Texas Death Row News – April 13th 2019
“Subversive Joy is the ability to transform tears into laughter, a laughter that allows one to acknowledge just how difficult the journey is, and to delight in one’s own sense of humanity and humour in the midst of this very serious struggle.” This is true freedom of spirit.” Dr Cornel West.
For the past year now I have been very mindful of the amount of personal property I have in my cell due to the increased restrictions on what I’m allowed to have. And because of this I’ve not been receiving books like I once did. Too often I find that I am easily distracted and sometimes start a book, then something happens, I set the book down and a month or two passes, then shakedown comes back around and I have a cell of half read books.
Well, I’ve been going through a lot and much of it stressful, sad and depressing and one of the ways I’ve been coping with my situation is by reading books, novels, spiritual themed texts, self-help books on screenwriting, etc…. And in doing so I have remembered how wonderful books are and how I can easily get lost in the worlds they contain. For an incarcerated person, one of the greatest things to experience is to read a book that is so good that you actually forget you are in prison or on Texas death row, having had your freedom taken from you. The walls, bars, and fences melt away and your spirit is free flying here, there and everywhere in the world the book creates. Then something will happen in this, the third dimension – meal time or count time – and the guards will knock on your door getting your attention and you’ll come out of that world back into this one. But as soon as you’ve dealt with whatever was going on here, you pick the book back up and zoom right back into the world it contains!
One book I have managed to save and carry around with me is one by the Dalai Lama, which I’ve been reading again and again for over a year now. I find that he is able to help me put into perspective what I’ve experienced in life in general. Because I live my life in solitude – I am locked away in a 60 square foot cell for 22 hours a day on Texas death row, in solitary confinement for 20 years now, it is easy to get unbalanced in your thoughts. Therefore it is good to have a touchstone such as the Dalai Lama’s voice in my life, especially during this time when the recent loss I have experienced still looms large.
The thing about living and loving, dying and losing is that it’s all part of this thing called life. And no one ever promised us that this incredible journey would be easy. But no matter how hard it is or how much we suffer and lose, it’s totally and completely up to us how we will deal with it and how we’ll respond. In many ways I think that personally I’ve been going through my own personal experiences episode after episode and in the process preparing to deal with the newest and greatest challenge as I continue my passage to get to where I’m going. Because we are all going through what we are going through to get to where we are going.
One thing that the Dalai Lama reminded me of this morning was that there are many different aspects to any event. And with each event that occurs in life, new opportunities arrive as a result. This is so true – especially in my life. If I had not been sent to death row, I would never have met the best, most loyal and true forever friends that I’ve had in my life. I would have never come to know these amazing souls all across the world. And I would be nothing without this amazing circle of friends that surround me, I’d have given up the fight long ago leaving nothing but a few sad songs and a hump in the ground.
Because of this, my life is not easy – but you know something? I’ m alright with that. Because I’m very loved and cared for and this huge amount of kindness and compassion has allowed me to come to understand what subversive joy is. And through the awesome power that subversive joy is I change the way I experience life and how I respond to all that comes my way. And where did these opportunities to learn such life’s lessons arise from? From being on Texas death row for a crime I did not commit. That’s some heavy stuff (profound), brothers and sisters, and I’m still learning from it.
As I look at my situation from as many angles as I can, I understand this absolute truth and am able to transform the tears and sadness that come with my life into joy and happiness. Because it’s happening for a reason and the reason is contained in the new opportunities to learn and experience life. I’m so grateful for that.
The Dalai Lama also said that there is Tibetan saying that goes: “Wherever you have friends, that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home.”
When I read those words this morning they took my breath away. Because one of the issues I have been wrestling with is that I no longer have my parents’ home to return to. To even think about that reality causes my chest to hurt with pain, grief and sadness – to acknowledge that I am now homeless.
But his Holiness, the Dalai Lama exposed to me the lie in that thought. Because I have friends all across the world – literally. Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and all across the USA. And I receive love from all these places. So I have a precious home in each country, each city, each place I receive love from, and that absolute truth in my life is so comforting, so soothing and calming to me. As it removes the anxiety and fear that come from the thought that I am homeless with nowhere to go. And replaces it with the truth of the matter: I have many homes to return to – I just need to focus on winning my freedom and get there!
Few souls are as rich in love as I am. And I am eternally grateful for this and I hope I am able to properly express my thanks and appreciation for all the love that is given to me. And once again, I love each and every one of you!
LOVE, PEACE, HOPE and LAUGHTER TOO!
Charles D. FLORES #999299