. Meditation changed my life because I never knew peace and serenity. Now I don't think of living any other way.
To meditate sit crossed leg or in a chair and get as comfortable as possible. Place hand on knees or on top of each other. Gently close your eyes. Now scan your body from head to toe slowly relaxing each part as you go over it. Try not to fall asleep? After the body scan direct your attention to your breath. Watch your breath go in and out. Concentrate on in breath and out breath nothing else. If your breath touches part of your nose or lip in the same spot then watch that as long as you can.
Breath meditation takes your mind off all your worries and regrets. This is freedom from worry, anxiety, depression and all kinds of mental maladies. Like this as you go through your day.

"From his cradle to his grave a man never does a single thing which has any first and foremost objects save one- to secure peace of mind, spiritual comfort, for himself."  Mark Twain

Challenge: Try to meditate for five minutes...ten... twenty...

Jimbo
Co Founder of PPR
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Victim

The most self-defeating mindset in this prison is the role of a victim. Many convicts act as if they are the objects of the oppression and cruelty, complaining at every turn about how their rights are being violated. Unfortunately, this is a weak mindset with many problems thereof.
For starters, this mentality takes from the true victims of crimes that convicts leave behind. It is like robbing someone and then complaining that they attempted to hurt you during the crime. Such attitudes take from the beginning of making amends for the wrongs committed.
Secondly, any type of rehabilitation connot take place in the state of denial. If I am to work on my shortcomings then I must take responsibility for my actions. One cannot change qualities of themselves if they don't even consider them wrong.
It seems our society is one of entitlement, which doesn't teach accountability. Most people are content to live each day pointing the finger at others without examine themselves. Unless you are a true victim, it is really weak to dodge responsibility for yourself.
"We make more progress by owning our faults than by always dwelling on our virtues."
Thomas Brackett Reed

Challenge: Identify the victim attitude around you. 
Jimbo- Co Founder of PPR 
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Gossip

If you did a day in this prison you would believe that this place was a sewing circle of old ladies because of the amount of gossip here. And hardly anything good come of it. So many men are swayed by the levels that go around hee that they treat others poorly based on what they heard more times than not, if you heard the story the other way you would hear a brand new tale- how easily we buy into gossip. The prison is one big rumor.
Let the greater part of the news thou hearest be the least part of what thou believest. (Quarles)


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Lying

When a man walks into the prison, everything is stripped from him. Hence forth he loses everything to differentiate himself from the next man. All that is left is how a man behaves and his word. You have nothing if not your word in this place and the world.

A liar is not believed even though he tell the truth. (Cicero)

Jimbo
Co-Founder
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Death

Sitting in prison is try8ing, of course. But above all that is the greatest penalty of prison is watching our family die without having a chance to be there. I know I lost my mother in September. I can tell you this: I view the world in a different way now. Family is precious and we should be with them at all costs.
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21
Jimbo
Co-Founder of PPR

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Opportunity

Most people never realize their dreams because they do not even try.  It's almost as if their dreams are a reality they might not believe they deserve; or they might realize they set the bar to high or to low. Whatever the reason most of us leave our dreams behind, it doesn't have to be that way Start livin'!
Do not suppose opportunity will knock twice at your door.
Chamfort

Jimbo
Co- Founder of PPR

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Cleverness

I suppose there isn't any wiser than an old drunk whose sobered up and faced the truth. He will tell you honesty is the only way in all affairs. But there may not be any advice for those till caught in excuses, we all know who they are. They just might have to learn on  their own, as most of us do.
Cleverness is not wisdom.
Jimbo
Co-Founder of PPR

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Know the warning signs of Art

Following the heart in creativity is a necessary pursuit for the health and sanity of the individual.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," is a statement telling us that that which is considered art is interpreted solely by the person viewing it. When most people think of art the mind usually strays to things such as painting, sculpting, or poetry. The truth is though that anything can be done artistically.

For example, in math we have an amazing thing called a fractal. A fractal is an infinite and complex geometric figure made up of patterns that repeat themselves at smaller and smaller scales, which looked at by the artist within is beautiful. Math is an art in which a solution can be reached any number of ways depending on the mind of the person proving a theorem. One who sees that anything can be art sees the  attractive characteristics of such endeavors.

We all have a way to express ourselves creatively look into your heart and find what it is you have passion for and express it. You do not have to share your art with others but always show yourself what it is that you believe is beautiful

Challenge: See what you do passionately as art.
Jimbo
C0-Founder of PPR


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It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously. Oscar Wilde
Learning to laugh at life is key to finding joy within your day. When someone becomes so serious that life becomes problematic in all aspects we laugh at the farce that we see, but too often we make tragic comedy out of our own lives by the same means. When we see others making mountains out of mole hills we actually see our own issues because of empathetic recognition ...but we are often in denial of such things. It is absolutely okay to be driven and goal oriented, but if that is all you see then you miss out on the rest of life and your happiness lost. Who have we become when humor falls on deaf ears? When we become so serious there is nothing but stress and grief that leads to darkened days of despondency and pain. You are witness yourselves of when a person that does nothing but take themselves seriously is nothing more than a caricature of life walking mechanically to and fro, ready to fight and bite anything and anyone they meet. Life is not a joke but make jokes about life and it won't seem so cumbersome. Laughter colors life and has been proven to be our greatest asset and medicine use it freely. Thomas Atkinson
Jimbo's Challenge for this week is Live. Laugh. Love. use it freely!!


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WEAKNESS: Once I entered prison, I began to learn that weakness was quickly exploited abused. Of course, I didn't associate myself with weakness but I soon learned different. What I thought was recreational drug use turned out to be great weakness. For starters, the administration targets drugs and drug users. If you are suspected of drug involvement you are given frequent piss tests and shake downs. At first the harassment is only a mild nuisance but after years one slowly w...ars down and slips up. Also, I was always broke because drugs are expensive in prison. At times, the expense led me to be in debt, which can be horrible around here. Having no money leads to hard time. A grown man being flat broke is weakness and everyone lets you know. Every man wants to be successful. Another thing is the health concerns. Everybody knows that prison medical is below average. I couldn't jog like I used to because I liked to smoke my drugs and sittin' around all day was puttin' me out of shape, quick. And when I did get sick, it took forever to get well. I made myself weak. But the real problem is that drugs weaken your mind. I didn't realize it early on in life until I spent an extended time in meditation. Meditation made my mind sharp but drugs made my mind dull. If you're dull in mind then you can be made victim easier. I know it sounds brutal but that's the way it is in here. Drugs make you weak. " We are not punished for our sins, but by them." Elbert Hubbard CHALLENGE: Find the issues in your life that may be hidden weaknesses. Jimbo


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Where Do We Stand


We have many choices when it comes to answering a most important question of, "On what shall we build our lives?" Education, common sense, healthy living, wise investments, and family all come to mind for me. all of these are good to have as overall plans as they will be around for a long time. Perhaps they are the walls, ceilings, and floors of our lives.
However, none of these avenues is strong enough alone, or together, to be the foundation upon which the rest of our lives will be built. We need to develop characteristics such as honesty, integrity, humility, perseverance, compassion, and faith. These are the great necessities of which we all have an
opportunity to possess. With such character qualities, we can share with others to start building stronger foundations.


Today start building the new foundation
 one block at a time.


By: Don Jueden


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Virtue


As a young man I really didn't know how to develop virtue. Many skills I developed weren't necessarily virtue. For instance, intelligence is not a virtue. I can become exceptionally smart and use it for power  and money, not a virtue. A virtue is generosity, compassion, or forgiveness, etc. So how do I develop that?
Developing virtue is hard. The recommended technique is to replace the bad mindset then replace it with generosity. Easier said than done right? But the more you practice the easier it gets.
Another way is to hang out with people who have strong morals. This is hard because it takes a strong person to stand in the middle of adversity and stick to their morals. Most of us fold to peer pressure and bad advice. Virtue is not easily developed.


"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."
George Washington


Challenge: Pick a virtue and start developing it.
Jimbo- Co-Founder  P.P.R.




Money


I always thought money was a problem if you are greedy with it, which is true. But I didn't realize that my mindset of not caring about money, to defeat greed, led me into poor money management skills. If you are familiar with poor money skills than this is critical advice.
For starters, diabetes, divorce, and even violence are all more frequent for people of lower incomes. A person who does not develop his or her money skills is guaranteed to have other serious problems. Generally, if you have money issues it is an indication of a deeper problem like education or drugs.
Additionally, money issues are sometimes linked to a lack of vocational skill education leaving such a person on the edge of poverty. An accident, sickness, or one bad week leads to financial emergency. When I was in a similar situation I quickly resorted to the black market and eventually prison.
The key to financial well being is staying our of debt. This lesson came pretty easy to me in prison because of all the problems I see around debt. Stay out of debt, save your money, and have an honest livelihood and watch many of your "emergencies" simply disappear.

"A man in debt is so far a slave."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Challenge: Create a budget, a serious budget....then stick to it!

Jimbo- Co-Founder of P.P.R.







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Prison

I suppose most people think of a prison as a physical structure that prevents a person from leaving. Along such lines of thought, I've been in this prison eleven years. However, there is another prison that led me to this iron and granite prison. That prison is ignorance. I  have paroled myself from that prison luckily. An d although I'm still in a physical prison my mental prison is long gone. I see others still in the prison of ignorance as clearly as a person driving  by this prison sees the men here. A prison of ignorance has an anger as sharp as a razor wife, stubbornness as strong as granite, and hate as cold as steel, those poor souls. and sadly enough they confuse such negative energy with strength. I would never trade this physical prison for the mental slavery again.

"A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in the experience." Elbert Hubbard

Challenge: Think of the ways a prison can be other than physical and which ones apply to you.

Jimbo- Co-Founder of P.P.R.

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Violence

Most people think of violence as a means to protect themselves, like a last ditch effort to stay safe. Often, like in my case, violence can be mistaken for a necessary tool with ones community. This is a problem
For starters, the justification to use violence often comes from a sense of injustice. However, some times we jump to conclusions or think the  retaliation should be more severe than the injustice. For instance, just because my neighbors; dog wakes me from time to time in the middle of the night barking is a poor excuse for me to shoot the dog. And what if I shoot the wrong dog?
More importantly, violence is progressive. What this means is that, like drugs, it takes more and more to satisfy the desire. In my case the progression after, I felt others were actually not afraid of me , but angry with me. This in turn made me afraid and led to my thoughts of using weapons on people to get my point across. As you can see it's a poor  thought process.
Now I am finding out that I have more peace of mind and less trouble with non-violence. I'm finding out that most of the fears that I used to justify violence in the past were just that, fears, nothing else, , no real problem. There are better ways to sort out our injustices.

"Preparation for war is a constant stimulus to suspicion and ill will." James Monroe

Challenge: Find ways to work with some you may not like in your community.

By Jimbo
Co-Founder of PPR



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Entitlement

A common problem many people face is an entitlement attitude. This attitude is similar to institutionalization. Institutionalization happens to people whom live in community settings, like prison, which do the day to day tasks for people like laundry, food preparation and so forth. The problem is when the individual transitions to daily life without others to help them in daily tasks others to give them services or even money.
The main problem with entitlement or institutionalization is work. All the skills or achievements worth gaining take work like marriage, career, or children to name a few. Many people I know just do the least bit possible and expect the state or others to take care of the rest of their responsibilities. A common indicator of these problems sounds like, " I can't" or "It's t heir fault."
"The busy man has few idle visitors; to the boiling pot flies come not." Benjamin Franklin

Challenge: Noticethe times you use "I can't " or blame others in one day.
Jimbo
Co-founder of PPR


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Family

One of the hardest things about doing time is watching your family do things without you. From all the good things they accomplish to all the struggles they survive you can't share the experience. This was magnified for me when some of my family members battled for their life and unfortunately passed away. My whole idea of what's important changed.
I think of what I want, what I would do if I were out. Now I think I would like to spend the day running errands for my mom because she is sick. Or I think that I would like to do something for my dad because he has done so much for me in my life. Then there are the young one's, the children. I could watch them for a day and give my sister or brother a break while I teach them things and spoil them.
I suppose most people think this way but I did not before prison. My priorities were messed up; work, money, women, drugs, hardly family activities. Now I can't imagine anything without my family. What's the point? I think very hard about what's important now.
"It is my conviction that the family is God's basic unit in society. God's most important unit in society. No wonder then... we are in a holy war for the survival of the family. Before a nation collapses the families of that nation."
Jerry Falwell

Challenge: Make time for just your family once a day. Jimbo


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Credibility

Credibility is important in any community. People who say one thing yet do another lack credibility. The men who make promises they cannot keep have problems in prison. Seeing this time after time and all the drama it creates has made me a man of my word. In turn, all my relationships are better from my family to my friends because they know I'll do what I say.
A good example is the drug market. I know not a credible drug dealer or user. The drug market requires lies and deception in order to hide connections from the authorities. And this is just one example. A general rule of thumb is, if you have to lie then you should not do it.
"Live truth instead of professing it." Ibid.
Challenge: Examine any actions you must hide from others.
Jimbo.

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Joy

Much of the prison is miserable. Many of the people I know that are free have the same issue, misery. I also work in a lot of groups that are dedicated to miserable too, even the leaders. I often wonder, what's the of all this learning and developing if you're going to remain miserable. Developing happiness is also important.
The fastest way to kill joy is to complain. Negative energy seems to be contagious. So stop crying about everything unless you have a solution or you will make everyone depressed. And smile once in a while, it's O.K. to be happy, even in prison. If you are not trying to be happy then what do you want to be? Sadly enough, I think some people want to be miserable.
"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; The wise grows it under his feet."
James Oppenhiem
Challenge: Try to find the good of today.
Jimbo.

1 comment:

  1. Great Words, Jimbo. Enjoy reading these thoughts.

    ReplyDelete