Restorative Justice is about change and transformation.

In Bikram Yoga, (my blog links, one with a video) the poses are held for 30 or 60 seconds.  As you feel your body tense and you are struggling to hold the pose (in the 104 degree room).  The teacher will say “change”.  As smoothly as possible, you move to the next position or the pause stance before the next position.

I’ve only been doing Bikram Yoga for 5 months now, so I am still fairly new to the practice. It was early on in Bikram, that this started to impact me, the use of the word “change” so often in 90 minutes.  I often view small meaningless this events as having significant lessons for life.  Being a blogger has allowed me to move these moments ahead even further and share them as stories.

In Bikram, you “change” because the teacher gives you the direction.  One simple word, “change” and everyone in the room takes the same action.  We put our arms down, bring our feet side by side.  We transition without hesitation between what we were doing and what are going to do.

Gosh, could life be that easy?  Someone says “change” and we all just do the next best thing.  Check out this video for an example of this in nature.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V71hz9wNsgs]

A common theme I hear among my restorative justice practitioner friends, is the impact on themselves when doing Restorative Justice.  I know it changed my life, for the better.  It deepened my views on spirituality and clarified my own values.  Its given me a context for positive relationships.  You can’t do this work of promoting change without changing.

It’s obvious we are seeking change in offenders.  We want to have harmful behavior stop.  I believe all real change comes from the inside.  You’ve got to get to the heart to change on the inside.

Victim change comes in the form of changing your relationship to the crime and the perpetrator.  Other change I’ve seen is the victims relationship to systems and community.  When law enforcement officers participate, the view of them changes.  Not just only by victims, but usually community members and offenders.

I love the change in community members, after experiencing restorative justice. There is a real sense of committment to the community, by giving the time, so much is returned to the heart.  A sense of honor, value and pride for really helping people out.  It deepens and connects people to a sense of belonging.

I believe we as practitioners have a huge influence over the success of the process.  You have got to believe in the power and the potential for change.  You don’t know, what you don’t know.  So you’ve got to be getting to know change.

Become aware of how to set the tone for it.  Become aware of how to see it in the hearts of others.  Become aware of how to get others to see the potential in others.

I was given a magnet once, a post Circle training gift.  I love the sentiment, and I think “light” could be “change”.

You do the impossible every day.  You warm people with your own brilliant light, and make them believe it is they who really shine.