The end is near!

Not the end of times, but the end of my time at the Reentry Center.

I arrived here Aug. 8 of last year with a plan. A plan to surrender old ideas and move into a way of thinking that I had never considered. My old ideas just weren’t working for me. All they had ever done was cause me and my loved ones unhappiness.

So up until recently I had been flying through the program quite nicely. I have been doing everything one could do to get himself ready for the free world again. I have educated myself, built and rebuilt healthy relationships, hours of community service, etc. I even found a beautiful woman that would put up with me.

Well last week I made a decision that would alter things a little bit. Here at the reentry center we have itineraries that we fill out on a weekly basis. It lets everyone know your whereabouts for a variety of reasons. Well I decided to go to my new apartment rather than go to the gym, and when someone came looking for me I wasn’t there.

Now this might not seem like a big deal to most people, but here at the reentry center, being out of place is taken seriously. As a result of being out of place I went from level four to level two. That means no passes to visit with family, no going for walks, no going to the gym, and a variety of other things.

This has been a bit of a shock to my system to say the least, but one that was much needed. The reason I am putting myself in the spotlight like this is because there is a lesson to be learned all the time. I learned from this particular event that I must stay honest with myself and remain mindful if I am to remain successful.

There are a lot of people counting on me to do the next right thing. This is quite embarrassing for me to admit but it has to be said because it could benefit someone else in the future. When I was asked if I had been at the gym I did the stupidest thing of all — I lied.

I reached into my toolbox where I had all these brand new useful tools that I had acquired over the past few months and pushed them aside for an old beat and broken one that has never worked before. I know that I have a lot of work to continue doing and that old behaviors don’t change overnight. It takes practice and focus to hone any useful tool. I tend to think of myself as a pretty good guitar player, but that didn’t happen overnight, it took years of practice and dedication.

The good thing about this particular setback is that it has given me time to slow down and reflect. I found that I was over committing myself to quite a bit of responsibilities. Burning the candle at both ends so to speak. I wasn’t being mindful at all. I was looking ahead at what has to be done, or what else can I do.

Someone would say, 'Hey Shawn can you do this or that?'

I always replied, 'Ya sure,' without hesitation.

Until now I hadn’t really slowed down to reflect on my accomplishments or appreciate the moment.

This one incident has slowed me down and put things back into perspective so to speak. I get released in five weeks and that’s when the real tests begin. The tests to see whether or not I can put all that I have learned into practice. Or will I grab for that old broken tool again?

A friend asked me something the other day that I think everyone should ask themselves. He said, 'Everyone knows who you are Shawn when you’re around other people. You get along good with people and have a lot to offer. The real question is, who are you when no one’s around?'