You don’t have to be perfect to help other people. You just have to show up, as yourself, with an intention to do something good. Something meaningful. Something kind. And then what do you do?
Between the words spoken lives a certain energy, and I believe we can pick up on it by tuning into our intuitive sixth sense (we all have one) which reads verbal cues, body language, and subtle facial expressions like flocks of birds and butterflies read seasonal changes. This is the language I read when I lead women’s circles, when I teach, and when I perform. As a facilitator I think of myself as a navigator of sorts, steering the ship through waves and weather very much beyond my control. I take my cues from outside and inside, the part of me that keeps a pulse on it all, that is a part of it all, as it is a part of me.
Today, in the grey walled room with the heavy door in the maximum security pod in the jail we did a class on Ho‘oponopono, an ancient Hawaiian reconciliation technique made popular by Ihaleakala Hew Len, Ph.D, student of Hawaiian Kahuna Morrnah Simeona. Standing in a circle we walked slowly, repeating the magical words at the heart of this technique:
We said the words over and over until something in us released and allowed that ineffable flow of healing that can neither be spoken of nor denied. It is the very ground of our being, the “zero-point” as Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len calls it, and it is where our healing begins and ends. In each moment, with each footstep, those women in their stripes peering out from black and brown and white faces, with curly hair and eyes sinking down, or lighting up periodically, spoke and felt something happening. Resistances fell away and we were left in awe, silently weeping, smiling, or laughing.
Forgiveness is a gift and it can be our resilience. It can be an open window in a stuffy room filled with our regrets. No one is or will ever be perfect. This does not need to keep us from trying.
I am grateful for the opportunity to bring the tools I have acquired and those I want to know more about, to learn alongside women in very different life circumstances than I. Together we delve into the living study of what it means to be a growing, thriving human being on an aching planet. The criminal justice system is one place thirsting for our attention. Where are you shining your love today? Are you waiting to be perfect before you offer a helping hand? Our hearts, our hands can heal, just the way they are. Let us offer them to each other in solidarity, in vulnerability, and in love.
Melissa Gail Klein is a musician based out of Austin, Texas. She first encountered the banjo one fortuitous night on an old wooden sailboat in Kona, Hawaii. As the evening progressed and stars climbed over the dark water, Melissa knew she had found her passion. Melissa grew up in the suburbs of New York city and received a scholarship to Penn State for gymnastics in 2007. After competing for 3 and a half years she graduated and began traveling across the United States and abroad, developing herself as a singer songwriter. She released her first EP titled The Wind, It Grew Legs in 2012 and more recently an animated music video for her hit song My Golden Rule. She is currently writing and performing with her band, teaching voice and banjo, painting, and working toward a masters degree in Social Work at the University of Texas.