I wrote this article on behalf of a friend for a newspaper called Positive News – which does exactly what it says in its title.
A truly remarkable publication I find myself buzzing with inspiration after just a couple of articles, like drinking a strong coffee when you’ve had no caffeine for a while. There’s so much good stuff happening in the world that other newspapers don’t bother to tell us. I’ve at times bought in to the illusion that too much positive emphasis creates rose tinted glasses and you get Pollyanna for a middle name – rubbish! Positive News is the real change agent, because it awakens and empowers that part of us which is perhaps a little sleepy…but really does want to make the world a better place, and just doesn’t know how. Well, you’ll have lots of ideas after checking out the website and you don’t even have to do anything yourself if your life’s too full right now – just support those who are!
As it was, they didn’t run with my article so I’m offering it to you here. Enjoy!
A Field Of Love And Grace
A journey of inclusion, to embrace and connect the full spectrum of humanity from opposite social polls.
Three years ago a correspondence was begun between two people whose lives epitomized the far ends of the social ladder. A middle class western female doctor and spiritual seeker began writing letters to an angry, southern outlaw biker incarcerated on death row in Mississippi and condemned to die. Three years, countless letters and eight face to face visits later a deep love and understanding has grown between the two. This has resulted in a growing field of positive energy, a ripple effect of curiosity and compassion that has reached Blayde’s fellow inmates and the prison officers alike. Noticing the changes in him they ask for his formula, or more frankly, “Blayde, what the hell happened to you dude?’ The simple reply is, love. The resulting transformation has been remarkable.
“Men who couldn’t care less if the sun comes up will now pray for Almut to have safe journeys so she and I can share our visits. Our love has planted seeds of hope and generosity in the fields of the bleakest souls.”
There is no doubt that the personal transformation too has been dramatic for when those he describes as ‘neighbours’ express their wish for a different world Blayde’s response is to ask them what contribution they themselves are willing to make to bring that world about. Having another human being see and acknowledge something of value in him has given his life new purpose and hope, and thoughts of the future grow to reach beyond the confines of the prison walls.
Almut readily describes herself as incredibly naïve at the start of their correspondence.
“I knew nothing about prisons or the realities of living on death row. Now I regularly mark the executions of Blayde’s fellow prisoners by holding ceremonies with the help of friends. I am amazed how people who have never met can connect and support each other. I’ve also surprised myself by how easily I can reach the hearts of these men, and that gives me hope for humanity.”
Through their letters and occasional visits Almut continues to share with Blayde some of the tools she uses to deal with challenges in life and Blayde, in turn, has shared these books and concepts with inquisitive ‘neighbours’. Others too have begun to write to inmates on Blayde’s block in direct response to the inspiration of Almut’s example, though admittedly with varying degrees of success. All this helps to build the positive field of hope which they both believe has powerful potential to create.
“Just imagine the changes that could be made if we all followed our hearts, stopped worrying about what society would think of us and reached out to those deprived souls who need love most.”
Blayde’s words are a powerful invitation to humanity to expand unconditional compassion to those who are suffering, whoever and wherever they are. The potential for individual transformation demonstrated by his example is a pertinent reminder that no human being should be written off.
Recently Almut’s local café in the Park at the Findhorn Community held an exhibition of the unique art work resulting from this unique partnership. Almut sends Blayde an abstract colourful background to which he, with access only to a black biro, adds the detail and sends back. The beauty that results from this two stage co-creative process is tangible testimony to the value of communal projects that pool the vast diversity of human talent from across the social and cultural spectrum.
Almut describes Blayde as incredibly ambitious for, having found inspiration in Ghandi’s famous invitation to ‘be the change’ he is invoking a huge transformation; from a man who hated life, himself and everything to a human being embodying peace, compassion and creativity in a positive way. From the ultimate social reject to an aspiring role model for a better future.
Almut has written a book about their partnership, which includes examples of their correspondence. Having recently received the forward she requested from Patch Adams, she hopes the book will be published in the near future.