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Wisdom Beyond Wisdom: The Gift of Growth

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

It’s quite amazing. I’ve been going to prison for these weekly classes for almost a year now, and I still walk out completely floored by the insights that arise for the men and me. One thing that became clear to me last night is how much wisdom is held in a cinder-block room of over 40 men in khaki.

And I’d wage a bet that it is true here in RI and in all prisons. Those who have come through so much and the causes and conditions that have led them to such places are the same causes and conditions that allow such wisdom to arise.

Yes. It blows my mind.

So, how do we harvest and grow that wisdom into something deeper? Something more meaningful? Something tangible?

Well, after sitting in that room Thursday evening, I had the insight that just by simply being there and providing an opportunity and space for these men (and now women, with the programs expanding there) to do this deep reflective work, we are providing a space for some deep transformation.

And, it is quite extraordinary how these 40+ men show up – for themselves and each other. There, in that room, begins the journey to a semi-safe zone, or so it seems – right there in prison – a place that never seems safe. It shocks me at times to hear men voice such vulnerabilities:

“How long does it really take to regain composure?”
“Does meditation help speed up the process of holding your seat?”
“As long as your find where your trigger is you can calmly say you need to take space”
“Building confidence will give us the skills to handle such triggering situations”

It is comments like these that, after jumping into the deep end of the Holding Your Seat unit that, show me that this stuff seems to make sense.

If someone living inside the walls of our nation's prisons can question and relay such truthful, vulnerable, and wise things…it seems to be opening them to something bigger than I can possibly understand – sitting here writing from a place of literal freedom. It’s deeply touching, to say the very least.

Thank you for reading,

Madrone Phoenix, PMI Staff


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