*Image: A drawing sent to me from one of my "adopted" pen pals, Alicia, who is my age, a mother of two, and is incarcerated in Texas.
I discovered Adopt an Inmate on a whim that brought with it the weight of synchronicity and alignment. I had been led here—to wanting to converse with prison inmates—by reading. One book led into the other, from Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy to Shaka Senghor’s Writing My Wrongs and even Piper Kerman’s Orange Is the New Black. Slowly, as I read, I began to be moved by the injustice of the prison system, by the humanness of those who commit crimes and find themselves digging deep to survive behind bars, and by the urgency of change: we need to heal.
I am a healer by trade but I discovered, in these strangers navigating and narrating the prison system, a deep unsettling in the midst of us, of dis-ease. It is the core of our beings that needs to heal and the core of our society that needs to change, to find its way back to the way as many Native Peoples call the path of peace, balance, and belonging. We all have created this mess and we all must be part of its healing.
I also wanted to connect to inmates, particularly women in prison, because I believe they deserve to be heard. Because I believe they deserve to feel like they belong, to know they have support, community; to know they are loved. To know someone, many someones, believes in them. Regardless of who we are or what we’ve done, we all need and deserve this.
To achieve a peaceful world, we must create and communicate peacefully. We must extend peace to see it returned. We must exist out of love, communion; the spirit of oneness.
I am so grateful Adopt an Inmate has created a space for us to commune and heal. That they bring us, in our individuality, together as equals. That they allow humanity to transcend prison bars and prison walls. And that they are shining light on a system that is unjust, imbalanced; diseased. I’m honored that their work and the letters I share with my adoptees will not only, with any luck, give them hope and maybe even some joy, but that they will heal and teach me.
For every Face Oil sold, I donate $1 to Adopt an Inmate.