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Gillian Sanger

Reminders of our shared humanity

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@Jo L - I'm re-sharing the video you posted in a thread because it will probably be easier for people to find here than on your profile page. Thank you so much for sharing this - what a beautiful reminder of our oneness.

 

 

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Thank you...I think it's so eye-opening and important for people to see. I really appreciate your help.

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Posted (edited)

Hi @Gillian Sangerand @Jo L

This was very powerful. I love the fact that they mentioned that childhood trauma is really a public health issue: blaming and shaming does NOT lead to any healing.

Yes, we are all in this life together. 

Many thanks for sharing.

Kind Regards,

Gene

Edited by Gene Williams
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Thank you, I am glad you appreciated this video. I am participating in Path to Freedom, to bring mindfulness teaching to prisoners. I believe it can make such a difference, and that is has been such a disservice to prisoners that they have not been exposed to rehabilitative programs such as this. I also plan to teach yoga in women's prisons. 

Best, 

Jo

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On 4/17/2020 at 2:09 PM, Jo L said:

Thank you, I am glad you appreciated this video. I am participating in Path to Freedom, to bring mindfulness teaching to prisoners. I believe it can make such a difference, and that is has been such a disservice to prisoners that they have not been exposed to rehabilitative programs such as this. I also plan to teach yoga in women's prisons. 

Best, 

Jo

How wonderful Jo! I guess you are familiar with the work of Gabor Maté? He embodies and expresses so much wisdom.

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Yes, I am familiar with Gabor Mate and love all of his stuff. I really appreciate his ideas about addiction. Glad you like him too! 

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WOW, I actually had a client that was in prison.  He worked through a relationship that was unstable, of course.  I taught him the meditations and how to be still.  Not easy in a prison environment.  In the 6 mo-a year client/coach relationship I helped person work out why lies never benefit anyone, leads to emotional confusion, his own.   Wanted to do things right so went through right and wrong scenarios, did not have a family, lived on the streets.  I have not heard from this person for awhile we would connect once a month.  My suspicion is the phone was found?  Needless to say, probably not a great situation.  not sure how found me but through Facebook.   By the time I learned was in prison and already worked things with them.  Had to let go.  I did not realize no phones in prison.     

I would definitely participate in teaching prisoners about the presence within and control they actually have.  

 

Paige 

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On 4/17/2020 at 8:09 AM, Jo L said:

Thank you, I am glad you appreciated this video. I am participating in Path to Freedom, to bring mindfulness teaching to prisoners. I believe it can make such a difference, and that is has been such a disservice to prisoners that they have not been exposed to rehabilitative programs such as this. I also plan to teach yoga in women's prisons. 

Best, 

Jo

I work with Tim McCormack and Kath Meadows, who also do a lot with prison programs for mindfulness and yoga. Such valuable work. Thank you. 

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In the last workshop in Sean's Mastermind program, I was reminded of the beautiful 'Just Like Me' practice, which is so relevant to the times we find ourselves in. Has anyone practiced this? Here is a guided version and a written version to check out:

https://mindfulnessexercises.com/downloads/just-like-me/

https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/practices/practices/view/27782/just-like-me-compassion-meditation

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The prison film was very humbling. "Just-like-me" has been a fairly regular practice of mine for years, basically because I was trying to find metta teachings that spoke to me. After failing to relate well to a couple of the often-recommended books, I found Jeffrey Hopkins book A Truthful Heart that spends a lot of time on "just-like-me." Hopkins in one of those amazing characters who was a gangster and juvenile delinquent who went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, translator for the Dali Lama, and a professor at U. Va. His early aggression was something to which I really could relate! I think "just-like-me" practice can do a lot toward starting to deconstruct the crazy ways we identify with personality views, blame ourselves and blame others. In the G.R.I.P. prison program they have a saying something like "Leaving Prison Before You Get Out." It's not about fantasy or detachment from reality, it's about personal insight and freedom. I think a lot of people on the outside are too spoiled to do the work. I know I can feel the pulls of smugness and comfort resisting the necessary effort, masking the fears, and draining the courage. The graduates of those prison programs are real warriors of the heart. They serve as an inspiration to me, so do the victims and relatives who support them and bear witness to the prisoners' transformation. I think that is part of the trick: not to blame and rationalize our failure to press onward, but to have kindness and really apply ourselves to growing.

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I have never heard of this book, David. But it sounds very intriguing. My list of 'to-read's is indeed getting rather long.

Lovely reflection as well. And I really like that idea of leaving prison before getting out. Indeed, it is about an inner 'exiting' or freedom. What a powerful skill to cultivate.

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David I appreciate your reflections on "just-like-me" which Fleet Maull includes in his curriculum for teaching mindfulness to prisoners in Path to Freedom. Since I've decided to work with prisoners and become a prison reform advocate, I've been amazed at the number of former prisoners who transform in prison and become truly remarkarable people that make a real difference in society and other's lives. When I was working as a psychologist, I had a client who was sent to maximum security prison for 5 years. He had a horrible time there- was beaten, sent to solitary numerous times, and at one point broke his back when a guard intervened in a fight. When my client was released and scheduled an appointment with me, I had no idea what to expect. He entered my office and was just beaming; he was so happy to be free and proceeded to tell me how prison transformed him, despite all of the negative and horrifying experiences he had gone through. He got sober (even though drugs were available) found spirituality and meditation, developed deep relationships with other men and discovered that his calling was to heal and help others. His progress in therapy accelerated, he re-established a relationship with a son whom he had abandoned, started coaching youth in basketball, secured full-time employment, and began studying to become a youth leader. I realize his experience may not be the norm, but I strongly believe that prisoners are not bad people, and they all deserve a chance at a new life when they finish their sentence. Unfortunately, prisoners are not set up for success when they are released, which is a reason I am strongly advocating for systemic change in the prison industry. I am also appalled at the disproportionate number of black people incarcerated versus white people, as well as their longer sentences, and much higher likelihood of getting the death sentence (which itself is cruel and unusual punishment in my opinion). 

One story that is truly inspiring is that of a woman whose teenage so was shot and killed by another teenage boy. She went to the trial and saw the shooter sentenced to many years in prison. After awhile, the woman felt an urge to talk to the young man who was responsible for her son's death so she visited him in jail. Soon, she was visiting him regularly. They developed a strong bond. She forgave him and began to truly care about him, whose own mother was not in his life. When he was finally released from jail, the mother of the son he killed actually helped him secure housing near her, and basically assisted him in transitioning to life on the outside. They visit almost daily and she now calls the man who killed her biological son 'son.'  How beautiful is that?  

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On 6/24/2020 at 1:37 PM, Jo L said:

One story that is truly inspiring is that of a woman whose teenage so was shot and killed by another teenage boy. She went to the trial and saw the shooter sentenced to many years in prison. After awhile, the woman felt an urge to talk to the young man who was responsible for her son's death so she visited him in jail. Soon, she was visiting him regularly. They developed a strong bond. She forgave him and began to truly care about him, whose own mother was not in his life. When he was finally released from jail, the mother of the son he killed actually helped him secure housing near her, and basically assisted him in transitioning to life on the outside. They visit almost daily and she now calls the man who killed her biological son 'son.'  How beautiful is that?  

Wow! The power of the human spirit and forgiveness. Thank you for sharing this (and the other anecdote as well) @Jo L. This second story you've shared has me recalling the story that Anand Giridharadas tells in this TED talk. Worth the watch if you have the time 🙂 

 

 

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Thank you for sharing Gillian. Love stories like this. We need to be reminded of the genuine kindness and love we are all made of.❤️

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Jack Kornfield relates a wonderful story like Jo's. Here is a link with the excerpt: 

https://mariashriver.com/jack-kornfield-ive-been-thinking-the-heart-of-forgiveness/

Here is a similar story that I first learned from reading the book, cited in the post, that started me on my spiritual path:

https://greatbrainidea.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/through-ivan-hector/

 

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