How does one begin her blog? As if we have a blank slate, an online soapbox from which to postulate our dreams, ideas, hopes, fears?
From a coaching perspective I could write about my history of growth through the years of working with clients: learning to engage with peoples’ feelings, trusting the process of knowing when to ask challenging questions, when to back-off – to keep my mouth shut. How to listen deeply to what they say, and as importantly, to what they don’t say.
How about transformation? There’s a mouthful. Perhaps an overused term these days … meaning what? Significant, life-altering change? Re-vibing oneself? I’m referring to massive alterations in one’s psyche, belief system, thought process, behavior, and choice making. More or less: a complete reorganization of one’s operational framework. To me, that spells evolutionary, and revolutionary regeneration.
Transformation is not some absolute destination that one declares, “I have arrived!” Rather a gradual continuum of subtle revisions, reworking what no longer works, after identifying how we’ve blundered through our lives, blindly wounding ourselves, and others. When we’re ready to shed our victim identity, we can choose ‘ownership,’ stepping into responsibility, understanding that we have the power to govern our own feelings, to monitor our actions, and to heal from the inside out a lifetime of loss, sorrow, fear, blame and shame.
Nowhere have I witnessed a greater abundance of dramatic overhauls in personality, behaviors, and awareness than in our penal system right here in the U.S., where we incarcerate more people per capita than any other country in the world.
To say that inmates have a rarified opportunity to wallow in past digressions, create new stimuli to perpetuate more drama, or embrace a whole new paradigm is an understatement.
I know a little about this because I have spent time with men and women doing time. Not as a teacher, or therapist, or even spiritual advisor, but as an observer, interviewer and mentor.
All of the 250+ inmates I have mentored and interviewed for a book project spanning 13 states in 26 prisons have chosen to take the higher road, which includes self-discovery and internal change, and many of those men and women are serving life-without-possibility of parole.
These fellow citizens taught me compassion, the value of tolerance, and acceptance. These intangible gifts were bestowed by original hard-core individuals, from some of the scariest backgrounds you could imagine, but their hearts had been cracked open by incarceration; the constant interfacing with fellow human beings who suffer and struggle to stay afloat. Through the process of staying alive and maintaining, they learn benevolence, and empathy for self and others.
This is how I choose to begin my blog, many years later owning website after website, promising each year to start a blog. But when I would write the words, they sounded hollow, didn’t resonate, too personal, didn’t feel relevant to anything particularly vital in our world.
Like many writers and bloggers, I suppose, I have a lot to say … I hope you’ll tune in for the next episode, which will speak to the challenging, volatile times in which we live.