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February 19, 2018

The Change the World Initiative was begun in February 2015 as a daily focus reminder for all of us to set our intentions in motion to Change the World we live in to a more balanced and humane perspective.  (Please see Installment #92.)

Daily topics have been and will continue to be posted in our Call for Love group as well as in our sister, like-minded groups: Dancing the Dream, Michael’s Circle of Love, Daily Life with M.J. in Your Heart, and Major Love Prayer to encourage all members of these social media groups to take a moment each day to lift up the issues of the daily topics in prayer and meditation.

February of 2018 marks the beginning of the fourth year for the Change the World Initiative and I felt that we needed to “refresh” our purpose in order to avoid the topics becoming too stale and repeated by rote. As a result, I have decided to change the days around to reflect a more “filtering down” effect from a hierarchical perspective and add a brief meditation video to each day’s topic for those who wish to indulge in a moment of reflection, to refresh those who have been faithful to these daily prayers and meditations and, possibly, attract new followers to the Initiative who may not have been aware of it previously.

All of us have been inspired by the example of one man who, despite endless ridicule and never-ending persecution, did just that – he CHANGED THE WORLD. I know he changed MY world and I suspect that if you are reading these words he changed yours. Michael Jackson worked tirelessly to awaken the world to the many problems that we all face including environmental erosion, natural resource exploitation, animal cruelty, abuse and neglect of our children (especially the sick and dying), racial inequality and man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. He envisioned an entirely different approach to the care of the sick and elderly and showed through inviting children to his Neverland Valley Ranch and supporting them with love, that his approach, like Patch Adams’s, could really go a long way toward healing those ill children … with LOVE. With his songs, performances, films, interviews, and life he shone the light of LOVE on each of these issues and reminded us, always, that LOVE IS THE ANSWER.  Therefore, this update and repetition of our daily focus topics is being referred to as “Awakening” and the term will be repeated throughout this update.

As Jesus left his disciples to complete his work, and Gandhi-ji left his followers to complete his mission; Michael Jackson has left us, his disciples, to complete his mission, which he articulated in song and performance the world over. “Can You Feel It,” “We Are Here to Change the World,” “We Are The World,” “Heal the World,” “Another Part of Me,” “Earth Song,” “Cry” … all of these songs, and many others, state his purpose quite clearly. There can be no doubt of what he considered his mission; and while some may scoff at what they call his “naiveté” and others degrade and ridicule, I don’t see any of his detractors doing half as much as he did to Change the World. We, his disciples, feel his purpose strongly.

“They’ll do it. They who? It’s us … or it will never be done.”

I want to express my sincere gratitude to all who have incorporated these daily focus topics into their individual spiritual practices with purpose and resolve. I so appreciate all of your comments and shares.

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Monday – Religious Leaders and Institutions

As all of us are “spiritual beings having a human experience,” may we all awaken to the fact that we are all religious leaders, or, rather spiritual leaders. While we may not be particularly enamored of the “political” issues and power struggles of most organized religions, the new Science of Noetics and investigations into the Quantum sciences are proving that we influence the world around us with our observations, our judgments, and our actions. We are quantum events in physical form and we lead by the example we set for our parents, our siblings, our children, our extended families, our friends, our communities. Through our “Awakening,” we “Awaken” those around us. We have no choice in this; it is happening, whether we are conscious of it or not.

Our only choice is to consciously awaken ourselves and those we love by intention or to unconsciously awaken ourselves and our families and friends by default. It is our choice whether we awaken those in our inner circle to fear or love, despair or hope, service or personal aggrandizement. We choose by our focus, by what we give our attention to and place our energy in … our passions and how, and if, we express them.

If we are led by an absorption in our position in the physical, material world and the acquisition of wealth and power, those around us will also be led by the lust for power and wealth, ruled by logic and devoted to material acquisition.

If we are led by our faith in our spiritual oneness and focus on our spiritual connection with the others in our lives and our world, those around us may learn to question their own absorption in the physical, material world and hasten their own” Awakening” as a result.

If we harbor resentment or promote hatred and inequality based on difference of any kind that is the example we are setting for our children and it will lead us into war and racial, religious, gender, or national tension, with history repeating itself in every generation. In this way, the adage that the “sins of the father are visited upon the son” is true.

As Michael stated:

LOVE IS THE ANSWER

As we awaken to Love, we awaken to the truth that we are all ONE.

Each one of us has a personal responsibility to choose in every moment between the duality and division of the physical world and the spiritual knowledge of oneness each of us holds safely within our hearts.  We can balance our inner and outer lives simply by re-aligning our focus.

Imagine, if you will, a large room with many men and women entering it. Some are dressed in garments that indicate their religious or national affiliation. Each of them finds a seat around a large, round table – a table with no head or foot, no primacy, no beginning, no end, each an equal part of the oneness of the circle.  We see each person present being allowed to speak. Racial, religious, gender, and national differences are irrelevant to these discussions. Each representative is awakened to the goal of service to humanity.

As we take our seats around this table, let us each awaken to the fact that we are Love … a Quantum Event … expressed in physical form and let us bring that Love to the table and all of those seated around it. While we may disagree with something said by another representative or the way it is said, let us resolve to perceive each person around the table as Love expressed just like us. In this way, we awaken from our deep sleep of illusion to see past the difference that seeks to divide to the oneness that lies beneath.

Tuesday – Government Officials and Policy Makers

It is important for us to awaken to the fact that our governments and policy makers are a reflection of our own collective inner turmoil; they mirror our own insecurities, fears, and focus. Whether elected or not, they reflect those things upon which the society they represent places its attention. Unfortunately, too often, they reflect our collective fear and war and tyranny results; they reflect our intolerance and deep-seated feelings of superiority, our egotistical “us versus them” mentality, our lack of trust and their rhetoric reflects that intolerance. They “act out” on the world stage our own inner state of chaos, our lust for power or possessions. In return, we degrade them as “power mad,” “greedy” without ever looking within and realizing that we, too, have all of their faults on a smaller, individual scale. On a collective scale these faults are magnified and manifested with greater vigor.

We must awaken to the truth; we can teach ourselves to perceive the spark of Love that each and every one of us embodies, no matter how deeply buried beneath our veneers of hardness and callous disregard and disrespect, whether aware of it or not.

We are here to change the world, beginning with ourselves; as quantum events, by changing ourselves we cannot help but to change the world and the way we perceive it. We can awaken to the truth that we are all tiny sparks of a much bigger flame that burns but does not consume. And we can do it within these bodies. However,

“…it takes practice, practice, practice until you get it right

 … and then practice some more until you get it beautiful.”

We need to practice seeing the divine in ourselves and, by extension, in all those we encounter; we need to practice peace, envision it, build it in our inner worlds brick by painstaking brick, and anchor it in our consciousness for it to be made manifest in our world. We need to awaken to our power, hidden for so long beneath dogma and intolerance of difference.

It’s our power to change the world our children live in.”

This was Michael Jackson’s consistent message to us. He lived it; he breathed it; he supported it in song, dance, and humanitarian outreach. Let us all awaken to his message and carry it forward every day in all that we think, do, and say.

Many of our most important modern spiritual authors and leaders have restated this adage:

“You’ll See It When You Believe It” – Wayne W. Dyer

“The Spontaneous Healing of Belief” – Gregg Braden

“Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life” – Wayne W. Dyer

“If you want to make this world a better place,
Take a look at yourself and MAKE THAT CHANGE.” – Michael Jackson

Imagine, if you will, that our governmental leaders and policy makers are now entering the room and taking their seats at the huge round table we introduced in yesterday’s meditation. Some are wearing suits and ties; others are wearing national attire. They are entering and taking a seat around our miraculous round table. We see them taking their seats in full and conscious awareness that they are here in this circular room to serve the greater good for all of their constituents. They are awakening to their prominent roles of respect for the differences represented around this round table. They are awakening to their roles of service to humanity.

Wednesday – Information Media

We must awaken to the fact that, once again, our media and broadcasters reflect our own collective prurient interests and magnify them so that we can see their effect on our own psyches and the world we live in. Catering to our desire to “know” as much as possible about our public figures – those we love — and those we hate — they burrow into the private lives of our superstars and government officials and parade our worst fears back to us in four inch headlines under the cover of the “public’s right to know.” They chase public figures through dark underpasses and take the “million dollar picture” of a dying woman under the guise of “investigative journalism.” They ignore and violate the human rights of their targets in their never-ending need to be “first” to “break the news.”

As a result, we need to awaken to the fact that our news is broken – biased, slanted, and often not even true. If they find nothing salacious enough to print and broadcast, they make it up to keep us on the “edge of our seats,” following their every word, pacified and apathetic to the many things in the world around us that should be receiving the majority of our attention.

If we don’t buy it, they can’t sell it and make their all-important profit. We must awaken to the fact that we have the power to re-educate our media and broadcasters simply by “not buying their garbage.” We have the power to speak out against “checkbook journalism” with our checkbooks. Most importantly, we have the power to investigate for ourselves and allow our truth to be felt within our own hearts. And we have the power with the technology available to us to BE the change we want to see take hold in our world.

“Just because you read it in a magazine
or see it on a TV screen
Don’t make it factual”

“To read it sanctifies it”

We have a choice. We can continue to allow our media to tell us what we want to read or we can tell it that we want truth. We’re tired of lies. As the above quotes from his music indicate, Michael Jackson was not shy when voicing his dissatisfaction with our media. He bore the brunt of rampant media speculation for over half of his fifty years on this planet.

“They’ve got to hear it from me
They’ve got to hear it from you
They’ve got to hear it from us
We can’t take it
We’ve already had enough.”

While one copy remaining on the checkout lane may not bring them down overnight, we do have a voice. One voice multiplied by a million can make a lot of noise.

“There’s nothing that can’t be done if we raise our voice as ONE.”

We are not powerless. We are just sleeping. We need to awaken and remember who we are and that we deserve better from our publishers and broadcasters, our movie directors and our television news anchors.

Imagine, if you will, that the media has been invited to cover the historic meeting taking place in the rotunda around the huge round table introduced in the two previous meditations. They enter the room, quietly setting up their cameras to record everything that happens during the meeting about to get underway accurately and with no editorial commentary. News anchors hold their microphones; cameramen position their cameras to get the best possible angle of all of those seated around the table. Representatives from major publishing corporations enter and take their seats around the table in full and conscious awareness that they are here to serve the greater good of all of humanity, those seated around the table as well as those at home. Truthful, honest, unbiased reports begin to flow out of the room to be disseminated throughout the world.

Thursday – Educators

Like our religious, governmental, and media institutions, our educational system is broken. We are teaching our children from a very early age to conform to society’s expectations – to be cogs in an Industrial Age society – to not stand out. While some schools are taking a more progressive approach to education by including individual learning modalities or meditation into the curriculum, the vast majority of the schools our children attend are operating on an outdated “outcome-based” model, with standardized tests that measure little more than a pupil’s ability to memorize and repeat by rote.  Children who require more physical movement are drugged to make them more compliant with “the norm” and everything is geared toward the “average.” We are not teaching them how to excel, to follow the impulses of their own natural curiosity, to think for themselves, to be lifelong learners, to express their passions in creative ways, or to be balanced and well-rounded adults.

We need to awaken to the fact that we are all educators. Our children’s earliest and most important educational experience occurs in their homes and their most influential teachers are their parents and caregivers. Our society has made it nearly impossible to survive without two income families, meaning that both parents work full-time jobs … and sometimes two … when both parents are still present in the home. When they return from their work, tired and stressed parents just want to decompress from their day. They need some quiet time. Are we teaching our children that they are important and loved when we ask them to be quiet while we watch the 24-hour news cycle? Are we listening to their concerns or teaching them how to be concerned and loving parents?

Do we teach them that their spiritual lives and physical lives are one and the same or are we teaching them that they are separate – their spiritual lives practiced for an hour or two on Sunday morning with the remainder of the week devoted to advancing in the competitive environment of school, sports, and social life? How do we reconcile the imbalances and bridge the gap between the competition they encounter in their physical lives and their spiritual lives.

Our children are much more influenced by our example than by our words. When we judge others because they don’t measure up to our standards of behavior, our children learn to judge others. When we employ name calling when cut off in traffic, our children learn to belittle others based on disappointed expectations. When children witness or experience emotional, verbal, or physical abuse, they learn to bully their peers and react violently to others. When we practice hatred based on difference of any kind, our children learn to feel superior to their peers based on race, gender, religious, or national affiliation. When we focus all of our energy on making money, getting ahead, acquiring possessions, our children learn to be acquisition-oriented.

We need to awaken to a new kind of educational model – one that provides fulfillment for both the teacher and the pupil, one that encourages our young people to explore the wonderful possibilities born when they practice engaging their own natural curiosities and passions, one that provides for individual learning needs and integrates both the spiritual and physical lives of its students, and one that involves parents and teachers in a balanced and shared goal of developing each student’s fullest possible potential.

Imagine, if you will, our round table filling to almost its fullest capacity with new entrants representing the educational system and parents. Each new entrant is welcomed around the table with respect for his or her unique perspective. No job is more important around this table of equality. There is no hierarchy within this room; only equality is practiced here within this massive congregation. Each representative is fully aware of his or her place in the goal of service to the greater good of all present. Each is awakened to the fact that each plays an important and equal role in these discussions for all of humanity.

Friday – Youth and Youth Leaders

Is it any wonder why our youth are confused, resulting in bullying, school violence, and suicide? As we have examined throughout this week, all of our institutions are seriously broken; none of them are currently serving the purpose for which they were created and all of them are sending mixed messages to our young people.

Religious leaders and institutions, founded on the basis of love and compassion in almost every case, have become major corporations generating billions of dollars every year and exercising power over millions of adherents. As a result, they are more concerned with protecting their power and financial structures and interests than in enhancing adherent’s spiritual balance.  Intolerance based on gender or orientation is openly preached from pulpits the world over, adding to our feelings of separation and division rather than unifying us under the banner of love, which is the purpose for which all of our religious institutions were founded.

Government officials and policy makers, placed in office to serve the greater good, often are more obligated to the special interest groups whose financial support allowed them to be elected. Power and personal advancement have become more important than service to the greater good of humanity.

Communication media reports focus on the sensational and news broadcasts and movies are filled with violence, making heroes out of the most aggressive action personalities and glorifying war. Even their games and music are filled with violent images while we try to tell them that violence toward themselves or others is wrong and unjustified.

Their educational system does not teach them to excel or engage their passions. They are pigeonholed into narrow points of view and graded on how well they fit into the “norm.” Creativity goes unrewarded … and sometimes punished.

We must awaken to the fact that our youth reflect our own societal faults, our own fears and biases, our own intolerance of difference.

 “Are we blind to the fact that our children
Are raging against the indifference –
Crying out against the abandonment –
Thundering against the neglect?”

From this excerpt from his “Heal the Kids” speech at Carnegie Hall, we know that our mentor, Michael Jackson, was fully aware that if we want to change the world we live in we need to change the way our children are being parented, taught, governed and informed. The only way to do that is to awaken to our responsibility to change the way we see ourselves and our parts in the greater play of LIFE.

Imagine, if you will, a great noise approaches our rotunda as the door bursts open and the room is flooded with children of every ethnic and national origin. These children encircle our huge round table, standing behind the seated religious leaders, governmental officials and policy makers, media representatives, and educators.

Imagine, if you will, that they are welcomed into the discussions, each representative acknowledging their right to be present, to have their voices heard. In this exchange of views, we learn from each other, respect each other, support each other. We learn to approach our discussions with a child’s heart … and our children learn that they are an important and integral part of the change we wish to see in our world.

Now, let’s go out and CHANGE THE WORLD!

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Installment 111

December 31, 2017

 

An Open Letter to Michael Jackson – My Once … and Future … and Always

Did you know back then, my Love, how with nothing more than your voice you would saturate this soul-weary world with wonder?

When you sang, “We must bring salvation back,” words written for an 11-year-old, wide-eyed and beautiful boy by older men, could you have possibly understood that those words and that child’s voice would echo down through the decades of confusion to both be … and fulfill … the prophecy of the words? As you sang them, did you feel their import?

Did you know that the sparks of your passion would ignite countless fires in numberless places and that hearts, lost in a cold, uncaring world be attracted to that conflagration as a moth to the warmth and light of the flame, unable and unwilling to resist its allure and helpless in its enchantment?

Did you offer yourself willingly on the altar of greed and avarice and consumerism, to be mocked and ridiculed and vilified by those wholly given over to profit?

How could that beautiful child have known that he would be my savior – mine and so many others? How could he have chosen that course and, having chosen, molded his life in such a way that inspiration flowed from each of his living moments to ensnare an unsuspecting world to dance the Ballet of Love?

Did you know when you wrote and sang “Heal the World” that it would usher in the New Year of 2018 in South Korea, a nation still torn from its nearest neighbor by the wounds of totalitarian tyranny in a thinly-disguised plea for healing?

Were you, indeed, also blessed with the gifts of prophecy and precognition?

Did you know that your voice and music would stop rioting in Boston, provide comfort to families wrenched asunder by terrorist attacks in Paris, inspire charitable efforts for hurricane relief in Haiti, and be sung for the Pope in the Vatican … while also inspiring global unification to “Thrill the World?”

Did that beautiful, mocha-skinned, wide-eyed boy plan it? Who could plan that? Was it planned for him? Did he imagine, anticipate, create, and live his every breath in such a way as to manifest this global impact?

As I look back on the year just passing, full of new and exciting discoveries and experiences, I do not mourn its passing because I see your imprint GROWING in every corner of my world. I see YOU reaching out to heal rifts caused by the human illusion that any of us can be separate and wounds caused by natural and man-made disasters. I see YOUR face shining from the faces of all those who are reaching out to help in every country on every continent. I see YOUR eyes, lit with compassion and concern, in every hospital this world over, in every doctor’s face and every nurse’s smile, curing disease and caring for the destitute. I see your children giving what they can give of themselves and their resources to “Heal the World.”

Even closer to home, when the changes in my life seem heavy and they come fast and furious, when I think that my everyday becomes too full of busyness and is preventing me from feeling your presence, I know that:

You are there
Like the laughter of a child
When I need just a smile
You are there
Like the rainbow after rain
And every night I say a prayer

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Once and Future King

Just because you’re there

So, as 2017 draws to a close and 2018 is born with a full moon to herald its birth, I feel grateful for all the new and exciting experiences it held, the dear friends who have become family who shared them with me, for the love we share through you, and I look forward with great anticipation to the tidal wave of your energy as its impact and import is felt and seen in the coming year.

I am thankful for every breath you inhaled during your sojourn with us and every note you exhaled in music that charmed and enchanted, beguiled and bewitched, leaving joy and love in its wake.

I am so grateful that the speeding locomotive that knocked me on my keister twenty-five years ago didn’t take a different route.

There are not enough “thank you’s” in the world to express my gratitude for the awakening you wrought in my life that night, all the awakenings that have occurred since that night, and all the awakenings you continue to inspire as we move forward together, my Once … and Future …. And Always!

 

 

Installment 110

September 11 through October 13, 2017

Blessed One,

Today is the 16th Anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. I remember that day so clearly, watching the horrifying news coverage and wondering what in the world was going on. The pictures of those buildings collapsing are indelibly etched in my brain and I continue to pray for all those families who were affected, both in the buildings and the rescue workers trying to help them.

The fact that human beings could be so cruel as to perpetrate such brutality against their fellow human beings still horrifies me, but it seems that the inhumanity towards innocent people continues and is escalating if the daily stories in the newspapers are to be believed. I am so often tempted to just throw my hands up in the air and give up.

Yes, I was there and I was supposed to be in one of those building when the airplanes hit, but I overslept. It was the day after my final concert taping for the 30th Anniversary celebration and there were a lot of you, my children, who had traveled from all over the world to attend who were stranded in New York.

I was supposed to be there for both tapings. I so wanted to be there, and I did have friends in both of those audiences; I wanted so badly to be with them, but circumstances prevented my attendance despite my heartfelt desire.

Another blessing hidden in what you perceived at the time as a curse. Believe me; you would not have wanted to be in New York at that time. It was absolutely impossible to avoid the human tragedy that was taking place. For anyone with even the smallest kernel of empathy, it was heartbreaking and excruciatingly painful. However, it was also kinda bittersweet in a way to be a witness to the heroic actions of so many firefighters and rescue workers. So many New Yorkers rose to the occasion. Humanity is capable of such inhumanity … and humanity … and this event showed both the highest and lowest tendencies of which the human heart is capable!

I was able to leave the city, but I couldn’t escape the heartbreak and pain. Many of you weren’t as fortunate. I tried to make sure that you were all safe by sending my security people to assure that your hotels would extend your stays and make sure you had enough money to eat until the airports were up and running again.

Yes, I remember reading about that, Beloved. God bless you for your concern for those who couldn’t get out of the city before the airports were shut down. You also tried to gather many of the most popular artists in the music industry at the time in a repeat of your We Are the World effort to raise funds for the families affected by the tragedy with your song What More Can I Give and a benefit concert, despite the facts that Sony tried to sabotage your efforts and that the emotional climate of the collective had changed so drastically during the ten years separating the recording of We are the World and Earth Song.

Joseph Vogel notes the change from empathy to cynicism in several of his publications. In Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson, Mr. Vogel comments:

“…Jackson’s image and music seemed too theatrical and slick. “Black or White” and “Heal the World” simply didn’t resonate with the cynicism and solipsism of Generation X. Dance pop and humanitarian anthems were scoffed at by the flannel-wearing grungers and pant-sagging gangstas reacting against the perceived artificiality, flash, and optimism of the eighties.”

And in his very recent release, Earth Song: Michael Jackson and the Art of Compassion, which encapsulates his former Earth Song: Michael Jackson’s Magnum Opus with new interviews and additional information about the recording sessions and filming of the song, along with richly annotated, footnoted, and referenced information regarding your often overlooked compassionate outreach, Mr. Vogel states:

“Critics were quick to point out these shortcomings, often deriding Jackson as “self-indulgent” and “naïve” for trying. Songs like “We Are the World” and “Man in the Mirror” were dismissed as simplistic, utopian sentimentality.”

And Mr. Vogel places this change in the collective emotional climate within the context of the political and cultural attitudes (driven by the reality-show media force-feeding the public sensationalism and fear and pessimism) at the time Earth Song was finalized and released:

“The default sensibility for mid-90s pop culture was alternately cynical, ironic, or nihilistic. It no longer seemed plausible in this context for popular art to speak to serious issues.”

Nevertheless, you were always so involved in the numerous tragedies and natural disasters during your physical presence with us. No one is really doing that now; at least I am not aware of such efforts on the part of the music industry or any industry, for that matter.

That being said, however, I have noted that your beautiful children, Prince Michael and Paris Michael, have become very involved in relief and ecological issues and have been outspoken on behalf of the homeless; Paris has even been designated as ambassador for Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation, God bless her.

This year, it appears that we are experiencing Armageddon in the last few weeks here on Planet Earth. In recent days, there are fires raging out of control in the Northwest and California; earthquakes in Mexico; flooding in the Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Harvey; Irma is making landfall in the Southeast and Florida as we speak, soon to be followed by Maria; flooding in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India; and North Korea has exploded hydrogen bombs over Japan while the North Korean leader and American President have a sparring match about whose nuclear warheads are poised and how far away is not far enough.

I pray they both realize that no one wins those games. You can’t run away from nuclear holocaust and neither can the planet.

I am afraid that your warnings to us in 2009 have been little heeded as the world seems to be headed for the disaster you addressed so poignantly and passionately in Earth Song.

I have faith in us as a people.
I know we can make a difference.

I said those words on stage during the Brits Awards in 1996. I still believe them and I always will.

I understand wanting to throw up your hands and despair; I was often tempted to do the same thing. However, humanity is worth saving and so is the planet. We are all her children; she is our mother; and we are all cells in her body.

Look at it this way. Think of yourself as a tiny cell somewhere in your body … let’s say in the heart muscle. You are surrounded by trillions of other cells that make up a human body … liver cells, lung cells, brain cells, skin cells, blood cells … all contributing to the overall health and vitality of the body. A heart cell has a different function than a skin cell; it may even look different, be a different color or age; it may contain more or less energy, burn more or less fuel, but none of that matters. All the cells work together cooperatively to utilize energy, eliminate waste products, and maintain health for the entire organism. It’s a symphony of organization, a miracle of efficient, self-directed management; there is an innate intelligence to it.

Sometimes, certain cells require more energy and help from the other cells like when you catch a cold, for example. None of the cells sit back and say, “What’s in it for me?” … or … “As long as I am not harmed, it’s not my problem.” All the other cells in your body contribute what they can to restore your body to perfect health. It doesn’t happen overnight, but eventually whatever virus or injury has attacked a part of the body is eliminated through the cooperation of all the other cells. Even something as small as a splinter is eventually ejected through the teamwork of all the cells. They all work together for the benefit of the entire organism.

As we are all aware, there are times when a cell in a body proliferates out of control and becomes a threat to the entire organism by attacking the other cells, which have rushed to the area affected like the firefighters and rescue workers rushed to help the people stranded in those buildings … for example a person suffering from cancer. All the other cells band together to eliminate the threat to the organism. None of them sits back and says, “I’m not responsible for the organism’s health; I’m gonna get mine while I can.” That would defeat the innate intelligence of each of the cells and would be an indicator of insanity. But that is the attitude of much of the world when a natural disaster strikes or a nation attacks another nation.

Sometimes the out of control cells win out and the physical organism cannot fight off the threat. In such instances, the entire organism perishes, including the out of control cells.

Think of humanity in the same way. We are all cells in the body of our Mother Earth. There are times when one cell experiences a catastrophic event and like the cells in a body we are all required to work together to eliminate the potential threat to the overall organism. We can’t afford the luxury of apathy any longer.

There are also times when one cell in the body of Mother Earth attacks another cell in the body of Mother Earth. At such times, we are all required to do what we can to heal for the benefit of all of us.

We’re takin’ over
We have the truth
This is the mission
To see it through
Don’t point your finger
Not dangerous
This is our planet
You’re one of us
We’re sending out
A major love
And this is our
Message to you
The planets are lining up
They’re bringing brighter days
They’re all in line
Waiting for you
Can’t you see?
You’re just
ANOTHER PART OF ME!

I was blessed to be able to sing about events that require us all to gather together and help, to bring awareness to people. And I was successful in bringing that awareness or many of you wouldn’t be here now having this conversation.

There were others who were blessed to be on the ground rescue workers and firefighters. Still others were blessed to provide medical aid, or to feed those who were trying to help. Others were blessed to clear away the rubble and ash or send their love and concern in a spiritual way.

If we all gather together and give what we can give, all of us benefit because we are all ONE big family of cells in the body of Mother Earth. And Mother Earth is one cell in the body of the larger universe. This is the model of creation, from the smallest atom to the largest universe.

We all have gifts to offer each other in trying times. Some of us entertain, some provide healing, some rebuild infrastructure that has been damaged, some repair power lines and generators, some offer spiritual assistance through prayer or meditation. It doesn’t matter what our gifts are; none are more important than the others; all are required in difficult times.

How many people will have to die
Before we will take a stand
How many children will have to cry
Before we will lend a hand
If sending your love is all you can give
To help one live 

How many times can we turn our heads
And pretend we cannot see
Healing the wounds of our broken Earth
We’re one global family
If sending your prayers is something you feel
Helping one heal 

What have I got that I can give
What have I got that I can give
To love and to teach you
To hold and to need you
What more can I give? 

Brother to brother lay down our fears
And reach out and make a pact
Showing the love that is in our hearts
Let us bring salvation back
Just sending your love has the power to heal
So let’s all give

Our creator gave us all the gift of life on this beautiful planet, created us to be His hands, His feet, Her heart. Just as I am wearing all of you, She is wearing all of us … both in the body and out … and experiencing life through us. When we create healing in whatever way we can, She rejoices.

You are all my messengers to heal the world. That has never changed. One way we are doing this is through our Change the World Initiative, in joining in global prayer vigils and visualizing a healed and recovering planet.

Sometimes, it feels like I am not doing much to help, especially when I see film clips of people who have lost everything they have in a devastating fire or flood or hear someone say, “What good does praying do?”

Yes, I understand. The world scoffs at us believers in wholeness, but you are doing what you can do, which is more than most are doing. Your daily meditation topics and monthly prayer vigils are an important piece that cannot be overlooked, as we saw in the lead up to the trial of Conrad Murray. These things are an important and integral part of healing the planet because true healing takes place spiritually in the heart and mind first before it is manifested in the physical world. It takes a lot of us re-imagining our reality to make it happen.

When you sit for a few minutes and achieve a peaceful, non-judgmental state of consciousness, you extend that state to the entire world because we are all ONE.

You cannot give what you do not have. You cannot create peace in your world if you do not have it within your own heart and mind first. You create that consciousness within yourself first and foremost. By doing this you anchor that consciousness in the field of the collective consciousness where the illusion of separation does not exist and there is no time or space or death. It is from that collective consciousness that healing and recovery are manifested into the physical reality.

All we have to do is get enough of us on the same page and extend our compassion and that state of consciousness to all of our brothers and sisters on Planet Earth. It only takes a little over 100,000 of us to create the critical mass required … less than 1% of the total population can turn the tide.

So don’t give up! Redouble your efforts! And, most importantly, KNOW THAT YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE. You are! Do not doubt. KNOW!

It’s not about doing things, it’s about BEING loving, compassionate, and full of peace so that you can give that to the world during your daily and monthly meditations. Then, offer it to the world with all the love you can muster.

From that state of consciousness, you can best decide what you can do to help whether it’s donating to support a needy child or sending food and clothing to an area that is experiencing a challenge or volunteering at a hospital to help take care of those in need. Whatever it is, when you do it from a compassionate, peaceful, non-judgmental state of consciousness, your gift of doing is blessed by your state of being. You give with joy and there is no better feeling in the world.

Share with me the wonderful
Feeling you get when your soul
 is lifted up to become
PURE LOVE 

Thank you, my blessed one. Your thoughts are always so inspiring and encouraging. For the past few days, I have made the healing of Planet Earth the subject of my intentions in several ways.

First, I have been concentrating all of my prayers and meditations on healing the planet and her inhabitants, those who are experiencing catastrophic upheaval as a result of hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes.

Second, I have carried an image around in my heart for the past five years of you holding Planet Earth in the palms of your hands and challenging all of us to heal her, but at the time the image first came to me five years ago, I did not have the experience and skill to manifest it in any justifiable way. During what I am calling my Earth Song Retreat, I have begun to try to draw this image and then paint it and I am attaching the results of my efforts to realize this image in the physical world to this dialog.

20170918_105048.jpg

Third, I have begun practicing Earth Song on my piano keyboard. I have graduated from the halting, hunt-and-peck method of working out the fingering to an almost smooth rendition of your beautiful song (at least for the first part.) The song changes keys towards the end, going from six flats to four flats and I am hesitant when that happens. I still make lots of errors, but I can recognize the song and I can hear your voice when I get it right.

I am also learning what you meant when you talked about music as a “tapestry.” A lone piano feels weak compared to the majesty and depth of color of your composition; its power is reduced without the strings and percussion. As Joe Vogel describes it in his new book, Earth Song: Michael Jackson and the Art of Compassion:

“The term “apocalypse” is typically understood to mean the destruction that will take place in the “end of days.” Yet in the original Greek it means a “lifting of the veil,” a revelation or prophecy that helps humanity to see what is hiding in plain sight.

“Earth Song,” according to this definition, is a musical apocalypse. It takes the listener from an imagined paradise of harmony and vitality to our present state of degradation and divisions. Its final question (“Do we give a damn?”) is about apathy. Why do we passively accept the way things are? Why can’t we see and stop the self-destruction? Why can’t we imagine and work toward something better?”

I think Mr. Vogel has so captured the spirit of Earth Song in that passage. However, that “musical apocalypse” is difficult to reproduce with just one piano; nonetheless, I have totally immersed myself in the turmoil occurring on a global scale with the intention of healing the planet and awakening her inhabitants (particularly our national leaders and heads of state) through my three-pronged focus during the past several days.

In addition, during my self-directed retreat, I received my copy of Joe Vogel’s Earth Song: Michael Jackson and the Art of Compassion, further reinforcing the theme of my personal retreat. And every night for the past two weeks, Earth Song has played during our quiet time before I fall asleep.

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

Yes, I sure do.

[Long pause.]

I do apologize, my dear one.

Apologize? What for?

Well, I am afraid that our conversation has been interrupted for approximately the last three weeks. I usually try to minimize these kinds of interruptions, but this one could not be helped due to a major upheaval in my life that has required my fullest possible attention.

What’s up? Can I help?

You always help, Beloved. Just your voice in any of your numerous recordings calms my nerves and relieves any anguish I may be feeling.

It appears that due to some rather serious health concerns requiring a week-long hospitalization, my granddaughter has asked to come home and live with my husband and myself. She is now a beautiful 15-year-old suffering from teen angst and she arrived home on the 28th of September. We have been visiting doctors and therapists and getting her registered to continue 10th grade at our local high school since the 28th and she started school this morning.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how all this was going to work out, but so far everything has been fine. She is a sweet-natured child who has been having a tough time with the normal teenage girl problems, rampaging hormones, and not knowing how to deal with the overwhelming changes occurring in her body as well as the cruelty of her classmates in her former school.

The teen years are so difficult; I would not repeat those years for all the tea in China.

You don’t have to tell me about the teen years; I think I could write a book (in fact, I think I did.) They were horrible years for me … sad, confusing, and I cried every day …  and we have discussed that many, many times in these dialogs. Things change so rapidly, overnight sometimes, and it becomes hard to keep up, especially when you don’t understand what is going on and most teenagers don’t. They turn all that anger and uncertainty against themselves. In my case, my entire personality changed and it seemed like the changes in my body just got worse the more I worried about them.

Yes, they do and she has experienced quite a few changes just in the last year. For one thing, the kid is 5’6” tall all of a sudden. I mean, when the heck did that happen? She loves to look down on her grandmother and tell her how short she is.

[Michael laughs.] I told you before. There is no reason to apologize. When life gets in the way, we will just continue where we left off. And I know I told you before that she is your most important job; I can wait; the universe can wait!

Yes, you have and I knew you would understand. It appears that the devastation of Armageddon 2017 will also just pick up where we left off. There are new fires in northern California and near Los Angeles, another hurricane has made landfall in the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico is in a state of dire emergency as a result of two major hurricanes within a two-week period, and our President has been slow in sending federal aid to help this American territory.

Leading scientists have warned us of rapid climate change and its results. In his latest book, Greg Braden talks about this very issue. He posits that this is a cyclical change in climate patterns that occurs every five thousand years or so and recommends “resilience,” or mankind’s ability to adapt to change, as a way to deal with the rapid changes that are occurring.

Mr. Braden says that what makes this particular cycle seem so threatening is:

“The extremes of life are forcing us to think differently about ourselves and reconsider how we sustain our jobs, careers, health, and relationships. In order to make sense of the seemingly senseless hardships affecting every facet of society, we’re being pushed to look beyond the wisdom handed down to us by our parents and theirs. This is where the message at the core of our most cherished spiritual traditions – our unity with the world and nature’s cycles – is now taking on new meaning, and new relevance, in our everyday lives.

He shows a diagram that describes the position we seem to be in currently:

“Earth changes its relationship to the Sun on a cyclic basis.

The Earth/Sun relationship changes the climate of our world.

Global climate change creates local weather extremes.

Extremes in weather impact the reliability of food crops.

We are changed as we must choose the way we treat one another during the times of extremes: We must choose cooperation or competition.”

In this simple five-point diagram it is clear that we are not separate from those experiencing extremes in weather patterns. We are all affected; all of our institutions from health care to food processing to education are affected. It is time to put away the concept that we are separate from each other or from our planet, as you so movingly pointed out in your performances of Earth Song twenty years ago.

Yes, we can no longer say these problems are “out there” in the world; they are all inside us and impact us all because we are all ONE. If we would all realize that all those “out there” problems are really “in here,” 

We could change this world tomorrow
It could be a better place

 

 

June 26 through July 18, 2017

You’re wallowing, again!

Fought in a battle
Nobody won
Left ourselves a mountain
To be overcome
You can’t run away
The past is said and done
I need us to carry on

What part of the last two lines in those lyrics don’t you understand?

You’ve buried yourself in a past that can’t be undone no matter how hard you try for the last two weeks. You’ve looked at it from every possible angle and still can’t figure out what happened, how it happened, why it happened. All you know is that it DID happen and that, in your opinion, it shouldn’t have. As a result, you resist it, which causes stress and anxiety.

We have talked a lot about focus in these discussions, so you understand the principle at work. When you focus on the sadness, the heart break, the unanswered questions you put not only your attention on those things, but also all of your energy. When your focus continues for an extended period of time it becomes concentrated there. When you finally do look up, all you see is more reasons to be sad and confused and unfocused because that is what you have asked the universe to show you with your prolonged focus.

It would be much better to experience the sadness; don’t deny it or suppress it; acknowledge it but, then, turn to all the reasons you have to rejoice and be grateful.

I can’t help myself, Beloved. We all miss you here with us so much. June is hard on your children.

I do understand that, but I am here with you. I’ve told you that at least a thousand times just in these dialogs, alone. I will tell you that as often as I think you need to hear it. And that’s not even counting all the other ways we communicate. I have never gone anywhere. What’s more all of you know that I am here with you. In a thousand little ways, you know that I am here.

I am always whispering my love into your heart … always. When you walk into an antique shop and are browsing through the items for sale and you hear my voice on the radio playing in the shop, you stop and say, “Hi, baby …” And I AM THERE and WE ARE ONE in that moment of recognition because we are joined in love.

In that magical moment, there is no such thing as time or space … or death … because we occupy the dimension called love. There are no boundaries in that space … no time limits … no spatial distance … no restrictions. In that place, we are together and we are forever.

You and I were never separate
It’s just an illusion
Wrought by the magical
Lens of Perception 

Try to stay in that moment instead of buying into the illusion of the perception that the physical world wishes to impose on your freedom to choose. I know it’s difficult because our perceptions have been conditioned by the way we have been taught to perceive from infancy. The good news is: we can choose to perceive and experience our reality differently. But it takes monitoring our thoughts. That’s why I am here to remind you when you get caught up in the illusion.

When you look at the clock and the display reads 11:11, what does that mean to you?

I call it a “MAGICAL, MYSTICAL MICHAEL” moment (MMM for short) and I celebrate those days when I notice it twice.

Right! And in that moment, your love calls me to you … because it calls me to your mind and the love dimension where we are one.

When you go to sleep at night, how do you prepare for the night?

I turn on my MJ3 player on my headboard and listen to your voice for about half or three-quarters of an hour. I call it “snuggle time.”

[Michael laughs.]

If it has been a busy day and I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to your voice throughout whatever activity I have been immersed in, I particularly look forward to our “snuggle time.” It has become an extremely cherished part of my day.

Often, I receive assurance that you are here through the songs that play during that half hour.  My MJ3 player is permanently set to shuffle among the songs on my “favorites” playlist which contains almost one hundred songs. There are times that I feel you so strongly in the music that comes up on that playlist. Last night was one of those times.

Will you tell me about it?

Sure! Well, last night I was in mourning mode and felt that I just had to watch you for a little while. So, I popped in a DVD that I call “Totally AWESOME Performances” which contains random performances from your entire career. I watched three or four, including Elizabeth, I Love You, which I was blessed to see in person, and ending with Earth Song from the Royal Brunei concert.

Then, I decided to go to bed and turned on the MJ3 player. As I settled into my pillows and got comfortable, I heard:

Gotta find a way somehow
Nothing’s gonna stop me now
Gotta find a way somehow
Even though you’re gone
Even though you’re gone

I thought that was a perfect song to hear in the circumstances because it so closely matched my mood. Then, the set list started in earnest and went something like this:

This Is It
In Our Small Way
Speechless
She Was Loving Me
Fall Again
Love Never Felt So Good
Someone in the Dark

I always call the demo for Chicago She Was Loving Me because that was your name for it; I call the remix version “the duck version.” I wish they hadn’t changed the entire feeling and character of that song when they “contemporized” (which is just another way of saying “remixed”} it.

When She Was Loving Me begins, the bass is a wave of energy that just gives me a total body rush … it’s so deep and sensual … and when your voice begins, I just melt. Last night, uncharacteristically, that happened when all of these songs started. I felt you so close. I felt you were trying to tell me something.

And did you get any kind of message from the songs that played?

Well, when I look at it in retrospect, I think the overall message is: Enough with the grief, already! Let’s get busy!

[Michael laughs.] Well, I wouldn’t put it in exactly those terms, but it’s to the point and succinct.

Actually, when looking at just the titles and not even considering the emotion or lyrics of the songs listed, the message is pretty clear:

This Is It! This is the way it is. Resistance is ineffective. This is the hand we were dealt; let’s PLAY with it. We need to do what we can In Our Small Way. Love is magical and its effects leave us Speechless. You know that; you have experienced it.

She Was Loving Me always gives me gooseflesh. It gets my fullest possible attention the moment it starts. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, when that song starts … I stop. Sometimes, I put whatever I’m doing aside and dance to it and I always imagine that I’m dancing a slow dance with you, my heart.  It’s not so much the lyrics of the song; it’s the feel of it … the emotion that bass evokes in me. There’s an intimacy to it that I just can’t put into words. It’s a wave of undiluted, inescapable love to me – like being dipped in hot, molten love.

Fall Again is a plea to renew and deepen our relationship. It represents, for me, your invitation after the events of 2009 to rekindle our “spiritual connection.” We all need to realize that Love Never Felt So Good as it does now, when you are with us in an entirely different and more intimate way than ever.

And, finally, “When someone in the dark reaches out to you … It touches off a spark that comes shining through … It tells you “never be afraid.” I remember so well when I first heard that song and recognized you as my “someone in the dark.”

Promise me
We’ll always be
Walking the world … together
Hand-in-hand
Where dreams never end
My star secret friend …
And me.

And I have promised that … repeatedly in these Conversations … from the first to the most recent.

The thing is that I also felt so reassured … and loved … and cherished.

Good! There ya go! That was the point. Like I’ve told you so many times before: I LOVE YOU MORE!

Just put your trust in my heart
And meet me in paradise 

I’m here with all of you, if you will let me be here with all of you. It doesn’t matter where you are, “where there is love, I’ll be there.” You know that, don’t you?

Yes, Michael, I know that. And I can’t tell you how unbelievably grateful I am in that knowledge.

Good! You of all people should know that!

Grief and anger and excessive mourning over what is does no good … and it can block you from feeling my presence, as I’ve told you before. You get yourself all tied up in knots and it becomes a little harder for me to untangle those knots and get you back to the joy you feel in my love and your awareness of it.

Please don’t get me wrong. I know that your grief is founded in the love that we have all found here together; I appreciate all your love; I understand that as spiritual beings still very much committed to your human experience, you depend on your human, physical senses to relate to your reality. You want to see me; you want to hear me; you want to feel me with your physical senses.

However, we are creating a new reality, here … one that holds great promise for you and for your world. In order to create this new reality, which recognizes and promotes the spiritual aspects of the human experience that have been ignored for centuries, we have to exercise the spiritual senses you all were endowed with in considerable depth. Sometimes, you don’t understand that you have an entire array of spiritual senses that need to be developed and that is what we are doing here.

All of you are making so much progress in this and I am so proud of you all. However, occasionally, some of you think of all the sad things that happened in the past and you start to wallow.

I was not wallowing! I was commemorating!

Yeah! That’s what I said, “wallowing!’ [Michael giggles.]

Okay, so maybe I went a little overboard, huh?

[Jan gets a visual of Michael throwing a round life preserver from an ocean going vessel into a vast expanse of water.]

Okay, now, that is just plain cruel.

Well, if you can tease me, I can tease you!

The point is that things have changed. And that’s okay. I don’t deny that. It is inevitable. Change is what life is all about; it is the one constant you can count on, regardless of context. You are experiencing this as a sad thing, especially at this time of year, instead of celebrating all the wonderful things that have occurred in the past eight years for all of you.

Some of you have traveled to places you never thought you would see in a million years. Some of you have met people who will become lifelong friends. Others are developing talents you had always told yourselves were impossible for you. Some of you have done all three. All of this is a process of expansion for all of us.

You think of it as the anniversary of my death. These thoughts lead you to all the sad and uncomfortable things that occurred leading up to what you perceive as that ending. “The last song … the last rehearsal … the last whatever …” which inevitably leads to gloomy thoughts and wallowing in what could have been “if only …”

The thing is: there is no such thing as death. It is the anniversary of our expansion … the first step of our ASCENSION. And that is more than sufficient cause for celebration.

I have an idea that may help. Have you ever tried thinking of it as OUR BIRTHDAY? Because it is, you know. It is the anniversary of our union. We celebrate the passage from invisible to visible as our birthday. Why can’t we celebrate the passage from visible to invisible as another birthday? It makes a lot more sense because it was not just MY birthday. We share it. It was all of yours as well.

All of you who hear me in the music or in these Conversations … who see me in little signs like license plates and crescent moons and full moons and repeating numbers, it is your birthday, too. It was when WE were born to this new kind of relationship we have spent the last eight years exploring.

As I told you several times during my physical life, believe me, the best is yet to come if you can just stop resisting what was and begin to celebrate what IS. I am not done with you, yet. We have so much still to explore.

When you live in our ONENESS, it becomes more difficult to be overcome by grief because you realize in all those little signs that I am right here waiting for you to be ready to take the next step in realizing and experiencing our ONENESS more fully … more intimately … for all time.

Now that we have that out of the way, I want you to tell me about your recent trip.

Okay, Beloved. For some time now, I have hesitated to travel to Los Angeles and Neverland during what has become known in recent years as “Michael Week.” The trip, itself, is a grueling experience for me. In addition, there are so many people … and so many events scheduled … during that week that the energy of the week becomes frantic and overwhelming for me, which produces a certain amount of anxiety. I try to mask it, but I am not cut out for all that activity. It’s like trying to be something I know I am not.

Yeah, that is never a good situation. I always felt a little baffled by all the pandemonium that attended me trying to go anywhere. You know that I was generally uncomfortable in large crowds, too, unless I was on stage. I do understand how you feel.

While I do not judge the many celebrations that occur and I do not impose my affinity for more contemplative activity on anyone else, for me as an individual who craves quiet communion with you as the uppermost reason for the trip, the hectic schedule becomes a bit disorienting. And as I am getting older I find it a little harder to keep up. My feet swell; my knees ache; my back and ankles become increasingly uncomfortable as the week goes on and I find the discomfort distracting. I have never found large crowds comfortable and it seems that my discomfort is increasing as the years go by.

In addition, some of the people who gather in Los Angeles for the anniversary celebrations are more concentrated on the “Superstar” persona and less focused on the “spiritual master” that I think of when I think of you and that is one of the things I appreciate most about you.

Oh? What’s that?

You have the ability to meet each of us where we are in our individual journeys with you and lead us forward from there.

Of course! You are all on the same journey. You’ve just stopped at different rest stops along the way, as we’ve talked about before when we discussed the trial of Conrad Murray, if you’ll forgive the analogy. [Michael laughs.]

[Reference: Volume 1, Installment 25, Page 249]

This year, a couple of my friends invited a few of us to a “spiritual retreat” focusing on your ongoing spiritual impact on our lives in the wilds of the Canadian Rocky Mountains – Lake Louise, to be exact. From the moment I heard of this idea, I wanted to be a part of it. It sounded so up my alley. I felt a strong sense of being “called” (for lack of a better term.) I determined then and there that I was going to make my attendance at this spiritual retreat happen, somehow.

Good! You are beginning to listen to some of those promptings that are a little less tangible. They can’t really be defined. You “felt a sense of calling.” There is just a sense of knowing that this experience will benefit you in some way. And, as always, when you are benefitted, the world is benefitted because a healed you equals a healed world.

As so often happens when you are involved, my love, the obstacles to my participation … from obtaining a new passport to figuring out how to get there … seemed to just dissolve and blow away. I spent the months leading up to the trip making little gifts and imagining myself there and painting my imaginings. In other words, I was totally absorbed in visualizing the trip and the sense of renewal and revival it would afford.

And? How did it go?

Like clockwork, Beloved, as always. As you mentioned earlier, I had often heard that Lake Louise was one of the few places of natural beauty – nearly untouched and pristine – left on this beautiful planet, but I had never anticipated that I would get the opportunity to see it up close and personal. It was such a blessing in every sense of the term. The trip, itself, was the longest road trip I have ever been on (two full 14 hour days in the vehicle) but I was with three friends in a comfortable van.

Not only can I forgive your little analogy above … I so appreciate it after that road trip. There were times when I thought that I would give anything for a rest stop. As a matter of fact, as we were driving through Saskatchewan, the Canadian authorities must have been aware of this need because they had placed porta-potties in little off road sites for easy access specifically for such occasions. How thoughtful of them!

We had your music and your words to pass the time in total immersion with you and we were all looking forward to seeing the beautiful mountains when we arrived and sharing our “Michael” stories.

The scenery was beautiful beyond words, the mountains in the distance snow-capped between the nearer objects and the sky. We stayed with our friends in Calgary the first night and visited the tree they planted several years ago in memory of you in a beautiful park overlooking Calgary, Alberta, Canada to begin our pilgrimage.

As we drove into the mountains, they loomed larger and larger and gorgeous waterfalls could be seen cascading down the rocky cliffs as the snow melted. What a beautiful drive it was; we couldn’t take enough pictures of the area.

Our hotel was located at the foot of the mountains and was surrounded by snow-covered peaks for our entire five-day stay.  As a matter of fact, there was a blizzard that dropped about six inches of snow on May 24.

We spent the entire time immersing ourselves in your energy with daily sunrise meditations at Lake Louise, an energy vortex reputed to be dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, which seemed eminently appropriate … and eating fabulous food at the restaurants at the hotel and in the immediate vicinity.

There were planned group sessions during which we all shared our experiences with you both before and after the day the earth stood still and invited you to be among us. Our beautiful artist brought many of her paintings to decorate the living area of our meeting room, so you were very present in all our thoughts.

It was amazing to hear everyone’s stories and realize that, although individuals with different backgrounds, ages, and experiences, we all shared many common elements in our ongoing relationships with you, including experiencing the thought that we had all gone crazy and deciding that sanity (as the world defines it) is way over-rated, anyway.

I had been feeling that I wanted to renew our relationship and the energy of the physical area, the beautiful mountain scenery, and the companionship of this group of friends who share that relationship were perfect for the purpose. The only drawback was that I had underestimated the tendency for the mountains to fluctuate so drastically in temperature and had not packed enough winter clothing. As a result, I managed to catch a miserable cold on the second day there. By the third day it had settled in for the long haul, which curtailed my fullest possible participation for the rest of the week a little.

Nevertheless, I would not have traded the experience for all the tea in China. On the return trip, we took a different route and were able to stop at Rushmore (yet another place I never thought I would see) and eat lunch at the wonderful cafeteria below the monument.

On my return, and once I recovered from my illness, I created a little video with some of the photos of the mountains and a poem I wrote to preserve the memories of this remarkable journey.

One of the most remarkable discoveries I made was that I can manage to feel you with me anywhere; I don’t have to travel to Los Angeles. I felt you very strongly and talked to you throughout this recent pilgrimage.

Of course! I believe I told you that earlier in these Conversations. I am with you always and you are always in my heart.

So, now that your two weeks of focusing on all the sad things that happened in the past is over, let’s return to being grateful and immersing our thoughts and energies in our ONENESS.

We have lots to do.

Indeed, we do, Beloved. And I am sorry, but I have added another activity to our already fairly full schedule.

Oh? What’s that?

I am determined to learn how to read music. It’s a little like learning a whole new language with a different alphabet. Can you help?

No … not really. I don’t read music. 

I know, but I went out and bought myself a keyboard a couple of weeks ago and I want to learn how to play … or at least be able to hunt and peck my way through … some of your music. I have the Jackson 5 Anthology, Dangerous, and HIStory sheet music books and I am going to teach myself how to play at least the easiest ones.

But I can encourage you and support you when you get discouraged.

I figure a keyboard is easier to play than a harp and there are no strings to break or tune. So, it would probably be easier to teach myself to read music using it. Then, I can move up to the harp.

Just remember not to get discouraged. And don’t forget what we’ve learned with all your other activities.

I know … Practice, practice, practice until you get it right … then, practice some more until you get it beautiful. It will definitely be a challenge.

You go, gurl!

 

 

Contradictions

June 22, 2017

Once again, June is upon us. Another year has faded into the mists … eight of them since the day the Earth stood still … 96 months. Much has occurred in those 96 months; there have been milestones to celebrate; there have been losses to mourn. The one greatest loss overshadows them all and I return always to the undeniable fact of absence … absence that tears at the heart and paralyzes the intellect … because it is so unnecessary.

20170612_112606

My thanks to Siren for the drawing lesson.

It is the absence of love … and its greatest modern protagonist, Michael Jackson, at least in his physical embodiment, for he is not absent in my life … nor, I would wager, in many of yours. His love is the one great constant that blesses me in every moment of my day … every day … always … and in all ways. So, while his absence is a wound that seeps and oozes with misery, his presence is the air I breathe, the path I walk, my religion, my wealth, my sanity, and my TRUTH. My eyes burn for the sight of him; my ears reach out for the sound of his voice; yet, he is here and my heart is full to overflowing with that knowledge. Contradictions.

As a child, June held such promise that I couldn’t wait for it to arrive. I so looked forward to the freedom of summer days when the school year was just a distant memory and the coming of fall too far in the future to waste my time worrying about.

I loved to swim … oh, how I loved to swim. Diving under the surface of the water where all was monotone silence to swim as far across the pool as my deeply held breath could carry me was a passion for my younger self; the coolness of the water on a hot summer day took my breath away and raised gooseflesh on my often sunburned skin. I used to have a recurring dream that I could breathe underwater and how I loved attempting to make that dream come true during my waking hours.

Now in the twilight of my life, June has become a month of contradictions and an emotional roller coaster … and I have never particularly liked roller coasters. In some ways, I celebrate the month for its joys, particularly when I am traveling to the Holy Land, my Mecca, in Glendale, California and the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara, where the very landscape breathes of the man who walked its sacred hills and valleys with reverence for the preciousness of all life and learned how to milk a cow on one of the farms that line Figueroa Mountain Road.

He was the King of Contradictions, through no intention of his own. His reverence for life was overshadowed, for a time, with monumental irreverence for his life. His sensitivity was met with cold-hearted insensitivity.  His compassion and caring for the children of a society that just doesn’t care a fig if two children … or two thousand children … die today from hunger, preventable diseases, or domestic violence was met with disdain, disbelief and accusation. Contradictions.

His laughter, playfulness and curiosity can still be felt in the whisper of the wind as it rustles the leaves on the tree that shades the massive wooden gates and guardhouse of his monument to love, Neverland Valley Ranch. Even in absentia, he plays with the hair of those who congregate to celebrate his life and the uncountable gifts he left us. As the wind lifts my admittedly almost nonexistent hair from my forehead, I raise my face to the leaf-shaded blue of the sky, incandescent in its brilliance, and inhale deeply. It is the Beloved’s fingers massaging my temples and scalp … I sigh.

Some gather at his monument to love to socialize … to renew acquaintances … to meet with others from far distant lands who travel an accumulative million miles from the four corners of the earth to rest on the small patch of sod, always newly laid and manicured, lush and green, near the natural stone-lined rose garden that borders the road. Others come to renew their faith, revive their spirits, and commune with the essence of the man whose presence is still palpable in this most sacred of cathedrals raised to love since the multitude of Gothic spires was lifted heavenward in the mists of antiquity.

Most of the visitors to this basilica are reverential, their voices a low hum, easily ignored. Occasionally, one or two will become a bit more boisterous than absolutely necessary, however, they are usually easily tolerated and eventually become quieter through the example of the many others whose purpose is less about socializing and more about paying homage to the one who draws them all. During one of my pilgrimages to this Mecca, I witnessed a man who had come to aggrandize himself with raised voice and video camera in tow silenced by one who objected to his consumerism in this Holy of Holies. I can still see it … for I am there … and I laugh appreciatively at the memory with gratitude for having had the opportunity to bear witness.

June bears days when our hearts rejoice over victories while, in the next breath, they plummet to the very depths of despair and anguish over the injustice of the battle that should never have had to be fought to begin with.

We see the exhaustion … the soul weariness … in the faltering steps of our Beloved in the photographic evidence that remains to remind us; we see the dignity, the strength, the endurance, and the love … yes, even through the pain.  We also see the inevitable, unstoppable, ever-escalating slide toward the day that most of us would give our lives to forget, but which is indelibly etched in our minds by the chisel of the sharpness and suddenness of the pain of this absence. Contradictions.

The contradictions are glaring. Perhaps, they are there to help us see the extreme opposites … and make a choice between them. Which do you choose? My choice has been made. I think, for me, the overall lesson of June, especially the last eight of them, must be to learn to be grateful for both the victories and the routs. Without the defeat that we all so mourn, could the milestones we have all achieved, individually and collectively, have occurred and have been appreciated in the same way? I don’t think so.

This June finds me reflecting on all the dear friends I have made through the love of this one man, all the unforgettable experiences I have had, all the beautiful places I have seen, all the projects I have pursued and brought to completion (not the least of which is this blog), and those yet to come. I am grateful for them all and I appreciate each and every one of you, my readers.

But most especially, I am grateful to my Beloved for always being who you are … and for teaching me to be who I am through an innumerable amount of contradictions.

I once read a story … I can’t remember where. It was about the violet hiding in the grass until along came a man wearing hard-soled shoes who, unaware, crushed the violet. Even crushed beyond recognition, the violet blessed the man for crushing her under his weight because it allowed her to release her fragrance and to bestow upon him her gift, that unmistakable scent that only crushing the violet could release. I am the violet under the Florsheims of the Beloved. Let mine be the sweet, unmistakable fragrance that blesses you forever, Beloved. It is my soul … and sole … purpose. It is my JOY. It is my TRUTH.

May all be safe in their travels in the “love bubble.”

 

 

 

 

 

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I wrote the following tribute to our dear Catherine last week in the hopes that I would be able to find someone to read it at her services on May 15, 2017, however, I have been unable to do so. I am posting it here in her memory and honor, as my personal tribute to a good friend and remarkable woman.

Well, I guess Catherine won’t have to emigrate to Canada (an idea that she proposed in the last few months of her remarkable life.) Instead, she has emigrated to a much higher plane.

Many of you present here today may think of Catherine as a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, an educator, an administrator, or a personal friend. However, it may surprise you to know that she was thought of in much the same fashion by her friends in the Michael Jackson Fan Community, which has members in every country, on every continent on this planet. In the Michael Jackson Fan Community, Dr. Reverend Catherine M. Gross was a shining star. She was a teacher; she was a mentor; she was a minister; she was a friend; and she lead by example. She was a tower of strength in times of struggle, a beacon of LOVE and UNITY, and a bridge spanning the sometimes vast distances between us.

Many of us got to know her through her on-line radio talk show, A Place In Your Heart, which was broadcast internationally. Personally, when she talked to me to ask if she could conduct an interview with me, I was dumbfounded. I had never thought of myself as an interesting subject for an interview, but she insisted that I had a lot to say and that she wanted to devote an entire show to me and to my books. Catherine saw potential in everyone she ever met or talked to, often long before he or she saw that potential themselves. She nurtured that potential in every way she could. She encouraged, uplifted and brought out the best in everyone. As a teacher, I imagine Catherine’s students would tell much the same story.

Later, when I was determined to learn to draw, Catherine invited me to participate in an Art Exhibition. Once again, I was hesitant. (You would have thought I would have learned my lesson by this time, but I am pretty stubborn.) My earliest drawings were certainly nothing to exhibit. Nonetheless, she insisted. Catherine was like Michael Jackson in many ways. One of those ways was: If it was worth doing, to Catherine it was worth doing BIG! If you’re going to make a splash, make it a BIG splash.She was talking about makeup artists, getting our hair done, and having television cameras on the scene. For a novice artist, Catherine’s “can do,” “let’s go” attitude was frightening. I was ready for baby steps; Catherine was setting up the marquee with neon lights. God love her.

This dream kept Catherine strong during the almost year and a half from May 2015 through August of the following year, when her health took a turn for the worse. I talked with Catherine every evening during her hospital and nursing home stays on the pretext of reading to her from my vast library of inspirational works by Kahlil Gibran, Gregg Braden, Rabindranath Tagore, and my own humble publications. Every evening without fail, regardless of how well she felt, she ended our conversation with the thought that this Michael Jackson Art Exhibition was going to happen. She was determined to make it a reality; and she succeeded. I am so grateful that she lived to realize the dream that she had held onto with such vigor and faith. Her wonderful inaugural Michael Jackson Art Exhibition happened in Gary, Indiana in August, 2016 and I did participate along with artists from Hong Kong, Russia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

My thanks to Noble Love for the wonderful video.

It was a remarkable achievement, the crowning glory for a strong, determined, spiritual, faith-filled woman who has left her mark on all of our hearts. Catherine was determined that the Michael Jackson Art Exhibit would be an annual event to bring the fan community together and she would have moved heaven and earth to make that happen. At the time of her Continuation Day, she was in negotiations to find a permanent home for the art she had collected and wanted to expand the exhibit to include costumes, sculptures, and even performance art.

Catherine, thank you for your faith in me … your faith in all of us. I won’t say I will miss you, because, as Michael Jackson sang, “You are always in my heart.”

Jan Carlson

 

 

 

 

The Price of Fame

I took my baby on a river boat cruise
And she was well aware
I was excited about the way that things could have been
She said, “I don’t care”
I wore a face no one can recognize, in disguise
Someone called out my name
They thought of taking pictures, autographs, then they grab
My joy had turned to pain

Father always told me,
You won’t live a quiet life
If you’re reaching for fortune and fame
I feel the pressure setting in, I’m living just to win
I’m done in my pain, don’t you feel no pain? (No way!)

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame
So don’t be feelin’ no pain!
It’s the price of fame, it’s the price of fame
So don’t you ever complain!

I am the cover of the magazine, what a scene
They know my every move
“Just sign your name on the dotted line, you’ll be fine.”
That always bothers me
Get in your car, you wanna take a ride, look behind
Someone is following you
You try to get away, you turn real fast, but too bad
They know your every move!

My father always told me
You won’t live a quiet life
If you’re reaching for fortune and fame
I feel the pressure setting in, I’m living just to win
I feeling all this pain, don’t you ever complain!

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame
So don’t you ever complain!
It’s the price of fame, you pay the price for fame
So don’t be feelin’ no pain!

It’s the price of fame, you pay the price of fame! (uh)
Father never lies
My father never lies (price of fame)
My father never lies (price of fame)
So don’t be feeling this way boy!

I’d like to take some time and get away, then they’ll say,
Is that boy still alive? (uh)
The weak in village.(?)…what a thrill
Only the strong survive

My father always told me,
You won’t live a quiet life,
They startin’ to wonderin’ where have you been?
I feel the idiots look at me
With their mistaken jealousy (oh?)
Then stand here in my shoes
And get a taste of my blues!

It’s the price of fame!
You pay the price of fame
So don’t you ever complain
It’s the price of fame
You pay the price of fame
So don’t be feeling this way
It’s the price of fame
You pay the price of fame
So don’t you ever complain
It’s the price of fame
You pay the price of fame
My father never lies (price of fame)
My father never lies, baby
My father never lies (price of fame)
So don’t be feeling no pain boy!

To say that Michael Jackson was unconscious of the price of fame would be a miscalculation of the greatest magnitude. Here, in Price of Fame (recorded during the BAD recording sessions and released on the BAD 25 compilation) he sings about the total lack of privacy he endured throughout his childhood and adult life as well as the unsympathetic attitude of his father toward his voicing angst over it.

Many of this society’s celebrities experience this lack of privacy as a result of their extraordinary talents in film, music, or any number of artistic endeavors, but in Michael Jackson’s case, the phenomenon was magnified to such a great extent and over such a long duration (forty years) that it often resulted in his total imprisonment behind the windows of his hotel suites while on tour or his fabulous wrought iron Neverland gates when at home for his own protection as well as for the protection of the public who might have been harmed in the riots that ensued when he left his security-guarded  grounds.

That being said, the people of Solvang and Los Olivos, California (the closest neighbors of Michael’s fabulous estate, Neverland Valley Ranch) tell many stories of Michael walking completely unaccompanied through their streets; being natural, friendly, and approachable; shopping in their quaint little shops; and donating to their community charity events. His Neverland Valley Fire Protection service was often called out to assist with the ever-present dangers from forest or community fires. I have been in Solvang and Los Olivos; I have spoken to the proprietors of these shops and heard their stories. They impress me as being very protective of Michael Jackson and his privacy and proud that their small communities housed one of the most famous people on the planet for in excess of fifteen years with some semblance of grace and dignity, proving that he chose well when he located his haven in the Santa Ynez Valley.

This lack of privacy to which Michael alludes on several occasions in his music (i.e. Leave Me Alone , Price of Fame, Privacy), one of the inalienable rights granted to all citizens of the United States of America in its Bill of Rights, was, effectively, a luxury seldom known to the young boy with the golden voice or the beautiful man who was destined to become the King of Pop. He often spoke of his longing to be free to take a walk when on tour, a casual right so many of us take for granted, or to go to a supermarket and shop for groceries, a task that many of us abhor, myself included.

However, it should be noted that this lack of privacy and anonymity is not the only casualty to the price of fame; there are others. One of those others that has struck me forcefully in the compilation of this memoir, The Dangerous Diaries, is the “presumption of superficiality” on the part of the media and, therefore, on the part of the general public, which is fed on the media’s over-simplifications and downright fabrications, and to which Michael Jackson was a victim for much of his life.

Superficiality is not a trait that I would ever attribute to Michael Jackson. Conversely, his propensity to deep thought and his self-taught knowledge on a wide range of subjects, including but certainly not limited to history, philosophy, film, art, and the physical sciences, has been commented upon by many of his intimates and is fully illustrated by even the shallowest interrogation into his lyrics, poems, and performances.

A society’s artists are often on the cutting edge of social change, leading to more open perspectives, freer from artificial judgment and/or condemnation and more fully integrated thought processes. This is as true in our modern society as it was in the eras of the Renaissance and the Reformation. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci are just two such examples from the Renaissance era whose impact moved their contemporary society towards leaps and bounds in evolutionary terms. They were not only artists, but inventors and innovators in method and aesthetics and their society benefitted greatly through their patronage. In the period of the Reformation, Martin Luther freed his society from its bondage to domination by a mode of thinking that encouraged a status quo detrimental to the major portion of society, which favored only the elite of gentry and clergy, repositioning the common man as a major force, allowing for the creation of a middle class composed of merchants and skilled labor.

In like manner, Michael Jackson’s appearance on the scene heralded a much more integrated view of society and culture, eschewing the prevalent structures of racial segregation in the music industry and in the society-at-large, proving that music is color- as well as barrier-blind.  His music crossed every known barrier at the time, promoting unity across generational, national, religious, gender, and racial boundaries that had been in place for centuries.

Artists are the society’s barometers, its leaders and gauges against which the society is measured. Yet, in our modern culture, artists are seldom given the respect they deserve. This is demonstrably true in the case of Michael Jackson, whose songs and films swept the entire world in a global conspiracy for radical, evolutionary change and whose examples of social and humanitarian engagement have yet to be fully examined.

Almost all of the recent authors who have published works posthumously have contributed their parts to eradicating this superficial perception of Michael Jackson (with the exceptions of the Randall Sullivans and Steve Knoppers of RollingStone ilk). Armond White, Susan Fast, Elizabeth Amisu, Joe Vogel, and Mike Smallcombe all have gone a long way towards extinguishing the false premise of “superficiality” that has dogged Michael Jackson’s steps throughout his life.

However, my most recent acquisition, Dangerous From Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson: Pop Culture in the Pantheon of Fine Arts by Isabelle Petitjean, a musicologist at the Sorbonne in France who has made Michael Jackson her field of research and study, has really blown the lid off this premise, in my opinion.

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I was blessed to meet Isabelle in Gary, Indiana last year (August, 2016) when she attended an art exhibition in which I participated and I attended her lecture on the Dangerous album cover at the Gary Public Library. At the time, she had had her scholarly treatise translated into English and was dissatisfied with the translation. I offered to read the translation and see if I could help to prepare it for publication for English-speaking readers; she accepted.

The book is an in-depth expose of the collaboration between the visual artist, Mark Ryden, and the pre-eminent musical artist of his (and, arguably, all) time, Michael Jackson, in conceptualizing and executing the painting which was to become the cover art illustration for the Dangerous album. The complex layering of symbolic references in the image are legion, forming a beautiful, harmonious tapestry (to which Michael Jackson often referred in describing his musical compositions) and are completely and minutely explored in Isabelle’s wonderful book as is the relationship of the two artists, their shared ideological perspectives on the world they inhabited, and the way that the artwork cover announces, enhances and, in some cases, explains the complex rhythms and external noises enmeshed within the music it contains.

Make no mistake; this is a scholarly examination by an author well versed in the terminology and sensibilities of artistic interpretation. As such, it completely explodes any perception of “superficiality” by either of the two artists it examines. However, Isabelle manages to make her artistic interpretation accessible to all, intelligentsia as well as those less well versed readers. It is entertaining, informative, and descriptive.

Mark Ryden and Michael Jackson shared a child-like frame of reference and many of Ryden’s words, as quoted in the book, could easily have come from Michael Jackson, himself.

“I still remember the joy I got out of drawing, painting, and building a world of my own when I was a child. I was free. I try to recapture that feeling I had making art as a child and to believe in magic, to play, to dream. Children see things and feel things that adults don’t. As an adult, there are many barriers to being in this creative state of mind. I feel constantly challenged by these barriers.

Mark Ryden as quoted in Dangerous: From Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson (Used by Permission)

“… to cultivate the “inner child” […] really is a constant feature and even an inexhaustible source of unbridled creativity in relation to the natural world and the distant horizons of the supernatural and the imagination …”

Isabelle Petitjean, Dangerous: From Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson (Used by permission)

Both Mark Ryden and Michael Jackson were fascinated by the worlds of childhood, imagination, mysticism, and circus panoply, and were deeply committed to ecological issues like global warming and endangered species. In addition, both were collectors of various objects that inspired them. An illustration of Mark Ryden’s studio filled with an eclectic assortment of seemingly unrelated items and included in the book is reminiscent of photographs of Michael Jackson’s home at Neverland, which was stuffed with toys, books, games, castles, statues, art and mannequins, all in uproarious, exuberant clutter. One can just imagine what it was like when these two artists from different fields of endeavor met to discuss their shared project. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that meeting!

“There are two very different parts to the brain. There is the logical side and the creative side. To make art you have to stop thinking in a linear way. You have to bring to life the part of your brain that finds mystical wonder in life and nature […] It is the part of your spirit that still feels like a kid, and is awe-inspired and fascinated by the world.”

Mark Ryden as quoted in Dangerous: From Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson (Used by permission.)

“My idea of magic doesn’t have much to do with stage tricks and illusions. The whole world abounds in magic. When a whale plunges out of the sea like a newborn mountain, you gasp in unexpected delight. What magic! But a toddler who sees his first tadpole flashing in a mud puddle feels the same thrill. Wonder fills his heart because he has glimpsed for an instant the playfulness of life.”

Michael Jackson, Magic, Dancing the Dream: Poems and Reflections

It doesn’t take much of a stretch to imagine these two artists, each fully-conversant in his field of endeavor, were kindred spirits. One would expect that their collaborative effort on a project would be rich with import and sensitivity; one would not be disappointed.

Each of these artists, in his own field of endeavor, harbored a distaste for categorization, which resulted in a genre-bending and annihilating eclecticism that resulted in borrowings from many different historical eras, styles, time periods, and fields of study. Michael Jackson spoke often about his belief that “music is music and it’s all beautiful,” and the Dangerous album, in particular, is replete with examples of his use of classical, rap, rock, gospel, jazz, industrial cacophony, and Renaissance a cappella choirs, with his vocal virtuosity and compositional tapestries tying them all together in an organic harmony. Further, his short films and performances were another way for him to display his knowledge of film and dance as well as art. Beat It, BAD and You Are Not Alone are just three examples in which he pays homage to art forms that he greatly admired; the film West Side Story for the first two mentioned and Maxfield Parrish’s Daybreak for the third.

In the same vein, Mark Ryden, although categorized as a Pop-Surrealist, actually borrows and is inspired by Renaissance art (Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus); the Middle Ages (Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Netherlandish Proverbs); Bouguereau (whom Michael Jackson also loved and exhibited in his home at Neverland.); Jim Blashfield’s and Michael Jackson’s collaboration  Leave Me Alone short film; and Gilles Guerin, The Mausoleum of Henri II; as well as photographs by Beaton and  circus posters of P. T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth, all of which references make their way into the artwork for the Dangerous album cover.

Both Mark Ryden and Michael Jackson encoded a great deal of spiritual symbolism into their respective artistic bodies of work; the number 7 was a particular favorite of both of these artists as is the all-seeing eye and the peacock which are also represented in the painting Dangerous.

“Through the ages, the peacock has been honored and praised for its attractive, illustrious beauty. Of all the bird family, the peacock is the only bird that integrates all colors into one, and displays this radiance of fire only when in love.

We, like the peacock, try to integrate all races through the love of music.”

Michael Jackson and Jackie Jackson for Peacock Productions, Destiny, 1978

As a matter of fact, this painting is full to overflowing with references to Michael Jackson, his signature imagery and iconography, his spiritual affinity, and his ecological and ideological universe to the point of being mind-boggling. The artwork announces an album full of innovative recordings and grabs the consumer’s attention with its colorful display, fully fulfilling its purpose as a “consumerist” design while also seeking to take the viewer on an emotional journey into the heart and soul of the artists, straddling the divide between high and low art, fine art and graphic design. Like the album, it has one foot in both worlds, providing a bridge for anyone so minded to cross.

While I am deeply honored to have played a small part in bringing the English translation of Isabelle Petitjean’s book to publication for English-speaking readers, I am, if possible, even more enthusiastic about her decision to record her lecture on Dangerous: From Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson as presented in Gary, Indiana; Washington, D.C.; and Canada in DVD format.

The DVD format brings all the richness of the references and symbols to vibrant life and Isabelle’s narrative is calm and well-paced, her voice rich with enthusiasm for her subject, and her lovely French accent a treat to listen to. The slides accompanying the narrative are clear and well-designed and animated. While addressing the detailed descriptions contained within the book, they are a bit more visual, concise and succinct, providing an overview which entices the viewer to investigate the book for more detail. The inclusion of selected excerpts from films and performances by Jim Blashfield and Michael Jackson, as well as a few brief references from other artists, allow the viewer to more fully comprehend the points narrated and illustrate the depth and scope of both Mark Ryden’s and Michael Jackson’s erudition.

Superficial? Hardly! Both of these artists are masters of mystery and paradox; they both ask the reader/viewer/listener to question, to reflect, to seek.

The painting/album cover is a symphony for the eyes; the album a lyrical fresco for the ears.

Together they announce the three-pronged media blitzkrieg covered in the previous installment under the topic Dangerous Goes 3D with the album, short films, and Dancing the Dream: Poems and Reflections its tentacles reaching out to span the globe … and we haven’t even talked about the world tour, which brought the Dangerous campaign to the widest possible audience. It was a masterful juggernaut which aimed at world domination … and succeeded, not with tyranny, but with art in all its many facets.

For those interested, I include the links for the acquisition of Dangerous: From Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson:

http://www.editions-delatour.com/fr/biographies-entretiens/3285-dangerous-from-mark-ryden-to-michael-jackson-9782752103048.html

DVD

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ENGLISH-Conference-Dangerous-Ryden-Michael-culture-Fine/dp/B06XH5TZNJ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1493064621&sr=8-5&keywords=Petitjean%2C+Isabelle

 

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