I heard a story on “TedTalks” yesterday from a Boston Prosecutor. He spoke of his first week in the prosecutor’s office. He sat at his desk with an open case, his first one. Chris was a 25-year-old man of color who—in a fit of desperation had robbed a computer store of 30 laptops to feed his family and pay his rent.
The prosecutor realized that he literally held the rest of Chris’s life in his hands, not only Christ, but his family’s life too. He took a deep breath and wondered what, if anything, he could do for Chris to rehabilitate him instead of incarcerate him. He realized that if he prosecuted this man, he could get 30 counts of robbery, or 1 grand larceny case, which in the justice system would be considered a big win. However, if he did this, the taxpayers would have to pay $102,000 a year for Chris’s incarceration. With a prison record for the rest of Chris’s life, he would likely never get a good job and end up back in jail again. What were the prosecutor’s options?
In retrospect, the prosecutor decided to counsel the man. He helped Chris to return the majority of the laptops to BestBuy. For the rest of the ones he could not retrieve, Chris would have to pay back the money. He did community service. The prosecutor also helped Chris in the direction of state aid and moving toward finding education that would help him and his family survive in the system until better decisions were made. The prosecutor took a chance on Chris. He hoped Chris would take this opportunity to change the course of his life.
As the prosecutor’s story about prison reform continued, ten years after his first day of work, he sited that as he spoke at an organization about ways to help targeted neighborhoods to clean up the streets and decrease crime. After the meeting, a tall man from the back of the room came up to greet him with a large hug and tears. The prosecutor barely remembered the face. Chris, however, never forgot the prosecutor. He was now, from his nametag, lead counsel of a large business. Instead of prison, Chris had gone to college and was now making 3x the wage as the prosecutor. Chris shared how grateful he was for a second chance. The story had me in tears.
Second chances are rare in the justice system, especially for those who are not white, unfortunately. Ninety percent of our prisons are filled with people of color, and we have to wonder how we as a nation have dropped the ball.
In my blogs, I talk a great deal about creating a better life by dreaming a better story. But what about people who have no access to what a better story looks like? Should they never have the chance to think greater, know better, or live more prosperously? As we improve our own lives, is not our responsibility to share our vision for a better world with those less fortunate and those who have never heard the good news of positive change?
Any day we could wake up feeling not good enough, insufficient, or even unwilling to move forward. These feelings can happen on a good day or when the world seems to be falling apart. But we can be assured that something triggered this thought of desperation, from the deeply seated space of our anxiously attached past. Our desperation isn’t a daily reality. It happens from triggers. Psychologist says that the triggered feeling happens so fast and it affects us so deeply because the feeling moves past the main cognitive part of our brain to the epicenter of our emotions before we have a chance to understand what happened.
This trigger could be a person not answering a phone call or someone appearing to disapprove of something I did. I can go from happy to maudlin within seconds and never know what hit me, until I get quiet and ask myself some important self-inquiring questions. My point is that my state of mine is, thankfully, able to shift when I understand what triggered me. I have the tools to get myself back to my Truth and on the road to success once again.
Most people live life without this omniscient sense. Everything seems to be happening to them as opposed to feeling any sense of responsibility for their own thoughts and steps to move into a better place psychologically and spiritually. These same people of all colors need to hear the truth. I feel like an evangelist right now, but I am finally beginning to understand my own responsibility to get the positive word out. I am more than blessed in my own life. I have come from a place where I could have ended up like my brother, in and out of prison and drunk or on drugs most of his life, but I did not. What opportunity did I have that my brother (anyone else in my life) did not?
This chance could have been as simple as my beautiful elderly neighbor taking me into her home as a young boy, feeding me, buying me clothes, and teaching me that I was a good young man and that I could be anything I wanted to be as an adult. Just one person’s encouragement changed the entire course of this abused young child, living with an angry and alcoholic father who did not understand compassion at all.
My new book is coming out in just one month: “Your New Story, Your New Life” The Metaphysical Mind. If you want to be the first to read this story, sign up for the launch mailing list at mailto:BoSebastian5@gmail.com.
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Chosen to show his new hypnotherapeutic techniques on The Learning Channel (TLC) and also given the opportunity to teach at the world conference for Learning, and received the award of excellence for Helping Overcome Obesity in Nashville, Bo Sebastian is the writer and director of Finding Authentic You and Uncommon Gay Spiritual Warrior. Go directly to Amazon/Amazon Kindle to buy any of his wonderfully inspired books: ]