Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm going to prison.

Most of you who follow me regularly, know I have faced a few challenges this year. And, as with any challenge that faces us in life ~ it sometimes causes us to pause, to think, to reflect...and hopefully, to act.

And, I have been thinking... quite a lot. Often, my mind wanders to this most magnificent universe - that has provided me such love, and care... and many awe inspiring moments in my life. I'm reminded of a quote by one of my most favorite poets, Hafiz - "Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth 'You owe me'... Look what happens with a love like that, it lights up the whole world."

I want to light up the whole world, too. I want to love it in such a way, that the best part of my spirit will remain... long after I am gone. I want to make a difference, if even for just one person's heart. I want them to feel the same love the Sun feels for this Earth. What better way to make a difference in this world?

So, I have decided that I will be taking on a new endeavor ~ to bring mindfulness and healing to the Maryland Department of Corrections. I know what you're probably thinking... "Tara, they will eat you alive." But, I'm not afraid of what might happen...rather, I'm more interested in that one person who's heart I might help.

So, why help those who have willingly inflicted so much pain? Who have destroyed lives in a simple split second decision.

I don't know how best to answer this, suffice to say - but, I am reminded of a story, told by Tara Brach in which, a young mother lost her only son. He was the victim of a gang initiation - a 14 year old boy shot and killed him. Just like that - just because.

It was a horrible senseless act.

Because of his age, the boy was sentenced to a juvenile detention center - for just two years.

As the sentence was read, the Mother stood up and then fell to her knees - she looked straight at that young boy and growled, "I will kill you someday."

She had so much hate in her heart; and her spirit was empty at the loss of her child.

But, she realized something - hate wouldn't ever bring her son back from the grave.

So she started visiting the young boy in prison, initially to understand. Though, in time she realized - she was the only one visiting the boy. When she realized he had nothing, and he had never known love - her view of this boy changed. She realized he needed her - more.

As the day of his release approached, the Mother helped to find him a job with a relative. And when she learned he had no place to stay, she opened her home for him - this boy who killed her son.

But, the story doesn't end there - for one day, this Mother in one of the greatest single acts of compassion and forgiveness I have ever witness..adopted this boy.When asked about her statement in court she smiled and replied, "You know, I did kill that boy. The boy standing in front of me, is no longer the one who killed my son."

So, I am reminded of this Mother - who at the bottom pit of her own grief, was able to rise up.. give hope... and do something that would let love prevail.

That's what is motivating this crazy notion of mine.

I want to change the heart of all the bad guys.

I am excited (and just a bit scared) see how all this may go.