by Jay Goodman

Has anyone ever thought about sitting down and taking a long look at yourself, and taking inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses? Not just some half ass list, but really going over your life. Looking at your accomplishments and your failures.

Most people have a tendency to only look at what they’ve done right in their life. Which is a good thing, because everyone needs confidence. But we also need to look at our mistakes and face what we did wrong. In some cases what we keep doing wrong. Most people don’t like to look at their weaknesses because it discourages them and bring them down mentally. And I understand no one likes to fill mental stress, or fear. Prisoners in general hate to use the word fear. I am sure they believe the word fear makes them look or feel weak.

But fear is like a disease, if you let it go unchecked it slowly over time gets worse. Some people spend their whole lives in fear, I see those around me who are constantly in fear of everything. It seems like as soon as whatever they are fearing passes, some new situation comes along and they are fearing that. What’s crazy is they will allow this to continue to happen over and over. Not ever realizing that they are their own worst enemy. If a person was to take a serious look at themselves, I mean go back in time and really look at their lives, and think about everything they feared, they would see that 99% of the time there was absolutely nothing to fear. Fear is in a person’s mind, and each of us gives it the power to consume us, or go away. Oddly, most people will choose never to face it, they will continue living in fear for the rest of their lives. Throughout the years I have watched my fellow prisoners live in a constant fear of everything. And I do mean everything. They live in fear for losing their wife or girlfriend, they fear what’s happening with their children. They fear their mom or dad will die while they’re in here. They’re in fear of not having enough money on their books for commissary. They are in fear of not having a lot of money saved up to go home too. They’re in fear of what’s happening with the stuff they had before coming to prison. They live in fear of where they will go when they leave prison. Most will never understand that fear is whatever you allow it to be.

To some people reading this may seem crazy, especially if they believe their fears are real. But everyone in life in some form or another, experiences fear. We all worry about our children or parents, I believe everyone has concerns about jobs, money, health, or how we expect life to be. I think we all agree that everyone has worries.

Now I have to ask, since we all can agree this is true. Why can some people let these worries go, and others let their worries turn into fears? Could it be that some people face their fears and afterwards realize that there is nothing to fear? While others never face their fears so it never goes away. I am not sure about this, but could it be that fear is a person in ability to think? I once read this question, what is the world without in its relation to the world within? The world without is a reflection of the world within. When I read this, it made sense to me. Because usually the world we live in is a reflection of what we are living inside. It’s like a person who is depressed all of the time. They have a tendency to look at the world much differently than someone who is happy on the inside.

The hole of human life is cause and effect, there is no such thing as luck or chance. Are we not satisfied with whatever comes into our lives? The thing to do, then, is not to spend time in railing against the imaginary something we create and call fate, or fear, but look to them within, and change the causes at work there, in order that things of a different nature may come, for there will come exactly what we caused to come. This is true not only of the physical body, but of all phases and conditions of life. We invite whatever comes, and did we not invite it, either consciously or unconsciously, it could not and it would not come. This may undoubtedly be hard for some to see, or to believe, at first. But if the people in prison were to sit back and think about what they used to think about all the time when they were on the streets, one would quickly see why you were sitting in prison. Also, if the people in prison would look at what they are sitting around thinking about in here, you can begin to get a look at what your future holds for you. Don’t believe for a moment that what happened to you is fate or chance. What happened to you from this moment on is a reflection of what lives inside you. Stop spending your time in fear, stop worrying about one thing after another. And start realizing you were in complete control.

Please remember what I just said, you have complete control over your future. I imagine many people reading this will think I’m crazy. And I’m sure some will start making excuses why that statement isn’t true. But I’m here to tell you that the people in prison will let your worries and fears go, there’s nothing you cannot accomplish. I read once that fear and faith go hand-in-hand. Which is the truth. The one is born of the other. Tell me how much one is given to fear, and I will tell you how much he lacks in faith.

Fear is a most expensive guest to entertain, the same as worry is. So expensive are they that no one can afford to entertain them. We invite what we fear, the same as, by a different attitude of mind, we invite and attract the influences and conditions we desire. The mine dominated by fear open the door for the entrance of the very things, for the actualization of the dairy conditions it fears. I read a story once that really open my eyes to the power some people give to fear. The story goes like this. “Where are you going?” Asked an eastern pilgrim on meeting the plague one day. “I am going to Baghdad to kill 5000 people,” what is the reply. A few days later the same pilgrim at the plague returning. “you told me you were going to Baghdad to kill 5000 people,” he said. “No,” he said, “but instead, you killed 50,000.” “No,” said the plague. “I killed only 5000, as I told you I would, the others died from fright.” Even though this is just a story, I am sure it was written to show how easy it is for people to fall victim to their worries and fears.

A lot of the people in prison live in a constant state of worry and fear, which is a big reason you can’t grow and change while you are in here. I talk to a lot of people every day who are living in the past. They are always talking about what they had before coming to prison and worrying how they will do it again. Learn to let go of all your worries and fears and start concentrating on your hopes and dreams. Once you do this, she will see a big change in how you think and feel. I just started a drug class at the prison I’m at and the first day the lady said that in all actuality everyone can’t get up in the morning and be a cheerful person. Some people are morning people and others are not. I thought to myself that’s not true. First of all, I had heard her use the word can’t. No one should ever use the word can’t. Second, anyone can, remember can get up in the morning and be a cheerful person. Anyone can be a morning person it’s all in your state of mind. What you choose is what you’ll get. If you choose to get up and be grumpy and miserable than you will be. But if you choose to wake up and be happy you will be. Remember he will get whatever you want. And it’s the same thing with worry and fear, if you choose to live in a constant state of mind of these two, he will get exactly that. But if you learn to let all of these things go and focus your attention on being happy and cheerful that is exactly what you will get. It has nothing whatsoever to do with your circumstances, the only person that can make you live in fear is you. Each day you get up you have a choice to be grumpy and mad at the world. Or you can put a smile on your face and be happy and cheerful. Now I want to ask a question, what has worry and fear solved in your lives? Has it ever solved anything? Has it made you feel better or worse?

As crazy as prison can be, I’ve learned if you can face each day with a good attitude and positive outlook, your life in here will be much better. Learn to let all of your worries go and focus your attention on bettering yourself in every way possible. I once read in a book this statement, and it’s perfect for the ending of this chapter. Look to this day for it is life, the fairy life of life. And it’s brief Coors light all the verities and realities of your existence; the bliss of growth; the glory of action; the splendor of beauty; for yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day!

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez