Saturday, September 24, 2011

Think First.....

                       One of my "Clutch Art" greeting cards

I believe one major key is to think and rationalize both sides of the issue before acting/reacting.  In other words, don't speak too soon.  If you and I can learn to do this piece of self-control life will become much easier.  As we will have a better understanding of the issue by thinking it out first.  Rationalize your circumstances and then speak to your confronter with a better understanding.  This allow you more control.  Sometimes one must humble ones self and allow the other person/party to go off, vent, get it out!  After all it is the other persons right and journey.  Sure, your feelings might get hurt if you allow them to.  But remember self confidence wont allow anothers words to harm you unless you give those words the power to do so.....
In allowing the other person to get out what he or she needs to, you have honored their right to think, say, feel, and do as they please, as long as you are not physically harmed.   You do not have to agree with what this other party had to say.  You just need to listen respectfully with a little understanding that your outcome will be much better this way.  Better than yelling, fighting, cussing.....which cures NOTHING and sometimes because we as humans have different beliefs we must just agree to disagree.  Two people can have different opinions or beliefs and still be friends or even a couple.  That would be because both have self respect and you respect the rights with an understanding sometimes called empathy.
Hope this has been helpful.  Til' next time, be well, be understanding.  Compassion goes a long way.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What is Your Right?

This is one of my "ClutchArt" envelopes

Greetings and welcome once again.  Today's Clutch observations regarding: "What are your rights?" Are your rights in conflict with what others consider right?  I have noticed that, both in here and out there. Everyone thinks and believes their way is the right way. I believe this is partly responsible for the conflicts we have amongst one another in society.  And in lock up also.  Mind you, this is only my point of view which may be the same as some of yours, yet different than others....use what you can use of my observations.
I have noticed (observed) especially in prison and somewhat out there from what I recall, that people attempt to get others to conform to their point of view because they believe it to be right. 
People are all different, they have been raised differently and come from different genes, as well as spiritual backgrounds. 
I suggest what you believe may not be what others believe, and what you think is right may not be right for others and their circumstances or what their path in life may need.
What we need to realize is everyone has a right to be right, in what they believe to be right. 
Okay, lets break this down.  This is America and we have a right to do and think and believe and say and have whatever opinion we so choose.  As long as these rights do not harm another.
So if I want to believe the earth is flat or aliens are our creators, I have that right, to and be secure in said beliefs, and no one has the right to attack my beliefs based on the issue that my beliefs differ from yours.  What would you care if I believe differently than you?? Let me ask you this.  Would you want someone to tell you your religion is wrong and you should convert?  Of course you wouldn't.  No one likes others telling them what they should or shouldn't do.  Yet we are quick to do this very thing because basically we have no respect for others rights and freedom and not enough self - respect for  ourselves?!
How is this you ask?  Simply put, if we respected and honored  others rights we would not get bent out of shape when we encounter others who are different from ourselves..... no matter the reason we still continue to try to change people to our belief system.  We don't have that right!  Each person must follow his or her own path.  Who are you or I to not allow the other this right.  To live their life as they see fit.  My best advice is to worry about your own path.  Strive to better yourself.  Trying to change others is like spinning your wheels on ice.  Where does this leave you?  I am not saying you should not help others if you are asked.  I am saying it would be good to know the difference of when and when not to.
Now the part of no self-respect or rather self-confidence.  Usually people with a lack of self respect/self-confidence are simply unhappy with their own life.  These people attempt to guide and control others lives due to the fact that their own life feels beyond (out of) control therefore lies the need to control someone else which allows for a feeling of worthiness, importance. (Whether the control is through manipulation or even "poor me" syndrome.)  If this is a part of your life, there may be self-confidence issues that need to be addressed.
There is an old saying:  "If you don't love yourself, you cannot love another authentically.  Because if you are not good for yourself, how can you be good for someone else.
Looking at ourselves first is the key that leads us to be responsible and accountable for our actions and reactions either through the use of words or physical means.
I had to go through this learning process the hard way, on my own.  And now I am trying to help others - all of you readers that may need assistance.  I cannot do it for you.  You have to do it for yourself.  All I can do is offer my opinions and advice.  I can only hope you will read all of my writings and apply what is helpful to you on your own journey through your specific life situations. 
to be continued.....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Power We Give to Words....

I've come to the realization that words have no power or meaning, until the individual gives the word such power, meaning or control over one's actions....or reactions.
Case in point. 
I had a conversation with one such individual just the other day, and have had it with others through the last few years.  As the followers already know, I am writing this from a maximum security prison...where most people are angry at the world because their own lives are out of control. (That is a separate article)
Back to case in point. My discussion was with another inmate and he is telling me how he docent allow others actions or opinions to affect him. 
I reply to this by saying, "Oh really, allow me to ask you a few questions?"
He said, "Okay."
I asked him point blank. "What would you do if one of these guys called you a bitch????"
Without hesitation, he replies, "I'd punch him in the mouth!"
I said, "Humm, so you gave this other person complete control over your actions!"
He says, "No, the guy disrespected me by called me a bitch."
I said, "No, he didn't. You disrespected yourself."
He gave me a blank look like he did not understand.  So in a polite tone I asked him if he would like me to explain and he said yes. Again I asked him if I could ask him a a question and he said yes. 
I said, "Are you?"
Blank look again.
I said, "Are you a bitch."
In a raised voice he said no. 
So I said, "Okay, so then does your girl, or your children, or family or friends think you are a bitch? 
He said no.
So I say to him that if he knows he is not a bitch and his girl, children, family, and friends know he is not. Why did you give this word so much power over your actions?
He said, "Because it was disrespectful." 
I said, "No its not, its only disrespectful if you react to it." I asked him if he would like it if someone was to tell him what he could or could not say.  No he said he wouldn't like that.  I say to him this is a free country. Everyone is entitled to think, say, and feel, or have an opinion of their own. They are just as free to say things as you are. So...."WALK AWAY!"  When you try to control others you only harm yourself. 
"How's that, he says?"
I said, "Well you punch him to control his words which you think are disrespectful. The guards then come and punish you. Put you in SHU (hole), take your email and phone privileges away and take 300 days good time from your sentence. Now you cannot email, call or go home sooner to your children, your family, your girl, and your friends.  You know what? Now you do look like a bitch to everyone because you allowed a meaningless word to have such control over you that you lost control by giving his word power., And then you got he punishment for it which also affected your loved ones."
He said, "Wow Clutch. I never thought of it that way."
I said, "That is a big part of the problem, people do not think or rationalize before they act or react. You knew the answer before you reacted yet you reacted anyway."
He responded with, "How do you mean?"
I said, "Think about it. You told me you were NOT a bitch and no one you knew thought you were one. You have that power and would anyone you know think less of you for walking away from a word?" And I added, probably not huh? Now lets go one step further. Suppose your in this situation and guys around you say, "Hey you gonna let him get away with that? He is disrespecting you. What are you a punk?"
I told him those kind are not your friends.  Those kinds are mad at their own lives and are miserable. (remember misery loves company)  And they want to see you in trouble.  A true friend would say to you, "Hey come on bro, that don't mean shit, Just a word not worth the trouble."
My point of this story is if you think and rationalize before word, no situation can have any more control over you or your actions and reactions then you allow them to or not to!!
Either your in control of your actions and reactions or your not.  And when your not you have given that control to someone else by reacting to a word or action or opinion that is theirs, not yours.
Judge not lest ye be judged!
I believe in KARMA. There are people in this prison I don't care for. But I give them respect and politeness because that is how i wish to be treated.  I do not have to like you to say, |"Excuse me, Please, Thank You,  or even Good Mornin'.  It doesn't hurt to be nice.  Whether you like the person or not, you are not losing anything by being kind. Actually I feel you'll gain more if your kind to those for whatever reason you dislike them.  It's good KARMA.  Doing nasty shit like going around calling others bitches is bad KARMA, then you wonder why things donut go well for you. What you put out is what you get back! Sometimes it comes back quickly and sometimes it takes a while.
Hopefully this has been informative for you.  And you can apply these concepts to other parts of your lives to better yourself.
Til' next time.....Be well, Be safe, Be happy.....Clutch

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Texas Friend Talks Baseball with Her Son.....

 Kids don't learn from being continually told what to do. They don't find their own path by someone else (parents included) imposing their beliefs on them 24/7.  I lived with someone who had to have it their way always, (controlling) while I was growing up.
Children learn by being asked questions and being shown the consequences of their decisions and actions.  Sometimes they have negative results, sometimes positive. What and which do you think will stay with them depends on the way each is presented.
My Texas friend and I were conversing by phone one day. She was telling me about her children who are very into baseball and play every season.  She told me of an incident when after a game her and her son got into the car and her son said to her, "Mom, what did I do wrong in the game?"  I would rather his self confidence would have told him what he did right and therefore he wouldn't have been so immediately worried about what he did wrong. But then that is how society works these children.  It should be viewed more as a game where we all make mistakes we can learn from! OK back to the boys question to his Mother, "How did I do?"  My friend and I discussed an alternative answer for her to use.  I suggested when the boy asks questions for her to ask him questions vs giving him the answers.  By giving him the answers she is not allowing the child to grow and learn to make personal decisions on his own as he is relying on Mom's answer.  And by Mom telling him what he did wrong, that takes all the responsibility off him for his actions or inaction's. 
Ask him what does he think he did right or wrong.  Get him to analyse his actions for the better or the worse. That gives him control to decide and to learn from and make adjustments which will build his confidence.  It doesn't matter if he thinks he did good or bad. What matters is he is analysing and discussing his own actions from his perspective which builds his confidence and teaches him how to navigate problems, verses Mom and Dad or whoever giving the answer of how it should or shouldn't be done which turns out to be  "the easy way out" for the boy who later in life cannot solve problems and may become angry because he has no self confidence.  I am certainly not saying he will be this way. This is only an example. I am also not saying this is the answer for everyone, but it could be a useful tool to help.  Thank you for your time and for reading my thoughts.
Be safe. Be well. Be Happy, and ccommunicate!    Clutch out til' next time

photo from

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Saturday, September 10, 2011

ANGER is one letter short of DANGER!

Greetings and Hello again...Today I would like to talk about anger and reflections I have about this from the inside of this maximum security prison and from my own life at a time I was younger.  Hopefully some of my insights and observations will help someone out there or someone you know with any difficulties they might be having in this area...
I touched on this topic in one of my last writings called, "The Power We Give Words."  So let's start with me.  As a child I remember being angry with everyone and everything. The specifics are irrelevant, but to allow the reader a better understanding, everyone around me thought I should live life according to their beliefs. Family member against family member world tell me the other is no good and lies...
I went through years of not knowing the truth about anything in complete confusion.  Everyone was selfish to their own needs and wants and what they believed was right.  I see this today by and from the inmates I am surrounded  by.  They think its their way or no way.  They are right and everyone else is wrong.  I think many parents do this with their children vs allowing the child to grow and have a mind of his or her own.
I became a very angry child because I couldn't get the answers that made sense and no one would let me be me.I learned quickly that negative attention was better than no attention!  I got to a place in life where I cared about nothing except drinking and getting high.  You see, misery loves company.
I went to jail and prison a number of times.  I got high in lock up and didn't care.  They made me do drug classes and anger management.  But there is no such thing as rehabilitation is you are not ready.  And I was in self destruct mode.  Nothing anyone said or did would matter until I decided not to be angry anymore and to live life differently.  Unfortunately that wasn't until I was wrongly convicted that I decided to change.
I had relationships with women and some girlfriends, of which none worked out because we would try to control one another and that never works.  I didn't love myself.  Hell I didn't even like myself so how could I be good for anyone else if I'm no good for myself.  That had to change and it eventually did.  When I received this current prison sentence I started a lot of self analysation, watching, and listening  to others.  you can learn a lot that way.  I watched the actions of the ones I was surrounded by - SOCIETIES WORST!  Wow I thought, I talked like that. Wow, I acted like that.  Wow, I was an as_hole.  A self centered one at that.
I learned you have two choices and I tell others in here that. One is to admit your a piece of chit and that you really effed up and try to rebuild and make your word good again because without honor, trust, and worthiness, you are nothing.
Or you can become a braggart.  I did this, I did that,  I had x number of women.  You get a false high from the so-called attention inside from blowing yourself up. That happens on the inside and out there.  And then you start to believe your own lies. The hardest for most is the first option. To face the truth and take responsibility for yourself and your own actions.  This is what I did.  And then I decided not to be angry anymore. 
Life is different and better for me now even though I am locked up.  And all I had to do was stop being angry and stop blaming everyone else for my own thoughts, feelings, and actions.  The hard part is now I have to won it and be responsible. Before I could just be made and make everything everyone else's problem or fault.
I'd like to give you an example of this before I move on:  This guy I know of here in the prison was making homemade wine.  He was punished by going to the hole. (Solitary) When he came out he said to me, "Clutch I never would have gone to solitary if so and so hadn't snitched!" 
I said, "Are you serious?"
He said, "Yes!"
I proceeded to tell him he didn't go to the "hole" because someone told on him, he went because he told on himself.  He appeared to be confused, (Imagine that) and reiterated it was the snitches fault. I said I disagreed.  Now he is becoming angry which is a normal response from people who don't understand.  Anger and violence is a normal first defense. Then I asked him if he knew where he was at and he responded with an affirmative. I asked if he was aware that 80% of the people in here will snitch on you and he again responded with an affirmative.  So I continued considering we were getting somewhere.  My next comment was;  "So if you are aware that 80% are snitches, why did you tell most of that 80% that you were making wine and then you showed them your product. Now whose fault is it that you went to the hole?"  You told on yourself, and you need to take responsibility for your own actions. 
I probably saved the rat from getting beat up that day, but more importantly I actually believe he "got it" and not to take the easy way out every time.
Some of the "ones" here don't care so much for me because I am so brutally honest and because the truth hurts and because they are faced with having to do the right thing or not.
So...when we are confronted with something we don't understand, don't
Oh, that's right I forgot, to ask questions might be to admit to others we are dumb....obviously not having enough self confidence causes this action and reaction.
My observation from my personal life and the people around me is that no one has been taught morals, principals, respect, understanding, politeness and a whole host of other things.

photo from

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old Doc Whittenbach

No computers on the inside for typing or research.  Only approved emails.  That said, I am getting writers cramp making ready the material my family posts for me on this website.
I have been spending some time talking to my new doctor friend his name is Dr Whittenbach. He gives me medical advice as he specialized in internal medicine. He is a very knowledgeable person which is hard to come by in here. He speaks German, French and one other language I forgot.  I am trying to help him where I can.  I suspect he will die in here and he seems grateful to have a friend.  A rare thing inside these walls. I told him he could give me some info if anyone needed to be notified
should something happen to him. You see he was at hospital for over week last time and not allowed to call or e-mail anyone.  Prison officials didn't notify his family, so I said we would help out if possible.
I told him just because some of society's worst are here, it doesn't mean we all bad. There are some good guys here.  He said, "That's nice to know, thank you."  Now that is a word not heard but a couple times a year at this prison.
The doctor and I talked about morals and such.   He said he is from an area where country morals manners are used on a daily basis.  We discussed some of the articles I have written and how my life has changed though the changing of my thoughts.
He smiles, pats me on shoulder, and says, "Very good Clutch, you get it now."  I responded that it only took forty some years.
Very nice fellow whose been a doctor for 35 years.  This is an alien planet to him in here, but it must be something he needs to experience before his next life and moving on....... he agrees.
Yet....caution is near because there are no friends inside.  Trust is non existent for each one is out for a way out and lying certainly isn't beyond any of them. They're called "snitches."  They will say you confessed to being the rapist or murderer or whatever necessary to get moved to a less dangerous facility.

Prisoners Who Have Michael Santos (prison reform activist)

A new memorial celebrating the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King is scheduled to open in Washington D.C.. The memorial features numerous quotes from Dr. King under four headings that include Justice, Love, Democracy, and Hope.
Since Dr. King believed such concepts were inalienable, applicable to all of mankind, I've thought about how such noble sentiments apply to the 2.3 million people struggling through America's prison system.
With regard to hope, our prison system seems exquisitely designed to extinguish it. Indeed, those who climb through prison sentences in America have come to accept the "you've got nothin' comin'" mantra. It's a phrase that every prisoner hears repeatedly. Regardless of how hard a prisoner works to reconcile, the system does not offer hope to redeem oneself or for the prisoner to atone in a measurable way.
With regard to democracy, the prison system marginalizes those serving time inside. Prisoners have no voice with regard to their elected representatives. Indeed, the prison system violates the basic human rights that are central to democracy, including freedom of speech and freedom to assemble. Rather than democracy, those who live within America's prison system live as close to communism as possible. Every prisoner serves the interests of the institution, with each being given according to his needs. It's a Marxist paradise.
The prison system discourages love. It may publish platitudes about the importance of family and community ties. But then it imposes rules that block or limit each prisoner's access to telephone, visits, and correspondence. It's nearly impossible to nurture loving relationships under such conditions, though restrictions harmonize with the tacit plans of preparing offenders for reentry -- back into the prison system upon release.
The concept of justice is what seems most abstract from those in prison. Those behind the system seem more intent on preserving the institution rather than considering what justice means. It is a system that has but one measurement of justice: the turning of calendar pages. Rather than a judicial system encouraging prisoners to work toward earning freedom, it is a system that demands its ounce of flesh. For that reason, recidivism remains high, perpetuating the cycle of failure.
I applaud the new memorial in Washington D.C. honoring Dr. King. Yet, we -- as a nation -- still have a long way to go before we can say that we are living his noble dream.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Writings will continue.... right now lock down means nothing but mail (federal law means the mail does not stop no matter what)  and sack lunches of bologna sandwiches for sometimes a week.  No commissary!  Shakedowns, which means policemen come into your room (cell) and tear all your property out of your locker onto the floor.  They take what they want including your food, books, and anything else.  Be back in a few days, hopefully... This is not a rehabilitation facility in any way shape or form.  Wish it were.  We are now but the chosen to help feed the corporations through prison medical, prison canteen, and so on.  More on this later...