Cheryl Armstrong is currently serving a 96 year sentence in the Colorado Womens Prison. Her story is here. I asked Cheryl Armstrong, if she was inspired by anyone. This is what she told me:
I always say that very few people have truly inspired me in my life, but as I evolve spiritually, I’m finding that even the people I don’t care much for who don’t care much for me can be inspiring. This is because I’ve changed how I think about things. People who are hateful and judgmental inspire me to work harder to NOT be that way myself. They’ve also helped me to see how ridiculous and energy wasting it is to be angry, resentful, and unforgiving. I have always wanted forgiveness and a second chance from people in my life and so I am learning I must also extend that same consideration to others.
Since I have been incarcerated, my mother has been the most inspirational to me. She has all the most admirable attributes a person can possess. Throughout my entire incarceration she has stood by my side, selflessly helping in any way she can. I truly aspire to be more like her because her heart is so full of genuine kindness and patience. She makes me want to be a better person and I live for the day that I walk out of prison because I know it will bring her ultimate peace in her heart. There are a thousand reasons I want to go home, but none of them outweigh that one.
Another person who has had a HUGE impact on my life is my best friend, Lisl. She and I were incarcerated together for about seven years and no other person I’ve called a friend has touched my life so profoundly. This girl had a life without parole sentence for a crime she didn’t even commit and yet she ALWAYS made the best of every day in here. Nothing could break her spirit or steal away her faith. I feel so honored to call her my best friend. She taught me so many things and helped me to see that life is what you make it. Even though we were locked in this prison with negativity surrounding us, Lisl still wore a smile on her face every day. The more I watched her, the more she inspired me to change the things that I didn’t like about myself. I became determined to have the peace in my heart that I saw in hers. She showed me what a REAL, healthy friendship is and I carry her in my heart every day, even though she’s been gone for 3 years now. I can just start thinking about her and my attitude about something will shift in a positive manner. No one has ever touched my heart like that before. I will always draw from her strength and love and remember all the powerful lessons she taught me.
I actually owe much of my spiritual growth to a complete stranger. A famous author, Wayne M. Dyer was the person who transformed my mind. One night in July 2004 I was watching PBS and he was on there talking about his latest book, The Power of Intention. Back then I never watched PBS but something made me stop and listen to him. I could never put into words what that program did for me. I was so touched by his message that tears streamed down my face for most of the program (which was a few hours long). I have since read a handful of his books and have changed TREMENDOUSLY as a result. I never thought I’d get into anything like that but everything this man says just makes perfect sense to me and resonates with me unlike anything I’ve heard before about our higher power. I admire this man and his teachings because they are a HUGE part of what has turned me into the person I am now. I respect this man greatly and hope I always continue to apply in my life what I have learned through him. Listening to him helped me realize HOW to change the things I needed to within myself so I could heal mentally and emotionally.