By Charles Wilson
Part 1 – The Beginning
Bad karma and circumstance from one position may be the total opposite from another. Shakespeare told us that “Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Kevin Trudeau would tell us to, “Take Life Lightly” and “Feel Good Now” regardless of circumstance. The funny part is that I had no idea who he was until I arrived at prison camp.
I’m quite humbled to be in this position. Kevin asked me to share some of my experiences with his fans and friends. I will create a new chapter in the series every Sunday between now (November 2020) and New Years. Thank You for reading, listening, and believing the Truths that I will share over the next 9 weeks. My 2 goals are to provide further insight into federal prison via my experience, and to explain “Doing Time” with Kevin, a life changing experience.
I am possibly the luckiest guy ever sentenced to Federal Prison. My Google search shows my facts of a felon in possession of firearms while growing marijuana with the intent to distribute. I was arrested in 2015 and awaited sentencing for nearly 3 years. My judge sentenced me to 30 months, nearly half of the prosecutor’s recommendation, and then he supported my “ask” to self-report to FPC Montgomery on Sept 13, 2018. My life between the arrest and sentencing was a gnarly rollercoaster of highs and lows. The sentence was a relief to the torture of not knowing, yet I didn’t research prison for 1 minute, I just arrived blind.
Hurricane Florence hit S.C. as my mom and closest sister drove me 9 hours to report to Camp. The original “Club FED” lies on the Alabama River at the back of Maxwell Airforce Base. Mobile, Montgomery, and Birmingham are the 3 housing units. Each building is a 2-story concrete block structure. Both levels have 4 wings, for a total of 8, and each wing has 25, 2-man bunks. This means that at full capacity, each building houses 400 men for a Camp total of 1200. The population was nearly 900 when I arrived. I reported to Mobile Unit Team.
The odds of living near Kevin were very low, yet I was assigned B-06, close to his B-15. I remember sitting on my top bunk, stewing in the minutia of my overwhelming new reality, when suddenly a comforting voice arrived. “Hello. I’m Kevin! How long do you plan on staying with us?” He radiated positivity and offered me 2 “Amazing Meals” (Passover Kosher Meals ), a Salmon and a Roast Chicken. It was the most generous gift anyone had bestowed on me. I immediately felt better and knew things were going to be Ok.
Prison Life With KEVIN
By Charles Wilson
Part 2- The Transition
My favorite acronym of all time is F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real. Kevin shared this with me.
I’m pretty comfortable jumping off F.E.A.R. cliffs, waterfalls, surfing big waves, diving deep and many other “scary” things, yet the transition from a comfort zone through an uncomfortable zone and into a new reality is never easy. My Camp transition didn’t feel fun at the time. Thank God I met Kevin!
Each wing has several brick walls, usually around “the Pit”, where people leave books, magazines, clothes, and other “free” items to pass along or use (see attached drawing). In my first week someone left the book “More Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About” (by Kevin Trudeau) on the wall in front of my bed. Wait…..!!?? My new friend, Mr. Kevin……wrote this book?! I was quite intrigued and quickly read the whole book.
A 6’4’’ white kid with shaggy blond hair, Fusco, aka “The Legend”, walked by daily. I instantly knew he and I would be friends. I asked him if he had read the book or knew about Kevin. “Yoooo!!! This book is the Truth bro! KT is a Legend. You will see.”
My life changed on Wednesday, September 26. On Monday Kevin suggested I speak with the man in the cell next to him, Mike, about moving into his top bunk. I followed his advice and after clearing it with our Counselor, Mrs Rogers, I moved into B 16 Upper. She rarely let anyone change bunk assignments within the first 6 months. I was thankful, humbled, stoked!!!
B 16 would be my home until the end, but it wasn’t without its challenges. My cellmate Mike had severe mental and physical health problems. 6’’ of low concrete divided me and Nick, a very aggressive Cuban gangster kid. We only grow through challenge and adversity. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!
Kevin immediately invited me to start training with his group at 7:30 AM each morning. The workouts took place in “The Oven.” It was a concrete handball court with huge walls, no air flow, and direct sun exposure until late afternoon.
Kevin previously trained with a Shaolin Monk at his home in “the free world.” The Kung Fu workout was unlike anything I had done. KT, Fusco, and TP had a rhythm of sweat, grunt, and team spirit. Ballistic Stretching was a major component as well – often our warmup and warm down. My typical exercise before Camp was riding my bike, surfing, or freediving. I felt like a fish out of water!
This was my first true experience of leadership. Kevin was leading by voice and movement, watching us, pushing harder than us, and watching the clock all at the same time. I was blown away by his communication, his energy, his clarity, and his knowledge of what I didn’t even know existed. This was my first feeling of community, and in my transitional state, it felt amazing.
I truly believe that one of the biggest problems in the world right now is Community – the innate need for Community by humans and the lack of it. The Collective Consciousness is starving for connection. COVID has only heightened an existing problem.
Prison taught me about many levels of Community. Kevin brought together several small groups of warriors during my stay, but this first group, time and place, will always have the deepest place in my heart. This was the foundation. He slowly built me up.
The prison has RPP classes which are required to stay on good terms with Unit Team, and ACE classes, which are semester long classes that are optional. As luck would have it, the next day, Thursday, September 27, the 2nd and final offering of Kevin’s “Goal Setting and Marketing” class started. Kevin’s course was an ACE class, and it was held in the Visitation Room rather than in a small room in the education building. Kevin is the only famous celebrity at the Camp, and many people know of his books, fame, and fortune. Everyone wants to get rich, especially guys in prison, so it was a packed room with nearly 200 people!
Kevin, if you don’t already know, is always very organized and is usually 10 steps ahead. I walked into the VR and was immediately soothed by the voice of ”The Catalyst Lanre: Affirmations.”
- I am successful.
- I look for and find opportunities where others see nothing.
- I am a lifetime learner.
- I am solution focused.
- I see only solutions.
- I am a solution.
- I unconsciously, consciously, methodically create my own success.
- I ask the right questions, I get the right answers…..”
- I am a man of honor.
- I am grateful for breath and light.
- I arise, I shine.
- I am aware of my essence and I know who I am.
- I am the salt of the Earth.
- I am the light of the World.
- I am handsome, charismatic, charming, gifted and bold. ………..”
Many components of this class changed my life, but these positive affirmations of: Success, Love, Happiness, Empowerment, and Honor blew my mind. It just made sense. I felt good. My hair stood up.
Hearing and Saying the Right Things rather than the Wrong. Programming positive vs. negative. I am listening to these affirmations now as I write this. I purchased an MP3 player at Camp almost specifically to download and listen to these daily, every night before sleep and when I wake up.
Kevin had 2 speakers setup and his podium was in the middle. His MP3 played the affirmations on repeat until class started, every class. His cellmate had a table setup passing out the class handouts.
Class? It felt like an epic seminar of grave importance. It wasn’t class. It was opportunity. It was energy. It was Truth and Knowledge. Generosity. Mentorship. Entrepreneurship.
For me it was a blessing.
My Dad went to Harvard on a full-education scholarship. I went to good schools. Why hadn’t I ever been taught Goal Setting or Leadership Principles? Better yet, why hadn’t I sought this information on my own? Why hadn’t I realized what was missing in my life?
No one owes us anything, and it is our moral obligation to pursue what we find meaningful. How the hell did I ignore so many opportunities? Am I really getting this education and information in Prison????????
I was honestly dumbfounded.
His book list, if you aren’t aware, has some of the most important books you can ever read. They are the books to read and reread. Honestly, I hadn’t read a single one of them. Wow, I have some work to do!
He included audios, clubs to join, and courses to take for self-improvement. Kevin talks about reading and learning “in a new unit of time.” Truth and Wisdom always have more to share.
Throughout the eight-week class Kevin shared stories, humor, humility, leadership, generosity, warmth, truth, and much more. We received 14 pages of Nuggets of Gold which I review daily. He shared 22 Success Principles and many lessons under each one of those, including Goal Setting specifics, Meditation, and Marketing from an energetic perspective.
This class was a Godsend for me. Every week it was the highlight. I couldn’t wait for next week. It set the stage for my entire prison term and honestly for the 2nd chapter of my life.
Kevin just came alive, and brought this incredible energy to the room, to my life, to the entire camp. He wears an infinite number of hats!
Thank You GuruKev!
Prison Life with KEVIN
By Charles Wilson
Part 3 – Yoga
People pay thousands of dollars and travel all over the world to “learn” yoga. They pay for training, wisdom, community, and growth. Prison gave me all of that and so much more….as a punishment!
My Yoga path and education was the focal point of the whole experience – the heart of it really. Words truly limit what it means to me. The asanas, the breathing, the community, the Unity, the Energy, the Truth.
The components of the Yoga Sutras can be traced back to the last Ice Age, thousands of years beyond any modern religions. Once again, how the hell have I come 36 years in my life without learning this? No one to blame but myself, but thank God it was part of this Karmic path. Kevin was an instrumental leader and light in my Yoga path.
Sadhguru of the Isha Foundation defines Yoga well with these 2 quotes:
- “The word ‘yoga’ means union. Union means you begin to experience the universality of who you are.”
- “Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a science for inner wellbeing.”
I finished my prison sentence on October 26, but the judge sentenced me to 1 additional year of Home Confinement. My probation officer recently approved me to go to Bikram yoga every Sunday afternoon. Funny truth is that I had to take a Mental Health Assessment in order to get yoga approved as “exercise” to benefit my mental health. I also have to talk with a therapist 1x/month. They forced me into 1 year of Home Isolation, and now I must see someone to discuss my feelings about isolation!! LOL because this is True! What would we do without Federal contracts to keep the scam in business??
Anyhow, tonight was my first class in several weeks, so this is the perfect night for painting the tip of the prison yoga iceberg.
Prior to prison, yoga was a desire, yet not a part of my life. I made excuses and “never had time.” Like too many people, I “never had time”…………. to take care of myself. I arrived in poor mental, spiritual, and emotional condition, and Yoga was exactly what the Creator ordered.
I arrived in September, towards the end of the warm weather. Kevin led a Restorative and Deep Stretching style class on weekend mornings at 7:30 until the weather got cold. 8-12 people usually showed up.
Kevin always shows up early, super prepared, and always starts on time. Those are 3 keys to success in life and ever-present components of his character.
Similar to my Kung Fu and Ballistic experience, I loved Kevin’s rhythm and ability to push us into deep, critical stretches with ease. And Mega Memory didn’t disappear in prison folks, let me assure you. GuruKev wields an uncanny ability to memorize 1.5 hour long class series that change daily, and sometimes just change on the fly and flow into something else spontaneously. It’s “As If” he had done it 1,000 times before. Maybe in a past life, or maybe in his mind prior to creating it as the external reality we were all benefitting from.
Think about that.
Grunts, moans, panicked breathing….. and then Kevin saying, “Smile. It’s ok. Tell your body everything is Ok. Smile, just smile.” You can hear the smile on his face by the tone of his voice, almost to the point where I would laugh at the absurdity of it. How is he smiling so big right now that I can feel it hitting me as my hamstring is about to explode!!!???
“Release, Relax, and Let Go. Just Let Go.” The deep, long holds are designed to fatigue the muscle which eventually forces the natural muscle contraction reflex to let go. I will never forget those words, the Mantra of his class.
Over time, I realized this process was more mental and emotional therapy than anything physical. The Mind, Body, and Spirit are all interconnected. “Release, Relax, and Let Go.” Kevin was helping us Let Go of the layers of mental and emotional anguish, pain, and confusion that accompany time in prison.
Every stage of the prison process has different things that you must release. The pain and struggle is all in our minds. We must release the Ego binds that torment us. Yoga is such an amazing tool to stimulate this Self growth. Unity with the divine Self rather than only living in the realm of Ego – the small self.
I met Donnie, “The Jedi,” at my first weekend GuruKev class. Yoga, meditation, writing, and intense exercise chiseled his body and lightened his spirit during his 8 years in prison before I showed up. He and Kevin were close friends, and I knew right away he was special. “The Jedi” truly is the most fitting nickname for him. He and “The Legend” were closest in age to me, and became 2 of my best friends. Like Kevin, Donnie is a bright light – he never dims, and he has so much to share with others.
He led the yoga classes 2 nights a week in the Visitation Room. We were Extremely fortunate to have a 3,000sq ft room all to ourselves Mon-Thurs from 6-7pm. Visitation prep is Friday and Visits happen Sat and Sun. We had speakers available for relaxing music (from an MP3 player) and a TV to watch old yoga tapes if we chose.
Donnie and Kevin used to practice together just watching the tapes for several years before I arrived. Donnie held the asanas perfectly, led the class with relaxed clarity, and could still watch others and give pointers. Often Kevin, Donnie, and Fusco “The Legend” would all 3 lead in the front of the room. Fusco would randomly just walk off for 30 minutes or do completely different poses, but that’s just part of why he’s “The Legend.”
I may also mention that these were some of the “gassiest” yoga classes in history. Prison food gives everyone bad gas, and the movements of yoga push that gas through……sometimes with nearly perfect choreography to the movements. Shall I mention “Release, and Let Go” here??
Those nights were some of the best of my life. We were the Tribe of Yogis. The group grew and at its peak nearly 20 people showed up, a mix of black, white, and Mexican guys. It was an amazing community of positive support and energy.
Like anything in life, those who showed up consistently with persistent energy and focus “Let Go” quickly, and others who rarely showed up stayed at the same point of tightness and rigidity. One fellow who came often had a flexible body but his mind was stuck. He got into a verbal altercation with staff one day, was kicked off the compound, upgraded to a higher security prison, and then hung himself. The Wolf just couldn’t let go.
Whatever you may be going through people, just breathe through it and say GuruKev’s mantra in your head. Mantra = Mind Tool. We have 2 choices, we can Master the Mind or the Mind can Master Us.
Pick choice #1 please.
“Yoga Jim” had been in prison for 7 years when I arrived. He was a white guy in his mid 50’s, and he showed up to our Camp in a wheelchair. He had cancer and had been on chemo. Yoga healed his body and his life. Leading class and practicing in the Visitation Room was his church. He usually led yoga on Tues/Thurs and The Jedi led Mon/Wed. After The Jedi was released, Jim was the leader all 4 days. Jim also led classes outside on the weekends all year, even if the weather was 30 degrees!!!
Donnie and Jim both led a flow style yoga similar to Iyengar, PowerYoga, or Ashtanga. They would adjust the series of movements based on who was in the class and how they were feeling.
Kevin often encouraged people by referencing that “every-body” is different. “It’s not what it looks like but what it feels like that matters.” Every-body has different limitations and every-body feels different every day. With flow style classes it’s easy to get lost or behind if your body isn’t feeling on par with the group that day. I had some amazing sessions with Jim and will be forever grateful for my time learning from him.
Jordan arrived at the end of my first winter. He was the 4th yoga leader to enter my life, and I love him like a big brother. He was a Bikram yoga instructor for 10 years prior to getting wrongly snared in a marijuana conspiracy case and sentenced to 15 years.
Bikram is the most famous yoga school “brand.” I believe very strongly in the components of it, yet the Bikram name is now scarred with drama, lawsuits, and materialism. The Bikram practice helped Jordan do his time, and he invited any willing participants on the journey. Between 2-8 people would show up on the walking track to practice with him.
The 105 degree studio is a major component we didn’t have at camp, but we practiced at 1 pm to get the most heat we could. I think the S.M.A.R.T. Goals system parallels the Bikram process. Specific postures, Measurable changes between classes because the postures are the same, Achievable growth because constant improvement exists in each posture, Relevant because each posture improves the other and together the total organism of you, and Time-bound because each posture is held for specific times to a sum total of 90 minutes per session.
The specific postures are different from any yoga I had practiced. The 26 postures are part of the “Original 84.” This is the true Hatha Yoga from India that hasn’t changed for thousands of years.
Kevin also enjoys Bikram and believes in the system. Once Jordan was released, Kevin and I practiced together for many hours; sometimes 1 or 2 people would join us. I feel tremendous gratitude for all those amazing experiences.
We end every yoga practice essentially bowing to each other. So I will end this story tonight with a bow. “May you Release, Relax, and Let Go at Each and Every opportunity. The Divine Light in Me Bows to the same Divine Light that also shines from you.”
Namaste Friends and Namaste GuruKev.
Prison Life with KEVIN
By Charles Wilson
Part 4 – Quiet Time
Good evening friends. Thank you for joining me in this special place for our 4th Sunday of stories from Camp. I experienced the freedom of another amazing yoga practice tonight, and my thoughts during class reflect the importance of this Part 4.
In the jungle, quiet exists for brief periods of time. The energy is intense even during a calm. Howler monkeys move between trees at warp speed, barking and shrieking within their community. They exhibit incredible yet seemingly reckless energy and intention. We humans aren’t so different from them. “Monkey Mind” isn’t an accidental metaphor for the conscious mind, the Ego. Friends we all suffer from this Truth. Awareness holds the key to control.
During the first few weeks living in my new bunk next to Kevin, I came back and witnessed Kevin sitting in his chair. He had a nice grey, plastic chair, a very sought-after item at Camp. “KT” on the back, and new tennis balls for feet protection, marked his property clearly. He had a prison issue, green wool cap, pulled down over his eyes. His hands were folded in his lap. He was sitting perfectly still. I later mustered the courage and asked him what he was doing earlier. He explained that he was meditating and does it daily. A surfer friend previously mentioned a meditation camp in Bali that changed his life, but beyond that, I knew nothing.
KT explained what to do. Sit still, focus on 1 point of stillness, your breath or a silent mantra. If you trail off, just come back to your breath or mantra. Try it for 20-30 min, twice daily.
Kevin isn’t one for rigidity. He always explains in such a way that “wrong” doesn’t exist. Find what feels comfortable and do that. “Have some fun with it and just relax” he would say.
My journey inside began. Ideally the goal is to meditate in the same place, at the same time daily. My best was probably 2 weeks of the same time and location before my schedule changed. I meditated in the chapel, under an oak tree, on a bench, in the stairwell, on the racquetball court, in my bed, at my desk, in a greenhouse at work detail, on the softball field, and on the tennis court. I spent extensive time “going inside” and feeling what existed beyond the monkey chaos. I am so thankful that Kevin sent me down that path.
Kevin introduced me to Siddha Yoga Meditation 1 month after he taught me to meditate. ‘’In Search of the Self” is a correspondence course free for inmates from the Siddha Yoga Foundation. He offered that I read his packet and if I liked it, I could write them and start the course. A diligent grasshopper doesn’t ignore any of the sensei’s suggestions. I started the journey and my life was permanently changed. This course was a major compliment to my consistent meditation practice. These teachings are based on Kashmir Shaivism, one of the oldest spiritual philosophies on the planet. I would like to share 3 paragraphs from my original:
Volume 1 Lesson 1.
“The essence of the philosophy of Siddha Yoga meditation is that one Consciousness pervades and permeates this entire universe and has become everyone. This Consciousness has been referred to and known by many names and titles. It is what we have always thought of as God. It is the Creator, the Absolute. In Siddha Yoga meditation we usually call it the inner Self. The reason we practice Siddha Yoga meditation is to recognize and become firmly established in the Self.”
“The Self is Consciousness, and Consciousness is our own Awareness. Our own Awareness of Being is not different from divine Consciousness itself. There is not more than one Self. There is only one inner Self. You and I share the same inner Self. For this reason, when we truly know our own Self, we truly know each other. The same universal Self is shared by everybody simultaneously. Everyone has the same inner Awareness, the same “I.”
“For the mind it is not enough to say, The essence of Siddha Yoga is love. When we are established in our own inner love, everything is complete; this is the ultimate fulfillment, the ultimate contentment.”
We all experience varying degrees of the same thing when we meditate. Time disappears, the monkey mind stops, this beautiful light is pulsing, nothing matters. It’s hard for me to write this. A slideshow of meditation experiences and feelings from Camp just blazed through my mind. I went through a long process of Surrender that could not have happened without meditation.
Meditation was a component of Kevin’s “Goal Setting and Marketing” Class I mentioned previously. When he explained that many successful people meditate, he had to organize a separate class just for Meditation that was held in the Chapel. 150+ people showed up, and that was the largest collective action towards peace and self-control in the history of the Camp! It was EPIC! After that class, dozens of people were meditating in the Chapel daily. Kevin taught me 2 months prior, and I saw the difference in Chapel attendance firsthand.
Many of you are interested in what Kevin does daily. I will elaborate more on that next week, but arguably the most important action he takes is resting. He is the BEST Rester of all time. He sleeps a full 8-9 hours every night. He is quiet as a mouse and can go to sleep in seconds. He takes lots of naps and meditates daily. Nothing seems to bother him or keep him from resting during rest time. He trains hard in the warm months from April-October, and then he “hibernates” all Winter. Kevin was the first person to elucidate the importance of rest, and then to do it! His actions and words always line up.
I love being outside and rarely slow down to rest. Prison gifted me the time to read, write, meditate, nap, and rest. I really needed a recharge, and while slowing down into those lanes was an adjustment for me, I loved it and realized what I had been missing.
The body and mind both need rest, but normally we just “rest” the body. What about the organs? When do they rest? For most people the answer is never, but for Kevin the answer is several times per year. I never considered Fasting in the free world, so when Kevin discussed fasting with me, I was shocked and intrigued! Prison will test one’s ability to transfer adventure excitement in the free world to the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in the prison system. The Jedi and The Legend, via Kevin, provided extra motivation for the fasting adventure. We three grasshoppers all started it around Thanksgiving of 2018.
KT has a plan and a system for each fast he does. This includes what he eats for the week or 2 before the fast, what liquid he will drink during the fast, and what level of exercise he will tackle during the fast. These details are relative to the time of year and his goals. He usually does 7 days minimum and 21 days is the most I heard of him doing. “Start easy and just see how the body feels” was his advice. I did 24hrs, then 36, then 48, then 72. What a wild experiment! The real test was Christmas dinner until New Years Day. The Legend bailed at day 4, but The Jedi and I hung tight until the end. Kevin advised me on what to break the fast with, and how to overcome feelings of discomfort and weakness.
In prison, food is the #1 emotional support mechanism. To purposely forgo that comfort, a warm bowl of food, for days at a time, in an already tough environment, was the most challenging aspect of the fast adventure. Making and eating food also helps pass the time. I truly believe that I am better prepared for any challenge ahead of me in life after my fasting adventures at Camp. I scheduled a 72 hr fast after Thanksgiving this week, and I know that several hundred miles away Kevin will be doing the same, and resting A lot!
“We learn to Ski in the Summer and Swim in the Winter.” Kevin inculcated this Truth during our training sessions. The body and mind must integrate everything we learn. Savasana is arguably the most important pose in yoga practice even though it is the Rest Pose, aka Corpse or Dead Body Pose. This importance comes from the need to integrate what was done and learned. Train hard in the summer, and let the total organism process it during the winter. The same goes for a 1 hour yoga practice, reading an important book, practicing a complex craft, or anything else for that matter.
Kevin has tremendous mental and physical energy, and it’s no coincidence that he places serious importance on rest and recharging. Could this be his secret weapon?
Tonight at yoga the monkey mind started. I was deep into “separate leg stretching posture”, and my mind started judging my position, the tightness of my back, my feeling of being stuck without progression in certain postures. “Stop it! Cancel, Cancel. Cancel that program.”
I immediately realized my mind was the problem. “Release, Relax, and Let Go.” Maybe I am stuck in the progression of certain postures, or maybe my mind is stuck in different areas of life which is then keeping me from progressing in those postures. I had that “Aha” moment, and recalled the need to silently whisper GuruKev’s Mantra.
The importance of resting, relaxing, and shutting off the Ego can’t be overstated here! Cancel Cancel that negative bullshit that judges and condemns who you are and what you are doing.
To me, the craziest thing about the drama and apparent separation in the world right now is that we are all struggling with the same problem: The Ego. We overanalyze, overcomplicate, and overdramatize everything. In all aspects, the peace lies in the Release of our Dramas/Concerns, the Relaxation of our Body, Mind, and Spirit, and Letting Go of what isn’t NOW.
Block out all the noise, go inside, and connect with your light.
Namaste Friends and Namaste GuruKev.
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Prison Life with Kevin?
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Expected around November 30, 2020.
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