Healing Society’s Cycle of Violence
I dove into the heart of healing society’s cycle of violence with Mariette Fourmeaux, founder of Brilliance Inside – a mission working with prison populations to do just that.
Coming from the corporate world, this work was a complete shift for Mariette – from trusting business plans and corporate strategy to trusting the universe and her gut. She felt called to work in prisons and showed up at the Donovan Correctional Facility in California. After starting in prison ministry she began a program to have the prisoners organize a TEDx event… empowering the men in blue to organize and facilitate a TEDx event, sharing stories and conversations between prisoners, custodians, and those from the outside.
In the podcast, Mariette shares this journey in a profound manner – both in her approach of showing up as much as a student as a teacher. Her work is largely in creating the space for people to listen and share, and then allowing those participating to show up. It’s not a typical program where you have a presentation or top-down teaching. It’s a collaborative environment that empowers as well as invites everyone (whether on the inside or outside) to participate, share, and grow.
Hurt people hurt people.
One of her great insights into this work is that hurt people hurt people. And by healing ourselves, we heal the hurt that we’re causing. We are all highly interconnected, and even when this is hard to see, this connection is there. It takes a certain courage to show up and work on yourself, and for me, that is an important message that I took away from this conversation. I need the courage to work on myself and by healing myself, I’m doing my part to make the world a better place.
One thing that struck me, was that we tend to operate in ways which treat others as their role, and not as the humans that they are. With people in prison, I got the sense that it’s very much the same. They’re people, and people who have significant hurt in their past. We choose how we connect and treat our fellow humans.
The work of Brilliance Inside is an interesting balance. It’s about empowerment and helping prisoners find their own light. But at the same time, there is an honesty that these prisoners quite often need a break from society. It’s not that their prison time is unjust or unwarranted… but rather that there are ways to use that prison time to heal, instead of perpetuating society’s cycle of violence.
What struck me the most, was that many of the inmates that she’s worked with are drawn to give back after they get out of prison (and sort out their own financial situation) – often supporting at-risk youth. They have a deeper understanding of the pitfalls and are well suited to approach at-risk youth with the empathy and understanding they need.
For more information visit Brilliance Inside. The talks are inspiring, and the podcast has an incredible flow of its own, so I’m delighted to share this conversation about their mission and how together we can heal society’s cycle of violence.