Journal Entry: David M Kruchten-09/21/2023-Inspiration

Journal Entry

Weekly Journal – Inspiration
My incarceration has changed my life. As I reflect on my past and focus on the future, I have found guidance and inspiration in literature. Now, more than at any other point in my life, I have time to not only read, but to reflect and ponder what is on each page. So I thought for this post I would write about a few things I have read that inspired me to either keep a positive outlook or change my priorities.
I like to read a lot about history, either non-fiction or historical fiction. One story I was reading was about a wealthy Jewish man who lived in Poland prior to World War II. He had an extensive collection of fine wines. One of his children who survived the war, wrote that he never drank his best wines, nor would he let his family or friends, because he wanted to save them for some unknown special occasion in the future. When the Nazis invaded, the man was taken off and killed and the Nazis stole and drank all his special wine. The man’s son lamented that you shouldn’t put off celebrating or sharing special moments with your loved ones because you never know what the future holds. I definitely think this message is something I want to take to heart not just upon release but as much as I can even while in prison. You don’t want to put something off until tomorrow when you don’t know what the future will bring.
I can’t remember the book, but another anecdote that stuck out to me was when a writer mentioned life being like a train ride. On a train ride if you are entirely focused on getting to the station at the end of the trip, you might miss some beautiful scenery along the journey. Similarly in life you don’t want to miss the little things. I know I’m guilty of this a lot. Even if I’m doing something fun like a vacation, my mind often wonders to the next place or activity on the agenda. I need to do a better job of stopping and appreciating the moment.
It’s funny, my most distinct memory from a trip I took before my arrest was standing in a crystal clear lake in an isolated National Park, staring up at the mountains. I can remember the feel of the sun, the sound of the wind in the trees and just a complete feeling of being at peace. But that was a rare moment for me. Usually even in moments of happiness I would be stressed, thinking about where we had to get to next or what else I had to get done. In other situations I know my phone and other technology has been a source of distraction for me. After being in prison and reflecting on this quote, I am making a much more concerted effort to be in the moment and appreciate everything. The things i miss the most while here in prison are those little moments with my family that I never fully appreciated. I will never take them for granted again.
A couple quotes that stuck out to me were from fiction books. In one book called The Murder Stone by Louise Penny, two characters are talking about camping and the quote was something to the effect of “The mind is its own place, it can make a heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven. I see peace and quiet and beauty, he sees chaos, discomfort and bugs. Both can be true.” While the quote was lightheartedly talking about perceptions around camping, I think it can be applied to just about anything. I want to work on changing my mindset when I find myself complaining or worrying. This is especially difficult in here, but just the other day I started to feel very frustrated about something that in all reality was trivial and then I saw the sunrise and all its vibrant colors. I realized in that moment I could let the inconvenience of the morning bother me the rest of the day or I could focus on the beauty in front of me. I fail at this constantly, but I see the importance of it and will continue to work on it.
In another part of this book, she talks about someone who made a bad decision and had their reputation ruined. Later in life, this person apologized, raised money for charity and even adopted a refugee family (refugees were tied to his earlier transgression). Many still looked down on him and his reputation never really recovered, but he continued to try to do good because that was what he thought was right. This goes back to some of my earlier posts. I can’t go into any community service or good works with the hope of redeeming my reputation in society. I have to do it because I believe in it and am internally motivated.
Finally in a book called Manitou Canyon by William Krueger, the character says “If you worry you open the door to the worst of possibilities. Better to hope. Then the heart invites a friendlier spirit for its company.” I worry and deal with anxiety constantly, but that is another thing I am working on. I like the idea that when facing the unknown, you have two choices, you can worry and fret about a potential negative outcome or you can hope and concentrate on a positive resolution. Whichever you choose to do is unlikely to have any impact on the outcome so it makes sense to go with the one that “invites a friendlier spirit.” This is another struggle for me, but something I’m working on. The more I read and the more I try to find wisdom in what I read, hopefully the more improvements I can make.