When a psychologist recommends therapy for overcoming challenges in life, some people might be worried about the stain of one’s reputation.
Here I share my thoughts which I’d journal while I was in prison for eight long years beginning at age 50.
This hell on Earth is where my book series for a better life was conceived and born.
In the first section of this article I keep the words as though I am still in prison writing. I mean for effect purposes so you might hear me as a parallel to your own life struggles.
Then in the final section I will explain my grief and sorrow in today’s words looking back, and what it took me to win that horrible battle.
I feel this is a necessary read for any individual facing the many challenges of life’s journey in this world.
I mean, too, for those who might be up against overcoming struggles with difficulties in life.
Let’s begin Overcoming Challenges in Life
I am going through a time here in 2009 where the time is itself a therapy. Already been in prison for 2 years now and my writing career has been launched, ever so slowly.
It is grueling and rigorous. It is where I face fear, tension and hatred head on every day.
And guess what?
It is diminishing or fading away bit – by – satisfying bit each day from a prison cell.
That’s the way I choose to see it and as a result my dream is developing and unfolding before my eyes.
I have been a student of volumes of spiritual metaphysical principles and lessons called A Course in Miracles.
It is intense self-study psychotherapy based on many universal spiritual themes.
I say it is “intense” because it brings forward in the mind the real and moves out the unreal.
ACIM has a foundation principle that states, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.”
Each experience we have begins with a thought, and our experiences change when we change our thought.
In this idea is where I have learned to find abundance in my thoughts, and make them manifest in this world.
I am discovering a key principle of A Course in Miracles to be all so true: “Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.”
In the personal research I have done in writing this book series, I live and see the effects of stress and loss and fear.
All the while learning the importance of self – control.
Just as well about the inner self and inner-connectedness.
The men I have lived among behind bars in prison have taught me lessons that they don’t realize teaching me.
It’s what I most needed to know.
Besides them, there are those few family members and friends who have supported me and have kept my hope alive for living my own dream come true.
Yes, at this moment I am inking (with pen) these words into a composition journal from a prison cell.
This is where the words will next find its way to typing and editing then finding its way to publication.
I can see my work one day being in your hands.
I’ll be honest in saying that I didn’t write this book as being an acclaimed spiritual guru. But only as a man who has always been searching for what the world could not teach me.
My expertise does not prevail from years of contentment and having things fall my way.
No, but actually more so from being an individual who always sought for goodness of heart in myself and in others.
Yes, I mean while having my own share of errors and overcoming challenges in life.
My thoughts extend to you in the form of these words from a man who talked himself down from many emotional ledges.
In prison, every moment is a struggle just to keep the chains of oppression unlocked.
Leo Tolstoy wrote that, “Each time of life has its own kind of love.”
At this time in my life those who are behind me are my true riches.
Margaret Mead once suggested that the deepest dream coming true for humans is to have someone who cares that we make it home safe.
I recall an old grocery store owner serving a sentence of 30 years to life, for a murder, he says he did not commit. He’d already served thirty – three years when attending a parole board hearing.
They gave him a definite release date of twelve more years, and he was elated. A dream come true just knowing he had a release date to look forward to.
His toothless smile with gray whiskers told me his children will be pleased. He was now aged 76.
For those of you that know me understand how grateful I feel, in here, for only having to deal with the simple securities violation that landed me this prison time.
It was slammed on me by an “example setting” judge during a period of panic and abuses in the investment profession.
I remain somewhat positive just knowing that I do have an actual release date.
I cannot fathom an entire life in prison. Could you?
These men mostly of who serve life sentences that I live among have given me high expectations of myself that I want to extend on to you.
It is what A Course in Miracles calls: “The power of turning any situation that is not of love back into love, by thinking differently.”
My days are refreshingly overwhelming; yet still from the volatile and often violent din of the cell block I watch my back.
I’m writing before sunrise all the way through till I exercise at 2 pm, and then after supper, studying, and reading, till 7:30 pm.
Then, calling it a night, all the while being vigilant between the prison chow hall slop and the inmate commissary.
I regularly examine my goals to make certain I am using my time here well and helping others where I may, especially those who are far less fortunate.
A Talmud line says: “It is not incumbent on thee to finish the work, but neither art thou permitted to desist from it altogether.”
I’ve taped that quote to the inside of my footlocker.
Everyday an urge inside me suggests what I need to do. This voice tells me to be fully present and to patiently not waste time.
I want every moment of time while in here spent writing, studying, exercising, or being helpful.
My time in prison will be over one day and for that I am thankful.
During this time of my life – a pit stop so to speak, the voice that urges within me suggests I see things this way: Life goes on, so I’ve decided that as long as I am living I might as well live.
I keep thinking about that song from the 1980’s, Don’t Worry Be Happy.
Perhaps we need to redefine courage.
(I also recommend a related article here about we all at one time or another feel we need to raise hopes perhaps boost your confidence to overcome adversity in life:)
Keep reading and let’s move forward in both of our minds where tensions fade away and to feel revived. Yes, refreshed about living your own dream and not someone else’s.
Spiritual Foundation for Overcoming Challenges in Life
I’ve come to see sorrow as pain with a function.
Interestingly enough, as I cared for my survival those years in prison I discovered some interesting things.
Living life in slow movement while facing overcoming challenges in life is what it felt like. I looked off into my own inner space, sobbed at times, and periodically argued.
I mean a muttering with that part of my mind that did not desire me to be imprisoned.
Even what I had learned about self-care was not accessible to me since I seemed to exist ‘in a fog.’
I wasn’t getting enough sleep and I felt afraid and alone; but not for long!
I finally came to rest on the spiritual foundation that has brought me this far in life.
What a break those teachings became as I was able to see my grief as a journey of spiritual awakening to a degree.
The sorrow that I felt was actually simply me focusing on the idea that my life was on hold.
Utilizing Spiritual concepts like mindfulness meditation, I was able to then focus on the fact, which is that Spirit, which is who we truly are, is everlasting!
Me too, would live on …
I feel like a big part of me passed away while overcoming challenges in life of a lengthy prison term.
Perhaps it belonged of me that was ready to be put at rest. This time for me has created a void in me that I can select to fill as I’d like.
As I open up a lot more to higher spiritual understanding, I am discovering to rely on the whole process of life; consisting of one day passing on.
I have concerned see this “mourning after” as a time to recover, to recover unprocessed unhappiness in my life.
I mean, consisting of disappointing relationships, jobs ending faster than I would have liked. Even it is losing beloved pets, and moving from town to town as I mature.
There are opportunities intrinsic in life’s changes that are an entrance to higher personal and spiritual growth.
The dynamics of modification can be stepping stones to open to the fullness of God’s love.
I received a card from a longtime friend that said: “When the sea recedes, many treasures and gifts appear that otherwise never ever would have been discovered.”
From an esoteric or symbolic point of view, I can look at my prison time as being the sea declining. Yes, part of the natural ups and downs of life, brought me many gifts.
Grieving the loss of that time in my life involved surrender.
There came a point where I had to let go and let God do the driving for me. And what a blessing that was!
I slowly kept in mind all that I had been taught around eternal life and the fact that I reemerged into pure positive energy.
Another gift I was given was when I wound up in the hands of a wonderful mainstream publisher, who sees it their place to be involved with my books.
Perhaps my sorrow is just God’s love washing over me. I can’t seem to escape God’s goodness!
It seems I being told what to do for overcoming challenges in life. But I must listen and take action on what to do next.
It is surrendering of the past that inspires me to move on and get clear about what I wish to experience in the next stage of my life.
Similar to my spiritual ascension, I feel that I am reemerging into the rest of my life with a more grounded belief in the idea of a Loving Intelligence.
I’m saying a Oneness that created us and all of life is ever present, assisting and directing our journey.
God, you are the love that removes what no longer serves me. Throughout this time of grief, I ask that you remove any limiting beliefs I have that would hold me back.
Interestingly enough, as I was overcoming challenges in life the last numerous weeks in today’s times, I’m still learning.
I mean that my mind is opening up to toss out the window most of my fears.
I lastly came to rest on the spiritual foundation that has brought me this far in life. It’s where accepting that overcoming challenges in life is a normal occurrence in this world.
The sorrow that I felt was actually me focusing on the concept that my life was on hold. Yes, a void while behind those bars.
But was it really?
I’ll let you decide if you take the time to dive into my book series on living your dreams. And I mean “your dreams” to the fullest.
As I open my mind even more I receive a greater spiritual understanding. I am finding out how to rise above the difficulties in life.
I mean, overcoming challenges in life being only as difficult as I make them out to be.
There are opportunities inherent in overcoming challenges in life. It’s an an entrance to higher personal and spiritual growth.
(Here’s another suggested related article exploring more about spiritual healing therapy can help when we are handling discomfort or facing life challenges.)
To overcoming life difficulties,
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And for a better life.
I write as reflections of A Course in Miracles, or see the display at Ozark Mountain Publishing Co.
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