“Simply seek happiness and you are not likely to find it, seek to create and love without regard for your happiness and you are likely to be happy much of the time.” ~—M. Scott Peck.
when I was young man and imagined happiness, I could not comprehend that it could be found in a place such as a cell in solitary confinement on Texas death row I was sure happiness would be found in a 24-can case of beer, a pocket full of money, living the “vida loca” and partying until I could not see straight with a bunch of people who were just like me. As it turns out, that road was the one that lead me to find myself locked in cell for a crime I did not commit and am innocent of, and to put it mildly, my life hasn’t been comfortable or easy. Yet, I remain convinced that we’re all going through what we’re going through to get to where we’re going and the Universe has set me upon the path I travel today for a reason. This belief helps me deal with the daily challenges and difficulties that I encounter along the way. And while dealing with all the pains and strains that come with being human I have somehow managed to find a measure of happiness in this 9ft. X 12ft. cell. Because I am a Texas death row prisoner it does not take very long for me to glance around and find someone who’s life [situation] is much worse than mine. This instant reality check that is always a thought and glance away helps me stay grounded and grateful for my blessings such as being surrounded by a circle of amazing friends whose love and compassion keep me strong and help me keep pushing forward when I’m not sure I can do it anymore. Blessings like being able to find the tools I need to go within myself and do the work needed to cope with the insanity of life in this state’s death camp and live life to the fullest giving my best effort in all I do.
I think back to 2006, when a fellow Texas death row prisoner let me read a book he had written about his life experience in this new age concentration camp. Upon reading that book I knew I could write one myself and not too long after I began to write and the end result of that period of creativity was my first book, “warrior within – Inside Report on Texas death row ” About that time I realized to my great surprise that I had come to Texas death row and found my voice. I discovered that I was a writer, that in fact I could not live without writing and since then I have spent my life writing. After all, anyone can do it – all you must do is sit down and bleed! Because I am held isolated in a cell with no means of communicating with the outside world except through correspondence, writing and exchanging letters with my circle of friends in our extended conversations is critical for my well being. It is through this exchange of love, compassion and support that I have forged the relationships that sustain me when I am overwhelmed and need a friend’s shoulder to lean on. Back to happiness, one thing that I have come to realize is that most of the time a happy life includes a good amount of pain and discomfort. Happiness can be defined as involving a victory for the self. Such as overcoming the soul crushing trauma that comes from years of being held in solitary confinement on death row. Happiness comes when we move towards our goals and even reach then such as thwarting the State of Texas’s efforts to murder you and even winning your freedom. Very stressful and traumatic to go through, but you are extremely happy wen you experience such a victory. In this regard, happiness is a personal self involved emotion and one that is critical for a man such as me living the life I’m forced to live. Because living your life incarcerated involves much difficulty and hardship because we have no control over the day to day activities in the routine on death row. It is absolute insanity that creates needless stress and the only thing that is constant is that nothing stays the same! Recently we’ve had a big problem with the reception of jpay emails called “Jpays”. But Jpays are the last thing the guards pass out Monday through Friday and this means I will usually wait until midnight before they are passed out. And when I do get my jpays they are all too often 3, 4 or 5 days old. This is extremely difficult for me to cope with because I know friends are sending me correspondence via jpays but they are not given to me within the time frame that is stated on the jpay.com website. This situation might not sound like a big deal but imagine waiting 5-6 hours Monday through Friday. Then when the guards do get around to giving you your jpays they are old and something you should have gotten that night you get 24, even 48 hours later. It is a very stressful situation and currently the most difficult mental challenge I have to cope with. Yet there is no other option except to deal with it. So in that regard. I try to be happy with this situation, or at minimum be okay with it but it’s not easy! when I do get what’s coming to me via jpays. I try to tell myself to be grateful for getting it period. Sometimes It’s hard though – very hard. Recently I read an article about dealing with this sort of situation and how. “turning towards whatever you are dreading can be game changing”. and,”by meeting and greeting our discomfort we gradually learn that our lives are okay as they are.”
I’ve been trying this along with daily meditation in an effort to take my ego out of the situation . After all. it is ego that makes me upset that I have no control over the situation and thereby I sacrifice my happiness at ego’s alter. That is a hard but true statement. And I’m trying to live each day with that absolute fact on the forefront of my mind and not get too upset at the situation – but once again it is hard! In the end I know there will always be unpleasant things in life no matter where I find myself – forever free living the life I dream of and work towards. Or in this cell on Texas death row. But if I can embrace that, and find strength and confidence and yes. happiness that is born from welcoming the full experience of life’s bumps and bruises then I can live my best life day in day out And in the process reach the ultimate goal – when part II of my life will begin – free and far away from here.
LOVE PEACE & HOPE!
Charles D. Flores No:999299
Texas Death Row