Losing Track

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 54 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

In retrospect, as I go back thru some of the things I have posted, I seem to have fallen off the track on what my whole intent was. In the beginning it was to be more lighthearted and whimsical, with things I have discovered about myself thru the Creator’s love and care for me. Once I applied myself to those same spiritual teachings and the ways of the whole belief system, I began to become a better man, and someone I was proud to see when I looked in the mirror and not the reflection of the monster I had become thru my addictions, selfish behaviors and lawlessness – all the things that led me to the brick wall I eventually hit. It just didn’t kill me, so me being somewhat intelligent, I finally got the message. BAM!!! Like a light went on, “Hey, knucklehead. You are your own worst enemy.” So at that point I was able to gain the positive transformations that allowed me to grow.

But that’s really not what I want to say here, I want to get back to this illumination I have had about the past few postings. See, it’s crazy in that I have more hope now than ever for a bright future, for my release, for the adventure that “doing it right” will inevitably be. But I have allowed the conditions of my confinement to creep back in and control the conditions of my continuance in my journey, the thoughtful preparation, the sincere plans and dreams I have formed and am everyday forming.  I don’t want my story to read like that.

See I don’t really care about the lockdown per se; it’s really just a minor annoyance to me at this point in my incarceration, like a gnat buzzing around trying to irritate me, and it would appear to be successful to the point of affecting me mentally, but then I snap back out of it and chuckle. Yeah, that’s right, I said chuckle, to myself.  Man after all these miles, all the wars, all the inner turmoil and changes I have undergone, to let the little inconvenience of “The Bureau’s” silliness bother me, well, that’s no different than me being my own worst enemy all over again.

So I ain’t gonna let that happen and I am not going to show that to you anymore. I don’t want to have this wonderful Journey of the Spirit turned into a rant at my keepers. Here’s why. I am more than my confinement, I am the product of my own journey, not the product of the place where all these changes have come to be. Does this make sense? I mean if I let the silliness that they get up to in here just to keep us off balance and unable to find tranquility succeed, then I let this prison become the dictator in my self-rehabilitation. But if I just go about my journey and from time to time remark on the actions of my keepers for you but refuse to let them get to my peace of mind then it’s all good. I can give you a better idea of what prison life is like, but I am not dwelling on the negative forces at work around me and against me. If I just keep pushing on and following the path that I have forged, it’s all good.

My exit from here gets closer every day; I won’t trip on anything but my soon to be freedom and halfway house date. Man that trip is gonna be enough for me to deal with as it is, without letting the silly little games of my keepers invade my space. I’ve got better things to concentrate on and to talk with you about than whatever these buffoons are up to. So from time to time I will probably throw a gripe out there, especially if it’s something so monumentally stupid that I just have to comment, but no more rants.

I have everything I’m going to need to make it: First, the Creator’s love for me and the love of some very true and dear friends, all who have my back. I would never want to let down or disappoint those who love and support me, so what else should matter? or could? Even more than anything else, I have the chance to get out and get it right, do the things I have planned and dreamed of, and just enjoy what life now offers me, definitely not losing track of my blessings.

Losing Track

the need to go was crystal clear,
so i closed my eyes and lengthened my stride,
to where i do not know.

are we there yet?

i said it before, so i’ll say it again,
when you think too hard you don’t go far,
to where you are or even when.

are we there yet?

well i thought i'd arrived kinda sorta alive,
but a bit none the worse for the wear,
wasn’t sure but almost positive i was somewhere.

are we there yet?

pay attention to anything but this,
actually i was looking for total and complete bliss, 
but i tripped and i stumbled and somehow lost track..

but now i’m back, yea, we’re there yet....

© Steven Maisenbacher June 17, 2022

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder well into my eighties. I have lived an ordinary life doing all the ordinary things expected of women of my generation. But through it all, I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A registered nurse by profession, I have long had a strong interest in writing and genealogy with a special interest in Southeastern Creek Indian history and culture. In my golden years, just when I was thinking “retirement,” some unexpected things happened that led me down a totally unfamiliar path. I’ve since learned it took a lifetime of experiences to prepare me for the challenges to come. My journey – indeed my calling – led me to a remarkable man, a Mvskoke & Ani-yun-wiya known as Ghost Dancer, hidden away for decades behind bars in state and federal prisons. Communicating daily by e-mail for the next nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost Dancer discussing many common interests with candor and respect. Most remarkable to me was Ghost’s absolute dedication to his spiritual leadership role within the Native population. With loving kindness at all times, Ghost shared many of his teachings, including lessons from within the sacred sweat lodge. A full index to Ghost's shared teachings can be found at GHOST DANCER'S SACRED PATH. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his personal life story in small bits, like pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now with his health a shambles, Ghost Dancer is at last free and has begun putting those pieces together; he wants the world to know the whole truth of his amazing personal journey in the chapters of his book in progress, ALL FOR THE RIGHT TO PRAY. As his friend and editor on JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT, I can say this is indeed a story so big that even after these many years, I continue to be astonished as Ghost reveals new details of his solitary walk on the Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving, gifted child, he felt a strong bond with his cultural heritage in a world where family loyalty was a sacred trust and Native roots were kept secret. As a result the callow youth endured many heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. As a young teen, Ghost heeded the call to learn from the great Native spiritual leaders gathered at Wounded Knee. The influence of the elders and spiritual leaders on his young mind was profound but the political conflicts of the moment ultimately cast this loyal young boy as a target of a system determined to destroy him by any means. For the next 40 years in and out of prison, Ghost would struggle to remain true to his calling both as a teacher and an activist fighting for the religious rights of Native Americans. (Note: Currently Ghost is focused on things he must do to regain his health and has put writing the final chapters about the the wrongful convictions that put him in federal prison for the past 28 years on hold. He still has dreams for the future so he will be back!) Ghost Dancer would later introduce me to Walks On The Grass, one of his spiritual brothers and another federal prisoner. Walks’ story on JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT is totally compelling, though very different. In LONG ROAD HOME, Walks has shared his decades-long spiritual journey from deep addiction to wholeness. He follows up with ALONG THE WAY and finally, LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE as he prepares emotionally and mentally to transition to life outside after 37 years of incarceration.

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