Unconditional freedom… The Art of Soulmaking? In prison, yeah right.
Believe me I entertained those exact thoughts. I’m serving twenty-two years in Central California Women’s Facility. Prior to reading The Art of Soulmaking workbook, it was hard for me to imagine unconditional freedom. As I contemplated the meaning of unconditional freedom, I realized that a new life comes with a new way of thinking, and my old way of thinking is what landed me here in the first place.
Yoga and meditation were foreign to me. I live in an eight-woman cell, how could I possibly meditate; how could I do yoga? The Unconditional Freedom Project brought a group to my unit, and we were able to utilize the game room. Yoga was uncomfortable at first. I fell in love with the meditation, as it felt exhilarating and freeing, and I found absolute silence. In prison, where and when do we get that solitude? It was in that group that I finally felt the solitude and quietness I’ve been seeking for years. Even though there were others in the group, we were all on the same page. A peace came over me, and I wanted more, so I eagerly went to group every Saturday.
While working through the book, I came across “One Acre of Land,” which in all of its simplicity is very powerful. We can apply this concept to all aspects of our lives. If we don’t take care of our acre, ourselves, who will? It’s up to us to pull out and remove all negativity, to get rid of it. Whether the negativity in our lives comes from people, substances, old hurts, insecurities, it’s up to us to put ourselves first. It’s also up to us to cultivate what’s good, positive, healing, unifying, peaceful, and forgiving.
The Art of Soulmaking talks about forgiveness and the benefits of forgiving: “When someone rises to forgive — society, their enemies, their friends, the system, themselves — they become a person who has freed themselves regardless of all external conditions.” That’s a powerful, truthful statement.
I encourage you to dive in and dig deep, go through this program and get what you need out of it — there’s something in it for all of us.
I’ve truly been honored to get involved in this project. Remember what we put in is what we get out. It’s up to us to do the work, and then to apply the work. Yes, we may be incarcerated, but we have the power to be more free than those in the free world. We can enjoy unconditional freedom, meditation, growth and forgiveness, but most of all enjoy tilling our acre of land.