My volunteering opportunity at Albertina Kerr is a very eye opening experience. I work with an everchanging small group of kids that I see two or three times at the most before they move on into a, hopefully, more stable and safe home situation. The center is a lock down facility which inevitably brings a sense of powerlessness to the individual, though empowering these kids is the goal. It is a place that provides safety and retreat from life threatening situations. There is reason for constant surveillance and all doors locked. The specifics are rarely shared with me, and I don't know if they endangered someone's life or their life was endangered. It does not matter. My perspective is one of offering with no expectations.
Much of the time when these children feel their body at all, they interpret it as pain. And they don't hesitate to scream at the top of their lungs. Their attention is scattered and twenty minutes is extremely challenging length of time to focus. And for them to place their attention on their body, they seem to avoid it at all costs. Some would rather be placed in a padded cell than listen to the stories their bodies have to tell. Ironically when I introduce sitting quietly and breathing together feeling the breath that breathes our bodies, the breath we share, their moods and personas soften into a very quiet space. And I can see the nurturing seeds planting themselves in their hearts. At least I hope that is the case.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010