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July 1 – September 5, 2014

Hey! [Jan gets a visual impression of the beginning of Michael’s short film for The Way You Make Me Feel – when everyone just freezes in their tracks.] Have you forgotten me?

Forgotten you? Michael, you know better than that! How could I forget my heart?

Well, I want to talk to you about all your experiences in the past month. Can we do that? You are wallowing.

No, I’m not. I’m trying to come to grips with all the new experiences I’ve had.

Yeah! That’s what I said … wallowing! You’re ‘trying to come to grips’ with it all … by yourself. You know you can sort things out better if we discuss it all together. But you’ve been trying to work it all out … and feeling more and more frustrated with it all … instead of sitting down and talking about it with me.

Well, I’m kind of ashamed of myself. I’ve had a few rather personal revelations that I’m not terribly proud of and I wanted to examine them and see how I can correct them.

Yes, I know. I have felt your confusion and tried to reach out to hold you closer in my love, but your negative feelings … your judgment of yourself … your guilt … your fear … have been keeping you from feeling my presence. But let’s talk about all that a bit later, if that’s okay. First, I want to hear about your trip.

Oh my gosh … my trip! Where do I begin?

[Michael laughs.] How about we try starting at the beginning and see how it goes?

Okay … the beginning! The flight to Las Vegas was uneventful. I closed my eyes and envisioned flying MJAir, as I always do. It was a ‘no frills’ airline … efficiently got me there in three hours and seventeen minutes and after collecting my suitcase, I managed to catch a shuttle to my hotel, The Luxor Hotel and Casino on the strip. And that’s where my trip really begins.

I was totally unprepared for the sheer size and magnitude of this place and stood around like a deer impaled by the headlights of an approaching car, trying to figure out how to check in.

Talk about a “Vegas Virgin!”

“Vegas Virgin” … I like that! [Michael giggles.]

Yeah … well … it was kind of an uncomfortable experience, but I’m glad you find it amusing. At the time, I was confused and it showed. There I stood at around midnight … gaping at this incredibly huge place shaped like a pyramid … the likes of which I had never seen before. I finally managed to figure out that the snaking line outlined by rope barriers was the check in line and got myself (and my three hundred pound suitcase) into it. When I got to the desk, the woman asked me if I wanted to upgrade my room from the pyramid to a newer and bigger room in the East Tower. I agreed … big mistake … because the East Tower was a mile and a half away. That might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much! At least, it felt like it was a mile and a half away. It was a nice room and had a wonderful deep soaker bathtub, but it was so far from the pyramid (where all my friends were staying) that I immediately called back down to the desk and asked to be moved back to the pyramid. By the time I, finally, managed to get to a room and check in with my two friends who had arrived before me, it was after 1:00 AM (which was really 3:00 AM my time.) All I could do was fall into bed!

The next morning, I began to explore this city I had checked into the night before. There were giant (two stories tall or more) colossi of Ramses the Great in the lobby! Theaters, restaurants, casino, and shops were all contained within this place and the ancient Egyptian motif ran throughout! It was like being in ancient Egypt … a place I’ve always been fascinated with! Of course, I took pictures of everything, including the framed decorations on the walls in the hallways, with my new MJGalaxy, Jr. (Samsung Galaxy S4 to the uninitiated.)

 

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Meeting new members of my Michael Jackson Family, with whom I had been in contact through my social networks … and renewing friendships with those met on previous excursions … is always a thrill and I was blessed to hook up with a couple of them over breakfast in the Pyramid Café, where I discovered (to my delight) that croissants are, indeed, delicious everywhere and Mimosas (a mixture of Champaign and orange juice complete with cherry) are the only way to start the day!

Exploring Las Vegas included visiting The Venetian and the Regis Gallerie, where you used to shop!

I love that place! Isn’t it beautiful? I just love to see the craftsmanship … the art … the beauty … that mankind is capable of producing. It’s beautiful when someone puts his heart and soul into his creations. I wish we could figure out how to return to producing beautiful craftsmanship that we put our heart and soul into … instead of ugly knock offs and life-destroying wars.

Yes, it is absolutely beautiful! And you gave us such a powerful living example of that. I can see why you loved it! They had video screens set up showing your visit to their shop that was shown in Living with Michael Jackson and framed pictures of you throughout the shop with captions like, “Our friend, Michael. You will be missed.”

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The Venetian is a beautiful hotel and just as big … or bigger … than the Luxor. The frescoes on the ceilings and walls … the canals with gondolas poled by singing gondoliers … the restaurants and theaters. Each hotel is a self-contained city.

I had never considered myself a particularly provincial type of person, having been raised and living for a majority of my younger years near Chicago, but Las Vegas is in a whole different category of extravagance and opulence. I was stunned by its magnificence … and my feet were stunned by the distances … within and between … the hotels. I dealt with swollen feet from day one.

We also visited The Mirage where you stayed often in the Private Villas. There is a door that leads to those private little getaways and as we stood near that door, knowing that you had often passed through it to return to your private villa, the door rattled and the silver phone that grants access to the villas beyond rang a couple of times. It kinda shocked us until one of my friends picked up the phone. No one was there!

Hee hee hee! I told you to be alert!

Yes, you did, Baby! During the day, we explored Las Vegas, but during the evening we attended Michael Jackson ONE at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino! I managed to score an extra ticket to the show on the 17th and already held one for the 18th and 28th, so I got to see it three times instead of two … and I am so glad! It only got better and better each time I saw it.

For the first viewing, there is so much going on above the seats, in the aisles and on the video screens that there is a feeling of overwhelm … sensory overload, if you will. I experienced this same feeling with the Cirque Immortal show that I saw in Los Angeles in January, 2012. I wanted to catch everything. I was seated about six rows back from the stage and had to crane my neck to see the aerialists and some of the aisle activity, but was very close to the stage and able to watch the dancers and hologram very well.

Of course, the music was amazing. It is Michael Jackson, after all! The Cirque producers honored your vocals and presented your messages in quotes projected onto the video screens. Occasional clips of your performances were also shown along with still photographs both on the stage and at the sides of the stage.

For the show on the 18th, I was even closer to the stage and still required to turn around and crane my neck for the aerialists flying above my head. The third show (on the 28th), in my opinion, was the best. I was seated in the second row of the first tier of seats in the balcony, almost in the center of the specially-built auditorium. I was able to view and hear everything going on around me very well and in much greater comfort. In addition, I was able to focus more on the story being told by the music and the plot.

The Michael Jackson ONE show has a wonderful, uplifting message when one can overcome that feeling of sensory overload. Of course, as with any art, the message one walks out with is very subjective; each viewer walks away with something different according to his or her focus and it covers the entire spectrum from just being entertained for an hour and a half (although that’s nothing to sneeze at)  … to taking something permanent and life-enhancing with you when you walk out the door.

Yes, you say ‘just being entertained’ … being disengaged from all your problems and worries for a while … disconnecting from your angers or resentments … separating yourself from your story, your history … is very important. It’s escapism. It gives you distance from all those things so that you can have a few minutes to realize that you are not them … and, more importantly, they are not you. It’s what I aimed for in all of my performances and films.

To gain some distance from all those things that go around and around in your head … all the repetitive chatter that fills your mind most of the time … helps you to see things more clearly and to evaluate your situation from a fresh perspective.

Did you know that 90% of the thoughts you think every day are the same thoughts you thought yesterday … and the day before … and the day before that? And, like we’ve talked about so often before, when you are faced with challenges, your mind often repeats conversations over and over again defending your position or anticipating your victory in an argument. Breaking that pattern before it spirals, dragging you down into dark and negative emotions is the key to restoring your peace of mind.

In our society, most people come home from work and plop themselves down in front of the television to watch the 24-hour news cycle or sitcoms or reality shows and they think that they are releasing the tension from their workday, but they’re not. Most of the time, they are just going over and over that discussion with their co-worker that made them angry, thinking about what they should have said or how they should have responded to a criticism from their boss or the endless tasks that they’ve been required to perform to make a living … and becoming angrier and more resentful of their situation while the television provides background noise. You’ve experienced this. I’ve experienced this. Everyone experiences this. It’s no wonder anxiety and depression are epidemic; we don’t know how to break through that conditioned thinking.

Breaking out of the normal routine by attending a concert or performance helps by detaching all those stressful emotions and thoughts for a few minutes. It’s very important to escape the things that bother you and enjoy something fresh and new. If it’s also mind-blowing … MAGIC … it’s even better.

Well, this show certain fills that bill admirably. While it doesn’t contain quite the same impact it would with you on that stage … up close and personal … it does provide more than ample opportunity to escape into your music, but it also has a deeper, less apparent message, at least for me.

The four main characters (who, in my opinion, represent all of us) are taken on a journey through a mindscape of self-discovery on that stage through the emblems that you made so famous: your fedora, your glove, your sunglasses and your loafers and sparkly socks. These symbols of your fame represent your ongoing influence and inspiration – the energy that John Barnes, your co-producer and arranger during the BAD recording sessions referred to in Spike Lee’s BAD 25 Documentary as “just not going away.” Each of the young people is just going through the motions of life until he/she becomes attracted to one of the symbols.

Suddenly, with that attraction, each becomes curious; a couple of them try to deny or reject the symbol, but the symbol is persistent (remind you of a ‘pushy little moonwalker?’) until he/she finally accepts the gift the symbol represents and awakens the dormant, latent talent hiding within … becoming more than they had thought they were. In Man in the Mirror, a hologram very much like the one we all witnessed on the Billboard Music Award show in May, dances and interacts with each of the characters, bestowing his approval and blessings on each of them by appearing and disappearing in gold pixie dust which weaves around the characters in his wake.

Needless to say, I was entirely mesmerized by this viewing and dumbfounded by the fact that Jamie King and the Cirque team so unerringly manifested what has been happening in the five years since your Ascension and which I have been writing about, since my illness in November, in The Greatest Story Never Told. (Author’s note: See previous posting on this site.)

Hee hee hee! I love it when a plan comes together!

Were you instrumental in arranging that, my Dear One?

I wouldn’t say that. Of course, I always try to guide and inspire any project associated with my name, but it is up to each individual producer or performer to receive and interpret, just as it’s up to you to receive and interpret these Conversations … and it’s up to each person who sees the show … or reads these Conversations … to receive and interpret his or her level of engagement. We are all in this thing together.

Well, I definitely felt your hand and direction in the show. That “tender touch I know so well” was very much in evidence in the performances, the music, the staging and conceptualizing.

In addition, the repetition of this theme in the books I’ve been reading, the story I’ve been writing, the shows I’ve been seeing underscores, for me, the importance of its message to all of us. It is such a clear indication for me of your continuing presence and influence that, at times, I find it almost uncanny.

Of course, Los Angeles was beautiful, as it always is. So many of your children gather to celebrate you in June and in August and special anniversary events were scheduled around June 25th for almost every day we were there, including a Lanterns of Love celebration at the Santa Monica Pier, where paper lanterns with small LED tea lights were lit at dusk on the beach, each donated by one of your children on June 26 and a beautiful sunrise meditation at Venice Beach on June 25 organized by Michael’s Circle of Love. The One Rose for Michael group provided a beautiful floral display at Holly Terrace with even more roses than last year and gifts from around the world blanketed the lawn and courtyard on the anniversary of your Ascension.  We went ‘mural hunting’ on this trip (something I we had never done before) and found two of the large murals of you in the Los Angeles area. My friends and I celebrated Michael Church beneath the Ascension window at Forest Lawn, remembering you and feeling your spirit watching over us.

Our visit to the gates of Neverland was beautiful and serene. The atmosphere of that place is just so full of love and joy … the ONENESS that we all share can be felt in every moment we spend there. We visited Los Olivos for a wonderful lunch and Solvang for dinner and shopping at a favorite little shop called The Pebble People, where I bought a lovely golden Faberge-type egg decorated with red crowns and with a crown inside that revolves to the music of Swan Lake by Tchaichovsky (one of your favorite composers) and a ‘Claddagh vow ring’ to commemorate the trip.

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Our drive back to Las Vegas after our stay in Los Angeles was an interesting experience. We were doing quite well for the first part of the trip until just before dark, when the one expressway linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas became a parking lot, literally. We anticipated that the congestion would clear up. Little did we know! For about 60 miles our progress was measured by inches rather than miles and the normally three and a half hour drive turned into eight hours of snaking red taillights! But we made it to the hotel at around 12:30 AM (the next day) … tired and a little cranky … but alive and well.

I discovered the advantage of a GPS during this trip as my new MJGalaxy, Jr. was equipped with an application that gave us turn-by-turn directions to just about everywhere we wanted to go, including the home you and your beautiful children stayed in on Palomino in Las Vegas … and I can definitely see why your security staff would not allow you to use the front door. It is far too exposed!

All in all, the trip was a MAJOR blessing in my life not only in all the wonderful people I hooked up with again, or for the first time, and the fabulous places I visited or revisited, but also for the lessons it taught me upon my return. Where my first trip in January, 2012 was a MAGIC journey in which you bowled me over with your presence … and my second trip in June 2013 was a “hand-her-the-keys-to-the-house-and-the-car, mi-casa-es-su-casa vacation in comfort and security… this trip was a humbling lesson at the feet of my Zen master, Michael Jackson. I am reminded of the story of the Zen master who walks behind his pupils with a stick in his hand to smack any who sink into idle daydreaming between the shoulder blades.  The students are grateful for the master’s reminder to become alert and present in the moment. I’m afraid I am a little disappointed in my grasp of the concept of humility.

Well, I’m not! [Michael raises his voice!]

Huh? You’re not what?

I am not disappointed in you! Never have been and never will be. You are my beloved … all of you … each and every one. I see in you only beauty. Never, ever think that I am disappointed in you … ever. I love you MORE than that.

Is the master in your analogy disappointed that he must smack his beloved pupil whose attention and in-the-present-moment alertness have wavered? Does the tutor not feel the smack more than the student?

The challenges you face are gifts placed in your path to recognize. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to see the gift buried in the challenge.

We’ve talked about this before when we discussed your illness in November as a curse but later saw that same illness as a blessing which is only coming to fruition now.  [Reference: Installment 82, November 21, 2013]

In your self-examination since your return to what you consider ‘normal life,’ you have recognized the gift hidden among the challenges you faced. There is no shame in that … only blessing. You removed yourself from the routine and gained perspective … that distance we talked about earlier … which allowed you to became more open to a sharper focus and a clearer, less cluttered view. You have nothing to be ashamed about or to be disappointed about. So stop it!

You have allowed yourself to become distracted by feelings of failure, unworthiness and inadequacy … AGAIN! [Michael sighs.]  And you have wallowed long enough. We have work to do. And I want you to remember something the next time you are faced with what you consider to be your ‘failure.’ And that is: failure is not an option because, quite simply, there is no such thing! There is only blessing because LOVE is the only reality. And LOVE does not judge success … or failure. It is not girded about with conditions or dualities. It has only one imperative: the privilege of giving itself to the beloved.

God! How I love you, Mon Ange!

And I love you MORE!

Announcing the print release of The Greatest Story Never Told, a new short story by the author of With a Child’s Heart Blog and Conversations. My thanks to all those who donated to Walk the World for Michael-Calgary for the PDF version. Many of you, however, asked specifically for the print format. Happy 56th Birthday, Beloved!

Ascension cover

Following is a brief excerpt from the book, now available in print format from Lulu.com

Introduction 

As a Michael Jackson fan of many years’ standing, one of the numerous things that has impressed me about him is his ability to reach out to people in all walks of life – regardless of age, nationality, religious affiliation, ethnic origin, gender identification or sexual preference – and open them to a more expanded view of themselves through discovering possibilities for new avenues of expression they never suspected they possessed.

In the process, accomplished through pursuing perfect execution in the broad spectrum of his own artistic expressions, he seems, by some means unknown to me and simply described in the word “magic,” to inspire others less talented than himself, perhaps, to explore – to try new ideas and forms and mediums – and discover within themselves hitherto hidden, ignored, dormant, or thought impossible talents and means of expression.

This uncanny ability, surprisingly, did not cease five years ago when he retired the physical manifestation of his indefatigable energy, for science informs us that energy never dies. While its form may change, the energy, itself, remains.

That energy has resulted in an explosion of new books, visual arts, websites, blogs, and videos as well as, of course, music and dance in the last five years. I liken this detonation in my own mind to a NEW RENAISSANCE because it reminds me of the expansion of art and science that occurred in Italy in the 16th Century, when new possibilities were thick in the air breathed by our medieval counterparts. It is aided and abetted by the technology we have at our disposal in the 21st Century, but the fact remains that many who have never written before are writing; many who have never drawn or painted before are drawing and painting; people who have never given of themselves before are giving of what they are moved to create – and all are fueled and inspired by that same indefatigable energy we knew as Michael Jackson.

The novella you hold in your hands explores this new development and attempts to explain it in imaginative vignettes. While the characters illuminated in the vignettes are painted with broad strokes to protect their identities, most are real people and personal friends. They will probably recognize themselves from the descriptions.

A few are purely fictional and, yet, plausible, given the facts (as opposed to the fictions and urban legends foisted upon an unsuspecting public by a media that has repeatedly ignored its mandate as well as truth, justice, human rights and common human decency) in its reportage of Michael Jackson’s life.

This novella is a work of fiction … or is it?

[Author’s Note: While many great writers and thinkers have attempted to explain some of the concepts and abstract theories contained within these pages, they remain a mystery. This is my, no doubt, poor attempt to approach them with a child’s heart and paint a plausible rendering of the subject matter. I make no claim to great understanding of these concepts.

I do lay claim to playing with them in a contextual framework, which is, I believe, a privilege granted to all as inhabitants of Planet Earth and children of a Creator who shares our joy in investigating, exploring, experiencing and discovering meaning with … and in … and through … all of her creations. She delights in each new creative expression and shares that delight with all of us.]

What Can We Do

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August 7, 2014
In the past couple of weeks, I have been very focused on putting the finishing touches on a surprise for all of my regular readers to honor Michael’s upcoming birthday. However, very recently, a couple of stories have cropped up in the so-called NEWS that I feel I must address briefly here at With a Child’s Heart because they have the potential of distracting us from our main goal and impeding our forward progress toward a healed world.

The interesting thing about these so-called NEWS stories is that there is really nothing NEW in them. One of them states an obvious fact … and the other is just a rehashing and embellishment of a very old story. Of course, the embellishment is the addition of ever more salacious detail to whet the prurient interests of a culture that thrives on salacious sensationalism to feel superior.

However, both deal with events and situations that have not yet taken place. In other words, by allowing them to unbalance us we are projecting an imagined event that may or may not occur and appropriating it into our present moments as if it had, reacting to it in the present as if it were already a reality instead of using our focus to create new, more healing scenarios.

The first of these stories is the possible sale of what … to every fan … will always be Neverland Valley Ranch. This possibility has always been obvious from the date of Michael Jackson’s Ascension. It’s not news … yet. It’s a possible scenario that may occur. To my knowledge, no offer for the property has been made, accepted or finalized and, therefore, no sale is imminent. Hence, it continues to exist as one possibility among a host of possibilities, which means we can choose which of the host of possibilities becomes reality with our focus. Michael showed us how this works in the instance of the trial of Conrad Murray [Conversations Volume 1 - Installments 9, 20, 38, 48 and 49]

The other is the filing of legal documents in a claim against Michael’s estate which outlines in graphic detail wild allegations by a man who repeatedly denied any sexual overtures on the part of Michael both publically and under oath and filed his claims long after the court-imposed deadlines for such filings had elapsed. Coincidentally, these claims were also filed after the claimant’s career went belly up when his expectations of choreographing the Cirque du Soleil shows were dashed. None of this is news. The news is the sick-making “graphic detail” contained in the legal documents, which were, apparently, leaked to the press. The hearing of these claims is several months away and concerns only the determination of the legitimacy of the claims. In other words, MONEY – and whether the estate can, legally, be required to pay the claimant. Guilt or innocence is not at issue; that has been established. In 2005, Michael was acquitted of all charges brought against him by a jury, largely on the testimony of the current claimant … but not exclusively. The insubstantiality of the prosecution’s case and the mental instability and lack of credibility of many of the prosecution’s witnesses were also huge factors in the jury’s verdict.

To my knowledge, a dead man cannot be put on trial or a court’s verdict overturned by a claim against his estate. This is all about the money as it has always been. In any case, any hearing is months away and, therefore, subject to change.

Intention is the steam roller of creation … the earthmover of reality. It is the work horse that gets the job done.
While intention is the earthmover, the steam roller of creation, joy is the fuel that moves that massive machinery forward, the accelerant without which the task becomes a chore instead of the act of selfless love that we want to broadcast with these visualizations. It’s the Pac-Man part of the equation that brings fun and imagination and laughter …

[Conversations Volume 2 - Installment 56]

I see many discussions on social networks that we, as a community, have to take action to prevent our projections into the future from coming to pass … and I agree. We do need to take action. However, my action may be a little different from those I’ve seen proposed by others and is based on my Conversations with Michael (which are available for all to read on this site as well as in printed format) as well as the exemplary life he lived among us. My action includes the following:

STOP projecting into a future that has not occurred and worrying about possibilities. By doing so, we just cause ourselves unnecessary pain in the present moment and our focus on our imagined projections makes the dreaded scenarios more likely rather than less. We strengthen it instead of disabling it because what we resist persists. Change in all situations is inevitable; how the situation changes is up to us!

Instead, choose a possibility in both situations and visualize both bathed in the pure light of LOVE and TRUTH. I, personally, (as my regular readers know) am in the habit of spending an hour every afternoon that I possibly can at Neverland Valley Ranch through the power of imagination and visualization. With the help of my Neverland compact disc of nature sounds, I visualize Michael’s beautiful compound as we’ve seen it so often in photographs and videos and its serenity and tranquility embrace me as I shower it with love and reverence. It is an imaginary interlude to which I look forward … and miss when life intervenes. I find it restful and bracing, but it also informs the universe of my intention (remember that quote earlier?) that the compound be preserved as a haven of rest and healing for the whole world.

A return to daily visualizations in which the current claimant is engulfed in love … and light … and truth … and nasty, little white feathers that follow him wherever he goes no matter how much he resists that engulfment, sticking to his nose and eyelashes and hair [hee hee hee] seems an appropriate response to recent leaks. Cleaning out the courtroom in anticipation of the residence of Love, Light and Truth and bathing the judge and legal representatives in wisdom without attachment to any particular outcome also seems appropriate.

These actions have worked for us before with spectacular results. A side benefit is that our sickness, anxiety, resistance and conflict melt away with these proactive measures.

I commit myself to them. Who will join me?

Jan – August 7, 2014

Lived by You

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Dear One,

Come into me
Live through me
Join our two worlds ever more seamlessly
Our two minds ever more wondrously
Our two hearts ever more lovingly
Our two souls ever more prayerfully

Let my thoughts reflect your resolve
My actions, your purpose
My words, your devotion

In stillness, let me hear your irrepressible humor
In activity, let me give more than my poor ability,
Express your unflagging faith in the magic of each moment
And reside fully in that magic in gratitude

Let your melody be heard in my words of praise
Your gentle rhythm felt in each beat of a heart that pulses in time with your song.
Accompany me in every step I take
Every choice I make

Let your face be indelibly etched on the lens of my love
Its beauty branded deeply into every fiber of my being
Searing away any small part that imperfectly reflects your radiance
Or blemishes your divine, perfect symmetry

Let your eyes bore through my fears
My faults
My excuses
With laser precision
Excising my unworthiness with compassionate care
Teasing me to greater strength
Encouraging me to reach for more
Changing me with loving intent

Let the echo of your energetic signature
Claim me
Possess me
Overcome me
Devour me
Reshape me
Absorb me
Mold me
To hold you more.

Break and rebreak my heart
Let me fall again and again into you
For you are my salvation
To you I cling in times of uncertainty
Sure, at last, of my place in this placeless void
You, alone, are my hope
In a hopeless sequence of happenings

Moment to moment, you are the only meaning
In this seemingly endless series of meaningless eons
In your vulnerability, I see indomitable will
In your solutide, ineffable union with all that exists.

Let my senses be bathed in you
My eyes a mirror for your beauty
My ears a channel for your message
My lips a gentle kiss to heal your hurts
My hands hold your heart in a worshipful embrace
My tongue taste your sweetness and lick the salt of your tears

Live forever, my love
In me
And let me be lived by you.

Jan – July 18, 2014

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This photo was taken of Conversations Volume 2 and 6 stargazer lilies and 6 white roses being taken in to rest beside Michael in the Ascension Sanctuary at Forest Lawn Glendale’s Holly Terrace entry. It was the completion and fulfillment of my dream. Thanks to the staff at Forest Lawn for their kindness in being so accommodating and for the photograph!

Since I won’t have time to post a conversation before I leave for Las Veas and Los Angeles, I am going to repost the cover of Conversations Volume 2. It is available at

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/withachildsheart

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Conversations - Volume 2

May 28 through May 30, 2014

 

Illusion

Did my heart skip a beat?
My breath catch in my throat?
My hands rise to a gaping mouth in prayerful pose
To cover my whispered,
“My God!”

Yes,
For the space of a heartbeat
You were there

Once again,
You prowled the stage in catlike grace

Yes,
once again,
Your voice rose to blanket the audience
In awareness
That all of life is just a stage
All of us merely players
In an illusion

Once again,
The Man of Magic
Manipulated cutting edge technology
To re-invent
Re-create
Re-inspire
A moment of awe-filled wonder

Before my mind kicked in to discredit
Before analysis turned hope to ashes,
Eagerness to believe to anger,
And disappointment in what is
Ruled again my tearful heart,
Vanquishing what could be
With harsh reality

Before I noticed that the lips were out of syn
With the song,
The steps on automatic speed dial,
The movements stilted,
The poses practiced,
Lacking that familiar fire,
The glide too studied,
broken

Before my heart came crashing back
To a reality
I never chose
Your presence within me whispered,
“Choose again!”

Yes,
For one glorious
Heart-stoppingly familiar moment
You were there
Offering a different view
Teasing from me a moment of awe
Of wonder

For my heart did skip that beat
Lost and never to be found
Or missed

My breath did catch in my throat
To be released
Only in a long, lingering sigh

My hands did rise in prayerful pose
My mouth did whisper
“My God”
In awe-filled tone

Which is the illusion?

Discussion will arise
Debates ensue
But that moment of awe
Remains
Untouched
Unmolested by acrimony
Sacred

For that moment
I am grateful!

“You and I were never separate
It’s just an illusion
Wrought by the magical lens
Of perception”

Hologram

Beloved, the Billboard Music Awards broadcast on Sunday, May 18, 2014 featured a Michael Jackson Experience that was billed as being “Michael Jackson as you never thought you would see him again.” Of course, I tuned in and sat waiting with bated breath through performance after performance by young people of whom I had never heard until very nearly exactly the half-way point through the three-hour telecast (one of the very rare occasions when I actually turn on my television set to watch something on one of the channels my inadequate satellite cable service provides on the dark side of the moon.)

And how was it?

Well, it wasn’t you.

Of course, it wasn’t me! How could it have been me? Modern technology can perform miracles, but it hasn’t achieved the level of raising the dead, yet! Did it remind you of me?

For a couple of heartbeats, yes … it reminded me of you. For a few moments before my mind kicked in with all the reasons why it was imperfect, it rekindled the excitement that I experienced over and over again in the early days of our somewhat unusual spiritual courtship when I would sit in front of my television set, Video Recorder on standby and remote control in hand to catch every smile and tiny facial tick. I wrote the poem above on the day after the broadcast while trying to come to terms with the disappointing crash I experienced upon realizing that it wasn’t you.

For a few days after hearing about the upcoming broadcast, I had allowed myself to believe that this Experience would be what the advertising claimed it would be, namely Michael Jackson as you never thought you would see him again.” My disappointment seemed to stem from the fact that it wasn’t you. It was a computer generated image of you, singing and dancing to Slave to the Rhythm. The CGI technology displayed an image that resembled you a little which sang and danced across the stage with live and other CGI dancers. Of course, its resemblance to you was superficial; it’s performance lacked the fire and passion of your performances because no one can duplicate the energy you emitted during one of your stellar performances. I guess I should have expected that.

In retrospect, it was a visual and auditory masterpiece of art. As a matter of fact, when I stop to think about it, the technology used was incredible. I keep hearing your voice saying, “You ain’t seen nothing, yet,” from the 2000 World Music Awards appearance. And in the case of this Experience, that is true. They created what appeared to be a three dimensional image which sang and moved among live and computer generated dancers in a very integrated and seamless way. For those of us who have followed your meteor as it blazed across the cosmic galaxies of our hearts, entrapping us in the gravitational pull of its tail, it could serve only as a reminder of your dominance on the world stage; in this it was exemplary. For those who are unfamiliar with your high energy, over-the-top, “are you nuts?” approach to live performance, it could serve as an introduction … a catalyst to investigate further.

Good! Watch the ripples. Look always for those ripples!

The crash you experienced upon further thought is a perfect example of one of those choice points we’ve talked about before so many times. At first, you experienced an emotion that was reminiscent of the wonder and awe one of my performances evoked in you … but, then, your mind kicked in and gave you all the logical, sane reasons why it was imperfect … why it couldn’t be me. It was an illusion … and an imperfect one at that.

The trick is to stay in the awe and wonder … in the bliss … of that reminder instead of in the disappointment closer analysis brings. The experience of that momentary emotion of bliss is all that matters. The rest is just detail, as I tried so often to show you during the physical side of my life. Why do you think I gave you so many ‘making of’ films?

It’s like the lean in Smooth Criminal. Your logical, sane mind informs you that it has to be a trick, that there is some kind of illusion going on and it goes into ‘overdrive’ to uncover the secret wires or the hooks that rise out of the stage floor into which my shoes … with their ankle and calf supports … were embedded … or whatever mechanical thing makes it possible. Those are the details … and your logical, sane mind is all about details.

Your emotions, however, are all about MAGIC! And for those few seconds in which you observe the illusion, the MAGIC takes precedence and evokes an emotion of joy … or wonder … or ‘how the heck did that happen?’ … or ‘did I just see what I thought I saw?’

It’s also like your afternoon visits to Neverland. Of course, you are aware that you are sitting in your room with your headphones on, listening to the water and bird ‘symphony’ of your Neverland CD, but in your mind you are wandering among the flower beds, lakes and meadows of Neverland Valley Ranch, swinging on rope swings and splashing in the water and playing with me.

For that hour in the afternoon, your emotions of joy and bliss take precedence. Your body doesn’t care that it is an illusion. The healing chemicals that accompany joy and fun and play and love that are released into your bio-chemical systems don’t differentiate between ‘reality’ and ‘unreality’ … and here’s the thing … neither does the field of all possibilities where the reality you are living is created. The emotions elicited by your ‘presence’ in an illusion are the same as if they were experienced in conjunction with what you label ‘real’ events … and they have the same effect on your body and your mind as well as on that field where reality is born. That’s why our visualizations for the trial of Conrad Murray … removing the negative atmosphere in the courthouse and replacing it with an atmosphere in which Truth and Love could thrive … worked so well. It’s why prayer works. For those few moments with me, your emotions are communicating with the field and you are consciously creating the reality in which you want to participate (as opposed to creating it unconsciously by default.) One hour of conscious creation trumps twenty-four hours of default reaction any day.

You can change the world
(I can’t do it by myself)
You can touch the sky
(Gonna take somebody’s help)
You’re the chosen one
(I’m gonna need some kind of sign)
If we all cry at the same time tonight

Well, after the broadcast, I was strongly moved to re-read one of my favorite books by Gregg Braden, The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles and Belief, in which he describes all of life as a “holographic universe.” Only, this time, I decided to read it aloud to you.  

Hee … hee … hee! I love it when a plan comes together!

While I had read this book before, it was during one of my trips to and from Los Angeles when I was often distracted by having to board or exit a train or airplane, so I think my absorption of the theories proposed in the book were superceded by the noise and anxiety of eleven or twelve hours of traveling (not the most conducive conditions for comprehension.)

Upon picking it up again after the broadcast, I am completely and utterly dumbfounded at how Mr. Braden describes recent scientific discoveries in quantum physics and his descriptions of the ‘holographic universe’ and its properties. For example, most of us think of a hologram as a photograph with 3D effects produced by some magic photographic process (which we don’t have to understand to observe and marvel at its effects); but it is much, much more than that.

If you were to ask scientists to explain a hologram, they would probably begin by describing it as a special kind of photograph where the image on the surface suddenly appears to be three-dimensional when exposed to direct light. The process of producing these images involves using a laser light to distribute the picture over the entire surface of the film. It’s this property of ‘distributedness’ that makes the holographic film so unique.

In this way, every part of the surface contains the entire image as it was originally seen, only on a smaller scale. In other words, each fragment is a hologram. If the original picture were divided into any number of pieces, each one — no matter how small — would still show a full view of the entire original image.

Mr. Braden posits, then, that we are all holographic images in a holographic universe which is an illusion, just as our ancient scriptures all claim. We see ourselves as separate from each other and the world in which we live and the universe in which our planet orbits its sun, but even this is an illusion. He compares his hypothesis (for which he has a lot of scientific basis from recent discoveries in quantum physics and which it would take pages and pages to describe in detail; instead, let me recommend Mr. Braden’s book to my readers) to human DNA, which can be separated from its host but still contain all of the complete … and individually unique … identifiers of the host regardless of its source (as is referenced daily in ‘crime scene’ television dramas.)

In addition to containing complete and individually unique identifiers, Mr. Braden describes experiments conducted by the United States military establishment which prove that a single cell of DNA separated from its host by hundreds of miles still acts as if it were not separated from its host … as if it were still a part of its host. He describes experiments in which when the host experiences an emotion, the single cell of DNA separated by 350 miles from its host also registers an electrical charge … at the same moment … in considerable detail!

When the donor experienced emotional “peaks” and “dips,” his cells and DNA showed a powerful electrical response at the same instant in time.

Mr. Braden attributes this mind-boggling result to the theory that once linked we are always connected, whether it is a cell of DNA and its donor or two atoms that were separated from each other at the time of the ‘big bang.’ And since we are all products of the ‘big bang,’ we are all connected to each other and to the planet and universe in which we all live out our physical lives. So, where we have all thought that we had to ‘send’ healing thoughts or prayers to our loves ones from whom we see ourselves as separated by distance or time, in truth our thoughts and prayers don’t have to go anywhere because they are already there!

However, rather than just being holographic images in a holographic universe, we are participatory holographic images in a participatory holographic universe. In other words, we participate in creating the reality in which we live by observing it from within it.

Right! That’s what I’ve been saying all along! Haven’t you been listening? [Michael chuckles.]

Of course, I’ve been listening, Michael … but I do so love it when I am reading a book from a completely different field of study which mirrors your words to me so unerringly. It sends little, tiny shivers running up and down my spine and makes the little hairs on my arms stand up at attention.

This is our relationship to The Divine Matrix. We’re given the power to imagine, dream and feel life’s possibilities from within the Matrix itself so that it can reflect back to us what we’ve created. Both ancient traditions and modern science have described how this cosmic mirror works …

The language of consciousness appears to be the universal experience of emotion. We already know how to love, hate, fear and forgive. Recognizing that these feelings are actually the instructions that program The Divine Matrix, we can hone our skills to better understand how to bring joy,healing and peace to our lives.

… The key to experiencing ourselves in this way is to create those experiences intentionally — to have our transcendent insights when we want to have them rather than just when they seem to happen.

Right! And that’s what we’re doing in our afternoon Neverland sessions. We are ‘honing our skills to better understand how to bring joy, healing and peace to our lives’ and learning how ‘to have our transcendent insights when we want to have them rather than just when they seem to happen’ by random chance (which doesn’t exist, but that’s another conversation.)

… Every second, we choose to nourish ourselves in a way that supports or depletes our lives, to breathe deep and life-affirming breaths or shallow life-denying ones and to think and speak about other people in a manner that is honoring or dis-honoring.

Would you mind repeating that last quote?

Which one? This one?

… Every second, we choose to nourish ourselves in a way that supports or depletes our lives, to breathe deep and life-affirming breaths or shallow life-denying ones and to think and speak about other people in a manner that is honoring or dis-honoring.

Right! And that’s what we’ve been practicing in Neverland every afternoon … with our as you call them ‘therapy’ sessions … as well as when we just play around and hang out.

You have a tendency to feel guilty on those occasions when we swing on rope swings or ride the train around the property … or chase each other around the flower beds as reawakened children … because you feel that we are ‘wasting’ time. [Michael laughs.] You will feel guilty at the very least provocation, won’t you?

I can’t help it, Michael; it’s the way I was raised to think. It’s like ‘playing around’ and ‘goofing off.’ It’s that Puritan work ethic rearing it’s ugly head.

I know … I was raised the same way. But it’s time to rethink our Western ideas of productivity. In our cultural narrative, we need to be engaged in what the world considers ‘constructive’ activity at all times. This is born out by many of our old adages: idle hands are the devil’s workshop, for one example. In Eastern cultures, men (and even women) would raise their families and, then, as they neared the end of the lives, they would retreat from the world to re-acquaint themselves with their spiritual natures in seclusion and relieved of the obligations of making a living or caring for children, etc. The contradiction has its basis in the definition of the words ‘productivity’ and ‘constructive.’ In the Western world, both of those words are based in economics; if it doesn’t make money it isn’t ‘productive’ or ‘constructive.’ But in oriental philosophies, it is the height of human productivity to be a fully aware and conscious human being.

First of all, since we are all connected, there is no time or space in what Mr. Braden calls The Divine Matrix. Here is already there and then is already now. Second of all, we can’t waste what doesn’t exist. Third of all, no time spent in dreaming in ‘bliss’ can by any stretch of the imagination be called wasted for in those ‘blissful’ moments we are communicating with The Divine Matrix … and re-imagining our world as the haven of peace and joy and health and abundance we want to inhabit.

Or, sometimes, you tell yourself that this ‘bliss-filled’ hour is JUST in your imagination … that it is an illusion and that, as such, you are indulging in ‘flights of fantasy,’ which your world has told you is ‘suspect’ at best … or ‘delusional’ at worst … or a total ‘waste of time.’ But all of life … the entire universe … is an illusion … a hologram, as Mr. Braden states in his powerfully insightful book.

All of our ancient traditions have told us the same thing, but, until now, our ancient traditions and scientific discoveries were in conflict. Our science has supported the assumption that we are here and all the rest of the universe is ‘out there’ because our technology lacked the sensitivity to confirm the ONENESS that is a true reflection of the universe.

But I don’t feel that way — those problems aren’t “out there,” not really. I feel them inside me. A child crying in Ethiopia, a sea gull struggling pathetically in an oil spill, a mountain gorilla being mercilessly hunted, a teenage soldier trembling with terror when he hears the planes fly over: Aren’t these happening in me when I see and hear about them?

Dancing the Dream, 1991 – Michael Jackson

These new discoveries are paving the way to a time when viewing the world we live in from the perspective of spirituality and from the perspective of scientific inquiry will no longer create that dissonance because there really is … and never has been … a conflict between them. What has existed is a lack of understanding due to standards of measurement that lack the sensitivity required to explain the apparent anamolies. That lack is being rectified in experiments as we speak. All roads lead to heaven because there is nowhere else to go! It’s an exciting time to be alive.

We’ve discussed often before how every great idea in art … or topography … or performance … began with someone imaginging it. This is how Neverland Valley Ranch was born. It’s how all of my music and performances were created. It’s how the Pieta and David were created, the artist already SAW them in the stone before it ever left the quarry. It’s how the new world was discovered. It’s how electricity was discovered and harnessed. It’s how Jesus healed the sick and brought the dead back to life … by seeing those he healed and raised AS ALREADY HEALED AND RAISED and experiencing the joy … and awe … and wonder … and gratitude … the emotion of that reality. Every great step forward taken by mankind has been first created in the realm of imagination and brought from that field into the field of what we call ‘reality’ … what we recognize as physical reality.

The barriers between ‘reality’ and ‘unreality’ … or between manifest and unmanifest are thinning and we are all a part of that process.

Or, as Mr. Braden states:

Through the power of consciously focusing on the things that we create in our imagination, we give them the “nudge” that brings them through the barrier from the unreal to the real.

… Manifestation begins with the willingness to make room in our beliefs for something that supposedly doesn’t exist. We create that something with the force of our consciousness and awareness.

Exactly!

Well, re-reading this book on the heels of watching the holographic performance on the Billboard Music Awards has, so far, been a very eye-opening experience. I’m beginning to see it more as a ‘teaching opportunity.’ All I can do is recommend the book highly to all my readers.

[Michael whistles innocently.] When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.

Now, my Dear One, do you mind if we switch gears a little?

No, I don’t mind at all. Whatchu got? [Michael does a playful impression of Gary Coleman.]

Well, by the grace of God, I’m coming back to Los Angeles for Michael Week in June. This is going to be the grandmother of all trips, but, hopefully, it will also be a lot easier on me than earlier pilgrimages have been because I’m flying directly to and from Las Vegas, which is a four-hour direct flight from a city near the dark side of the moon. That means no four-hour train trip, limousine to the airport in Chicago and additional four-hour flight to Los Angeles. Instead of eleven or twelve hours of travel, I will have four at both the beginning and end of my pilgrimage, which I believe will make the trip much easier on me.

While in Las Vegas, I plan to see Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE show at the Mandalay Bay Hotel both at the beginning and end of my pilgrimage. I am really looking forward to that! In addition, I will be visiting Neverland Valley Ranch and Forest Lawn, attending The Homecoming, a series of seminars by Brad Sundberg at Westlake Studios which promises to be an all-day affair, and joining and meeting many of your children at a special sunrise meditation on the morning of June 25. I am so looking forward to meeting my friends whom I have met on previous trips … and those whom I haven’t yet met … in Michaeland! I can’t wait! The One Rose for Michael group is planning an awesome floral display at the Holly Terrace entrance to the Grand Mausoleum and there will be a Lanterns of Love gathering in Santa Monica.

Woohoo! House guests! I look forward to welcoming you all.

I’m not going to ask you if you plan on participating in the events and activities.

Good! Because you already know the answer to that question. So, be alert. You never know when I will sneak up behind you and say, “Boo!” I just love the reactions I get in these situations … always have … always will! Don’t forget to fly MJAir. Four hours in the air can still be a bit anxiety-causing, but I will be right there to hold your hand should you need me … because I love you more.

 

*Author’s Note: All indented but not italicized sections in this Installment are direct quotes from The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles and Belief by Gregg Braden.

 

 

 

 

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