Author’s Comment xv
Chapter 1 About This Book for You 1
Chapter 2 Murder and The Dream 6
Chapter 3 Sabotage and The Mind 29
Chapter 4 Injury and The Body 67
Chapter 5 Execution Day and The Spirit 91
Chapter 6 Reflections on the Grissom and Gainesville Murders 124
Chapter 7 There’s More 128
Chapter 8 What I Learned about Our Mind 136
Chapter 9 What I Learned about Our Body 194
Chapter 10 What I Learned about Our Spirit 240
Chapter 11 What I Learned about Our Mind, Body, and Spirit 256
Chapter 12 What I Learned about Happiness 260
Chapter 13 Earn It 271
If You Enjoyed This Book 289
Concluding Author’s Comment 290
About This Book for You
“For everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or you can treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing.
You get to choose.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer
Long before I had heard of Wayne Dyer, his books or speaking, I was applying the attitude about life that he articulated so well through this, “You get to choose,” comment. The essence of his comment permeates my life and this book, so I begin our journey to happiness with it.
Your choosing this book from millions of others at this time of falling life expectancy and fading happiness says that you view what has happened in your life as an opportunity to grow, feel better and be happy. If so, you have chosen well. This book will empower you to.
I know because, what I learned from three mind, body and spirit life trials, enabled me to grow and feel as good and as happy as anyone I know today. But more than helping you for just today, this book will empower you to mentally, physically and spiritually grow, feel good and be happy for life.
In a world where many live their lives in quiet desperation, seeking happiness in so many wrong ways and in so many wrong places, I have been asked many times how I am happy despite what I have experienced. It’s a
question I cannot answer well in a few sentences, so some encouraged me to write a book about overcoming and growing from tough times.
But I had a passion to write another book. Years ago, I began journaling to help me through several unspeakable crimes that became a national news headline story. Years later, with book offers, movie offers, and encouragement from prominent best-selling authors, I was on my way to turning my journal entries into a book and movie screenplay. I was until I began delivering health and wellness motivational talks partly based on my true crime story.
As I delivered my talks, though, I became frustrated. Even a 90-minute talk did not allow me to go into the depth I wanted to about what I had learned. Realizing that a book based on my talk could inform much more than I ever could through speaking to audiences finally moved me set aside my crime book and write this self-improvement book first.
I am glad I did because, after completing it, I realized that everyone—and I mean everyone—can benefit from this book. But I also realized that, while this book can benefit everyone, only those who are ready for it will.
We may all want long, healthy, happy lives. But some don’t even want to hear what they can do to achieve it. They don’t want to hear the inconvenient truths they need to know because they don’t want to change or don’t want to feel guilty about not doing what it takes to improve their lives. And they don’t want to hear and don’t want to act because of what you will learn about in this book.
Know that anything you may not want to hear in these pages are inconvenient truths I have already said to myself. And, more importantly, know that everything I urge you to do I have done and continue to do today. So, I am not just talking the talk. I am also walking the walk. And I am proof that what I share with you will empower you.
Having read this far means that you may be willing to hear even those inconvenient truths you may not want to but need to for your health and
happiness. You will be heartened to know that this book also includes what you want to hear. Most importantly, you will learn that you can overcome your tough times and grow from them, become the best you can be and live a long, healthy, happy life.
But I need to caution you. You will not read any slick marketing slogans or silver bullet shortcuts in these pages. No, you will not read here that you just need to eat the cheesecake and lose the weight. You will not read here that you just need to take this pill, or think this thought, or say this prayer. You will not because the first inconvenient truth you need to know is there are no shortcuts to good health and happiness.
Accomplishing anything worthwhile is always challenging and, yes, even hard. Because of this reality of life—and this is a reality of life—while this book includes what you may want to hear, it also includes what you need to hear if you want what no amount of money buy: good health and real happiness.
I have another caution about this book. Especially because of what I experienced and share in this book about life and death—yes, about death—I have learned how precious life is. Because I have, I expect and demand a lot of myself to honor of my gift of life. Because each of us have received the precious gift of life, I will implore you over the pages of this book to expect and demand a lot of yourself. This shouldn’t surprise you. It is a self-help and self-improvement book.
And I have one final caution. I have not written this book for literary acclaim. I have written it to inform you in every way I can think of, including through a writing no-no called repetition and especially through How You Can checklists. While this book will not read like a To Kill a Mockingbird literary masterpiece, it will tell you what you need to know and do to live a long, healthy, happy life.
To empower you to achieve the lofty expectations and demands of yourself I mentioned so you can have that long, healthy, happy life, one of the
most important things you will learn in these pages is how you can develop the willpower and drive—yes, willpower and drive—to do the challenging and hard things you need to do to grow and improve yourself and your life. Through so motivating yourself, you can ultimately tap into the incredible, sometimes miraculous, spiritual energy we all have. Through it, you can achieve almost anything you want to achieve, including changing yourself and your life.
How do I know this? I know because I learned how from overcoming three trials by fire in my life.
Because I use my own life challenges in this book, some may say this is really a memoir rather than a self-improvement book. I don’t know about you, but I would rather read a book about happiness written by someone who has overcome tough times and become happy despite and because of those tough times. But whether called a memoir, a self-improvement book or a blend of them, this book reveals how you can help yourself in the same ways I learned to help myself gain real happiness.
In addition to using my own life experiences, this book is also not a typical self-improvement book for another, maybe shocking, reason. One of my life trials includes murder—actually several murders. These murders were the catalyst for my true crime book and are an integral part of my motivational talk and this book.
If including murders savage enough to inspire hit horror movies in a health and wellness self-improvement book isn’t unusual enough, even more unusual is that this murder horror story is intertwined with a spiritual story which began with a dream that woke me one eventful night and ended with a wild bird that landed at my feet on execution day. If you are wondering why I would include brutal murders and an eerie spiritual experience in a book like this, it is because I learned extraordinary spiritual lessons from them which I will share with you.
I have given interviews about my true crime story life challenge for television news and documentaries and newspaper and magazine stories, but my story is mostly untold. Although what you will read in this book is the most in-depth account so far of what I lived through, it is only an overview of my experience and of my true crime and spiritual book about it.
In summary, you will learn in these pages what I discovered about the mind, body and spirit from three trials by fire in my life. Then I will share how you can apply what I learned to your life to overcome your own tough times and go on to realize the happiness everyone wants most.
Of course, learning something without applying it is wasted unless you act on it. Acting on what you will learn in this book is the ultimate key to you attaining real happiness. And acting on what you will learn is up to you.
As I said, everyone can benefit from this book, but only those who are ready for it will. I wrote the book especially for you who are ready to hear truths you may not want to hear and are ready to do challenging things you may not want to do to improve yourself and your life on the road to good health and real happiness...But, even if you are not quite ready to begin that journey now, I hope you will read on and what you read will be a seed that grows in your mind to lead you one day to the happiness that has moved me to write this book for you.
Murder and The Dream
They are called dire predictions for good reason. Individually, they could have been life-shattering. Because of the murders, they were nearly life-ending. I intimately know of them because they were trials by fire I faced along the road of my improbable journey to happiness.
These dire predictions about my life—and how I responded to them—have defined my life and moved me to share what I’ve learned from them about our mind, body, and spirit. This book is about how to overcome almost any life challenge and, despite and because of that challenge, become genuinely happy...