Brooks, you reminded me why I do what I do. Thank you sweet one!

2017 is like so close I am almost able to reach out and touch it.

This time of the year, things slow down for me so much with the kids being on holidays for 2 months! And fortunately our fam has managed to create a life that mostly means I can work around the family. That I can still be the primary parent. I know the parenting job….it won’t be that long and I will be made redundant from! So I savour it right now!

This year went pretty fast for me.

Did this year just seem to fly by for you??

Perhaps if the old saying, “Time flies when you are having fun” is true? Is the reason this year has just flown been because you have been having too much fun?

Yeah, I see you roll your eyes at me. I see you sigh. I see you want to stop reading now!

Sunday night I watched, “The Shawshank Redemption”. A movie that is in my top 3 of all time movies. I’ve watched it at least a dozen times. As I type this I feel like I want to watch it again.

Each time I get little heart pops. Different each time.

This time, the moment that gripped me the most was watching the journey of the beloved Brooks. A man who had been imprisoned for 50 years. 50 whole years! Can you even imagine being imprisoned for that long??

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Brooks was a man that in the jail, he felt safe. He was respected by the other inmates. He had a respectable ‘job’ in the prison as the library clerk. He had a pet crow who sat wit him as he worked. He had his routine. He had a predictable life. Not an ideal life, but he felt safe and not afraid. The walls had become his friend. The other prisoners were not just his friends, they were his family. His only family.

After 50 long years, he was released. Out from behind those walls out in to a completely different world. The world he was plunged into that was the 1950’s . What struck me and made me grin in a letter to his prison family, “Things are just moving too fast out here. I had seen a picture of an automobile but I didn’t know there were so many. People are in such a rush”. The pace of the world was relative to a man that had not witnessed the change of pace. I am sure it was like coming out of a warm bath into a freezing ice bath!

The world outside the walls was just too much for Brooks. He wanted to return to his safe place. His home. His predictable. His safe. His family. His friends. Despite all his freedom, he wanted to hide away behind the walls where it was quiet and safe.

And I really felt for him. And I really get it.

In my 20’s I made a transition for a couple of years from being a Registered Nurse to have the experience of being a Community Corrections Officer. My case load was made up of what was classified as High Risk Offenders. Folks who were on their last legs before prison and folks who had been in prison a long time and were on Parole.

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I spent a lot of time listening to folks about their lives. How they got to where they are. Listening to the challenges that faced them going forward. Their fears. And they were indeed challenges. It was my job to help support folks so that they stay out of prison. Resources. Support networks. Life skills training. Anger management training. Building connections. So that they might be thriving members of our community. Proper contributing folks.

It was a tough enough job for me. And I can’t imagine how tough it was for them!

Now days, I spend most of my days with people who are brave enough to explore the lives and or personal prisons that they have created. I spend time listening to folks tell me about how they want to change the life they have created. I spend time helping people to live on the outside of their personal prisons. Which for the most part are belief patterns that keep us stuck.

Exploration. A lot of light holding. Resources. Networks. Life skills training. Anger acceptance support. Building connections. So that they might be thriving members of our community.

And like the actual prisoners, it isn’t easy street.

Some, really brave souls step outside their prisons. They see the light and they know that they are going to have to make some changes. They know they are going to have to make some new friends. They know they are going to need support. They know they might need a new job.  And yes, all that might be challenging because they have been in prison for such a long time. They have to navigate a new way of being in the world. And sitting with all those parolees, I know it is uncomfortable as hell.

Some simply cannot bare it. And they re-offend just to go back to prison.

Some simply NEVER want to go back!

They just don’t want to go back. And because they don’t want to go back, they do what they need to do to stay outside the walls. And it’s work. It is!

God knows there are times when I find myself back in prison in my mind. It’s dark in there. I don’t hang there too long because I have tasted freedom. It is however….familiar there. Even comforting at times.

And I get it.

Brooks reminded me.

The way that we have built our lives, even if they aren’t ideal, they are predictable. Safe, even if they are uncomfortable.

Brooks knew how the days would play out. He had been doing it long enough after all. And sure, there were some uncomfortable experience from time too time with new inmates, or new prison staff, but for the most part, he knew the prison he was in. I completely understand why he wanted to go back. He felt alone. He felt like he didn’t belong. And for all I know, his home really was the prison. That is where he was meant to spend his life. That was his happy place.

It certainly wasn’t Andy Dufresne happy place…he wanted out and far out did he do the work. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you if you haven’t seen it, but Andy held the dream, held the vision and held the HOPE that he would make it on the outside and tiny bit, by tiny bit, day after day, he made progress. And he never let that go.

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Andy was dedicated to spending his time dreaming and scheming of a life outside the prison. The walls however, became his friend while he was there and used them to serve his dream. While he made friends, he was prepared to leave it and them all behind for his dream…and when you see the ripple affect of him following his dream…well, you’ll get it!

There is freedom in our dreams. I know when we feel imprisoned, trapped by the way we have built our lives there is a feeling that you can never reach them. I know that when you feel safe with the friends and family you have, you are afraid that you will lose them if you leave the prison. But actually, you may see that there are friends that want to leave their prisons of their minds too. And oh the fun you will have.

As 2017 nears, it is a great time to take a look at the life that you have built. Does it feel like freedom or does it feel like prison?

And if it feels like a prison, don’t be an arsehole to yourself. You did what humans do. Forget to check in and see if you are creating a life, or letting it create you. It’s ok and it can change. Little but, by little bit. If you really want it to.

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What are you willing to do to live a life that is right for you?

For Brooks, it was to stay in the prison.

For Andy, he wanted to be free.

Neither is right. Both are life choices.

We get to choose.

What do you choose?

If you want to make 2017 a year of creation, of freedom and of authentic expression, I’d love to hear about it!

What are your dreams? I you don’t know your dreams, lets talk..Lets bounce. Lets see if we can ignite the flame again. It’s in you, it really is.

Do you agree with what I am on about, or do you have another perspective. I’d love to hear that too.

Pop a comment in the box below.

Speak kindly to yourself

Big, big love

Jen

xx

 

 

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