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What Does It Mean?

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A program participant from Valley State Prison explains the inspiration behind the name – The “Freedom To Choose” Project – and how it has shaped the way he sees and experiences life.

For many, healing and truly learning from life’s lessons involve reawakening from numbness – a survival mechanism to cope from violent experiences, where past hurts and learned behaviors can be addressed and emotions experienced with accountability and compassion.

From left to right, FTC Facilitators David Paul, Chemin Bernard and Bonnie Paul.

 

The Freedom to Choose Project (FTC) is based on Viktor Frankl’s theory that “between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

What I have discovered practicing the many skills that FTC has taught me is that I can greatly expand that “space” by listening with my heart and allowing my most natural state, which is love, influence my decision for response.

Viktor also noticed that even though each prisoner in the concentration camp experienced the same stimulus, only a few survived. This was rooted in the freedom of choice. This holds true today.

[In prison] I see success and liberation all around me and what separates me from those who still experience bondage is my unbreakable will which is at the forefront of my consciousness and strengthened by my awareness of spirit.

This movement brought by saints into the prison system is already changing the culture. An awakening is taking place, the captives are experiencing a freedom not bound by anything visible – we are feeling, we are experiencing our emotions with a new intellect and choosing to live our lives with positive intentions. And so it is!

by Drew
FTC large workshop participant since 2013 & Mentor Support Group program graduate

FTC has a Mentor Support Group (ILTAG) Program which is held every Sunday at Valley State Prison. To volunteer at this event, please visit our News/Events Page for dates and information on how to sign up.