Tagged: The Four Agreements

The Two Day Shakedown

 

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On Thursday December 1st, DOC spent $18K to shakedown two units. DOC brought extra guards in by the buss load! Literally.

The first unit they hit was G UNIT. The dog program is in that unit. So at about 10 am, a guard brought me Sam from G UNIT. Sam is a two year old Husky/Shepard mix. We spent the day playing and getting to know each other.

Sam is an awesome dog, and he’s looking for a forever home. For more information on how to adopt, please read: Adopting A Dog.

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Me and Sam

I was expecting to give Sam back at 3:30pm. But to my surprise, he spent the night with my celly (Jesse Bailey) and I. The next morning, we got raided! Sam went back to G UNIT, and all of H3 (my unit), went to the gym. There we sat for 9 hours while our cells were getting TORE UP!

Some cells got hit harder than others. I was actually surprised that my cell didn’t get hit that hard. Everything was moved around, but they didn’t dump everything on the floor like they did others.

These shakedowns are to be expected. I mean after all, this is prison. But the interview tactics was out of line! As we all sat in the gym, DOC conducted interviews with everyone. Or should I say, they interrogated everyone.

As soon as I walked in the little office, the lead investigator looked at me from above his glasses and simply said, “Sit down!”

I said, “Yes sir” and sat.

He asked, “Are there drugs in the unit?”

I said, “I’m sure there is. This is prison.”

He asked, “Who has them?”

I said, “I don’t know. I’m not in that scene.”

He said, “Don’t lie to me. You live in that unit and you know where its at!”

I said, “Sir, I understand your position and objective. But I can’t tell you what I don’t know.”

He responded, “So if you knew, you’d tell me?”

That’s when I got philosophical with him. I said, “What’s done in the darkness will eventually be brought to light. Guys that come in here and tell, eventually get exposed. And that in itself presents a whole host of problems that often turns out worse than a guy sitting in his cell getting high.”

He says nothing as he jots down notes on his pad.

I continue, “So with all due respect, let’s just focus on me and what I’m doing.”

That’s when he says, “You’re getting high. I’m ordering that extra attention be paid to your cell. I’m also ordering that you get tested for drug use.”

I’m thinking, man, this dude is hardcore! I feel myself taking offense. Then all of a sudden, The Four Agreements pop into my head. I remember the second agreement: DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY.

At that moment I start to relax and realize this guy is just doing his job and he views me as a number. He doesn’t care about me or my journey. He’s just doing his job and I just so happen to be within his line of work. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

So I offer him some unsolicited insight. I tell him, “I don’t use drugs anymore. I’m about to get EFV’s with my wife, and I’m in The Dog Program.”

He quickly snaps back, “That doesn’t mean anything!”

I quietly say, “To me it does.”

Then he asks, “Who do you run with?”

I reply, “No one. But I associate with all types of people.”

“Does that include the White Boys?” he asks.

It would be so easy to be a smart-allic to this guy, and at times I’m tempted. But I stay composed and answer his questions as he attempts to put his own twist on things.

I say, “Yes. And it includes my Black friends, my Native American friends, my Asian friends, and my Mexican friends.”

As he’s interrogating me, he’s looking at a computer screen, reading some type of inaccurate information on me. At least I assume it’s inaccurate, based on his line of questioning.

He asks me, “Do you sit with all these different races in the chow hall?”

I tell him, “Yes.”

He asks me, “How do the White Boys feel about that?”

I tell him, “I’ve never went around asking, but I assume it’s just like anything else in life…some hate it, some like it, and some don’t care.”

Then he asks me, “Have you ever been affiliated with the Skinheads?”

“No.”

Have you ever been affiliated with the AF (Arian Family)?

“No.”

“Have you ever attended any Asatru meetings or European events?”

“Nope. But I have attended Native American Pow Wows and Cinco De Mayo celebrations.”

“Let me see your tattoos,” he demands.

“I don’t have any,” I say.

He says, “Either you willingly show me your tattoos or else I’ll strip search you, then write you up you for lying to staff.”

“If I had tattoos I’d gladly show you. But I don’t have any.”

Silence filled the room.

His entire line of questioning was an attempt to tie me to STG (security threat groups) and make me out to be a racist. (please read: Prison Ink: The Art of Hate)

As silence filled the room, he continued to read from the computer. So I took it upon myself to give him some more unsolicited insight on myself.

I said, “I know I’ve done wrong in the past. I’m ashamed and remorseful for all that. Today I’m a rehabilitated man. I treat all people with dignity and respect, regardless of their race, religion, or crime. I don’t use drugs or alcohol and I always try my best to do the right thing.”

He continues to read and says nothing.

Then to my surprise, he took off his glasses, looked me in the eye, and said, ”Thank you for your time Mr. Jennings. And good luck to you in the future. We’re done here.”

I was shocked! WTF just happened?

As I stood up, he stood up. Then he extended his hand. I felt uncomfortable shaking it. Because this is where all the snitches conduct their business. And this is the man they conduct their business with. But I have a clear conscious. I’m not a snitch. And I haven’t done anything wrong. So I shook his hand and said, ”Thank you sir” as I walked out the door.

For more on this crazy day, please read my celly’s perspective in a post he wrote on Stone City Blog called: SHAKEDOWN (the drug raid)

And oh, just so you know, they never did UA me.
Or strip search me.
Or pay special attention to my cell.

 

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Steven Jennings

Influential Books

 

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I’ve already done 21 years of a 43 year prison sentence. I’ve spent many nights laying in the dark, wondering WHY? HOW?

Why me? How did this happen? Why did I do the things I did? How did certain thoughts enter my mind? And why did I act on them?

The process of answering these questions was long and complicated. I’m still seeking answers.

To answer the questions WHY and HOW, I had to read many books. Books that offer absolute truth, love, spiritual understanding, and universal laws. Such as: The Power of Now, The Science of Mind, As A Man Thinketh, The Bible, The Purpose Driven Life, From Onions To Pearls, The Four AgreementsThe One Year Love Language Minute Devotional, and The Receptivity Project (just to name a few).

First and foremost, I have a burning desire to change. Otherwise, influential books would have no effect.

These books, my desire to change, and the support from thousands of people, have given me new perspective and answers.

I recognized my thought atmosphere was polluted. I understand why it was polluted. Because I was born and raised in an unstructured environment riddled with abuse and violence.

By giving my attention to abuse and violence, I automatically embodied it. As a baby, kid, ad teenager, I was clueless that I attract the likeness of this embodiment. I was clueless that thoughts become a thing. I was clueless that my mental state takes on form, color, and temporary reality.

Had I known that from birth, my entire life would be completely different.

Well, I know it NOW! And it’s never too late to turn your life around.

By reading influential and powerful books, I have cleaned up my thought atmosphere. I now nurture my mind with positive material full of TRUTH, LOVE, and UNDERSTANDING.

These wonderful books help change lives if you truly embrace change. They have enabled me to experience a deeper level of consciousness that instantly heals.

We outwardly experience our state of consciousness. Our actions are a reflection of what’s within. These books have taught me so much! They have given me true understanding. Once I truly understood, I was then able to truly change.

My transformation started with the simple proposition of the creative power of thought. And from this recognition I discovered that circumstances and conditions are formed and held in place by the power of the mind.

What a wonderful discovery!
This law applies to all!

If I can do it from in here, then anyone can do it from out there.

 

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Steven Jennings

 

My 8th NA Meeting

 

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At this meeting we listened to a foul-mouthed audio recording of a NA themed comedy. I didn’t find it funny at all. As a matter of fact, I did’nt like it. In the first 20 minutes I heard the ”F-word” 7 times!

But my mantra is “focus on the positive.” So I had to change my attitude and find something good within this session. I immediately thought of the first agreement in a book called ”The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The first agreement is: Be Impeccable With Your Word

After sitting in NA, listening to a potty mouthed comedian for 45 minutes, I went back to my cell and read the entire chapter on the first agreement. It re-vitalized and re-charged my desire and my focus to be more mindful of what comes out of my mouth.

“Speak with integrity. Say only what I mean. Avoid speaking against myself or others. Use my word in the direction of truth and love.”

THAT’S what I took away from my 8th NA meeting.

 

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Steven Jennings

The Four Agreements

 

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I just finished reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. My wife had been telling me for several months about this amazing book. The prison library didn’t have it, so she bought it for me. What an awesome book! It has had an immediate impact on my life.

For years I would try to apply new principles and philosophies to my life. And time after time I would fail to honor them. My polluted thought atmosphere and compulsive thinking was too much for me to simply overcome.

First I had to clean up my thought atmosphere by nurturing my mind with positive influential material. Such as “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Toll, “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen, “The Science of Mind” by Earnest Holmes, and of course, The Holy Bible.

Just those books alone was enough to turn my mind into fertile soil, ready to bear the fruits of any seed I choose to plant. Today, those seeds are many. But the ones I want to share with you are as follows:

 

1. BE IMPECABLE WITH YOUR WORD

I absolutely love this agreement. Every morning before I even get out of bed, I meditate on this. I act as if I only have 100 words that I can speak in a single day. Yeah! So I better make ‘em count…right?

That means no more unnecessary frivolous chitter chatter. No arguing. No wasted words. Every word must be spoken with integrity, love, and understanding. Every word must be used to build people up, make them feel good, and to spread the powerful spirit of love. Easier said than done…I know. Especially here in prison. But I’m proof that it’s possible.

 

2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY

I’m starting to realize that I can’t make anyone act in a way that isn’t within their personal nature. If someone lashed out with hate, it isn’t because of me, or what I’ve done. It’s because that’s who THEY are. What others say and do is a projection of their own inner being.

The more I understand this, the more I become immune to the negative opinions and actions of others. I ignore anything that doesn’t serve me well. Again, easier said than done. So to ensure success on my part, there are entire groups of men that I avoid. You won’t find me out in the prison yard with a group of skinheads, shooting the breeze.

But you might see me one on one with a like fella, who I feel is searching for that deeper meaning, like I am. I am always looking for opportunities to mentor and to spread the message of love.

 

3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS

Think about this third agreement for a minute. I’ve been making assumptions my entire life. And they never serve me well. When I assume, all I’m doing is taking a wild guess as to WHY? Doesn’t it seem more logical to ask questions and to express concerns? Why not just communicate in a clear concise manner? Wouldn’t that clear up misunderstandings? With this agreement, I can avoid sooo much confusion, sadness, and drama.

For example: My dear wife recently asked me a list of important questions. By her clearly addressing these specific things, it helped me to understand and to see the whole picture. Her courage to do this helped strengthen our bond. If her questions had been left unspoken, there would be room for a lot of misunderstandings between us today.

 

4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

If you really put forth the effort to do your best, then you WILL see results. Believe it or not, your best is good enough.

Condition your mind properly and you’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish. I’ve been committing to these four agreements, and I already see aspects of my life getting better.

 

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Steven Jennings