Inner Freedom

Saying Yes to Inner Freedom Course Introduction

My course is intended to reach out and touch anyone imprisoned; whether Insiders behind steel, concrete, and barbed-wire prisons or Outsiders entrapped behind walls and bars of their own making.

This course builds a bridge of love and understanding between outsiders and insiders. The Insiders’ letters have reached out with love to support and inspire Outsiders imprisoned behind emotional walls of fear, guilt, anger, illness, poverty, addictions, or results of their negative beliefs.

It also speaks to the forgotten culture, grieving families of inmates, are starving for understanding, hope, and encouragement while their loved ones succumb to the growing population in our overflowing jails and prisons.

“Saying Yes to Inner Freedom: The Freedomers” is a possible solution to the problem suggested by the Russian novelist, Dostoevski, ”The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” Lack of rehabilitation or hope is the deplorable condition one finds in the body warehouses called prisons. Yet only the strong prevail in the established and accepted society within the walls of prison. Homosexuality and aides run rampant, but who cares?

Well, I care, and I’ve corresponded with hundreds of prisoners seeking inner freedom whom I call Freedomers. I’ve devoted ten years to reaching out in love to let them know I see them as something more than a number. I see them as caring and needing human beings. I have volumes of their letters thanking me for ”giving a damn,” and they testify to the benefits they’ve received from my support and writings.

“Saying ‘Yes’ to Inner Freedom” offers positive lessons to inmates (and anyone) seeking inner freedom (Freedomers).

The Freedomers responses appear in The Freedomers Say “Yes” to Inner Freedom, as they inspire, encourage, and support their peers, families, and anyone locked within inner prisons.

The multi-generations of dysfunctional families have no clue to overcoming or changing their lifestyle. Locked in the despair of poverty, drugs, gangs, crime, and violence many seek prison as an alternative to their hopeless home life. My course offers another possibility.

A Letter

My Beloved Friend, Joyanna:

I realize that I need to be able to deliver a stronger message to those who are close to leaving the prison life and re-entering the world with a brand new set of ideas and affirmations. The Pre-release class I’m teaching is coming along just fine, and I get a new class of inmates every month.

I find this so very exciting, because I also get the opportunity to introduce your works to these guys. And I truly wish you could see the expressions on their faces, and the interest they show. You’d be so very proud of all of them, just watching how they sup on what you’ve prepared and brought forth.

I’m excited about this because I know in my heart that this is of God, and He has a real purpose and reason for it all. Let’s see what He’ll do with this as we reach closer to our destination, our Christ-Self.

I really enjoyed Bobby Lusks’ letter; he touched many hearts here. We even made copies to pass around to everyone in class.

Joyanna, I must say that your letters are so refreshing, and I truly love all of your writings. Mentally traveling into the unknown is tough without a manual to go by, or a map. It must have been a real problem for Columbus too, but we do know the trip can take place and be achieved.

You know, Joyanna, the carnal and worldly mind is a real liar. We must never forget that our addiction to it is a liar also. Being held responsible for our own actions will keep us busy; having no time to judge anyone. Period. After all, we’d have to know what they’re thinking to judge them. That’s not my job. I have enough to do just dealing with my own transition, and then and only then can I help the next guy. I know now that with each day that God blesses me, I feel a growing sense of real satisfaction in my efforts to really please Him (the Father). Life is no longer just a series of problems which must be avoided or endured, but rather a real joy. It doesn’t come all at once or hit you like lightning. It comes in little flashes of awareness, tiny glimpses of change, a sense of increased progress, achievement, and momentum. I’m talking about a place within where you can be at real peace while everything around you is in crisis.

I end with this poem I wrote today:
My thoughts of you like golden fires,
will forever warm my darkest moments.
And in those moments there will be a clean,
dry scar where now the flesh is raw.
Then you, beside me in truth will see,
perhaps with a startled eye, the scar,
and ask “Who made this wound?”
In truth I will answer, “I did.”
We did it all to ourselves, Huh?

In spirit and truth,
your eternal friend,
Jerry Pitre

The following letter from Danny refers to another course that I wrote, however, Danny also responded to “Saying ‘Yes’ to Inner Freedom.” I’m placing his letters here, because what he wrote applies here also.

Dear Joyanna,

I’m sorry that I’m the only one that is using the “Journey to Inner Freedom” lessons the way they are supposed to be. I’ve found them to be a great help to me. Most people here in prison are afraid to change. They simply sit and wait for the day they’ll get out. That’s why most of them end up coming back. I can really see this since that’s exactly how I was at the first two times locked up.

I’m wondering if it might help for me to write something that could be sent with the first lesson. It might help if I was able to relate what the lessons can do to help in respect to prison life itself. A lot of inmates feel that they have too much time to change now, so they put off until too late. It’s very easy to get into just doing time while in places like this. As I said, I know, because that’s how I was the first two times I was locked up.

Most of the people in prison have to be convinced that they need to change, before they will try to change. A lot of them feel that they are happy with the way they are, so they won’t have to work at changing. It’s really remarkable how people feel toward themselves in here. Most don’t even realize that it’s their own fault they’re in here. It can be very frustrating for someone like you that really cares and is trying to do something for us. I’ve found out that a lot of prisoners feel that the people on the Outside just don’t understand what it’s like here.

I would really like to help if I can. I also thought there might be a possibility of developing a group here that is especially set up for your “Journey to Inner Freedom” lessons. The group I had fell apart when our sponsor felt she didn’t have time for it anymore. If you think this is a good idea, let me know. Maybe we could start something that would spread to other prisons. I would really like to help some of these guys in here, but by myself there’s not much I can do. Maybe you have some ideas of how I can work with the guys in here.”

I responded with enthusiasm about Danny writing a letter. Here is the first letter he wrote in my monthly publication, The Rainbow Connection, as an attempt to persuade fellow inmates to take this Journey:

Hi Freedomers,

My name is Danny. I’m an inmate in the Wyoming State Penitentiary. Since 1979, I’ve done time in Colorado and Texas. I’m now doing 8-18 for forgery. I’ve been here for two and a half years. I’m telling you this to let you know I understand where you are at.

I know all the reasons you might have to not change your life. I even understand all the negativeness you’ll have to put up with while you try to change yourself. There is ONE reason to take the Journey–this reason is to be FREE! I don’t mean free from prison–although this can happen, too–nor do I mean free to do whatever you want–in a negative way. I mean FREE FROM WHATEVER GOT YOU IN PRISON IN THE FIRST PLACE–and I don’t mean what you DID to get in prison. I mean FREE FROM THE THING(S) THAT CAUSED YOU TO DO WHATEVER YOU DID TO GET IN

The Dictionary defines freedom as ‘the state of being free.’ There aren’t many people that are REALLY FREE. The people on the streets (Outside prison) are caught up in jobs, and trying to impress someone, etc.; they’re not behind bars, yet, they are as locked-up as we are, only within themselves.

I can’t tell you how to go about being free, but I know how to be free, even if I don’t see a parole board for another two years. The Journey to Inner Freedom has really paid off for me.”

Read more about the Freedomers at Inner Freedom Connection and the subjects in “Saying ‘Yes’ to Inner Freedom” at 12 Powers (see above)