Friday, May 26, 2017

Beyond YOUR Prison Walls: A Tribute To Ken Windes

I have a dear neighbor who gives me her cast off copies of the New York Review of Books. The other day, after not having received this bounty from her for quite some time, she bequeathed me with a good six months plus supply. Leaving me a note explaining her absense with her gift, I discovered she had just faced the illness and passing of her father.

How honored and precious it was to me that when she began to see Light in her tunnel of loss and grief, she thought of me, once again. So there they were, a whole stack of NYRBs for my personal indulgence.
To my friend and guide
in truth telling,
Ken Windes

I can’t tell you how very grateful and happy I was!

Immediately I organized these journals in chronological order, deciding to carefully peruse each and every one of them, from cover to cover, in luxuriant leisure, beginning with the most recent. 

That one happened to be dated for March 23, 2017. As the contents of the NYRB are almost timeless, it was no surprise that what was written and published, more than two months ago, would then be discussing Donald Trump and his near ceaseless, chaos creating. This is now our daily fare much to the dismay of many, including myself.

The article I dove into voraciously, I admit, was titled “What He Could Do” by Mark Danner.

Well, of course, this same topic abounds ad nauseam these days. However, as the piece filled a good number of HUGE pages in the NYRB, it did have the added attraction of getting into a bit more substance than one can usually find in the print or online dailies, even in typical weekly columns.  I liked that.

Right away, when Mr. Danner spoke of how our national citizenship is now being held as Trump’s prisoners, he aroused a kinship feeling in me. Certainly that perspective is not far from my own daily distresses of which I go in and out these days. 

I thought this a well-substantiated piece, “What He Could Do.” Yet it evoked an uprising of resistance in me, bringing to mind my old and dear friend and mentor, Ken Windes, now deceased. I don’t want to write much of Ken here other than to state a few things in brief.

Ken was a former convict – and – protégé of my former mentor, Martin G. Groder, M.D.. This was during the time that Groder was the prison psychiatrist at the federal corrections facility at Marion, Illinois, built to replace Alcatraz. 

During that period of incarceration, Ken thought, wrote and practiced principles that were, in part, to become a portion of his personal signature as well as his legacy. He wrote of these in his piece "Walking Through The Walls." 

His main point, as I heard it many times over from him in the days I trained with him, developing skill at running what became New Horizons Truth or Dare Game, was –
We can walk through the prisons of our minds and not let them hold us hostage. Ken Windes
What I am getting at here is to state my own principle --
Donald J. Trump need not control your mind, your heart or your spirit!
Make up your mind to make this notion your reality, as Ken taught me and countless others to do similarly in his lifetime. Be determined to make this way of thinking a top priority for your healthy living under sway of Trump and his adminstration, at least for the next four years. Even though it might be a daily challenge to walk through those prison walls Trump is trying to instill in our minds, hearts and spirits.

Your survival depends on it. This is the way of the Compassionate Warrior, choose it!

(Compassionate Warriors carry within themselves a gentle strength combined with a determination to fight for peace and social justice. This gentle strength is based on a love of self along with a love for life and humanity in all its frailities. Compassionate Warriors, thus, fight on the side of right ahead of brute might/the Dark Side. i.e. on the side of the Force.)

This is some of what I have been practicing in recent days and weeks while I have been having trouble actually writing. I must do this and so must you.

I am back again now, I think, with more to come.

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