Have you ever been in prison?  If someone asked you that question, your reaction might be laughter or insult, as we think of it as a traditional prison, whereby the inmates within it have committed a crime against society causing them to be incarcerated for a period of time until their debt to society has been paid in full.  However, what about those prisons that never release us?  What about the rhetorical self induced prison that we allow ourselves to be placed in? 

In the competitive society we live in, we are programmed to always want bigger, higher, faster and stronger.  To notice the negative or less than “perfect” and do our best to make it better.  Our prisons become self image, size, shape, wealth or worse.  Instead of accepting the positive, wonderful things in our worlds, we instead focus on our neighbor’s assets.  Be it thinner, wealthier, shorter, taller—the reason for the prison doesn’t matter as much as what happens when we put ourselves there.

I had the amazing opportunity to listen to a man that was in a self induced prison.  He had been in an accident and burned over 70% of his body.  He had enormous physical burn scars over the majority of his body.  His hands were deformed from the incident as well.  He wasn’t projected to live, and yet he did.  It took years for him to put his life back together—but he did it.   Years later, he was in another accident that left him paralyzed on top of everything else.  However, instead of imprisoning himself in the “why me” mentality—he was an amazing, positive, motivating individual. 

How could this man—badly scarred from burns—barely any hands—paralyzed—still have such a positive wonderful attitude on life? 

It made me stop in my tracks and realize how wonderful life really is!  How short it can be!  How in a second it can change direction.  Sometimes your heel needs to drop into a crack, so that you fall and hit your head to knock some sense into you!  Which is what happened to me that day—not literally—but rhetorically.  Suddenly, I found myself sliding through my prison bars and emerging into a freedom I hadn’t allowed myself in some time.

So what if there are imperfections in my world — it is my world —what the world does to me is not within my control—what I do about it is!

My challenge to all of you is to break out of your prisons.  Realize the wonderful things that are in your world.  Life is not timeless — there is an unknown expiration date — do not waste any of it with negative thoughts — useless criticisms — or emotional prisons! 

As the theory of relativity goes, “for every action in life—there is a reaction”.  Take control of your reaction—enjoy your life—and stay out of prison!

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