Tagged: meaningful activity

Prompting Inmate Bloggers Promotes Deeper Thinking

 

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Blogging is such a great tool for rehabilitation. That is one reason why Suzie and I created Stone City Blog. We want all inmates to have access to this new and effective rehabilitative tool.

I’d like to encourage everyone who reads Stone City Blog, to reach out to the bloggers, and prompt them. Ask them critical questions that will inspire deeper thought and self reflection. By doing so, you could be that one thing that inspires great change within an inmate and his rehabilitative efforts. Stone City Blog gives you access to over 1,000 posts written by over 100 inmates. All of these inmates can be contacted via email (JPay).

In this post I will respond to THREE PROMPTS from Sandra Rogers.

 

PROMPT #1) How will you achieve a balance between redemption and rehabilitation?

This prompt is awesome. It brings a whole new dimension to my thought process. Until now, I’ve never ever even considered such a question. Redemption and rehabilitation go hand in hand. For me personally, I can’t achieve one without the other.

My rehabilitation efforts are a daily process. Everyday I’m focused on love, compassion, and understanding as I live in an environment full of hate, conflict, and turmoil. It’s my job to rehabilitate myself while in the belly of the beast surrounded by demons. I do not react to negativity with negativity. Instead, I remain focused on my goals and dreams as I use my energy in a positive productive manner.

On a scale of 1-10, if my Rehabilitation is at a 8, well then my Redemption has to be at least a 4. Because Rehabilitation is Redemption to some degree. 4 and 8 is not balanced. Therefore, I need to get my Redemption up by at least 4 points. I can do so by contributing to society in a positive way. Such as saving dogs and doing volunteer work. Hey, I do that.

 

PROMPT #2) How will you find a balance between Selflessness and Selfishness?

By keeping in close contact with mentors I trust and respect. Such as Suzie, Alana, Sandra, and maybe even professional counselors. They will help show me the way and keep me focused. They will prompt me to a deeper level of consciousness and self awareness.

If it is brought to my attention that a segment of my life is unbalanced, then I will do whatever it takes to balance it out. To simply answer this question: I will seek the advice of all those who are educated, and those who have great perspective and insight.

Meanwhile, in here I enjoy great balance between working out, eating healthy, watching football, and reading & writing. (Selfishness)

And then (Selflessness), helping others, sharing, and volunteering.

 

PROMPT #3) What are the markers of the above mentioned kind of balance?

Happiness. The ultimate marker is happiness. When my life is truly balanced, I’m at my happiest. Regardless of my environment. When aspects of my life fall out of balance, my happiness is the first to suffer.

Another great marker is the opinions and perspectives of my mentors and the people I love, and how THEY view me. If they are happy with me and proud of me, that is a great indication that I’m achieving a high degree of balance in my life.

 

Thank you Sandra for such thought provoking prompts. The insight and self analyzation that it takes in order to answer these questions are very valuable. Your on-going prompts have taught me more about life and myself. They invoke deep thinking and self reflection that is critical to any type of rehabilitation.

It is my prayer and hope that everyone can recognize the significant value that is hidden within inmate bloggers and critical thought-provoking prompts.

 

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Steven Jennings

Engaging In Meaningful Activities Is Crucial To A Healthy Lifestyle

 

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Now that I’m learning a little about Occupational Therapy, I feel like it’s giving me a deeper, richer, more thorough understanding of life in general. I reflect back to my days of crime and misconduct, and I see direct parallels to the fact that I had zero to very little meaningful activities in my life.

Today I engage in several meaningful activities. And as a result, I live a healthy lifestyle full of love, compassion, excitement, and happiness. It’s so clear to see that the healthy lifestyle came AFTER I started to engage in meaningful activities.

Early in my incarceration I had a desire to live a healthy lifestyle. I told myself on numerous occasions, “It’s time. Let’s do it!” But time and time again, I’d fail. Why? Because I wasn’t engaging in meaningful activities. The ONLY way to achieve a healthy lifestyle IS to engage in meaningful activities. There’s no other way to do it!

I’m so glad I’m learning this stuff. In addition to the clarity it brings me, it also teaches me effective ways to articulate my journey when mentoring and helping others.

I feel like I’ve done a lot of this work on my own. And just now, I’m starting to learn about it from a clinical standpoint. Which is great! Because the principles and philosophies have been validated before they were recognized.

Now it’s time to continue to learn and build as I use Occupational Therapy (Wikipedia definition). That in itself is a meaningful activity that is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

I’ve learned that in Occupational Therapy there are 7 areas of occupation that people engage in. Some are self explanatory. Some are not. But I feel they are all important to know. By knowing them, I can achieve a better balance in my life. I can do a self evaluation and determine if I’m lacking or over compensating in a specific area. The 7 occupations are:

 

#1) Activities of Daily Living (ADL) This refers to basic needs such as eating, showering, hygiene, clothing, sex, etc.

I’m definitely lacking in the sex department. So this is something I need to address in my life. And address it I shall…in March 2017!…EFV’s with my wife, Suzie. 🙂

 

#2) Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s) This is the act of caring for my environment, such as ordering my commissary, cleaning my cell, helping my disabled celly, taking care of my dog, turning off the water that people deliberately leave on, etc.

I feel balanced with this one. However, I can do more. A lot of guys don’t clean up after themselves. Therefore, the sink and microwave area is always a mess. From now on, whenever I see a mess, I’ll take 30 seconds and clean it up. Why not? It’ll be good for me.

 

#3) Education – Participating in a learning environment or learning activities.

I could definitely use more of this. And now that its been brought to my attention, I will actively seek opportunities to engaged in more educational activities. I currently engage in two educational activities: NA Meetings and the Sustainability In Prison lectures.

 

#4) Leisure – A non-obligatory activity that is engeged in during discretionary time.

I have plenty of leisure activities, such as: blogging, writing Real Love Letters to the love of my life, working out, taking my dog for a walk, reading, etc.

 

#5) Work – Employment. Making money. Getting paid! Also, volunteer activities.

I do both. Freedom Tails is all volunteer work. And I find it way more rewarding than my actual job. If I had to choose between my “Remunerative Work” and my “Volunteer Work” I would sacrifice my pay and choose my Volunteer work. This just goes to show how rewarding volunteer work really is.

 

#6) Play – Any activity that provides enjoyment, entertainment, amusement, or diversion.

This is interesting. Because what happens when these adjectives can be applied to work, volunteer, and leisure? All of a sudden, play becomes a dominant meaningful activities in my life. I like that! I’m going to make it happen.

 

#7) Social Participation – Activities associated with patterns of behavior within a given social system.

Prison is a social system. A lot of misconduct goes on in here. So I’m better off engaging in anti-social participation when it comes to the prison social system as a whole. Another word for “Social Participation” in prison would be “Institutionalized”. This is just one perspective. My reality is: there are sub societies within the overall predominant prison social system.

By conducting myself in a positive, productive manner, and observing The Law of Attraction, I find my self socially participating in a positive mini sub-division within a predominant negative social system. The social participation that I engage in, is strong enough to give me strength to navigate through the negative prison social system without getting caught up in the current of negativity.

I’m thankful for the path I’m on. I’m thankful for my wife, family, and friends. I’m thankful for Sandra Rogers and the learning opportunity she has brought to my life.

 

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Steven Jennings

Prison & Occupational Therapy

 

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I recently received an email from Sandra Rogers. She is a faculty member in the School of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Pacific University. In part, this is how the email read:

 

Dear Steven,

My name is Sandra Rogers, I am a faculty member in the School of OT at Pacific University. I am writing to request help with a project I am working on. I work and mentor a group of occupational therapists who work in criminal justice (prison, jail, and community corrections) throughout the US. Occupational therapists believe that engaging in meaningful activities is important no matter your circumstances. In correctional facilities OT’s work with those incarcerated to help them develop and practice skills that lead to engagement in healthy lifestyles, like work that you enjoy, leisure interests that are fulfilling (and do not harm others), taking care of children or families, having relationships that are meaningful and healthy. We term the lack of engagement in meaningful activities occupational deprivation. I think you are a very good example of how engaging in meaningful activities, even while incarcerated, can really help you maintain health. I have read your blog and book, your wonderful relationship with your wife, and have been reading your adventures with Yahoo. I am wondering if you would be willing to talk to me about your experience of engaging in these activities and how they have helped you. IF you are willing I would love to videotape or share your written comments with the group of OT’s I mentor, and use your comments in a presentation I am doing. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts from a lived perspective, of having to deal with the consequences of the crime, and still trying to do good in the world. I think it would be helpful for the audience to understand how you personally were affected by occupational deprivation.

~Sandra Rogers

 

How awesome is that? I share this because IT in itself is “meaningful activity” to me. She and I have exchanged emails about working together and I am super excited about all of this. She’ll be interviewing me via email, phone calls, and video visitations. And I will be sure to blog this experience here for you all to read.

This blog is “meaningful activity” and has enriched my life tremendously.

I look forward to working with Sandra. This experience will be both educational and healing. It’ll also give me the opportunity to acquire new tools to help myself and others.

After reading her first email I learned the term “meaningful activities” and the crucial role they play in a healthy lifestyle. I am so excited about this learning journey I’m about to embark upon. Nothing gets me more excited, except for my wife and our upcoming EFV’s! 🙂

Already, Sandra has inspired deep, intellectual, soul searching thought. As a result, I have decided to write an ongoing blog series based solely on the food-for-thought which she inspires. The following three titles were derived from the very words she wrote in her initial email to me. I will kick start this series with:

 

#1) HOW I WAS AFFECTED BY OCCUPATIONAL DEPRIVATION

#2) CONSEQUENCES OF MY CRIME INSPIRE GREAT CHANGE

#3) ENGAGING IN MEANINGFUL ACTIVITIES IS CRUCIAL TO A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

 

It is my greatest hope that this blog will plant seeds that will somehow reach your incarcerated loved one (or anyone else for that matter) and inspire positive change in those lives.

 

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Steven Jennings

 

no limits ahead