Our mission is to support women who would not otherwise have the opportunity through contemplative and creative programming that inspires self-reflection and growth.
Basic goodness: honoring our fundamental, unconditional wholeness
Empowering women: women supporting one another to outgrow limitations, particularly cycles of abuse and addiction that often lead to incarceration and re-incarceration
Sitting in a circle: shared leadership and learning, mutual respect, collaboration
Mindfulness: translating the self-reflexive skills from formal meditation practices to self-awareness and perspective in life, transformation through Mindfulness-Based Emotional Awareness
Meditation + Mindfulness
Labyrinth as contemplative tool
Joshin Brian Byrnes
In 2012, Áine McCarthy and founding board member JoAnne Tucker met over breakfast during a weekend program at Upaya Zen Center, Coming Home: A Buddhist Retreat on Easter and Passover. To their amazement, they quickly discovered that dancers from JoAnne's company Avodah, during her career as a choreographer, had completed a homestay at Áine's family home 13 years earlier while creating and performing a dance collaboration with imprisoned women at York Women's Correctional Facility in Niantic, CT. This performance, The Forgiveness Project, had impacted Áine as a young person, part of a weave of influences that led her to Upaya's Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program with a focus on working with people in prison. Later that year, JoAnne and Áine began co-leading a weekly Stress Management program for women at the Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility, offering a combination of meditation instruction, journaling and creative writing, and dance. This led to the creation of an outdoor labyrinth in the women's recreation yard at the jail, in a unique collaboration with inmates and staff, and inspired a curriculum focused around the themes of the labyrinth as a contemplative resource. They also went on to share the Path of Freedom curriculum from the Prison Mindfulness Institute. In 2016, they shared what they learned from these years of teaching together at the annual conference of the National Dance Education Organization and in a talk for the TEDx ABQ Women event.
Also in 2012, Jane Westbrook and Áine McCarthy met at a workshop on using the Labyrinth for Creativity put on by the Labyrinth Resource Group of Santa Fe. They connected further at a gathering of Labyrinth Facilitators, trained by Rev. Lauren Dr. Artress through the organization Verditas. Calling on Jane's skill as a labyrinth builder, in 2016, they were able to collaborate in creating a more permanent labyrinth in the women's rec. yard at the Santa Fe County jail.