As I sit back, reflect and let my thoughts flow, many things percolate to my mind’s cortical surface, keeping me attentively entertained and intellectually stimulated. In these locked down situations, it’s absolutely imperative for me to take the necessary measures to keep my mind right, because I’ve learned – through trial and error – that when I’m unable to stay focused on positive and productive activities, I’m most likely to get caught up in negative and unproductive and sometimes even counterproductive activities. When that happens, I’m not surviving, but rather I’m slipping, letting myself get took under by the merciless current of self~destruction.
So, I’m just sitting here thinking, letting my thoughts be fluent and making sure to stay acutely focused on the things that pertain to my day~to~day survival, trying to get through this daily psychological Vietnam, trying to ameliorate myself. Some people like to still their minds, but me, I like to keep my mind active and constantly flowing.
One of the things that grabbed a “kung fu death grip” hold on my attention today was a quote that I read by Napoleon Bonaparte that goes like this: “DEATH IS NOTHING, BUT TO LIVE DEFEATED IS TO DIE EVERYDAY”.
Those are words that I resonate with. Tome, that means that once you die, that’s it, it’s over, ya estuvo, your life becomes nothing. You’re gone, you’ve faded to black. So while you’re alive, you might as well take care of what you need to take care of, be real with your comrades and loved ones and try to enjoy life and appreciate the time you have.
But if you’re living like a defeated person, then you’re not living; you’re already dead and every day that you wake up, you die again.
I would rather die once than to die every day. I’d rather die now, than to live the rest of my life waking up already dead. I would rather die than live as a defeated man.
Death is nothing, we all die, in fact, the only thing promised to us in life is death. So we might as well accept it, face it, embrace it and know that we can’t cheat it. I believe that with this acceptance and understanding, we are able to live our lives out more fully, having no fear and illusions.
So I try to live with the understanding that as long as my tenable and tenacious heart thumps passionately with furious resistance and undying love, then I haven’t been defeated. Because as long as I can find one thing in this world that I can love and appreciate, and as long as I have something that my heart beats for, while I remain unwilling to allow myself to be consumed by hate, then I’ve remained unconquerable.
I’m trying to keep life and love flowing through my arteries, I’m trying to appreciate the time I have, the breath I breathe and the life I live, and I’m trying to enjoy it. As long as I’m living by the principles that I’m willing to die for, without compromise or sacrifice, then I haven’t been defeated. I believe that when you value your way of life and the friendships you’ve made, so much, that you feel those things are worth dying for; you’re living your life to the fullest! Because I believe that having nothing to die for is having nothing to live for.
Even under these inhumane conditions I’m able to recognize, acknowledge and find beauty in life, making it a penetrating point to keep a strong sense of self and of life flowing through my veins. These are the things that keep me grounded, and these are the things that I keep in my heart, vibrating, pulsating, thumping to the rhythmic beat of life, while having to overcome struggles and heartbreaks only to come out stronger, wiser and more refined, and then trying to use that same strength and wisdom to assist others in their times of hardship, pain and struggle.
And of course there are many things about this life and this place that I hate, but I allow my hate to exist and to live, because sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s necessary, and because all of my emotions are an extension of me, but I make sure to keep it minimized.
Lately, I’ve been doing a couple of things to try to better myself and to stay active. One of the things I do is something that I call “PUSH~ UPS AND PARAGRAPHS”, and the other thing that I’m constantly doing are logic puzzles.
Push~ups and paragraphs: Basically, what I do is I’ll find an article to read (something educational), and after I finish reading a paragraph I’ll get down and do (10) ten push~ups. And I will continue to do (10) ten push~ups after each and every paragraph I read, until I’ve finished reading the entire article. When I’m done, the count usually comes out to about a total of 500~600 push~ups. I’ll do this every day, sometimes reading the same articles over and over again each day, which helps me to retain knowledge, and sometimes reading a different article each day. It’s just a way for me to cultivate myself by exercising both my mind and my body at the same time, and it’s also a way for me to be productive and appreciative of the time I have in this world, not letting myself be defeated by my circumstances.
As far as the logic puzzles go, Dell puts out a magazine that you can subscribe to called: “Logic Lover’s Logic Problems” (have your people subscribe you to these logic puzzle magazines: “pennydellpuzzles.com”). There are over 100 puzzles in each magazine, so if you do (1) one puzzle every day, then you’re exercising your brain every day for 100 days. I have to do at least one every day, mandatory, but I usually do 2 or 3 a day. It’s one of the best ways that someone in solitary can strengthen their brain! It’s like playing chess with yourself, but better! Your brain is like a muscle, and the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Logic puzzles are like bench presses for the brain. It causes you to think and to figure things out, using deductive reasoning, and most of all it open the floodgates of your brain, allowing you to be more logical and sharp in all areas of your life. It’s definitely an LQ. booster and it allows your mind to be active and to flow! It’s definitely a healthy way to spend an hour or two of your day while locked down in a cell, because not only does it keep you from deteriorating mentally, but it keeps you sharp, like a razor’s edge! And if you’re staying sharp under these dull circumstances, then you’re definitely winning, not allowing yourself to be taken under or defeated! So those are just 2 of the things I’ve been doing lately to stay afloat and to keep my sword sharpened.
Here’s another Napoleon quote that I resonate with: “A TREE WITH NO BRANCHES BEARS NO FRUIT”
I like that because I’m definitely trying to branch out and be fruitful. That’s what life’s about to me: branching out, bearing fruit, making meaningful connections and truthful connections, never having superficial friendships, each one teach one, steel sharpening steel, being real and staying true while getting involved in various endeavors that are sure to produce good results.
The more branches on your tree, the more fruit, and everybody can come to my tree and eat from it, we can have picnics under my tree, people can sit under my tree and duck down in the shade for a while, relaxing and letting their minds be fluent and free. They can climb up my tree, swing from the branches, all that. My tree is the tree of knowledge, the tree of life.
Currently, I might be locked down, in supermaximum custody, and all strained up on HIGH RISK POTENTIAL status, going through all kinds of harassment and all that, but it doesn’t even matter, because in the far reaches of my minds imagination, I’m sitting under a tree, somewhere near the sea, smoking on a fat one, some of that good, top shelf, “Pineapple Trainwreck” bud, munching on a juicy nectarine that I just pulled off of one of my branches, sitting in the relaxing shade, with the cool ocean breeze blowing on my face, just getting high on life!
In my heart and in my mind, I know I’ve got to stay productive, I’ve got to stay active, letting the liquid thoughts of my mind forever flow and always striving to better myself and others, spreading my dexterous branches, participating in fruit~bearing activities, not fearing death, but loving life, and living it. It’s all about amelioration! Look that word up in your dictionary, add it to your vocabulary and apply it in your everyday life: amelioration. It’s a beautiful word when applied.
And these words are written, from the pain that turned to love, and it’s that same love that I now give to you as a gift from my heart. I close as I opened: with all my love!
Coyote, Ely State Prison November 5th, 2009
Drop me a line or two, show me some love, give me some words of encouragement. I’m not allowed to receive letters from other prisoners, but I’d like to hear from everybody, everywhere. You can reach me at this address: Coyote Sheff #55671 P.O. Box 1989 Ely, Nevada 89301-1989