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How to get out of prison.

How to get out of prison.

How do you get what you want? Don’t want it.

In The Shawshank Redemption, Red repeatedly makes his case to get out of prison. Each year, he goes before the jury of the prison and says earnestly that he’ll be a good citizen, that he’s truly reformed, that he’ll … it’s vague and he probably doesn’t know what he said five minutes after he said it.

Yes, I admit it, at least some of my life’s philosophies come from The Shawshank Redemption. OK, fine, maybe most.

No, I haven’t been to prison (other than Alcatraz, complete with audio tour) and yes, I’m basing my knowledge of prison escapes and parole on a movie, but that’s OK, I have incredible insight.

Did the prison jury see that Red was no longer “trying so hard” to get out? That he no longer was trying to please them but rather finally had found the flow, cruising altitude or his stride. Red’s last appeal to be released wasn’t rehearsed, learned or intellectual. It came from the heart and therefore was pure, honest and real.

He was no longer trying to please anyone–not even himself. He was no longer doing, he was finally being. He no longer cared if he got out and that’s when he finally was released. It was no longer an effort and that’s when it became effortless.

Do you need to struggle to get that point? Does it take a long time to finally get it? Maybe so, I don’t know another way. There was finally a balance among what he wanted and what they wanted.

Balance, trying, not trying, release, effort, effortless. No one said it was going to be easy. Maybe the metal spoon against the concrete wall is easier. Or is it?

  • Possible: try
  • Impossible: don’t try
  • Repossible: let go


  1. John

    This is where someone comes along and makes a “the truth will set you free” joke, right?


    • Bradley Charbonneau

      “Oh, we’re all innocent in here. Didn’t you know that?”

      Hmm, “truth.” I hadn’t thought about truth. I don’t know where truth fits in here. I was thinking along the lines of doing and being, but truth was another parallel.


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