Posted by: Elron Mings | 30May2019

Dietary Choices…. How I started Choosing The Right!

  Good Morning!  And Good day to thee all!  A new post, for a new beginning.  The beginning of the future.  Of the more open, transparent me.  Of the me I’ve always been, yet continue to try to be better at…

  One of the first things I did (have done), in my efforts to become a Life-conscious Human-being, was ceasing to eat chocolate that was not, IS not, fair-trade.  Some 20 plus years ago, in a land far, far away, in the middle of a Life lived long ago, with someone no longer present therein, I discovered (and, to be fair and honest, it was my ex- who brought this knowledge to my attention), that 90% of the worlds chocolate was produced by, and the direct resultant product of slavery, and/or slave labor!

  Processed on the Ivory Coast, everything from milk chocolate to coco-butter (used in many things, including the making of “white chocolate”).  The other 10%, known as fair-trade, is the only kind of chocolate I now eat, and the only kind I’ve eaten since that day so long ago!

  The real tragedy is, is that in all the years I’ve known of it, talked of it/about it, I can count on one hand (with fingers left over) the number of people who have joined me in my crusade to combat this wrong, including those whom I’ve told that one might expect to have more interest in changing this ongoing wrong than others!!  {I speak of those whose skin is darker than my own, and only bring it up as a writer, providing a detail that cannot be gleaned without a reference…  This fact is NOT something that matters to me particularly, but for context.  Not because there is any more relevance to one human-being versus another… at least there shouldn’t be!!!}  The fact that so few have shown they care, in over 20 years of relating this information, has been an eye opener, if not disheartening, heartbreaking, and a cause of many tears having been shed, as I consider the wretched state of us all!  We are near ripe for destruction, save we repent!

  But this is not new information.  It is ages old, prophesied of and about many times, recorded time and again, by prophets both revered and hunted!  When profit margins are worth more to us than the people(s) whose labor, blood, sweat and tears it is gained from, we are ready for destruction.  When, for the sake of “ease”, Good people do NOTHING, despite knowing of injustice(s) being done, inhumane practices, direct slavery even, then is when the adversary gains his victory!  There is probably not much I could tell you of our wrong doing(s) that you are not already aware of, and yet it continues.  Because the “Good” people do nothing, and the adversary becomes stronger.

  What can we do to change this?  DO SOMETHING!!  STOP eating chocolate that isn’t fair trade!  STOP ignoring the homeless!  STOP enabling slave/sex traders by ignoring their existence!  STOP being complacent in the face of tyranny!  STOP letting other people choose leaders for you by not voting!!  Exercise your God-given, constitutionally protected rights, while you still can, while you still have them!  Repent ye ends of the earth, lest destruction swiftly comes upon us all!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 15April2019

Too Much, or, Not Enough?

  Good day to thee all!  Yet more time has passed, much more than desired for a blogger, since last I posted.  I’ve been suffering a bit from “writer’s block” if you will.  So I will do my best to make up for it with quality, as quantity does not seem to be forthcoming!  LOL

  My Birthday was not that long ago, and as I am wont to do on my Birthday, I spent the day evaluating my present, comparing it with the past (only for the sake of -hopefully- measuring growth), and plotting a course for the future!  This blog of course, having a part therein.

  And my current “trap”, or “time-suck” if you will, has been digital in nature, the many venues by which we “connect” with our fellow humans these days, as “personal”, face-to-face relationships are on the decline!

  And thus my question, is it a case of  “Too much…” digital input, ease in access, accessibility to the ‘fake’, and therefore free of real obligation or commitment?  Or is it “Not enough…” time, Positive feed back, ‘real people’, allowing for a desire for something “digital”, knowing it is more than likely not original, not real, not personal, not committal in any manner?

  One could add any number of adjective/verb combinations to the above list or lists, but the results wouldn’t vary much.  We’ve gotten so far away from personal, real, in-Life interactions, that it’s simply too easy, too desirable, too alluring, too safe to bother with the time-tested, time-proven, time-based, long lasting relationships of yesteryore!  It’s time for the new, the fake, the ever changeable, ever replaceable, short-term, non-committal, non-proven, non-existent relationships of the future!  Today it’s all about the be as fake (or as real) as you want, never mind the risk (’cause there’s so little chance of it mattering), it’ll all be over in the morning so you can try it all again with someone new at light speed whoever you want to pretend to be reality!

  Have we really come so far in our technology?  Have we really digressed so much from our humanity?  How ironic that a character in a movie (played by Jeff Goldblum) quoted so prophetically more than 20 years ago (in the film Powder), “It’s become appallingly clear, that our technology has surpassed our humanity!”  Guess what?  It was said originally by Albert Einstein, nearly (if not more than) 100 years ago!!!  What’s it say about us, that this has not only NOT improved, but gotten worse, and become more true since then!?!?

  Heaven help us if AI ever does decide to wipe out the virus that is humanity, in an attempt to save ourselves from ourselves!  We’ve already put most of our Lives into a digital box to “escape” the harsh reality(ies) of the “real world”, would we even notice if some AI decided we’d wasted enough of this planet away, and started systematically removing us from our USB charged ports??  I wonder…

  We, the human race, face a plethora of Life-threatening issues!  From Global Warming/Climate Change, to Genocide en mass, to the decay of moral values and Family ties, to our very ability to relate/communicate one-with-another without a digital interface!  Technology is a great tool, and has many Positive possible applications for the betterment of our species.The problem is, we’ve become not only dependent upon it, we’ve begun replacing RL with it!  THIS MUST STOP!!

  If it doesn’t, there’s little chance that we as a human organism upon the planet Terra, will see even the devastation our own practices of waste, pollution, and stripping of our natural resources will cause!  And something akin to the Matrix will “shelter” us all from the Real World we’ve enabled!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 7March2019

Individual Truths…

  There are not enough ways in which to apologize to those of you who have been faithfully following a non-prolific blogger as myself, so instead I will thank you that you do, and have, and -hopefully- continue to do so!

  Thank you!!  Life allows us to make so many choices as to seem overwhelming at times, though I know that to be not true!  However, it is true that we (I especially) tend to be creatures of habit!  And it is more difficult (for me) to break bad habits than good, and twice that to set good habits in the place of bad!  But I continue to endeavor to do so, for, despite the roller-coaster that is Living, There are things I wish/want to do more than others, regardless of their place in my “habit scale”, and so long as I have a voice (…and/or fingers with which to type), I choose to share it, so long as there are people willing, wanting to listen!

  It is humbling, and remains to be so to me, that we are so Loved, and so Blessed, with each and every moment we are given.  In spite of our foibles, faults, and sinful nature(s)!  And so it is in humility that I now do my best, to share the God-given talent with which I’ve been Blessed, and put my voice on “the page”!

  Life has indeed been full of the challenges, presented to us all, to see the silver-lining, the light at the end of the tunnel, and many other worthy clichés  used to express the sentiment “There’s always something Good to see, and always a reason why!”  In other words, it’s been a challenge for me to so do, even though I know it to be true (there’s that poet in me again)!  Which is weird, because, if you know something to be true, shouldn’t it be easy to see, acknowledge, recognize???

  At any rate, here we are, you there, me here, separated by time, space, yet co-existing on the same planet, in the same time and space, though not logistically (you’ll not be reading this until at least I’m done typing it, perhaps a bit longer… unless of course you’re clairvoyant, in which case you may well have read it some time before I wrote it!, but still remains that separation)!  A paradox!  But something we know to be true!

  So, I seem to be stuck on “truth” thus far in the post, so let’s run with it, shall we?  What is “true”, and contrariwise, what is “false”?  As both are defined by perception, does that not make them both imaginary?

  And yet, we are so eager to stake our Lives upon our definitions of such imaginings.  Are they really “our” Lives to begin with?  Kind of hard to lay claim to something you had no hand in the Creation of, or lasting of, isn’t it?  As previously posted, We are “in control” only of our choices , all else is in the hands of a Higher Power!  So why are struggling so hard to inflict other people with what we think to be true?  We would be much better off worrying about our own choices, and let others make theirs, we’ll know in the end who was “right”!  Let us not strive to inflict others with what “we believe”, and instead struggle with all of our might to be as we believe (… or know) we should be!

  Where is “all this” coming from?  Well, I’ve been doing a lot of listening lately, to the messages my Universe has been providing!  Among other things, “Don’t forsake your talents!”  They are Gifts, which we are ALL given, whether we choose to use them or not.  They are not the same for us all, for some it is in athleticism, others in oration, others still in reasoning, but in ALL it comes as an art!  And beautifully at that!  Do you look at shapes and see beauty?  Or a playing field?  Or numbers?  Or words?  Or colors?  Patterns maybe, or perhaps even in the simple joy of learning??  Where you see beauty, therein lies your talent(s)!  This is a multiversal truth!  Second only to my own personal favorite, “Omnia vincit Amor!” (“Love conquers all!”, basically!)

  Seek ye therefore Love (Charity), and Beauty, therein will you find the truth about Life, the common thread(s) which we all share, though we all do not share the same vision!  Therein might we ALL find, together, Peace, and Harmony, and if together, Charity (Love)!  No greater “truths” can we know, and anything else, though not necessarily “false”, is certainly superfluous by comparison!  Life is too short to worry about being right, let’s just do right, and our “truths” will not only become deeper, more personal, but more shared by those whom we invite into our Lives!

  Blesséd be all!  Until next time…

  Aloha!  Namaste!  As-Salàmu Àlaykum!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 5February2019

Choices…

  Life is a series of choices.  Moment by moment, second by second, minute by minute…

  We choose to act, or not.  To Live, or not.  On the micro-scale, these choices become infinite.  Do we greet the stranger as we walk past, or pretend they aren’t there?  do we pick up the garbage -plastic, styrofoam- toxic to our planet, or step over/around it?  Do we offer a smile, a frown, a grimace, to a Friend, Loved One, acquaintance, co-worker, -again- stranger, or look the other way?  Do we offer assistance to the beggar, with the Prayer they will get better, or scorn them for their plight, assuming the worst possible reasons for it, and that they are totally responsible for their predicament?

  These are but a few of the myriad choices we make, not even scratching the surface of their entirety.  Yet they are some of the more poignant, the more character driven, those that -to others as well as ourselves- define us, and determine the example(s) we make for those who are and/or maybe watching.  And we never know who may be watching at any given time… safer to assume we always are.

  As we get older, the “legacy” which we leave behind becomes ever-more prevalent in our thoughts, and additionally, if we care, in our deeds.  And it is all based upon the choices we make.  Go to Church, or stay home.  Write that letter to a Friend, or watch the next episode of “X”, “Y”, or “Z” that we’ve DVR’d, downloaded, or subscribed to (who watches cable any more?)?

  Of course these choices are not always so “black or white”…  or are they?  Can everything really be so neatly packaged into a set of “right” or “wrong” boxes?  Is there not an endless field of gray?  I guess that depends upon your values, your morals, and what and/or how much you are willing to take responsibility for.

  Better people have said before me, “Be the change you wish to see in the world!”, and “I’m starting with the [wo]man in the mirror!  I’m asking [her]him to make that change!  If you want to make the world, a better place, take a look at yourself, and make that… change!

  It is amazing to me, that we have come so far technologically, and yet have digressed so humanitarianly!  It’s been less than my recollected lifetime since we were a MUCH more Family-oriented, neighborly, and kind peoples.  It was in my youth that We Are the World and Hands Across America were launched, and quite successfully for their time!  The youth of that time were alive with curiosity, a desire to reach out, to feel, and to be connected, figuratively as well as literally, to the world around them, and to step out of the “box” that surrounded the mindset(s) of our U.S. citizen parents, and their rampant “hands off” policy following the Vietnam tragedy(ies).  We wanted to be involved, and to make a difference, not just in the U.S. (and neither excluding it), but to/for all of humanity!

  And then “personal computing” happened… a boon to our ability to communicate globally, a bane to our ability to be connected!  Thirty-some years later, we are more disconnected than ever before, while simultaneously being fed more information about the globe and those 7+ billion brothers and sisters of ours than any one city of humans can keep up with!  iGen is the new and upcoming 20 somethings, and they’ve not known a time without the internet, mass-social media, and instant-connectivity, and are perhaps some of the most instant-gratification seeking individuals the world has known!  And we, their 40-something parents, have let it happen.  we’ve allowed TV programs (our generation’s single-parent baby-sitter), movies and video games to desensitize us,  to influence our decisions, our viewpoints, our choices, to the extent that many don’t recognize any longer the evil it has brought!  Family values are nearly non-existent, discipline (not to be confused with abuse!) found only from armed “enforcers” of the law, and banned from the home!

  Our choices to be more “individual”, less responsible, have changed the very landscape of our social makeup!  The right to choose is a sacred one, and one that should be afforded to all in much greater abundance than is presently the case in these “United” States, but it does not come without consequence!  With the right, the freedom to choose, comes great responsibility!  It is, in and of itself, not ‘free’, but that is how it’s meant to be!

  No one can take away our right to choose!  We may not like the consequences, or the responsibility, but it is the only thing that CANNOT be taken from us!  And yet, ironically, it is the “little things” that make the biggest impact, that have the most meaning!  Ever given a random hug, and seen the person’s face light up because of it?  Every afforded an unexpected compliment, and seen the person, at first bewildered, walk away more confident, happier, and full of good cheer, they then turned around and shared?  Ever help someone out, who fell, or tripped, or was down on their luck, then walked away without expectation of reward or praise?  Ever voted according to your conscience, regardless of the “popularity contest” that went on outside of the ballot box?

  It is a proven fact that random acts of kindness, generosity, and doing what’s right for the simple fact that it was right to do so, are contagious!  When we set this example, when we choose to act, instead of being acted upon, we can make a difference!  But we must want to… we must choose to.  Those choices can be major, or minor.  We don’t usually know which they are, or the impact they may have, ’til after the fact.  Sometimes not at all.  But they are always important, the choices we make.  Because they will inevitably have an effect on someone, whether we ever see it, or know it, or not.

  Choose wisely.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 16January2019

A Life Too Short

  In memoriam of the lost, the fallen, the Loved ones left behind.

  I’m not entirely sure if it’s ’cause I’m getting older, or because of my views, or the death I’ve seen (not as much as some… many even, too many more…), or just an innate longing to see Life flourish, as opposed to seeing it squelched.  Regardless of the reason, it effects me to see death!  It rends my heart to see Life’s  senseless destruction!

  And such is what transpired on the night of 10JAN2019, here in Davis, CA.  To be sure, in a societal, or even global context (most unfortunately), this is not an uncommon occurrence.  But it happened here, in Davis, where it is uncommon, and where I was able to be present (geographically) as it transpired, aware of it, and, as noted, effected by it!

  22 year old Davis Police Officer Natalie CORONA was shot and killed by a (reportedly) crazed gunman, who showed up on a bicycle where she was responding to an (unrelated to the shooter, as far as we know) accident involving 3 vehicles in downtown Davis.

  I’m still soul searching to figure out why exactly this has had such an impact on me… I’ve come up with a few possibilities, but none of them -on their own anyway- seem to fit.  Perhaps it is just a combination of factors in my Life… my sensitivity, my Love for Life, beauty, and all things natural… perhaps it’s my poetic nature, and a “Life interrupted” in such a cruel manor is anything but “natural”.  Perhaps it’s because she was young enough to be my own daughter, and, not having any children of my own (though I dearly, painfully want them), I “adopted” her as a “soul daughter”, a surrogate, not so much unlike the premature death(s) of my own unborn children.

  Whatever the reason, I’ve a strong emotional attachment to this young woman, as “crazy” as it may seem, and the deepest of sympathies for her parents, having -even if only fractionally- a small modicum of understanding the pain of losing a child, being a surviving parent of two separate miscarriages of 3 children… a pain I wish upon no parent.  The world is worse off, with her absence.  By all accounts given, she was a caring, giving, gentle, strong, passionate, determined, upright server and protector of the city!  One who was destined for greatness in her chosen career, had she been allowed the opportunity to grow with it!

  I know I’ve spoken before of Life, it’s importance and meaning to me (poetically, at the very least), what I believe it means to be a part of so wonderful a Creation as human beings are!  The thing is, is that “my views” are not necessarily “your views”, and, quite obviously, there are those that have no regard for Life at all.  And that in-and-of itself hurts me deeply.

  My one time therapist told me I was a romantic.  I nearly laughed, for I know no poet who is otherwise!  But for me, this entails an optimism, an idealism, about what Life should/could be!  And a desire to see a shift in/towards that direction in ALL of us!  We are capable, as sentient human-beings, of growing, of becoming better than we are!  We are able, to be the “best” “us” we can be, if we but choose to do so!  And therein lies the crux of the matter.  Choice.  An indelible condition of our mortality!  I would not have it any other way!!  Yet there are so many of us, for some reason, who are choosing death over Life!  I don’t understand this!  There is not one out of 7 billion (plus) of us Human Beings, our brothers and sisters, that has any need that is different from our own!  Love, Food, Shelter.  That’s it!  So why are we continuing to refuse/deny our brothers and sisters of the very things we ourselves want?

  Are we not supposed to Love our neighbors as ourselves (EVERY major religion has a form of the Golden Rule, whether they follow it or not…)!?!?  Therefore, if we want it, shouldn’t we help them to have it too?  Who doesn’t want help obtaining a perfect “trifecta”, a balance of all that is necessary, with just a hint of what we want thrown in as the cherry on top, to keep us striving for better???

  As this is a COMMON goal among us all, why are we getting in each others way, and our own, to prevent it?  Ask anyone, and most people will tell you they’d rather live in Peace, than discord!  They’d rather face Love, than apathy.  They’d rather Live, than die.  Why then, are we so stuck on destruction?  Why do we continue to act not for the Greater Good (which, ironically, would indeed serve ourselves as well… especially if everybody was doing the same), but for the narrow, itty-bitty self-serving “now” and instant gratification we know cannot last, and will benefit not one of our progeny!?

  No one with more than most others will seriously or honestly tell you there Lives are better, or simpler with the abundance they have!  Easier, maybe, but their quality of Life is actually much lower than that of someone of the “blue collar” class, for, as “we” have less, we appreciate what we do have more!

  It is a shame, then, that there are so many out there, so hurting, so lost, that they feel the only way they can improve their own lives is by taking an other’s.  It’s false.  It solves nothing, and only increases the hurt that is felt.  And yet we allow it, by our own inaction.  By our neglect of that which we know to be right, versus what we are willing to do that is right.  Evil cannot win unless Good people do nothing.

  This, therefore, is a call to action!  To all those Good people out there, who have been convinced -falsely- that there’s “…nothing I can do”, STOP BELIEVING THIS LIE!!  Great things are accomplished by small acts!  You don’t have to move a mountain, just a pebble!  So that someone else’s journey through this Life might be a little smoother!  We all must climb that hill, that mountain, take those switchbacks, like it or not!  But if we take the time, and make the effort to help out another, by so simple a means as moving a pebble out of the way to make the path a little more smooth, can you imagine how easy that climb would be, for ALL of us, if we ALL chipped in in like manner????

  Who knows… by a simple random act of kindness, you might just be changing someones mood just enough, by putting a smile on their face, or in their heart, that they don’t feel that an other’s Life is worth being lost.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 2January2019

Happy New Year!

 

The New year is always a time of new beginnings!  Yule has just past (the longest night), and we now move towards the Vernal Equinox, and the longest day!  As the days grow colder, we find and/or seek warmth from our companions… our Kindred, our Friends, our Loved Ones!

            It is a time of regrowth, of birth, of Life begun anew, as with the dawn.

            And so  we move towards the Light, the brighter days, towards the pleasant things we like to do outdoors, even as we hunker down for the cold, winter days ahead.

            Some make plans, set goals, “resolutions”, from every perspective and angle, newness is in the air.

            Embrace this energy, turn it to the Good, make the most of the year to come, starting with you!  Pick some “thing” you wish to improve, some “flaw” that needs work, and better your self.  Better your self-image, your self-Love, your self-talk.  Be the change you wish to see in the world! 

Let the world know you’re coming, and you won’t be held back!  And most importantly, don’t hold yourself back!!  We can accomplish ANYTHING if we set our minds to it!  Love all of Life to the fullest, and all that you are!  Or change that which you don’t Love about yourself so that you can!

            Follow the Golden Rule, and the Universe will pour upon you all the Blessings of Life!  Do good works, and cheerfully accept each challenge as a precious gift!  For it is, and they are!  How else are we to grow?

            May you find in the New Year all your heart’s desire, much success, and all the Love you put out into the world be returned to you an hundred fold!

            Aloha! Namaste! As-Salàmu Àlaykum!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 14November2018

My Crazy Life… Or the Last Decade Thereof [Part IV]

Herein lies the long awaited final chapter.  I must apologize, for I don’t know that the congruity I had hoped for exists.  If not, please let me know where and why not, and I’ll correct as I’m able.  I’ve been away from my writing too long, and it’s looonnng past time that I get back to it.  Life is funny that way.  It’ll get in the way of whatever it is you want to do, if you let it.  And we usually do, then try to blame some outside source for the distraction.  The fault is my own.  I have failed to budget my time appropriately, and the one thing I want to/like to do most, is the thing that suffered.  No one ever says they want to fail, yet we let Life’s distractions dictate to us our actions, instead of the other way around.  This is what I’ve done.  But I know I am to blame.  It’s all too easy to do.  And “ease” is the gold-standard these days.  If it’s “hard“, we want little or nothing to do with it.  Well, guess what?  Nothing of the best things in Life are easy, if they were, they wouldn’t be the best!  They’d be (as so much is today) mediocre.

I am no fan of mediocrity.  It doesn’t appeal to me, I don’t think “…It’ll do!”  We are all meant to shine, and why wouldn’t we want to shine as brightly as we are able, for as long as we’re able??  I do!  And that’s how I choose to Live my Life!  When I blunder, it is by no small degree!  Contrariwise, I hope to begin adding to that very long list of failures, some absolutely amazing successes!  One day, one hour, one minute, one second, one moment at a time, that is just what I’ll endeavor to do!

Ready?  Grab a comfy spot, it’s not short!  LOL  Here it is…

The incarceration experience itself, was -again- as close as I ever want to come to a “living hell”.  I was more “out of my element” than I’ve ever been in my Life.  And I’m used to being the odd man out!

I was more alone than I’ve ever been, with but a handful of people (over the course of the entire imprisonment) that I would and/or want to socialize with.  I had nothing in common with 95% of the other “inmates” (…inmates is one of two distinctions made “in there”;  “Inmates” are those (now the majority) who took a plea bargain at some point, avoiding trial.  Mostly the youngsters, void of any sense of responsibility or ownership for/of their action(s).  A “convict” was one who had gone to trial and been convicted),the older generations,  -generally- taking ownership of their action(s), and took care of their own business.  Convicts tend(ed) to be more responsible, less meddling, more mindful of and considerate of others and other’s spaces.  So, though I remained friendly, I did not socialize much, if at all.  Had it not been for the previously mentioned programs, I would have completely isolated myself, and at times, I did.  The only exception to the commonality, was of course, our mutual incarceration.

My first 7 months were spent in “the hole”, a predicament, I was told (by the Sergeant in charge only after the fact) that was inflicted upon me because they (the C.O.’s) were concerned about my “mental state”…  Mind you, they had no cause  to have this concern, but this was the excuse proffered.  This was how my incarceration was to begin, and truth be told, it was more damaging to my “mental state” than being sent straight to the “GP” (General Population) would have been.  But I did not make an issue of this fact, because I wanted as little to do with the “governing body” as possible!  A truth I learned while in the military:  The fewer [of those in charge] who know your name after you’re gone, the better off you were!  And in fact, the similarities between prison life and the military are staggering {Sorry military, but it’s true!}.  But again I digress….

Being in “the hole”, you are completely isolated from all human physical contact, and most interaction(s) therewith!  You get (at Yolo County Jail, others may do things slightly differently… such as give you not an hour a day, but 7 hours divided among two or three instead, for the “time out” you’re given is mandated, not how they give it to you) one hour per day, to shave/shower, make a phone call, and spend time in/on the yard (an octagon shape it took me 43 steps to walk completely around)!

Obviously, you usually didn’t get it all done in your time, so you scheduled your time per day.  One day shower and make a phone call, next day walk and phone call (if you had someone available, and willing to take a collect call at whatever your time out was).  At Yolo County Jail, those times rotated throughout the week, and weren’t the same twice in a month.  This too was a tactic, employed to keep you off balance, unrested, “penalized” for whatever offense “they” perceived as a “just” reason for putting/keeping you in the hole.

Truly and completely out of my element, I turned to the one and only escape I had available to me;  Books!  Throughout my incarceration, I read in excess of 370 books, of varying genres and styles.  Scriptures, poetry, autobiographies, self-help, fiction, narrative non-fiction, biographies, sci-fi/fantasy (one of my favorite), tech manuals, I even read -and studied- college text books, with and without the accompanying course(s)!

Until I arrived at San Quentin, and actually spent a greater portion of my time “programming” (anything that is considered/conducive of self-improvement is called this), it’s just about all I did.  From the time I got up, ‘til the moment I went to bed (which was at random times of the day/evening depending on my dictated schedule), I had my nose in a book, and my brain far far away!

It may be the only thing that kept me from losing it!  I’ve always enjoyed reading, and being given such an immense amount of “time” in which to do so, I did!  LOL

It hid me from, and/or gave me an excuse to pretend I was hidden from, all the evils that went on around me.  And there were many.  violence was a common occurrence,  often one inmate against another.  Rarely, someone tweaking hard enough would brave acting out against a C.O., and that never went well for them!

Drugs of course, and plenty of them.  Food bought either through a quarterly package, or from the “canteen” was a favorite currency.  And cell phones aplenty!

We’ll discuss the sources another time, when I’m a little more at liberty to say…  By and large though, prison is a great place to go if you’re looking to hone your skills in criminality, or, more likely, learn/hear from another inmate the way they did it, or should have done it.  Then when you get out you have something new to try!!  Well, sort of.  It is rarely spoken (ironically), but it is the very act(s) that landed them there that they talk about most.  So, if it didn’t work for them, why do you think it would work for you??  Hmmm…

But logic is all but lost on the majority of the incarcerated (and too many of those in charge).  The entire system is rigged against them, often for little more cause than having been born/raised in an impoverished state, and has become so effective at keeping them there, that many of them are convinced that there is either no way out, or no better way!!  Seriously!!

The average education level in prison is 5th grade!!  That’s an average, which means that everyone with a 6th grade education or greater (about 1% of the prison population has a 12th grade or higher level of education), are actually raising the average to that level!!  The problem is systemic!  The entire system from the bottom up, and top down needs fixing, and public opinion right along with it!

Once more I digress, but it actually adds some context for you.  I have had a “13+” level of education for… more than half my life at this point.  So “relating” to the “General Population” was, for me, difficult to the extreme.  Ethically and Morally, as well as “educationally”.  Please don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means saying that all or even a majority of the uneducated are morally bankrupt, or “bad”, but what I am saying is that lack of education is one of the most serious problems in the United States, and it’s only getting worse, and the repercussions more numerous.  Poverty is the next most serious problem here in the U.S., and it too is only getting worse, and the -negative- repercussions more numerous.

Therein lies the heart of the problem.  The (majority of the…) wealthy don’t care.  The prison industrial complex is one of the biggest cash cows on the market, and everyone at the top is getting the biggest piece(s) of that shepherd’s pie!

Again with my digression(s)…

The horrors I witnessed are things that the “average” law abiding citizen only sees on t.v., and each one drove me a little deeper into my shell.  Had to!  No “sane” person can take such an abundance of illegality and violence, and not crack, one way or the other.  And by-and-large, the majority succumb.  Even some of the most God-fearing, religious, spiritual people I knew “in there”, had either participated in and/or supported it at some point or another.

Scripture(s) and books, primarily, were my salvation.  Scripture reading helped to deepen a Faith that had already been given a mega-boost during my Journey, and “regular” reading kept my mind busy on all things non-religion related.  Although, I could argue that religion is related to all things, I won’t… not here anyway.

My Faith, above all else, was my saving grace.  While I was in County Jail, and then at reception (D.V.I., Tracy), I had no source other than my own studies (possible by the fervent efforts of the -then- Bishop of the Davis 1st Ward [Thank you again, Travis!  All that you did meant, and means the world to me!!]), and this was invaluable to me!  I spent much of my time reading, rereading, pondering, and Praying about what I’d read.  I came to know the Book of Mormon better than ever before, and it Inspired me to continue to push through, regardless of what happened.

Once I got to Avenal, I was able to (re)establish services there, but for the duration of my time there (a little more than 5 months), I was the only attendee (I had met a couple of members on “my” yard, but they were usually busy doing other things… like working out).  This was fine by me, as I was able to get “alone” time I hadn’t had in more than 2 years, and study the scriptures in relative peace and quiet!

Upon my arrival at San Quentin however, I  had a community of people, fellow members, and outside volunteers, who truly enriched not only my study, but my Life, and they are a continuing and active part in my Life now (Thank you!  You know who you are!)

Reading “fun” books (not for school or religion) was my other go-to sanity saver, a good way for me to escape the world around me.  Many authors’ worlds consumed my attention, among them J.D. ROBB, Jim BUTCHER, Patrick ROTHFUSS, Brandon SANDERSON, LIU Cixin.  These author’s worlds transported me away from it all, and enabled me to be where I wanted to be… anywhere but there.

Despite it all, and by the Grace of God, the lions were kept at bay, and the only thing left of that time for me is the fading memory, the few Good people I want to keep in touch with, and the mental (social) issues that arose from (almost) 7 years of incarceration.

 

And now I’m on the outside.  My Life (and rightly so) will never be the same.  One cannot come from so long a stay in such an institution and remain the same, unless they have no desire to change.  And though I’d already had an appreciation for Life, for “liberty”, for ALL the beauty that surrounds us, it is exponentially more so now!  When forced to witness such ugliness, and having no other options for your time and attention, the yearning to make a difference, to show the world that a rose CAN grow amid a world of concrete, asphalt, and concertina wire!

I don’t know how well I’ve told this chapter of my Life.  I have plenty of room for improvement… as a writer I will always seek to improve.  To be more, to do more, to Live and to share that Living with more!  In some regards, the last ten years have been a blur.  In others, especially during that time of incarceration, it is/was the longest of my Life.  And I am Grateful. And humbled to the extreme.  That I sit now, on “the other side”, typing/writing this to you all, to say, I am here!  I am alive, and I Love all of my 7 + billion brothers and sisters, whether we see eye to eye or not!  And if not, let’s talk.  Let’s discover what it is about our differences that may cause conflict, and avoid that conflict, for our differences are what make us individuals.  And it is our individuality that unites us all, all seven billion of us, for it is what makes us human!  It is the single factor that does not change, but, that if appreciated, and not scorned, can help us all to grow in the midst of concrete, into the blossoming flowers we were all intended to be!  For we are more similar than not, we all have the same three basic needs; Love, Food, Shelter.  And in that order!  We all want Peace, and the freedom to live out our lives in harmony with our Loved ones, our kin, our Friends.

Adversity is but a teacher, and if we so choose to learn from it, instead of fighting against it, we can all appreciate the ease a little more when it comes.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 29October2018

Interruptions…

Hello world!  I know there’s been a long pause already in my multi-part Blog (“My Crazy Life…” Parts I, II, and III respectively, so far), and a huge gap in time since my last post (for which I apologize), but I’m a Wordsmith, and as such, I gotta get what’s in my head out, or it hurts!  LOL  The irony is that this too is variable, as with “My Crazy Life…”, which, remains a niggle in the back of my mind, but is not (yet) screaming for release.  It’s the screamers that you have to take care of right away, or everything else just gets jumbled, which can lead to a plethora of other issues.  In “Real Life” as well as in your (my) writing!  LOL

So here is what’s screaming at me now…  As “fate” would have it, it’s not completely unrelated to “My Crazy Life…”, so hang on to your gents, your ladies, your hats, it may get turbulent ahead…

It is astounding to me, that we (as a society) have developed (not just created, but developed, over several hundred years) a system that says publicly, openly, and often, its goal/priority is to correct, rehabilitate, “fix” even, those members of said society that act criminally, with full public support!  And yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only is that not their goal/priority, but in fact they do/practice just the opposite.  The entire system is set up to demoralize, humiliate, ostracize, and increase the number of recidivists for a maximum of profit.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in whole or in part before, but I say it now because of “the system’s” effect on me, one who doesn’t fit in to their neat little (or large) classification(s) of criminals they have.  Who, because of my “unique” situation/self/mentality, was able to take in what I saw, and instead of becoming yet another categorical example for them to neatly file under “This is why we must do what we do, and continue doing it!”, I now cringe at just how unjust it really is/has become!  I reel at the thought that, they, unbeknownst to me until now (“now” being relative to the time since my release), were able to so completely brain wash me I am struggling to reintegrate into the society I left being whole.

And it of course does not help that society itself has its own set of stigmata for “convicted felons”, regardless of whether or not you “rehabilitated” or not.  Once so labeled, nearly everything becomes more difficult!  Getting a job, a car and/or loan, a house/apartment… anything that has or requires in its path to acquisition a background check.

I am now damaged goods.  Not at all who or where I want to be in Life, with bigger obstacles in my way now than there were when I was simply homeless.

Please don’t mistake my stating of the situation as a sign of an ill-mood, or one of shame or regret.  It is not!  As I so often like to say/point out, I am, have been, and continue to be so very very Blessed!  The reality of my situation is not (for me) a detractor from my demeanor, but something I’ve observed (am observing) of the challenge(s) that I now face in attempting to again be the me I have so long wanted to become.

And these external influences in lieu of an inaccurate labeling is frustrating, to say the least.

Let me also make the detraction that, I stand in my own way as well.  Old habits (such as procrastination) linger on, and when the task ahead looms so daunting, it’s all too easy to want to put it off.

Enough with the digression.  I was being pissed at the system…  LOL

It’s bad enough being stuck in a “box” of a space physically, but even worse when it is discovered that box encompasses the mind!  And this is something “the powers that be” don’t even consider.  They do nothing but the minimum to care for the body, they certainly aren’t going to delve into the costly arena of ensuring ones mental health (so long as it’s not negatively impacting them or others…)!  It is but by the grace of God that I have maintained the faculties of mind I do have…  I shutter to think where I might be, mentally and physically were it otherwise.

But just being aware of the problem by no means fixes it.  I still must get up each day, deal with the situation I’ve been given, and attempt to make progress towards my goals.  Making the time to do it all is my biggest issue.  Routines I’d developed over the course of 36 years of Life have been all but completely removed from my psyche by (almost) 7 years of incarceration.  Now there is just a memory that I once had been able to task myself efficiently enough to survive in the “real world”, and compare it to my “now”, where it seems more of a challenge than it’s ever been.  Where before I could manage my distractions, now they impose themselves upon me as traffic signals!  Red lights when you’re trying to progress, green when you need a break!

Yet, this is Life, is it not?  We all face the difficulties of trying to make time to do all we’d like, while dealing with the reality(ies) that keep us from it/them.  Perhaps I’m just more painfully aware of the constraints than I once was, as, after having been incarcerated for so long, I value my time so much more than I had before.  So much of the “rat race” seems a waste to me now… but those things I’d rather fill my time with are also farther, and further, away.

But there you have it.  A rant, about not much in particular, or everything, I suppose, from a different perspective.  I still feel stuck, but I know there’s a way out.  My mind dump is nearly complete for this installation, so be prepared for the continuation of “my Crazy Life…”, where I know I’ll be talking a bit more about the “me” I’ve observed in lieu of post “lock up”.

Until next time I write/type…

Aloha!  Namaste!  As-Salàmu Àlaykum!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 29September2018

Intermission II

Good Morning and Good Day to thee all!  I will get back to “My Crazy Life…” soon, but I have a lot of considering to do in its authorship.  What exactly do I tell, and how, to convey both the Blessing(s) and the nightmare(s)??  It was a turbulent time in my head, though Spiritually I’d not before been stronger {… and I’d like to think that growth continues!  🙂 }!

But today I am simply sharing a few random thoughts, to let everyone know I’m still about, though the “what” portion has been fluctuating greatly.  LOL  I’ve been steadily working full time with NCCT for 8 or 9 weeks, and have actually found myself enjoying the job I have!  It feels good being able to help keep our Earth Mother clean, and assisting her in healthy growth, thinning out choking scrub trees and bushes.

Recently I had to take a couple of days off for Doctor’s appointments, where they informed me I have “Tennis elbow”.  It hurts when I use it, doesn’t when I don’t, but, it is my Right hand -and I’m Right handed-, and I live an active Life, so non-use is not an option, as taking off a couple of weeks to let it heal is not an option either… at least not a viable one.  I must be able to support myself, and no job for two weeks is the loss of a pay check, and we all know what society thinks of those who have no money/income!

I’ve been feeding my gaming addiction as of late too… I’m not so happy about that.  But it’s “fun”, and I can fill in the “downtime” gaps to an otherwise “monotonous” routine.  I like routine, but not monotony (if that makes any sense at all)!

As I prepare mentally for my upcoming bicycle ride to the Temple here in Sac (I’m baby-sitting young ones while their parents perform Ordinances), I reflect on all that Truly matters to me…  and what doesn’t.  Life, first and foremost, and the host of things that go with that, primarily Love!  For we can get by with out much, if we have but that single ingredient!

I miss you all, and if I haven’t met you yet, perhaps some day soon we shall (…it would be pretty amazing to meet someone who’s read my blog, that I didn’t know!  LOL)!

Blesséd be my Friends!

 

Aloha!  Namaste!  As-Alàmu Àlaykum!

 

~Elron

Posted by: Elron Mings | 21September2018

Good Morning!!

Well, somebody had to say it!  LOL  You can’t see me, you’re reading this!  So it is important that I describe to you all that is going on around me, that you may understand.

Life.  Life is going on, all around me!  And I want so much to be a part of it!  But you won’t let me.  You keep the door(s) locked.  I can’t get in {“What if I’m (he’s) a “criminal”??}  Well, the cat’s out of the bag.  I am.

By “societies” standards, and definition.  In truth, I’m not.  I try, every day to be the Best me I can be, every day.

By “Best”, I mean, non-violent, Peace Loving, Love wanting, me that I can be.  I don’t condone violence, of ANY SORT, but I continue to be subjected to it, literally and figuratively.

My Name is Elron!  What’s your name?  How are you??  Simple greetings, to be shared or ignored as you please.  I have only my words, all else has left me.!

And so I return.  Again and again!  Gladly, for YOU!  Will you have me?

If so, I’ve made the means and the ways for you to contact me when you Wish, available on as many “sharing” “medias” as I’m willing to tolerate.  To be honest, I grow tired of all the technology, the data, it’s all so superfluous!  What MATTERS, IS LIFE!!!!  And the Living of it.

And the people you know, that you invite into your space, matters.  What you do with them, how you do it, Why you do it!

If I’ve confused you, please start from the top, and read it again.  Everything else, is so much fluff!!

I could sit here typing to/at/for you all about what I’ve gone through in this Life, or others, but I do not wish to spend every waking moment typing, or reading, though I enjoy both!  And yet, how else do we share?  I’d rather be Living, alive, feeling, experiencing, all that Life has to offer.  For it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, just so long as you are harming none in doing so.  That includes YOURSELF!

The TRUTH is out there, in every language.  And if that’s what you’re lookin’ for, you’ve found It!  If not, look else where.  I’ll tire eventually of repeating it, but I’ll say it again, perhaps with more words, so you can more easily Understand.

I Love you ALL, that I’ll NEVER tire of saying, to you as an individual, or as a Group.  For THAT is what matters, nothing more, nothing less.  If You’d like to Hear more, feel free to ask (in “person”, in RL preferably), but I’ll respond digitally if you want [you can’t like it or Love it, it’s not “alive”!]!

Aloha!  Namaste!  As-Alámu Álaykum!

~Me~  {~Elron~}

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