Am I "there" yet?


I was coming home from work yesterday and the only thing on my mind was the next thing I had to do when I got home. I was almost angry about being on the road. Why could I not be home already? I have shit to do and people to see! Does the universe not know that??!?! I was agitated, frustrated, acting like I was in the worse place on the planet (after having JUST driven out of prison; the dichotomy is striking). I wished to be “there” already. To have arrived. To be able to celebrate what has been accomplished.

There exists such a parallel with the frustration I can feel about the creation of my 6-week-old nonprofit. I wish to be “there” already. “There” is having raised awareness about the dramatic life change I’ve created. “There” is having the financial funds to support the upcoming year of activities. “There” is speaking about the magical lessons I learn in prison to professional organizations and church groups. “There” is knowing and engaging with my community of support in this new foreign land of prison reform. “There” is being recognized for the awesome impact my programs are having on the prison residents and the prison culture.

Yet, here’s the secret: Yesterday’s drive home offered a TON to celebrate!!!

  • On the medium-security yard that morning, the men invited me to be the speaker at their Christmas celebration

  • On the high-security yard, our TEDx team spent 20 minutes in thanks giving. While they may not spend the holidays with their families, we can all experience gratitude for the gifts in our lives. PLUS, yesterday was also our first meeting with our newly selected ten speakers-in-training for our 2018 TEDxDonovanCorrectional

  • My drive to and from Donovan is a predictable and consistent 30 minutes. I travel reverse traffic, zipping by at 70 mph while others are crawling forward at 20

  • I drive along the US-Mexico border for the first 15ish minutes, which reminds me how little my life is impacted by the borders we’ve created

  • I head towards the ocean, which always offers a sunset on my drive home. Its beauty varies but it’s always magical to witness a sunset

  • These 30 minutes can be a gift of stillness – in a car moving 70 mph – after facilitating 5 hours of workshops with 50 prison inmates

Yesterday, I was so busy being frustrated that I was not “there” that I lost sight of these moments of celebration. Of course, the frustration didn’t disappear when I got home and therefore, the evening’s productivity, relaxation and prep for the next day, all happened with more struggle than was necessary.

As I now sit on the plane, heading to another “there” – this time, my Thanksgiving celebration – I take a moment to be right here, right now, to enjoy the scenery out the window (I flew over Donovan!), to write a reflection piece and to breath and greet this moment.