What do the young females in the Juvenile Justice System need the most??? How about somebody to love the crap out them and care enough to teach them essential life skills for cultivating self-love and developing self-care practices!?! That’s exactly what we are up to. I recently joined forces with Hope at Hand, Inc. (www.HopeAtHand.org), a local non-profit in Jacksonville to offer a weekly 90 minute class for self-love that combines yoga, guided meditation, and journaling. Knowing that it’s not our job to try to change these girls into something we think they should be, we decided to simply give them an experience of what unconditional love feels like. This is how true transformation occurs. We loved them and they received it.
The fact that we are able to offer these types of classes ‘within’ the system shows signs of HUGE progress for our community! Hope at Hand has also been able to teach yoga, poetry and art therapy in public schools, drug rehabs, and jails. This is the quality of effort that will transform this area. I often use the analogy of a village to describe what I am seeing take place. If a portion of the population within the confines of a village are distressed the whole village suffers because everyone isn’t giving their best to the whole. We need to allocate our time, energy, and efforts to ensure that we are elevating the consciousness of the vulnerable and at-risk populations and providing them with the resources they need the most.
My take away from my recent experience of SHINING my light within the confines of the justice system is this – No matter what a person’s history might be, or personality is currently like, they still need to be unconditionally loved, authentically seen, and validated that they too can rise above their personal challenges and shine. Find the light within yourself and you will see it easier in others.