Through the Eyes of Inmates – Week 2

Scroll down for this week’s stories/reflections on mindfulness.

At Compassion It, we envision a day where compassion is practiced by every person, for every person, on every day. When we say every person, we mean EVERY person…including inmates.

Thanks to partnerships with the nonprofits Brilliance Inside and the Prison Yoga Project, we’re honored and thrilled that this year’s 30-Day Compassion It Challenge includes inmates from one of the yards at RJ Donovan Correctional Facility. We’re meeting with a small group of Donovan inmates each week in order to take a deeper dive into mindfulness, compassion, and self-compassion. By sharing the inmates’ stories and reflections of mindfulness and compassion with you each week and by sharing your stories of compassion with them, we hope to begin to bridge the vast gap that exists between those on the inside and the rest of us on the outside.

We gave the inmates paper Compassion It wristbands to remind them to make compassion a priority each day. They voluntarily joined the challenge as a way to cultivate compassion and create a more peaceful environment within themselves, within the prison walls, and beyond. This challenge offers inmates the opportunity to give back and make amends for the crimes they committed.

Story 1 – Mindfulness

There was this blade of grass that caught my attention. What was so amazing about this particular blade of grass? It was something unique about it because there was not any other grass around to be seen. It was odd to see this grass arising from the earth that had been covered with sand, mixtures of ground and grinded up rocks, concrete and pesticides to prevent its growth.

Picture this in your mind, a prison constructed of nothing but concrete and steel from the ground up. Even the yard is nothing but concrete and rocks. Out of these layers of sand, rocks, pesticides, and concrete appears a single blade of grass. Just imagine how deep down this grass had to struggle before it reached the surface. From darkness it struggled and encountered all kinds of obstacles that were intended to prevent its growth, change its specific course and to prevent its life.

Yet, this blade of grass prevailed. It persevered against all odds. As I found on this blade of grass, its energy inspired me to continue my struggle for the nutrients that will allow me to push upward and find the light.

-Written by anonymous inmate


Story 2 – Mindfulness

By being intentional in being mindful this week, I was able to focus and stay focused more easily. I felt better mentally, I was able to move past and avoid problems. I ate less, focused on my breathing more.

The best result I noticed was I was able to be totally present and focused on my wife. I was able to hear her concerns and understand the issues she conveyed to me. Which made it easy for me to listen, participate in the conversation and be a sounding board for her ideas and solutions.

-Written by anonymous inmate


Story 3 – Mindfulness

When I first started Compassion It, I wasn’t sure of myself, whether or not I was fully ready to take that step. Truthfully, I never paid attention to compassion. How it played a part in my life or even the affects it played on other people and the world.

I now have been through my first week of mindfulness. Never did I know just how important mindfulness is or how good it feels.

When I did for my first week is shower. Feeling the hot water as it hits and rolls down my skin like a shoulder massage. In unison, I prayed in the now. And once I finished I immediately began to access the now and what I needed to do for the day as far as righting wrongs I may have done.

Another part of mindfulness I practiced was listening more and talking less. This helped me a lot to really not just hear but feel for the other person’s need.

In conclusion, Compassion It works. Don’t just use it, compassion it.

-Written by anonymous inmate

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