Once a month, Truckee Realtor and Radical Well Being coach Dinny Evans drives three hours to a building that sits on 275 acres overlooking the San Francisco Bay.

When the fog rolls in, no one can enter and no one can leave. The building has its own zip code and its guards can appear more intimidating than the men who live inside. Hundreds of men have died here by hangings, the gas chamber, or lethal injections. Charles Manson once called this home, Scott Peterson currently does, and Jonny Cash has performed here. Of course, this place is San Quentin State Prison.

Evans makes this journey once a month, as the weather allows, to meet with a small group of 10 inmates. Many of these men are in prison for life and want to learn how to accept their past. Evans teaches Radical Forgiveness, a step-by-step process that helps people learn to give up the idea of victimhood and that there is nothing to forgive. A person must take a deep look into his situation and see that it was created to heal and grow from the outcome.

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Back in 2014, a prisoner who was sent to solitary confinement was given the book Radical Forgiveness: A Revolutionary Five-Stage Process to Heal Relationships, Let Go of Anger and Blame, Find Peace in Any Situation. He contacted the author, Colin Tipping, to see if he would visit San Quentin to teach his theories. Tipping was already friends with Evans, who was given the same book by a friend when she was going through a divorce, and he asked her if she would take this on.

Evans looks forward to joining these men once a month. She isn’t afraid of these prisoners, even though many of them are murderers who are spending their life in prison and there are no guards in the room.

“The guards are more frightening than the men I have encountered,” Evans said.

Evans teaches the prisoners that they can’t be a victim of someone else’s past and they can’t blame others for their crimes. Many of these prisoners had childhoods where they were told they weren’t smart or good enough, setting them up for failure. Radical Forgiveness teaches that they must now learn to forgive themselves no matter how bad of a crime they committed. There are five stages to reach forgiveness: tell your story, feel feelings, collapse the story, reframe the story, and integrate. According to Evans, eventually a light bulb goes off as to why a certain situation happened to them.

Most of the inmates know they are never going to leave prison a free man, but Evans helps them to enhance the remaining years of their lives. In return, Evans has gained perspective on how most of us may live free but imprison ourselves by making a big deal out of nothing. One of her favorite quotes is by Esther Hicks, an inspirational author and speaker, “You are so free that you can even choose bondage.”

“I have learned more from them than I’ve ever expected,” she said. “These men are really amazing and have done so much work already. What I have gotten from them is invaluable.”

Contact Dinny Evans at (530) 414-1420, forgivecoach.com. Listen to a radio interview Evans did on Radical Forgiveness, http://bit.ly/1AvOx0v.

Author

  • Karin Carrasco

    Karin Carrasco, Moonshine Ink’s office administrator, has lived in Truckee since 2003 after moving here from New Jersey. Carrasco studied speech communications and journalism at University of Nevada, Reno. Carrasco spends her free time enjoying her passion for dance at InnerRhythms and she also volunteers with the Truckee Donner Historical Society as well as Trails & Vistas.

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