Prison is a State of Mind…

NON-NEGOTIABLE MORTALITY
In reality, there is nothing we can do—no fame we can garner, no money we can grub, no accumulation of “stuff” we can amass—which will have any meaning a few generations after our departure from this earth. As much as we try, our mortality is non-negotiable, our stuff stays behind, and our existence will become unimportant to the new crop of humans trying to figure out what to do with the mess we left them.

FADING GLORY

Even if our name is remembered by future generations, who we really are, things like our favorite color, our fears, our memories, our struggles and our simple joys will all fade, a mere collection of the unimportant trivia of one human’s personal preferences. As much as we struggle to create a lasting sense of significance in our existence through power or possessions, we all leave this earth taking nothing with us, disappearing into the vast history of the billions before us.

When my father was dying last year, his words were few. In the 90 days of his rapid deterioration brought on by skin cancer, his existence was mostly limited to thinking, watching, and listening to his family members gathering around for final precious moments with the patriarch. Although those days were filled with tending to the increasing demands of his decline, he did make a simple declaration that has left an indelible imprint on my choices each and every day. When musing over life and living, he quietly said to my aunt, “I think I made a mistake.”

Those final days, marked by few words, offered even fewer explanations. On March 10, 2011, when my father finally passed away, I was left to wonder what his statement might have meant. My guess is that, as he slowed down and began to reflect upon his life during those final hours, he realized that the things that had consumed his focus for 80-plus years were not things that truly mattered at the time of his departure.

WE DON’T NEED IT

The race to achieve significance, or possessions, or cash, or power oftentimes obscures the lasting meaning we might find in the daily reverence for the sacred potential of our existence. Of one thing I am completely and utterly convinced: we don’t need the power, money, fame, houses, cars, and all the junk we have been brainwashed into believing holds the key to our happiness or freedom. The proof of this can found in the lives of the uber-wealthy, our beloved reality show stars, or our professional politicians and celebrities who so often suffer from the threat of overnight dismantling of their fame or a mind-numbing pace of superficially important activities combined with the illusion of power, or addiction to alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs, or even to $500 smart phones which keep them from their children or loved ones.

WE BOUGHT THE LIE

Our nation has purchased a lie at the expense of our souls. And it fills our prisons, tempts elected officials to make decisions motivated by profit, and rips at the very fabric of our humanity, those core values that are proven in every society to enhance the human experience.

To experience significance in our lives and at the very core of our being, we must somehow resist those forces that lead us to disregard all that is simple, good and kind within the soul. In reality, what our society perceives and reveres as the key to happiness is actually a gauntlet standing in the way of any significance at all.

FED UP

There will come a time when, as a people, we get so fed up with the lies that we stop listening to professional politicians, the media, or the misguided high-profile celebrities. Far too often, however, it happens too late for us to repair the damage and clean up the fallout caused by our superficiality.

If today were to be the last day I spend as a guest in this rental suit called my human body, it will be a day when my significance is determined by how I might help another soul, make someone’s day brighter, or give more than I receive. In my father’s passing he taught me the greatest lesson of all: it’s a mistake to permit society to dictate what is important. And yet our leaders, our celebrities, and our warped and soul-less media scramble desperately to perpetuate the ultimate lie plaguing our nation—that freedom is found in accumulation.

LESSON LEARNED

As disquieting as it was, being by my father’s side as he came to his realization that he had succumbed to the lie was his greatest gift and one that I will cherish for the balance of my life.  Learning from his gift to me, I can live my day in the lesson of my father’s life.  And, with any luck, my final words will not be “I think I made a mistake.”

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Breaking Law = Breaks Lives
As the founder of the nation’s emerging leader in inmate self-corrective education, I am often questioned why I bother attempting to help 2.3 million individuals who have a difficult time playing by society’s rules. Some citizens get downright angry at the idea of providing criminals with anything, let alone education they can barely afford for their own children. There are strongly held opinions about what should happen to someone who willfully or aggressively causes another individual harm and very few of them include higher education or employment opportunities. Compounding this anger are the news reports of prisoners being let out of prison, only to cause more harm and accumulate more victims. Overall, there is very little community compassion for those who break the law.

This is because the victims of crimes suffer greatly at the hands of those who appear to have no concern for others. The pain of crime runs deep in the hearts, the souls and even the pocketbooks of the victims; the harm is oftentimes irreparable. And the victims of crimes are not only those who are personally injured or harmed, but also those who are shaken by the ripple of the deeds of others. The fallout and collateral damage of someone else’s crime is sometimes the most difficult thing in life to overcome, it may be a wave of destruction reverberating through every minute of every day, all caused by a human being who appears to be heartless.

Make it Go Away
When we humans are financially, emotionally or physically hurt, we want the harm to go away, forever. Is it any wonder a victim will want the harm to be locked away in a prison, far, far away from the ability to wield more harm? The logic goes like this: if the heart cannot heal, at least the person causing the harm should be punished for the rest of their life.

In addition to the literal physical harm caused by direct crimes, the ripple of seemingly “harmless” crimes has clouded all our lives, causing doubt, fear, and suspicion as the standard fare in the course of our every day. Trust is not something we offer each other automatically anymore, because businesses and individuals have been burned too often by people who willfully do things good people oftentimes do not understand.

We are all the victims of each and every crime committed; each and every one of us suffers at the hand of others who make their own rules. From the higher cost of goods resulting from the actions of thieves, to the irritating security measures we all face when attempting to cash a check or board an airplane. We all suffer — every last citizen — for the crimes of those who seem not to care, those who seem not to have feelings, or those who seem not to understanding the far-reaching damage that can be caused by even the smallest infraction of our laws.

Our children need escorts to school because they are unsafe walking our streets. Our credit cards are not safe from cyber hackers or drug addicts selling a stolen wallet for 20 bucks. Our homes and cars are vulnerable to those who think nothing of popping out a window or rattling our sense of security by entering our homes. Our businesses must be built as fortresses against the criminal, complete with surveillance cameras, security locks and higher prices on each and every item.

Society Under Attack
The very core of society is under attack by those who selfishly seek gratification at the expense of the rest of us. Someone who enters a convenience store and steals even something as small as a candy bar or a bottle of beer is directly attacking each one of us, causing heightened security and suspicion of those of us who are law-abiding citizens. The thief at a local store may think they are getting a “free” electronic gadget but it is at the expense of those of us who work hard to pay for the items we purchase. As part of the ripple of the criminal’s actions, the rest of us are scrutinized and must “prove” our honorability and identity. We, the honest citizens, are constantly under suspicion because a few of our citizens choose to steal from the rest of us.

Fundamental Flaw – Lock them Away
It has been our national policy to rid our community of the offenders, locking them away so they cannot cause us further harm. As a society, when we lock away the thief, the drug dealer, the drug addict, the bank robber, or the fraud we get a reprieve from the wave of destruction one single individual can wield upon their environment when they selfishly ignore the core human values of honesty, integrity, and kindness toward other living things or the property of others.

But the fundamental flaw in locking away the criminal is that 90 percent of all crimes committed require a prison sentence that, at some point, ends. Ninety percent of all criminals are released back into our communities, and many are released with fewer resources, but increased criminal skills and a long list of new “friends” who will also be released back into our society.

It is called “re”-habilitation but, to be honest, the individuals seeking to learn the positive decision-making tools we teach at Getting Out by Going In (GOGI) tell us they never had those tools in the first place. How can you attempt to rehabilitate someone who was never “habitualized” to society’s norms and rules? And why are a majority of prisoners stating that they didn’t know how to make a positive decision as a child?

What are the real reasons people fall into living a life of crime? Maybe it would help to understand who the criminals are in our nation.

The criminal in our nation is the young boy, raped by a neighbor, who begins to drink or join a gang and beat people up to prove he is a man. The criminal in our nation is the wife, who after years of abuse, finally can take it no more and kills her husband. The criminal in our nation might be the high school student who, for his very life’s sake, must join a gang because it is unsafe to walk to school without the “protection” offered by the reigning hoodlums. The criminal might be the individual released from prison or jail who cannot find employment and, in truth, has no employable skills who resorts to stealing, yet again. And the criminal in our nation just might be the insecure teenager sucked into a methamphetamine addiction to deal with the fact that she feels fat. The most significant part of the entire sorry scenario in our nation is statistics prove that once these individuals enter our prison system, the cycle of the downward spiral continues and few ever recover.

Victim, What do You Want?
Can we continue to ignore the fact that criminals are being released with fewer resources and opportunities and are reoffending at a staggering rate? Here is a question for you. If you are a direct victim of a crime, do you really want that individual to be released with the likelihood that they will commit more crimes, hurting others as they have hurt you? Do you really want a reprieve from the crimes, or do you want that person to stop hurting others, altogether?

We Want the Crimes to STOP!
At Getting Out by Going In (GOGI), the nonprofit founded in 2005 to address the need for positive decision making tools for our nation’s 2.3 million men, women and children in prisons, we want the crime to stop. We don’t want to make excuses for crime, coddle the prisoner, or dismiss the great harm caused by crime. What we want is for the crime to stop. Period. To make this happen, we ignite a revolution within the heart and mind of the individual so they have the positive decision making tools that allow them to walk away from the poor decisions leading to a life of crime.

Enough is Enough
Frankly, we are tired of people robbing banks, causing our banks to require bulletproof glass and raising the fees all of us pay. We are tired of people stealing from stores, causing the cost of goods to be raised so we pay more for items we need. We are tired of dope dealers not realizing someone just broke into our cars to give you a few bucks for the dope you offer. We are tired of people stealing our credit or debit cards, causing our credit to be damaged and raising the rates we pay for those cards. We are tired of having to carry two forms of ID to prove who we are when we make a purchase.

We are tired of paying $60,000 per year of our hard-earned wages in taxes to house a criminal so they will simply leave us alone for a little while, knowing that when they are released they are ostracized and outcast by society, and propelled into more criminal behavior. We are tired of the sad fact that the budget for our nation’s prisons is larger than the budget for educating our children. We are tired of the need to put bars on our windows, alarms on our cars We are tired of chasing criminals only to watch them waltz in and out of prisons and jails as if incarceration was simply a vacation from the havoc they cause.

And, more than anything, we are tired that no workable solution has been identified by our government. The default is to build more and more prisons, and release more and more ill-trained and unemployed people back onto our streets, and ultimately create more and more problems.

Doing Something About It
We at GOGI (www.gettingoutbygoingin.org) are so tired, in fact, that we have taken the matter into our own hands and offer tools for positive decision making to any individual behind bars who is as tired as we are of the cycle of incarceration. Why? Because we believe that until the criminal mind becomes a mind dedicated to good and to the service of others, nothing will improve. At GOGI we believe that until the criminal mind becomes a mind dedicated to good and to the service of others, nothing will improve.

Fix Yourself – GOGI and Self-Correction
In offering a simple set of tools for positive decision making for any individual interested in making positive decisions, we count on one thing; most criminals want to be good. Very few individuals want to be bad, hated, scorned, and resented. Most people want to be good parents, good sons and daughters, good neighbors. Very few criminals, or anyone else for that matter, wish to be a disappointment.

At GOGI, we believe and it is our experience that most individuals feel remorse for the harm they have caused. Most individuals wish they could have done things differently and struggle to find a way to make things right. And, surprisingly, most people in prisons today are willing and want to learn ways to be better humans.
In truth, there are some individuals who feel no remorse, who are incapable of empathy and who must be locked away because they simply cannot exist without causing great harm to others. But in a nation where we incarcerate a greater percentage of our citizens than any other county on earth, we know through personal experience that most of the millions of prisoners in our nation want to be better citizens, but do not have the skills needed to make lasting changes in their lives.

In our nation, in our homes, in our media, in our schools, and in our neighborhoods, we do not teach individuals how to make positive decisions. We assume parents do that, but many parents did not get that training, either. We have generational families of criminals because no one is bothering to teach anyone the tools needed for positive decision making and our media, our nation’s most powerful educator, glamorizes poor decision making as making people happy, famous, loved and rich.

At GOGI we have listened to the experiences of former prisoners, psychologists, addicts, religious leaders, 12-step program participants, chaplains and other nonprofits and we deliver what we believe to be simple tools which can be used by anyone interested in making more positive decisions which we offer to individuals, to groups and to organizations to use in their efforts to help individuals self-correct.

We call them the Twelve Tools of GOGI and we call it GOGI Self-Correction, the ability to use the Twelve Tools of GOGI to stop harming oneself and others with criminal behavior. Then, we go even further to suggest that ULTIMATE FREEDOM occurs when the harm-causing individual self-corrects and dedicates their life to living as a good example and being of service to the communities they once harmed.

What’s In It for the Victim?
When a harm-causing individual stops any future harm, we believe something good has happened. Nothing can replace the death of a loved one, credit that is ruined, or the long-term sense of violation experienced because of a burglary, a rape or battery, or drugs being sold to the children who then break a window or steal your mail, but at least the harm stops. To stop future harm is a good thing; it makes our communities safer and, we hope, assuages the grief of the victims, if only a little. The endless cycle of the revolving door of incarceration can stop. And, at GOGI, we want those who have harmed others to return to our communities and help heal those communities through their dedication to service. While that does not completely heal all the wounds of crime, at least it will protect others from harm.

The Only Real Solution
The only real solution to our nation of over-incarceration is for the individuals who harm businesses or other individuals or themselves to learn tools for positive decision-making. Crime will only stop when the criminals choose to do something else with their time. GOGI provides the Twelve Tools of GOGI for Positive Decision Making as a way to create alternatives in the lives of those who desire a change. The only real solution is within the individual and GOGI empowers the individual with the opportunity for change. And it is why GOGI exists, to give people a choice and the chance to live as productive and positive citizens

Giving Back
The victims of crimes suffer long after most of the criminals have moved on to their next wave of destruction. For that reason, GOGI is dedicated to providing the Twelve Tools of GOGI to the victims of crime, understanding that the psychological and physical ramifications of injury can be healed, somewhat, through the techniques used to inspire positive decision making. Additionally, we are intensely interested in the development of insight, empathy, and compassion within the hearts and minds of those who have injured others, teaching the incarcerated how harmful even the most seemingly innocuous action can be to others.

We support all efforts to help heal the victims, their families, and the communities who are damaged by the acts of others. We wish more than anything GOGI could have been taught to each person who killed another, sold a drug, robbed a store because we believe that when armed with the Twelve Tools of GOGI, individuals can and do make more positive choices. And, through offering the Twelve Tools of GOGI to a nation of poor decision makers, we are hoping to generate the support of those hurt most by crime. More than anything, we want the support of the victims, as only they know the pain caused by crime. They, more than anyone, should want the crime to stop, and GOGI provides the way to make that happen.

Teaching the Twelve Tools of GOGI is one solid way to begin the healing of our communities. And, because we understand the importance of insight and remorse, we encourage our GOGI students to dedicate their life to being of service to the communities they once harmed. We call that living a life of ULTIMATE FREEDOM.

Positive Decision Making Tools for All
Until we teach all citizens how to make positive decisions, we will have a nation of poor decision makers. It is not a matter of punishing the criminals, it is a matter of realigning out nation to the time-tested values at the core of all successful societies. Until we have a nation of individuals who can make positive decisions, we will have a nation of locked doors and generational incarceration. Is that the legacy we are prepared to have associated with our generation? Have we really declined as a society to a nation of poor decision makers pointing fingers and blaming everyone but self? We are all guilty of feeding the machine of a declining society and therefore we all suffer for the crimes of the few.

The Choice is Clear
The choice is a simple one. As a nation, do we really have the luxury of promoting poor decisions as having any other outcome other than despair and hopelessness? Whitney’s death and Demi’s rehab; are those really examples of the best we can do as a nation? Are we really so miserable that all we can do is focus on the misery of others to make us feel a little bit better about our lives?

The prisoners in our nation have expressed an overwhelming desire to self-correct, to fix themselves through their learning and application of the Twelve Tools of GOGI for Positive Decision Making. Just as crime hurts all of us, the poor decisions we each make dictate the direction of our nation. Where are you leading us?

FORGIVE is Freedom

Are you ready for freedom?

In my work with our nation’s 2.3 million men, women and children locked away in prisons and jails, I have witnessed the transformation of lives to such a degree that I might have considered them miracles, had I not also participated in the individuals’ ability and then choice to apply simple positive decision-making tools to their lives which led to the miraculous change. When tools for positive decision-making are learned and then applied, miracles seem to emerge on their own and quite naturally, like a single wild flower in a barren desert landscape.

This type of miracle, the transformation of an entire life, is not so much divine intervention resulting from hours of solitary prayer in some jail cell but, rather, a natural result of making consistent choices. Somehow, when applying simple tools for positive decision making for a sustained period of time, increasing numbers of men, women and children experience freedom from the seemingly never-ending Loop of Harm which has plagued their lives and perpetuated additional injury to themselves and others.

I have witnessed these life-changing “miracles,” these little wild flowers blooming in the desert, in my role as founder and executive director of Getting Out By Going In (GOGI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the teaching and sharing of tools for positive decision making we call the Twelve Tools of GOGI. My life is spent in the barren environments of our nation’s prisons and jails. My life’s calling is to share twelve simple tools for positive decision making which are designed to help anyone, anywhere, get out of their own mental prison by going inward for the answers.

My work with GOGI has consumed a decade of my attention and dedication. And, as a result of meeting with tens of thousands of incarcerated individuals, and after listening, strategizing, and then teaching and empowering, I can say with great certainty that positive change is neither as difficult as we perceive to obtain nor is it challenging for us to maintain. What keeps us tethered to pain in our lives is the Loop of Harm, reliving the thoughts, words or actions which have failed to get us better results. This Loop of Harm, which feels so real, which causes so much pain, is actually nothing more than an illusion, a cloud of disempowerment which obscures our view of the vast levels of freedom available to any living being, incarcerated or not. The Loop of Harm can be eliminated with one simple tool: FORGIVE.

The Incarcerated Understand the Loop of Harm

No other group of humans has caused more harm or had more harm thrust upon them than the incarcerated. In our nation we have 2.3 million men, women and children who sit in tiny cells in prisons and jails scattered in every corner of the country. I have listened to their histories, their childhoods, their crimes, their addictions, their excuses, their reasons, their regrets, their sorrows and their resolve to make things right. With a majority of our incarcerated emerging from neglect, poor parenting, poor education, lack of supervision, abuse, abandonment, mental health challenges, and self-medicating addiction, our nation’s incarcerated have taught me a thing or two about FORGIVE.

In working with those who have the most to FORGIVE, or the most to be forgiven for, I have had the opportunity to look more closely at the components of the process of FORGIVE, as those who seek forgiveness and those who forgive are oftentimes the first individuals to break the cycle of the Loop of Harm. I have observed the lives of individuals who live in the Loop of Harm perpetuated by the cloud of self-injury called guilt, remorse, blame, shame, insecurity and hopelessness. These individuals re-live the harm over and over again, at the expense of creating an environment for healing. This does not mean it is appropriate to avoid feelings of guilt or remorse; what it means is that at a certain point, the Loop of Harm must come to an end and the feelings and actions of the individual must move beyond the harm to a more positive and productive state. Even in experiencing or causing the most unforgivable act, FORGIVE will put an end to the perpetuation of additional injury to self and others.

Forgiveness is not FORGIVE

Here is what I now understand through conversations with convicted criminals (which make up the most prevalent conversations I have held over the past 10 years): There is a difference between “forgiveness” and the GOGI tool FORGIVE. Forgiveness is a concept which is oftentimes hard to grasp while the GOGI tool FORGIVE provides specific actions which lead to forgiveness. Until we have the tools to move beyond the harm, until we can move into action with forgiveness, we are caught in the Loop of Harm, perpetuating injury to self and others long after the initial injury. Putting an end to the Loop of Harm is what happens when FORGIVE becomes a set of actions.

Here actions related to the GOGI tool FORGIVE:

1) FORGIVE REQUIRES PROTECTION – Getting distance from the injury.
2) FORGIVE IS ABOUT TIMING – Obtaining an adequate level of experience and learning beyond the injury.
3) FORGIVE STOPS THE HARM – Achieving a disconnection from injury.
3) FORGIVE IS FREEDOM – Creating decreased likelihood of similar injury and increased levels of service to others.
Let’s look at each of these four actions steps individually:

FORGIVE REQUIRES PROTECTION

FORGIVE cannot occur while one remains close to the possibility or experience of harm. Here are a few examples: A mother wants to help her son who has a meth addition, but every time the son comes home, the contents of her purse somehow end up missing. The mother tries to follow her religious belief and be a woman of forgiveness, knowing forgiveness is something she believes is important. She tries over and over again, but she keeps getting hurt, financially and emotionally. He promises he will stop and he does for a week or two, but he then vanishes in the middle of the night for a few weeks with her money, a piece of jewelry and one more chunk of her heart. This illustrates the critical key to FORGIVE. FORGIVE cannot happen for as long as the harm is still occurring. In fact, the mother is actually perpetuating and participating in the creation of new harm by attempting to FORGIVE without first securing adequate protection. The mother must have adequate protection from additional harm before FORGIVE should be undertaken.

Here are a couple more examples: A young girl cannot FORGIVE an abusive neighbor for as long as the neighbor has the potential to continue the abuse. And a boy cannot FORGIVE a bully at school for as long as the bully is perpetuating the harm. FORGIVE requires protection—protection from immediate injury to self or others.

But FORGIVE is not just about being out of harm’s way.

FORGIVE IS ABOUT TIMING

Age is often the determining factor in the timing aspect of FORGIVE. This is because during the years of our youth we experience many things for which we have no protection or from which we cannot protect ourselves. The beauty of aging is that there comes a time when we are no longer automatically the victim because of our size or dependency on adults. Even if we have caused the harm, age permits us the time and the ability to choose to strengthen ourselves beyond our injurious behaviors. Timing allows us to use learned and naturally occurring competencies and coping skills to FORGIVE.

Here are some examples. Rilen is spending the rest of his life in prison for committing a murder. In working with him to help him make better decisions in his life, he revealed that his father locked him in a dog cage outside of the house for many years of his youth. The treatment and abuse which were wielded upon this young child are truly unspeakable. When working on the GOGI tool FORGIVE he stated that until he was able to LET GO and FORGIVE, he continued to live in that cage. Only when he could FORGIVE was he set free from the cage of his abuse. FORGIVE freed him from the cage in his mind which could have existed long after he was released.

Another prisoner who I will call “Sally” was placed in a deep freezer by a stepfather who had burned her body with the ends of his cigarettes while forcing unthinkable sexual acts upon her. Her inability to FORGIVE kept her locked in to that abuse, causing sleepless nights, a lack of trust in all men and overuse of drugs to self-medicate. She could not feel “safe enough” to permit FORGIVE to free her. She remained trapped in the Loop of Harm and her entire life played out as if she remained in the deep freezer.

FORGIVE STOPS THE HARM

The most challenging aspect of harm is reconciling the fact that the person causing the harm seems to move beyond the harm with no problem. They leave you in the Loop of Harm and simply move on, creating other loops for other victims. The injured person may even sustain more injury as a result of the person’s callous ability to simply move on. The Loop of Harm is exacerbated when the person causing harm smiles, threatens, or pretends nothing happened.

Here is a real-life example: For his entire childhood, a man suffered at the hands of his father. Beatings, drunken rages and verbal abuse were commonplace. The son eventually succumbed to the drinking he so hated in his father and lived out a couple of tortuous decades becoming the very thing he hated. On the father’s deathbed the son said, “Dad…I FORGIVE you.” This was a big step for the son who had committed himself to a life of sobriety and moving beyond the horrors of his childhood. The father, who showed a moment of lucidity for the first time in several weeks, clearly stated, “Forgive me? Forgive me for what? What did I do? I didn’t do nothin’.” The father denied, until his dying moment, that he had inflicted harm of any kind. By acting on FORGIVE, however, the son was released from the persistent harm caused by the father, even though the father left this world believing he was guilty of nothing. If the son had gotten angry that his father would not accept responsibility, the son would have been thrust right back into the Loop of Harm and may have returned to the behavior he was struggling so diligently to overcome.

Later, the son reported that FORGIVE did not need to be a two-way street, nor did his father need to correct his behavior for FORGIVE to work. FORGIVE was the only way the son could get himself out of the Loop of Harm. FORGIVE was the only way to stop additional harm, irrespective of the participation of the other person.

FORGIVE works because it automatically stops the pain and instantly removes you from the position of victim. For as long as you do not FORGIVE you agree to play the part of the victim in the Loop of Harm. When you FORGIVE, you are no longer the victim in the Loop of Harm.
FORGIVE does not mean the harm did not happen. Rather, FORGIVE means you no longer agree to be the victim of the harm.

FORGIVE IS FREEDOM

Freedom from something provides us with freedom for something else. But, for as long as we participate as a victim, we cannot be free to be anything else. Some people might argue, “But, my entire life was ruined because of it. How can I not be a victim?” But what happened in the past is not the question. The question is, are you ready to out of the Loop of Harm which has been directing your life? The individual in the center of the Loop of Harm might reply, “But my entire life will be spent in prison because of my drug use. I can’t FORGIVE myself.” To that person, I would suggest that for as long as they wish to remain in the Loop of Harm, that is how long they will be a victim of their actions. If that is for the balance of their life, then they will exist in the Loop of Harm for the balance of their days.
Some of the most internally free individuals I have ever met will live the balance of their lives behind bars. They have made the conscious choice to not have their previous actions limit the service they can provide to others. They have decided that no matter what they have done, they want deeper and deeper levels of spirituality or religion; they long to be of service and put an end to the destruction of their community.
Even if we are the most persistent perpetrators, and even if we have wielded great harm on those we love, FORGIVE can provide a level of freedom which allows for great purpose in living: the purpose of being an example of the level of freedom which can be attained through service to others. Here is an example: At 17, a young man participated in the shooting murder of a rival gang member. He was sent to prison for the rest of his life. For as long as he behaves, thinks, and acts like a murderous gang member, he is not only perpetuating the harm he caused, but he is causing greater harm by perpetuating similar actions through his example. When he can FORGIVE himself, he can become an advocate for change, a teacher of the youngsters who falsely believe in and follow their gang mentality. Until he can FORGIVE, he continues to perpetrate harm on his community. When he removes himself from the Loop of Harm and no longer participates in the harm in any way, he then becomes part of the solution.

Putting FORGIVE into action items places the responsibility where it should be: with you. Forgiveness is a nice concept, but until it is broken down into do-able steps, it is a concept which often eludes us, causing us to sometimes feel inadequate or weak. FORGIVE, however, when used as a cognitive tool for healing, gives us four critical actions we can take to prepare ourselves for the freedom we can achieve from any atrocity we have inflicted or which has been inflicted upon us. In fact, most incarcerated individuals have a Loop of Harm filled with abuses they experienced before they became the abuser or the person causing harm. Regardless of how big or powerful your Loop of Harm may be, to act on FORGIVE and get out of the Loop of Harm is an option. Remaining in the Loop of Harm is a choice we can make, but it is not the only choice. And FORGIVE is the GOGI tool you can use to unlock the prison of your mind.

According to the GOGI Calendar, 2012 is the Year of FORGIVE, a year of focusing on the great power inherent in the freedom which comes from no longer participating in the Loop of Harm.

Is FORGIVE a tool you are prepared to use as you create the experience of this New Year? Here is the test. Just ask yourself the following four questions:

Am I in harm’s way, or is there a chance I may still cause harm if I attempt to FORGIVE?
Do I have enough information and am I strong enough to FORGIVE?
If I am no longer the victim, what am I? What might I become, if I am no longer a victim?
Am I prepared for the responsibility freedom provides or is it easier to remain in the Loop of Harm?
When you have the answers to these questions, you will know what must be done to free yourself. This new year is yours to create. FORGIVE can provide you with a ticket off the Loop of Harm, a freedom which will permit this year to be the best year yet. Are you ready?

FURTHER STUDY:
For individuals interested in FORGIVE, here are some questions for you to consider and actions for you to take:
1) FORGIVE REQUIRES PROTECTION – Getting distance from the injury. IS FORGIVE RIGHT FOR YOU? When considering if you can FORGIVE or not, ask these questions: “Am I in harm’s way, or is there a chance I may still cause harm if I attempt to FORGIVE? Is there protection from future harm?” These are the most critical questions to ask when embarking on FORGIVE. If you can honestly say that you are not in immediate danger, then FORGIVE will work for you. If you do not have protection, it is your opportunity to seek and secure protection so you can begin to FORGIVE.
2) FORGIVE IS ABOUT TIMING – Obtaining an adequate level of experience and learning beyond the injury. IS FORGIVE RIGHT FOR YOU? If you are considering FORGIVE, the question you can ask is: “Do I have enough information and am I strong enough to FORGIVE?” If the answer is “yes” then FORGIVE will work for you. If you do not believe you have the strength or new learning which you can depend on, then FORGIVE will not work. You must first learn more and be strong enough to believe you can avoid similar harm. If you are not strong enough, do what it takes to gain strength. If you do not have enough new learning, you can do whatever it takes to increase the knowledge you have.
3) FORGIVE STOPS THE HARM – Achieving a disconnection from injury. IS FORGIVE RIGHT FOR YOU? If you are considering FORGIVE, here is a question for you to ask yourself. “If I am no longer the victim, what am I?” Sometimes remaining a victim is a subtle permission for you to be less than your potential. Does remaining the victim provide you with something to think or talk about? Does it provide you with a legitimate reason not to be successful? Or happy? More often than not I find that the Loop of Harm, or consistently ruminating over a previous abuse, is a grand excuse to remain disabled. Is that what you do to yourself? “If I am no longer the victim, what am I? What might I become, if I am no longer a victim?” These are your questions in the process of FORGIVE.
4) FORGIVE IS FREEDOM – Creating decreased likelihood of similar injury and increased levels of service to others. IS FORGIVE RIGHT FOR YOU? If you are considering FORGIVE, you can ask yourself this question. “Am I prepared for the responsibility freedom provides or is it easier to remain in the Loop of Harm?” If you can accept the responsibility inherent in freedom, then, by all means, FORGIVE yourself and others. If you are not prepared for uncomfortable levels of responsibility which are inherent with freedom, then do whatever you can to prepare yourself through study, prayer, service and practicing tools for positive decision making.

During the holiday shopping season of 2011, we witnessed a few isolated incidents of violence as one person had acquired a desirable product that someone else wanted. While millions of us went about our shopping without injuring anyone, incidents like these are powerful illustrations that remind us to keep our focus on those things which bring more lasting pleasure in our lives.

These incidents can serve as a reminder for each of us to reflect on the example we are setting in our own lives.  Are we living our lives with increasing, or decreasing, reliance on the latest products and services which entice us further into the web of dependency?  With every thought, word and action are we moving closer to or further from increasing self-sufficiency and internal freedom?

Products have never proven to provide lasting pleasure.  Just look at anti-depressant medication sales, prescription medication addiction, illegal drug use and alcoholism, as well as addiction to shopping and food over the past several decades.  The richer we become as a nation and the more products we buy with our money, the more frequently we as a people turn toward anti-depressants, illegal drugs and alcohol, overeating unhealthy foods. Subtly, and without much notice, we’ve become a nation of addicts floundering in a futile effort to assuage feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and sadness.

While the U.S. comprises only four percent of the world’s population, we have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.  We, as a nation, have more criminals behind bars than any other nation in the world.  Is this because people in the U.S. are criminals?  Or is it because we have followed some really weak examples and drifted too far from the core human values which determine the destiny of any nation?  Is it possible we have a nation of addicts who are lost and prone to commit crimes in an effort to feed an addiction they believe will help them deal with their internal misery?

Have we, as a nation, forgotten that no product on earth can replace the joy which comes from living a simple life committed to a set of core human values which allows us to sleep well at night and not look over our shoulder during the day? Do we even teach our children that living a life committed to core human values permits us the undying pleasure of a steady hand and a clean soul?   Do our school children know that there are core values which exist in cultures across the globe and, absent these core values, humans are prone to suffer?

I remember when I was sitting with a tiny young boy, maybe 12 or so, who had been sent to boy’s camp for breaking the law.  He was seated in an office where I was looking at my files and planning my day as a volunteer working with the 100-plus boys in the detention setting.

“What are you in here for?” I asked.

“Bur-gur-ee?” he said with a question in his voice.

“You mean burglary, with an L.  Bur-gla-ry,” I repeated so he could hear the word correctly. “Say that.  Bur-gla-ry.”

He said the word correctly.

“That means you went into someone’s home when they were not there and took some of their things. Right?” I asked.

He nodded.

By the size of him, I knew the drill.  He couldn’t have been more than 70 pounds, at most.

“You probably were the one they had go through the window and open the door, right?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Yeah. Well, it’s not good for you to take things that you have not earned.  I bet it feels bad, right here,” I said, placing my hand on his heart.

He dropped his head and started to cry.

“It’s ok,” I said, putting my hand on his back.  “I want you to sit up straight.”

He did.

“Keep your head up and listen to me.”

He followed my instructions.

“One day, you will learn that it does not make you feel good to hurt others or take their things.  That is what we call integrity.”

He looked up at me with eyes that spoke of a desire to know more.

“Have you ever heard the word called integrity?” I asked.

“Nah,” he replied, as if sensing he was missing out on something.

“Integrity is a powerful word.  Integrity means you are a soldier for good.  You agree to protect others, not harm them, and that you will never take anything that does not belong to you.  That is being a soldier for good. That is integrity.  Integrity will make your heart feel really good,” I said before he was taken into the two-minute meeting with his probation officer to receive punishment for an outburst which got him into trouble.

As he walked away, I hoped something would stick deep within his heart which might surface later and motivate him to seek more information about core values such as integrity.  His prognosis for the near future, however, was less than bleak.  It was almost pointless to tell him about integrity because he was not being returned to an environment where  integrity could exist.  His mother was likely not around much, since it was highly probable she was both mother and father, unless she was incarcerated.  If it was grandma raising him, she was likely overwhelmed.  In the neighborhood where he was living, the other situationally orphaned boys of the neighborhood had probably adopted him into their gang and were the father figures he longed for and needed.  Bur-gur-ee was just something his “adopted family” of lost boys did, without question and without conscience.

Why is integrity not taught in school, I wonder?  It is not associated with any specific religion, so it can’t come under fire for the “separation between Church and State,” concept contained in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  How did core values somehow get tossed out when we decided religion should be something done outside of government-funded buildings, anyway? Why didn’t we keep the core value teaching component of religions inside our nation’s buildings when we shut out the churches?

It is not a religious belief but, rather, an inevitable fact that lasting pleasure, the kind that cures the suffering currently afflicting our nation, only comes from making choices which are old fashioned, outdated, and unvalued in today’s society. They were the values taught by religion but certainly not exclusive to any religion.  Those things are: honesty, integrity, humility, honor, loyalty, working diligently, being a person of your word, maintaining cleanliness of body and mind, sharing and being generous of heart, displaying acts of kindness and compassion, just to name a few.

Religion taught us those things, but religion need not have the exclusive claim on core values.  Consequently, what has emerged is a short-term, pleasure-seeking society addicted to the quick fix of illusionary pleasure. Rest assured that if it is not the subject of a reality television show, then it is likely to be a core value leading toward internal happiness.   If it appears on a reality show, it is possibly an example of what is weakening the core of our nation.

This fact remains: as a nation, we are only as strong as our weakest citizens.  If there is any segment of our population that believes an item can secure happiness, then we are witness to the kind of thinking which erodes the very fabric of any country.  While there are those who, unfortunately, have drifted from living a good life and traveled far from the shortest path to internal freedom, their plight is a valuable opportunity for us to check our own potential to fall off course.  They provide an example of what happen when we travel too far from the core values which ultimately make us happy.

What is the solution to the problems resulting from a nation with a large segment of the population focused on possession of today’s latest trinkets?  The answer is not to hand out trinkets for all, as that only perpetuates hunger for the meaningless.  The answer is that each one of us has the opportunity to dig deeper into the timeless happiness which comes from living a life rich in core human values. Then, to solidify our own internal happiness, we may become an example for others through our choices.  Those individuals who are able to survive the misery caused by misconception will be those who turn their focus to that which guarantees internal happiness: timeless core human values which have been promoted as holding importance in nearly every religion and every culture known to man.

As this year turns into the next, 2012 holds within it the possibility of becoming the Year of the Example.  Rather than an example of excess and frantic struggle for internal peace, maybe you can join the increasing number of individuals who are choosing to set an old-fashion and yet timeless example of living a life focused on core human values.

Maybe 2012 is your year to decline to participate in anything which erodes your own fabric of lasting internal happiness.  It is always possible to complain about the greed and gluttony of others and feel  slightly better about your own life.  It is also possible to witness the misdirection leading to the suffering of others and use it as a reminder of your own human frailties, turning, rather, to strengthen your world from the inside out.  Will you choose to complain or seek a deeper solution within your own life?

The solution to our nation’s problems is not found outside of ourselves.  It is not about fixing the other person or instituting a global change of the system.  The only lasting solution is found within each individual, when the individual’s core values are so profoundly strong, that others are changed as a result of the example being set.   It’s only when people change their own internal systems,  that the systems of governments and organizations can accommodate the change.  Until the individuals within the system change, the system cannot sustain change.  Systems do not change people for the better because only people can change people for the better.  This change comes only through examples, witnessing others who are living, walking, and breathing examples of all that is possible when one’s choices in life are consistent with core human values.   There is enough power within one single individual to change an entire world.  Lasting change only occurs when one single individual makes the commitment to be the example for others to follow.  Then, when enough  individuals change, the system will automatically self-correct to accommodate the emerging needs.  The system is the servant of the individuals it is intended to serve.  It will change when the individual changes.

If you choose this coming year to be an example of good in your very own household and neighborhood, you are choosing to have the most lasting positive impact on our world. No act  is as powerful as a living example of core human values in action.  And, by your choices in 2012, you will show to the world what is important to you.  Know this: as the clock strikes the magical hour when one year is considered the past and a new opportunity emerges, 2012 will become yours to create.

With this new year there comes an  inevitability: every human being will be  an example of something.  Will you be an example of how to perpetuate the cycle of suffering with your choices, just another person on the pile of our nation’s miserables? Or will you join the increasing number of individuals who have grown weary of the struggle for a momentary pleasure and who are now setting an example of getting out of their self-imposed prison by going inward for the answers?

This year of 2012 calls for you to think before you follow the human lemmings headed over the cliff in one big product-driven consumer orgy.  2021 is the Year of the Example, of those blindly falling over the cliff and of those who are standing firmly committed to the core values proven to provide inner peace.

Be mindful of the example you set by your thoughts, your words and your actions. Tend to every moment of every day as if it defines the very core of who you are.  In a very real way, it does.

While comfortably seated in the back seat of Coach Miss B’s Honda, I am hooked in to a temporary internet connection to  write about our recent experience at California Corrections Women’s Facility where we worked with more than 100 women who are desperately seeking the tools they can use to make positive decisions in their lives.  This was yet another successful GOGI workshop, brought into reality by Coach Jennie Curtis who works with the GOGI women at that prison. The goal of the workshop was to reinforce the teaching of how to use the Twelve Tools of GOGI for positive decision making.

I am curious.  Why must we wait until we hit bottom, we land in jail, we end up bankrupt, or we find ourselves divorced before we aggressively seek the tools for positive change?  I have no answers here, other than human nature tends to focus on pleasure.  Oftentimes change, real change, is perceived as hard work.  As Coach Miss B and Coach Amy and I worked with the 100 + incarcerated women of CCWF yesterday, however, the change process was fun, and playful.  The women were tasked with the goal of teaching the Twelve Tools of GOGI through dance, song, poetry or any other means which would entertain and be fun.  At the end of our time together they had coordinated a talent show that rivaled anyone on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.  In a series of skits and songs and participatory games, The Twelve Tools of GOGI were learned and reinforced among the women.  My favorite was possibly the song.  It was a beautiful testament to the value of the human soul.   The song, with the lyrics “We are GOGI, women of integrity.  Inner freedom is our goal, GOGI 4 Life!” was sung in a round with 100 beautiful voices ringing out like the voice of angels.

Coach Miss B is minding the speed limit of 60 MPH as we pass the prison-populated small towns of this Central California valley area.  Coach Amy is napping.  I am, as usual, taking every possible opportunity to share my world of GOGI with the world.

I have witnessed the fact that change happens, even in those who society feels are unchangeable.  Maybe, someday, we humans won’t wait till the bottom falls out of our life before we embrace the opportunity to make lasting change a fun-filled experience.   That would be my hope; that The Twelve Tools of GOGI are a playful addition to the academic requirements of all school children in the US, empowering individuals with critical tools for positive decision making long before the first bad decision sucks them into the rabbit hole from which they must struggle so desperately to escape.

When Silence Says it All

I wonder. Do we really need to use so many words to express ourselves or interpret our world?  The question comes to mind as I sit comfortably in a corner chair at the neighborhood coffee shop.  My otherwise peaceful time away from the office is thwarted by my inability to tune out the roar of mindless chatter; people exchanging one set of words for another and most not hearing a word the other is saying.

As I glance up from the screen of my new Mac Book, which is not quite as intuitive as the ads proclaim, it appears as if people are talking, but no one is really listening. They all appear to be on a sort of anticipatory pause waiting for a break in the words so they might cram their words into the open space. It’s more like an intricately timed overlapping of words between sips of overpriced hot water dripped over coffee beans.  From the chair I claim as temporarily mine, it seems as if words are what link us together, connect us, keep us tethered together in some superficial illusion of mutual understanding.

I suppose it is true, words are inescapable in this world where if it is not verbalized, texted, or tweeted it probably does not exist.  I take that back.  I popped into a drop-in massage studio last week and the Thai-looking petite woman who earned $45 an hour for working the knots out of my shoulders did not initiate the lobbying of comments or questions. Maybe she understood any conversation would have been forgotten as soon as the next client walked through the door. Or, maybe she didn’t speak English.  Whatever the reason, it was a sweet reprieve, not to hear words for a full 50 minutes.  Attempting to maximize the experience, I did my best to banish words from my thoughts during that blissful, wordless moment in time. It was truly a glorious escape from the almighty word.

I have been giving serious consideration to living a year of my life in silence. You read that right.  Not speaking for an entire year.  Saying nothing for a full 365 days.  As I seek deeper levels of a spiritual existence while doing my time on our lovely little planet Earth, it seems as if words frequently obstruct the spiritual journey, or, at the very least, slow down its progress.  Absence of words, then, may provide me with a rare opportunity to truly listen to the world around me. It might help me figure out a few lingering issues about life’s purpose and how best to serve others during my tenure here.

Can you imagine how you might perceive your world if you could truly observe all of its nuances while relieved of the obligation of adding your own commentary?  I wonder if those things that consume your thoughts would remain important if you did not empower them with a few paragraphs of opinion.

Listening is most certainly underrated.  Most individuals applaud the skilled wordsmith and orator.  We elect officials by their choice of words, not by a record of their deeds.  We marry and divorce due to words, not on the development of relationships that withstand harsh words.  We buy in to words telling us what we need to own, plunging our families and our entire nation into debt from which we must struggle to recover.

We are missing the fact that the true value of the life experience is found in carefully listening, and paying attention to the words chosen by others.  Listening permits us to learn, to assess and to experience the words of others.  When we speak, we tell the world a great deal about us, like turning over our hand in a critical poker game.  With our word choice, we reveal our limitations, our weaknesses, our preferences, our educational level as well as our interests and desires.  When we listen, however, we can observe and learn those things in others.  The person who speaks is exposed, in a way.  And their intentions will eventually surface if we let them chatter long enough.  Interestingly enough, the person who remains silent is in the optimal place of learning, able to take in all the information and eventually make the most powerful decision.

I remember the first time I instructed an entire module of female inmates held in the Los Angeles County Jail that I wanted them to be completely silent, not to say a word, not utter a peep for 24 hours.  I did this because there was a heightened amount of gossip ripping and the fabric of the therapeutic work I was doing with the women.  Rather than attempt to hold back the tidal wave of cross talk, I silenced them.  That night, as I closed the day with the closing of my eyes, I wondered how my students were doing, wordless for 24 hours, some wordless for the first time in their lives.

The following morning when I entered the silent module I received the requisite reports of minor infractions of “Coach Taylor’s Law,” but I was more surprised by what was shared after all the violations were reported. A majority of the women were grateful, grateful they were relieved of the obligation of communication. They told me they loved the silence, welcomed the disconnection for a period.  It gave them time to reflect on their life choices, to think, to meditate, and to pray.

As for my own life, I have maintained silence for a full 72 hour period when completing my ordination as an Interfaith Minister.  I chose 72 hours of silence simply because I did not want to engage in superfluous conversations. I did not want the distraction of words that may have gotten in the way of my ability to focus on my ordination and my commitment to helping people find internal freedom, regardless of where they awake each morning.

Silence is the subtle, and rarely used key to internal freedom. Silence empowers us to turn within for the answers to life’s questions, which are where powerful and life-changing answers reside.

What will I find if I choose a full year of wordless observation of life and the living?  What might happen within my heart and soul if I am not required to verbalize my experience?  Will my life experience be diminished or enhanced if I am unable to label them with a combination of A-Z letters?  What will happen to my feelings and my human emotions?  Emotions often inspire, or require, a litany of words to maintain their strength. Will human emotion diminish in the absence of the word?  Will I be able to hold on to anger if I am not permitted to verbalize my frustration to others? Or will I just LET GO of those experiences that are exacerbated through giving them value through words?

A blind man learns to listen with heightened acuity in the absence of his sight.  A deaf woman learns to watch with keen attention in the absence of hearing.  I wonder.  How will food taste if meals are held in silence rather than hastily inhaled during a chat-fest social occasion?  At the close of the 365th day in the absence of words, will there be a heightened reverence for the words I will first utter?

I will likely choose to live a full year in silence.  Most likely, it will not be this coming year as I am releasing another GOGI book called “How To GOGI” and this book needs my strong voice so it will find it’s way into the hearts and minds of men, women, and children who wish to learn the simple tools to aid them in their efforts to make positive decisions in their lives.

I wonder if anyone in Starbucks has observed my silence. Or am I the invisible the lady in the corner occasionally looking up at the duos and trios huddled over tiny tables?  It seems to me the consumers filling the seats in the coffee shop struggle for connection, struggle to be heard, to be understood, loved and appreciated.  Could they comprehend the concept that their words are actually the very reason their goal remains out of reach?  What might happen if they all chose to be silent, a giant flash mob of silence across our country for a few minutes.  Would the window of opportunity remain open enough for them to actually feel connected in a more powerful, wordless way?

I am coming to appreciate the underutilized power found in empty space; the void.  The void is found in the absence of the spoken word.  It seems as if within the emptiness, the void, in the absence of words, there is ample space for creation to occur.  It is within the void of word that we can engage in the creation of a meaningful connection, of lasting change, of the underutilized potential of the human mind.

Oftentimes we rush to fill the void with words. That is why I wonder what may happen if filling the void with words is not an option for a full year.  I am likely to choose a year of silence in the near future.  Until then, I will begin to practice.  Maybe it is a good time to speak a little less, maybe choose my words more carefully. Maybe it is a good time for our entire nation to speak a little less and listen a little more.

WHAT IF we slowed down the pace of our commentary?  WHAT IF we didn’t rush to fill the silence with hastily chosen words?  WHAT IF we listened for a deeper communication?  Maybe, just maybe, it is within the void, in the absence of words, we find the kind of life that defies all verbal explanation.  Could it be that silence says it all?

The GOGI Way

After answering a barrage of questions at recent prison workshops, I decided to add an introduction chapter to the next GOGI book I am writing.  The contents below make up the contents of that chapter….

Getting Out by Going In (GOGI) is the name for a nonprofit, volunteer-driven group of citizens who believe that humans can, and do, make positive decisions when their desire for change is combined with positive decision making tools. But Getting Out by Going In is not just an organization. Getting Out by Going In is also something you can do; turning inward for your answers and getting out of your old prisons.

The Unlimited Power of the Human Mind

At its very core, when Getting Out by Going In (GOGI) is in action, it acknowledges and supports the unlimited power of the human mind to change, to grow, and to create opportunities as well as create obstacles. GOGI, as an organization, is dedicated and committed to teaching simple tools that help a majority of individuals to make better decisions. That is what GOGI does; helping anyone, anywhere make better decisions through use of the Twelve Tools of GOGI.

As much as GOGI is a set of twelve simple tools for positive decision making, GOGI is also a perspective and very much a way to look at your life. The GOGI Way is one which has the ability to empower you to Getting Out of old behavior by Going In for the solutions. GOGI believes that if you take your focus off the problems around you and focus you efforts to fixing the problems within you, you will magically realize there are fewer external problems. By turning your focus inward, you will also identify simple solutions to those seemingly out-of-control problems which once kept you up at night or caused worry during the day.

The GOGI Way empowers you; it creates an opportunity for you to experience freedom, regardless of where you awake each morning. The GOGI perspective is about seeing the world with the knowledge that you can always make a positive decision, even in the most negative of circumstances.

What IS The GOGI Way?

This idea of “The GOGI Way” has people confused. They question if GOGI is a “program” or a “religion” or a twelve step or a club of some sort. GOGI is none of those things. Rather, GOGI is a way of seeing the world in which you live. Just like there can be negative people who go to your church, there can be positive people who go to your church. GOGI helps negative people be more positive, irrespective of their church affiliation. Just like there can be people who succeed in programs and others who fail programs again and again, people who learn the GOGI tools seem to do a better job in their programs. Just like there can be anxious people and relaxed people, GOGI is helpful in getting people to relax.

GOGI is a way of looking at life which helps anyone be better at anything they choose to do. GOGI is similar to, and is consistent with, core human values which are at the foundation of all religions and efforts aiding in the improvement of the human condition. The simple tools taught by GOGI are intended to permit you to do your religion more fully, excel more completely in your programs, and positively unite members of your clubs or organization with a simple language to promote increased levels of positive decision making. GOGI is for anyone, anytime, anyplace, at any age.

WHAT IF The GOGI Way was taught to kids?

If taught to our school children, we are certain there would be more relaxed, positive, and productive citizens as these simple tools are the foundation of positively functioning in society. If each and every child was taught LET GO, FORGIVE, CLAIM RESPONSIBILITY, there would be less dropouts and childhood drug use. If each child was taught BOSS OF MY BRAIN, BELLY BREATHING and FIVE SECOND LIGHTSWITCH, we would have an increased number of children smiling as they sat in overcrowded classrooms. If each child was taught POSITIVE THOUGHTS, POSITIVE WORDS and POSITIVE ACTIONS we would have less bullying of our school children. If we empowered our youngsters with WHAT IF, REALITY CHECK and ULTIMATE FREEDOM, it is likely we would be turning our prisons into colleges and universities because we would be reducing our inmate population so drastically.

It is our belief at GOGI that simple tools for positive decision making are not to be withheld from anyone for any reason. All humans could have the ability to learn simple tools for positive decision making. That is what the organization Getting Out by Going In has set out to do; provide every living human being with the Twelve Tools of GOGI to increase their ability to make positive decisions. We began our work with the incarcerated men, women and children in the United States of America and we are expanding to include every man, woman and child before they create the prison which limits their life experience.

It is said that people who follow The GOGI Way seem to look happier, seem to have a glow about them and that they exude a happiness which comes from within. That is true. Happiness on the inside eventually finds its way outward. GOGI helps people be better people and the internal happiness this creates is inescapable. GOGI is not about polishing the outside, but, rather, empowering the individual to do a reconstruction project from the inside out. This internal happiness is true and right, and is not limited to a select group of individuals. You, too, can include GOGI into your daily life and being to reap the benefits of living your life The GOGI Way.

Can Something So Simple Really Work?

It’s curious to me that something as simple as a set of positive decision making tools can make such a profound difference in the lives of millions of individuals, but that is the fact. The GOGI Way is value added to your life, a way which values life and living and understands that much of your life experience is created within your mind. Through your use of the Twelve Tools of GOGI, you may find the ability to change your world, from the inside out. The best part of all of it is that The GOGI Way is just the way you need it to be to fortify you to become more than you could possibly imagine.

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