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On Masks and Mistakes

Speaking of such a man – yesterday while sitting in the men’s minimum facility he said, (in response to one of the guys who was speaking about being a failure and ending up in prison)

“Whether in prison or not – We are not failures, we are human beings on a path”

What a powerful and uplifting message to put out there in a prison… Some of the guys who had been sitting like zombies for most of the two hour class perked up. They opened their eyes looking for the person who said it: the message of Basic Goodness – that under all our masks and mistakes, we are okay. This is a message that I would guess folks who are in prison are not accustomed to hear.

Don’t just take it from me — the other day while going through our “Who Am I” unit in Moran one of the guys shared his understanding of Basic Goodness: “When I was growing up my parents always told me everything I touch turns to shit…”


Well, where would one expect another to end up when all of their lives someone has been told they are basically bad, by not only our culture, but by the people who are supposed to be modeling unconditional love and acceptance of our basic humanness and okayness; our parents?

Personally, I find it to be some kind of a miracle that the message of Basic Goodness is finding it’s way into this prison and, hopefully, into their hearts and minds. If we are going to change a culture we have to start with knowing the ground of our being, that which we stand upon, is basically okay – only then, only from there, will we be able to build a healthy foundation Only then will be able to rebuild our lives. Our hopes. Our dreams.


I think if we can get that message in there and in here ~~~~>

Whether we’re the genus con artist who ended up in jail or the person stuck thinking we need another pair of fancy shoes to make it through our work week, we have to start somewhere – and if that place can be the ground of basic okayness, goodness and wholeness as we are, I think we’d stand a better chance of being the person we want to be in the world — like the for real person, the for real happy person … whether a prisoner or a president.

Thanks for reading… Until next time,


~PMI Staff

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