Well it’s that time of year when I have the privilege of awakening with the women from Valley State Prison for Women. This is a workshop offered to the inmates of the prison and facilitated by volunteers. I am one of those volunteers
as a graduate of The
University of Santa Monica. My intention is to share different accounts of women I have worked with at the prison who have impressed me as the awakened women they are.
One afternoon I sat with a woman who, when I looked into her eyes, she seemed lifeless and void of a soul. As I stayed present with her I asked Love to help me help this precious soul before me. It didn’t take long before I heard the words, “she is mine, just listen to her heart and I will help you”. So I listened deeply and gently reflected back to her what I was hearing. My wish was that this blessed child of God could access her thoughts and feelings and feel heard. She shared with me how she had been handled by the authorities as if she was nothing but a piece of worthless dirt. In her words, “nobody gave me a chance to tell my story, they didn’t care, they didn’t listen …. I am a human being and I have feelings, damn-it!” I listened some more, I listened deeply. I held the space as she emoted. There seemed to be a gallon of tears that flowed from her eyes. I held the space for her to hear her own heart. She didn’t need me to interrupt her and interject psycho-babble. She simply needed the silence to access her own inner knowing. My job was to hold the light and trust that she had all the inner knowing. The only opinion that matters was Love’s thoughts of her.
So what did this session accomplish? Well, I’ll tell you. This amazing woman who sat in front of me felt an inner shift. She felt ” a light go on”. Her inner knowing told her that the situation that she found herself in (being imprisoned), couldn’t define who she was, only Love (God) could. She shared that “she had been defining herself as the authorities had been defining her and not as God knew her to be”. A smile appeared and a sense of lightness was felt by us both. We gazed into one another’s eyes for awhile just basking in the love. We both shared “happy tears” which felt so cleansing and pure.
I noticed a bounce in her step the rest of the weekend. I thanked God.