Spin-off in the ramp up phase of the corner to corner journey

Where as the motorcycle odyssey going from corner to corner of this country to speak of Women and Children in the Jails and Prisons of the Nation has involved more than a dozen men and women doing this and that.It has also involved a considerable amount of planning and the unanticipated spin off has been considerable and for me impressive. Help has come from quarters that I never anticipated as well as in some cases where I expected help it never materialized. Would like to mention some of the high points so that we are all aware of some of the places we have touched to date. My hope is that there will be a lot more such reports as I blog my way through 11,000 miles. These events are not in any particular order but just as they come to my mind.

I guess the first place to start with is tomorrow. Tomorrow at 1300, there is a full presentation to give to some of the staff and volunteers at the state mental hospital in Macclenny, Florida. The best that can come of this is to plant a seed. This hospital has just lost 70 positions off its staff from budget cuts this year.

Then Tuesday afternoon at 1300, I have an appointment with Rep. “Chuck” Chestnut, who is a member of the Florida legislature. I have been asked to give a full presentation at his office to him and his staff. Not exactly sure what will come of it but it is a step in the door of the legislature.

That same day at 1900, I will be giving a presentation to two members of the Psychiatric section of Suwannee CI to discuss MBSR for inmates of their CM units. CM is close management which equates to high security. This presentation was made possible by one of the staff that attended an earlier presentation in one of the churches in Gainesville.

I think that the single biggest impact will be in Lowell CI. Single out the ramp up phase as a cause would be a mistake but it could and should be said that they were concurrent and mutually reinforcing dynamics at work from various fronts. As a part of the ramp up phase, I gave a presentation to the student senate at Santa Fe College. I left them with the challenge of creating a mentor program for the women coming out of Lowell CI and going to College. At this point; conceptually, it would kick in once a student passed the disciplinary hearing. The ex offender would be asked if they wanted a couple of mentors to help them step through the remainders of the academic hurdles as well as getting started on the college’s computer programs, tutoring facilities, study guides and other assistance not provided by a faculty adviser. Well, this project has moved from a thought and now has faculty involvement and I expect it will become an issue in the fall agenda of the senate. At the beginning of the fall semester, I will again give another presentation for new members of the student senate as well as those that did not make the last one.

Concurrent but unrelated and now it is related. Made a suggestion to the Warden that we present a class called Success in College. It would be built on top of MBSR and Inward Journey both of have a POI located in this blog. The first objective of the class is to plant the reality of the seed and then give them thoughts and practice in strategies and techniques of working their way through college. This may sound a little far fetched but the reality is that those are the same strategies and techniques associated with working their way through life.

The warden countered with a request to teach it in the Work Camp which has from 400 to 500 inmates. I agreed to teach it there and asked that the same cohort get all three class to be presented on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The essence is that there will be two segments of this program which will include the annex and work camp.

Concurrent but not unrelated is that one of our sangha members who is a professor at Santa Fe College who has a program where he is recruiting other professors to visit Lowell CI for half a day a week to assist GED staff at Lowell CI by just tutoring inmates that need help in class. Hopefully, there are a couple of professors retiring this fall and have indicated a willingness to become active in the GED program at Lowell CI.

Made the suggestion to the warden that maybe by January we could not only fold the GED effort in the work camp with the courses in MBSR, Inward Journey and Success in College into a low level character dorm. Then funnel those going to Alachua into Santa Fe College and its mentoring program. Tied to all of this is getting a yoga program off the ground for Monday and Tuesday mornings which would give the potential character dorm a five day a week program of self-development in the morning and GED in the afternoon. All of which would be in a dorm free of distracting and disruptive elements. There are a lot of variables in play and who knows what will happen. However, the warden has said that she would put a member of her staff in charge of put whatever comes together at the end of the summer together in as good a program as we could.

Yes, this may or may not come to be but the truth is we are far ahead of where we were when it started. Anything that helps get those and their kids to the starting blocks of life is worth whatever time and effort it takes. This is the way it is today.

This entry was posted in Meditation and Yoga, On the Road, Prison and Jails, Re-entry. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Spin-off in the ramp up phase of the corner to corner journey

  1. Maggi Godman says:

    I live 50 miles SE of Sacramento & if you need a place to stay & the distance is not too far I’d be glad to offer my place for your R & R, showers & grass to camp on near my home. I live in a quiet little canyon :& I have the greatest respect for the trip you are taking & the message you are bringing. Would need to know what sort of food you prefer, etc. Heard about you from my friend Sandi White who is an advocate for Women & Children in Prison–she is dedicated to your cause.
    Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
    best wishes for a safe ride.

    Maggi Godman
    Sutter Creek, CA 95685

  2. sandi says:

    Lobsters liberated by Buddhist intervention
    inShare2Share this
    Related NewsBuddhists liberate lobsters, rerouting from boiling pot to sea
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    Related TopicsOddly Enough »
    1 of 3. Buddhist monk Geshe Tenley releases a lobster back into the ocean during ”Chokhor Duchen”, or the anniversary of Buddha’s turning of the Dharma Wheel, from a boat in the waters off Gloucester, Massachusetts August 3, 2011.

    Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

    By Lauren Keiper

    GLOUCESTER, Mass | Fri Aug 5, 2011 11:07am EDT

    GLOUCESTER, Mass (Reuters) – Instead of plunging headfirst to their death in a pot of boiling water, 534 live lobsters escaped the dinner plate and belly flopped to freedom into the dark waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

    A group of Tibetan Buddhists flanked the sides of a whale-watching boat at dusk on Wednesday, sprayed the lobsters with blessed water, clipped the bands binding their dangerous claws and released them one by one into the deep water below.

    The 30 Buddhists of all ages trekked to this northern Massachusetts fishing hub to buy 600 pounds of lobster from a seafood wholesaler and save the critters from imminent death.

    The lobster liberation was scheduled for August 3, which is Wheel Turning Day on this year’s Tibetan lunar calendar, the anniversary of the first sermon Buddha taught. On this holiday, the merit for positive actions is multiplied many times.

    “Even if they get captured again, they’ve had a longer life,” said Wendy Cook, former director at the Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Medford, north of Boston.

    Buddhists from the center typically liberate masses of the expensive seafood a couple times each year.

    Cook, a yoga instructor, led a ceremony that included prayers, mantras and walking boxes of the lobsters in a circle around blessed objects. This develops a karmic connection for the animals’ future lifetimes and help ease future suffering, she said.

    Monk Geshe Tenley, Kurukulla Center’s resident teacher, who was wearing a saffron robe, released the first lobster.

    In India, Geshe Tenley said, cows, sheep and even goats are purchased and saved from slaughter. But here in New England, saving the lobsters and extending their lives — even if just for an hour — is most practical and a real way the group can make a difference in the lobsters’ existence and their own.

    “It’s rethinking the way you normally see these creatures,” said Victoria Fan, a graduate student who participated in the ceremony steps away from a sign for $15.99 lobster dinners.

    “You’re supposed to view them equally. Their happiness is as important as your happiness, their suffering is as important as your suffering,” Fan said.

    (Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)

    Oddly Enough

  3. sandi says:

    For those of you who sign Maria Garcia’s petition for her freedom at The Fix in Nevada City, she has been released and is being transported back to Mexico where she was abducted 20 years ago as a child…..what is unforturnate is she should have never been incarcerated at all. Most human traffic victims don’t survive at all. Why any penalties at all?
    We as tax payers are paying the bill at $58,000 per year, per incarcerated inmate. We pay the court costs and the transfer back to Mexico.

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