Category Archives: Cyril D. Walrond

NEVER STOP DREAMING!

“Never stop dreaming!”

Words I told to a disheartened student during the A.M. session of the Roots of Success class that I am an instructor for.

It is so easy to lose heart and therefore lose focus when it appears that the world and everyone in it is conspiring against you.

This student, like many others, has masked a lifetime of pain and insecurities with substance use and abuse. He has been so internally wounded that he has externally built walls to prevent others from getting too close.

One day I asked him, why this was?

And he assured me that “it is much easier to keep people out than to let them in.”

Most people will only notice his tattooed exterior and not his wounded heart.

Most people will see the scars and markings over his body as evidence of years of drug use. Unable to see that behind those scars and markings have been years of unanswered and even ignored cries for help.

Most people will only see him in lieu of his crime and what he has done. Not according to what could have been and for what he may one day be.

These prejudices perpetuated the building up of walls and therefore the giving up of his dream.

Walls do one of two things: 1) keep things in, or 2) keep things out.

And these walls often kill dreams before they are birthed.

Many of the students David Duhaime, Grady Mitchell, Carlos Bernardez and I teach have built prisons inside of their own prisons.

Walls that they are ashamed of, yet walls that offer a sense of security.

These erected walls are masterfully manufactured as the work of a brilliant craftsman to keep people from getting too close out of fear that they may be seen for who they really are and not for who they pretend to be.

Brick by brick their walls begin to take shape.

Bricks of prejudice and bigotry. Bricks of lies and distrust. Bricks of insecurity and addiction. Bricks of hopelessness and fear. Bricks of depression and doubt.

It is time to knock down the walls, brick by brick, that obstruct the view of our greatest dreams.

Dreams deferred very well may take on the immediate appearance of a curse. Yet, divinely, in some miraculous sequence of events they may very well turn into one of life’s greatest blessings.

I am reminded of how far my life has come, and how what appeared to be a mess has morphed into a message. How out of the darkness of hopelessness, my life has been a light to inspire hope.

Prior to my incarceration I had many dreams and aspirations.

However, what I never dreamed of was that through my dreams being deferred others around me will begin to dream.

That the men I work with daily will begin to envision that which they lost sight of. The visions that were once blurred or obstructed due to circumstances, they have now reclaimed and have in their sights.

In helping others dream I have inadvertently actualized dreams of my own.

To inspire a dream one must first be a dreamer. And in dreaming one must fight to keep their dreams alive.

How is this done?

In the face of adversity and uncertainty one must persevere. To persevere one must persist and to persist one must endure or continue despite the opposition.

I persevered by faith, hope, and love. I knew that I was much more than my worst mistakes. And, I knew there were countless people looking up to me as an inspiration and a barrier break.

You see the first one to knock down the wall feels the pressure of resistance the most. However they also pave the way for others to follow.

So the reward has to be greater than the pain or the pressure of opposition. My will to achieve and succeed had to be greater than my reason to quit, give up or give in.

Trailblazers are often the first to be burned by the fires of adversity that come with being a pioneer.

And all of us that are apart of the Roots of Success family are pioneers. Blazing trails, breaking barriers, knocking down walls, reviving dreams.

Roots of Success is helping to resuscitate and breathe life back into dreams before they flat line. And for those dreams pronounced dead on arrival, we keep fighting for and believing in those dead dreams until there is a pulse.

It is serious work to reach those who have been discarded and underappreciated for the greater majority of their lives. A work that me and my colleagues take extremely serious. But when the hardtimes come we never lose sight of the why in our how.

In the words of Nietzsche “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how…”

Our dream is to make a difference and leave a legacy greater than our past. So when the trailblazing fire comes it may burn but you have to go through the fire and sometimes be burned to be refined.

Each day I look forward to going to work because I know that I am making a difference. In the life of my students, the facility, and the community.

We are making a difference.

As we enter into week 5 of our 15th and 16th roots of success classes here at Stafford Creek, I am seeing the walls coming down, the demeanors beginning to soften, the veils being lifted, hope being instilled, and an awakening taking place.

As I tell my amazing students…

Never stop dreaming and never give up hope. Let your dreams be the fuel that inspires you and let hope be the anchor that secures you.

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, I leave you with this thought, “The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams.”

SO NEVER STOP DREAMING!

Cyril D. Walrond
DOC #309756

BITTERSWEET

This day was a bittersweet day.

A day that we as Roots of Success instructors have now grown all too accustomed to.

The day was bitter because we were reminded of the sobering fact of this communion. The fact that this day meant the end of our journey together.

The day was sweet because we were gathered together elated to celebrate the accomplishments of great men. Men that we had the tremendous privilege of guiding through this journey. Men that sowed the seeds of hardwork, commitment, and dedication to themselves and the Roots of Success curriculum and now reap the rewards of graduating such a program.

Roots of Success is a comprehensive environmental education curriculum that increases students understanding of environmental problems, solutions, the green economy, and green jobs. While simultaneously strengthening core academic and labor market skills.

The program is not merely about providing people with information and skills but instead R.O.S. is about sharing knowledge and positivity built on the foundation of love.

Love for self, love for others, love for humanity, community, and society because without love we have nothing.

Now as we look upon the 9th and 10th graduating classes sitting at attention eagerly waiting for their graduation ceremony to begin. We as instructors are trying to come to grips with the fact that there will never be another 9th and 10th class.

There is no way to recreate the magic.

There is no way to recreate the candid conversations and transparency.

There is no way to recreate the heated debates that lead to deep introspections and new revelations.

Yes, there will be other classes but none like these. For the uniqueness and authenticity of each class can never be lost, diminished, or replicated.

We recall the first day of classes, the first day that these scholars entered Room 2204, the R.O.S. classroom. One by one, they came in being warmly greeted at the door by strangers. Ten workbook modules and a HUB tour later, they left embracing new concepts and with new friendships forged through this shared experience. They all may have came in one way but today they all fill up these seats as transformed men.

For many of our students “Going Green” was a forgein concept, a seemingly unfathomable concept. Especially, when they were living in a world consumed by gray ad devoid of color.

Yet, the R.O.S. program here at Stafford Creek is doing the unfathomable. We are helping each student understand that they are precious, priceless and can make a difference.

Students often come into our classes feeling a societal disconnect. As if nothing they do matters or that any of the changes they make in life have any impact. That is until they learn that they are still an intricate part of the fabric of the environment. Both inside and outside of prison. We all are a part of the intricate web of life and the things we do (or don’t do) impact not only ourselves but others as well.

To the 9th and 10th graduating classes we want to congratulate you on your successful completion of the Roots of Success curriculum. But we want you all to know that the greatest and most lasting lessons are not those learned in a course, rather the greatest and most lasting lessons are those learned on the course, of life. To this end, the various experiences of our lives and the many lessons learned along the way shape who we are and are what create the uniqueness of each class.

R.O.S. at SCCC has been nothing short of a complete success. However this success has been a collaborative effort.

Without our partnership with the Sustainability in Prisons Project and the Evergreen State College. Without our amazing staff sponsors. Without the staff and administrative support, especially the unparalleled support of our former superintendent and the equally supportive new superintendent, none of this would be possible.

HOWEVER, the true unsung heroes of each class are not staff, administration, or even the instructors leading the classes, but the students. The men we are celebrating this day.

It is the synergy created by combining the collective experiences of these men that make R.O.S. so special. Without them, the R.O.S. curriculum is merely words typed out on paper and bound in workbooks.

It is the peer-to-peer interaction, the popular education format, and the transparent sharing of our personal (sometimes TOO personal) life experiences with one another that breathes life into the material and liberates the minds of the participants.

This day was a bittersweet day but the bitter makes the sweet taste that much better. So, I can speak for my fellow instructors when I say that we are looking forward to doing it all again.

Congrats to the graduates and remember that the past may be behind you but it does not have to define you.

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756

A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTERS, WITH LOVE!

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I saw something the other day that just broke my heart.

It was a young lady immodestly and seductively dressed and behaving provocatively all for what? To garner the attention of some chauvinistic boy.

Showing cleavage down to her belly button as she is in essence telling the world “LOOK AT ME, THIS IS ALL I AM WORTH!”

Sadly, she is deceiving herself as life is much more than clothes, make-up, material possessions, and the validation of those who opinions of her will never define her.

This has prompted me to write you.

All daughters, need fathers that they can judge all men against and because fathers have been failing, many of women, young and old love have been left hurting. Left endlessly trying to fill that void.

You have been looking for answers where no answers can be found.

You have been seeking to be fulfilled by another while you are discontent within yourself.

Baby girl, no man can define and no man can validate you.

I turn on the t.v. or open up just about any magazine and see how this hypersexualized culture is stripping you of your worth as women.

You are mighty women, strong women, courageous and bold women.

You are women of integrity and intellect.

You are much more than tools for male satisfaction. You are more than objects of lust.

In fact, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by the hands of God. Who crafted and created you with a purpose that reaches far beyond the bedroom or the backseat of a vehicle.

How sad it is to see the majority of young ladies fascinated with the sex crazed depictions of women. To me this is the broken idolizing the broken.

Young, broken and impressionable women desiring to seek the acceptance and approval of their male counterparts by becoming objects of lust for the objectification of those same males. These women see the Hollywood Starlets all dressed up and decked out but don’t see the brokenness, the emptiness of these women many of whom gave the most sacred parts of themselves away for nothing.

Your body is not an asset for you to leverage with as you hope to cash in on success. Matter of fact success centered around the exploitation of ones body is no success at all, it superficial vanity slavery.

My dear daughers this thinking is completely and utterly wrong.

Your body is a temple, a sacred temple. One that you should never just allow anyone to enter into. One that you should never let another cheapen by quantifying its worth. And the beauty of your temple is not based on exterior finishes but interior substance.

I know this is completely contrary to the hedonistic culture. A culture that tells us sexual liberation, is well, liberating. While denying the fact that it is spiritual deprivating and physically degrading.

As I look at society I see that the more externally focused we are the more internally deprived that we are.

So what do we do? We look for external “amusements” to satisfy our internal emptiness. While these “amusements” distract us from getting to the root of the problem.

The root problem is the lack of love.

I don’t mean that nominal stuff that men say just to get in the pants.

No, I mean the divine sacrificial love that Christ demonstrated.

True love always has its roots in God. For God is love. God is the source and at the center of all true love.

I know this because love changed me. I once was one of those guys that I want to warn you of. I was one of those guys mainly because I was empty, I was hurting. Because I never knew love. But love changed me.

True love is desired by all but is truly experienced by only a few.

In ones search for true love one may get trapped by the deceptive physical allure of sex and lust or they may be crippled by feelings of inadequacy lead to self-sabotage.

But let me tell you your body is a holy temple so don’t EVER give what is holy to DOGS.

I know that you may have been hurt in the past only to be left broken hearted. And now you may even be afraid of opening yourself up to love again but I want you to know that there is no fear in love, instead perfect casts out all fears.

For the failed relationships of the past ask what was the foundational basis of it. Was the relationship built on lust, lies, and luxury? What about sex, sensationalism, seduction, or scandal? What about ego, emotions, or endearment?

Since God is love, any relationship built on another foundation is not being built to last, and is not built on LOVE.

By removing LOVE from the equation you will never have the real thing only a shadow. As shadows are reflections of real objects intercepted by light but they are not themselves the real objects.

My lovely daughters, my beautiful daughters, don’t be in love with the idea of love but know that you were created by LOVE to love.

Remember that beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive but LOVE IS ETERNAL!

Love, Dad!

thCAY0DG1K

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756

WAKE UP!

WAKE UP!

We have been asleep at the wheel for far too long.

WAKE UP!

While we have been asleep, life has steadily been passing us by. For too long we have been bystanders in this thing called life and not equitable active participants.

WAKE UP!

While we have been asleep our children have been left without leaders. Our families have been forced to grow up and go on without us. Children without fathers, sisters without brothers, mothers without sons, wives without husbands.

WAKE UP!

While we have been asleep our children, our future, are growing up on a systemic assembly line where they are being packaged and shipped off into a box, whether a cell or a casket.

WAKE UP!

While we have been asleep our future is being ripped right from the grasps of our hands.

WAKE UP!

Millions of lives are being aborted each year before the have yet to have had a chance to live. Our kids are being killed by our kids in the form of the home grown terrorism called gangs. Our girls are being sold and trafficked into sex slavery fueling a multi-billion dollar industry that is being financed by the men who should be fighting to protect them, not fighting for the premium going rate.

WAKE UP!

While we have been asleep we have had to awaken in chains.

WAKE UP!

We have taken the chains that were once placed around our ancestors necks, wrists, & feet and have now placed them around our minds & hearts.

WAKE UP!

Then we have taken this mental & emotional bondage and turned it back into a physical bondage through drug addiction, substance abuse, and incarceration.

So where our ancestors found themselves caged in slave pens, we now find ourselves caged in the slave pens of the criminal justice system, in prison cells confined in the Department of Corrections. Waiting, waiting, waiting until we…

WAKE UP!

It’s time to WAKE UP, it’s time to WAKE UP, I said IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP!

These are the heartfelt words I used to convey the significance of the days event at this years Black Heritage Cultural Diversity Event. As the Master of Ceremonies at the event these are the words that I opened with and that set the stage for a dynamic event. An event that truly has set the bar for all future events.

From spoken word poetry to rapping, from African dances to hiphop dances, from intellectual speakers to community leaders and activist, from food for thought to that good ol’ soul food. This years event had it all.

However as the MC I had to stay true to the theme and wake the people up to the facts.

That black woman are 35 times more like to experience domestic violence than white women.

That imprisonment is the new slavery for the black community.

That on average, states spend over 3 times as much per prisoner as we are spending per public school pupil. What does that say about our values as a society? As a nation?

So, what is black life worth?

No, better yet what are we saying a life is worth? Regardless of the color or creed. Whether Black life, White life, Red life, Yellow life, or Brown life. All life matters, it is time we wake up and realize this.

But, to do this we need leaders to rise up and start waking the people up. A spiritual awakening, a conscious awakening.

In particular we need our men to step up and stop avoiding their roles and responsibilities as men. Our women have been doing all they can with all they have and with little to no support or assistance from their male counterparts.

We need men to teach, train, raise up, and lead men. As our strength as a man comes from our foundation as a boy. Unfortunately without the presence of an adequate male role model who do the lost boys have to turn to to learn about manhood… the streets? Yeah, what a joke!

Trust me I know that it is far easier to build the boy than mend the man. And it sure as heck saves a lot of heartache, pain, tears, and tax payer dollars.

I look towards the future and I fear it not because through the grace of God I am hopeful we can change it.

I am a man of faith and hope, just as we as a people are a people of faith and hope. In fact this nation was built on the foundational building blocks of faith and hope (although we have gotten away from that foundation).

It is this faith and hope in God that has played a pivitol role the lives of His people. It is this faith and hope in God that has kept us going and keeps us going while most others would have been broken and would have given up.

It is God that has given us not a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. It is He that is our strength and has given us the amazing spirit of resilience.

It is God who is our hope.

Just as the theme of this years event was WAKE UP! It is time that we wake up because if we remain asleep we can only dream. If only we are dreaming than we are consciously unconscious and blinded to our present realities.

I don’t know about you but I believe we have come too far to go back now.

Faith has been what has sustained us, but it is hope that has kept us going.

Faith has brought our people this far, but it is hope that is our future.

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756

SILENT NIGHT

There is little to no privacy in prison.

Everything is done under a microscope or under the watchful eye of “Big Brother”.

Hardly do you ever get time to yourself, an opportunity to be alone with own your thoughts. So with a mind cluttered and emotions bottled up it is much easier to look outside oneself than within.

One night early into my incarceration I wrote a quick journal entry expressing my thoughts and observations of my new environment. This entry later turned into a writing assignment for a creative writing course I was taking.

This is what I wrote:

At 19, I have no one to share how emotionally taxing prison is for me as a young kid in a land full of dinosaurs. A foreigner in an unknown land.

My family can’t relate because no one has done as much time as I have, nor did they start doing time at 17.

My “friends” can’t relate because many of them are either in college, in here with me or on their way. As for those in here with me, we don’t talk about these type of things because we were told “emotions aren’t manly”.

I am already 2 years into a sentence that more than doubles the number of years I have been alive, yet I would argue that I had to lose my life to find it. I had to die to be made alive.

I am finally starting to live my life, but this is no way to live. This feels like merely existing. There has to be more to life.

So on this one particular night, Eli, my cell-mate found himself in segregation. IDIOT! He is always doing something dumb to get our cell searched and everything in our room tossed up.

Having the cell to myself, for atleast a night, I thought I would have my first silent and restful night of sleep in years.

WRONG! This has been one of the most restless nights of sleep I had in my life.

A good nights sleep is hard to come by and comes far and few in between.

Constantly being awakened by the noises of the night.

All hours of the night I am awake hearing coughing, hacking, throwing up, noses being blown. What else would I expect its flu season.

Passing gas, urinating, toilets flushing, and the seldom washing of the hands. Simply running your hand throw cold water doesn’t kill the germs smart guy.

T.V.’s left on, radios barely audio, static from the officers radio, and the jingle of the officers keys as walks by about every 30 minutes or so to do his tier check.

You know when the officer walks past because immediately you hear new sounds. Electrical sockets being popped as guys try to “arc” with the hopes of late night indulging. Followed by the smell of smoke.

Then, the gut wrenching, stomach turning “things that go bump in the night”. At first it sounds like wrestling, fighting, and grunting. Than it’s as clear as day, even in the middle of the night. The homosexuals in the cell next door are having sex.

This is not my life!

This will never be my life!

This is a silent night inside of prison. When night comes this is the eery silence that lurks in the dark. The loudest silence. A restless silence because of a mind cluttered and tormented with thoughts…

The rhythmic snores and night sounds of neighboring cells are dying down or maybe my thoughts are drowning them out.

I get out of bed and just yearn to take a walk. I’m just dying to get in my car and go but instead I am locked in a 6 x 9 cage.

Standing at the front of the cell, leaning on the wall opposite of my bunk, staring at the ground outside, mind wandering. I notice a sound.

It is Mr. Jingles and his mice buddies coming out of random cracks and crevasses, scurrying about looking for a late night meal. These rodents got into my comissary box on the floor by chewing through the cardboardjust the week before. So I better move my stuff off the floor…

Another officer comes around to do another tier check.

It is nearly 2 a.m. I can’t believe I am still up like this.

I get myself something to drink from the sink attached to the commode and freeze.

I am frozen in place by a sound that is unfamiliar to me by now. A sound that has become alien to me by now.

This sound, well, this sound is indescribable.

Laying back down on my bed, I listen.

It is the man a few cells down from me, on the tier below, weeping. Openly sobbing uncontrollably. Moaning out in agony.

What a night this has been. He is one of the toughest guys I know.

A man riddled with bulletholes, scarred with stab wounds, inked with tattoos.

This man has been incarcerated before I was even born and yet he still is able to bench press over 400lbs. with ease.

But, men don’t cry! Not REAL MEN right?

Especially not men in prison.

We aren’t supposed to feel any emotions because that can end up hurting us won’t it. Pain and vulnerability is exploited so we can’t show any signs of weakness, right?

His lamenting sounds grow in volume as once slumbering men begin to wake.

“Lord, help me! Jesus, I need you!” He calls out.

“Yo, who is that cryin’ like a little b****?” Some unknown voice shouts over the tier.

“I don’t know Dawg but it sounds like it’s comin’ from the cell below me.” Some else responds.

“Noise check, shut the f*** up with all that cryin’ stuff.” Now everyone is silent and motionless as those words echo down the tier.

All are silent except the the dude that is still weeping.

“Lord, help me! Jesus, I need you!” He lets out repeatedly.

Laying silently on my bed listening to all of the commotion on this all but silent night, contemplating this present reality and the pain of so many that goes unmentioned. I do the unfathomable.

I close my eyes in hopes of claiming a couple of hours of sleep before I start the next day, but first I allow the silent tears to roll down my cheeks and onto my pillow.

“Lord, help me! Jesus, I need you!” I simply pray hoping that whatever has overtaken him stays clear of me.

Within the weeks that follow this ordeal I learn through this man’s testimony this was no ordinary night for him either. With his only child recently passing away, his petition for release being denied, and his wife serving him with divorce paper because she could no longer do the time with him this night was going to be his last.

That was until he decides to turn on his T.V. before his “grand finale”.

He is flipping through the channels and stops on TBN to hear a preacher quote John 10:9-11 where Jesus said “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved… The thief comes not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd.”

I came to learn that those cries weren’t cries of pain. No, they were the cries of a broken and contrite heart being healed through the grace of God, and the blood of Jesus. These cries were the cries of a man giving his life to the Lord.

This night he entered into that Door and received a hope to a life that lost all hope, this night he received an eternal hope.

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756

FOREVER LOVED, NEVER FORGOTTEN!

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Death is all around us but many are too blind to see. Being preoccupied by the insignificant things we accumulate in hopes that they will fill the insatiable hole in our lives. Hoping those things can add valuable to a life that seems all but depleted and/or worthless.

Death is all around us but as many people walk to and from, as they come and go, they do so without ever truly living. They move about aimlessly just hoping their mere existence will be enough.

Death is all around us but as I look around I see many dead people walking. Dead in sin, sorrow, and selfishness.

Death is all around us but it takes death to resurrect life.

Sadly, it takes death to reaffirm the value of life and remind us that life is truly just a vapor. Life is just a grain of sand on the beaches of eternity.

True death is eternal seperation from God. And thus, I thank God not just for my life but the life of my friend Charlie McKinney.

I attended his memorial service today and it was one of the most beautiful services, for one of the most beautiful people I have been blessed to know.

A man that freely pointed out the talent within me and challenged me to do more with it than waste it as some many others he has known have. Charlie always mentioned the great talents hidden in prison, many of which he feared would be forgotten and lost forever.

While most people live according to how much they can take, Charlie lived wondering how much he can give. And when he ran out of things to give, he found ways to give more.

This is a man that did not leave a legacy as a prisoner but as an incredible human that touched many peoples lives.

This man loved his family, his work, and his coffee all the way through to the end.

But, his end isn’t the end but his new beginning.

Prior to his passing God showed him a vision, and quite a vision it was.

He saw before him, life and death, heaven and hell, God and the grim reaper all pulling for him. He had a choice to make, he had to choose for himself whom he will serve.

Charlie therefore chose to serve Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. Savior as salvation comes by NO other name. Lord as Jesus was now the sovereign Master, Ruler, and Supreme Authority over his life.

While in pain, Charlie didn’t tell people he was dying of brain cancer. No, he told of his undying love for Jesus and how God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son to die a death that we were deserving of so that we could live eternally with Him.

While he was fighting this battle for his physical life, Charlie was never beaten down because he had the blessed assurance for his eternal life.

Charlie had every excuse to be sad, depressed, or even to frown but instead he smiled.

He smiled when he was told he had only 6-9 months to live.

He smiled when his clemency was denied and he would not be able to spend his last days outside of prison with his family by his side.

He smiled through the midst of the storm now I know the Lord is smiling upon him.

Yet, many of us can’t even muster up a smile and we haven’t even gone through a fraction of the things he had. This just proves that the joy of the Lord truly was Charlie’s strength.

You can learn a lot from the way one lives, as well as from the way that one dies.

Well, Old Man, you taught this youngster much about both. You showed me how to live, and when my number is called you have showed my how to die well, how to die beautifully.

You lived with purpose, you died with strength.

You lived with class, you died with grace.

You lived with love, you died in love with Jesus Christ.

Charlie, I thank you beyond words for all that you brought into my life. For the substance you added. The words of encourage you never spared when I needed them the most. I don’t know if heaven has the internet but I want you to know that I love you (I wish I would have said it more while you were here) and I will see you again one day. Death has no more sting, and in Christ we have the VICTORY! Your brother in Christ and your friend, C

“For we walk by faith, not by sight: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be rather absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:7-8

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756

FOR THE LEADER IN YOU!

There is absolutely no excuse for one to ever stop learning or growing.

In fact, there is absolutely no excuse for one to ever stop allowing their mind to be transformed or stretched by new ideas, concepts, or revelations.

This is true whether you are in the pit of a prison or in a palatial paradise.

The truth remains that as long as there is air in your lungs and blood flowing through your veins, there is work to do. Work that needs to be done.

My hope is that we no longer underestimate what we have to contribute to society and thus the world whether inside or outside of prison.

I have met some of the most amazing, intriguing, the most free and liberated people inside of prison. While I have met some of the most constricted, bound, fearful people tormented by their own mental prisons outside of correctional facilities.

But wherever you are or whatever state you are in (mental, emotional, geographical) there is greatness in you. There is a great leader in you waiting to be awakened.

There are leaders walking amongst us today both women and men, all with the ability to lead and even effect great change. But, are crippled by fear and self-doubt.

Fearful that if they do something great they will awkwardly stand out.

Or, if the speak up no one will listen.

Well I tell you this, none of us are meant fit in because we have all been made to stand out. To embrace our uniqueness and the variety in which we were all perfectly created in.

Sadly too many of these leaders remain frozen in contemplation at the crossroads of life trying to decide whether to move with the crowd or trival the often empty and scarcely populated road less traveled.

They are stuck asking themselves can they really make a difference? Can they really effect the future generations to come?

The future truly is in our hands and the future is now!

WE ARE THE FUTURE… and this chapter of history can’t be written without us.

The negative cultures of society are being glorified on t.v. while those who stand up against these said cultures are being demonized and villified, FOR WHAT? Deciding to take a stand! While others just recline back sitting around doing nothing about the same issues they all too frequently are complaining about.

If you don’t stand for anything you will fall for everything. If you stand for nothing what do you think you will get?

And the survey says…DING! DING! DING!… you are absolutely right, what you will get exactly is NOTHING!

Yet, we just accept this culture as it is and wonder how we set ourselves up for failure?

Because we accept anything, stand for nothing, while hoping for something to change or somebody to come and change it.

Stop waiting for somebody and be that somebody!

We can change this!

The process may be slow at first but with persistent and constant pressure we can change this.

Pressure does in fact bust pipes but it also produces diamonds. It is the unrealized diamonds that complain about the pressure because the diamonds that know what they are embrace the pressure as that pressure is what forms them.

Before we can even consider this we must figure out first how to get out of our own way? How to stop this crab-in-the-bucket mentality and bring an end to this self-sabotaging behaviors.

We can be leaders of men and women and not just leaders of boys and girls. To do this we must elevate our level of thinking (beyond that of children) and elevate the level of thinking of those around us.

By doing this we will stop being disillusioned by seemingly insurmountable problems but will instead move about in search for solutions.

By doing this we will stop just accepting our circumstances but realize we are more than our circumstances and have the ability to do something about them.

Staring out of my window, I am witnessing a paradigm shift.

Furthermore as I look within myself, I smile. Because I know the road ahead of me is tumultuous and I am on the frontlines helping to lead the charge in this fight, but I am not alone. I HAVE HOPE!

I do in fact see where things are today, but I have seen what hope can produce in the lives of the hopeless.

If we take care of our responsibilities as individuals, we will soon learn of the power of a unified collective.

They who look outside dreams, but they who look within awaken.

I leave you with this thought from the archives of my own journal. Words I wrote to myself in one of the darkest hours of my life, “A dream with hope can never die, a dream without hope is dead already.”

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756