Living Your Dream, Not Someone Else’s By James Nussbaumer
In the personal research I have done in writing this book, I lived and saw the effects of stress and loss and fear while learning the importance of self-control, self-awareness, and connectedness. The men I have lived among behind bars in prison have taught me lessons that they don’t realize they are 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, where the words will next find their way to typing and editing then 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, 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, but actually more so from being an individual who always sought for goodness of heart in myself and in others, while having my own share of errors. 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 thirty 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 seventy-six.
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 ten years by an “example-setting” judge, of which I’ve been told I will not fully serve. 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 expectation 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.”
Every day an urge inside me suggests what I need to do, which is 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 is almost over and for that I am thankful. During this brief time—a pit stop, so to speak—the voice 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.
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