At one of our NOG meetings (Nourishing Our Gifts), I met Carolyn. I was amazed that she had taken it upon herself to greet prisoners when they were released from the prison in Huntsville, Texas. She would meet them at the bus terminal where many of them had no one to meet them while they were trying to get back “home”.
Carolyn indicated that at their release from prison, the prisoners received a little red bag to put their belongings in. Everyone in town who saw the red bag knew that the person was just released from prison. The red bag was a two edged sword. Criminals knew the person who carried it had money. Police and towns folk knew the carrier of the bag could be trouble. For Carolyn, the red bag was not something that positively helped the newly released prisoners in their first experience of freedom after fulfilling their personal debt to society.
Carolyn made it a personal campaign to replace the red little bag with backpacks that did not attract attention. She succeeded in doing so and earned many sincere thanks from the newly released about to re-enter society.
This story was very touching. How thoughtful of Carolyn to help prisoners have a better chance of creating a new life for themselves and not attract negativity. The little red bag was a symbol of being disadvantaged at the get go, no matter how well intentioned the prison’s leaders were.
One meaning of prison is “place of confinement”. Can the confinement be just physical? Of course not!! Our biggest source of confinement is our mind. What little red bag do we carry? In what way do we keep ourselves at a disadvantage from the get go in our spiritual journey?
Little Red Bag
Have you heard the story of the man
just released from confinement?
Confinement that may be
physical, emotional or mental.
He was given a red little bag to carry his belongings.
The little red bag was an attractor.
It attracted everyone and everything, good and evil.
The little red bag conveyed a message by the one carrying it.
I have broken society’s law or my own divine law.
I have made mistakes.
I am not perfect.
I have been judged and have paid my dues.
People seeing the red bag would interpret it as:
Let us take away his resources.
He is trouble.
Let us put him back in his confinement.
What little red bag do you carry with you
verbally, emotionally or spiritually?
Will you allow yourself to reinvent yourself with a new vision
or do you choose to stay in the past, reliving the old stories and their patterns?
How do you judge other people carrying their little red bags?
Copyright @ 2012 by Shervin Hojat