I had the pleasure of having my teachers son Eli who is an aspiring teacher himself come into the jail with me last night and teach the boys some rockin arm balances. It takes a very brave soul to walk behind the razor wire of JDC and spend time with 14 teenaged boys-- learning to teach in JDC is kind of like your first solo flight ever being in a Blackhawk helicopter. There is turbulance, a lot of nerves, a feeling of complete panic, and somewhere back in your mind, a remember of in order to see it through-- you will at some point have to just take off.
He did amazingly, Eli is 20, and the Editor of the North Idaho College newspaper, the Sentinal-- he is one of the most amazingly bright 20 year olds I know, and he has this inate ability that when you are talking to him, you feel like he is really listening-- like no matter what is happening in the world, he is focused and present with you.
As he entered JDC, he was BEAMING with excitment, he was so excited about his class. The cool thing is that Eli knew some of the kids from his last visit during our 3 hour extravaganza-- so they were so happy to see him. Besides me, he is one of the only visitors many of these kids will have. Many of the kids do not have parents that come to visit-- so we are it, me and Eli..... visitors.
What started as your typical yoga class, centering opening, Eli's sweet present voice melting over each boy, turned into a rockin, high flying arm balancing extravaganza-- one of the best parts of the class, was when Eli went to teach Bakasana, and then one of the kids said, "hey can we do that and turn it into headstand and then twist and turn it into that legs out arm balancing thing". At that point it was on, the kids were totally into working the arm balances-- they were totally ready to "bust a move"--- the music went on and they were off-- sharing like friends in the basement of their best friend house the tricks to pulling off the yoga tricks they learned. Rock music blared, they each had beautiful bright-- open faces and the words of yoga melted into them, and they worked hard-- really hard and at the end of class, where there should have been savasana, they said, "please let's keep working-- this is fun." All barriers were broken, no class differenciation, no gang differenciation,, no tribal differnciation--just boys being boys-- hanging out listening to music, and sharing. A bond was formed last night with Eli and the boys that will remain between them for a long time. Eli became part of our jail kula, and they welcomed him with sweetness. It's easy to forget when you see the kids hanging out that some of them are in there for crimes-- but maybe the crime is keeping them from realizing that they are worth so much more, and once a week, I love that we bring them the ability to just be kids-- hanging out listening to music, and doing yoga and remembering that they are worth every breath that they breathe, that they are worth every minute of attention that they receive, and that they are worthy of every minute of our "visit."