I recently moved from B-Pod to A-Pod. Yes, I’m still in the honor unit, but I just switched pods. I am now in a comfortable cell with a good celly. His name is Nick. He is doing 10 years for first degree assault.
My first morning here, I woke up and brought out all of my reading and writing supplies. As I set everything on a dayroom table, I am quickly approached by a random inmate. He says, “I know you’re new here, but this table is where I sit every day.”
Compulsive thoughts instantly enter my mind. And I instantly catch them, and take complete control of them. They don’t stand a chance against my new way of thinking. A way of thinking that is generated by a powerful force of love & compassion.
There was a time when I’d tell that guy, “Go f**k yourself! This is prison and I’ll sit where I want. If you don’t like it, I’ll add an ass whooping to the equation!”
But today I am a different person. So I say, “I’m sorry. I thought these tables in the dayroom belong to everyone. But like you said, I’m new…I guess I don’t know any better.”
He goes on to explain his position as he talks in circles about how he’s been sitting there for three years. I simply say, “I understand. Thank you for letting me know.”
I then pack up all my stuff and move to another table.
Meanwhile, there’s a slight discomfort in me. Simply because I don’t like how I just got ran off. This is the HONOR UNIT. All the prison politics are supposed to be non-existent in this unit.
I sooth this discomfort with the knowledge that I am evolving and learning how to deal with situations in ways that would make my wife & family proud.
So rather than dwell on the negative aspects, I chose to control my mind, and think about how I just successfully resolved a conflict in a peaceful manner.
This positive thinking truly works as it pushes out all the discomfort. Within seconds I am feeling good about every aspect of the situation because it has given me an opportunity to grow.
Then, just as I’m enjoying a happy moment with myself, a different guy approaches me at the table I’m at. He slides some of my books out of his way as he takes a seat. He leans in towards me and says, “This table is already taken. I’ve been sitting here for years.”
Since my mind was already in the right place, it was very easy for me to extend my hand and say, “Thank you for letting me know. I’ll find another table to sit at.”
He shook my hand. And once again I was ping-ponged to another table.
In the past, I would not accept ANYONE talking to me like these two guys did today. I would’ve argued, made matters worse, and possibly have gotten into a fight.
Today I have an inner strength that enables me to respond with kindness.
The results are so much better. I don’t get in fights and I don’t build up tension between myself and others. Instead, I promote peace & understanding as I build positive relations between myself and the very same people I used to fight.
Today, things are different for me than they were a few years back. But why? I’m still in prison. I’m still around the same type of people. My environment hasn’t changed.
The answer is simple: I’ve learned to control my environment through the power of love & positive thinking.