November 2014, the month I became the recipient of the YMCA Peace Medallion, is a month I will never forget. More than a decade has passed where I have been blessed with the respect and the confidence of multitudes of indivduals – young and old; male and female – as we together learn the importance of exclaiming statments of greatness, such as “I AM WISE!” “I AM FAIR!”, “I AM GOOD!”, statements expanding and solidifying the mantra of A Life in Pieces, that being “YOU ARE all you need to be.” ”I AM all I need to be.”
The empowerment and pride achieved with the preface I AM becomes very clear when comparing feelings derived from commands beginning with “BE” to feelings secured by the knowledge “I already AM”. BE GOOD, BE FAIR, BE RESPECTFUL begins a misery of frustration, anger, annoyance, self-hate, the sense of being controlled and never being good enough. I AM good! I AM respectful! I AM bright!, all imbue a sense of encouragement (I want to learn!), energy (I want to be here!), joy (I want to respect!), calm (I want to listen!), and harmony (I AM KIND!). In other words, you have just journeyed from fear to inner peace. In highlighting the goal of the YMCA to bring peace to children, families and communities, it is evident that inner peace is the main ingredient to sharing peace with others.
I did not see how engrossed we, as a society, are in the BE GOOD demands and the torment of emotions it brings until I started A Life in Pieces realizing many, from parents, teachers, child care workers, foster parents and social workers did not either. As one lady stated – “I used to think BE GOOD was ok because I wasn’t saying you are bad.”
I want to share the honor and joy I feel from this great achievement with my beautiful, extremely supportive family and also with the countless people, from 2 to 65 years old, who have taken this journey with me and exposed their vulnerabilities, their tough lives, their inner chaos. It is amazing to witness a genuine smile and happiness when they proclaim, often for their first time, “I AM GOOD!”