Cultivation of the Heart (Paperback)
Cultivation of the Heart is the antidote for the impenetrable hearts--young people who have suffered from a great number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES). Although many have deemed our youth who are at the center of gun violence to be "unreachable," research and evidence has shown that investing in our youth can produce significant positive results in their overall behavior and ability to resolve conflict. I know firsthand because a licensed psychologist diagnosed me as someone who was so prone to violence due to my exposure to trauma at an early age, that the chances of me ever changing were slim to none. She said that I would always resort to violence as a means of problem-solving. Fortunately for me, I had mentors, family, and friends that poured positive energy, love, and support into me that eventually softened my heart, reversing the abuse, abandonment, and trauma that had over the years hardened my heart as a young man growing up in the concrete jungles of Richmond, California. They loved me when I didn't know what it meant to love myself. They showed me how to love myself when I didn't have a clue. All of my mentors were experts in the field of de-escalation and relationship building.
You can't help someone grow if they don't trust you. The callouses formed on a damaged person's heart is designed to protect them from more hurt and from further damage. The problem with a hardened heart is that you can't plant seeds in it that are sure to produce positive fruits that all can benefit from. It's impenetrable. Therefore, the seeds of love that need to get in can't get in, and the seeds of hate, heartache, and pain that need to get out can't be weeded out. At least, while that person is still the owner of a hardened heart. However, once a mentor with the skill of a farmer enters their life and begins to cultivate the heart, positive seeds can be planted, negativity can be weeded out, and beautiful fruits can be produced.
With the help of others who invested in me, I embraced the process of heart cultivation and discovered that I could do so much more with a soft heart than I could ever do with a hardened heart. Nothing good can ever be produced from a barren land, but fertile ground is the seed bed for miraculous things that are often beyond our wildest dreams. Cultivation of the Heart is that seed bed where miraculous transformation and beautiful evolutions take place. We credible mentors have to be the skilled farmers who cultivate the hearts of our young people, especially those at the center of gun violence who are simply sharing the hurt and pain with us that the world has given them.