Humble Warrior – Creating a Powerful Community at Elkton FCI
One of the benefits of our fast paced, high tech world is certainly email. And while the vast amount of email in my inbox often has me wanting to simply shut down, I am extremely grateful to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for a system that allows email correspondence from David, our Humble Warrior. When the notification arrives, I tear through the email like a child ripping through the wrapping paper on Christmas morning.
Following are excerpts from one of these great gifts….I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. With love, Leslie
“There is quite the religious presence here on the compound including a Native American Sweat Lodge ceremony every weekend…I was raised catholic and the catholic faith is mostly all in Spanish here so I’ve been sticking to the Buddhist services on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s a period of sitting meditation followed [by] discussion and sometimes videos. It’s pretty engaging and it allows me to discuss yoga topics and to spread that message. We are building a yoga community here […] I taught a class today outside at the rec yard and had over 10 people stop by with questions and interest, which was amazing! It was beautiful outside and there were a lot of people out just walking around and enjoying the weather. It’s kind of strange to think of but I’m trying to build a community just as you did at Toledo Yoga. Creating a powerful community through the practice of yoga in Elkton FCI [Federal Correctional Institution].
There has been such an outpouring of support towards me here in the unit from all of you in the community and from Emily and my family. It brings me to tears seeing all of the love and support. Everyone here sees how strong a community I have and they see all of the mail and correspondence and think of me as some kind of celebrity or something. Because the Toledo Yoga community was about so much more than just Yoga, I’m trying to live the practice in here. Because I am blessed with this community and support, I am mindful to the fact that there are many people here that do not have anyone to help them, or to write to them so I am trying to share the love and use my gifts and skills to create community in here. I’ve been trying to work/talk with someone each day to help them reach out to family members and friends […] many have very limited writing abilities and resources so I’m helping them read and respond to older letters from their contacts to try and organize and create new habits for staying in touch with family and friends and building community…I’m even drawing pictures for people and helping to make birthday cards for family. I’m doing what I can to spread the love that I receive in here from you all with those in here that are less fortunate but are craving connection from those on the outside…I’m also tutoring GED Math…which is random because I never thought of myself as being very good at math lol…I told someone recently though that “Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around”…the opportunities for growth and change are all over the place in here. My daily mindfulness practice is noticing them and doing everything I can to change with them.”
David Schmenk, Humble Warrior