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On Masks and Mistakes

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

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 prison… Some guys 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 we are okay under all our masks and mistakes. This is a message that I would guess folks in prison are not accustomed to hearing.

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 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 miracle that the message of Basic Goodness is finding its 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 okay – only then, only from there, will we be able to build a healthy foundation. Only then will we 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 genius 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 a 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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