Humble Warrior: My Journey To Accountability by David Schmenk
My name is David. On May 23rd, I will be making the transition from being a yoga instructor in our community to becoming an inmate at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institute. In late 2011, at the age of 28, I made life choices that ultimately impacted others and altered the course of my life. I hid the circumstances, suppressed my emotions, and ran from the consequences. I stole, I hurt, and I lied. Today, I seek redemption and personal freedom. This is the beginning of my Journey to Accountability.
Six years ago I worked in the mortgage industry. I got swept up in a company, a relationship, and a lifestyle that demanded more than my means allowed, leading me to step out of integrity. Fraudulent activity occurred, federal investigators got involved, clients and investors lost money, the company was dissolved, and guilty verdicts were handed down. I do not deny my role and take full responsibility for my actions. For the last five years, I have lived in limbo, not knowing what to expect. Regardless, I have tried to become a better person and make amends for my wrongdoings. On April 3rd , 2017 my fate was handed to me in the form of $26,000 in restitution and 21 months in federal prison. My sentence begins in two weeks.
This “article” serves as a much deeper and more personal purpose than merely announcing a chain of events that led up to these consequences, and this major pending life change. This is the story of how yoga changed my life, led me back to integrity, allowed to find my true self, and surrounded me with a community that has brought me strength, support, and joy. Sharing my story with you is allowing me to step outside of my comfort zone, face my fear of judgment, invite people into my life, and open myself up to a spectrum of emotions that I was masterful at hiding.
Practicing and teaching yoga has given me insight into what is most important in my life; my son Aiden, my girlfriend Emily, my friends and family, my community, and my integrity. Discovering yoga has given me access to reconnecting to my word and learning to communicate with the people I love. In order to be a good father to my son, I not only need to teach him the importance of integrity, but also live my life as example of what it means.
My hesitation in sharing this with others has not stemmed from the intention of being deceptive or to mitigate my mistakes, but rather as an attempt to shield those I care about from feeling hurt, ashamed, or insecure as a result of my actions. I have realized that the consequences and punishment I am facing deeply affect the lives of others, and the pain that I know I have caused others is far worse than the pain and isolation I will face in prison.
Although I will not be physically present in our yoga community for the next 21 months, I will be emotionally and spiritually present with you. I intend to share my story through writing, and create an interactive experience with you by welcoming your correspondence via letters or visits. Although my access to technology will be limited, my words are abundant, and I will be sending my thoughts via written letters, which will be transcribed into a blog by community administrators. I hope to pass along some of my teaching sequences to the team at Toledo Yoga, so the spirit of my classes can be passed on to you from afar. Although this journey will be long and difficult for me, I intend to learn and grow during the time when I am away, and welcome you to join and support me during my transformation. I invite you to join me for my farewell class on Monday, May 22nd @ Toledo Yoga at 6:00 PM with a community gathering to follow at 7:00 PM.
With love and light,
David, The Humble Warrior