"This Can't Be Life!"
Marcellus Walker, 27, surprised the hell out of me when he handed me this letter on Monday, March 23rd.
As the packed room of 20 men rested at the end of the Richmond City Justice Center (Richmond City Jail) yoga class, I realized I wanted to know more about this young man who looks like a track and field star, and whose quiet nature has an element of somberness that often suggests internal struggle.
"Thank you -- this is a powerful statement," I told him. "If you'd like to share this, so that someone else who can relate to your situation might see it, and be prompted to explore the benefits of yoga, then I can put it on the internet." Marcelius brightened, looked directly into my eyes, and said, "I want you to, that's why I signed it."
I told him the statement is excellent -- except that it offers no clue of his circumstances or where he learned yoga, and that he might consider giving it some context. The following class, Monday, March 26, he gave me another letter and said, "This goes before the other one."
My heart goes out to Marcelius. He has four months until release, and I hope to hell he will stay on this track of daily self-examination. Richmond City Yoga will be there for him, and Billy Scruggs has created a resource-list for former inmates that will also be helpful -- asanctuarysite.com
And so will the Sanctuary itself be helpful -- a space run by VCU's Liz Canfield dedicated to helping inmates find jobs, explore educational opportunities, make art and enjoy sober socializing.
If you would like to write to Marcelius Walker to encourage his continuing yoga studies and practice, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior to being published here, this blog was viewable richmondprivateyoga.blogspot.com. For that reason, comments made on BlogSpot are posted below. Please feel free to contribute to the conversation!
March 31, 2015
Thank you so much for sharing!
Robin Julie Laney
March 31, 2015
To Marcelius - I am writing from California where I saw this on your teacher's blog. You had a lot of courage to take a chance on yoga. Best of luck as you move forward in your life. Stick with the winners! ;-)
To Robbie - Thank you for sharing the results of the work that you are doing. It is very moving. All the best.
April 1, 2015
Thank you, Bruce and Robin! And Karen-- I'm going to print out your comment for Marcelius to keep. I'm sure it will mean a lot to him to see that people he doesn't even know really care about him. Another nice woman sent me a note for him, too -- from New Zealand!