Blogging is such a great tool for rehabilitation. That is one reason why Suzie and I created Stone City Blog. We want all inmates to have access to this new and effective rehabilitative tool.
I’d like to encourage everyone who reads Stone City Blog, to reach out to the bloggers, and prompt them. Ask them critical questions that will inspire deeper thought and self reflection. By doing so, you could be that one thing that inspires great change within an inmate and his rehabilitative efforts. Stone City Blog gives you access to over 1,000 posts written by over 100 inmates. All of these inmates can be contacted via email (JPay).
In this post I will respond to THREE PROMPTS from Sandra Rogers.
PROMPT #1) How will you achieve a balance between redemption and rehabilitation?
This prompt is awesome. It brings a whole new dimension to my thought process. Until now, I’ve never ever even considered such a question. Redemption and rehabilitation go hand in hand. For me personally, I can’t achieve one without the other.
My rehabilitation efforts are a daily process. Everyday I’m focused on love, compassion, and understanding as I live in an environment full of hate, conflict, and turmoil. It’s my job to rehabilitate myself while in the belly of the beast surrounded by demons. I do not react to negativity with negativity. Instead, I remain focused on my goals and dreams as I use my energy in a positive productive manner.
On a scale of 1-10, if my Rehabilitation is at a 8, well then my Redemption has to be at least a 4. Because Rehabilitation is Redemption to some degree. 4 and 8 is not balanced. Therefore, I need to get my Redemption up by at least 4 points. I can do so by contributing to society in a positive way. Such as saving dogs and doing volunteer work. Hey, I do that.
PROMPT #2) How will you find a balance between Selflessness and Selfishness?
By keeping in close contact with mentors I trust and respect. Such as Suzie, Alana, Sandra, and maybe even professional counselors. They will help show me the way and keep me focused. They will prompt me to a deeper level of consciousness and self awareness.
If it is brought to my attention that a segment of my life is unbalanced, then I will do whatever it takes to balance it out. To simply answer this question: I will seek the advice of all those who are educated, and those who have great perspective and insight.
Meanwhile, in here I enjoy great balance between working out, eating healthy, watching football, and reading & writing. (Selfishness)
And then (Selflessness), helping others, sharing, and volunteering.
PROMPT #3) What are the markers of the above mentioned kind of balance?
Happiness. The ultimate marker is happiness. When my life is truly balanced, I’m at my happiest. Regardless of my environment. When aspects of my life fall out of balance, my happiness is the first to suffer.
Another great marker is the opinions and perspectives of my mentors and the people I love, and how THEY view me. If they are happy with me and proud of me, that is a great indication that I’m achieving a high degree of balance in my life.
Thank you Sandra for such thought provoking prompts. The insight and self analyzation that it takes in order to answer these questions are very valuable. Your on-going prompts have taught me more about life and myself. They invoke deep thinking and self reflection that is critical to any type of rehabilitation.
It is my prayer and hope that everyone can recognize the significant value that is hidden within inmate bloggers and critical thought-provoking prompts.
Remember my NA series and all those NA Meetings I attended? Well they just now paid off in the form of good time. My release date has been adjusted from 8-9-32 to 3-7-32. I haven’t done the math, but according to DOC, that’s 155 days!
Upon receiving this good news I was also informed that I will be getting back an additional 90 days at my next review in August. All I gotta do is remain infraction free, stay in The Dog Program, and receive positive evaluations.
It feels good to be going the other way. To be earning good time rather than loosing it. To be living in harmony rather than conflict. To be progressing rather than regressing. To be making friends rather than enemies. To be focusing on the positive rather than the negative.
For almost 23 years my environment hasn’t changed. PRISON! It’s still full of misfits and misconduct. But what has changed is my attitude, perspective, outlook, and priorities. During my quest to seek knowledge and understanding I’ve learned that the mind is like a garden. Either you can intelligently Cultivate it, or neglect it and let it run wild. That’s why its crucial for me to constantly cultivate my mind by weeding out all the wrong, useless, destructive, impure thoughts. And nurturing my mind with right, useful, constructive, positive thoughts.
By constantly pursuing this process of mind evolution, I am starting to reap the rewards. Such as: I found my beautiful soulmate in Suzie, I made it to The Honor Unit, I got accepted into the dog program, I’ve met new people and have devolved new friendships, I’m no longer getting in fights or hurting people, and I’m earning back good time. Just to name a few.
For years I allowed my mind to run wild. The results were devastating! For more on the devastation you can read my ebook titled, STONE CITY : LIFE IN THE PENITENTIARY.
I was oblivious to the fact that a deeper level of consciousness existed. I was mindlessly wandering through life, and inappropriately reacting to everything life threw at me. With a neglected mind, I didn’t stand a chance. But with a new and improved cultivated mind, I have so much hope and excitement for today and the rest of my life.
If you had the power to be happier, to change your environment, and to have better relationships with friends and family, would you use that power?
Of course you would!
So why don’t you?
The power is within you.
Take the first step and read : “AS A MAN THINKETH” by James Allen. This book will teach you LAWS OF THOUGHT that cannot error. By reading this quick little 55 page book, you’ll be taking a crucial step towards intelligently cultivating your mind. I hope you feel inspired.
The following poem was written back in June of 1996. Back then I was a drug using, drug selling, violent little badass. I was at Walla Walla, living with Mikey and Jeff. When we were using drugs and smoking joints people use to walk by our cell, look in, and fiend. A lot of guys would stop at our bars and try to make small talk in hopes it would lead to a free hit, or a joint.
(To read more about this crazy time in my life, please check out my ebook called, STONE CITY: LIFE IN THE PENITENTIARY. Specifically, Chapter: 7.)
TAKING THE EDGE OFF PRISON LIFE
Waking up slow to the practical jokes,
where coffee is a must and everyone smokes.
Take a deep breath you can smell the green,
as the broke walk by they look in and fiend.
People say I’m gone how I wish that was true,
the fact is that I’m here so let me tell you what I do.
I kick em in the face sometimes I choke em out,
But then I get away with it and that’s what its about.
So please don’t mess because I gotta confess,
when it comes to fighting dirty I’m one of the best.
So what if I’m small so what if you’re tall,
within ten seconds guarantee you will fall.
The hell with taking the edge off prison life,
its more like taking your head off with my prison knife!
That poem illustrates just how sick my thoughts were. As a result, my actions were extremely destructive. I was oblivious to the fact that I induced my own suffering and hardships.
Now, it is with a joyous heart that I share a more recent poem that was written on 10-25-13, in the midst of enlightenment and spiritual awakening. I am so blessed to have this gentle love in my life. THIS is what takes the edge off of prison life for me these days.
THE MAGIC OF HER LOVE
Love is like magic, at least it is for me.
I pulled a rabbit out the hat, and her name is Suzie.
She transformed my world, a cold hard place.
By showing me a warm soft glow, within the beauty of her face.
Our situation is unique, and to some very strange.
But there’s nothing in this world that love can’t change.
Her love is so pure, understanding and kind.
She loves with all her heart, body, soul and mind.
Her love is so powerful, it reaches my core.
Her love is a love I’ve never felt before.
Her love is a love in which I’ve been seeking.
Her love is a language in which I’m now speaking.
Her love is the love that inspires my life.
Her love is the love that I’ve found in my wife.
As you may recall, when I first started to read this book I wanted to throw it against the wall and then roll over and go to sleep. But I refrained and gave it a chance. And boy am I glad I did. This book is giving me things that I’ll keep for the rest of my life. No wonder it spent over 300 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list. And after 25 years, the book is still alive and well.
The rest of this post will be quotes straight out of this book. If you stop and give them serious thought, you’ll be able to apply them to specific aspects of your life. My hope is that you may be inspired. Enjoy.
“I must have no fear of failure. It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work. Now, I’m beginning what I could’ve started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.”
“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better.”
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense.”
“Sell your camel and buy a horse. Camels are traitorous: they walk thousands of paces and never seem to tire. Then suddenly, they kneel and die. But horses tire bit by bit. You always know how much you can ask of them, and when it is that they are about to die.”
“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
“Men dream more about coming home than about leaving.”
“There is only one way to learn. Its through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”
“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.”
“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So its better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.”
“When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would’ve seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepard to achieve.”
“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him. We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them – the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. Its the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’ ”
“The boy and his heart became friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other.”
“When something evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well.”
Let me interject here and point something out. When I first stared to read this book, I didn’t like it. The characters were too underdeveloped and the delivery of the story was weak. That was my perception.
Now I’m 142 pages into it. And because the characters and narrative are so underdeveloped, I’m able to easily plug my personal journey directly into this book. Every quote you just read, strongly relates to my personal journey.
What initially made this book so unappealing to me, is the exact same thing that has now made this book extremely powerful and influential to me. And all I had to do is be patient, proceed with an open mind, and seek out the positive.
Have a nice day.
This book has me conflicted. The message is great. But the delivery of the message sucks. So I’ll focus on what I’m getting out of this book as it relates to my journey of becoming a successful, happy, multi-millionaire.
The first is HOPE. When ”The Alchemist” was first published, it only sold two copies in 6 months. And the same person bought both copies. After a year went by, the book was dropped by the publisher along with the author’s contract.
The author didn’t give up hope. He kept his journey alive. He kept pushing forward because HE believed. As of today, ”The Alchemist” has been translated into more than 80 different languages, and has spent over 300 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Even after 25 years, the book is still very much alive.
One day, I aspire to write a book like that. Or shall I say ”books” like that. “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary” is just the beginning of my story. So much more is yet to come. Please share my ebook and my story with your friends and family. It’ll help me reach my goal of becoming a multi-millionaire before I get out of prison.
So not only does “The Alchemist” offer HOPE, but I’m also feeling INSPIRED. Inspired to enjoy the journey and all I encounter along the way. This book talks about omens, universal language, the principal of favorability, beginners luck, personal legend, and how the universe will come together to help one achieve their goals.
”The Alchemist” is teaching me patience. Because at first, I felt like tossing the book and not finishing it. But now I’m on page 61, and I’m actually enjoying it. I’m understanding it on a deeper, spiritual level. Read it for yourself and see how it touches you. Oh, it will touch you!
Here are just a few quotes that I can strongly relate to:
“Never stop dreaming. Follow the omens.”
“The language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.”
“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”
“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”
“The mysterious chain that links one thing to another.”
“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.”
“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history or the world were written by the same hand.”
I encourage anyone to read this book. As you do, you’ll be able to identify and apply several principles and philosophies to your life. If you’re ready for some type of change in your life, this could be the book that catapults you into a new dimension.
I was in my cell training for my upcoming EFV’s with my wife. I was doing weighted hip thrusters with a 65 pound box on my lap. As I was on my fifth set of fifty, my stomach growled. I finished my set, then looked at my watch to see how much longer until lunch time.
I looked at my digital Ironman TIMEX and quickly realized it was malfunctioning. The entire screen had nothing but 1’s on it. There was nine of them to be exact.
I immediately thought: GREAT, ANOTHER EXPENSE! THIS WATCH IS CRAP!!
Then it happened. The 11 seconds turned to 12, then 13, 14, 15, 16….etc. That’s when I realized it was November 11th at 11:11 am.
There’s nothing wrong with this Ironman TIMEX. It works like a champ. The problem was with me. Within all of one second, my brain had made an assumption and drawn a conclusion: My watch is broke. It’s crap. I need a new one.
Sometimes if we just take a second and let things play out, we’ll realize that there was never an issue to begin with. So many non-issues become issues because we make them issues.
PRAYER: Dear God, please give me the wisdom to remain calm and assertive in the face of adversity. Please give me the ability to be patient before drawing conclusions. Open my eyes to the fact that no matter what the situation is, its as good or as bad as I choose to make it. Give me the strength to remain positive and happy as the events of life unfold. Thank you for using my watch to teach such a valuable lesson. AMEN.
This is a poem I wrote 14 years ago in November of 2002. As I go back and read some of my older poems, I contemplate whether or not I should share them. And if I do share them, should I edit them? Naw, I’ll just give it to you how it is. Here goes:
THE SKY IS BEAUTIFUL
The sky is beautiful, pure is the air,
the world is ugly and so damn unfair.
So I stare…
up into the peaceful blue,
f#@k this place and f#@k you too!
But I don’t feel like this when I’m up in a bliss,
where rainbows hug and clouds kiss.
Visions of life make up the o-zone,
as I look up from down here, I see it’s all gone.
Standing on the earth,
wondering what its all worth.
Looking in the sky,
is it where we go when we die?
Then why….am I already there,
locked in a vision with a cold dead stare.
Don’t trip on me because I’m tripping on this,
most points will hit, others will miss.
But that’s cool,
I’ll be the fool.
Or perhaps I’m a little too deep,
and the road to my mind is a little too steep,
I live my best hours in my sleep.
In my sleep I see in the sky,
instead of blue it’s black like when we die.
So what’s my point, what am I saying,
that life is better when our body’s decaying?
I don’t know, it kinda seems that way,
live my life and see what you say.
When living in the skies is your best damn times,
or the hours you spend when you close your eyes.
Or you could come on down and do it like this:
always be pissed,
constantly hurting over things you miss,
Its not living, you simply exist…
in a shadow of crime,
always doing time,
every second of the day,
but that’s not the case I’m happy to say…
Simply because I do it my way,
elevating up to where the birds play,
and loving the darkness at the end of my day.
The sky is beautiful, pure is the air,
the world is ugly and so damn unfair.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Every marriage faces choppy waters. Divorce is at an all time high. Just the other day I heard a guy in here talking about how he’s about to “fire his wife!” He’s tripping on her because she’s slow-walking his food package.
Actually, no it’s not. So many men in here play games with love and emotions. They are not sincere with their love. They are users and abusers. They continue to use until the money dries up, or till they get released. These type of relationships are scattered throughout prison visiting rooms all across America. It breaks my heart and it’s sad to see.
I sincerely love my wife with all my heart. All I wanna do is love this woman and make her happy. No drama, no stress, no arguing, no fighting.
Wouldn’t that be sweet?
Oh, it is!!!
Suzie and I enjoy a strong circle of harmony. But every now and then, we find ourselves in choppy waters. In those times, it is my duty as a husband, to take positive steps that will change the emotional climate and calm the choppy waters.
Smooth sailing in the sea of love is always possible when true love guides the heart.
I’m not perfect, and I still have a lot to learn. But one thing I know for sure is that I love my wife with all my heart and I will forever cherish her and the sweet love she gives me. My #1 priority in our marriage is to treat Suzie with nothing but love, understanding, compassion, and respect.
Our mantra: LOVE CONQUERS ALL!
There’s so much I can’t give this magnificent woman…at least not right now. But what I can give her, is the unconditional love she desires and longs for. I can always give her my very best! When it comes to our marriage and our love, I will always put forth effort, as I maintain faith and hope that our love will only grow stronger throughout our journey.
I love you my sweet Suzie. Thank you for blessing my life with your precious love.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As my wife hikes the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), I pray that she endures throughout the day and night. Please let it be known unto her heart how much I love and appreciate her, and how thankful I am to have her. Anoint her with all the energy she needs to make it through each and every day. Help keep her strong, sharp, and focused. I pray she feels good physically and will have the mental fortitude to appropriately process any situation she encounters.
Bless my wife by giving her sound intuition as she navigates through the wilderness. Lead her to a place of solitude where she may rejuvenate and revive her beautiful soul. Pour out Your peace and love all over her. Please let her see just how much she contributes to our happiness and quality of life together. Reinforce in her heart and mind how valuable she is. Equip her to seek, find, and carry out her purpose in this world.
Please Lord Jesus, be with Suzie on her journey and let her know that she is loved & supported.
~ Steven Jennings
Hello My Love,
I love you. You are an amazing woman in so many ways. You are by far my most valued treasure. I am blessed to have you in my life as my wife. You teach me so much about myself and what it takes to live in harmony with another person.
I love our communication skills and how we share our feelings with each other. The deeper we dive into one another, the more we learn. This learning curve inevitably exposes our differences, weaknesses, personal issues, and character flaws. We have proven to each other that love and communication conquers all. Thank you for loving me through all my defects and flaws. Thank you for opening up to me and trusting me with your heart.
Our marriage will last forever and thrive, because we truly communicate. We accept what IS as we constantly work to resolve issues and create acceptable remedies for each other. It feels so good to have this level of mental intimacy with you. And soon we will be physically intimate as well!
I love you!
( To read more of our letters, please visit our blog: Real Love Letters )