From Guard to Guardian

Taking Corrections Officers on a journey into the highest version of their calling and their own deepest, truest selves, From Guard to Guardian also encourages the rest of us to envision the adventure of our own becoming. In the process, it compels us all to reimagine how we see people who are incarcerated and the systems that confine them.

From programs aimed at helping those in prison learn meditation, develop writing skills, take college classes, and engage in the performing arts, society has begun to imagine that more is possible for prisons that were previously merely institutions for security and confinement. Because such programs are limited in scope and vision, the most that even the best of such programs can hope for is a handful of success stories.

The Unconditional Freedom Project was developed with a larger vision — to turn prisons into monasteries. This vision views the experience of incarceration as an opportunity for people to undertake the journey of connection to their soul and the discovery of unequivocal freedom — a journey we call soulmaking.

Yet within monasteries, monks are not left to their own devices to do their work as they will. Instead, they function under the guidance of priests and guides who act as mentors in their unfolding. For those who are incarcerated, these are Corrections Officers. In wishing for prisoners to have the opportunity to grow from prisoners to penitents, we must also support COs in their own soulmaking — in their transformation from a guard into the guardian.

COs venture into spaces most of us dare not tread, to do a job most of us could not do. They see things most of us could not imagine, and endure experiences that would break the rest of us into pieces. In fact, COs suffer some of the highest rates of PTSD of any career, including police officers.

Yet in reality, in spite of all this — and in fact because of this — there exists the potential for something different, for something more. There’s potential for a life that’s fulfilling and satisfying, and a path for COs to do their work in a way that’s more meaningful and impactful, for themselves and the rest of the world.

From Guard to Guardian presents a step-by-step interactive guide for COs to re-envision their lives and their work, and to connect more deeply with the nobility of their calling. Employing metaphor and mythology, science and psychology, this guide supports COs and others in corrections and adjacent fields in the work of their own becoming. In it they will find recognition, insights, encouragement, and reflections to help them embody the archetype of the guardian, and thus to experience not only their work, but their entire lives more richly, with greater ease and flow, and with utmost satisfaction.

From Guard to Guardian invites all readers, not just COs, to consider what is possible when we recognize and connect with our soul’s blueprint, and when we remove all that impedes us from experiencing life as the fullest, most engaged and enlivened version of ourselves.