A stack of mail was waiting for me when we returned to our Arizona home after spending a month in North Carolina. I was thrilled to find a letter from the woman I met during my prison event. She made quite an impression on me and I had hoped she would write because I did not even know her name. She was the one who approached me after my motivational talk and said, “I have life without parole but you have given me HOPE.”
She eloquently expressed in her letter that after 10 years inside, she has “been transformed from an unproductive, miserable, drug addicted woman to one who loves to wake up in the mornings, in prison for life, yet I’d never trade it for ‘freedom.’” Just image, if you can, that she will never again play in the park with her kids, she will never drive across country to visit families for the holiday, nor will she ever eat in a restaurant. Yet, she says she would never give up her transformed life for one filled with those pleasures we often take for granted.
Can that be a concept any of us could even fathom? When I was incarcerated, I knew I would be out one day and eagerly counted them off one by one until I was released. My hope was that I would get out. But she has hope without an out date. How can that be, I wonder?
I read her letter further to gain some insight into this changed life. She explains that through her limited amount of research that fitness, nutrition, thoughts. etc. are all connected and can drastically affect whether one has the motivation to get up and going NO MATTER where their location! She gets it! yet she is incarcerated. She has life without parole but is living with hope. Her sentence means that she will NEVER leave prison alive, yet she still has a positive outlook.
What excuse do we have to ever let negative thoughts and hopeless feelings dictate our days?
She told me about her ideas for books and is currently penning her life story. She also wants to write a book on her research about how fitness and nutrition affects one’s thoughts and motivations. Her letter only encouraged me more to want to help her, and others like her, find a way to get her book (and other such talents) out into the world.
Together it Works,