by Steven Dybvad

92. I value revitalizing my life, I value the relationships with my children, family and friends, I value my health so that I can live as long as possible to watch my children grow up and raise children of their own. My goals are in direct relation to my values, they go hand-in-hand with each other, coexisting. Same thing goes for all ends of the spectrum. If I still value drug use, my goals would be to acquire said substances and take the necessary steps to maintain use.

93. By clearly defining the steps necessary, and by keeping a constant daily log of our improvements and accomplishments. We can become instrumental at gauging our levels of success in each of our set goals.

94. It’s like having an ultimate goal of reaching the top of a skyscraper, every floor is a goal that leads to the next.

95. I have goals that go far beyond these prison walls and for the rest of my life. Staying the course of our values, guided by good morals can ultimately change the influence of our prison adjustment.

96. Every goal that I have set will continue to set is in the direct correlation to my success in life upon release. My goals are painted with the aspirations of my future and society, not the penitentiary.

by Steven Dybvad

Book review on the “Untethered Soul” by Michael A Singer

I just read this book for a few various reasons. Major struggle in my life has always been my inner feelings and emotions, and how poorly I’ve gone through life avoiding my problems, allowing them to fester inside, and allowing my thoughts to extrapolate and compound my problems. This book offers a simple solution to train our inner thoughts and emotions to act differently, or think differently. My goals consist of changing everything about my old ways of life, and it all starts with my thinking. I’m open to reading any book that can help me, even if it’s just a little help.

Even though I was often a little confused, perhaps even sidetracked at times, having to double back and read over certain chapters again, I still learned a great deal. I learned that we don’t have to listen to our inner voice, and we can even do better at controlling the voice. The book says that awareness differentiates a conscious centered person from one who was not so conscious centered. It says that meditation is the highest state. It’s a return to the root of our being, the simple awareness of being aware. To simply contemplate the nature of self is to meditate. To simply ask yourself who am I is a very deep question. Just think about it. Consciousness is one of the great mysteries in life. Fighting interfering thoughts requires a great deal of energy and it can easily wear you out. This source of energy comes from deep inside. I’m personally familiar with this energy and how it’s escapes my body. The book says that we can’t just ignore the shifts in energy, we must investigate, find out where exactly this energy comes from, and to take action. This energy is always available to us, at any moment. We can draw upon. The only reason we don’t feel this energy all the time is because we block it from ourselves, by closing our heart, closing our mind, and by pulling ourselves into a restrictive space deep inside. When we clam up like this, we hide the darkness inside; there is no light or room for energy. This is what happens when we get depressed, and it makes so much sense to me. The book tells us to familiarize ourselves with this energy because it’s ours, and we should be able to call upon any time we want. It says that the health of our body is dependent on the flow of this energy and I firmly believe that this couldn’t be any truer.

If we want to grow, we must do the opposite, face our fears, don’t run and hide, close down, or withdraw. Real spiritual growth comes from within our souls.

Often, our inner thoughts tend to ramble and race, and often seems uncontrollable. The book says that we can let go of these racing thoughts through practice and meditation. Once we let go, will be free, and begin to live.

Spiritual growth is a constant transformation. In order to grow, we must give up the struggle, and learn to embrace change.

Every day we bear a burden that we shouldn’t have to bear. Quoting Buddha all life is suffering because many of us don’t understand what it’s like not to suffer. By untethering ourselves from the bondage of our psyche. We have the ability to take back the freedom of our soul.


The highest spiritual path is life itself. Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple.

The last chapter of the book is where I became conflicted with whether or not to agree with what I was reading chapter 19, the loving eyes of God is where I began to get a little close minded. The main reason is because of my strict Christian oriented upbringing. It’s hard for me to change a belief I’ve had all my life. The book doesn’t denounce God, but more or less the human written beliefs of God depicted in many religions. I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I would merely suggest to others to read it and formulate their own opinions.

There are many teachings in this book that I have already changed some of my views and approaches toward daily life. I have and will continue to utilize teachings in this book, and intertwine them with my goals for changing my life around and creating a better one for myself and family, in my lifetime effort to continue to grow and be a better man.

by Steven Dybvad

Sunday, March 31, 2013.

Once again it’s a scorcher in this cell. It might only be in the 60s outside but, in here with the doggon heat still on, it feels like a raging 100° in here. Last night I could hardly sleep because it was so uncomfortable, even when lying completely still, not moving an inch, sweating is still unavoidable. I’m just thrilled that I’ve lost as much weight as I have, I can already tell that tolerating this hot weather is going to be easier with less fat on my body. And I’ll be damned if I let hot temperature stop me from continuing my work out, or anything else for that matter.

by Steven Dybvad

Saturday, March 30, 2013.

The changing of the seasons can often be a difficult time. Especially this time of year, when the birds start chirping, the fresh smell of vegetation starting to grow again, an assortment of commercials consisting of grilling outside, potting soils, miracle Grow, etc. I could go on and on. But what my point is that all of this stuff is just a harsh reminder of the life I’ve forfeited for at least another three years. On the bright side. This is just a constant reminder of why I’m making drastic changes in my life, never to return to a place like this, ever again. It also just goes to show that these ups and downs in my life are just a little easier to deal with, with the more time that passes, the more I grow inside, and the stronger I get, inside and out.

by Steven Dybvad

Friday, March 29, 2013.

I had a great phone conversation with both my mother and father last night. I did enjoy catching up with dad, I just don’t get to talk to him often enough. But, I intend to change that by journeying my way out of the cell and talking more often on the phone. I are already can’t wait for the yard open up, so that I can finally jog in circles, on the track, instead of standing in place.

One thing that does stand out in my conversation with my father is a painful reminder of his concern for my future and whether or not I will return to the dark side. This is a harsh reminder of the everlasting wreckage of my past and the effect it has on my future and mending relationships. I know that my future will be full of success because I’ve made some drastic life-changing decisions; my entire thought process has changed for the better. But other people just won’t know until I showed them, proof is in the pudding. Only time will show my family that I’ve changed and that just has to be a painful feeling for my family, the fear of the unknown. I’ve done some major damage over the years and it’s going to take years to turn it all around. That’s just something that we all have to come to terms with. There’s mud. No magical pill, only time. I’m just thankful that God, along with my family has given me yet another chance at redemption.

by Steven Dybvad

Thursday, March 28, 2013.

Anticipating my visit with one of my great mentors and a healthy role model, Justin Paperny. In just a few short weeks, Justin will be flying out here, from California to speak at a conference but more importantly for me, I’ll finally have the honor and pleasure of meeting Justin, in person, for the first time. It was just about a year and a half ago that I first spoke with Justin on the phone. A lost soul merely existing without a clue what my future had in store. Since then, so much as changed in my life completely. I so badly wanted to change my life. But, for a long time I thought it was just too late for me, deep down inside. I thought that I had passed the point of no return. Well that’s far from the truth. Justin Paperny, along with Michael Santos books and the Straight A Guide program have given me the tools, the hope, and the willpower to take back control over my life and addictions. I can’t wait to thank them face-to-face. More importantly I will never ever forget that without the love and sport of my family and their unwavering faith in my ability to change, this transition in my life never would have been as easy for me to continue the hard work.

by Steven Dybvad

Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

I feel so intense and driven, about improving my health! Words just cannot describe how much this is changing my entire everyday life. My attitude is more regular and upbeat, I sleep better, i.e. more health consciously, I’m much stronger, I’m drastically losing weight, improving muscle tone, I can go on and on about the improved quality of my life. I’m constantly pushing myself to step up my workout and boy is it paying off. Now I see why it was such an important part of Michael Santos’s everyday life in prison, and from what I read it still is today. I feel so good about myself, and so high on life, that I know I will never stop my new focus on a healthier, longer life. This is just one of many reasons I continue to be thankful for my prison sentence and embrace it as a stepping stone to a successful life.

by Steven Dybvad

Tuesday, March 26, 2013.

My Aunt Norma, my mother’s sister, has been fighting cancer for some years now. I was very sad to hear that she’s continuing to have further problems with the cancer spreading. And for that my heart is heavy. Mom tells me that she continues to maintain a positive attitude, this doesn’t surprise me one bit. Aunt Norma, along with the rest of my family has a huge heart and amazing spirit. I just want to be able to give her a great big hug and tell her that everything is going to be okay. I want her to know that with God on her side we will never have anything to worry about. I know that Aunt Norma will have to fight this cancer for the rest of her life, I just pray that she can stick around long enough to see her grandchildren grow up. Mom says that her cancer is terminal but I’m not sure how honest she would be with me in the painful situations such as this because, she knows that losing someone close to me while incarcerated is a huge fear of mine.

by Steven Dybvad

Monday, March 25, 2013.

Today’s a big day for me, it’s more important than my birthday, this is my new birthday. Today marks my second year of incarceration. Two years ago today I was arrested for committing a crime in another desperate attempt to fuel a horribly untreated drug addiction. Two years ago my old life died, and like a Phoenix from the ashes a new life began. A life with meaning and purpose, a life in which I have been able to reteach myself to feel, to love, to think and rationalize, a life with morals, values, ethics, and goals for my future. Sure, I still have another three years yet to go, but now I see it as three more years of concentrated training, preparing my mind, body, and soul for a greater future, future of success, love, surrounding myself with great friends and an amazing family they can finally trust me and enjoy our time together, growing old and enjoying life without concern.

This is also a great day for me to celebrate two years of total sobriety. This is the longest I have ever remained sober for, since my junior year in high school, 17 years ago. Now I can honestly say to myself, that I know I will never go back to that old way of life, clouded by substances, a miserable existence of a man. Now I can finally live!

by Steven Dybvad

Sunday, March 24, 2013.

Boy what a day! I had such an enjoyable time visiting with my son, Taylor, and my mother I can really tell how much my son misses me and it truly hurts me deeply, that I couldn’t see that clearly enough to get my act together before committing a crime worthy of a five-year sentence. I was so damn selfish. I often think about how much I miss my family, but what I really need to think about is how much my family yearns for a better, normal life with me. I had such a great time that my heart aches now that he’s gone, but I wouldn’t give it back for the world. I can see the sadness in Taylor’s face when he has to leave and it tears me apart. He is such a character, he reminds me so much of myself when I was his age. This is just another huge reminder to me as to why I’ve taken a better path in life.

by Steven Dybvad

Saturday, March 23, 2013.

I just got handed a pass for a visit with my family tomorrow at 11 AM. I had no idea they were coming to see me until they gave me the pass. My mom said that she was sending me a jpay letter to inform me before going on vacation, and I’m sure that she did. But, I never got it, probably because the guards gave my mail to some other inmate. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. I haven’t seen any of my family in a while longer than usual, because they’ve been in Colorado. I’m really excited to see them very excited to see them as a warming visit from my loving; comforting souls my family really breaks up the monotony of prison life!

by Steven Dybvad

Friday, March 22, 2013.

I was sweating bullets this morning waiting for a guard to come unlock my cell on time to go get my monthly medication. They were 15 minutes late, but I still made it there in enough time. It’s not fulfilling my pass to get my medication that so much of a concern, it’s actually receiving the pass in the first place. I just don’t want a single thing to hold me back from getting out of this prison faster. Like Michael, I take every step necessary to secure my future, it’s just extremely fortunate in overwhelming that its not completely up to me, all it takes is one simple inmate with nothing to lose to ruin everything that I’m working so hard to accomplish. Even a guard just having a bad day could flip my world upside down. This is just a taste of how fragile my prison ecosystem is.

Copyright 2020 The Michael G. Santos Foundation