How a Woman Wrongfully Convicted of Murder Can Teach You Something About Freedom
Just how free are you?
We live in a country which grants us life, liberty
and the pursuit of freedom in our charter.
Compared to people who live in countries that do not grant their citizens freedom we are all gloriously free.
Perhaps it is a matter of comparison then.
How free am I compared to “ — — — ?”
I stumbled across a youtube video of a woman named Sunny Jacobs
who was wrongfully convicted of murder
and lived for many years on death row.
Click here for a 5 minute video of Sunny talking about
how she cultivated freedom in her prison cell.
In the video Sunny Jacobs says, “ I might not be in charge of my circumstances, but my life still belonged to me.”
This is such a brilliant reminder of how it is our own thoughts
and the other people in our lives,
that really determines the quality of our life experience.
Often, the identities we organize our lives around
are determined by events that we may have had
little or no control over.
In that way we are imprisoned by the past.
The sense of who we are is limited by something
that happened long ago.
An event or circumstance colored the sense of who we are.
Perhaps an opportunity comes our way
to do something we have never done.
We think to ourselves, “No way, that’s not me.”
But in response to the invitation
we hear ourselves saying,
“I can’t do that. I’ve never done anything like that before.”
And in that moment
our lives get smaller,
and more limited,
and our inner light
dims a bit once again.
Sometimes life throws us a curve ball, or, like Sunny Jacobs, a cannon ball.
out of left field,
something we are unprepared for.
Typically, we feel victimized by life
in these moments.
We think thoughts like:
“Why do these things always happen to me?”
“What did I do to deserve this?”
We blame life.
“Life is against me.”
“Nobody cares about me.”
“I never get any breaks.”
It is so common for us to give our power away to other people, without even noticing we have done so.
You might think to yourself,
“She made me so mad. She had no right to do that.”
And of course, there is a story, a set of circumstances,
that you didn’t want to happen.
Somebody did something.
The way you tell yourself the story,
you are the victim of that person’s actions.
You are helpless, and do nothing
but feel sorry for yourself.
Or you are enraged and lash out.
Either way, the circumstances do not improve,
and may get even worse.
Notice how your own thoughts are always in between the circumstances and your reaction.
Someone does something,
but until you know about what they did,
and think about what they did,
you aren’t reacting.
Your reaction comes from your thoughts.
You may have no control over the circumstances,
But you can choose what you think about the circumstances.
I recommend you think only LOVE.
By LOVE, I mean unconditional LOVE.
LOVE that accepts.
LOVE that says “yes.”
LOVE that surrenders to the way things are.
LOVing thoughts put some space
between you and the circumstances.
And in that loving mindset you are free to choose what to fill the space with.
When you choose to fill the space with LOVing thoughts
then you create a LOVE-filled life.
That’s what Sunny Jacobs did.
She choose to forgive the people
who wrongfully convicted her.
By doing that, she found freedom inside her prison cell.
What about you?
Do you have the courage to see the thoughts that are imprisoning you?
Keeping you small.
Preventing you from trying new things,
Saying “yes” to opportunities.
Having faith that life is always
on your side.
Life is always bringing you new possibilities.
Even if you are living your life inside
of a federal prison cell.
Would you be willing to set yourself free?
Would you be able to find the courage to begin to notice
the thoughts that you are thinking
that are robbing you of the freedom to choose LOVE?
To experience a loving life?
A life, that while not free of obstacles or challenges,
is free from the prison of past events, and habitual ways
of telling yourself dramatic stories of how victimized you are
by the beliefs you have about yourself, life and other people?
Sometimes I speculate about what Nelson Mandela thought during those 27 years of torture and imprisonment that he endured.
What was he thinking that allowed him to eventually
be released from prison,
and go on to lead his people to end apartheid?
I don’t know what his thoughts were,
but he did what he could to prepare himself
to take effective action toward the creation
of a new way of relating between races should he be released.
He went on to become an effective leader,
and win the Noble Peace Prize.
Oh, and about Sunny Jacobs…eventually she was released from prison too.
After many years of incarceration, she had nothing on which
to build a new life in terms of external circumstances.
But release from prison didn’t free her in quite the way she expected.
After some time passed, she realized she had to apply
the same thoughts of freedom from these new circumstances
as she did while imprisoned.
Funny, in a way, isn’t it?
We have the power to create with our thoughts.
We can’t control life,
but we can choose what we think
about what happens to us.
Can you find the courage
to think thoughts of LOVE
no matter your circumstances?
Master your thoughts.
Master your world.
Think only LOVE.
Let your life become the miracle it was always intended to be.
One way to fully engage with notion
is to set an Impossible Goal.
I have some thoughts about how to do that
I want to share with you
as my gift to you. Absolutely free.