There was a definate sweetness from the boys that was different from any other day--their sweetness came from their profound yoga experience Monday with Buck! Buck has a gentle demeener that is contagious and a sweetness that comes directly from his heart--this infectious quality rubs off on most students, but the boys (and girls) in JDC have not had many of these men in their lives--they have encountered angry dads, moms boyfriends, many of them who have not one ounce of gentleness in their hearts and when the boys come in contact with these sweet gentle kinds of men they drink them in like a cool glass of water on a hot summer day. The look that the boys get in the presence of this genuine heart is indescribable--the boys softened at the first word that Buck spoke, and it is a softening that starts at the top of their head and softens them to the bottoms of their feet--it is incredibley sweet and incredibly sad to watch them so hungry for someone too SEE them actually realize that someone does. Buck remembered some of the boys, he called them by name, and he might not know this, but that small gesture meant more to them than any other experience in their lives--someone saw them, and remebered them because of a positive action because of their beautiful yoga, not because they were the "bad kid, that kid, the throwaway kid."
The boys filed into class the last couple days still riding the high on their yoga class-ALL they could talk about was how good they felt afterward, and how everyone of them ( i have confirmation of this from the guards) everyone of them ate lunch after yoga and then slept until dinner at 6:00p--everyone of them explained how it was the best sleep they ever had. One boy said, he didn't even want to get out of his cell for dinner because he felt so good just laying there--clear.
One of the things that I love about when Buck comes to JDC, is that he is covered in tattoos--neck to feet--covered. And the boys today, asked one of the boys who was here the last time Buck came about how "bad ass" he must be--"Did he talk about why he had the tattoos?" They asked him, and the boy replied, " Yup, last time he was here, he said that each one had a special meaning--" With anticipation each one waited for the answer--and the boy said, "Each one meant that he got another tattoo, Buck is not like that, he doesn't have to wear his accomplishments of wrong on him." Each boy sat in contemplation--of what that actually meant, see these boys get tattoos for many reasons, some might be gang affiliation, some might be because of a memory, some might be because they hurt someone bad enough to actually make it into the gang, and some are homemade---just to show their parents that they don't have to abide by their rules--but today for the first time in their lives, they realized that they are more than their tattoos, they are just teenagers, who love their yoga practice, and who became a kula because Buck --the cool gentle man showed them that yoga is cool, and likeing it makes you a stronger man.
Buck is one of my heros, it takes a strong man to walk into the walls of the Juvenile Detention Center with strength and confidence and hold your own---teaching YOGA---I remember my first day, I was scared to death, I think back now and remember each boy and girl some I have seen once, some I've spent many days with and some who have made the decision to continue their life of crime, and some who in that decision ended up in the "big" jail because they turned 18 and are ADULTS now and because they spent most of their childhood inside the walls of the JDC continued their life of crime I belive because being outside the walls of a detention center was way more scary than returning.
Each of these kids, have good in them, I have seen it, and when Buck has come to the jail, we walk to our cars after our beautiful class, and he explains how he sees it too---I've seen their sweetness in thier eyes and I've felt them soften and open when someone actually listens to them.
Many teachers have come into my life in my 39 years-- I can say that I have had teachers who reminded me of my goodness and teachers who wanted me to remember that they were superior, and one old Lebanese man who every time he saw me asked me what 3 incredible things about myself I could tell him--even when I made a mistake, in the midst of a lecture, he would ask, " Jenifer tell me 3 incredible things about you today." I've thought of this man recently because I catch myself in the moments of not so pleasantness asking myself "tell me 3 incredible things"----it stuck with me, that small grain of teaching stuck with me, and healed me in ways that I believe brought me to yoga. As these boys live their lives, I hope one of the incredible things they come up when they least expect is is that they are worthy of greatness, they are worthy of feeling like a prince and they are worthy every good thing that enters their life---yoga opens the heart, yoga helps you remember your beauty and yoga reminds you everyday that you are worthy of your seat on your mat. Yoga on MOnday reminded these kids that they are beautiful and worth so much and for that I am thankful--so today I offer my practice to these kids, these silent warriors who love their yoga.