Monday, July 20, 2015
My Experience as a Prison Volunteer
I had no idea what I was going to experience, all I knew was that it sounded like something I wanted to do. So I coordinated with Lawrence to try it out.
Yesterday we met in person for the first time at the women's prison parking lot around 9 am. I had to leave all my "stuff" in the car (purse, notebook) and go through security. Not a surprise at all. Just standard procedure. Lawrence brought along a cd player, and a whole lotta yoga mats which were inspected and counted before entering the premises.
I took some books to give away to the inmates....books I have already read and find uplifting. They were so happy to receive these.
The inmates know the day and time of the group meeting; a small group was already outside the meeting room waiting eagerly for us. After a few minutes more inmates joined us and we were a group of about 14. I think the number of attendees is limited.
I was truly surprised and joyful at the welcome I received from all of them. We sat in a circle, introduced ourselves, I briefly shared a bit of who I am, what I do, and why I was there. I'm Dominican, a New Yorker, mom of three, a life coach and an ordained ministerial counselor. Oh, I also shared I do Reiki.
Immediately I felt connected to all of them. They were quite cheerful, open, and aware. A diverse group, white American, Colombian, Mexican, African American, Indian.
Lawrence allowed me to guide the group in meditation....which I happily did. Then we sat in peaceful silence for a few more minutes. Just being, in stillness. After that Lawrence and the group enjoyed an hour of hatha yoga to a really good dvd, while I, at the request of the inmates, did Reiki individually to 5 of them.....that took up the next hour for me. But I was so happy!!! I felt I was making a difference in these women's lives. I prayed with some, listened intently to others share their stories after each Reiki session. It was a wonderful and satisfying experience.
I'll be back for sure!! This is a blessed opportunity to share, give, receive and touch lives.