As this holiday season progresses, I’d like to be signing and shipping hundreds of copies of I Am My Body, NOT! Each day I see, regretfully, the effects of the thoughts that it presents not being part of our social psyche. We may be what we eat, but even more so, we are what we think. And what we think about ourselves, reality, and our ability to transform our world, has been messed with dearly.
I have described myself as a product of Chicago Public Schools, having matriculated through elementary and high school programs. When I published I Am My Body, NOT! in 2000, I got a booth at Book Expo, the largest book publishing trade show in the U.S. That year it was held in Chicago, my home town.
Needless to say, I was elated when a member from the Office of the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), whose responsibilities covered Curriculum and Instruction, fell in love with my book. She wanted I Am My Body, NOT! to be used throughout the school system, seeing great value in the ideas presented as a character development tool.
She gave it a wonderful endorsement, which now adorns the back cover of the book:
Adam Abraham and Marie Litster have given parents and educators a new handbook for teaching good human citizenship. I Am My Body, NOT! deftly uses the most obvious point of connection between all people to illustrate that which is not so obvious but so very important: helping friends, family, and others, the importance of choices, social consciousness, positive self-esteem, and a fear free view of death. This book will surely become a standard teaching tool for kids of all languages, for generations. — DCR
I thought it would likewise be a great testament to the school system and to the city if one its “progeny” spoke out for topics as tolerance, inclusiveness, love, respect for self and others, and to transcend the fear of death before it takes hold of the psyche.
Boy, was I wrong.
The order for hundreds, if not thousands of copies of I Am My Body, NOT! never came. It was derailed in a selection committee when one member, a woman who wore a collar that identified her as cleric of some sort, took exception to its inclusive, religion-neutral, though spiritual viewpoint. On a trip to Chicago and visit to the Board of Education offices, I met the cleric, who looked at me sternly and asked, “Do you believe in God?”
I stood there silently for a moment, deciding how to respond to the question, given the questioner’s apparent point of view. A timer within her went off to break the silence before I began.
“You’ve already answered my question!” she blurted.
I calmly told her that my answer needed to take into consideration who was asking the question, and the fact that the question was being asked in the first place, given that this was about a book. Since when was a professed “belief in God” become a factor that could supersede a book’s content or value?
I explained to the cleric that I see everyone, and everything as expressions of God. To me, there is nothing and no one that is not an expression of God.
She gave me a pitiful look and just said, “I’ll pray for you.”
CPS didn’t buy my book, but it did buy titles that were designated “for African-Americans” (to support a “diversity” program, I imagine). It bought and staunchly defended its purchase of Persepolis: A Story of Childhood, an autobiographical memoir illustrated in comic book style by Marjane Satrapi. It recounts the cultural changes that swept Iran after the Shah was deposed and it became an Islamic state.
The buzz today with Chicago Public Schools is their intent to implement a sex education program that includes offering instructions on using female condoms, or “FC’s” during anal sex, in the fifth grade (10 years of age) curriculum. (See story.)
CPS aside, while I’ve done a fair share of book signings, readings, and other events, Here are some pictures taken at a book reading that I did in Sacramento, California, prior to moving to Arizona in 2004.
I’ve also done enough on my own to make it difficult for people to purchase I Am My Body, NOT! My original site was hacked and declared “unsafe” by the Lords of Google, and it has taken me several years to rectify the situation, so no worries, it is what it is.
Yet, I see value in the thoughts and ideas that the book presents. I also see how our head-full, heart-less ways, which emphasize external and dismiss internal centering, have succeeded in making common sense, uncommon.
Before moving to Sacramento, I lived in the Los Angeles area from 1979 to 2002. I met Dr. Michael Beckwith, founder of Agape International Spiritual Center, in Culver City, California during the latter days of my stay, before he had the dreadlocks. I don’t recall how I was introduced to his church, but each time I visited, I felt good when the service was over. Not because it was over, but because Beckwith had said something of deep personal significance to me. It was as though he and I were the only two people in the room. How he managed to do that with 800 other people in the auditorium, was amazing.
I asked him to endorse I Am My Body, NOT! and this is what he wrote:
What Adam Abraham has accomplished in I Am My Body, NOT! is a gift to both parents and children. His profound description of how the body temple provides a home for the inner spirit are languaged to appeal to the Divine Intelligence residing in every child. Parents may trust this spiritually and emotionally mature approach to educating children about their true nature on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels of being.
I have sold many copies through book stores of Religious Science and Unity Churches.
I was surprised to see that the video linked below that I produced and uploaded in 2012 has been viewed by almost 100,000 people. Suffice it to say that it is reasonable that 1% would have been interested in purchasing this book if they could. Now they can. I have now made it easy.
Here’s a video from a visit to the Andre Agassi Academy in Las Vegas.