LONG ROAD HOME (16)

By Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com
Chapter 16

Wasn’t Long and it Wasn’t Long

On my second day I went to the A & O (Admission and Orientation) that is mandatory in every federal prison. It was the same old spiel, “do this, don’t do that, go here, not there, yada, yada, yada. I’ve been to so many of these I could give the speeches myself. I certainly would see to it that the inevitable dumb questions that always are asked were fielded ahead of time. I guess that comes from where I have lived for the past 37 years, so there it is.

The next day I went to the factory in search of the factory manager with a referral for a job from the  A.W. (Associate Warden) whom I have known since I was in Beaumont, Texas. He was a captain back then and knew me very well since at the time I was getting the interferon treatment, and like all the upper echelon staff had been alerted to this in case I was to flip out or something.

When I walked in and asked to see Mr. Sikole, the factory manager. I explained that the A.W. told me to come down there to see him and ask him to hire me before I decided I didn’t want to work in Unicor.  So I told the manager I had over 25 years’ experience and longevity with Unicor, and more than 16 years as a quality assurance inspector, with ISO certifications to audit internal operations and external operations. As soon as I said ISO certifications, he perked right up. It seems that Mr. Sikole had a background as a quality control manager and he knew that ISO certifications were rare and required extensive education and training to get. This is just one of the numerous qualifications and fields I have picked up over the decades in prison which give me a pretty decent resume for when I get out.

So I was told to go to the office and tell them he said to do the paperwork on my hire as a quality assurance inspector; I was “in” that fast, because of my qualifications and experience. For any who don’t know, UNICOR is a federal prisons industry. They have all sorts of factories and operations throughout the federal prison system manufacturing everything from military uniforms and combat wear to body armor and protective wear.

First taste of Talladega Trouble…

Wasn’t long after I had gotten to work that Ghost suggested that since my unit team was down in his unit they were going to move me there eventually, so we should just go ahead and get with the unit manager and see about getting me moved. “If you were in the unit with me,” he said, “We can hang out and I could at least teach you a few things.” 

I was very open to the idea, the only problem was I needed to find someone I could move in with that I knew wouldn’t disrespect the sacred articles I have like my eagle feather or my medicine bundle and also someone without a lot of vices that could be cool with me living like I do. So Ghost says he wants me to meet this guy in the unit whose cellmate would be leaving at the end of the week. Well, wouldn’t you know it, just as we were having this discussion, who should walk up but the man Ghost was talking about, Kevin Schuman. He introduces us and we all speak for a few minutes together. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty good fit, and as Ghost said they will move me anyway and I’m still in the unit that they had stuffed me in when I first got here due to lack of space in my assigned unit.

So Kevin and I get the copout (request form) and fill it out together. Then they go and give it to the unit manager and I spoke to him as well. He is cool with it and signs the request. On the day the other guy left, the unit manager tells them to tell me to go ahead and move. So I come in from work, pack up my stuff and move it from Delta Unit to Beta B Unit where Ghost and Kevin live – and where I now live too. Well, it seems the unit manager had asked the counselor to contact control and get the move entered into the computer, but for whatever reason the counselor wasn’t able to do so.

Now I had moved, but along comes the usual 4 p.m. stand up count, then a recount, and another… Finally a guard comes to the cell door and asks for my name. Five minutes later the guard is back and says, “C’mon, you’re in the wrong unit, you interfered with the count and made it wrong, so you’re going to the lieutenant’s office and they can sort it out,” which is usually cop speak for you’re going to the hole.

Of course I know all along and I keep trying to tell them that I was told to move by the unit manager and that I even had the signed cop-out asking to move into the cell with Kevin Schuman. I knew they were mad after they pulled me out of Kevin’s cell and made me take all my property back across the compound to Delta Unit. The cop in that unit said to put it in his office because I was going to the lieutenant’s office. So off to the lieutenant’s office I go. I’m sitting outside on a bench waiting, they are all there and I can hear them in the office yelling back and forth. I just knew I was going to the hole for messing up their count.

I was snakebit for sure, but the Creator had his loving eye on me and the fact that I was in the right to be where I was. I had followed a staff order and I wasn’t to be blamed if the counselor got all in a huff because the unit manager (his boss) told him to do something and authorized the move without clearing it with him. Such “moves” are normally the domain of the counselor and apparently he got his feelings hurt by the way the unit manager ran right over him.

Now I couldn’t have orchestrated this better if I had a lamp and a genie popped out if it. At that moment the unit manager came around the corner and saw me sitting on the bench. He could hear the cops and the lieutenant in there huffin’ and puffin’. “Maisenbacher,” he says, “What’s going on? what have you done?”

“Think they want to lock me up because the counselor in the unit didn’t enter my cell transfer from Delta to Beta Unit and now they are trying to blame me for messing up the count when all I did was what you told me to do.”

So as the Unit manager starts toward the office, I say, “Here is the cop out with your authorizing signature on it sir.”

He takes it and into the office he goes. Now there’s more raised voices but the most beautiful sound I heard was “You ain’t locking him up!” He tells them that I was only doing what he had told me to do and he would deal with the counselor himself.

Then the office door flies open, “Maisenbacher, go back to your unit!” At that point I was thoroughly confused, so I had to ask, “Which one?”

“Beta A where I moved you.”

“But my property is in Delta Unit. They made me take everything back.”

Back in the office he goes. Less than 2 minutes later he comes out and tells me, “Go to your unit they will bring your stuff down on the cart.”

So that is the story of how I ended up moving down to the madhouse with Ghost. But it wouldn’t be for long. See maybe six weeks later they decided they were going move all the Unicor workers to Sigma Unit.

By this time I’m barely able to walk, let alone tote all my property back across the compound, so I did what I had to do…I paid a guy to carry all my stuff down to the unit I was then assigned to. We got down to Sigma A to find out they had made some mistakes in their moving strategies and Kevin Schuman and I got separated. I was placed in a lower bunk on a lower tier due to my back issues and Kevin was put in an upper bunk in an upper range.  We were told that once everyone was in the units they would make the needed moves that were going to be required. I was put in with a guy who acted kinda crazy. He ended up telling me he liked to sniff glue, which totally explained his eccentric behavior.

So a week goes by and they move him out and Kevin moves back in with me. Now I want to tell you about Kevin; he’s a good guy, like so many got caught up in drugs and ended up in here over it. But Kevin is one of the hardest working people I’ve met in here. His work ethic is stellar and he is good at his job. Then there is the other side of Kevin…the guy is just funny, one of those people that don’t have to try to be funny they just are; his comedic timing is perfect and though his midwestern up bringing often guides his sense of humor, he is very easy to live around simply because he can make you laugh at almost any situation. And that is good medicine.

                         OFF KILTER

Verse 1:
Sometimes things seem just a little off kilter,
Like the world slipped away and I got stuck in the filter,
See, I was thinking about all that I don’t know,
Like a remote, or computer or even a phone…

Chorus: 
Is this my dark frontier, or just an amusement to see,
is this a hellish adventure or the undoing of me?
Off kilter...

Verse 2:
So what to me seems amazing is merely to you old hat,
And I’m ok in the knowing that that’s where we’re at,
But if I look perplexed and act unsure of what to do next,
It ain’t no witchcraft and I ain’t been hexed.

Chorus: 
Is this my dark frontier, or just the amusement to see?
Is this a hellish adventure or the undoing of me?
Off kilter...

Verse 3:
Now I understand what most people don’t,
Like keeping my sanity when the sharks circle the boat,
And I don’t make a fuss when I feel like it’s all caving in,
I just pull it together and figure out how to win…

But ...
Is this my dark frontier or just an amusement to see?
Is this a hellish adventure or the undoing of me…
off kilter...

And I can’t help thinkin’, somewhere in my universe there is a disconnected voice saying, "Don’t worry Walks, we'll leave the light on for ya"...Off kilter...



Off Kilter lyrics © Oct 13, 2019 Steven Maisenbacher (Walks On The Grass)

Sacred Peace-Healing Energy

Sacred Medicine Ways – Part 8

Throughout my life, people have asked me how I can find the inner peace to go so deep within myself to a trance. Now to answer this is not simple but I will give a simple answer. The most powerful way of claiming this inner spiritual peace is by tapping into the most abundant energy there is – Mother Nature! That is right, Mother Nature gives us the vibrations of life if you just listen to all around you and match your heart and vibration with it thru your breathing. This will connect you to an inner calm and power that you never experienced before.

I cannot emphasize too often that throughout history, every prophet or teacher of every religious tradition has gone out into the wilderness to be alone and connect to this awesome sacredness, to find this inner peace to connect to their own spirit and to everything in the universe.

It takes discipline and effort to learn how but once you have mastered the ability to block out all noise and chaos around you that interferes with your deep inner peace connection, you will be able to make this spiritual connection anywhere.

You will be able to remain calm and see everything from a higher state of consciousness and enlightenment, to find answers to the most difficult questions. The more you seek, the more you find and learn. The sounds of nature, like rhythmic vibrations tap into your brain changing the neurons and receptors to a calming, clearer focus to tap into parts of your brain that you have not been using.

Yes we our own selves have been a big part of our blockage. It is sort of like when your computer gets too much garbage it begins to slow down, and then begins not functioning properly. Even someone who has dementia, Alzheimer’s, fatigue, depression, anxieties, fears, addictions can greatly benefit from breathing in these deep, slower rhythmic ways. By tapping into nature’s pure vibrations we can energize our bodies in ways that today’s medicine does not understand. This technique not only works to help you but is better for you than 8 hours of uneasy sleep when the brain constantly jumps from one thought to the next depriving your body and brain of true restorative rest, causing damage to every part of our body. We are amazing beings. We just have to tap into this power to touch the spirit world within us.

Now we must also eat the right things, and exercise our bodies, minds, to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. We cannot live on junk food, be addicted to sugar, alcohol, drugs, and such. Remember, most of the food products we buy is not good for you. It has been genetically modified to improve shelf life and appearance but does not provide the minerals and vitamins our bodies need. And almost all pharmaceutical drugs have such terrible side effects they do more harm than good. This is why prescriptions must have a warning label on them. They should be required to do the same thing with all these GMO food products as well.

Then there are all the harmful rays, toxic energy that comes from our phones, computers and electronic devices that everyone uses every day. We should limit these  things. Anything that is done too much or taken too much becomes harmful to you.

Now some of my other articles such as Your Inner Power touch on going into trances and seeking the world’s in between. This may be too difficult for most people to even try, so I had to rethink this and find a way to make it easier for anyone to seek their inner peace in the spirit world.

Simple directions every seeker can use:

Step 1: Find a quiet place of solitude where there are trees, insects, birds, water, grass, animals, or whatever in nature that you can get to. Even your own backyard as long as you can’t be distracted by phones or people calling out to you.

Step 2: Find a comfortable position. Lean against the tree, lay on the ground, sit in a lotus position, just get totally comfortable.

Step 3: Start opening your ears to listen and feel nature all around you. Close your eyes and picture in your mind whatever it is that you are hearing – birds singing, tree limbs dancing in the wind, the wind, insect buzzing , waves splashing.

Step 4: Open up all feelings in your heart and mind, release them into the power of nature. Empty yourself of all pain, suffering, doubts, fears, problems, everything.

Step 5: Sit in this silence and listen to nature speak to you; feel this in your mind and heart as you breathe in deeply, slowly, to the rhythmic vibration of nature’s own music. Matching your breathing to this rhythm will now become part of you. As you breathe in the energy around you coming from all of nature, the limitless universes vibrate with the pure energy of every dimension, every galaxy of pure life, knowledge, power, gifts, healings, and teachings.

It is all up to you to seek this vibration and go deeper and deeper within yourself. Picture your blood cell. As you enter this cell, allow your spirit to tap into all your past lives, past memories, till you become one with the universes., dimensions, and galaxies. Just as the cell is a circle, so are you. This is your living library of you and all you have been and all you would become if you chose to.

Step 6:  Now during this oneness with everything that exists and continuing to match the harmonic rhythmic vibrations of the nature around you with your breathing, exhale all the negative, impurities within you – all sicknesses, all diseases, all pain and suffering of your body, mind, heart or spirit. Now inhale all the healing, love, restoring, energizing , vibrations of energy into yourself. Yes even to healing your age old scars, skin flaws, skin damages. Breathe in the natural healing waters to your skin to revitalize it, bring new cells to be replacing the old damaged parts. Breathe in all the elements – minerals, vitamins, oxygen – your brain and organs need to heal and regenerate your entire being.

Step 7: Have no doubt that this is one of many of your amazing gifts. You are a very special being and it is time for you to claim your birthright. Don’t you think? Do not be obnoxious or belittle any who don’t do these things! You don’t go around bragging about doing things like this or showing off. We all have our own journeys and paths to take. You chose this path.

Step 8: The more you do this the more powerful it will become and so will you. With practice and discipline, you will become more disciplined and able to control your body, mind, heart, spirit, brain. You will become able to control your habits such as how you eat and what you eat. You will be able to learn more or let bad habits go.

When releasing (letting go) always try to do this on a waning moon (last quarter). When seeking to bring new things or learn new thing always do this on a waxing moon (first quarter). For example you are overweight and you want to lose weight. Make your disciplined mind and body declare that you are releasing all this excessive weight and bad eating habits when the moon is in the last quarter. Make your commitment to exercise and you will exercise to help tone and condition  your body on a first quarter moon.

Apply these simple techniques to all that you do. If you want to quit smoking, give it up on a last quarter moon. If you want to learn a  new language begin this on a first quarter moon. If you want to get rid of a medical problem do this on a last quarter moon. If you want to find a spirit-true love mate, make this on a first quarter moon calling for it to come.

Step 9: By doing this each day just to rest and restore  your energy, you will become more able to handle any function or situation  with clarity, insight, inspiration, and creativity. Your calmness will surprise you and you will have more productive enjoyment of everything. Apply this visualization when you are eating. Really taste the vitamins, minerals that your body is consuming to help your digestive system work better. This is your high octane fuel that your body needs to consume.

 I hope this will help each of you to become more and more.

 Mvto ,

 GHOST

Ghost Dancer ©2021

LONG ROAD HOME (15)

By Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com
Chapter 15

Finally a New Circle

April 30, 2019, I arrived in Talladega about 9am, and went thru the usual check-in routine, interviews and unit assignments. I’m told they have me assigned to Gamma-Beta Unit but it’s full so they’re going to house me in Delta till space opens up. OK, that sounds reasonable. I get released and pointed in the direction of my new home. When I step outside I’m stunned by what I see; just had to stop and stare at the biggest oak tree I have ever seen right in the middle of the compound. That thing was huge. I looked around and there’s another one across the compound by another unit. Never had I seen such a beautiful sight as this!

So I go on into my assigned unit. I already know this isn’t a political yard. When they were grilling me about my affiliation tattoos, the cop made it clear, “We don’t have problems here and we won’t tolerate them, the people here are going to stay here, unless they are a problem. Understand?!?!

“Yes, sir Lieutenant, I got ya loud and clear, sir.” I sure don’t want any problems, so that’s all I can say.

Anyway, I’m now in this unit, Delta-A. There are 2 sides, A and B. I’m just floored there seems to be a zillion TV’s; actually no more than other places, it’s just that the common day room area is not that big. This is an older “modern ” facility, built in the 70’s; it’s still cool to me but starting to run down a bit. The cells are big enough and they even have real porcelain toilets and sinks, not the usual steel toilet that flushes like a screaming water vortex. I imagine a dragon sounding like some of the prison toilets I have been subjected to over the past several decades, so this is cool.

So get to the cell and start to make my bed and a guy knocks on the door, it’s the welcome wagon with all the “where ya comin’ from’s” etc., but then he hands me this bag full of stuff, some shower shoes, soap, toothpaste and toothbrush. He tells me it’s from the Christian community, no strings attached. I immediately tell him, “Dude I’m Native and I ride native, I can’t accept this,” but he insists. So I thank him and tell him I will return it all as soon as I catch the store. I knew I had a couple dollars, like maybe 13 or 14, but enough to return it and I would and I did.

Then he asked me if I knew “Ghost.”  Well, no, I didn’t, but I knew of him, so after getting a general description and finding out he lived in another unit, since there were no other Natives in this unit I figured I’d catch up to him at supper. After all it should not be hard to find a huge Indian in a wheelchair with snow white hair. I’d been trying to catch up to this man for years, through several institutions, but it always seemed I had “just missed him.” So now at least I know he is here.

So I’m getting dug in and my cellmate comes in, I introduce myself and he does as well. Alarm bells inside me go off; something about this guy isn’t right. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I just feel it. I heard later he has gone thru multiple cellmates; no one wants to live with him. Not a great start, but I’m going to just try to hang on and give him the benefit of the doubt till I can get to my assigned unit and into the factory.

We go thru the ever present 4 p.m. stand up count, mandatory in every B.O.P. facility, then I get ready to go eat and find Ghost. Now I’m eating and conversing with some of the people who see I have on transfer clothes, and therefore know I’m “fresh on the line,” when in rolls this behemoth in a wheel chair, bandana all askew, hair going everywhere. As soon as he gets to the cattle run, a railing that runs along the wall to guide men thru the chow line, I get up and walk over  to him and say, “So I guess I’m supposed to call you Ghost? You can call me “Walks” but my name is Walks On The Grass.”

Ghost lights up and gets that all excited demeanor that I have come to love in him when he’s happy. So we talk for a bit, with me giving him a little of my history and him trying to tell me eleven million things at once, which is his way when he is excited. So we let him eat and then I get him to go outside with me to talk. He wants to know all about my history, do I know any songs and do I know about the culture, the sweat lodge etc. Now, comparing what I know to what he knows would be like comparing a comic book to the library of congress, but I believe he was surprised to learn that I knew way more than he expected, and evidently more than he is accustomed to among the fellas in these places.  

Ghost Dancer

The next day was Friday; we met up again and spent some time together. Somehow, I just knew this man was going to be of import in my life, I just didn’t know how. Then comes Saturday and the Native brothers all meet up at the chapel to go outside for the pipe ceremony. At that time I met two young Mexican brothers and come to find out it had been just them and Ghost for several months and if it had not been for them he would never have been able to perform the sweat ceremonies.  

It takes a whole lot of labor to prepare and do a proper Inipi ceremony. You do not just show up and take a seat. There are cartloads of blankets and tarps to be taken outside, with the herbs and drums and buffalo skull for the alter mound. The firewood must be hauled up a ramp in a cart and then there’s building the fire and covering the willow framework of the lodge. When everything is ready, someone must stay outside to tend the fire and bring the rocks in while the conductor pours the water for the ceremonies to begin. It would be very difficult for one man alone to do all this, but it can be done with 2 men.

I remember a brother and I managed it in Gilmore, West Virginia in the middle of a freezing cold winter, so I know it can be done. But it’s no easy task, and when you’re an elder or disabled, it takes some young bucks to get everything done. Without the help of the two Mexican brothers these sweat lodge ceremonies wouldn’t have been possible. The willow lodge poles and framework were long overdue for replacing. The willows were rotting and some had deteriorated to the point of cracking and breaking so repairs had to be made each time before the covers were put on to prevent a possible collapse during the ceremonies. For more than a year Ghost had been requesting new willow poles but to no avail.

Ghost and Walks, Aug. 2019

We did have some good sweats that first summer. Ghost leads the sweats and we are song full; Ghost knows many more than I do, but between us we have a veritable smorgasbord of authentic, traditional Native American songs, in several languages. My knowledge includes songs in Lakota, Cherokee, Dine (Navajo), Crow, Creek, Seminole and Nez Perce languages, all true and traditional. Some are sweat lodge songs, some big drum songs, but all authentic and as I was taught them. I’m also able to translate these songs if it is a teaching moment. Over the several decades that I have been practicing and learning my religious ways and beliefs, I had realized how important it was to know what I was singing and not just learn by rote or to mimic the people that taught them to me.

I think Ghost was both surprised and pleased to welcome a brother who actually had taken the trouble to gain this understanding. So I was officially here, the first Tuesday sweat was truly profound and it opened a spiritual door for me to further my blessings in the ways under the tutelage of a man as knowing as Ghost Dancer.

                        FREE HERE NOW

Offer of sanctuary, a place in my heart,
Free here now, and that’s just the start,
Off to grand vision impossible to see, 
You seek true justice, there will be none for me.

Free here now, nothing seems too far, 
Free here now, this is who we are...

A willingness to do nothing, look yourself in the eye,
have a long laugh, then have a good cry,
The mirror tells no lies, just honest reflection,
A basis for repair, a way of correction.

Free here now, nothing seems so far,
Free here now, this is who we are...

Offer of sanctuary for your soul, 
Unafraid of love, but what do you know,
Free here now, I believe I will be,
Free here now, now here free...
free here now.

Free Here Now © 2009 Steven Maisenbacher (Walks On The Grass)

The Spirit World

Sacred Medicine Ways – Part 7

Now, at times I have spoken about going to the Spirit World and I know you must have wondered about this or even been turned off by the idea. I hope you will stay with me and let me explain how all this works. This is important to understand: TO ALL NATIVE PEOPLES THE SPIRIT WORLD IS THE ONLY REAL WORLD. This world is an illusion of what you really are and can do. It is an illusion in which you have chains on you that prevent you from doing things that you consider magical or beyond belief. But the truth is, the only chains are on your own mind.

By stepping into the Spirit World, your mind – your brain – is opened up, enabling you to use more and more of what you have never used. It works like this: say you never used your arm, but only your hand. In time, the muscle in your arm would atrophy and not work; it would become small and weak. Any muscle you don’t use is like this. Your brain is like a muscle and science has shown most of us do not use its full capacity.

Now imagine stepping into the Spirit World where using all of your brain capacity is open to you and you can use every bit of it. Now just as it takes time and patience to rebuild muscle, the same is true of your brain. You must use it more and more to make it stronger and more disciplined. The more disciplined we are with our thoughts the better we can create and control what we do. All that separates us from this power are the limitations of our own minds, and the only real limitations are the ones we allow to stay there.

We all have dreams and in those dreams amazing things happen. We all have heard about people who have near-death experiences and it changes their lives. Well anyone who is willing to relax, let go of all doubts and fears, can learn to really enjoy the access the capabilities we all have.

It is all up to you, and success depends on how determined you are. Many folks give up when they can’t get something right away. I have seen Native brothers give up on having visions because they didn’t get it the first time. See, that is a test in itself. Do you believe you are worthy enough to keep trying and not give up on you?

You have probably heard of shapeshifters that can transform their bodies into different forms; animals, birds, other people, even insects. We think of this as folklore, but truthfully a shapeshifter can mentally transform into anything. Now, how do you think they can do that? Well let me give you a clue, it’s the discipline of their minds to control every part of their bodies. The better they can control and focus their minds, the better they become at visualizing themselves in a specific time or place or form.

Now what is in the Spirit World? Well, everything! Everything since the beginning of existence. Everything in every dimension, every universe, throughout all time. And once you learn to get to the Spirit World, you can begin accessing more and more. No, you can’t learn to do this all at once. Don’t even try. You will only crash. Build yourself up, give your body and mind time to adjust and grow with this concept.

Now in some of my other articles such as Your Inner Power we talk about how to find the Spirit World. The ideas of fasting and trances as ways of seeking in-between worlds may be too difficult for most folks to even try so I had to rethink this and find a way to make it easier for anyone to seek inner peace in the Spirit World. In my next article, Sacred Peace-Healing Energy, I will go into depth on simple ways anyone can find the peace and healing we seek. Again, don’t try to see or learn everything or too much at a time.

Whatever path we choose, start with looking for something in particular. Focus on that and concentrate on seeing that one thing – say, a place or language you are familiar with so the precise visual is in your mind. This way you will more quickly get to the place you seek. Remember to let your inner spirit guide you and pay attention. Absorb all around you when you get there. The way you may think things were or should be, may not be exactly what it is. Study everything, learn all that you can. Then come back. Remember this: In deep trance, your time in the Spirit World leaves your physical body cold and staying away too long can cause you problems. As I said, start off slowly.

Those who Dance with Sister (use mind-altering substances), sometimes decide they don’t want to come back. It is their choice, but remember they are giving up their chance to do so much more and to fulfill their greater purpose, which is left undone. This means they will not stay in the Spirit World for long. They will ascend to another place in between and come back to start from scratch again. They would have these memories in their subconscious mind but would need to bring them forth in the next life to start the process again.

Now, think about this. When you travel to the Spirit World, you can go back in time to any era that you chose. You can even choose to go to the Living Library to access any skills you like, such as math, sciences, mechanics, music, whatever. Even beyond anything that is presently known. It is up to you to absorb and then apply it. Just remember, any new understandings take time for folks to accept. Even you will feel like maybe you are losing your mind or imagining things. This is part of the psychological conditioning you’ve experienced your entire life. This is your physical self not believing in you. You must believe in yourself.

When I was doing healings, I used to have people ask me what if they don’t believe in what I can do. I always told them it is not their belief that matters; it is my belief. If I doubt myself in any way, then I will fail. But if I truly believe that I can do this, it will happen and the person will be healed. I’ve even been called to come into hospitals by people who were terminally ill with doctors and staff present and still it was my belief that always guided my work. I just channeled the true spirit of life is all. The doctors would be shocked and then do tests and could no longer find a problem. Just remember whatever you do, you must believe you can do these things. You must have courage to try and accept when you fail, but never quit.

Just as any professional in sports or acting, an artist, musician, doctor, magician, acrobat and everything else knows, practice makes better; practice makes perfect. Before you can ever be good at anything, you will fail, get frustrated and disappointed. But if you stick with it the rewards are beyond measure. The failures all give you the chance to truly appreciate all these things. All the hard work, time, energy, sacrifices you have given, make you confident and truly believe in yourself as well. The answers to everything we humans want and need to know is in the Spirit World – if you are willing to sincerely seek it.

To put things into perspective, consider this: For nearly 100 years, modern psychologists have been interested in learning more about the workings of the human mind. Some of the world’s most prestigious universities have whole departments dedicated to research and discovery of “paranormal” phenomenon including the effects of mind-altering drugs. Throughout the Cold War, both the US and Russia were engaged in developing Remote Viewing techniques to utilize the powers of the mind to spy on one another. Mind-altering drugs were also used to enhance these powers for intelligence purposes.

The point is, however shocking these little-known insights into the ancient practices of Indigenous peoples may be, we can choose to view them as an enlightenment, perhaps forced into the shadows by powerful, but superstitious rulers who feared them. The opportunity to learn these facts can be an enlightening experience for us as well, helping us gain a deeper appreciation for all Native Peoples.

These skills are truly available to anyone, even though only a few will choose to even try to muster the discipline and commitment. Truly great inventors, scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, teachers, healers, and leaders all go through these things in one way or another. What are you going to do? The choice is yours. The Spirit World is within you!

Respectfully,

Ghost

Ghost Dancer ©

LONG ROAD HOME (14)

By Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com
Chapter 14

From The Top To The Bottom

Man, almost as bad as being blindsided with this dang transfer “back to my region” was the fact that they sent me back to Yazoo. Let me tell you, I spent 3 years in Yazoo before I went to Petersburg. If there is a nastier more unprofessional prison in this system I haven’t seen it and Yazoo is the worst cesspool I have ever been in.

I had it made in Petersburg; I was able to make jewelry, a major financial lift and had a superior paying job that I loved, again making good money (in prison 300.00 + per month is a killer job) and the medical was finally going to fix my back. I had deteriorating vertebrae, with a chunk of a disk just sheared off and barely hanging on to the disk. By now the pain was getting so bad that nothing relieved it except being asleep, and even then I’m sure my dreams were affected.

But at least I had the 3rd MRI, had seen a specialist and a neurosurgeon, with the obvious surgical solutions clearly outlined and I had agreed to. I had been going thru this since before they transferred me from Yazoo to Petersburg. At the time the pain had been steadily increasing for 34 months. Then all of a sudden they are moving me again?!? This made me feel like they were avoiding the costs of the surgery and wanting to punish me with more pain.

But what the heck, it was too late to do anything except get to Yazoo and work on it, so I arrive there for the 2nd time, and while in R&D doing the interview picture and unit assignment, who should walk in but the lieutenant from Coleman Low that had locked me up with that idiot “Chains” and sent me out of Florida to Yazoo the first time. Needless to say the BOP has never done anything but reward and promote staff that are trying to climb the government ladder so he is now a unit manager.

Of course he sees me and immediately it’s, “Well, Well, Well, what do we have here?” He asks the other cop what unit I’m assigned to then says, “No, put him in C Unit, I want to keep a close eye on him.” (great, just great.)

So now I’ve got a unit manager on my chain and I haven’t even made it out to the compound. I couldn’t realize at the time that he wouldn’t be that bad to have knowing me or my past extensive history of behaviors while in custody. He did seem to help me if he could and paved the way with other staff members to “leave me alone” and not try to harass or hassle me like they usually do.

I thought I knew what kind of hell I just arrived at, but when I get to the unit I find I clearly wasn’t ready for this. In the 3 years I was gone a new epidemic of K-2 hit the place, called synthetic weed, with a high that seems to all but zombify people. And the contraband cell-phone problem was the worst I had seen it anywhere. There were so many cell phones that the waiting line to use a bathroom stall was sometimes over an hour because guys would go in there where it’s private to look at porn.

The dorms were open and every vice known to man was rampant, it was horrible. At night the cell phones lit the place up like a city from a distance in the night sky and with the K-2 zombies wandering about, crossing the dorm was like trying to navigate the walking dead. The situation was simply crazy, absolutely out of control, and in fact the cops didn’t even try to control it. The dorm always smelled of weed and cigarettes. Being shoved in this place was really bad when you’re a guy who is real good at being bad but has turned his life around and is trying to stay on the spiritual path of the red road.

I got to the pipe carrier the next day; he was glad to see another Native there and acted like he had heard of me. That would not be surprising in the federal system; I have not always been a good man, but I have always rode native. So I go to the lodge the next Saturday morning and we set it up but I can see that he didn’t really have it down yet. He did know his own songs in Choctaw so it was at least a Native lodge and he seemed to be an ok guy. There was only one other brother there, a Cherokee from North Carolina named “Cherokee” (go figure). So we sweat and I ran a few. He wanted me to run every other sweat but I think it was mostly to share the burden, sometimes it is nice to be able to just concentrate on prayer, so there it was; at least the lodge was a haven from the hell hole of Yazoo, the dorm, and the staff.

The band room was another story entirely. When I was there the first time I had the best band on the yard and prisoners being prisoners let it be known to each other, “Oh walks and them guys are playing, we gotta go.” The place would be packed, standing room only. The other bands, well, not so much. Now, this time I get back, and find myself blackballed. It’s amazing how hateful and petty musicians can be; they went out of their way to keep the bands closed to me, to make sure I didn’t get to build a band or any of that, so I was never in any band nor did I have any band room time for a little “scream therapy.”

So I’m here, it’s all bad, there is no hobbycraft, no chance to make jewelry, no chance to get into Unicor, and if I did get in, the jobs are garbage. It’s a sewing factory but they don’t really work a lot; most of the time they are laid off due to no contracts and or failure to meet the contracts.

I’m living minute to minute, my back is killing me, and now I’m told by medical that they have lost the last MRI that was done so they will have to schedule me for another one. This means a wait of 3-4 months and then they would schedule a consult with a neurosurgeon so I’m looking at another 6-8 months before I can actually get the back fixed.

That’s it, enough is enough, I am not going to go thru this pain anymore. I know what will help me so if they won’t medicate me, I will do it myself. So I started smoking weed as needed for the pain, and it worked, so I just continued to do so. The living conditions were so bad that I finally told my case manager that I had been waiting for more than three years for back surgery, I had been transferred twice having gone thru the diagnostics process and was awaiting surgery, and I’m tired of being in pain.

Then I told him what I intended to do about it. I was going to smoke marijuana for the pain because ibuprofen doesn’t help but weed does and I would continue to do so until, “You people fix my back.”  They acted like I was wrong because I refused to tolerate the medical negligence any longer. Tough.

Now on the outside, I had always been a pot smoker, I love it because it could calm my anxieties and it would help with the aches and pains of growing older after having put my body through years of rough treatment. If I could, I would smoke pot every day. But let me be clear, until it is legal and I am off parole I cannot and will not use this. My will to be free and to stay out of trouble with the law is far greater than my need to smoke weed. So there it is: Hi, my name is Walks and I’m a pothead.

So anyway, all my candor with my case manager got me was a urine test. They called me over, said I needed to pee in the bottle.

“No problem, but I will tell you up front, its dirty for weed and will continue to be till my back is fixed.”

So 14 days later, I’m put in the hole for providing a positive urine sample for cannabinoids. Oops! Tough.

I go to the disciplinary hearing and tell them the same thing I have been saying all along, I did it because pot helps the pain, and I will continue to do it till they fix my back. He says the best thing he can do is transfer me. Now I also see a way to get out of Yazoo! or so I thought. Anyway, they give me 15 days in the hole and a disciplinary transfer, but they also raised my security points and are sending me back up in custody level to the mediums. Fine by me, at least in the mediums I will be in a cell and not a dorm and I’ll be able to get away from all the chaos. All of a sudden a few weeks later they tell me to get my stuff together, I am being transferred across the street to Yazoo medium!

Now, I’m not at all happy with that but at least I can get away from the low, even if it’s just across the street. Once I get there I find out that it’s a “political” yard and they have no sex offenders on the compound, or at least no known sex offenders. So I get there and I’m sent to my assigned unit. It’s ok, but it’s still Mississippi, where the staff is lazy and uneducated, racist and totally corrupt. So this place is rife with drugs and cell phones and problems as well. The only difference is the medium has cells, and I’m happy in that.

I’m still in constant pain and definitely going to medical about the back issues and the need for surgery, but in my mind I’m thinking, “Well, it’s right across the street, there is no way they will not have the same specialists and all that.” Wrong.

Why or how I don’t know, but once again they are playing stupid on the surgery. So I just continue to go about my daily life, but now I’m not smoking pot and the pain is roaring. One day I’m coming across the compound from medical about my back. I’m barely able to walk, kinda hunched over. A black woman stops me and asks if I’m all right.

“No, I’m not,” I say, and then unload my frustrations. I tell her all about how my back is severely damaged, I’ve been thru numerous MRI’s, several neurosurgeons, and three transfers have taken me away from the scheduled surgery I so drastically need. And now medical has just told me they will have to start all over again with the process.

She takes my name and number and I go on to the unit thinking, “Great, another staff that acts like they care but will do nothing.” Little do I know this woman is the warden and when she doesn’t like what is going on, she changes it. After I leave, she gets on the radio and calls medical, has them call me back over, and tells them she wants my medical status upgraded from Care Level 1 to Care Level 2.

So they did it and they tell me I will be medically transferred to a Care Level 2 institution, and I’ll be redesignated soon. A week goes by; the warden catches me in the chow hall and asks how I am doing. I tell her I’m being sent to a Care Level 2 facility. She just smiled and said she was sure things will work out. A couple days later I’m called to pack out to yet another new place; I’m told I’m going to Talladega, Alabama. I have been hearing how sweet this place is for decades.

                         VENGEANCE

What angers me are the things I see,
The trouble is the storm will rise again.
It’s what will be, you soon will see,
Now I see that you were never really my friend.

Chorus:
Conscience be your guide, sorrow deep inside,
Vengeance – vengeance. . .
Feelings cannot hide, all the times you lied,
Vengeance – vengeance. . .

Wretched cowards die and blacken the sky,
Enter ye here where there is no hope,
It’s where you’ll be and soon you’ll see,
Life is but a joke and the joke’s on you.

Chorus – Lead – Chorus

So the means will justify the end,
I can’t stop and you can’t win,
The road that strangely bent is now spent,
Nowhere left to go so pitch your tent.

Chorus –

Vengeance we’re told is best served cold,
At least that’s what I heard
Vengeance we’re taught is best served hot
But you must keep your nerve.

Conscience be your guide, sorrow deep inside,
Vengeance – vengeance. . .
Feelings cannot hide, all the times you lied,
Vengeance – vengeance. . .

Don’t say you ain’t never wanted some . . . Payback . . .
Vengeance . . .


Vengeance lyrics Drop D – E flat © Steven Maisenbacher (Walks On The Grass)

Who Am I & What Am I Doing Here?

Sacred Medicine Ways – Part 6

A Teaching by Ghost Dancer

How many of us sometimes wonder what we are doing here? What is our purpose? What is it that I’m missing? Do you keep searching all kinds of different beliefs looking for something that feels right? Do you feel you are missing something really important or does your life feel so good and complete that you are happy?

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Remember it is only ourselves we are fooling. Well let me ask you a big question, and to be fair I’ll ask it to apply to all religious beliefs. Okay? Where is the Spirit World? Where are the Akashic Records? Where is the Living Universal Library? Where is the Kingdom of Heaven? Where is Nirvana? Where is the Eleventh Heaven? So on and so on. Be truthful to yourself. Do you know? Remember we are all connected. We are all part of the whole. We are all one. Where are these mystical places? We all have had these answers always. Some of us have just been missing them. These places are always inside of you.

Buddha searched for decades looking for bliss, until finally one day, exhausted and half starved, he drank some water and ate some fruit and nuts and was content. Laying on a ledge he looked down into a pool of water below and saw his own reflection. He started laughing, for all these years he had looked everywhere but the right place.

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is neither here nor there, but it is within you.

In judo, the sensei says the essence of all begins in your gi.

The medicine man said when you seek to find the spirit world all you need to do is look within.

Tashunka Witko (Crazy Horse) said the only real world is the spirit world.

We all seek these magical, spiritual places for answers, yet they have always been in reach right inside of us.

Now hold on, give me a minute here, why do you think I have been trying to get you to pay attention to you? To get you to love yourself, forgive yourself? To get you to quiet your mind and give up your flesh so you would find your own spirit? Why do you think we traditional Natives always say we are connected to everything? We are one with everything? We are all one. One mind, one thought, one spirit, one prayer?

An ancient proverb says, “He who seeks to know the universe will know nothing. While he who seeks to know his true self will know everything in the universe.” This is because we are one, and one with spirit. Spirit lives in everything. Yes, in each of us. When we go to the spirit world what is it? It is a world that is pure energy, of all that was, all that is, and all that will be. It is a place where we are shown what we need to do to walk in both universal planes of existence at the same time. Where we are given answers that seem impossible for us to know, yet it is there for us. It is a place where all life has power and knowledge that in this physical world we have forgotten.

Stop and think! In every religious belief, the teachers all have to fast and go into the wilderness to be blessed by Spirit. Now why is that? Why is it that they have to go out somewhere in nature: mountains, deserts, jungles, forest, even the ocean, to find Spirit? Why? So they can let go of all the distractions, illusions, selfish wants, and finally are able to quiet their minds and hear spirit! Every single teacher, prophet, shaman, priest, priestess, yogi, guru, sensei, master and messiah say that greater things than what they have done, each of us can do. Why? Because it is true. But only if we truly push ourselves to do these things.

Anyone who knows me always says, “Ghost, why do you push yourself so hard and far?” Well this is why. Because I truly love this world and all that exists in it. I love the universe and all the universes. Yes there are more than anyone can count. My life is my religion and my religion is my life. There is no separation. Can you do this? Yes you can, and I so want each of you to do this. It will take time. Anything worthwhile really and truly does. But now let’s get back to each of you so we can become we again!

What are you doing here? Come on let us hear what do you think you are doing here? What is your purpose? What is it that will make your life happy? What is your destiny? Each of you does have a purpose and a destiny in life, and each of you can have the happy life you want! All this is knowable if you chose to know it. I hear you. Nope, I can’t do this for you. I just want you to think about what is available to you.

Now I hear some of you saying, yeah boy, this guy is out there. Really? Just because you don’t know that knowledge yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It has existed since the beginning and always will be. It has just been forgotten. Lost and destroyed by those who fear for you to know these things. So much of our ancient knowledge has been lost and destroyed on purpose. Much is locked away in vaults so only a few know of its existence. Learning the knowledge of the Southeastern traditions is also learning the Mayan, Aztec, Inca, Cahokia, Serpent Mounds, Etowah, Ais, and so many more. Knowledge used to be shared.

What makes the Mayans different from the Egyptians? The Sumerians from the Atlanteans or the Amazonians? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! We all were given gifts and knowledge, none over or more than others. As a parent do you love one child more than another? No! So get that out of your head and remember that many people have put their own personal interpretations on things.

So now back to what you are searching for – your purpose, your destiny, to understand what are you doing here; why are you even interested in the old Native traditions. Why? Because you are searching for answers that your spirit wants to give. Remember, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. Seek and you shall find! Just as you searched your own spirit to find your true self, do the same thing to ask for your purpose and destiny; for the path that will truly make you happy. You will be shown visions of things and if you don’t truly understand, ask to be shown so you will. Each of you has access to all the answers.

Your DNA, your blood, your cells are the Living Library of the Universe since the beginning of time. Now I hear you saying, Ghost, how am to talk to my DNA or blood or cells? Well, how did you talk to your true spirit? Can you visualize your DNA? Blood? Your cells? You will be able to access the knowledge that has been passed down since the beginning of creation and know it all. Just keep seeking within you. Now many people will ask, “Ghost why are you sharing all of this with us when no one else will?” My answer: Because it belongs to you. It belongs to all of us.

I’m proud to be a Red Stick. I’m proud of being a human being. I’m proud of being one with all. I was taught that knowledge doesn’t just belong to me; it belongs to everyone. I’m following my destiny. I’m living my happy life. I’m fulfilling my purpose. This is why I’m doing this. Also, I know so few truly know the old Native ways anymore and those who do worry about retaliations – being attacked, ridiculed, and even persecuted. I’m bull headed and don’t take well to anyone telling me, I can’t do something. I don’t like being bullied or threatened. I’m just not the one to cave.

Our gifts and knowledge are to be shared even if you must be careful of who you share it with. It’s like energy. When you draw in energy it is supposed to flow through you and then out of you. This way it doesn’t stagnate. It’s the same with knowledge. If knowledge just sits inside of you and you do not use it or share it, then it too will become stagnant. Same with your gifts. You must use your gifts to get stronger and better. If you do not, they too will stagnate and be no good. You might say you haven’t used this knowledge all these years. Why would this be different? Look at it this way: If you don’t know something, does that make you liable or responsible for what you don’t know?

Yes, many Natives even get upset with me for teaching others who are not Native. But then I remind them of our true belief that we are all related and I follow Spirit. I am always going to do that. Later we will discuss the Spirit World more in-depth and in comparison to the other names for it. Now our goal is to get you to realize your true potential and how important you are.

Traditionally, we look at our circle (our people) as only as strong as our weakest link. Like a wagon wheel with a weak spoke. All the other spokes must help protect until it is stronger or fixed, so the wheel stays strong. We are all here to help one another. When we begin doing more and more to help ourselves and others, we will all see how much better life will be.

Respectfully, Ghost

Ghost Dancer © 2017

LONG ROAD HOME (13)

By Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com
Chapter 13

Twenty-One Songs

In my free time, which wasn’t much considering my work and my first love, singing with the band, I continued to develop my jewelry-making skills as well. There in Petersburg, I was allowed to order pretty much whatever I wanted in the way of gemstones and supplies. The majority of my crafting was done sitting outside on the patio at recreation. Looking thru the fence I could see the US Army training facility for tank and military vehicle rescue across the highway. It was interesting to be able to watch the maneuvers of tanks and tracked vehicles doing all sorts of cool stuff while I worked.

At Petersburg, I was always able to do the right things. I had my work, my music and I continued to grow in my personal spiritual journey with each sweat lodge I attended. The Native circle wasn’t a formal one, there was not a method to become a member, just attendance or not attendance; the one  point of criteria was that you had to be registered with the chaplain as Native American. The only real problem I had to deal with was my ever-worsening back pain. I had seen another specialist and had more MRI’s done, but months went by and I was never scheduled for corrective surgery.

Now, let me tell you, in prison you always know your world can fall apart in a heartbeat. Like when I was simply going to ask about my birth certificate, the last thing I expected to hear was, “You can get it at the next institution, you’re designated and awaiting transfer.”

WHAT? I knew nothing about this! Out of a clear blue sky they drop this on me! No, No, No… my sister had already booked the flight and reservations for the hotel and was coming to see me from the Netherlands! Yeah, I went a little crazy, but finally talked sense into them and they agreed to pull me off the transfer list if she would send proof of her itinerary, tickets and all that. No problem, Leontien provided what they needed and they put me on transfer hold till after the visit.

So the days go by, now I’m scrambling to buy a bunch of stuff that I knew they don’t have in Yazoo.  Yes, they had redesignated me right back to the very same place I left to go to Petersburg and I left because I absolutely hated it there.

Anyway while all this is going on I had another major jewelry order in, more than $300.00 worth of materials set to arrive the following week, so I’m sweating that as well. See, when you order supplies through the recreation department’s hobby crafts, you cannot take them with you if you are relocated, so you lose your investment. I knew I could easily work out of those materials if I were in a hurry and had five days to do nothing but building jewelry. I get the visit, everything to be expected, and more. (Thank you again, Leontien, I love you.) Then the very next day my jewelry order arrives and my case manager tells me they have re-entered the order for my transfer and as soon as the marshals are ready to move I will be going.

So feeling the squeeze, I bought 2 bags of coffee and spent 73 hours awake building jewelry, all at once, no sleep nor rest, just a soup on the run and more coffee. I literally set up 10 necklace builds at a time and ended up with over 200 pieces including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, sets and all variations, multiple types and styles. It was crazy the amount of jewelry I managed to build in this marathon knowing it was stay awake and get it done or lose the opportunity to turn my investment into income down the road. When I finished I gave all my left-over materials to a guy who was interested in the craft and mailed the jewelry out to Paints On The Rocks and Karen where it’s still waiting for me to get out so I can start marketing my Rocks On A String line of jewelry to help make a living. So don’t go away, it’ll be available in a little over a year! Smile.

~~~

Now I want to take a minute to talk about the band I had there in Petersburg! This is where my heart was and if I do say so, we were incredible. The caliber of musicians was intense; we had been playing some cool copy tunes, by bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Dio, and Queensryche. Then overnight we stepped it up when the guitarist said he was sick of cover tunes.

“Walks,” he asked, “Can you write?”

“Not only can I…but I have!”

The next practice I came in with my red folder that had been packed. Inside were the 21 song lyrics I had written over the duration of the treatment for Hepatitis C back in Beaumont Low a few years before.

I just told Mike, “You play, I’ll figure it out.” You would not believe how it went, the guys just fell into it and the jams that Mike and Frank and Tex came up with were totally unbelievable! We were so good that the cops on the compound would come and stand outside the plate glass window listening to us. They would stop me on the compound and go, “Man you guys are something else, when are you playing again?”

Twenty-One Songs

  1.  Deep End
  2.  Self Portrait
  3.  Peaceful At Night
  4.  Camouflage
  5.  Footnote
  6.  Breathe
  7.  Vengeance
  8.  Jealousy Is A Poison
  9.  Dying All Over Again
  10.  Insane
  11.  Twice Baked
  12.  Here and Well
  13.  Pirate
  14.  Peanut Butter
  15.  Bad Day – Go Away
  16.  Then Change It
  17.  Dear Friend
  18.  Sober
  19.  White Noise
  20.  Shame
  21.  Free Here Now

In a matter of six months we went from having no original songs to a total of 26 songs, all original. We could play 3 1/2 hours nonstop; we would go into the band room at 5pm and still be jamming at 8:30pm when they called recall!

We did 2 concerts there at Petersburg and I truly believe that was one of the best bands and line ups I have ever been in. Some of the lyrics you will see in these pages; there sure are some that stand out to me, like Footnote or White Noise or  Robocop or even Camouflage, all so dang good and true-to-life interesting.

You would be amazed at what prison bands can do. This is the Set List for our President’s Day Concert on February 19, 2012 at FCI Low, Petersburg, Virginia.

Editor’s Note: The song, Robo Cop, may be seen by some as “politically incorrect,” so it’s important to understand the story behind it. The song was written in direct response to a particular staff member there at Petersburg who stepped far out of bounds in his abuse of power and disrespect for the rights of the inmates. Whenever Walks sang this song in the band room, even the other guards listening knew its meaning and appreciated this musical call-out of the man’s obnoxious and offensive behavior.

ROBO COP
I finally got a job where I can just be me,
Worthless where I serve no purpose, working for the BOP,
I’ll talk real low so my voice is always heard,
I’ll try to act legit when I’m really just a psychopathic turd.

I’m gonna save the universe one onion at a time
I don’t care where you’re going, I’ll make you stand in line.
Touching and groping and fondling, yea, that is what I do,
If you don’t let me rub on you, you’re gonna go to the SHU.

Chorus:
Sir – Sir, can you step over here,
Sir – Sir, I’m robo cop and I’m a queer.
Sir – Sir, I’ll touch you inappropriately
Sir – Sir, I’m gonna make you fill my needs.

I’ll speak to you in passing and hope you don’t respond,
So I can raid your cell and shake you down really hard.
I’ll try to act like I’m really a military man, “Affirmative”
But actually I’m a mama’s boy creep who never had any friends.

Sir – Sir, can you step over here,
Sir – Sir, I’m robo cop and I’m real weird.
Sir – Sir, I’ll touch you inappropriately
Sir – Sir, I’m gonna make you fill all my sick needs.

Well now the story is out, and everybody knows,
Underneath his uniform he’s wearing women’s under clothes.
And he learned to act like that from watching cops on his TV, 
I’m not really sure, but I bet he squats when he pees. . .

Sir – Sir, can you step over here,
Sir – Sir, I’m robo cop and I’m blatantly queer.
Sir – Sir, I’ll touch you inappropriately
Sir – Sir, I’m gonna make you fill my sick needs.

Radio noise: Oh, my god,  I need back up, he’s got a Danish   

Sir – Sir . . .

Robo Cop lyrics © Steven Maisenbacher (Walks on the Grass)

Your Inner Power

Sacred Medicine Ways – Part 5

A Teaching by Ghost Dancer

Every single one of us has a power or more than one. Very few today even know how to find theirs because no one teaches this or practices this much anymore. Now, I hear you saying, “Well how would I find my power?” I’m glad you asked.

See, traditionally unless you ask you don’t get told. As the elders always say, “A closed mouth does not get fed!” And no, they were not speaking about food for your belly, but knowledge for your spirit, mind and body. We all have an innate ability to travel the spiritual or cosmic waves. It is just our choice to do so or not. Those who practice regularly become more powerful and can learn to use this ability at will.

If you truly seek to find your power you must be willing to work for it. Knowledge comes with sacrifice: Your time, your energy, your discipline, your giving of yourself. Wow! Did you catch that? You must give to receive! To connect to your true spirit you must give up your flesh to find the spirit! You are now saying, “What does that mean, give up my flesh?”

Well, first, it means doing a fast. Yes, a real one. Fasting helps you to lose all the things that block and distract you. It weakens your body which tries to control your mind and spirit. As the body weakens, the mind can become less cloudy and cluttered, and we become so much more sensitive to all around us. When the body is quiet, the mind can be quiet. It is only when we have a quiet mind that we can step into the folds of the spirit world.

The Journey Begins – Fasting as a Route to Deep Meditation:

Every individual is different, and many factors affect the level of fast any one person can or should attempt to achieve. For instance, those with special medical issues such as diabetes or heart problems, must be careful and adjust their fluid intake and length of fast to avoid triggering a medical problem. We humans are experts at rationalization, so the key point in making the decision to fast to achieve deep meditation is to know the truth. Our own Spirit knows the truth, so we can’t lie to anyone but ourselves, cheating only ourselves. All our own Spirit asks is that we give what we can give. That’s it.

I would advise that you slowly taper off your food for a few days before you begin a fast. Then start off just going a half a day for your first fast. That means no food period for a full half day, something anyone of you could do. Later try fasting for the full day. After you have fasted for a full day, wait a week and then fast for 2 full days. (that means day and night, no food period, no nourishment period.)

When you can be successful at this, then wait a while and fast for three full days. Yes, it gets rougher, but with each success, you will begin to have confidence in yourself. Never set yourself up for failure. Once you have become used to this, then you will be ready to do a four-day fast.

Not everyone will require a full four-day fast, but others with highly active minds may need to. A deep meditative state comes when the mind is empty. Fasting is a discipline, so if a person can discipline their body for one day, then 2 days, how much easier is it to discipline the mind? Again, we cannot lie to our spirit, we just give what we have to give.

Remember, before you start a long fast, it is important that you eat lightly for a week; a little less each day so your stomach begins shrinking, and try to eat as healthy as you can. Drink lots of pure water for on this fast you will not take in food or water (or only a minimum of water). You will also need to make sure you will be free from distractions. Also, after a long fast, you will need to eat very lightly when you begin eating. Eat fruits, nuts, grapes, raisins, and such until you can slowly work yourself back to eating. Otherwise you will be throwing it all up and be sick.

The Journey Continues – Smudging and Entering Deep Meditation:

Smudging is a way of purification and cleansing. The smudge combines all the four major elements in creation – earth, air, fire, and water. No material thing is ever used or act performed until it has been blessed and purified by the smoke.

Now smudge yourself. This is done by taking cedar and sage and placing them in bowl or shell and using a hot coal to get them to burning. Blow on the coal to get the sage glowing red and smoking. Fan the smoke over your hands and then use your hands to fan the smoke over your face, head, then your heart, and then the rest of your body.

Find a place that is totally peaceful and quiet, make yourself comfortable. You can sit cross legged, lay down or whatever you choose to be totally comfortable. Have with you something to give as an offering for help: a pinch of tobacco or a pinch of corn meal, or something that holds special meaning for you. (remember you give to receive.)

You will need to breathe in the smoke from the sage and cedar and then blow it back out. This means only good things will come out of your mouth. Words are power so be very careful what you say.

Now try to empty out all your bad feelings; let them go and let the sage/cedar smoke take them away from you. If you have done anything bad, either physically, mentally, or spiritually, please let it go; release it from you.

Empty your thoughts; just think of a beautiful lake. You see a ripple starting in the center of the lake; watch it spreading outward as your mind steadily releases all your ego, doubts, fears, beliefs. Now you become just still; a single drop of water in a large lake; separate yet connected to every part of the lake.

The lake is living water of life. Feel the bottom and feel the heart beating slowly, steadily. This is Mother’s heart and you begin to match your heart with hers. Feel her becoming part of you; feel yourself letting go, floating outward from your body. Now slowly release your spirit from your body; see it hovering above your body as it feels your freedom; your true power.

Please picture a beautiful, wonderful place where you are totally safe. Nature is all around you: butterflies, birds, crickets, young rabbits playing. The grass is so green and soft. A gentle spring gurgles as it slowly runs down the way to a large pool sitting there.

The pool urges you to come in. All the animals, birds, plants tell you, yes, go inside, dive down and push on through; the bottom is just a veil before you take your spirit trail. So, you dive in, going deeper and deeper. You have no fear so you push through the sand and into nothingness. Suddenly you pop through and find yourself in a strange place, but you still feel safe.

A river flows there, so beautiful, so clear. Suddenly, you feel a presence there with you. Look and you will meet your Spirit Helper. From this time on, your Spirit Helper will teach you your power and medicine. You will be given instructions. Follow them always and you will have your power. Use it wisely.

Now when you meet your Spirit Helper, always be sure to ask these questions: “Are you here to help me? Are you here to teach me? Will you shown me so I can understand all that I am to know and learn? If the answers are yes, then say, “Okay, I give you permission to help me in any way you can that is good for me.” It is vitally important that you both ask your Spirit Helper to help you and give your permission for your Spirit Helper to help you.

Yes, this applies no matter what your personal religious preference may be. What I’m trying do is help you, no matter how you define your beliefs or what your preferred religion may be.

Now when you meet your Spirit Helper, you may even be tested. Why? Well to see if you truly wish to find yourself.

So, what is your Spirit Helper? What do you think it is? Is it your imagination? It is a trick of Projection? An illusion? Or is it a basic part of yourself, part of your own nature?

See, we all have within us the natures of animals and birds, plants and everything else. We have these characteristics for a reason. Yet we have never recognized them for what they are: Part of you! Yes you!

They have only waited for you to step to them to find the real you. Now many folks have more than one nature and spirit. Some have multiple natures and spirits. No, there is nothing wrong in that. For each has it’s time when it is needed.

Oh, I can hear some of you thinking, Well, that goes against what I believe. That is not what my religion teaches. Really? Do you really think that? What religion is that?

I have studied all the major world’s religions and this I know: Every religious tradition teaches us to listen to the Spirit that lives within us. All traditions encourage us to learn from the animals and birds for they will teach us how to live, just as Native traditions do.

So, for all these years you may have just never thought to look at the depth of your inner power that has been there for you always. Now that you recognize this simple truth about yourself, it will be so much easier for you to begin working with your inner spirit to tap into your true power; a gift to you from our Creator. Be sure to do what your true spirit tells you to.

So now that you have met your Spirit Helper, it’s time to return to your normal state. Just relax and picture your own body, see it there waiting for you. Slowly see yourself going back to your body and becoming one with it again. Once you have, you will be sleepy and weak at first, so just take it easy.

Please now practice this as often as you can. The more you do the better you will become at it, until you no longer need to do the fasting or anything. You will be able to sit, still yourself, and find your inner self.

Respectfully,

Ghost

Ghost Dancer © 2017

LONG ROAD HOME (12)

By Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com
Chapter 12

Big Moves

Normally when you are being transferred to another joint you try to find out what they don’t have there that they do have where you are. Then you buy a bunch of it, pack it in your property to transfer to the new spot and sell all of it for exorbitant prices.  I once got $150.00 for a $21.00 Marathon Timex watch, just because it was a model that the new spot didn’t have and anything different is definitely worth money in here. The world of prison economics would amaze most people. In here books of stamps or pouches of mackerel fish are considered currency, or the “street to street” transfer of money from one person to another person is considered the top of the pay chain. So I would take two pairs of Skullcandy ear buds that cost $21.00 each and sell them for $45.00 per pair. A pair of wolverine work boots that cost $73.00, I have sold for $150.00 and if I had some bottles of prayer oil cologne, and body washes, I could make a killing on the stuff.

When I hit Petersburg Low (aka Sweetersburg) in Virginia it was Father’s Day and hot as hell. Only when I got there did I discover there was no A.C. in the units and to sleep you had better have a fan. By my last summer there I had 9 electric fans in the cell. I paid one of the Native brothers to come down and replace my outlet with a four-plug outlet and put another one on the back wall. He also put in a new light switch with an outlet underneath as well, for a total of 9 power outlets. It was like living in a cyclone, but a cool one.

The first thing I did was to try to meet up with a couple of the Native brothers, so I stopped the first guy wearing a Native American bandana and asked about the pipe carrier and the lodge and the group and all the “what about’s.” After I met the brothers I went back to the unit to get my stuff squared away. Petersburg is the first and last prison I have ever been to where my property was already there and waiting for me with a “just sign here” from the R&D cop. Amazing how this made my life so much easier.

So I’m assigned to “Delaware” unit and there are a couple Natives in there, but I am quickly told there are pretty much nothing but sex offenders there as the Native car, from the pipe carrier on down. However, there are several brothers there with “clean” paperwork, meaning they are not in prison for child molestation, child pornography or rape. Usually they are not informants but they came to me that evening as I am going out to the yard to check out the band scene. We talk and it is explained that if I want to sweat then I will have to just tolerate them and not cause any problems because it is “their” yard and all they have to do is say I’m a problem and I’m in the hole and on the next thing smokin’ out of there.

Anyway, its laid out like this, we know who is dirty and not, so do they, but if we want to sweat then we have to at least be cordial to them out there and when passing on the compound. Otherwise just don’t bother to go to the lodge area. They are going to be there, they do stay in their places and are very grateful to have people accept them or at least speak to them like they are ok.

You have to understand the dilemma, I do not like a sexual predator; I pray for the women and children and to have to sit across from one in order to approach the Creator would literally be very, very hard.

This place is a super sweet spot, the only hitch is I would be mixed in with some creeps in order to pray. Then it hits me, even if I don’t want to pray for them, I can see that their families – mothers, fathers, kids, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles – people who need the prayers of those who probably would cringe if they were aware of the member of the family that did whatever they did, DO deserve prayer. It would not at all be unlike the Creator to put this in front of me as a character hurdle to navigate.

See I don’t know if I told you but I was not always a good man. In fact I am deeply ashamed of the man I once was, but I’m even more deeply committed to the man I have and am becoming on a daily basis thru the Native ways and ceremonies and Creator’s guidance. So I made the decision to sweat and attend the pipe ceremonies and to continue to grow and to pray for the changes I knew I needed to make and needed to happen to have a chance when I walked out the door.

Now, I have only been here for not even a day but I’m already in a cell, got my property and one of the “clean” brothers said they needed quality assurance people in the factory, and that he works for the quality assurance manager and would get me in to see him about a job on the coming Monday. I’m elated to be able to get in like that and with a sponsor to boot.

I got into the factory there with a good brother’s help and became a quality control inspector (Q.A.). I had also previously worked to earn an ISO certification that no one else in the factory had and in fact, this was really the cincher on the job.

The staff was duly impressed, so now I’m working in a major government print plant which does all the printing of government forms and notices for numerous agencies including Social Security, the IRS and all the insurance agencies as well as the Department of Transportation and the military. It was a very demanding job and I was learning the printing industry from the ground up – from paper cutters to paper types, from paper folders to 4-color Heidelberg printing presses, from ink to computerized press plate image burning machines, major Ricoh laser color copiers – all the tricks and traps, all the defects and cures for them. The more well versed I became, the more valuable an asset I became to the UNICOR Corporation.  

Near the end of the first year the plant management decides to let all the quality assurance workers go except for three – one for the day shift, one for the shipping department and one for the night shift with the night shift being the most difficult since only the plant foreman, the quality assurance worker would be there with the essential workers, pressmen, collator operators and folder/cutter men. When the decision was made I was chosen to be the night Q.A. This meant they had faith in my ability at this point to trouble shoot and burn computer plates for the presses.

In actuality, the way things work, I would be running the plant, with my foreman being there with further expertise, but a non-hands-on approach, supposedly. As it turned out, let me tell you about my boss, Ms. G., for she was very special woman.

Ms. G was a prison employee, a professional with 20-plus years’ experience. She had raised a son as a single mother and had competed in a job with men for decades. She had risen thru the ranks, not on the “I’m a woman” card, but  on the simple fact that she was good at what she did and could do anything in the plant the men could do.

I cannot count the times I saw Ms. G. on the floor teaching the guys how to run a folding machine, or a paper cutter or a binding machine during my final 2 years  working with her. I can see her in my mind’s eye right now, sleeves rolled up, ink on her hands and explaining or moving and adjusting to move a fold or a perforation this way or that. She taught me more about the printing industry than any of the four college textbooks on the industry I read.

Ms. G. truly made an impact on my life, and on the last night I worked before packing out to leave for transfer I let her know how much I appreciated her. Ms. G was a Christian; she loved it, she embraced it and she walked the walk, but she was far from weak or shy. She was a stalwart human in a place where there are not many that will treat you with dignity or respect. Never once in the three years I worked side by side with Ms. G. did she waver in her willingness to teach or learn, to be pleasant while professional.

If Ms. G should ever read this, I want her to know she made a change in this man. She taught me a lot, and I still appreciate her for it. See prison is not where  you would expect to find a person of this caliber. Ms. G., you are a diamond in a mud puddle and you shine all the more brightly for it. May the Creator watch over you and yours and keep you ever in his sight.

                       Self Portrait

The stranger staring back at me, stranger than before,
Bringin’ pain and suffering, always waging war.
Take away your dignity, strip away the shell
Wear you down, weight your soul, how the mighty have fell.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, rushing tide we try to stall,
Shadows cast across your grave only hope your soul to save.
Hero, Hero, time has passed, life goes by us way too fast
Grasp at straws and silky strings, life is but a fleeting thing.

We cross our paths like ships lost in the night, night, night,
Pretend we know what’s wrong from right, right, right.
There’s more to me than meets the eye, eye, eye,
My world is hollow, and I’ve touched the sky.

Mirror, Mirror, guise pretense, this is why we’re so incensed.
The ache cuts deeply into the bone, look around, you’re not alone.
Zero, Zero, lower class, drinking from an empty glass,
Shun the image you have made, do what you can before you fade.

If you view life with much regret
You’ll wear the time you forget.
It weighs you down with guilt and shame
The stare that’s you is the one to blame.

Mirror, Mirror, fool you save, are you master, are you slave?
See the writing on the wall, you’re the biggest fool of all.
Hero, Hero, life sentence, have you lost your innocence?
It keeps us in a trance-like stare, as it makes us see we’re there.


Self Portrait lyrics © Steven Maisenbacher (Walks on the Grass)


LONG ROAD HOME (11)

By Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com
Chapter 11

Finding New Family

Well, I can’t help it, I don’t know what it is, but I have always been able to get along better with women than men, and they always seem to sense it. Some years ago I placed an ad on Write A Prisoner.com. I was at a stage where I was lonely and just wanted to meet a few ladies to correspond with, exchange ideas and views on life, spirituality and everything. So out of the blue I got a letter from a woman named Helga in Germany. Long story short, Helga fell for me and we ended up talking about a possible future together. That all fell apart with her trying to mold and bend me into the shape she thought I ought to be, not who I am. Anyway, one thing I owe Helga is a debt of gratitude for introducing me to Leontien (Leah).

Steve and sister Judy 1996

Leah and I seemed to get along and we emailed back and forth about a myriad of topics, she was interested in the Native culture and we quickly became friends. During our exchanges she found out that I had lost my sister, Judy several years prior to cancer and I missed having her in my life. Judy was a strong and remarkable woman who raised her son as a single mother, never wavering in her love or dedication to giving him all she wanted him to have. So as time went on I found out Leah had no brothers, so we decided we would adopt each other. Cool!  I now had a new sister and I feel I hit the jackpot.

What an amazingly wonderful family Leah has, her husband, Mildo, is a super cool man and a great father to their two beautiful daughters. Both the girls are extremely smart and witty. Rosa, the youngest is a gifted equestrian and for-real horse lover. She is just as full of life as her mother. Vivian, the older of the 2 is super talented with a very good voice. In fact I’d say if she were to continue and pursue a career she could easily hit the stages of Broadway or more.

I think Vivian looks more like her dad, who is very smart and I’m glad to have him as a brother-in-law.  So the girls come by their brilliance honestly and it isn’t at all surprising when I think of their parents. Now Leah, she’s the bees knees, a very warm and witty woman, full of life’s wisdoms and able to share of herself with others, unstintingly putting the needs and wants of others before herself.

I don’t think I’ve ever come right out and said it this way, but I’m finding it’s so much easier to say things more articulately in writing than in person. The fact is my sister Leontien has helped me thru some rough times when I was really hurting and down. She didn’t know at the time because I’m kind of good at holding things in, but her dedication and patience have helped make me the man I have become and that man bears no resemblance to the man  I was years ago.

I can’t wait to see Leah from the free world. It’s going to be amazing and as I sit here and write this knowing it’s just 13 months until I can walk out the door to a half-way house and after that, it’s just a matter of a few more months.

Let me tell you, when I met Leah, it had been well over a decade since my mom had passed and then my sister passed. I had not had a visitor in 13 years, and all of a sudden Leah tells me she is coming to the states to visit with family and friends. Then she tells me she’s coming to see “My brother!” So Leah came and it was the best couple of hours I had had in decades. We talked and laughed and took pictures and visited and she got to meet Frank, one of my Native brothers and band mates. To meet my sister was amazing, and in this moment, as I write, I’m thinking it’s funny that a little later today, I’m calling Leah at her home in the Netherlands – Yes! That’s six thousand miles away across the ocean and in another country, but our love and respect and family tie is stronger than even toe-distance or the time difference.

And Leah, you ought to know by now that as much as I love you and your family, don’t set your strawberry kiwi drink down on the table and walk away for any reason. Some things I just can’t control, but I’m still sticking to my story… “It must have evaporated?!?!”

Steve and Leontien 2016

A year or so later, Leah came to visit again. This time I got to spend the whole day with her, the best day of my entire sentence. We talked and I laughed with her, we were able to relax and get to know each other better. We talked about all the things that were important to us. Leah is a wonderful person, and somehow I know my sister Judy would appreciate her being there for me. I know I certainly am. Thank you for being my sister and my friend. I’m a very lucky man to have the love of two sisters in this life. There is no doubt that once again, the Creator stepped into my life with just what I needed, when I most needed it. I was lost and lonely so the Creator gave me some new family…life is good…

But now it has come to my attention that my dear sister Leontien feels like she doesn’t deserve a chapter in my book because she “Really didn’t do anything!”

Geeminy Christmas, I’m floored by this. See this is the same woman who visits death row inmates, works with the organization, Soul Sisters Unlocking Cell Doors. These women write cards and letters to inmates all over the country who may otherwise not hear from anyone. Leah has traveled around the world, multiple times to visit me and other prisoners she has befriended over the years I have had the honor and pleasure to know her.

So it’s like this, if you ever meet Leah or if you already know her, count yourself as blessed because this woman who claims she didn’t do anything has brought light and laughter to me and many others in these iron houses. She has shown empathy and understanding for those in circumstances she will never go through simply because she chooses to care for those who suffer. To me this kind of seems like considerably more than nothing. Leah has shared smiles and care and yep, even a strawberry kiwi drink with me at least.

Now, Leah, I know you will read these words, and you know how I feel about the truth being the only pure beauty in the cosmos, neither good or bad, false or contrived, simply the truth. So listen up, here it is…Sister mine, your kindness has made a huge impact in my life. You make me want to be a good man so I can make you proud of me, and that ain’t an easy thing to do! Simply put, I love ya sis, and to me, your brother who loves you for you…  

You Are A Rock Star!

HERE & WELL

Here I am
Living on memories again
It’s just that your ghost’s at hand
Whispering into my brain

And I should have known
That that’s how it had to go
And baby I loved you so
I know now that you’re gone

Chorus:
Well, it’s never so easy
As if I had just let you stay
So just be the music and words
To the songs that I play.

(Instrumental)

Don’t try selling me
Your psycho logic
It’s just not nostalgic
So let that be said

If the telephone rings
Hope eternal springs
Could it possibly be you
As if there were something that I could do
Then rest assured it would have been done.

(Instrumental)

Chorus:
Well, it’s never so easy
As if I had just let you stay
So just be the music and words
To the songs that I play.


Here & Well lyrics © Steven Maisenbacher (Walks on the Grass)
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