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This is a reading from Conversations, Volume 1, Installment 37. I have been playing around with making videos. This is my latest experiment. Enjoy!

Ascension

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Ascension 24″ X 30″ Fine oil paints on canvas

Seven years … 84 months … only a heart beat … a mere grain of sand in the ocean of time…

In lieu of being physically on pilgrimage to the sacred spaces of Michael’s life, I have opted this year to bring one of those sacred spaces into my inner life by painting it as I experienced and interpreted a vision I was granted in January, 2012. The painting is appropriately called “Ascension.” To me, it is not a macabre scene; it is a triumphant one.

On a beautiful, warm morning, a distant Star explodes. Shock waves from its immolation saturate galaxies … universes. A supernova of galactic proportions hurls particles of light into infinite space. Unfinished, yet spent, it sacrifices itself in a final discharge of brilliant, blinding glory, its pulses fading and flickering, extinguishing itself upon the altar of Awakening. In loving service, as in life, it offers itself on the pyre of the night … to enlighten.

A heart full to overflowing with love knows that no other option exists. It has no choice but to burst its boundaries in order to expand further; for it requires desperately to grow, to continue to give of itself, to evolve. In its passing, it transforms Universes of pain into avalanches of joy. In the waves unleashed by its explosion, it transcends galaxies of despair in renewed commitment and newly-discovered creativity.

Each tiny shard seeks a resting place – a seedling star, blown by fresh, galactic breezes finds within a human heart a row tilled with sorrow, a mind deep buried in disbelief. Welcoming oblivion, at last, it rests. Watered by infinite oceans of tears, nourished by soil fertilized in Infinite Love, it sprouts in darkness. Yet, it reaches for the light. It can do no other. Unseen, undetected, it sleeps awaiting its perfect time.

In the glory of the Star’s perfect sacrifice, hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny, embryonic stars are born, small, but becoming. In the star’s example of selflessness, dreams of imperfection are exposed, at last, as only dreams, nightmares of limitation lifted at long last. They were never anything more than a mirage, an illusion, a thought, a memory. Revealed in the Star’s blinding rays, recognition comes creeping slowly in minds beginning to unfurl. Those restrictions, as easily changed as we change our raiment to greet a new day, hold no further power.

In the Star’s courage, fear of infinite freedom from illusory bondage vanishes, replaced by the empowerment of revelation. The tiny star-secret seedlings break through the soil of confinement to ascend into new life – infinitely more abundant, eternally seeking the Star’s ever-expanding light.

Within its thoughts, it can begin to imagine a conflicted world, confused in its identity, lost in its ego, transformed. Rejecting thoughts of separation and anxious chaos, the embryo longs for release from a misbegotten, error-driven perception into the ultimate reality of Perfect Union … ineffable … unchangeable … absolute. And compassion is born.

In His Ascension … the tiny, embryonic seedling stars ascend to claim a place within the Star’s ever-present light. Asking only to live in His shadow, each seed offers its gift of life to honor Him.

In Ascension.

 

 

June 1 through 10, 2016

 Hello? Anybody home?

Michael? Hi! Gosh it’s good to hear your voice!

Why? Did you think I’d abandoned you? By the way, I am no saint.

Not abandoned exactly; that may be too strong a term to use. More like just “resting,” perhaps. That might be a better word. And you are to me. What is that in reference to?

You’ll see. Patience.

Okay, Baby, patience! I’ve been formatting, proofreading, correcting and revising … proofreading again, correcting again, and revising again for so long; it seems like forever since we talked in any formal way. It feels like I have spent the best part of the months of April and May devoting every waking moment (and more than a few non-waking moments) getting Conversations 3 ready for publication and have thought of little else for two months.

Congratulations! We did it again!

[Jan laughs.] We did, indeed, my Anam Cara. We did, indeed! Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about this process?

No, not at all. What questions?

Well, since completing our third in the Conversations Series, I’ve noticed a couple of things that are kinda curious. There seems to be a pattern taking shape here that is not even remotely being orchestrated by me and I’m wondering about it.

Pattern? What kind of pattern are you talking about?

Well, first of all each of the volumes seems to have been “announced,” if you will, by a visualization or meditation. Second, it appears that I work on getting the publication out and then try to paint a picture of you receiving the book and reading it in a beautiful natural setting. In essence, these paintings are my attempt to recreate the scene (or, at least, the emotion I experienced) from the announcing visualization or meditation in visual form. Third, these publications are evenly spaced every two years (at least, so far) and are usually completed very close to the anniversary of your Ascension.

Prior to the first volume, I had never really even considered publishing our dialogs in print format. However, my beautiful friend in Germany, apparently, had other plans and my gratitude to her is boundless for opening me to this possibility. While the first volume was formatted and compiled by my friend, it was announced by a visualization of you sitting beneath a tree at Neverland with my little dog, Sir Impalot, by your side. It was published in March, 2012. Later I tried to paint that scene as I had envisioned it with somewhat limited success (this was at the very beginning of my exploration of artistic expression in the early summer of 2012) and we talked about that visualization in Volume 2 [reference Installment 54, page 35.]

The second volume was, once again, heralded by a visualization or meditation in which I handed the volume to you as you sat beneath a giant tree with your mismatched ankles crossed [as described in Volume 3, Installment 85, page 17.] This time, Sir Impalot was absent. However, once again, I tried to paint the scene I had envisioned with a little more success. It was published in March, 2014 almost exactly two years after Volume 1.

I began the process of getting Conversations 3 compiled and formatted the first week of April, 2016 after another visualization in Neverland during my afternoon power nap in which you were holding a book, but refused to show it to me because you said, “You haven’t finished it yet,” and you didn’t want to influence me in my choice of cover art. Except for second and third revisions to correct errors, the bulk of the material was ready sometime during the first week of May, 2016.

All of the above implies a “consistency” to which I have never considered myself able to lay any claim.

Yes, well you’ve never considered yourself a lot of things. We are working on refining those definitions according to more current information together. While you have made a few discoveries, there is still a lot to discover, or I should really say, remember.

Oh! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

[Michael laughs.] Okay, what are you on about now?

That was another thing I wanted to mention about this process. What you just said triggered or helped me to remember another point of congruency on this topic.

For each of the last two books, I was strongly “moved” in the direction of putting a quote from Dancing the Dream on the back cover. Volume 1 did not have anything on the back cover, but Volume 2 had:

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

And it seems to be, quite coincidentally, of course …

Of course.

[Jan laughs.] … the major theme … or lesson … of nearly all the installments contained within Volume 2, as well as being quoted numerous times within the text.

For Conversations 3, I was drawn to use the following quote on the back cover:

“Do not be afraid
To know who you are
You are much more
Than you ever imagined”

And, once again, the quote seems to summarize the major theme of all the installments contained within.

In addition, the books have arrived on the scene in time to celebrate the 3rd, 5th, and 7th Anniversaries of your Ascension. Now, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a numerology adept; but even I know that these numbers bear significance, particularly the 7. I also know that you had a very intimate relationship with the number 7 during your sojourn on Spaceship Earth.

I repeat: I HAVE NOT BEEN PLANNING THESE CORRELATIONS. As a matter of fact, I have just become aware of them in the aftermath of publishing the third in the series. Are you?

[Michael giggles.] Am I planning them? No, but it is interesting that you noticed this pattern in hindsight. What’s even more interesting is that the pattern spoke to you strongly enough for you to remark upon it. Apparently, these correlations, as you call them, have made enough of an impression upon you that you decided to ask me about it. So, I believe they are significant.

However, the fact that there is a Plan is without question, as we have discussed often. And we are all a part of that Plan.

Do you remember our discussions about “vastness?”

Oh, yes, Beloved. In Installment 40 [Volume 1, Page 380], we talked about how the physical manifestation of the one lonely, little note in our Symphony in the Key of Love (the representation in pen and ink on the page) could not be separated from her invisible, implied permutations (the tone or vibration represented by that note on the page in musical notation), even though that tone could not be heard by just looking at the note without considerable knowledge of music.

Furthermore, in Installment 51 [Volume 1, Page 476], we discussed my visit to Foreverland, during which I was introduced to “your library,” witnessing many of the events in your life and projecting myself, for lack of a better word, into milestone moments in your life by viewing them on a little, handheld screen. In that discussion, you said:

But you have overlooked one of the MAJOR lessons of your experience. I want you to close your eyes and remember the experience of holding that little screen in your hands and placing those ear buds in your ears. You watched my life unfold, didn’t you?

… That’s a very good analogy for what you are doing right now … you are living a human experience … a movie … a play … a fantasy that you have created so that you could experience some aspect or facet of life in more depth and with greater understanding. This life that you are living is a role that you have dreamed up … an illusion that you directed before you arrived here in this particular physical manifestation. The parameters by which you experience this life are changeable; all you need to do is change them.

In truth, you are sitting safely in a comfortable chair in ‘my library’ and you have projected yourself into this life, but not all of you is encased within your physical body. What is not required for your physical experience is here with me comfortably watching your life unfold in perfect safety and projecting yourself into the events and moments of this particular physical manifestation. And as the events unfold, the experiences are absorbed, enhancing and intensifying the colors of your energy field as you apply meaning … or validity … or value … to each of them as they progress.

You are perfectly safe and protected and nothing can harm you. You are invulnerable … invincible. The safety and security you felt in your wakefulness at the beginning of your experience is the truth. The illusion in which you are engaged is just that … an illusion … but, a useful one.

Yes, that’s the part to which I am referring. As human beings, you think of yourselves as small, limited, and insignificant. If you could shift your perception just a little bit, you could perceive yourself as a spiritual being engaged in a human experiment and from that vantage point realize your vastness.

It’s kinda like what you do when you go to a movie theater to watch a film. You shift your perception from and release your grip on your reality, projecting yourself into the action taking place on the screen for a couple of hours. It’s a tiny shift aided by your senses of sight and hearing, and because it doesn’t involve your other senses, it is somewhat imperfect. Sometimes, you cry if the action depicted is sad; sometimes you howl with laughter; sometimes your adrenalin is raised if the action is fearful.

However, in everyday life, that shift in perception appears to be more difficult. When you view a movie at home, you are still linked to your reality because you are still involved in all the everyday tasks and you don’t suspend your belief in reality to the extent you do when you are sitting in a darkened theater entirely surrounded by the movie.

Like the caterpillar for whom sky-viewing is an impossible feat and the butterfly’s flight beyond its wildest imaginings, you don’t commonly consider the metamorphosis that awaits you if you just shift your perception a little bit.

The part of you that is not needed in this particular scene of the movie you are directing with your thoughts and the choices you make in regard to them is still very much YOU, just as YOU are very much it.

That “vastness” that you are unaware of is watching and very much involved in the movie … and may be sending you little nudges occasionally to which you are free to respond or ignore completely, depending on how “tuned in” you are to those promptings. What’s more, you can become much more happily acquainted with it by “tuning into” your spiritual nature on a regular basis.

While you say, “I HAVE NOT BEEN PLANNING THESE CORRELATIONS,” it is your human aspect to which you are referring – the conscious one – the one that sees itself as small, limited, and insignificant.

Would it shock you to consider for a moment that, perhaps, these correlations are being orchestrated from your “vastness” which is sitting in “my library” and projecting a part of itself into the physical manifestation you are currently living? As we discussed in those previous dialogs, the lonely, little note is not separate from the tone she represents. They are ONE whether being played by a master musician or silently sitting on a podium as an ink blot in a giant book called The Symphony in the Key of Love.

Maybe, these correlations, as you call them, are part of the agreement you made prior to embarking on this journey, part of the script you wrote for your physical experiment so that you could remember, tune into, and experience some aspect of your divinity more fully.

Would that make you uncomfortable?

No, not really. It’s just not the way I normally think.

I know, but we are engaged in thinking in new ways, in trying new ways of experiencing who you really are. We are bringing this whole idea of spiritual awareness out of the dark and shining the brilliant light of conscious awareness into it to make it more a part of your everyday life. I am not saying that this is definitely what is happening; I am just mentioning it as a possibility in the field of all possibilities.

I do know what agreements we have made … you and I … all of you and I … together … and the mission that our Symphony in the Key of Love has agreed to accomplish.

I so enjoy these discussions with you, my wise teacher. You always have a fresh and different point of view – usually one that makes me consider things from an entirely new and more expansive angle.

Along the same vein, I have recently read an alternate, more scientific, albeit less poetic explanation of that train that hit me on October 1, 1992 in a book called The Synchronicity Key: The Hidden Intelligence Guiding the Universe and You” by David Wilcock, which I wanted to talk to you about.

While I am finding several sections of this book very interesting, and very much in line with what we have discussed in these Conversations, there are other sections that deviate considerably from our dialogs. Therefore, I am hesitant to recommend it, wholeheartedly. Some of what he writes is pretty “out there.”

[Michael laughs.] More “out there” than having regular discussions with a “dead” man?

Oh, yeah, my Sweet King, this guy’s got me beat from the starting gate in the “out there” department. Compared to Mr. Wilcock, I am conservative. [Jan laughs.] I never thought of myself as conservative.

No, conservative doesn’t quite apply in your case.

Thanks … uh … I think.

Anyway, in one chapter entitled “Mapping Out the Afterlife,” Mr. Wilcock discusses Dr. Michael Newton’s research on past life regression over several decades, as published in his two books, Destiny of Souls and Journey of Souls, both of which I have copies of in my library.

One of the concepts Dr. Newton discusses is the concept of a “memory trigger.” My understanding of the concept is similar to the example earlier in this conversation, in which your words helped me to remember something I wanted to talk to you about.

Dr. Newton concludes from his research that members of “soul groups” and “soul families” often decide to enter the physical realm together in order to work out previously accrued consequences, redeem previous choices that did not contribute to advancement, or to support each other in completing important assignments.

According to Dr. Newton, when this occurs, there are agreements made between the members of the “soul group” or “soul family.” The memory of the agreement is “triggered” by a specific event, circumstance, or situation in each member’s physical life (to which each has agreed before entering the physical realm) that initiates an almost instantaneous, life-altering recognition of purpose for each of the members involved.

The impact of these “triggers” (at least as described by Dr. Newton) is similar in scope to what I experienced on the evening of October 1, 1992 when I viewed your performance of Will You Be There. There was a “before” me … and there was an “after” me. There is a definite dividing point at the moment I viewed that performance.

You mean you were sane before? [Michael chuckles.]

No, Baby, I don’t think I’ve ever been sane … more like a different kind of crazy.

I’m sorry. I shouldn’t tease you. I was teased way too much during the physical side of my life.

Honey, you can tease me anytime you like. I love you … and I know you love me MORE.

Very good! You are gaining confidence! I am loving it! You beat me to it! And I love you MOST!

But, yes, we talked about “soul groups” and “soul families” in an earlier discussion. And, yes, I agree with you that this memory trigger thing could be another way of describing our moment of recognition.

However, there ya go again, trying to explain the unexplainable – something that can only be validated by experiencing it fully and completely. Just relax and let the MAGIC of that moment sweep you into my arms.

Well, I have to say: I like our Symphony in the Key of Love analogy much better. It is such a clear audio, visual and teaching aide. And you state it so beautifully.

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Now, in other news, I am becoming increasingly concerned as I watch from a distance about the upcoming elections to be held in November.

Oh? Why is that?

Well, some of the campaign rhetoric that I am hearing is raising major alarms within me. It reminds me so much of the kind of rhetoric that Hitler used to stabilize his power in Germany in the 1940s. It is MAJORLY disconcerting to hear this type of neo-Nazism being spouted in the United States of America in Presidential campaign speeches!

Several of the candidates are using very divisive platforms in their campaigns. Barack Obama campaigned on a platform that brought all of the different factions in the United States into a sense of community (i.e. “We are one country! We are one people! And our time for change has come!)

In contrast, several of the Presidential candidates are campaigning on platforms of increasing the separation and emphasizing the divisions between us. One of them has even recommended building a wall (which reminds me of the Berlin wall) on the border with Mexico and returning all Mexican immigrants to the other side of it, dehumanizing and alienating them in a similar manner to the way Nazism dehumanized Germany’s Jewish population … and you were dehumanized for a major portion of your life by the media.  The same candidate is doing the same thing with Muslim immigrants.

What concerns me even more is that this particular candidate has a very militant following which turns violent on occasion, necessitating police vigilance. I am becoming very concerned about the future of the United States.

However, I have recently read a blog entry entitled, Why Donald Trump is the Best Thing to Ever Happen to America, by Danielle Egnew [https://calltolight.org] which so caught my attention because it echoed one of our earlier Conversations very unerringly.

I am referring to Installment 75 [Volume 2, Page 376] during which we were discussing the import of the AEG Wrongful Death Suit, in which you said:

You know, this trial is not just about money; it goes much, much further than that. What is this trial really about? Is it just about money … or is it an attempt to discover the truth? Is it about fixing ‘blame’ … or is it about deciding where corporate ‘responsibility’ ends and human ‘responsibility’ begins? When seen from a larger perspective, it’s not about me, at all, even though every newspaper in the world will be calling it the Michael Jackson Wrongful Death trial. I’m just a ‘bit player’ … ‘an extra’ … a ‘walk-on.’ What’s really at stake here?

When seen through a broader lens, this trial goes to the very heart and soul of humanity … the very foundation of our society. It goes to our FOCUS … as individuals and as a collective on this planet. What is our current cultural ‘agreement,’ the one to which we are all subject?

What do you mean?

Well, here, let me give you a ‘for instance.’ Once during an interview with Barbara Walters, she asked me, “Is it a journalist’s job to be kind?” I was stunned speechless at the question. I was always taught … and believe from the bottom of my heart … it’s EVERYONE’S JOB TO BE KIND … from President’s of Fortune 500 corporations to street people and everyone in between. Do you agree with that statement?

Absolutely!

Is that ideal being lived every day in big cities and small towns across this country? Is it that concept with which our nations are governed … our religions are practiced … our children are educated? Is that our society’s normal?

Um, no, Beloved. While those are the precepts still being taught from every pulpit in the country, I’m afraid that outside of the church and Sunday school setting they don’t hold a whole lot of weight. It seems that the ideals and values that we all grew up with have been superseded by expediency.

Exactly! It used to be that certain questions … and behaviors … were not discussed openly in public out of respect for something called ‘common decency’ and the right to an individual’s privacy. In this sense, the word ‘common’ was meant to convey that this was a universally-agreed-upon value and its definition, while not written in law, was still a binding contract (similar to the meaning of the same word when used in the term ‘common law marriage’.) This was the ‘cultural agreement’ by which our society was run and there was no ambiguity about the meaning of the phrase ‘common decency’ because everyone from the President of the local bank to the janitor at the school agreed to its meaning. Is that standard still applied in our advanced society?

No, Michael … a cursory review of your life as well as recent news stories would tend to indicate otherwise.

Right!

You and I must make a pact.
We must bring salvation back.
Where there is love
I’ll Be There 

This is what I was doing here on earth. This was my mission – to remind everyone that we are all one … that what hurts one hurts all … that we are one big family of love.

It’s everyone’s job to be kind.
It’s everyone’s job to be concerned about the poor.
It’s everyone’s job to nurture our children.
It’s everyone’s job to be protective of the planet.
It’s everyone’s job to lift up the downtrodden.
It’s everyone’s job to encourage us all to make our dreams come true.
It’s everyone’s job to heal the world.
We are all in this together. 

The culture in which we currently live is a culture based on “me, me, me” … on greed, selfishness, narcissism, racism, acquisition, power, and in this culture ‘the end justifies the means.’

“If it advances my career, there are no holds barred. If it makes millions of dollars, sells millions of papers, makes millions of headlines … why should it matter if it destroys a person’s life? That’s not my job. It’s not my responsibility. Human life is not my concern. I’m in business to make money. That’s all that matters. Let someone else be goody-goody-two-shoes. I’m gonna get mine while I can!”

Even truth is an expendable commodity in favor of sensationalism and is bought and sold on the auction block with multiple-zero-paychecks. The tabloid industry admitted this in 1994. You watched it back then; you heard their admission; you have it on videotape. Would you put that quote here?

Of course, Mon Ange, I’d be happy to:

“It doesn’t matter if it’s true as long as we can PAY someone enough to SAY it’s true.”

[Frontline Special, PBS, February, 1994, Tabloid Truth: The Michael Jackson Scandal]

Mon Ange? Woohooo! I love it! You’re going cosmo on me! [Michael laughs.]

That’s the one. Thanks. In our current culture, success is measured by the level of our acquisition instead of the truth and pleasure and joy we bring to our work or the good we do in the process.

This is true not only of the publishing industry but of all industry … the entertainment industry, government, education and, even, religion. Just as all the events in my life, this trial, whatever other results arise, will show the lengths to which a corporate entity will go to acquire money, position and power. It will offer each and every person who is paying attention an opportunity to align themselves (or agree) with the concepts upon which this society is currently founded at the expense of truth, justice, kindness, human rights, decency or the welfare of the planet upon which we all depend for our survival … or to choose a kinder, more humane, more respectful of human dignity, more responsible, more productive, more balanced … and, in the long run, more profitable way to live our lives.

The outcome of this trial is really immaterial. Whichever side wins … and whichever side loses … what’s important is the answer to the question, “how do you want to align your focus and intention?”

What kind of world do you want to live in? Do you want to continue to live in a world where a lie results in fifteen minutes of fame, a booking on a national television program and a few dollars? Is it okay to invade a person’s privacy as long as you get the story first? Is it acceptable to chase a car to get a few pictures even if it results in the deaths of the car’s occupants? Is it all right to stand outside a mangled vehicle and snap pictures of a dying woman rather than trying to help her? Can we continue to consume natural resources without reaping the consequences of our shortsightedness? Should we invade another sovereign country to prevent them from striking against us first, even if we have … and can find … no proof that they ever intended to strike us first?

Where is the line drawn between acceptable and unacceptable that we can all agree to?

These are the kinds of questions that will be raised during this trial. Our responses to them will determine the way our world will go for the next several years. This is not just about me and the O2 concerts. It’s much bigger than that. The stakes are much, much higher and far longer-lasting.

This country was founded on the principles that all are created equal … that all have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness … that all have the right to privacy … that all are presumed to be innocent unless and until they are convicted of a crime by a jury of their peers. These are ideals that are instilled in our children in schools across this nation, but the examples they see from the adults around them differ greatly from the principles they are being taught. Children are not stupid and it’s important to realize that they learn much more from our example than by any words we speak.

Am I my brother’s keeper? My answer is “yes” … and I tried, always, to live my life by those values and ideals as much as I was humanly able. I learned that from my mother, the same mother who has filed this lawsuit.

AEG’s answer is “No, we’re not responsible for anyone’s health. We promote concerts. This is business. The aim of all business is profit. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve done our job. If he died, it’s not our fault. It’s his fault.” And they will do everything they can to prove that … lie, cheat, bribe, threaten … because the “end justifies the means.” As long as they walk away with their assets intact, they don’t care about anything else. Is that the world you want to live in? Does the end justify the means?

Those are the questions that will be asked … not out loud by the judge or lawyers … the jurors will not be asked to rule on the question … much more quietly and with more subtlety … in hearts and minds and souls that have been awakened. More importantly, what’s your answer? Think about it.

Yes, I remember.

Well, in her blog entry, Ms. Egnew makes a very similar point. She posits that Mr. Trump is on the election circuit in order to wake us all up (albeit unconsciously) to the fact that our country has, in recent years, not lived up to its promise.

“Trump gives a name, a face, a resume and a strangely-fitting suit to the ugly stepchild of American Consciousness: Bigotry, fear of change — and the hatred that is born from resentfully stewing these ingredients in repressed silence.”

She states that he “exemplifies everything about America that we pretend does not exist” and that he is “the greatest reality check the Universe could have ever sent to the insulated and naive consciousness running within the USA’s borders.”

“He embodies the bully, the fear of everything outside of our back yard, the deep paranoia associated with the reality that being Caucasian is no longer a free pass for any type of behavior, the crippling resentment and jealousy against women for being the life-bringers, the corporation who buys cheap Chinese steel to erect superstructures on USA soil while sending jobs overseas for dimes on the dollar.

“With this blatant ugliness in the spotlight, showcased by tens of thousands of people, encapsulated brilliantly by a show-stopping performance by Donald Trump, we all have the opportunity to decide who we wish to be, as participants in this conscious growth journey.

“Are we the onlookers who say nothing because we fear the wrath of the mob? Do we step away from the consciousness that fans the flames of divisiveness and work together to help place balm on our fears — by discussing them?

Basically, Ms. Egnew is restating your entire premise in Installment #75.

Yes, it’s another opportunity to stand up and be counted, another opportunity to choose a Master, another choice point. Where do you focus your energy? Do you choose fear or love, division or community? Where do you stand? What kind of world do you want to inhabit?

It seems that these opportunities are manifesting at an accelerated rate, which should give major emphasis to the point we have made several times in these dialogs. This time in history represents a major crossroad in consciousness on planet Earth.

The Awakening of an entire planet is an exciting prospect, but it will not be accomplished without some uneasiness. Just keep focusing on opening the world’s leaders, youth, religious clerics, media representatives, and educators with compassion and love with our Change the World daily topics and we will contribute to less disruption and more rapid advancement. We got this!

You are so inspiring, My Love. In the words of Howard Bloom in an interview conducted in 2015 entitled: Howard Bloom Saves the Universe from Michael Jackson Ignorance and posted on his website, you are the “closest thing to a saint” he had ever encountered. And I love you.

Okay, how did you do that?

Hee hee hee … trade secret. I love you MOST!

We have come full circle!

April 22 through 27, 2016

Revised cover

Conversations 3 Available NOW at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/withachildsheart

Michael, my Anam Cara, I think I’m having some kind of epiphany, but I’m not totally sure what kind. Will you help me figure this thing out?

Of course, I will help you. That’s what an Anam Cara is for, isn’t it? You don’t have to go through these things alone.

Another day has gone
I’m still all alone
How could this be
That you’re not here with me
You never said goodbye
Someone tell me why
Did you have to go
And leave my world so cold

Just the other night
I thought I heard you cry
Asking me to come
And hold you in my arms
I can hear your prayers
Your burdens I will bear
But first I need your hand
Then forever can begin

You are not alone
For I am here with you
‘Tho you’re far away
I am here to stay
You are not alone
I am here with you
‘Tho we’re far apart
You’re always in my heart ♫ 

Do you want to tell me about it?

Yes, I really do. Let’s see, how do I start this? Do you remember our earlier discussions about how you were always two different Michaels? There was the shy, childlike, soft-spoken Michael and there was the … how did you put it? Let me go and get it: [Reference: Volume 1, Installment 11]

I can’t ever remember not feeling that way. At least two … sometimes more … depending on the circumstances I was facing. Most of you know that there were really always two Michael Jacksons. There was the shy, easily embarrassed, childlike Michael Jackson who would have been happy to play with the children and give them every cent he had to heal their hurts and sadness … who could have been content reading in a comfortable chair for days if the subject was engaging … who enjoyed nothing more than sending paper airplanes and hotel linen sailing out of windows with love notes written on them. Then, there was the dancing, singing, powerhouse Michael Jackson who was happiest performing in front of a hundred thousand people at the ‘are you nuts’ level … who was a workaholic and totally devoted to 100% perfect execution … who oozed physical confidence and was nothing if not attitude … and whose energy was way bigger than his body could contain. Which one was real?

Both! They were both real! Neither one was staged or calculated or contrived. They were complete opposites, but they were both genuine and they lived in the same body all the time. So, I know exactly what you mean. “And the pain is thunder.” [Michael sings this.] There were times when I thought that I would be torn apart by the duality that lived within me. I was contradiction personified … yin and yang … male and female … white and black … passive and aggressive … hot and cold … day and night. There were lots of times when there wasn’t room for all of that within my frame.

I was quiet and passive and a little baffled by all the pandemonium surrounding me until I hit the wings of the stage and the band started tuning up. Then … and, somehow it never failed … something hit me and just took over completely. I remember so well … because I loved the feeling so much. You described my impact on you when we first met … or should I say our souls first touched … as being hit by a train. That’s what it was like … like being hit by a train. The vibration would rise from my calves to my thighs … like an earthquake trembling along a fault line … through the center of my body. It tingled up my spine and neck and out my arms and legs … like little, tiny, microscopic men in spiked helmets and boots jumping up and down in my veins [Michael giggles.] … and I just couldn’t hold still. It was like being filled with white lightning … bolt after bolt … wave after wave. It was awesome! I loved it so much.

I was drunk with the power of it. There is no drug on earth that could compare to the high I got from just peaking around the curtains and listening to the band getting ready … and all those people calling out to me … Michael … Michael … and holding hands high in the air and swaying with the recorded music floating on the air … and doing the wave in the stands. It was so moving … emotionally and physically energizing … like I was pulsing with all of your heartbeats … and I felt so much love radiating from you all. My life was so rich because of all of you. And I have to thank you all again … without you I couldn’t have been me! I had to physically hold myself back for the right moment … lock my excitement in like a boiling teapot that sits on a stove whistling louder and louder as the steam fills the water compartment with each moment that passed as I watched and revved up for the performance. I would look out and … just trust … knowing that whatever was using me to communicate to all those people waiting for me was good … and right … and true … and loving. I would whisper, “Thank you for touching each and every one of them with your love,” just before I exploded out of the toaster … or kicked open the door of the landing module.

Then … and really for the next two hours … I just got ‘me’ … the quiet, passive, shy, childlike Michael Jackson …  out of the way and let that force that was using me … the assured, physically confident, attitude-filled Michael Jackson … combust in me … and through me and out of me … and into all of you! It was such an emotionally-moving experience that I often couldn’t control my emotions. I couldn’t have stopped it any more than I could stop the earth orbiting the sun … or the sun from breaking through the clouds after a rainfall at Neverland.

Now, I know it was Music  (as in the Female aspect of God) taking over … putting Herself in the driver’s seat … and using my body to broadcast Her message of love and unity and healing through Her own expression of Herself … through me. So many nights, I would return to my hotel room physically exhausted and emotionally drained … but wired and vibrating … and hypersensitive to your emotions as you stood chanting outside my hotels with the force of the transmission, for lack of a better word … and try to unwind … and all the while the thought was running through my head over and over … “What just happened here? What just happened here?”  It was like I was channeling the music … and awakened after it was over totally unaware of what had just occurred.

That’s one of the reasons I started documenting the concerts with videotape … so that I could understand what I had been part of … a catalyst for … because I honestly didn’t remember. And on my off nights, I would rewind the tapes and watch and try to reconcile the person who was striding with so much assurance across the stage … with so much physical confidence and attitude … with the person I knew myself to be … and laugh a little … because I wondered how many of those people would have been screaming and running after the Michael Jackson I knew myself to be, if that makes any sense at all.

When I was younger, I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I just knew it felt incredible to be there with my brothers. I tried to talk to them about what I was feeling, but they didn’t understand. They didn’t experience that ‘possession’ by the music in the same way I did. It wasn’t that they didn’t love performing, but it was a different experience for them … and for almost every other performer that I ever talked to … than it was for me.

I always knew there were two of me … and that thought contributed to my feelings of being alienated from what I used to call “ordinary” people … and my insecurity about being loved for myself and not just as Michael Jackson, the superstar. I wondered how many of you would have still loved me if you saw how ordinary I really was … and how simply I really lived away from the spotlight. The two ‘Michael Jacksons’ were so completely opposite.

Yes, I remember. I think children are more open to the world of spirit. And I was so young when we started out. As I got older, I never lost that openness and it seemed, at times, like an entire world of opposites was unified in me.

Yes, I believe that is true. In living your life, you showed us that it doesn’t matter if “you’re black or white,” that what we perceive of as opposites do not have to be in conflict. In these Conversations, you have shown us that we don’t have to choose either/or when both/and will do just as well.

I was thinking about what I have been experiencing in the past few days since nearing the completion of a major project and comparing my perceptions with those you described in this passage of Installment 11.  I think they correlate. I mean, I think I’m experiencing just the tiniest fraction of something similar in my own life. Believe me, I do know the intensity of it was magnified in your case by a factor of about a million to one, but I am feeling a little tiny bit of that feeling myself in relation to some of my activities and readings.

Really? That wouldn’t surprise me. Do you want to talk about it?

Yes, please!

Well, from the very beginning in 2010, these Conversations with you have been a major highlight in my life. When involved in co-composing them, I feel led, guided, moved along by an energy or force that does not originate totally within me. I compare this to your description of standing at the side of the stage and feeling that “energy” taking you over and dancing you into exhaustion that you described so movingly in the passage above.

Then, when each one is finished and posted at With a Child’s Heart, there is a period of adjustment, a feeling of “let down,” a sense of “Okay, that’s done, what am I going to do with myself now?” I compare this feeling with you returning to your hotel room and asking, “What just happened here?”

I’ve described it as a crash (when I’ve spoken about it to anyone, at all) … kind of like an airplane that is carried along by air currents during flight and comes in for a choppy landing or a surfer riding the tide and, then, hitting the beach and ending up ass over appetite in the sand.

[Michael chuckles.]

I have been experiencing this “crash” as a result of completing each one of these Conversations (which is going on 6 years now) in varying degrees and intensities. One of them, occasionally, will really kick my butt, while others just result in a hollowed out feeling in the pit of my stomach for a couple of days or a feeling of fatigue, of being drained. But I also experience this “crash” when I have completed an art project, or any of the activities with which I am currently engaged.

Did you ever feel that?

Yes, of course! [Michael laughs.] All the time. It’s kinda like a return to normal, waking consciousness after riding the wave of inspiration for a while. I experienced that after every project I undertook, after every performance and tour and film.

All artists experience this feeling of “let down.”

But, I keep forgetting! You don’t consider yourself an artist, right?

Yes, that is correct. I have trouble with the concept. I’ve never thought of myself as an artist.

Then, you need to think a different thought. Let’s try something new.

I think I know what the problem is; it’s in your definition of the word art. You define art as an accomplishment rather than as a process. As a result, you define an artist by a natural “gift” he or she has been given to achieve that accomplishment. Not only that, you think you were out to lunch when God was giving out natural gifts. So, art to you is a product … a Michelangelo or a Monet or a DaVinci.

And you … don’t forget you.

Okay … and me.

One of the major problems with this definition of art is that you end up comparing your product with Michelangelo’s or Monet’s or DaVinci’s or any of the other artists out there and, in your assessment, your product just doesn’t measure up. So, you judge it as “inadequate” or “not really art” because you’re just “playing around.”You aren’t “playing around.” You are learning how to express something in another language.

The thing is: Art is not just the product of the imagination of the artist, the result of the artist’s process. That is what he or she produces as a consequence of the process.

Art is the journey, not the destination. Art is the process of allowing yourself to be open to an initial inspiration. And I want you to read that word as in-spirit-tation because that’s what’s happening. It’s the state of being inhabited by spirit.

The thing about spirit is: It’s one and only desire is to create! It wants to give of itself, to express itself in creation because it is Pure, Unadulterated Love. This is its Prime Directive, its urgent need. And you have experienced that urgency for a while, now.

So, art is experiencing that inspiration; becoming curious about how it might be developed; getting out of the way to allow inspiration to express or manifest itself through you; hours of practice, learning and experimenting to convey inspiration in your chosen medium in the best and clearest way possible;, and, of course, pouring all your love and devotion and all of  spirit’s love and devotion through the medium you have chosen which, then, results in the product.

It’s not just the last part; it’s the entire process.

Here, this might help. Do you remember when we spoke about the BAD concert tour?

Yes, I remember.

Will you put the part about all of us joining together in the spirit of love here?

But you have to understand … it wasn’t just me that got seduced … it wasn’t exclusive to one person. What fun would that be? It was a shared experience and all of us contributed to it. We all got taken over … all the dancers and back-up singers and band members … all the road crew and technical people … all the members of the audience in the stadiums and all the people watching at home on their television sets. That’s what the months and months of rehearsals were all about … encouraging each and every one to give their very best to this shared sacrament of union. And when the band and singers and crew and technical people and I were all bonded in our love of the music and the audience and as close to perfection as we could possibly be, we connected in that spirit and it moved through everyone in the countless stadiums we played. [Reference: Volume 1, Installment 46.]

That’s what I’m talking about. In this example, it was months and months of preparation to get everyone on the same page. It was endless hours of rehearsals to perfect the synchronization of hundreds of people, really … not just me. You have to love what you’re doing to devote yourself to it to the exclusion of all else month after month, day after day, hour after hour.

An artist is not defined just by the natural gifts displayed in his product. Those natural gifts do help him or her; but natural gifts, if unused, don’t really constitute art. As you said in an earlier dialog, “It’s what one does with those gifts” that counts. They are only fully realized with practice; they develop with experimentation, and they ripen through a willingness to be vulnerable, to make mistakes, and to experiment to find the best expression of which the artist is capable.

I was given the gift of music, that is true; but I practiced it, used it, rehearsed it and the gift evolved, becoming much more than when it started out.

It’s like that story in the Bible of the Master who gave three of his servants some of his money. The first invested it and doubled the return. The second invested it in a less profitable venture; but still received a return on his investment. The third buried it in the ground in fear that he would lose it and returned to the master only what he had been given. The master was pleased with the two who had used the gift he had given them, but was unhappy with the third because he had not made use of the gift he had been given through fear.

Do you remember the fortune cookie you got in that Chinese restaurant? It was one of your introductions to this Love Dimension we inhabit.

Oh my gosh, yes! That was an electrifying occurrence. It read, “Do not let doubt and suspicion bar your progress,” when I was letting doubt and suspicion bar my progress. I was arguing myself out of writing my first book. That seems like a long time ago, now … 1992? … 1993?

There ya go! An artist is defined by her willingness to surrender to the inspiration, to be curious and to see what works for her and what doesn’t, to release control and allow spirit to express in, through, and AS her.

What was that quote from Pablo Picasso you cited a couple of Conversations ago?

Oh, I remember: “Creativity is the freedom to allow yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

Yes, exactly! It’s allowing yourself to be inhabited by spirit, to be imperfect, to experiment, to evolve. Michelangelo practiced his art; it matured over time. He allowed the inspiration to inform his art until he arrived at the end product. It doesn’t happen overnight. The same is true of any artist.

We can’t all be Michelangelos or Monets; but we CAN all let spirit express through us in our own unique ways.

Writing is art when inhabited by spirit. Music is art when inhabited by spirit. Dancing is art when inhabited by spirit. Poetry, woodworking, auto mechanics, sculpture, office work, sales, cooking, cleaning, being the CEO of a corporation, or cleaning toilets in public restrooms … shoot … working at McDonald’s is art when inspired by the spirit of being of service.

A health care service provider who greets her hospice patient with compassion and in a spirit of being of service to him is living artfully. Living is art when it is inspired by a spirit of love and being of service.

Now, let me ask you a question. What drives you to spend hours and hours participating in these Conversations with me? Are you in it for fame or financial gain or personal power? Or is your mission to serve my mission, to allow my voice to be heard, and to bless those who read them?

My only desire is to serve your mission, to allow your voice to be heard thereby continuing the blessings you bestowed upon the world during your physical manifestation, my Dear One. You know that.

Yes, I do know that. By that definition, are you an artist?

Yes, my Anam Cara. By that definition, I am an artist.

There ya go!

It is that willingness to surrender to inspiration that has defined these Conversations from the very beginning. Your eagerness to allow inspiration to flow through you has informed your learning to draw and paint, these Conversations, your experimentation with poetry, and all your activities since your retirement and even before you retired. Therefore, you are an artist; but let’s get back to our original topic.

The energy of inspiration moves you along, fairly urgently sometimes, and when it stops … well … it stops! It’s like a sailboat on the ocean on a very windy day. It speeds along until, suddenly, the wind stops. The sails no longer billow with the wind; the ship is becalmed; there is no forward momentum.

When you step into the flow of that energy, you surrender to it and the momentum of it carries you forward with no effort on your part. In fact, you find that effort on your part diminishes it. We’ve discussed this a lot in recent dialogs.

Sometimes, it comes to a gentle halt like when you are downshifting as you approach a stop sign or drifting to a stop when approaching the dock in a boat; but sometimes when that energy stops, it’s like being thrown through the windshield of the car (figuratively, anyway.) [Michael laughs.]

As I’ve said before, there is no high like that in the world. No earthly drug known to man can even come close to the feeling of euphoria that surrendering to an inspiration produces. It’s natural intoxication and before you know it, you are over the limit. When it ends, there is a period of withdrawal … of disorientation, of wanting it back … so crash is a good word to use.

Do you have any idea how blessed you are to be able to nurture yourself through those lulls? You can take a break; give your body the rest it requires. Because being tuned into that energy 24/7 is hard on you. It would burn your body out! Aaaaoooowww!

2000 watts
8 ohms
200 volts
Real strong
Too much of that
Fuse blown
Be careful what you say
Don’t overload ♫

A wave comes into the shore and deposits silt and seaweed on the sand. Then, it retreats to build up strength and purpose before rushing toward the shore again. In the silt and seaweed it deposits on the sand, it nourishes the earth.

Your body breathes in, inflating your diaphragm and lungs with oxygen and circulating that nourishment to all the cells in your body. Then it exhales, emptying the carbon dioxide it has picked up from your cells into the atmosphere before inhaling again. The carbon dioxide nourishes the atmosphere into which it is exhaled.

Mountains push up from valley floors, but the valley floor is just as important as the mountain peak.

Those valleys you experience are required pauses to allow yourself to rest and reflect. I was unable to turn it off because of all my physical limitations which we have discussed in detail before. So, be compassionate with yourself and be grateful for those “periods of adjustment.” They are a blessing.

Yes, I’m beginning to understand that. My recent readings have described this period of adjustment I have been experiencing as a prominent feature of walking the “Spiritual Path.” In your friend, Deepak Chopra’s book, The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore, it is called the “Aftermath,” which occurs after an experience of spiritual awakening. I mean I don’t want to equate my experiences in art with the path to enlightenment, but …

Why not? They are related. As I told Oprah:

I’m committed to my art.

I believe that all art has as its ultimate goal
the union of the material and the spiritual,
the human and the divine,
I believe that to be the reason
for the very existence of art.

What is the goal of the walking the “Spiritual Path?”

Union with God?

Seems like the same as the goal of art, doesn’t it? [Michael laughs.] At least they are kissing cousins of the same creative intent. Actually, to get really serious, that’s the goal of all life, isn’t it?

Yes, indeed it is.

Last Thursday, the 21st, I completed a fairly large project and Friday, the 22nd, was a full moon. From Thursday through the first of this week, there was a definite feeling of euphoria, which I believe was heightened by absolutely glorious weather and a full moon that was just breathtaking. However, today I have begun the downward slide of “Aftermath.”

And the lull has you worried. I understand. Don’t let doubt or the fear that inspiration won’t return to carry you along in its wake enter your consciousness. If that thought enters your mind, let it go. Let it float past the window of your awareness like a balloon filled with helium or a cloud floating aimlessly in a blue sky.

The thing to remember is this: the wave always returns to kiss the sand; the wind always returns to billow the sails; the breath always returns to nourish your body (until it doesn’t, of course); and the valley floor always gives rise to the mountain peak.

The trick is to remember to ride ALL of the wave, the fullness and the curls gracefully, confident that the crest will return in the never ending cycle of life and grateful for the rests in between to replenish your soul. Then, you will be ready to ride the wave again.

 

March 23 through March 29, 2016

Beloved,

An event has occurred here in the physical realm that I am afraid will, perhaps, rock your world quite seriously, so I am a little reluctant to tell you about it.

[Michael laughs.] Have you forgotten? My world cannot be rocked seriously or otherwise, so don’t be afraid. Nothing can shake the foundations of my reality because I live, now, in ultimate reality. No storm can mask my sense of identity and no tide can turn me from my purpose of healing the world. I know who I am and I know who you are and I know our mission. Nothing can shake my faith and trust in you or in the love dimension we share. Nothing can alter my knowledge that everything that happens happens for a reason and my faith that it all occurs for the greatest and highest good of all.

Immortality’s my game
From Bliss I came
In Bliss I am sustained
To Bliss I return
If you don’t know it now
It’s a shame
Are you listening?

Pure unbounded consciousness
Truth, existence, Bliss am I
In infinite expressions I come and go
Playing hide and seek
In the twinkling of an eye
But immortality’s my game

Join me in my dance
Please join me now
If you forget yourself
You’ll never know how
This game is played
In the ocean bed of Eternity

So, go ahead and tell me. Do I need to sit down?

It might not be a bad idea, my love.

Okay … I’m sitting down … metaphysically speaking. Get it? Metaphysically? [Gales of laughter!]

Oh, you are very funny, Baby! Okay, but please don’t shoot the messenger. The executors of your Estate have announced that they have reached a “memorandum of understanding” with Sony Music to sell your holdings in the ATV/Sony Music Catalog to Sony for a reported $750 million.

[Michael’s laugh crescendos and escalates.] And THIS is gonna rock my world?

Well, it has rocked many of ours! This was not a welcome announcement; nor was it particularly well-received by many of your children. I must admit, though, you are taking it much better than I had anticipated you would.

[Michael’s chuckles subside.] Are you saying that your are surprised?

Me, personally?

Yes, you personally. Do you see anyone else around?

No, I can’t say I was particularly surprised by the announcement; but I was not happy about it. It feels like you are being systematically stripped of all your acquisitions and that the executors of your Estate are doing very little to stop it. Many others, though, felt much betrayed and militantly against it. Are you not surprised?

That’s what happens when you transition. All the wealth and possessions, the trappings of your imagined power and accolades you have amassed are stripped away. You come into this world naked and you leave the same way. All you take with you is the love you shared and by that measure, I am richer than Croesus.

Success, fame and fortune, they’re all illusions
All there is that is real is the friendship two can share.”

We are proving that line from The Wiz every day. Now, let me ask you a question.

Okay … shoot!

How can one be surprised when the inevitable happens? It was written on the wall in plain sight for anyone to read. How could anyone not see it? I AM surprised that it took this long (in your way of measuring time, at least.) I, personally, spoke about it often. I referred to a “complete conspiracy” in interviews and speeches on a couple of occasions. Didn’t you believe me?

Let me say it again here so there can be no misunderstanding. Read my lips.

There was a major conspiracy at the highest levels for many years, since my acquisition of that catalog, in fact.  I talked about it often during the physical side of my life. That was not paranoia as the media claimed, chalking it up to my escalating “eccentricities,” “my mental instability,” or my overall “weirdness.” It was also not delusions of grandeur or an over-inflated sense of my own importance.

It’s one of the major reasons that I am no longer walking among you in the physical sense!

However, rest assured, I remain among you … and am accessible to those among you who are accustomed to hearing my voice and sensing evidence of my continued presence … and I will remain with you always in our love dimension. That is carved in granite and will never change. You can all take that to the bank. It is a blank check you can cash at the drop of a thought.

Thank God and you, Beloved.

Let’s look at this issue realistically for a moment.

Most of us (in the USA, at least) like to believe that we are living in a democracy; but we aren’t. The Founding Fathers of our great country would be rolling in their graves if they saw what has been made of their high-sounding ideals. They were idealists (translate naïve and innocent.) They believed that the world could be changed and they gave their lives and their fortunes for the evolution of the human spirit. They bucked the system which spawned them very successfully, at least for a while. However, they would be appalled to see how their devotion to that ideal has been corrupted.

We have exchanged the “divine right of kings” for the “divine right of the almighty dollar” and we have taken much of the rest of the world with us, unfortunately. Money is energy just like anything else, but when our total preoccupation is with acquiring money, it is ruling us instead of us ruling it.

What we are living in currently is a corporatocracy. Corporations in the United States have been granted the same rights as human beings … by law!! Contrast that with the South American nation of Bolivia, which has granted legal standing to Mother Earth … by law! Now, that’s a movement I can get behind.

As a matter of fact, corporations are generally given more rights than human beings. Just look at my life. I was given none of the rights constitutionally guaranteed to all citizens … like the right to privacy or the right to presumption of innocence … while the publishing corporation’s right to freedom of the press was sacrosanct and protected in a court of law, even though everything it was printing was proven to be lies. Its representative was allowed to hide behind its “shield law” when questioned under cross examination.

Consumerism rules our airwaves, our news broadcasts, and our so-called democratic elections. The manipulation of information is big business, raking in billions of dollars every year. A closer examination of my physical life provides all the proof you need of that. Profit is king. End of story.

We talked briefly about this issue when we were discussing the AEG Trial and we will probably talk about it again as the Presidential elections draw nearer.

We … you and I and all those who continue to hear my voice and who are beginning to live my messages in a world that little understands compassion … are in the process of changing that, but it is neither easy nor comfortable. It is an uphill battle. We must begin to realize that WE ARE ALL ONE and when one of us is harmed, all of us are diminished. This realization is not won only by addressing external problems and fighting against them, but by approaching those problems from a state of pure consciousness with love and compassion. That state is only achieved by facing our own inner fears, restrictions and limitations and transcending them. This battle is not waged in battlefields with weapons of destruction … but in mind fields with instruments of construction because as Einstein said a problem cannot be solved from the same mindset that caused it. You are my Spiritual Warriors, and I love you all … but more about that a little later.

The “corporatocracy,” which currently holds all the chickens in its basket (particularly in the United States) controls the sister music and publishing industry conglomerates between them on a global scale. It became increasingly uncomfortable that so much power and potential residual earnings rested in one man’s hands, especially one “black man’s” hands (and there’s that racial component, which must be taken into effect because no matter how many articles were published claiming I didn’t look like a black man anymore, no one ever lost sight of the fact that I am an African-American and proud of it.) To add insult to injury, that one “black man’s” hands belonged to someone who was heaven-bent on giving everything he had to improve the world and “make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race.” That’s flying in the face of their bottom line.

They like the world just the way it is, thank you very much, because they are in charge of telling the rest of us what we will consume … in food … in fashion … in physical beauty … in health care … in beliefs … in information processing … in news broadcasts and publications … in our acceptable self-concepts … in what we accept in our politicians and journalists … in just about everything … and we pay them BIG  money for the privilege.

They have been telling us who we are and what we are capable of … what is possible and what is not possible for human beings to achieve … for a very long time and most of us have believed them and bought into their worldview to one degree or another … until we don’t. It is their stories about ourselves that most of us grow up believing, at least until we decide to take charge and discover that we are much more than they have told us we are capable of being. In many cases, we have handed our right to determine our own destiny over to them.

They, in turn, feed us a steady diet of junk food … of fear and division, limitations and lack, violence and sexual stimulation, sensation and innuendo to control our free-thinking minds and keep us too mired in negativity to realize that it doesn’t have to be this way. And God help anyone who dares to buck the system.

Everywhere I turn
No matter where I look
The system’s in control
It’s all run by the book
I got to get away
So I can free my mind
Escape is what I need

John Branca, himself, said in the BAD 25 Documentary by Spike Lee that there was almost a feeling in many circles that you didn’t have the right to have such foresight, business savvy, and in-your-face chutzpah as to acquire that catalog.

Yes! Exactly. There was and still is.

That one acquisition put me on a par … on the same level … as that occupied by the power brokers and corporatocrats. It gave me a seat in their enclaves, increased my veto power, and allowed me a degree of control that just didn’t sit well with the powers that be in the entertainment and music publishing fields. That kind of control only belongs in corporate hands (according to them) and preferably corporate hands that can be manipulated, bribed, or browbeaten into going along with the corporatocracy’s agendas.

A renegade entertainer noted for his “childish innocence” and “naïve” notion that the world can be changed … or that it should be … just does not have the acceptable credentials required to count himself as one of them … in their exalted sphere of influence … or into that big a share of the pie … especially one who is likely to give it all away to save some starving, famine-stricken, African backwater that doesn’t count anyway or heal some anonymous sick child in a former Eastern Bloc warzone that they have never known and don’t care about.

This was a man who had, on more than one occasion, actually interrupted their legal wrangling because a child had entered the room! He had objected to them ignoring the child’s presence among them … talking over him and around him … because their discussion was so all-consumingly important. “I mean, exactly who does he think he is to challenge us like that? Over a kid? Time is money. Our time is BIG money. And who IS this kid, anyway?”

It’s okay for a black man to dance and sing and perform on their cue like a puppet. THAT they understand and expect. They could get on board with that as long as they remained in charge of his earning potential by controlling promotion and distribution of his product. After all, black men have been known for their musical abilities and athletic prowess for a long time. They could exploit that. Just look at the history of the music business. From “black minstrelsy” to Elvis and The Beatles, it is a history of black innovative expression being appropriated by white artists and backed by pervasive marketing campaigns. “But he doesn’t belong here … with us!”

The fact that this particular black man had saved their corporate … uh, how did you put it … aspidistras … on a couple of occasions in the past couple of decades didn’t really enter the equation.

However, to actually hold a controlling stake in their decision-making process … to be represented in their board rooms and conferences when they were making decisions with global repercussions … that affect the world … and the way the world sees itself … and the way the world reacts to threatening situations, at least, as reported in their publications?  

NO! NO! NO!

Suddenly, I was DANGEROUS and they could not allow that! I could not be allowed to affect their bottom line! I could not be allowed to be that big a stakeholder … that much a voice of sanity … in the way they conducted their business practices and protected their corporate interests on a global scale. I couldn’t be trusted. I was far too independent, far too liberal-minded, far too innocent … far too “eccentric” … far too stubbornly committed to a better future for all of humanity (not just addicted to personal power and the all-important perks that attend it). That made me far too dangerous for them to rest easy at night tucked snuggly in the surety of their supremacy.

They never forgave me for having the bald-face audacity to step out of line by acquiring that catalog. I was getting way above my “station” and had to be “kept in my place.” No single individual, especially one who did not parrot their “party line” by rote, could be allowed to hold that kind of stranglehold on their bottom line. One who advocated for the poor and the helpless, for the voiceless and marginalized? I don’t think so!

That’s what started all the media attacks on my mental and physical potency that eventually escalated to putting me on trial for crimes against children. I was becoming too powerful.

It was fear … fear that I would become too much a force for good … fear that I would wrest control from their corporate board rooms and topple their monopoly on the minds and hearts of the public. Fear that I would continue to “waste my time” … and what they saw as their money … on alleviating conditions in war-torn countries and terrorist attack relief instead of towing their line of profit, profit, profit at all costs. Every cent I gave away was another cent not being piled up in their already bulging coffers. They could not allow that.

It started out with “warning volleys” … shots across my bow … to turn me from my resolve and teach me a lesson in the hopes that I would “see reason” and bend my knee to their worldview, at least in public. “See? We are the ones with the power. You just do as you are told. You can’t buck the system on the world stage and get away with it.”  

Things like alleged “homosexuality” and taking “female hormones” to stretch my range and sleeping in hyperbaric chambers and wanting the Elephant Man’s bones, irrelevant things that were meant to get me to change my course. Worse than all those put together … I wanted to be white, as if the whole world didn’t know that I was an African-American! But the public bought it by the bucketful. As a matter of fact, they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the latest gossip about things that were just “weird” enough for the general public to question my sanity. When that didn’t work in curbing my streak of “adolescent rebelliousness” they had to up the ante.

Around Dangerous, they were getting worried because I was not bowing to their pressure to cease and desist in my resolution to heal the world and my grip was not loosening on that catalog, despite many efforts to convince me to sell up. So, they had to get serious.

In 1993, circumstances played right into their hands. I was accused of crimes against a child for the first time and the coporatocracy went into overdrive to convict me in the court of public opinion (and raked in boatloads of cash in the bargain … win/win) for the first time. The entire thing was an obvious extortion attempt. They had the tapes in their hands to prove it, but they played that down as much as possible (in some cases, ignored it completely, although they knew it perfectly well.) And would you please put that quote from the TV special you watched here?

“It doesn’t matter if it’s true as long as we can PAY someone enough to SAY it’s true.”[Frontline Special, PBS, February, 1994, Tabloid Truth: The Michael Jackson Scandal]

There ya go! This was their opportunity to crush me. In addition, it was too big a cash cow.  To take advantage of the lightning strike, the media frenzy was all about my “weirdness” … my “eccentric” way of life, which now could be stretched and warped to include criminal trespass against a child!

I was broken, but I held firm. Right around HIStory, I agreed to a half-and-half shared partnership, which gave me a little breathing space. But even that was not enough.

In 2003, circumstances played right into their hands again. Lightning struck twice and they took full advantage of what they saw as their “luck.” I was accused of crimes against a child for the second time and the publishing industry went into overdrive to convict me in the court of public opinion, (and raked in boatloads of cash in the bargain … double win/win), for the second time.

Better yet (for them, at least), this time there was a trial that they could milk on a daily basis for every penny it was worth by steering their coverage towards the prosecution, character assassination and speculative rhetoric. Entire programs were geared toward informing the viewing audience about what my life would be like in prison when I was convicted, which was the only outcome given any airtime!

Under the restrictions of a “gag order,” I was not allowed to speak, but the publishing industry’s right to freedom of speech was protected and Jay Leno’s right to make me the nightly butt of his questionable humor was allowed … by law. The judge allowed that! The trial extended into five months of pure hell for me but a “gravy train” for them, during which they did everything they could to demean, degrade, and humiliate me. “Surely, he won’t be able to recover from that,” they thought gleefully, rubbing their hands together in anticipation of nightly reports from the jail cell next door. “And he won’t be able to take an active role in the administration of the catalog from a jail cell!”

They hadn’t taken into account the fact that I was innocent. To be quite frank, they knew that and didn’t really care. A little thing like the TRUTH can’t be allowed to affect their bottom line. They hadn’t taken into account that the jury would exonerate me. How could it? They had stacked the deck in their favor. Nor had they reckoned on my pure stubbornness. When they finally picked their collective jaws up off the floor as the fourteen verdicts of “not guilty” were read, they went on with business as usual. While I healed outside of their manipulative grasp in countries that owed less allegiance to their influence, my grip on my share of the catalog tightened.

My reputation and my career were in shambles. My most recent album had been sabotaged at the highest levels because I refused to tow the line, give up my share of the catalog, and stop “wasting my time” in trying to heal the world … “they say I’m wasting my time … NO!” My physical health was irretrievably compromised.

Is that what you’re saying in the ad libs on “What More Can I Give?”

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That’s what I’m saying. Sony had stopped supporting my efforts to be a healing presence in the world. “Let’s just buckle down and make oceans of money! That’s what it’s about. We don’t care that people are dying and their families are left destitute. Why should that concern us? This is business. Let the priests handle that; it’s their job. We are in this for profits. If you give it all away, that diminishes the return on our considerable investment.”

There was absolutely no compassion or humanity in the upper echelons of Sony at that time, even though the attacks on the World Trade Center were just blocks away from their corporate headquarters. How I longed for Walter to retire from his retirement! His replacement had vetoed my proposal to release the song after 9/11  with all of the profits going for the relief of the families involved in the attacks, refused to release the song in the United States at all because I held firmly to that intention, and stopped the marketing campaign promoting the Invincible album to strangle the cash flow and get me to buckle under and give up my share in the catalog. But I held firm both in my resolve to heal the world and my share of the catalog.

When I agreed to the O2 shows … well, we have discussed that in the lead up to the AEG Trial, so we don’t have to go over all that again. [Author’s reference: Installment #75 – May 1 through May 15, 2013] Suffice to say that their reluctance to continue to do business with me as a partner in the ownership of that catalog had reached a fever pitch and we all know what happened.

Now, please understand … I am not saying that they conspired with Conrad Murray in my death. That, as we have seen, they left to sheer incompetence and questionable medical practices, which they could blame on me. After all, I requested him and they hired him. It wasn’t their fault. Nor am I claiming they conspired to bring about the allegations that plagued my life. They didn’t have to. They left that to a vindictive States Attorney, who was well-known as a bigot and white supremacist by his subordinates and who wanted that “white n-word” out of his county and was willing to commit a decade (and millions of taxpayer’s dollars) to making that happen.

Sorry, Baby, but I still cannot type that word.

It’s okay. I respect your principles. [Jan gets a visual of Michael joining his hands in Namaste and bowing.]

He was waiting in the wings for his chance … and he took it. They didn’t have to get their hands dirty that way. But they were eager to take advantage of lightning striking three times in the same place to make a grab for the catalog.

What does surprise me is that Branca held them off for this long. But its transfer was a foregone conclusion from June 25, 2009 on. It was an inevitability that could not be avoided.

However, that being said, I think they have undervalued the catalog by leaps and bounds and I am surprised that Branca agreed to that price. It is half, perhaps a third of what I would have expected him to hold out for considering the potential earning power over time. The estimated value of that catalog was between $2 and $3 billion in 2008. At the price quoted, Sony is getting quite a bargain. Even that is not entirely unexpected, though. Branca never saw his representation of my share and Sony’s share as a conflict of interest. I did.

In hindsight, it all becomes very clear, doesn’t it?

Indeed it does, my dear one, indeed it does.

Once again, we see how a blessing carries with it its own curse. The acquisition of that catalog was a major coup at the time, but it also carried the seeds of my destruction within it. Given the current world (collective) consciousness, which represents the nourishment of water and sunlight, those seeds have resulted in the tree of my transition.

Now, can we return to a point I made earlier in this discussion?

Of course, Michael.

This dialog may make a lot of you feel hopeless and helpless against the enormous power of the forces arrayed against the evolution of the human spirit. Please know this:

YOU ARE NOT HELPLESS!

YOU ARE MY HOPE AS YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN

YOU ARE MY MESSENGERS TO HEAL THE WORLD

AND I LOVE YOU MORE!

Would you please copy the paragraph about Spiritual Warriors from earlier in this discussion here?

Is this the one, Beloved?

We … you and I and all those who continue to hear my voice and who are beginning to live my messages in a world that little understands compassion … are in the process of changing that, but it is neither easy nor comfortable. It is an uphill battle. We must begin to realize that WE ARE ALL ONE and when one of us is harmed, all of us are diminished. This realization is not won only by addressing external problems and fighting against them, but by approaching those problems from a state of pure consciousness with love and compassion. That state is only achieved by facing our own inner fears, restrictions and limitations and transcending them. This battle is not waged in battlefields with weapons of destruction … but in mind fields with instruments of construction because as Einstein said a problem cannot be solved from the same mindset that caused it. You are my Spiritual Warriors, and I love you all … but more about that a little later.

Yes … that’s it. Thank you.

As we have spoken about so often before, we are engaged in an experiment in “consciousness raising.” And our world is over-ripe for this long overdue change.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has …” Margaret Mead said that and she was right.

Jesus and his twelve disciples were a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens of their world. By their very presence, they changed it. He was and is a Spiritual Warrior. He wasn’t just about atoning to a fear-based, vengeful God for the sins of the world or the miracles he enacted or the painful, violent death he endured to prove that death is not the ultimate reality. These aspects of his mission have been emphasized by his followers in the years after his death, but they were not the major focus of the path he walked.

Jesus was all about radically changing the prevailing value system of his day (which was very similar to ours today, by the way) by advocating for raising the consciousness of his followers.

“My kingdom is not of this world.”

“Be in this world … but not of it.”

That message, unfortunately, was swept away by centuries of consolidating the church’s power over its constituents and fighting senseless wars against “infidels” and “free-thinkers,” which was never even close to what Jesus’ message was about. He didn’t claim earthly power as his followers did after him. He shunned it. His power was in achieving a state of consciousness that WE ARE ALL ONE and living from that consciousness.

“I and My Father are one.”

He was all about “showing us the way to go” and he told us that we all can achieve that state of consciousness. All of us … no exceptions. It is not blasphemous to strive to attain that state of consciousness. As a matter of fact, that is our birthright. That is who we are.

 “I am the Light of the world.”

“Greater works than these shall you also do.”

“Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be added unto you.”

“The Kingdom of Heaven is within.”

Within? Yes, within. Within what? Within YOU! When you find that place … that state of awareness that is the most integral, intimate, and natural part of you … you have to express it. It will nag you until you do. You have experienced this urgent drive toward expression yourself. You find methods of expression you never knew were open to you because you have no alternative but to project that state of consciousness into your immediate vicinity, your communities, your governments, your religious beliefs, and your world with every thought you think, every emotion you feel, and every word you say. From this new mindset you can influence the kind of radical change we are talking about. It is not revolution Jesus was proposing, as many of his followers thought. It was evolution!

However, finding that state of Christ consciousness is not easy. It wasn’t easy for Jesus; it wasn’t easy for the Buddha, it isn’t easy for the Dalai Lama. You have to cultivate it. You have to remove layer after layer of conditioning, pre-conceived notions, judgments, criticisms, and other and self-imposed restrictions (sweep out all the negative energies that fill our inner and outer environment.)

Like anything else “it takes practice, practice, practice until you get it right … and then practice some more until you get it beautiful.” Just as singing and dancing takes practice … “that’s why we have rehearsals” … and drawing and painting takes practice … and writing takes practice … spiritual, conscious evolution takes practice. 

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On the Cusp of Greatness

Once we achieve a state of peaceful, unconditional love … love based not on getting the outcome we want but in achieving a state of non-attachment and getting the outcome that is the most beneficial for all of humanity and contributes the most to the elevation of the human spirit, then and only then are we coming from a focus of

Pure unbounded consciousness
Truth, existence, Bliss am I 

From that state, we need to focus all the love and compassion we can muster, gather it into visualizations of powerful energy release, and hurl it into those situations that require them.

That is what we are doing with our Change the World Initiative, our visualization practices, and our monthly prayer vigils. We are refocusing our attention, sending our love and compassion by extending our prayer (energy) fields to blanket our world with an awareness of our ONENESS.

The leaders of the Renaissance were a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens of their world … and they changed it. Their art stands as their testament centuries later as do their scientific discoveries. They moved their world forward by expressing their newly-discovered talents and abilities.

The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens of their world … and they changed it. Their idealistic view of human nature and governance was a radical departure from the prevailing consciousness at the time and set the tone for several centuries of progress. All of them were Spiritual Warriors.

Our generation has been blessed with many teachers who have shown us a new way of viewing ourselves and our world. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Gandhi-ji, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Dr. Deepak Chopra and all the spiritual teachers and authors who are writing to uplift the human spirit have shown us a better side of ourselves and how to achieve it. All of them are Spiritual Warriors.

May I please add your name to that list, my Anam Cara? In my mind, you are the perfect embodiment of the Spiritual Warrior you describe with so much genuine admiration.

God bless you! I love you more! And I am so grateful to all of you for your loyalty and your defense of me and my family. However, it is important for all of you to realize that none of my material possessions and acquisitions during the physical side of my life … none of my titles or accolades or records or acquisitions … contribute in any way to my glory on the eternal side of my life. They were just the material trappings of my accomplishments, but as my mentor, Berry Gordy said at The Jackson Family Honors, “Those are my accomplishments. They aren’t me.”

YOU ARE MY GLORY … all of you. YOU ARE MY LEGACY!

YOU are my small group of thoughtful, committed citizens of the world and like the others mentioned earlier, we are committed to changing our world. But we are not alone. Never think that we are alone in this commitment. There are many groups cropping up all over the world advocating for meaningful and lasting change. Some are based in mystical channels. Others are founded upon advocacy for environmental change. Others approach from a spiritual perspective and still others from a scientific, energetic viewpoint. However, all are invoking a radical shift in consciousness, a turning away from the prevailing “the end justifies the means,” “dog-eat-dog,” “survival of the fittest,” “profit is king,” Darwinian model. All are moving humanity towards a more humane, compassionate, and sane view of human nature. All of them are Spiritual Warriors.

I know that sometimes you become discouraged because you don’t see immediate results in your world. Change on the scale and magnitude that we are talking about does not happen overnight. It’s a big world and the corporatocracy is firmly entrenched behind its bureaucracy. It has dug itself in behind impenetrable walls. Its only allegiance is to its survival and it will hold on tightly to the power it wields, make no mistake.

It is important to remember that each one of you who rejects the fear-based, violence- and separation-supporting, profit at all costs, prevailing view of the world and refocuses his/her attention on finding a life-enhancing, division-denying state of awareness within is another nail in the coffin of that bureaucracy. This is the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus spoke about so often to his disciples.

Each individual consciousness that is lifted into that higher awareness removes his allegiance from the prevailing value system and becomes part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

It is a proactive.

It is effective.

It cannot fail to influence your own inner environment. Your world and your attitude towards it changes. At the same time, none of us is separate from the collective consciousness of the planet so you are changing the world’s collective environment, little by little but just as surely as night follows day. You are changing the mindset that created the problem to begin with, as Einstein recommended. From a new mindset, solutions are possible.

Like the Berlin wall dismantled stone by stone in 1989, each of you is another stone removed from the wall that separates us, that divides us along ethnic, national, economic, or generational lines of demarcation. With enough stones removed, the wall must tumble.

You are so inspiring, Michael … and I love you MOST!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installment 100

February, 2016

Beloved,

I am so excited to report that the serious study of your body of work which began with Joe Vogel’s The Man in the Music: The Creative Life of Michael Jackson and Dr. Willa Stillwater’s M Poetica: Michael Jackson’s Art of Connection and Defiance continues. While I wish I could say that everything being released into the marketplace eschews the sensational and irresponsible so-called “biographies” and “journalism” so prevalent during the physical side of your life, I cannot.

However, more and more I am seeing blogs, book reviews, books and films that retell the story of your rise from humble beginnings to global dominance with respect for your talent (which is unquestionable, by anyone’s standards), your unprecedented popularity, your unmatchable work ethic (which is also undeniable) and your unrelenting drive toward higher and higher commitment to your humanitarian efforts as well as your escalating investment in perfect execution in your stage craft.

That is really all I ever wanted during the physical side of my life … to be treated fairly like everyone else has a right to be treated. To watch as every release regardless of the material was overshadowed by endless unsubstantiated rumors about my complexion was so discouraging. It made me just want to give up, throw in the towel, and retire to a monastery. [Michael laughs out loud.]  But that would have been letting them win and that would not have worked for me at all. I am too determined for that solution.

What does my complexion have to do with the quality of the music? Can you give me an example?

Absolutely nothing, Michael … and indeed, I can … several, in fact.

Last year, a book was published and widely distributed in national outlets entitled “The Genius of Michael Jackson,” which from the title one would be perfectly justified in assuming would focus on  the “genius” of Michael Jackson. How erroneous an assumption that would have been on the part of the uninformed and unsuspecting consumer. The book, which I saw in my local book distributor (a national chain), penned by Steve Knopper, a frequent contributing editor to notoriously anti-Jackson Rolling Stone, is  just a resurrection of all the salacious tabloid stories written by an author who obviously sees himself not as your peer but as your superior. Like Sullivan before him, he offers no new insights into the man behind the music or the truth behind the myths he is at such pains to perpetuate. As a matter of fact, the two books are almost interchangeable.

I picked it up when I first saw it and opened it randomly in the bookstore to one of the middle pages, read about two paragraphs, and put it back on the shelf. Knopper and Sullivan (both of whom work for Rolling Stone) cut and pasted stories lifted whole cloth from tabloid sources with no further research or investigation. The paragraphs I read were appalling so I won’t give them more coverage here. Suffice to say, it didn’t take me long to discover that this book was not about “genius” at all; it was about sensation, innuendo, questionable sources, over-the-top titillation, personal power and greed. Knopper’s claims to having written a “definitive biography” of Michael Jackson fell far, far short of that lofty goal.

A couple of days ago, a book review entitled “Time for Something Different” by Toni Bower was published in the Los Angeles Review of Books. It is a fascinating and uplifting read in which Bower calls Mr. Knopper out on his sloppy, cut-and-paste reportage; his superior, condescending style of prose; and his claims to “definitive” biographical data. She even questions why this book was necessary at all since it covers much of the same ground as Sullivan’s book but with less claim to intelligent prose. She mentions the word “plagiarism” within her review! I was nodding my head and saying, “YES!” the entire time I was reading this review and it is a lengthy read. “You go, girl!” The entire review can be read by interested readers at https://lareviewofbooks.org/review/time-for-something-different

In summary, Toni Bower questions the validity of the entire concept of a “definitive biography” (in this specific case) because “He gives so much attention to parroting the received narrative, Knopper does not make visible what is more important: the brains, guts, talent, and persistence that it took for an exploited child star to go from the limitations and indignities of the chitlin circuit  to global admiration and market dominance; the deeply informed, yet utterly original, artistic vision; the clarity of purpose; the endless, daily, hourly practice.”

Indeed, she (he?), in a more generic sense, states that you are too multi-faceted and complex an individual to condense into a few hundred pages (or a few thousand) … that the sheer volume and complexity of your work in the passage from child prodigy to international dominance and its consistent trajectory onward and upward belies an easy and quick retelling.

She plays the “race card” in her review, unapologetically claiming that Mr. Knopper’s superior and condescending tone reiterates how Africans are often patronized as “natural” athletes in the same way that women (but not men, of course) are often portrayed as “instinctual” parents and nurturers. She claims that he predominantly refers to your achievements as a “gift,” leaving the hard work and constant, unrelenting honing, cultivating, and perfecting of that gift unmentioned, totally discounting your infinite dedication, determination and stubborn refusal to let a project go until it had at least approached your vision for it as closely as humanly possible (and sometimes beyond that point.)

In addition, these so-called “definitive biographies” (referring to Knopper and Sullivan) totally ignore your humanitarian achievements in favor of retelling long-winded and subsequently proven false tabloid fairy tales, enormously exaggerating the extent of your “eccentricities” and surgeries, for example, without producing any real evidence for the exaggerations.

Toni Bower quotes you as saying, “I always want to go on working all night, work myself to death.” Although she does not give a reference to this quote, she does say that it was a remark you made early in your career. I don’t remember ever reading this quote before, Baby. Did you really say that?

I don’t remember if or when I said it, but I often felt it. I never wanted to stop working. It was my drug of choice … creating MAGIC … and nurturing it until it was ready to be presented to you and blow you all away. I’m sure you have heard me say that I was always working, that I spent Sundays fasting and dancing until my legs and heart gave out, that nothing was as fulfilling for me as the creative process.

In our last Conversation, you talked about experiencing the tip of that iceberg. You mentioned how absorbed you become when you are drawing or painting or writing, for that matter. You forget time and space and just let the “flow” of it take you wherever it leads. In that flow, the “trying” just disappears and you are flowing with it. You become the flow and the flowing. We talked about athletes getting “in the zone” and performing at their personal best as a result. It was the same for me. And we talked about how in the flow work becomes play. It becomes creation, innovation, moving forward, body and mind are joined in one fusion of joy. You feel fulfilled. You feel a oneness with your creation.

I become the stars and the moon.
I become the lover and the beloved.
I become the victor and the vanquished.
I become the master and the slave.
I become the singer and the song.
I become the knower and the known.
I keep on dancing,
And then it is the eternal dance of creation.
The creator and the creation
Merge into one wholeness of joy.
I keep on dancing and dancing …
And dancing,
Until there is only …
The Dance

Yes, my dear one, I remember.

Ahhh, there is nothing like that feeling. I wanted to be in it forever.

And, not to bring up a difficult subject for you, but if you recall … I did!

Did what?

Worked myself to death.

Oh, Baby, I know you did.

But, let’s not get hung up on that. We move on from there … not just me … all of us. So, don’t let that trip you up. We are still ONE! My personal, physical envelope is just out at the dry cleaners for a while. [Michael chuckles.]

Thank God and you for that. I am so grateful. If your physical envelope is out at the dry cleaners, what are you wearing?

I am wearing YOU … all of you who hold me in your hearts and hear my messages! And you are wearing ME! Ain’t LOVE grand?

Indeed it is. As you so aptly sang, “Love never felt so good.”

Oh, my dear one, what a thought and image. I am going to have to contemplate that thought for a long, long time. Thank you for that!

However getting back to the topic we were discussing, I loved this review in its entirety and encourage my readers to take the time required to read it. Be warned! It is long but very well-thought-out and written and well worth the investment in time and effort.

My next example is from Spike Lee. You worked with Mr. Lee on a couple of short films for They Don’t Care About Us and from what I can tell made a very lasting impression on him.

In 2012, Mr. Lee released BAD 25: The Making of Michael Jackson’s BAD, a two-hour documentary which looked back on the making of the album, the tour, the short films that accompanied the release and the feature-length film Moonwalker. It retold the story of the BAD era through interviews with many of your collaborators as well as contemporary artists who had been heavily influenced by the album.

His film, which clearly depicted your dedication to perfecting the sonic as well as the musical elements of the album, also offered viewers an invaluable window into those private recording sessions through the recollections of those who shared them with you and video clips recorded during the sessions. In addition, it opened a huge door into the production of the short films that accompanied the album through behind the scenes footage and interviews with choreographers, dancers, and directors.

BAD 25: The Making of Michael Jackson’s BAD received national television exposure on Thanksgiving night 2012 on ABC and I was fortunate enough to watch it. Later, I received a DVD of the entire program through the auspices of a dear friend. I mentioned it briefly in a dialog we had in December of 2012.

Sometime in 2013 or 2014, the fan community began hearing whispers of Spike Lee wanting to produce the same kind of film for the Off the Wall sessions and we all got excited by the prospect. This is a period of your life that is often cloaked in mystery. You were still working predominantly with your brothers and gave relatively few interviews. You were gaining in autonomy and independence and your talent was growing; you were seeking more control over your musical releases and your life.

Yes, I remember the period just preceding Off the Wall as a hazy, dark period in my life and I referred to that feeling during the interview with Oprah. Several factors contributed to an overwhelming, paralyzing sadness, similar to the period that you have referred to several times in previous dialogs when it seemed that an inescapable dark cloud followed you around.

For one thing, adolescence is a tough period for anyone. The physical and biochemical changes that occur are confusing and often make themselves felt in a young person’s physical appearance. I was very adversely affected by acne during this period, something that many teenagers go through, but I saw it as “the end of the world as we know it.” And it was. Overnight my world changed! The cute little boy was gone and had been replaced by a monster with a pockmarked face. I knew I was still the same inside but what was showing on the outside was catastrophic. Going on stage with craters all over my face was not easy. As much as I loved performing, I just wanted to run and hide in my room. Our society is so caught up in appearance and entertainers are expected to be perfect and beautiful. I wasn’t that perfect little boy anymore and I was far from beautiful.

May I just interject here that you were never “far from beautiful?” Every breath you took on this planet you were gorgeous.

[Michael laughs.] Thank you, but your love blinds you. I looked in the mirror and suddenly I didn’t know the person looking back at me … and I didn’t like him. I felt that I was disappointing all of you, that I was letting you all down. I had no control over what was happening to my body. I know now that beauty is more defined by the perceiver than by the object of his perception, but I was so young. I hadn’t figured that out at that point. I didn’t see myself as beautiful; I didn’t feel beautiful. I had bought into the cultural narrative of beauty as most teenagers do in finding their way through the storms of adolescence.

The situation was not helped by my brothers’ and father’s constant teasing. Four older brothers can be exquisitely cruel to the youngest, who often got the lion’s share of attention … the cute little boy with the big eyes and voice. They had to keep me in my place. In my mind, it amounted to psychological abuse. We have talked often about the physical abuse and constant fear of my father’s anger. I know that they didn’t intend for their comments to cut as deeply as they did, but that didn’t help.

I understand, my dear. I have been on the receiving end of that kind of teasing. I think we all have. I do not consider it funny.

Then, overnight it seemed, I wasn’t the cute little boy with the big eyes and voice. I was some stranger who strongly resembled their cutting remarks.

I internalized all of their criticisms. As a result, theirs’ became the critical voices in my head for the rest of my life. Theirs’ were the stories I told myself about myself all my life. I still heard my father’s voice repeating, “Never disappoint the fans,” twenty years later when that bridge fell and I should have gone to the hospital, but finished the concert instead. And we have talked often about how those stories affect all of our thoughts, words and actions about ourselves and about our world and if and how we fit in it … until we rewrite them to include more current information, interests and desires.

As if these things weren’t debilitating enough, we were leaving Motown. You have to remember, I loved Berry Gordy. Motown was my home and he was, in many ways, the father I had always dreamed of having. I perceived any kind of disloyalty to him as being a traitor to my identity … to who I thought I was. So, I was faced with the choice of being disloyal to myself by staying with Motown and stifling my creative freedom … or being disloyal to my surrogate father who was Motown. My brothers and I wanted to write and produce our own music. It was an important growth and development stage and our next step. But our contract with Motown didn’t allow us to do that.

We knew we could do it and we begged for the chance to prove ourselves, but the Motown family didn’t have the same faith in our abilities, which was another hurtful realization. It was as hurtful for me to realize that Berry Gordy didn’t think I could write and produce as it was for you when you were told that you couldn’t draw or paint. And it had the same kind of self-sabotaging effects on me as it had on you.

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Fortunately, we made the right decision and left Motown, but Berry’s lack of faith in our ability was painful for all of us. So, now, I was not only unrecognizable to myself physically, but I was not who I had always thought I was internally. I had become this disloyal and ungrateful person who had alienated the very person I held most dear … my mentor, my teacher, a man I trusted, looked up to and wanted to emulate.

Oprah couldn’t understand how I could view that period as being so sad, but all those stresses just kept adding up until they became a burden I found it difficult to carry.

I can certainly understand that, Beloved. That’s a lot for a teenager to carry around with him.

Yes, it was. Add to that the fact that I was beginning to realize that if I was going to accomplish my goals, I was going to have to do it alone. That means without my brothers and without my father making all our decisions and browbeating us until we agreed or being one vote out of six and being outvoted on major decisions (like the Victory tour ticket fiasco) even though I knew I was right. So, by leaving Motown, I had alienated my surrogate father whom I loved and was enormously grateful to and beginning to think that I was going to have to do the same eventually to my biological father and the brothers who had shared all those years with me.

It was a difficult time … very dark. Like all young adults, I was trying to figure out who I wanted to be and I was seeing all this as disloyalty and ingratitude to my mentors. The very people who had contributed so much to our success were holding us back. Their lack of faith in our ability was making us hold ourselves back. My independence was very costly in the personal relationships I valued the most.

And we haven’t even talked about the first indications of vitiligo showing up, which just complicated the acne issue enormously, and the uncertainty that accompanied that. No one can understand what that was like unless they have experienced it. The change in my skin color eventually became the major focus of every magazine and tabloid article for the rest of my life. So, there were a lot of balls I was trying to juggle, none of which I felt I could drop.

Oh, Baby, I wish there were something I could have done to help.

You did … all of you did. Your love for me kept me strong. My love for all of you, my fans; the love for the music that I had bottled up inside me at the time; and my faith that getting that music out there was God’s plan for my life were the only things that kept me going.

There was a strong sense of mission … a feeling of being “called” to do what I was doing. When I was deeply involved in the recording or dance studio or in performing, I felt that I was doing what I was sent here to do … that I was fulfilling my purpose for being here to begin with. That and your love were what kept me moving forward always. I felt that. That never changed.

I am glad but I wish we could have done something at the time more consciously.

Don’t regret what wasn’t done then; don’t cry and moan about missed opportunities; do it now.

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

As we’ve spoken about before, there is no time where WE are ONE; everything is happening NOW. Time is just a convenient storage locker for the incidents you experience in the material realm. Here, time is more fluid. Forever means forever and proceeds not only into the future but also into the past. It is fluid and malleable; you can shape it and change it. Pulling out the box marked “Past” from its resting place on the shelf in that storage locker is as easy as pulling out the box marked “Future.” You can return to a time when you wanted to make a contribution but failed to do so for whatever reason. You can heal that gap at least in your own mind and when it is healed there it is healed everywhere because WE ARE ONE.

Take a look at yourself and make a change

Regret is like guilt; it is a very damaging emotion. There is a helplessness to it that is very restrictive and limiting. Your mind resides in a state of absolute unlimitedness; it doesn’t like being confined to just these few moments or days or years. It is more expansive than that. Your mind dwells in NOW. To your creative mind, it makes much more sense to heal it. Travel in your mind is true time travel. No machine is required … only imagination technology takes you there and it is ready at the drop of a thought to take you anywhere you wish to go. You can heal those wounds of omission by making a deposit in the Eternal Bank of NOW where we are always ONE.

God, I love you, Baby.

And I love you more, as always.

Well, Mr. Lee has done it again. On Friday, February 5, 2016, Showtime broadcast Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, featuring previously unreleased footage of your early years with Motown, your move to Epic, The Wiz, your meeting with Quincy Jones, and the recording sessions for Off the Wall.

Following his previous template, he included interviews with your early collaborators, people who had been heavily influenced by your work and are now in the entertainment field, Motown and Epic executives, and DJs as well as compiling wonderful, clear footage of your Destiny and Triumph tours with your brothers, even including your mother, Jackie and Marlon in the interviews.

I had heard about this film quite some time ago but was unsure when it would be released. Word surfaced a month or so ago (through an email from your Estate) that it would be broadcast on Showtime and released later in both DVD and BluRay format with a re-release of the album. Unfortunately, I do not normally have Showtime in my channel lineup and kind of resigned myself to wait for the DVD/BluRay. However, during a discussion with my satellite company on an unrelated matter, I just happened to ask about Showtime … and quite coincidentally, of course …

Of course! [Michael laughs.]

… they were offering a special introductory half-price offer for three months. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I ordered the channel and was able to watch Journey from Motown to Off the Wall.

I love it when a plan comes together, don’t you?

Yes, Michael, I do, indeed.

In the lead up to the debut, Spike Lee was interviewed regarding the film and I caught a couple of videos of him speaking about it, which just poured fuel on the flame of my anticipation. He stated that he also wants to do one on the Thriller sessions. I hope he does. I am so grateful to him for recording this stuff for history because memory is so short and so easily hijacked by the latest sensation.

Your ground-breaking achievements need to be remembered in their cultural context, showing all the uphill battles you had to fight that attended those releases, as all ground-breaking achievements need to be remembered. Currently, Jesse Owens’s Olympic gold-medal-winning-accomplishments in the 1930s is just one example that is gaining a lot of attention due to a new movie being released recounting the barriers he had to overcome to his participation in the Olympic games in Berlin. Mr. Lee is not waiting 80 years to record your barrier-transcending and ground-breaking achievements for posterity, thank God.

The night finally arrived and that old excitement reminiscent of the excitement I experienced so often during the 1990s when you were featured in an interview, concert, or short film release returned. With DVRs, it is so much easier to record a program and watch it later, which I have done several times, of course.

Of course!

I fully anticipate going out and purchasing both the DVD and BluRay formats when they are released later this month. These films are awesome because they clearly depict your dedication to producing the very best possible product of which you were capable and show that it was not just your “natural gifts” that accounted for your unprecedented popularity. Those gifts definitely played an important role, but they were accompanied by a staunchly stubborn devotion to hard work and painstaking, meticulous attention to detail that no one has matched to date.

My third example is a new book I found quite by chance as I was browsing through the music section at my local Barnes and Noble on a visit last weekend. The book is entitled Michael Jackson Faq: All That’s Left To Know About The King of Pop and it is written by Kit O’Toole.  It was published in 2015, but this was the first time I had seen it anywhere. I leafed briefly through it at the bookstore as I usually do and brought this one home with me. It is the Michael Jackson encyclopedia. Covering the span 1968 and the Steeltown recordings through your most recent posthumous release Xscape in 2014, it lists the recordings from Steeltown, Motown, The Jacksons, and your solo career. That’s 46 years, Baby! From your earliest influences to your continuing impact on world culture and entertainment, this book doesn’t skip a beat that I have found.

Every song (except Water … I can’t seem to find Water), every album, every track list of every album, every outtake from every album, every song rumored to contain your vocals but never released, every song writer and composer, every producer, every session musician, everyone you collaborated with both musically and vocally, every tour and the set list for every tour along with all the cities visited and the dates is listed.

The Table of Contents includes but is not limited to:

  • The Unique Singing Chemistry of Michael and Jermaine Jackson
  • Buried Gems and Underrated Album Tracks (for all periods)
  • Notable TV and Concert Appearances (for all periods)
  • Essential Playlists (for all periods)
  • Michael Jackson as Backup Singer
  • Studio MVPs
  • Posthumous Releases and Projects
  • As Actor
  • As Musical Activist

This thing is a veritable treasure trove of information, with no distracting commentary. For example, I knew that you had toured a lot as a child, but I had no idea how much. Ms. O’Toole answers that question with your touring schedule with the Jackson 5. You toured from May through December of 1970 … January through December of 1971 … January through November of 1972 … March through September 1973 … February through November of 1974. You were 11 through 16 years old, Michael!

Yeah, we were on the road a lot.

A lot?!? You say that so casually. “Yeah, we were on the road a lot.” When did you find time to record new music? Nevermind, Ms. O’Toole answers that question, too. Diana Ross Presents 1969, ABC 1970, Third Album 1970, Christmas Album 1970, Maybe Tomorrow 1971, Goin’ Back to Indiana 1971, Lookin’ Through the Windows 1972, Skywriter 1973, G.I.T. Get It Together 1973, In Japan 1973, Dancing Machine 1974, Moving Violation 1975, Joyful Jukebox Music 1976. Cheese and crackers, Baby… when the heck did you sleep?

[Michael just laughs.] Sleep was never high on my priority list. I had a job to do and I always felt an urgency about getting it done … like there was a lot to do and not much time to accomplish the task. That sense of mission … of calling … was an ever-present drive. There was a lot to learn, a lot to do, a lot to accomplish, and a lot to achieve and I was always aware that the time I had to accomplish all that I needed to do was limited. I think that sense of urgency contributed to my sleep problems later.

You gave up so much for us, Baby. Thank you for your service to all of us and humanity as a whole.

And, now, I think a little fanfare is required to celebrate our 100th dialog, don’t you?

Yes, I do. Why don’t you come and join me in Neverland for an hour or so?

Excellent idea.

Installment #99

January 8, 2016 through January 20, 2016

Beloved,

I have discovered some videos on YouTube that are tutorials on drawing and wanted to try to reproduce some of the ideas offered by the instructor. I hope you don’t mind.

Mind? I don’t understand. Why would I mind?

Well, because you have been my art instructor since July 1, 2012 when I began this journey. I don’t want you to feel that I have displaced you.

That is so typical of you. You just insist on feeling guilty (falling off that chair) when there is absolutely no justification for it. [Michael giggles.]  That’s just like when you felt guilty a little while ago for adding music by other artists to your music player. Do you remember what I said on that occasion?

Yes, I do. You said, “I respected every other artist on the planet during the physical side of my life. I never considered myself better or more important than anyone else then … and I certainly don’t now.” [Reference Installment #29 – May 28 through June 4, 2011]

That’s right. The same holds true here. How many times have you heard me say, “Study the greats and become greater?” There are many different schools of drawing and painting, many different methods and techniques just like there are different schools of dancing, singing, composing, performing and they are all beautiful. Learning about different methods and techniques makes your education more rounded and your perspective wider and more all encompassing. You can vastly broaden your horizons, find different ways of doing things, combine the two methods (the one you were using and the new one) for a totally new and unique signature, and even develop your own style eventually with the proper tools. If you don’t investigate, how will you learn?

In my physical life, I studied all of the greats in my field … Astaire, Kelly, Brown, Wilson … and learned from them all. All of them were my teachers. I studied them and practiced, practiced, practiced their moves until I could do them in my sleep.

I studied Michelangelo and the great masters in painting. Diana took me to art museums and galleries to help me learn and broaden my education. What would it have been like if I had said, “I love Michelangelo. I don’t want to see anyone else’s work?” That would be limiting myself to only one perspective, which is what much of the world does every day. So, I totally understand where that attitude comes from. “There’s only one way to do things … MY way.” There’s only one true religion. There’s only one superior race. There’s only one side … MY side. There’s only one reality.

I studied Tagore and Rumi and Disney. Actually, I studied anything I could get my hands on.

Get that little niggling guilt right out of your mind. It is so damaging and constricting. There is no guilt. Why do so many of you hinder and sabotage yourselves like this? Never dampen your curiosity and enthusiasm like that.

Go with it
Go with it
JAM!

There is no displacement. You are following your natural curiosity to explore new thoughts and ideas and rewriting that old story that kept you guilt-ridden and in turmoil and drama.

So, tell me about what you are learning.

Well, for the past week or so, I have gone back to the drawing board, literally back to square one, practicing this new technique almost exclusively by drawing spheres and barrels and roses for hours and hours. This technique is all about soft, gentle, sweeping strokes and shaping and contouring with precision and control.

Yes … and?

And to make a long story short, I am loving it. It is a bit more difficult for me than it probably would be for someone else because of that persistent little hand tremor that still plagues me and seems to make any writing or drawing a bit frustrating, but with an adjustment in the way I hold the pencil I can compensate for that handicap a little bit to achieve, or at least approach, the smooth, flowing gradual transitions from darker to lighter areas and contours required by this new technique. And it’s good exercise for the hand. I absolutely refuse to let this small tremor stop me from pursuing my interest in drawing.

Good! You shouldn’t let anything stop you from pursuing your interests, especially the thoughts that you allowed to dissuade you for so long … thoughts of “I can’t do that” or “I’m not talented enough.” Those self-defeating and self-sabotaging thoughts are so insidious. They branch out like the roots and branches of a tree and eventually stop you from achieving anything. Thoughts of “I wonder if I can …” or “What if I tried it this way …” or “What would it take to make this happen …” are much more beneficial. Those kinds of thoughts lead you forward instead of stopping you in your tracks. They are open-ended, just awaiting your answer. They are outlines for you to come in and fill like a coloring book.

Did you know that there are coloring books out for adults, my heart? They were all over during the Christmas shopping season this year. I guess someone discovered that coloring is a stress-relieving, anxiety-diffusing activity for everyone and publishing houses have released coloring books with less child-oriented themes to take advantage of the trend.

Excellent! Too many adults have forgotten what it is like to just let their minds coast for a while, to quiet the constant chatter with some easy, repetitive activity that requires no problem solving or worrying. They’ve forgotten how to play. They keep themselves embroiled in all the trauma and negativity broadcast in the 24 hour news cycle and just live in that horror, instead of shutting it off and shutting down by playing occasionally. Kids do this so naturally, but as we grow older all the horrible things we read in the newspapers and see on television and the worry that attends making a living take over because that is what we focus all our attention on. In the chaos and constant exposure to the churning cauldron they call reality, we begin to believe that that is just the way it has to be … that’s life … it becomes “normal” and we forget to be shocked when we see the pain inflicted on others by war, prejudice, and poverty. We become sensitized to it. We accept it. That becomes our reality. We forget how to live a life of purpose and meaning. What’s even worse, we begin to defend it and anyone who doesn’t buy into that version of reality is seen as not being realistic … a pie-in-the-sky idealist … hopelessly naïve.

We forget that we weren’t put here to be miserable. This is not a prison planet to which we were sent to suffer for our misdeeds. We were put here to be joyful and there aren’t any misdeeds. There are only experiences that worked to enhance our journey or those that didn’t work. We were born to fill everything and everyone with our dreams … our joyful creations.

Now that you are free of such pervasive anxieties, you are relearning how to play and finding the joy in the activities and interests you are pursuing. Ah, you’re learning to dance with it.

I am?

Absolutely! When viewed from the proper perspective, every activity, all of life is a dance. There is a grace and flow to everything from washing dishes to rocket science. When you find it, that grace and flow carries you forward with its own momentum and much less effort on your part. The tension associated with an activity evaporates and no effort is required. Each of us finds it in our own way; that is what makes us unique and special. Athletes call it being “in the zone,” I found it in a dance studio or a recording studio or a stage, and you are finding it in the “smooth, flowing, gradual” movements of a new drawing technique or in writing these Conversations.

Consciousness expresses itself through creation.
This world we live in is the dance of the Creator.
Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye
But the dance lives on.
On many occasions when I’m dancing, I’ve felt touched by something sacred.
In those moments, I’ve felt my spirit soar and become
One with everything that exists.
I become the stars and the moon.
I become the lover and the beloved.
I become the victor and the vanquished.
I become the master and the slave.
I become the singer and the song.
I become the knower and the known.
I keep on dancing,
And then it is the eternal dance of creation.
The creator and the creation
Merge into one wholeness of joy.
I keep on dancing and dancing …
And dancing,
Until there is only …
The Dance

Yoda had it right in Star Wars. “Do or do not. There is no try.” [Michael imitates Yoda’s voice.]

The force … it’s got a lot of power.

It’s the “try” part of the equation that trips you up and often sabotages your efforts by making you feel defeated. You say things like, “I tried so hard and look what happened. It’s a mess!” Then, you give up. Take the word “try” away and in its place, insert allow. Allow yourself to find the grace and flow in everything you do. Then, it becomes easy and full of joy. Work becomes play because it is filled with love … spirit … the “force” … God. Call it by any of its many names. It doesn’t matter. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” as Shakespeare wrote.

Until I discovered this new technique, I was of the opinion that getting as much dark pencil on the paper as I could … and then using the eraser to “lift off” in lighter areas … and tortillons and paper stumps (“magic sticks”) to blend the transitions was the way to go. It’s much faster (there’s that patience thing, again), but less controlled and precise and it mashes down (damages) the tooth (or texture) of the paper. More often than not, I ended up unable to erase errors completely and had to find a way to compensate. This method provides a lot of immediate contrast, but it also smears and smudges abominably so it is terribly messy. The slightest touch leaves a black mark on my hand and when rested again on the paper, causes a smudge and usually in an area you don’t want smudged. So, then, you have to erase that. I thought that the way to avoid those smudges and smears was to draw with the paper propped up on the easel, but even that didn’t eliminate the problem entirely. I couldn’t figure out how to get around the frustration.

However, it got you to now. So, be grateful for it.

Huh?

Well, without that experience you might not have experienced that initial flush of success and probably would have given up on drawing as you’ve done so many times before. You learned some of the basics by using that method. Now, after almost constant practice, you are ready to refine your skills. There is nothing wrong in that. It’s all experience. You are learning by experience; it’s on-the-job-training.

That is so true, Beloved. However, I am finding this new method takes a lot of patience, so I consider it good practice in Patience 101, which seems to be a lifelong learning opportunity for me, at least in this lifetime. It is very time-intensive, but very smooth, repetitive and gentle. It is almost meditative. There is no harsh dividing line between light and dark and no paper stumps (what I have been calling “magic sticks”) to blend one into the other. All the blending is done with the pencils, increasing the grade of the pencil and pressure gradually in layers for darker areas, decreasing for lighter areas, and feathering the edges of the strokes, fading them toward the lightest areas. It’s layers … a tapestry … gradually increasing the intensity of the pencil in easy step-by-step increments until the desired value is achieved. It’s a little hard to explain and takes a good deal of practice, but when you get it right (which I haven’t, yet) … the results are amazing. In addition, it is easier to see and correct an error as you apply the layers because you haven’t scored the paper with dark, heavy strokes as the subject takes shape. To avoid smudging, it is recommended to place a clean sheet of paper under your hand and draw on a table or flat surface so my hands don’t end up black and there is little frustrating smearing if you keep the paper clean.

There ya go! Let the “force” … the “dance” … the grace and flow of it guide you and carry you forward. It’s like martial arts. You use your opponent’s momentum to counter his attack, which requires much less effort and strength on your part. That’s how a 100 pound woman can throw a 250 pound man. She uses his momentum instead of her own effort. She remains fluid and open and utilizes his attack momentum as a fulcrum. He ends up on the floor. Using your own effort causes tension and stress and probably increases the hand tremor, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does.

See? If you will “step into the flow” (as the woman steps into the man’s attack), relax, and allow yourself to connect with that “force” … that “grace and flow” … in whatever you are doing, it will take you to the next level. Take the tension and effort and throw them out the window. Allow. Step out of the way and into the flow.

Please understand. I am not suggesting that you don’t work hard at mastering your chosen field of endeavor or perfecting a technique. You have heard me say it before many times, “Work hard … train … strive!” And this is where the miracle comes in.

The miracle is: Working hard … with determination and laser-like focus and perseverance and devotion … becomes joy … absolute bliss … when you allow yourself to find that grace and flow and give yourself to it … give yourself permission to step into it and flow with it. It becomes addictive. You … never … want … to … stop.

Okay, Baby, how the heck do you do that?

Do what?

Lead my right into where I wanted to go with this dialog.

What do you mean? You mean you have a plan?

[Jan laughs.] No, not really, but sometimes I have the germ of an idea of where you might want to go.

The other day, I decided that I had done enough spheres, barrels and roses to sufficiently practice my new method of drawing. It was time to draw YOU and practice this new technique on your lines and contours! Because nothing is going to work for me if it doesn’t help me draw you. So, I set up a little corner in our art studio with a table and drawing board, got out a piece of paper and began to draw Mr. December from my 2016 calendar, which is basically only half of your face. The other half is out of focus … like the film got stuck and another picture frame intruded into the photo or the film got exposed to light by accident. I thought this would make a good test of this new drawing technique to start out with. So, I grabbed my pencils and eraser and sat down to experiment with this new technique.

That was at 8:30 AM. The next thing I knew it was 4:30 PM and I had spent eight hours without moving except for necessary breaks. I hadn’t felt hungry or thirsty. I was unaware of time passing. I hadn’t felt the cold and it was fairly cool in our little art studio. As the sun sank into the horizon in the western sky, I had a fair outline of your face and the front of your neck on a piece of paper, but it was nowhere near finished. However, I had reconstructed the left side of your face instead of reproducing the out of focus part of the photo I was working from.

At that point, I had to stop and get some distance from the drawing because I needed to get dinner ready for my husband, but when I returned to the studio I made a couple of minor adjustments before going to bed. My intention was that I would return to it the next day.

I have to tell you that I spent a very restless night, waking three or four times during the night, looking at the clock and chiding myself, “No, you can’t go in there and work on that drawing. It’s 2:00 AM. Go back to bed!” Then, it was 3:30 and I told myself the same thing. Then, it was 4:45 AM and I told myself the same thing.

Honestly, I didn’t know if it was my lack of patience or if you were calling me. I remembered your habit of calling people you were working with at ungodly hours because you couldn’t stop the inspirational flow. Many of your collaborators have spoken about your tendency to call in the middle of the night, including David Nordahl, John Landis and Kenny Ortega reported that you had called him at 3:30 AM to discuss the This Is It production. I can just imagine how that call went:

Aura with Sepia filter

Aura with Sepia filter

Kenny: Huh?

You: Oh, are you awake?

Kenny: Michael? What are you doing up? You need to sleep.

You: I know, but I had an inspiration about how we could move Victoria Falls to London for fifty or sixty shows.

[Michael laughs out loud.]

You: But there’s a small problem. London’s sewer system is inadequate to handle the overflow and it would cause massive flooding, a tidal wave, and the Thames would become an ocean. I’m sure we could work it out, though.

Kenny: Michael, can’t you ask your Higher Power to put a cork in it until we get this show off the ground and on the road?

You: I can’t do that! She would give these ideas to Prince! By the way, could we dip me in phosphorus and make me bioluminescent? That would be so cool! Can you imagine a bioluminescent me dancing all over that huge stage? That would be so awesome! I wonder if I would have to drink the stuff.

[Michael laughs again.]

Maybe, they are the same thing, in this case. I don’t know and I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Honestly, Honey, Prince would not have clue one and would probably totally dismiss any such inspirations with the words, “That’s impossible.” But not you. You would try to figure out the mechanical difficulties and work your way around them, whatever it took.

Anyway, the following morning I awoke at around 7:00 (finally) and spent the next eight hours in total bliss working on this drawing with my new computer playing my music library on my new Bluetooth speaker in our art studio.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! New computer? New what? Hold on! I think I missed something here.

Oops! I’m sorry, Beloved. I guess it has been a while since we had a formal Conversation. I get myself so wrapped up in being drawn into your vortex that I just don’t realize how much time has passed since we posted our last installment.  But we do talk every day in my journal.

I got a new computer just before Christmas. My old laptop just has not been reliable since our little “virtual reality” experiment in November of … geez, Baby … that was in 2013 … two years ago! Where does the time go? That seems like only last week!

See? Time is very fluid, according to the attitude of the observer. We experience it in different ways at different times. You’ve had the experience of time passing extremely slowly, usually when you are not enjoying yourself or are in a crisis situation, haven’t you?

Indeed, I have. That often happens to me when I am waiting for something, hence my impatience. In addition, there have been many, many nights when my husband was snoring and I thought the morning would never dawn, knowing that a baseball bat was not really an acceptable remedy.

 [Michael laughs.] No, that wouldn’t work at all.  And we’ve all had times in our lives when time speeds by unbelievably quickly, usually when we lose ourselves in whatever we are doing.

For me, those times occur most frequently when I am involved and absorbed in you, Baby … when you are drawing me.

Which should give you the clue that the experience is really dependent upon the attitude of the person experiencing it. We have made time into a hard and fast universal law, but it’s not. It’s just a convenient storage locker with bins marked past, present, and future in which we throw events and people and situations. Or, in your case, time is a comforting presence because of your clocks ticking away the moments of now and chiming the quarter hours with music.

That’s true. I have the tall case clock in the bedroom set to Westminster chimes and the small carriage clock in the art studio to St. Michael chimes. That seemed appropriate. Time has a sound.

The point is: We create artificial boundaries in the act of observing and sorting according to these artificial boundaries, but our boundaries don’t restrict infinity. They are just conveniences for our finite minds. They just help us keep things sorted and organized.

Anyway, I just could not depend on my old Hewlett-Packard (which had really exceeded its expected obsolescence) and it was making me very uncomfortable. It was taking forever to boot up and I usually had to restart it at least one more time before I could really do anything with it.

I keep all my files stored on my computer, including these Conversations and the thought of losing them makes me very nervous. They are precious to me. I do backup to external devices fairly frequently, but external devices are of no use if you can’t use a reliable computer to open them and retrieve what is needed. So, a week or so before Christmas I went out to see what was available and came home with a new laptop, one with all the bells and whistles, including Bluetooth connectivity and brought it into our little art studio, setting it up on the desk that used to contain a whole bunch of my husband’s never-used-or-thought-about stuff. Honestly, the man is the worst pack rat! God forgive me, I moved all of his stuff out of the way to make a home for MJ5DVortex (my new computer’s name.)

[Michael laughs.] Where do you get these names?

Well, my friend helped me with that one when we were discussing the topic. We figured you would get a chuckle out of the MJ5D. It sounds kinda like C3PO and R2D2 from Star Wars and refers to the “fifth dimensional living” that humanity is morphing into. And a vortex refers to a whirlpool or a black hole that swallows up everything in its path, highlighting your over-the-top magnetism. Hence, MJ5DVortex … see?

You are so funny! Does everything have to have a name?

Absolutely! And since I use it to talk to you, the name has to have an MJ connection. My tablet is MJGalaxy and my cell phone is MJGalaxy, Jr.

The problem was: MJ5D (for short) sits against the far wall of our art studio directly in front of the bay window, which is too far away from the soundbar in the bedroom (which is still amazing in every way) to maintain a good reliable Bluetooth (wireless) connection. I had to use an inadequate little WalMart Bluetooth speaker in our art studio, which, as you know from previous dialogs when we talked about transistor radios and recording studios, wasn’t going to work for very long. I’ve been making due, but I wanted something better.

For my birthday last week, my wonderful husband got me a Sony turntable, which was very nice except that I don’t have many vinyl records anymore and I have absolutely no place to put a turntable. Most of my vinyl albums have been destroyed over the thirty-six years we have lived in this house by a long series of cats, who used them as a scratching post, totally destroying the covers and most of the records inside as well. I had a lot of records, including first editions of Beatles albums and Thriller, of course, but I got rid of them over fifteen years ago.

I have never returned a gift from my husband before, but I asked him if he would be very upset if I returned the turntable and exchanged it for something more useful. Last Tuesday, we went out to exchange it and I found a very nice little Bluetooth speaker for our art studio made by Harman Kardon called an Onyx Studio 2, which has incredible depth for its size. And it was on sale! It’s not a soundbar but it is not far off, either. I set it up on the floor under the desk and our art studio is now wired (wirelessly) for sound and the quality is way better than the speakers on my new computer or, for that matter, the little JBL Flip I had gotten from WalMart. Earth Song is “apocryphal.” That’s the litmus test. A speaker has to reproduce that depth, dimension, and color or it doesn’t satisfy me.

Yes, I understand. The technology had to change over a period of years to allow me to get that depth and dimension in the recording studio, which we have talked about before.

Don’t stop til you get enough

The force, it’s got a lot of power 

Is there an “enough?”

No, not really.

It’s evolution. It’s growth, as is your experiment with your new drawing technique. And it is a sure bet. That’s what we’re all doing … growing into our potential … and our potential is unlimited by time, space, or death. The artificial boundary of death that we have established in our observation of time is just another bin on the shelf in that storage locker. We continue to grow beyond it and beyond time.

That reminds me of the lyrics to a song from the 1970s. It’s not one of your songs, but may I quote it here?

Of course.

We are stardust
We are golden
We are caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young from the song “Woodstock.”

Yup, we are all on our way back to the garden, which in truth we never left except in our minds. It was an imaginary journey of separation from the Source of our creativity. When we remember that, well

They say the sky’s the limit
And to me that’s really true
‘Cuz, my friend, you have seen nothing
Just wait ‘til I get through

Michael, last night as I crawled into bed, gentle, silver moonbeams fell across my bed from the almost full moon outside my window. In addition, in my sleep I kept hearing your unreleased song “Water” playing with full orchestration, background vocals, and your beautiful lead vocal in a continuous loop in my head. Even upon awaking this morning the song followed me wherever I went until I had to come in and listen to it on repeat a few dozen times this morning. I wondered what significance the song held, other than it’s a beautiful song, that is.

Thank you, I’m glad you like it.

I was so reassured of your continuous presence this morning. The lyrics speak of a “forever love” and I interpret that to mean that, as you have told me countless times in previous dialogs, “WE ARE FOREVER.”

Exactly. I have sensed that you’ve been feeling some distance between us and worrying about it, which does absolutely no good, at all. In fact, it creates more of what you are trying to avoid.

Water
Water
It’s all over me
It’s all over me

Kinda like I’m all over you if you just allow me to be and stop worrying that “I’m not good enough.” You don’t have to search for me … or try to feel my presence. Take the “try” out of the equation and just allow. I’m all over you like a rash. I will drench you in my love … like water … if you will just get all that tension and stress and worry out of the way. I’m a hot bath on a cold day, enveloping you in warmth and well-being. Get it through your head, girl, I love you MORE. And that is not going to change any time soon.

God bless you, Michael. I love you. I am so grateful you have so much patience with me.

WE are a work in progress and it is exciting to see how WE will evolve given the proper encouragement. The becoming is beautiful just like your new drawing technique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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