Friday, November 4, 2011

The Fatigue Of Complaining

I didnt like my last post. In fact, I am unhappy with much of my recent writing. I dont feel like I am improving. I think the quality of my words being strung together to form coherent thoughts is somehow... lacking. I think I am burning out, trying to find something to write about that includes reform of criminal behavior, and social support to help people change.

Recently I read a similar idea from multiple sources, namely that; “to become a real writer, we must be able to take people on a journey with us, even when we don’t feel like it. To become a professional writer, rather than just an amateur, we must learn to write every day/week to continue the process. Amateurs lose focus, but professionals push through.”

But what if I am sick? Or worn out tired? Especially after having chased my toddler-daughter all day! Then there is my lack of enthusiasm, or few good topics. Truthfully, I am tired of writing about the struggles of prison life & what happens after. I am weary of re-living the memories, then sharing them once more for all to hear.

In my last post I shared a brief view of what many people already know about life on the “inside”. In short, it sucked. The worst part wasnt the daily grind of sameness, the other convicts, nor the guards. Not about being “alone”, nor even the sadness of “lost time” that can never be reclaimed. It was being separated from those I love, and who care for me most.

Now let me share something that RockS! Everyday was a new experience, even with much of the ‘sameness’ as the day before. I made a friend and was blessed with a cell-mate who desired to learn, and had done enough “time” that he wanted to teach as well. I believe that because he was ‘younger’ (nineteen years old) when his twenty year sentence began, it helped him to have hope for a future. It may seem odd but, because he hadn’t grown up with a cycle of coming out and then returning to the incarcerated life, it may have helped him to do a few things really well. First, he learned to live inside his own mind. 

Let me be very clear about what this means to us on the outside: when life doesn’t go the way we think it should, stop and figure it our on your own.

In the book, The Magic Of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz, one of the methods of helping people to decide about their life was to set aside one-hour each day to spend time in solitude and think! So with no special or professional training, and with no encouragement from anyone else, my cell-mate did this very thing.

Second, he decided to learn new things on his own. He read books, any he could lay his hands on, whether from neighbors inside or the library. He studied many subjects taught in high-school & college, although he could not earn a degree while serving time.

So by the time I came along to share his cell, he had a pattern of self-development both mentally and physically, and he encouraged me to do the same right away.

Later on in during my ‘time’, and after refreshing some of my studies in math, I was able to turn around and “tutor” other men who wanted to earn a G.E.D.

Do you get a picture of something bigger here?

When we complain about our lives, then turn on the TV. or computer and avoid real ‘thinking’, how do we expect anything to change?

When our job is unsatisfying, and though we have too little money to pay for a college education, do we try to learn new things anyway?

When life becomes routine so that we are frustrated, with a lack of enthusiasm to much of anything, do we reach out to help others, and at the same time reinvigorate our own lives?

So being “burned-out & tired” has helped me to find new thought patterns, specifically of a few good things I recall about my time in prison.

Let me say this another way... complaining is BORING, and it annoys me to no end. It does NoThInG to improve my lot in life, nor does it make anyone else’s life better. People wont like me more, because I am NOT more attractive when I complain. We may get some attention when we first mouth off loudly about the government, spouse, kids, boss, police, etc. But when we do NoThInG to improve our situation, we become little more than a clanging cymbal... making a bunch of noise, but doing little to add to the chorus of music in life.

Where could you do less complaining?

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