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Learning about Life

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Some people may go through their life time never knowing what their life could have ever been or meant to someone else. Most people who live in the fast lane of drugs & alcohol end up dead or in prison. This is a fact, we read about it in the newspapers, we see it on the television and we see it in our communities, it's a daily thing.

I'm not trying to say that everyone is living in the fast lane, but I for one have met a lot of people when I was in the fast lane of my life. I'm one of the lucky ones in that I didn't end up dead, not as lucky as some who got their lives together before coming to prison, but at least I can say that I still have a life and a chance to live it.

After a few years in prison with a shred of hope of ever leaving prison again I begin to look at some very important things. Like who are you? What are you? How did my life get so confusing and messed up? Why did this happen to me? Answering some of my own thoughts I always knew I was a Native American Indian, Oglala Sioux to be exact, but beyond that I did not know much else about what it meant to me. I thought of all the stories I had read and heard about the Indians in the old days back when Custer was at war yet. So I decided to learn more about the old people and that led me to the Pipe Ceremonies and Sweat Lodge Ceremonies here in prison. That's when I really realized that I really didn't have a spiritual life at all. I went to church as a young boy, but I never listened to anything There. So I went throughout all of my life without a spiritual way of life. I started learning about the Sacred Pipe and its powers and the power of the Sacred Sweat Lodge. Every time I had the chance to hear a Medicine Man speak or a Sun Dancer I really listened for the first time.

Now I have found what is called the Red Road right here in prison, and I have a spiritual life to speak of. Since I've been walking on the Red Road and praying with the Sacred Pipe and going to the Sacred Sweat Ceremonies I began to understand what the old people was all about Lakota's and this is what I am becoming since I found my way to the Red Road that I walk. I realize now that I was lost when I lived my life in the fast lane. I also realized without a spiritual life there was only self defeat and lot of other misery. So now that I have found the circle of life on the Red Road I only have the Grandfather the Great Spirit to thank for the changes in my life and showing me the way to my Red Road and living the life as a Lakota.

Phillip Yellow Bird - Steele
2001

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