Thought exploration. Pt 1

Do you ever just stop to appreciate life? I got to the truck stop where I’m staying at tonight; and while I was walking my pup I stopped and enjoyed the fresh breeze against my face.

Lately while I’ve been driving I’ve gazed up at the sky and really just marveled at the structure of it all. It almost seems hard to believe it’s not all a program. The patterns in the clouds all so precise. The color of the sky with the light of the sun just at the right angle–then me in a truck all alone experiencing it.

I think sometimes of my life like a movie. Like the movie with Jim Carrey “The Truman Show.” Everything is staged. Every person you meet, every conversation you have every experience planned for effect.

Then reason pokes it’s head out: “It is all staged. It is a movie. Every experience created by the Devine. All one beautiful, intricate and chaotic pattern.” We call it life. We pass through it–but do we “live” it?

How much do we really know about life? What would we use as comparison to determine how much we know? If all we know so far–is what we know so far?

Does that make sense?

Like: we don’t know how much there is to know about life so we don’t even have a clue if we know anything at all? If we’re even close or in the general vicinity?!

What is the “Devine?” What is life?

I think about things like this daily. How beautiful and chaotic it all is. The thought that we’re all “one.” The “collective thought.”

What really amazes me is that so many people never stop to appreciate this all. Much less actually think/ask about life? The universe?

So I’m sitting here in the drivers seat of my pick up, just leaned back and thinking. While my pup snores in the passenger seat. How amazing it is to wonder.

Positive vibes for positive minds

A talk to remember

“Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum…”

Frank Sinatra playing in the background.

I had a talk with a good friend and a mentor of mine a couple of days ago. My truck had broke down and I was joking about the rough day. So we get off into a conversation about the stress and challenge of being an entrepreneur.

We both met in prison. We’ve had hours of mentally stimulating conversations. He went on to tell me how the struggles and challenges we have as entrepreneurs are to be enjoyed.

He said “enjoy this bro–one day you’re going to miss it.”

And it’s true. As much as it may suck (or seem to) at times, it’s what gives life flavor. Eventually my new business will have all the kinks worked out and all the excitement of overcoming a start ups challenges will be gone. It will all be routine. Even down the line once I start a new business it won’t be the same. The beauty of all this magnificent chaos won’t be there any more. All the hurdles we’re jumping for the first time. All of the mistakes we’re making for the first time.

I’m glad I had that talk with him. Cause now I hear his words in the back of my mind everyday when something challenging happens: “enjoy it bro–one day you’ll miss it.” And I smile.

One day not to far away I’ll see my life and how great everything is going and I’ll look back and smile while I reminisce about how green I was. I’ll smile at how nervous or worried I was about whether or not I would make it. And I’m sure that at that point–I will miss it. I’ll miss the thrill. I’ll miss the pressure and the stress. I’ll look back and think about how naive the younger version of myself was and smile, thinking: ” he didn’t have a clue, but he pushed through. He didn’t know what he was doing but he never quit. He gave it everything he had–and I thank him for that.”

So in a sense this is to my future self. We’re here big guy–we’re in the ring and we’re throwing punches. We’re getting banged up and it’s not looking real pretty but we’re fighting!”

It’s like we say when we’re doing time “the worst day in the “free world” is still 100 times better than the best day in prison.”

Positive vibes for positive minds.

School of life

“Here we go again, same ol shit again. Marching down the avenue. Three more days and we’ll be through…”

If you’ve been in the army I’m sure you recognize this cadence. It’s crazy how on April 25, 2016 I got out of prison. April 29, 2010 I graduated OSUT in the army. Graduated out of Ft. Knox!! Great memories.

Its like my story is looping around. Started in the present and went back five years to just go back five more a day later. I picture it like an old movie reel (May have misspelled that). Like each little square of film is a different day in my history.

It’s easy to see how I shake so much off with a smile after I start to think of what I’ve been through. Not that I’ve been through a great deal but I have been tested. I’ve been pushed. Most of all I have overcome. So it really doesn’t make sense to let little things get to me now. I believe that’s called maturity? Maybe being at peace?

So I’ve been on a roll with my new company on the transportation industry. Hot shot trucking to be exact. Started on the 16th of this month and we’ve been rocking and rolling since. I’m grateful.

Just as we’re really starting to pick up wind though–old man failure pokes his today head back out. Another test.

My truck is out of commission on the side of the road near San Angelo, Texas. Hub bearings in both driver and passenger side front wheels need to be changed.

So I could be bummed about it. Naturally though–I smiled. Let out a nice long “fuuuuuck” and laughed. How come? Cause I see this as a sign. A sign I’m on the right track and if I can push pass these little tests then big rewards are coming.

When you’re chasing your dreams tests will present themselves on all types of forms. The greater the dream the more tests you’ll have to endure.

It’s almost like life tests you to make you stronger to be ready for the level of success we’re destined for. Like lifting weights I guess? You add weight little by little until finally you reach the weight you were aiming for.

So today I just added a little weight to my bar. And we’re pushing. Maybe my next test will be what to do with all of the money I make? Lol

Learn to laugh at life’s difficulties and the harder life gets the happier you’ll be.

Positive vibes for positive minds

Before you quit: ch. 3

Today’s the day!! April 25, 2019! Three years a free man. It’s amazing how life turns out. So today has been pretty interesting. I started my day in Cortez, Colorado. Drove down to Albuquerque, New Mexico and now I’m in Texas. These past few days have been incredible. I drove through the Rockies, saw the beautiful plateaus in Utah, ran over a prairie dog my pup playboy ate a grass hopper.

In my defense the prairie dog jumped in front of the tire. We weren’t even on the same side of the road. In all honesty I think he just wanted to go. Maybe he had holes in different area codes? Lol. Maybe he couldn’t find the hole? Hahaha. Ok ok I’m done. Geez.

It’s really just the beginning of a lot more to come for me. It’s definitely been a wild and rocky ride so far. Fortunately I have amazing people in my corner that keep patching me up and sending me back into the fight.

Sometimes I feel like Rocky and life is the Russian!

It always seems so much easier in hindsight. It isn’t always easy. Most of the time if you’re chasing something worth having it never is. People aren’t always going to cheer you on either. I remember one time when I was still “tucked” away in prison. This lady guard saw me reading, walked up to me and said: “I don’t get how come you inmates spend so much time reading and studying? When y’all get out y’all aren’t going to do anything with it. Y’all are always just going to be inmates.” And she walked away.

I didn’t say anything. I did what I usually do when I hear something I don’t entirely agree with or when I cross paths with someone who isn’t at peace with life. I smiled and gave a nod.

Truth is a lot of guards give us crap. We’re put down constantly. Harassed. Tested. On top of knowing we made a mistake. On top of knowing we hurt the people who love us and who we love most. On top of knowing we let ourselves down. On top of being away from home and family. On top of horrible living conditions. Sharing a steel warehouse with 49 other inmates. Not everyone has the mental fortitude to go through all that shit and still smile everyday. Still wish people a good day.

I’ve really done my best to not hold any resentment. Mainly because everything I’ve experienced in life has taught me something. Everything has been a lesson. I remember everything I’ve been through. Everything I saw and heard as an “inmate.” I use it as fuel for my fire. To show that not every person who comes out of prison is a piece of shit, we’re not garbage. For anyone reading this who has ever been put down, who has ever made a mistake and most of all who has ever been to prison. That shit doesn’t define you. How you shake back from it does! The best thing we can do to make a difference isn’t get mad. It isn’t protesting outside of prisons or in the streets. It’s protesting without having to use words. Let your success be your protest. Let your character be your protest. Let the shock that people feel when they find out you’ve been in prison and say “I would have never guessed” be your protest. Be the difference.

April 25, 2016. The big day.

Up until the last minute we were getting instructions. “Be sure to report within 24 hours or a blue warrant will be issued for your arrest.” “Don’t stop anywhere on your way home if you’re on this monitor or a blue warrant will be issued for your arrest.”

“Geez, not necessarily setting us up for success here”, I thought.

It didn’t matter. In a few more minutes I would be done with this place for good. I changed out of my dirty prison clothes and changed into the equivalent civilian clothes. It smelled just like the prison uniform lol. Whatever. Just on the other side of these walls my family was waiting for me–with my suit and a pack of smokes.

Aaah the smell of the air on the other side of the prison walls just felt fresher. (If fresher was a word.)

There they were. My family.I hugged them while still in disbelief that I was actually free. I kept looking at the prison and it was surreal. Just a few minutes ago I was on the other side.

It was that easy. Just step through the door and your life changes. A few feet of concrete is all that separates these two worlds. It’s amazing how in just minutes you can go from being a prisoner to being a free man. And at the same time in just a few minutes we can go from being free men to being prisoners.

The next chapter…

Positive vibes for positive minds

Before you quit: ch. 2

April 24, 2019. I’m in Cortez, Colorado. Really nice small town with an amazing view. Sweet old man bought me a mint chocolate and gave me a pat on the back. Endearing. Not a bad way to end the day.

So I’m living in my truck. Not like a big rig, but a pick up truck. Sounds worse than it is. These days though 23,24,25 of April really get me thinking. I really don’t believe in coincidence. I’m out on the road exploring the country, seeing the most beautiful places–all for the first time on these dates? That didn’t happen on accident. The living in my truck part really just makes me smile and think some more. Makes me think about how I ended up here, in the back seat of a truck, with my pup. Adventuring.

Three years. That’s the measuring point for convicted felons. Usually if you make it three years there’s a good chance you’re not going back. I’m one day away from my three year mark.

April 24, 2016. Houston, Texas. I’m in my cell. Still haven’t slept. I have one day and a wake up and I’m done with this shit show. I get called out for showers around 5 am. I shuffle on over to the showers with about 100 other guys. Exciting right? No.

It’s cold. They give us a shirt to dry off with. No towel. I get my new, fresh pair of dirty uniform and mosey on back to my cage. Chow comes. It’s nothing great. Pork noodle casserole. Pretty much everyone’s least favorite meal lol.

I’m not here though. The whole time while I’m walking I see the guys on the rec yard. In the chow hall. I see the guards. Their attitude. But I’m not here. They are. I’m somewhere else. I left this place a long time ago. Mentally. Now, finally, I was leaving physically.

As I look around though, I can’t help but think–“these guys will all be here when I’m gone, doing the same thing, living the same day. Over and over again.” I think of all the good people I met over the years. I think of all the years I’ve spent living this same life.

One more day…

Positive vibes for positive minds

Before you quit: ch. 1

Not really sure how to start with this? So I’ve decided that the best way to make progress is just to start. The words will start to fall into place. These are after all only my thoughts. Said lightly as if thought isn’t everything 🙄.

So “before you quit” seemed appropriate. Many times I’ve wanted to quit. I never quit my mission though. That was tough. What I did quit unfortunately was on myself. You see most people who know me well know me as the guy who is always positive and brave. I’m the guy who’s never down or afraid. That hasn’t always been true though.

Today I’m myself again. Brave (not un-afraid. We’ll get to that soon), happy, peaceful, motivated and smiling while facing challenges head on.

It’s all a process though. A tough one. It takes strength. I think that’s a good word for it? Emotional strength primarily. Even for me who prides himself in being in control of his emotions it was tough. I had to coach myself through it. It’s all a beautiful chaos. Much easier to do the normal thing and avoid the things that cause pain. What fun is that though? What fun is it waking up everyday to an average life that doesn’t satisfy my dreams? I either change my dreams or change my life; right?

I had $24 in my bank account seven days ago. The crazy part is that that was a step up from the previous week! I was sliding around .64 cents to .94 😂. We won’t even get into the weeks before that with the little minus sign in front of the numbers.

Today the company I started with my buddy grossed four thousand dollars. $3,975 to be exact. Now the only reason I say that is for perspective. Granted most of that money is going right back into the business, but that’s more than I made last month. Hell, the past two months combined!

This isn’t the beginning though. Let’s go back three years. Now this is my first time ever publicly sharing this story but for many reasons–it’s time.

April 23, 2016. There I am 27 years old dressed in some very beat up, torn and mildewy smelling whites (or browns in this case cause they were so old.) (whites is a term used to describe a prison uniform in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. We’ll open that can later.)

So there I am in my dirty uniform in a cell so small I can’t stretch my arms out completely without touching both walls. The bunk has a plastic mat that smells like an old dogs bed, and everything is filthy. Sounds terrible I know. You would think I was miserable–but I wasn’t. I was as happy as I had been in five and a half years. In fact I hadn’t slept I was so happy. And I had a smile on my face from ear to ear. The kind a fat kid has in a candy store 😏.

Why was I so happy? You guessed it: I was getting out! Finally after five and a half years my ticket was pulled and it was time for ol’ Fredo to go back to the world. (World as in be free.) After everything I had been through nothing mattered. All that mattered was that Monday (it was Friday) I would be a free man again. Well mostly free…

Positive vibes for positive minds.

Growth is not an accident

How many of us want better? Anything. A better life in general. A better career. A better relationship. A better looking bank account?

Almost everybody we know wants something better. How many actually have a plan to make better happen?

I think most of us have grown with the misconception that growth just happens. That if we go to school, and get a job and work hard we will by default move up and up in life.

Now how many people do we know that have done this and are still in the same place ten years later?

One great thing I heard was: ” if you’re still talking about what you did five years ago you haven’t grown.”

The main take away here is that most people want to change their circumstances but are unwilling to change themselves.

If we want a better life we have to work diligently on at least one thing everyday and make it better. Be it how we treat others, how we eat, how we spend etc…

We must live on purpose!

Do you have a personal growth plan? Comment below.

Love y’all

Positive vibes for positive minds