TEXAS DEATH ROW NEWS May 5th 2018.
“MAKING THE MOST OF IT…”
“A mystic, Al Ghazali, was asked ‘what did you learn from your spiritual paths’
His reply was: ‘I learned two things, firstly, time is like a sword; if you don’t cut through it, it will cut you down. The second thing is if you do not put yourself to work for the good, it will preoccupy you with evil.’” – unknown
Texas death row had been on lockdown status for 17 days now and from the look of things this lockdown will last 3 weeks, maybe more. This type of 24 hours a day confinement in a 60 square foot space takes its toll upon the souls who are forced to endure it. One thing for sure, all of this “cell time” gives you lots of time to think and reflect upon life in general. And whether you’re on Texas death row or in Paris, France, life is what you make of it. If you allow yourself to focus only on the negative, and not actively seek out and engage in what will help you make it through, then things will be very difficult for you. But if you can take the lessons that life wants to teach you and accept whatever the situation is and work with it as best you can, then things will be much more positive. And if you can maintain this mindset, the path you travel upon will be much more productive, satisfying and certain.
One thing that I have come to realize and accept as an absolute truth in life is that we’re all going through what we’re going through to get where we’re going. This is especially true for those in dire situations such as being on Texas death row. Because it comes down to this – you’re here, now what are you going to do with your life?
I think back to when I was in my 20s, like my dad would say – I was something else! I was very stubborn and hardheaded and because I had older brothers who used to make me fight (to toughen me up!), I was not afraid of physical confrontation. Not to mention I’m not a small guy in anyway no one could tell me anything and make me listen. I’m not proud of this today – that’s just who I was back then. So being sent to Texas death row was a shock to say the least. For the first time in my life I was in a situation where I could not use physical aggression to solve my problems. No, instead life had sat my behind down and had my undivided attention and what was I going to do now?
I remember when the scales began to fall from my eyes, when I realized that I was someone whose feelings were easily hurt, which would cause me to lash out physically, a terrible habit I developed as a child. I also came to the understanding that I did not have the answers, that I could not do it alone and that I needed help. The help would come in all kinds of ways, through friends who taught me how to cope via correspondence, through books and even quotes like the one above.
The first time I read this quote I share today something inside me clicked into place. It was as if I was missing this piece of truth and wisdom and now that I had this instruction I had to do the best I could to live my life by it. Because I am in a situation where time is about the most difficult thing you must deal with. Time will crush you by passing slowly giving you too much of an opportunity to dwell upon all you’ve lost and when you’re locked up that’s all you think about until you realize doing that will drive you crazy.
Or time will fly by, years zooming by like months and before you know it you’re at the end of your appeals and these devils are setting an execution date for you to push you out of existence. These are the kinds of things that will drive you insane if you do not learn how to control yourself and in doing so breaking the ability that time has to cut you in two.
Putting myself to work for the good is one of the best decisions I have ever made. When you work for the good, you naturally attract positive energy into your life. You heal yourself because one of the best ways to get better when you’re hurt and suffering is to find a way to help others. Not to mention you take away any opportunity for evil to consume you.
I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to learn these lessons and put them to use in my life and thereby find a way to make it through this Texas death row experience and continue to learn and become a kinder person.
After the first week of being confined to my cell 24-7, I began to notice a sense of lethargy trying to settle in upon me. I began to feel sluggish, dull and drowsy and as that started to occur, I knew what was going on. That was the start of “clinical depression” resulting from being locked in a cage for a week, two even three weeks straight. And I had to do what I could to combat this unhealthy state of mind. Since that realization, I’ve been exercising in my cell for at least 30 minutes every day. I’ve also been reading spiritual/self-help themed books and staying true to my spiritual practice. Prayer and meditation is where it’s at for me. I don’t think I could endure the way I do without this spiritual practice that keeps me balanced and centered.
Since we’ve been caged up like wild animals for nearly 3 weeks now the food items most guys had bought from commissary are about gone. Times are getting tough for some of the guys who were not ready for lockdown. I’m thankful to say that I’m okay – I have what I need to survive. I like to tell my friends that I’m a “just in case” type of guy and because of this I’ve been preparing for lockdown for over a month.
A friend of mine near me was not so ready when lockdown began and this has allowed me to work for the good and share some of my “supplies” with him. Food, coffee, a few postage stamps – what we consider the necessities on Texas death row. I know what it’s like to be without what I need so I try to help others as much as I can thereby putting myself to work for the good. It also feels good to give another a helping hand, a fact of life I learned long ago.
I remember when I was a free man I was the kind of guy who would stop to help a stranded motorist I might see on the side of the road. I always had a tow-chain, tool box, hydraulic jack for lifting a vehicle to change a flat and jumper cables. So if we couldn’t start the car we could get it off the dangerous side of the road. It always felt good to help people I did not even know.
And let me tell you what comes around goes around – every time I found myself broken down on the side of the road not 5 minutes would pass before someone would stop to see how they could help me.
So it is here on Texas death row. I do what I can to help others around me and whenever I find myself on F-pod, or on commissary restriction my friends always go out of their way to help me and see that I have what I need. Life has taught me that when we help others it’s like making deposits in the bank of the universe and when we need help if we’ve been diligent about making deposits in the form of good deeds etc. when we need a helping hand it will always be there. Not to mention it feels great to know others care about you.
This is how we manage to make it through situations like lockdown. We look out for each other and share our blessings knowing we can’t go wrong when we take time to work for the good and help one another through the good times and bad on Texas death row.
Charles D. Flores N° 999299
Texas death row
May 5th, 2018