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April 22 through 27, 2016

Revised cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you want to tell me about it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, please!

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

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

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

[Michael chuckles.]

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

Did you ever feel that?

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

All artists experience this feeling of “let down.”

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

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

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

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

And you … don’t forget you.

Okay … and me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I remember.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There ya go!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m committed to my art.

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

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

Union with God?

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

Yes, indeed it is.

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

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

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

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

 

March 23 through March 29, 2016

Beloved,

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

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

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

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

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

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

It might not be a bad idea, my love.

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

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

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

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

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

Me, personally?

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

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

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

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

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

Okay … shoot!

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

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

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

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

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

Thank God and you, Beloved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes! Exactly. There was and still is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

NO! NO! NO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course, Michael.

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

YOU ARE NOT HELPLESS!

YOU ARE MY HOPE AS YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN

YOU ARE MY MESSENGERS TO HEAL THE WORLD

AND I LOVE YOU MORE!

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

Is this the one, Beloved?

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

Yes … that’s it. Thank you.

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

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

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

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

“My kingdom is not of this world.”

“Be in this world … but not of it.”

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

“I and My Father are one.”

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

 “I am the Light of the world.”

“Greater works than these shall you also do.”

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

“The Kingdom of Heaven is within.”

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

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

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

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On the Cusp of Greatness

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

Pure unbounded consciousness
Truth, existence, Bliss am I 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a proactive.

It is effective.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installment 100

February, 2016

Beloved,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, my dear one, I remember.

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

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

Did what?

Worked myself to death.

Oh, Baby, I know you did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a look at yourself and make a change

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

God, I love you, Baby.

And I love you more, as always.

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

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

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

Of course! [Michael laughs.]

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

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

Yes, Michael, I do, indeed.

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

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

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

Of course!

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

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

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

The Table of Contents includes but is not limited to:

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

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

Yeah, we were on the road a lot.

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

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

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

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

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

Excellent idea.

Installment #99

January 8, 2016 through January 20, 2016

Beloved,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go with it
Go with it
JAM!

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

So, tell me about what you are learning.

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

Yes … and?

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am?

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

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

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

The force … it’s got a lot of power.

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

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

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

Huh?

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

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

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

Yes, it does.

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

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

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

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

Do what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aura with Sepia filter

Aura with Sepia filter

Kenny: Huh?

You: Oh, are you awake?

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

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

[Michael laughs out loud.]

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

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

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

[Michael laughs again.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t stop til you get enough

The force, it’s got a lot of power 

Is there an “enough?”

No, not really.

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

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

Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, I’m glad you like it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installment #98

December 4 through December 11, 2015

Beloved, I have been re-reading our Conversations over the last several months to a friend who has been experiencing some health-related issues. In the process, I have remembered that we really did not discuss my course in “Michaelology 101” in any great depth. And there has been a new wrinkle in the topic that I wanted to tell you about.

Yes, that’s true. I’ve been meaning to ask you about that. I remember that you promised to keep me posted about how it all went. At the time, you were just beginning the course and we were talking about a whole lot of other things, but you mentioned it in passing in one of our earlier dialogs.

Yes, my dear, I always blurt out a bunch of different topics. I think I always feel like, “I’ve got him tied down for a few minutes. Let’s hit him with a whole bunch of things at once.”

[Michael laughs.] I’ve told you … I’m not going anywhere.

I know. God bless you.

If I recall correctly, we sandwiched our discussion of “Michaelology 101” in between brief discussions of the AEG Trial and an upcoming pilgrimage. I am always overjoyed when a serious attempt is made to discover meaning in your work. We mentioned several books which had been newly-published  at that time, including Joe Vogel’s wonderful album by album and song by song analysis, “Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson;” Dr. Willa Stillwater’s “M Poetica: Michael Jackson’s Art of Connection and Defiance;” and Ronan Ryan’s  “Michael Jackson: The Seven Secrets of His Success.”

In March 2013, I was in the opening weeks of a 13-week course of scholarly study on the subject of Michael Jackson entitled “Troubadour of a Generation,” but only made a brief mention of the impact it was having on me. In Installment #72 – March 22 through March 29, 2013, I said:

I’m serious. One of those pre-eminent educational institutions is Duke University and one of its most recognized and highly-acclaimed professors of African-American Studies has put together a syllabus of readings and discussions aimed at examining your music and performances and films in a broader cultural, societal and historical context.

One of my good friends who is on hiatus from teaching at the college level has taken that syllabus and adapted it for use with non-traditional students who have busy lives working full-time jobs, raising families and who spend a fair amount of their free time “Michaeling” on social networking sites. These non-traditional students often don’t have a lot of money to invest in scholarly research and my friend has offered to find readings and videos on the internet at no cost that address the syllabus’s main themes and closely approximate the optimum targeted points of discussion for each topic. A few of us have undertaken to avail ourselves of the opportunity to learn more about you from this scholarly viewpoint; I am one of them. And I have to admit that I am being constantly forced to broaden my perspective … and I am only on the second lesson.

To be totally honest, here, Baby … you continually AMAZE ME!

I liken the tendrils of reference to 19th Century popular entertainments and the far-reaching impact upon the culture from which you sprang to the ripples we have talked about so frequently in these conversations. In studying the paths of those ripples and the extent to which they correlate to the topics I’ve studied, so far, I am constantly floored by your relevance to … and influence on … the culture that gave rise to you. With that expansion comes a ballooning of my respect and admiration for your intelligence, strength, perseverance, grace and beauty. In other words, Michael Jackson, YOU ROCK MY WORLD!

And you replied:

You know, that was all I ever wanted … to have my work stand on its own … to be taken seriously … to see my work analyzed fairly … without all the nonsense … and controversies … and lies and media hype.

Any artist, regardless of the medium of his expression, uses her art to examine and comment on the world he experiences, to communicate his emotions and thoughts … his pain and his fears as well as her joys and her sorrows … and to form a link with those same emotions and thoughts in his audience. His success or failure is in direct proportion to the strength and durability of that connection. And she always wants to breathe LIFE into her expressions. He wants it to LIVE … forever … to continue to form linkages with generations not yet born.

In order to do that, the artist has to give it everything he has, put it ALL on the line … all his experience and talent and knowledge … his heart, soul, body, mind … and be willing to be fully exposed, holding nothing back. Of course, full exposure results in vulnerability and the possibility of rejection, but the artist must continue to move forward and express or there is no point to his art. “I know that the artist will die, but his work lives on. That is why to avoid death I attempt to bind my soul to my work.” Michelangelo said that. It was true then … and it is true now.

Well, I am happy to report that this trend continues and that your work and cultural impact continue to be studied. Of course, there are still books being published which rely heavily on the myths and urban legends that grew up around you, but in universities in these United States and across the world Michael Jackson is a topic for serious discussion.

Good! “Pop” music has always been given a bad rap. It has been dismissed as “not really serious,” as “inferior,” as “not socially relevant,” and as too “commercialized.” And the more popular It became, the more copies it sold, the less serious it became. I could never really separate “pop” from “soul” or “rhythm and blues” or “jazz” or any of the labels and categories the critics like to use to classify music. I used them all. Music is music to me and it is all beautiful. Debussy is just as socially relevant as Nirvana; Mozart is as soul-lifting as The Beatles. “My Favorite Things” can lift your mood as quickly and easily as “Clair de Lune.” It’s music.

But tell me more about your course.

The course, my Beloved, was an amazing experience in so many ways and I am eternally grateful to my friend who taught it for the valuable lessons it contained. It was an opportunity to view your art and your life in a whole new light.

To begin with, your comment above leads me directly into one of the first and most important themes that impressed me in my study of “Michaelology 101.” That theme is unification.

“Throughout the ages, the peacock has been honored and praised for its attractive, illustrious beauty. Of all in 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 into one through the love of music.”

With these words, you and your brother, Jackie, announced the formation of “Peacock Productions,” The Jacksons own production company, which resulted in the “Destiny,” “Triumph” and “Victory” albums while you were still in your mid-teens and those words carried through the rest of your career.

In all your work, you brought elements together which are commonly thought of as separate and held apart. You blended Beethoven and gospel into a seamless and beautiful sacrament in “Will You Be There.” It was this song, more than any other that originally got my attention. Its beauty and prayerful tenor and your performance of it in Bucharest just staggered me out of my complacent, comfortable, little life and sent me off on a journey that I am still engaged in more than twenty years later. Of course, the entire concert was phenomenal, but “Will You Be There” was, for me, a standout, a turning point, and a monumental blessing.

You merged hard rock with rhythm and blues in “Beat It,” “Dirty Diana” and “Black or White,” showcasing prominent, contemporary guitarists in the hard rock genre, like Eddie Van Halen and Slash, for example, and tied it all together with your vocal virtuosity. No one had ever done this before and, initially, this ability to combine musical genres both in one song and on one album is one of the things that set your musical releases apart from your contemporaries in the recording industry.

In your dance performances, you brought Bo Jangles and the Nicholas Brothers into disco with “Off the Wall,” Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly into urban contemporary in “Smooth Criminal” and “Billie Jean,” and “West Side Story” and ballet into “BAD” and “Smooth Criminal.” You merged all the different styles into a contemporary and unique signature encyclopedia of physical movement and employed both street and classically-trained dancers in both film and stage performance to bring your vision to life.

With your short films, you wedged your foot in the door of the color barrier on MTV and unified music television (when it was still music television.) Prior to “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” music television meant “white rock ‘n roll television,” but your music was so popular and the faith the music executives at your label had in you to produce cutting-edge, state-of-the-art entertainment made this traditionally white enclave sit up and take notice. They had to broaden their perspective. Very soon, you were in very heavy rotation on MTV and VH1.

When you were little more than a baby, you represented a new kind of African-American youth to a television viewing public, which had been raised on the “Buckwheat” and weaned on the “Amos and Andy” and “Aunt Jemima” stereotypes. This new youth was not involved in the drug culture, gang warfare, degradation of women, or criminal or destructive activity. In contrast to the stereotypes the general viewing public was fed at the time, you and your brothers were young, attractive, energetic, intelligent, clean cut, bubbling with effervescence, and astronomically talented. By doing so, you paved the way for new understandings and brought diametrically opposed viewpoints into more alignment and integration in the same way that Sidney Poitier did in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

In your concert performances, you brought all of these elements into a stage production enhanced by pyrotechnic explosions, film, magic, and visual effects. As Michael Cotton stated in the Special Features of the “This Is It” release, your concerts were much, much more than just concerts; they were multi-media extravaganzas, with stunning visual effects and underlying messages. You also brought thousands upon thousands of people in every part of the world into a sense of community, unifying them in their love for you and your music, which we have mentioned often and examined thoroughly in these Conversations.

This unification theme is a brightly colored thread that weaves through the entire four decades of your career, beginning with Motown and ending with “This Is It.” It was the first and most lasting impression that I took from the course.

I find it memorable that you brought an end to polarization so often in your work and in your life, but, at the same time, became such an object of polarizing opinion to the world (represented by its media) that you inhabited. To me, that is a very interesting phenomenon.

What’s even more remarkable is that this thread of unification continues to run through the 77 months since “the day the Earth stood still.” You are still bringing us all together in our love for you and in our efforts to heal the world with these Conversations and many others.

Of course, we are all ONE. Music is all ONE. Dance is all ONE. Art is all ONE.

All art is an attempt on the artist’s part to portray his inner life, his thoughts and emotions. Inner life is just another term for God and man’s relationship to Her. God is ONE … complete union. God is male and female, black and white, Israeli and Palestinian, Muslim and Jew and Christian. God is ineffable Union.

The divisions and polarities that exist between nations and religions and races are all conceived of, instituted and maintained by man. The TRUTH is: They are not real. They exist only in the minds of the men who believe in them. God did not create separation or division from Her or among His creations; men did. And only men can end it, first in their own hearts and minds. The world will follow as night follows day when enough of us end our belief in and acceptance of separation and division and recognize, at last, that we are ONE.

You and I
Were never separate
It’s just an illusion
Wrought by the magical lens
Of Perception

That is so beautifully stated, my heart.

The next thing I took away from my 13-week course in “Michaelology 101” is the many, many layers of meaning and interpretation and understanding that can be found in your body of work. It’s a totally staggering concept. Like an onion, when you peel one layer you find another awaiting your exploration. And the layers never end. They are bottomless, infinite.

[Michael laughs.] Okay, you lost me. What do you mean?

Let me see if I can explain. Because these weekly lessons were being taught in their original context as part of an African-American Studies curriculum, there is an overarching adherence to the African-American cultural perspective. That culture has arisen from the very real experience of the first Africans brought into this country as slaves and emancipated only as recently as the 1860s with the words “that all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free” spoken by President Abraham Lincoln January 1, 1863.

Shortly before Lincoln spoke those words (the 1830s approximately), one of the most popular forms of entertainment in America was “black minstrelsy,” which was performed by white entertainers who painted their faces black (before emancipation) and black entertainers after the Civil War ended. This art form “lampooned black people as dim-witted, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, happy-go-lucky, and musical.” (Wikipedia) “Black Minstrelsy” initiated the stereotypes so commonly found in the entertainment industry until the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s (over 100 years after Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation.) This form of entertainment spread to England and Europe but was the pre-eminent art form of the entertainment industry in the United States during and immediately following the end of slavery, with traveling “minstrel” shows touring the country in vaudeville circuits in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Those stereotypical traits continued to be the benchmark for black entertainers in motion picture, radio, and television broadcasting through the 1950s, at least. Those were the only kinds of roles black actors were considered appropriate to portray. I remember watching “Aunt Jemima” pancake commercials and “Amos and Andy” with my parents laughing at their antics on a black and white television set in my girlhood home in the late 1950s. As I recall, my step-father found “Amos and Andy” particularly uproarious and used the “n” word in all kinds of interesting and inventive ways. In the 1960s, The Civil Rights Movement swept the country and my step-father used that word with much more frequency to describe its leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. among them.

Enter … stage right … the Jackson 5. These were young, African-American performers. Far from being dim-witted or buffoonish, these young men were attractive, intelligent, poised, and well-dressed. Far from being lazy, these boys were burning up the stage under their feet with their ebullient energy and playing the audience like pros. And, as Ed Sullivan said in 1969, “that little fella in front is amazing.” Or was it “incredible?” Either way, the statement was true. On Saturday mornings the country’s children, black and white, could tune in to a cartoon that depicted young African-Americans as funny, smart, well-spoken, successful, talented, and approachable. These young men gave children of color confidence and pride that had heretofore been denied them.

Yes, they were musical, pouring all their energy into song and dance, but they were also able to discuss a variety of topics with interviewers and they buried the “Buckwheat” and “Amos and Andy” stereotypes with their charm and youthful exuberance. They brought a new tone to “black minstrelsy.” They were minstrels, yes, but gone was the lazy, plodding dim-wittedness … as well as the degrading comic skits that belittled African-American intelligence. They brought a new maturity to the role of the black entertainer, as young as they were at the time. And there you were, right in front of your brothers, in your fringed vest and pink hat!

Through this course of study, too, I became much more sympathetic to your dissatisfaction with “The Jacksons Variety Show,” as stated in your autobiography, “Moonwalk.” Interspersed among the amazing songs and dance routines performed by you and your brothers on the show, was a reprisal of the comic skits, harkening back to the degrading performances of the “black minstrelsy” tradition. Most of them were pretty lame. I was able to understand much more readily your aversion to the show after studying “Troubadour of a Generation.”

Later, you debuted the moonwalk on the “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever” broadcast. By this time, you were a beautiful young twenty-something with rubber bones and energy out the wazoo!

In the 1980s, the United States is congratulating itself on its progress in racial integration, but in reality there are still huge bastions where white supremacist bias is barring that progress. Prominent among them are the publishing as well as the entertainment and recording industries and MTV. Broadcast on national television and watched by many millions of viewers, you sing and dance with your brothers. Then, they leave the stage and you are alone. The heavy beat of “Billie Jean” is almost drowned completely by the thundering applause of the audience. With pelvic thrusts, martial arts kicks, and sliding feet all timed unerringly to accent each sensual beat of the song (I mean you don’t miss a single beat; some part of you hits each and every one … how the heck do you do that?) …

[Michael laughs.]

… your performance keeps us all glued to our television sets (even now). We are being treated to the BEST doing what he does best while a subliminal message is imparted. I am reminded of the song from “Mary Poppins.”

Just a spoonful of sugar
Helps the medicine go down

You appear from your stance to be moving forward, but the reality is you’re moving backward! LOL! Was that a barely hidden social comment? Was it unconscious or Intended? Either way, it really doesn’t matter at all. The fact is: it is there for the entire world to see.

I told you before. Any artist just expresses his or her own thoughts and emotions. I was not political. I had nothing to do with the Civil Rights Movement. At the time, my music was being rejected by MTV and VH1 and that rejection was uppermost in my mind. I sang and danced. Those were just elements of the culture and time in which I was born.

I know, my Anam Cara, I know. However, that’s another thing that struck me right between the eyes in my study of “Troubadour of a Generation.”

What’s that?

How doggone often God walked into the room in your life and in your art. To me, it’s totally amazing. You debuted with your brothers in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement on the Ed Sullivan Show. You performed in Berlin just two years before the Berlin Wall came down, dismantled by the very people it had separated for so long and re-unifying a Germany that had been divided after World War II (and there’s that unification theme again.) Your music opened the door to a new curiosity and freedom of thought between east and west and the resulting end of the totalitarian Soviet Union. When looked at with hindsight, there were an awful lot of incidences of God walking in the room in your life, my love.

I had no control over any of that.

Do any of us control what God sends our way? As you’ve told me repeatedly, our only control is how we respond to the circumstances and events that make up the moments of our lives. In each case cited above and many more, your response to the circumstances in which you were placed was optimal for Her Plan.

God bless you! Hoist with my own petard, huh? [Michael laughs.]

Exactly, Michael. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Another concept that just blew me away in the “Troubadour of a Generation” was the concept of the “dream ballet.” When we dream, we are freed from the limitations imposed upon us by the culture in which and the significant others by whom we are raised. We often find suppressed memories and emotions being expressed in dream sequences that we remember later. It is a way that our subconscious minds help us to cope with the sometimes overwhelming pressures of our lives. Even physical laws such as physics, gravity and time are suspended in the dream state.

The same applies in the “dream ballet.” In the field of dance, a “dream ballet” refers to a section of dance in which the dancer can express his feelings in a freer, less inhibited way … with more directness and in-your-face bluntness. It is generally a section set apart from the main progression of the performance and you used this concept in your art on many occasions.

The most obvious, of course, is the Panther Coda in the “Black or White” short film which was so roundly criticized by so many of your critics. Of course, they were ignorant of the concept. I have to admit that I, too, was ignorant of the concept until I took my course in “Michaelology 101.” In the “Black or White” short film, you are seen dancing with various ethnic groups as one of them and representatives of those various ethnic groups are seen morphing into one another. Then, there is an obvious break during which no music is played and a black panther walks away from the set to institute the dream ballet sequence, during which you smash car and store windows and generally let your feelings about racial segregation loose in a very direct and hard-to-overlook way. This sequence is a masterful use of the “dream ballet” concept and, in my opinion, showed how much smarter you were than the talking heads who criticized the film as violent and overly sexually explicit.

However, this is not the only example from your short films and performances. The concept can also be applied to the section of the “Smooth Criminal” short film where the music stops and all the dancers move in slow motion with shrieks, squeals and squawks. In performance, “Earth Song” the moment the tank rolls onto the stage and you stand in defiance as it approaches could by no stretch of the imagination also be called a “dream ballet.” The ending sequence of “Billie Jean” in performance, too, adheres to these parameters.

One of the layers that surprised me the most was the discussion of your art as “carnivalesque.” Being an amateur history sleuth, that connection just thrilled me.

Carnivalesque?

Yes, the tradition of “carnival” as a welcome break from everyday life whose vestiges remain to this day in the celebration of “Mardi Gras” in New Orleans and known by various names in some European cities, South America, and Mexico.

Carnival in this context refers to an ancient tradition. In Medieval times, carnival represented very overt and blatant challenges to established traditions, beliefs and authorities, providing opportunities for rapid, sweeping and far-reaching changes that, for the most part, moved cultures and civilizations forward … in many cases, by leaps and bounds.

On carnival days, village life (often downtrodden by religious and secular authorities for most of the year) was overturned. All rules and regulations were null and void. The work of serfs in the fields and monks in the monasteries was suspended. Cardinals, bishops and priests held no sway and sin was nonexistent. It was carnival. The king was deposed and the jester (prankster) ruled in splendor, enacting laws and partaking in Bacchanalian feasts. Religious leaders were mimicked, ridiculed and forced to do penance for their many transgressions. Kings and queens were parodied; treason was unknown. Feudal overlords were pilloried and forced to serve their serfs. Civil law was suspended. Courts were presided over by released criminals and acknowledged outcasts.

Many of the well-known institutions and social movements of the past had their genesis in carnival. The Renaissance grew out of this challenge to religious and secular authority and, in turn, supported it. The rise of science and The Age of Reason were seeded in carnival. The confidence of Martin Luther and the Reformation had its foundations in carnival as did the Magna Carta and the Constitutional Monarchy.

And how does this “carnival” atmosphere tie in to my life and my art?

Oh, Baby, you’re not serious? Of course, it ties into absolutely everything you did! You challenged EVERYTHING!

From the time you were a little, tiny boy performing on Ed Sullivan, you challenged the stereotypical view of African-American possibility, but not by confronting those expectations. There was no confrontation. Just by breathing and doing what you did, you showed that those stereotypes no longer applied. You defied them by not conforming to them and not letting them define you.

You challenged what most of us thought a child was capable of in the recording industry when you broke onto the scene simply by surpassing those expectations … by transcending them. Smokey Robinson thought you were a “40-year-old midget.” You continued to challenge those expectations throughout your tenure with Motown and beyond.

With your art and your person, you challenged the role of masculinity in society, in the home, in personal responsibility for the world’s welfare. The aggressively macho, urban tough was displaced in the hearts of young women the world over by a tall, lean, sensitive, artistic, beautiful young man dressed from head to toe in sequins and wearing makeup, singing and dancing his way across the world. In “Beat It” that beautiful young man was joined by the gang-oriented, urban toughs brought together for a “rumble” and you choreographed them rising above the hyper-masculine image by dropping their weapons. You challenged the expectations of the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” lifestyle by your fascination with “elementary things” and “kidding around like a child,” the commonly accepted definition of beauty, and in the role of fashion and wearable art. In all of these areas, your style was not confrontational. You didn’t pugnaciously throw society’s expectations back in its face. You just lived your life your way and with every breath you rubbed its nose in its own excrement. God bless you! It’s the “Gandhi School of Peaceful Resistance” applied to living a life of stunning accomplishment on a grand, grand scale.

Throughout your adult life, at least, you challenged everyone who ever told you it couldn’t be done … by doing it! You challenged every boundary you ever encountered, every limitation you ever faced, every obstacle thrown up to contain you, and every restriction the world tried to impose on you with energy, commitment, hard work, grace, and great, great love. Just by continuing to move forward on the trajectory you had chosen, you challenged the society and culture and times into which you were born. What a remarkable way to turn stereotype into one-of-a-kind invention.

I just love all of these different layers of understanding. There is the pure entertainment value of your music, films, and performances, which is not to be undervalued in any way.

However, in addition, a rudimentary knowledge of the institution of slavery and the entertainments it spawned reveals a new layer of understanding hiding below the surface of your catalog of work for those interested enough to explore it. With a cursory look at the world of dance and physical expression another layer is unearthed for those who prefer a diet of inspiration to the pablum they are fed by a media bent on misrepresentation and the same kind of degradation found in the “black minstrelsy” tradition carried to extremes. From a very amateurish study of Medieval history yet another layer is added. And we haven’t even counted the spiritual dimension that underpins the entire structure from your very earliest days in the entertainment industry, which we have examined in great depth and detail in these dialogs. This onion fully rewards anyone who peels it layer by layer.

It’s totally amazing. Of course, these are just a few points that caught and held my attention. There were many different videos and readings that I have not covered in this Conversation. For my readers, let me just state that if you are ever offered an opportunity to participate in a course in “Michaelology 101,” you will find it a fascinating study, a rewarding educational curriculum, and an uplifting, eye-opening experience.

It sounds like you had a good time with this course.

I did, indeed, my beautiful one. My only regret is that the 13 weeks ended. I could have gone for another … and another after that.

But, you said at the beginning of this Conversation that a new wrinkle had been added.

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Nothing Can Come Between Us

Oh, yes! I almost forgot. Thank you for reminding me. The new wrinkle that has been added in recent months is simply that the serious study of Michael Jackson, his life and his art, has been expanded to include your fans. A graduate student in the Netherlands has undertaken a serious study of the phenomenon of the “Michael Pilgrim” for her Master’s Thesis. In order to research her topic, she interviewed several self-confessed Michael Pilgrims, myself included. Respondents ranged from the United States and Canada to Europe. She requested information from people who visit places associated with you like Forest Lawn, Neverland Valley Ranch, your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Munich Memorial, even visiting the Munich Memorial herself. Unlike previous reportage of your children’s fascination with congregating en masse at such sites during important anniversaries in your life, which is commonly dismissive if not downright malicious, her findings are presented in her paper with a degree of respect that is generally not found in accounts of the fans’ journeys. Common traits among the respondents, whose names were changed for their protection and privacy, are their sense of ongoing spiritual inspiration and connection, increased awareness of social problems, and a willingness to contribute to their solutions.

I was thrilled to receive the chapter of her paper which presented her findings.

Wow! Watch the ripples as they radiate across that still pond.

You know, during my physical life I often instructed my security people and staff to be kind to my fans and treat them with respect. I even told paparazzi to be careful not to hurt my fans because I love you all more than you will ever know. This latest wrinkle makes me very, very happy.

God bless her and God bless you all.

 

 

Installment #97

October 20 through October 28, 2015

October marks our 23rd Anniversary, my love.

In your way of measuring time …

Yes, in my way of measuring time …

… because, in truth, we have always been together and we will always be together.

Yes, thank God and you for helping me to understand that truth. Nevertheless, it was October 1, 1992 on Spaceship Earth that I sat down in my comfortable living room and turned on the television set to watch the live telecast of your performance in Bucharest, Romania. That’s 23 years!! Most married couples don’t stick around for 23 years!! Happy Anniversary, my beautiful one! I wanted to do something special to celebrate the occasion. So, the other day, I decided that I would paint a beautiful painting of you.

This painting marks a couple of important milestones for me. For one thing, it’s BIG … much bigger than the portraits I have attempted before. I mean it’s not WALL SIZE big, but it’s bigger than I’ve ever attempted before. To be honest, I have been intimidated by large canvases so my previous portraits have been 11 inches by 14 inches or 14 inches by 17 inches at the largest, relatively small. This canvas is 20 inches by 24 inches and takes up very nearly my entire drawing board that sits on my easel. So, the image I was working with, the reference photograph, had to be enlarged proportionately to fill the space with all the complications that entails.

The second milestone I encountered … purely by accident, I might add (because I am not taking any formalized art lessons … I consider you my art instructor) …

[Michael laughs.]

… was the concept of underpainting. I had heard the term used once or twice, but I had no idea what it was. As I began to paint this portrait, I discovered that the paint was not turning out as smoothly as I wanted it to and I almost gave up on the entire thing. You see, BIG magnifies the flaws. It seemed that the paint was soaking into the canvas too much even though I had applied two layers of gesso and sanded the canvas to smooth them out in between. In addition, I had applied a color wash. Nevertheless, the paint wasn’t applying evenly and the colors I had mixed didn’t look right. The transitions betweeen shading and cheekbones, for example, were too stark. Finally, at 10:00 PM, I had to let the painting sit overnight to see it in the daylight and decide what to do. The next morning when I awoke, I came into the art studio and remixed a lighter shade to apply over the previous night’s work. While mixing, I added a drop or two of retarder medium to the mixed shade and began to apply that to the face. It was like I was using a magic brush. The new shade was applying much more smoothly and the darker tone underneath was showing through the new paint I was applying!

I was shocked and intrigued by this development, but I only had an hour or two before family obligations called me away for basically the entire weekend. Later that night, when everyone was asleep, I returned to the art studio and viewed the new paint, which had dried in the interim. It had dried much more evenly. The painting was beginning to take on the smoothness and shade that I was aiming for when I began the painting. I remembered hearing the term “underpainting” and googled it.  Well, duh! Underpainting became my word for the day.

When I had the freedom to return to the painting, I was armed with this knowledge. The resulting portrait is called “Metamorphosis” not only for the subject matter, but also to represent a turning point in my development.

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

Wowie! I am impressed! You have turned a corner in your art! You go, girl!

I have? What kinda corner?

Definitely! Yes! In addition to learning through practicing and developing new skills and techniques, you have gone from reproducing a photograph that you have seen and love to pulling scenes out of your imagination and manifesting those scenes in visible, physical form. May I remind you that you said you didn’t have any imagination not very long ago. Your words … and I quote … “Yes, my imaginative powers are extremely limited.” … end quote. Do you remember saying that?

Yes, of course, I remember, Michael. It was in Installment #26 when we were working on visualization exercises in preparation for the trial of Conrad Murray. We talked about it a lot.

Yes, we did, but I think we need to talk about it a little bit more. Do you still agree with that statement?

Yes, to a certain extent, but not as much as I did when I orginally made the statement. I am not a very imaginative person, but I am discovering that with a little exercise that muscle can be developed a bit more.

Yes! Exactly! It’s like anything else. You need to exercise the power of imagination to make it work for you. But you still retain a residual thought that you are not imaginative, so, let’s get that idea out of your head right now. How in the world are you defining imaginative? Because what I am seeing as you progress in your art and in your visualizations … as well as in the reactivation of your dreaming ability … I am seeing a LOT of imaginative powers coming through.

Well, Merriam-Webster defines imaginative as: (1a) having or showing an ability to think of new and interesting ideas: having or showing imagination; (1b) devoid of truth, false; (2) given to imagining: having a lively imagination; (3) of or relating to images; especially showing a command of imagery.

Exactly. Most of those definitions … actually, all of them except 1b … are making a guest appearance in your recent paintings … and in your life, in general. 

And in regards to 1b, I would argue that devoid of truth is NOT a definition of imaginative. Imaginative is the act of manifesting a physical symbol or representation of one person’s interpretation of truth … which may or may not agree with society’s accepted interpretation of truth … but that does not make it any less true for the person interpreting it. As a matter of fact, history has shown that an artist’s interpretation of truth is far more truthful than the accepted norms that society holds sacred. It is a much more nonconformist perspective which eventually becomes accepted by society’s standards, usually after the artist has passed on. Then, they are called “geniuses” when during their physical lives they were called “odd” and “freakish.”

Your recent paintings adhere to all of the others: they contain new and interesting ideas and interpretations (1a); they evoke feelings in the minds and thoughts of viewers and take them on new and exciting adventures; and they show a command of imagery. And, I imagine you still don’t think of yourself as an artist, right?

Right, I have a lot of trouble with that concept.

Oh …. read my lips … GET OVER IT!!!!

These recent paintings show a maturation process in embryo … a seed being nurtured into a sapling. You are drawing concepts and emotions from your imagination, interpreting thoughts and ideas and manifesting those thoughts and ideas in physical form. If that’s not imaginative then I don’t understand the term.

Can you tell me what has caused this change?

Well, I can try. Basically, my love, you have!

In the first painting called “Daybreak Over Foreverland,” I was inspired by your short film for “You Are Not Alone” and your love of Maxfield Parrish’s beautiful painting “Daybreak.” I love Parrish’s art, especially what I call his “Mount Olympus” paintings which show an idyllic paradise, of which “Daybreak” is one. I wanted to take that idea and see if I could interpret it myself … not so much his exact technique and colors because that is way beyond my skill level, but more the emotion that his painting and your short film that is based upon that painting evokes in me. It’s a view of paradise. It’s the Garden of Eden. It was very much an experiment to see if I could paint a fairly realistic scene incorporating that emotion. It was so much fun to do with the mythical creatures and peaceful valley and you resting in the middle of it all.

Daybreak Over Foreverland

Daybreak Over Foreverland

That painting is your imaginative, inner child peaking out around the corner of the door you have left ajar with your meditations and visualizations and the re-awakening of your dreams. She is not quite ready to emerge from the dungeon you locked her in fifty plus years ago. She is testing the waters, dipping her toes in to discover if it is safe for her to come out. There is a playfulness in the unicorn and fairies and their trails of fairy dust. She is a shy, bashful child, gaining in courage but not quite ready to dive into the deep end yet. She’s not sure she’s acceptable … approved … yet. She is waiting for someone to yell, “Go to your room and stay there!”

When that doesn’t happen, she thinks it might be safe to just enter the pool of becoming by going to the shallow end and dangling her legs in the water, sitting on the edge until someone commands her to hide herself again.

The second painting, “The Giving Tree,” came to me almost fully formed during a meditation in the car when my husband and I were taking our granddaughter to the zoo about two hours away from where we live. She was sleeping in the back seat and my husband was driving. We are usually pretty silent when he is driving. So, I thought it was a good time to close my eyes and meditate for a while. The idea felt like a gift as you so often described receiving your music. It just dropped in my lap and I became curious about how it would look to make you “The Giving Tree,” spanning the gap between the physical and spiritual, Earth and eternity represented by the moon and stars with all of us, your children, as the branches extending out into infinity and carrying the sap of your love into the cosmos.

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree

Ah, the wounded child has gone from just dangling her legs in the water to jumping into the pool of becoming. No one was watching. She heard no one commanding her to return to her room of limitedness. However, she is still cautious. She’s just wading in the calf-deep, shallow end of the pool. She’s still not totally comfortable being so exposed and vulnerable, but she’s not hiding, now.

In the third painting, “Let Us Dream of Tomorrow,” I wanted to represent our meeting place in Foreverland. This painting shows how I imagine our meditation space to be with its stream and trees and rocks, the sun’s rays pouring through the thick leaves and you sitting under my version of the Bodhi tree.

Let Us Dream of Tomorrow

Let Us Dream of Tomorrow

She has sat down in the water, now, and put her head back against the side of the pool. She has closed her eyes and is beginning to think that she can swim in this pool without reprimand. There is no one telling her that she is wasting her time being perfectly content. Those voices have been silenced, for the most part. Occasionally, there is an echo of them … a memory … but she doesn’t focus her attention on them. They are not as real as the feeling of contentment.

This is marvelous! I am loving this! In the fourth painting, “Primordial,” there was a beautiful full moon and it was being called the “Blood Moon” when I painted this picture. I wanted to put you in the full moon with the landscape showing the first day of creation … as well as the last day after the full awakening of consciousness. The tide of awareness is lapping the beach at about half tide; it hasn’t completely submerged the sand all the way to the rocks, yet. It’s kinda my interpretation of infinity.

Primordial

Primordial

That wounded child is wounded no longer. She is swimming in the pool of becoming with long strokes and diving under the water, holding her breath to see how far she can swim without having to break the surface for a breath.

And, now, there is “Metamorphosis.”

[Michael laughs uproariously.] Yes, and now there is metamorphosis. The wounded, abandoned, imaginative inner child has just dived off the diving board into the deep end of the pool of becoming. She’s beginning to see past the fear of the water … or her own limits, for that matter. She has a ways to go, but she has made great strides!

Beloved, I so love your power of analogy. Thank you. Can we shift gears here a little bit?

Of course! Whatchugot? [Michael is doing an impression of Rodney Allen Rippey, I think.]

Well, we have talked often about my “treasure trove” of tapes and purchased and downloaded Michael material and, indeed, I must acknowledge that I have a lot of fairly awesome stuff on tapes and DVDs.

Yes, we have recognized that you have been “obsessed” for years.

There’s that “O” word; I wondered when that would crop up. I take it as a compliment.  Thank you.

[Michael laughs.] Good! You should. 

I really cannot remember where I got all this stuff, but I recently had reason to pull out one of those old VHS tapes and just kinda cruise through it. The occasion was a visit from a dear friend who shares my obsession (which, in and of itself, is an event that is pretty hard to come by here on the dark side of the moon.) Since there are very few “Michaeling” types of things going on around here, our homegrown, dark side of the moon version of “Michaeling” consisted of pulling out some of my archived Michael material and watching until late at night.

One evening, after running around all day with my husband, my friend and I sequestered ourselves in my room and pulled out one of my old VHS tapes entitled, “BAD ERA.” You have to understand, these tapes are just a hodge podge of stuff that I either transferred from tapes people had sent to me during the 1990s or stuff that was broadcast on television on various entertainment shows like Entertainment Tonight, interviews that occurred, performances from the tours just all jumbled up together with no real organization at all. Some of the material is very poor quality, particularly stuff that I copied from other tapes. At the time, this was known as second or third “generation” stuff and with VHS the quality of the recorded material decreased incrementally according to the number of “generations” or times it was copied. I’m not sure, but I don’t think that happens with digital format.

Anyway, during the BAD Era, there was a program that was televised during which my friend and I found an absolute gem. I think it was only broadcast in the Los Angeles area because I have labeled it “LA Tour Coverage” and was probably televised just before the second leg of the BAD Tour hit LA. (1988 or 1989?) It contains short clips of performances from the tour interspersed with interviews with various people talking about you and the show.

At the outset of the BAD tour, it seemed like almost every show that had any kind of coverage at all showed clips of your performance of “Another Part of Me,” and this particular show is no exception, but tucked in amongst the clips of your performance were brief snippets of interviews with Elizabeth Taylor and Sofia Loren and Hermes Pan (Fred Astaire’s choreographer). I believe this show was broadcast at about the same time as “The Legend Continues,” a Showtime/MTV collaborative effort narrated by James Earl Jones, which I also have a copy of in my collection. Along with the above-mentioned celebrities, there was a brief interview with the members of the Beach Boys. It’s pretty poor quality, but apparently in response to a question that probably went something like, “How do you explain Michael Jackson’s almost universal appeal,” Michael Love replies:

“Whether you like him or not is beside the point. You have to recognize, the guy has megatons … megatons … megatons of talent. If you really want to get serious about an answer, it’s CONSCIOUSNESS. It’s a level of consciousness in direct proportion to his fame.”

I had to stop the tape (I’m sure my friend thought I was crazy) at that very point and write the quote down. I thought it was such a well-thought-out and, in retrospect, (knowing what we all know and having lived through what we’ve all lived through in the twenty years from the time of the interview to the day the Earth stood still) an honest, appropriate and prescient response not only for the time it was broadcast, but, particularly, in the seventy-six months since June 25, 2009. Mr. Love’s response has such an uncanny, almost premonitory ring of truth.

Michael sings:

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
You’re just another part of me.

Exactly! The song which preludes this brief quote, itself, is about raising the consciousness of the planet. In the lyrics, you are announcing … heralding, if you will … a major and long-overdue shift in the consciousness of the planet. So, within a very few moments, your lyrics refer to a major theme of consciousness (which would become more and more prevalent as time went on and would come to play a major role in all of your subsequent releases) … and one of the Beach Boys (for heaven’s sake!) is referring to you in terms of possessing a “level of consciousness,” which is a fairly uncommon trait to cite in reference to an entertainer of any ilk. I honestly never made this connection before.

I have watched this particular tape many, many times (mostly back in the 1990s, but I have also transferred some of the material from this VHS tape onto DVD for preservation purposes.) The quote had never had quite the impact on me before I watched it again with my friend on Saturday evening.

For myself, I have to admit that when I taped that short segment, I had no idea what I was taping or that I would be writing about it and marveling at its applicability more than twenty years later. Its significance was a total 747 … flew right over my head.

[Michael laughs.] Just one more example of the adage, “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.” This time it was Michael Love.

Yes, I can see that I was not ready to fully “grok” what the man was saying. I mean I had not awakened to this awareness at the time I copied this particular segment onto the tape we watched, at least not to the level at which I currently reside. Of course, I understood what the term consciousness referred to (or, at least, I thought I did) intellectually, but I had not experienced this new way of understanding the term that many of us have come to know more intimately in the interval, at that time.

What’s more, I don’t really know if Michael Love, himself, knew what he was saying more than twenty years ago … whether he was using the term in its more generic usage or if he was referring to consciousness, with the expanded meaning as many of your children understand it now. The quote itself contains the clues, “If you really want to get serious about an answer,” but it also contains, “in direct proportion to his fame.” So, these are really kind of conflicting clues. The first infers a seriousness and devotion to finding an adequate term to encompass the phenomenon and the second infers a kind of generic interpretation of his words. Either way, it is an unusual word for him to have used back then in reference to popular music … or a popular musician.

For me, and I think for many of my readers, the word “consciousness” has taken on whole new meanings since we began these Conversations. As a matter of fact, all of these dialogs from Installment #1 to present have been about consciousness. What do we focus our attention on? Do we react consciously or unconsciously (by default) when our buttons are pushed? How do we participate consciously in our world? You have even said that we are birthing a new “paradigm” … a new “collective consciousness.”

Yes, exactly. We are working on raising the level of your awareness … helping you to see that many of the thoughts you think, words you say and actions you engage in are being done from a level of unconsciousness … a kind of automatic pilot … which has created many of the world’s current critical crises; that you are not “paying attention” and, therefore, are not fully aware of how you are affecting your own emotional climate as well as the world around you. 

We are taking the unconscious behavior … those things you do kind of by default according to your society’s and culture’s preconceived biases, which you are taught as pure, innocent children as what has become accepted as a natural part of growing up … and shining the light of consciousness on them so that you can decide with full awareness if you want to continue with those same thoughts, words and actions. In addition, we are offering alternative ways of perceiving challenges, dealing with conflicting emotions and situations so that you can begin to think, say and act in more creative, less judgmental, more life-enhancing ways both for yourself and for your world. 

Darwinian Science has determined that the history of evolution on this planet is all about the physical changes in the human organism from protozoa to homo sapiens … or the advance of our technological and scientific expertise … or the quality of life economic model, making our modern conveniences like running water, microwave ovens and fast cars the goal and best measure of our evolutionary advance. It is very invested in the physical world that can be seen, categorized, labeled and measured. None of these are the goals of the evolutionary process; they are the results … side effects, if you want to call them that. The Darwinian model is obsolete now that the quantum realm has been discovered. It’s just not true.

Unfortunately, all of our institutions are based on and promote the obsolete Darwinian model … our outcome-based educational system, which tries to make all children learn at the same rate by the same methods and meet the same standards … our allopathic medical and health care systems which treat the symptoms of disease but not the cause … our top-down governmental systems which make laws based on economic gain for the supporters of political candidates and promote the acquisition of personal power over the service-based model introduced by our founding fathers … and our religious institutions which still preach an angry and vengeance-seeking God from almost every pulpit on Sunday morning. 

In the Darwinian viewpoint, it’s survival of the fittest. Who cares if it’s right as long as I profit? “Who cares if its the truth as long as we can pay someone enough to say it’s the truth.” [PBS Frontline Special “Tabloid Truth: The Michael Jackson Scandal 1994]  After all, we are not in the news business; we are in the entertainment business. Anything goes. Paying people to lie? Sure, why not if that’s what it takes to get ahead and trump the other guys with a scoop.

The evolution of mankind is not measured by the size of our cranium, the size of our wallet or the size of our hard drive. It’s the size of our hearts that counts. The history of evolution on Planet Earth is the evolution of our consciousness and we are at a critical juncture in that evolution as a species. We stand at a crossroad. 

“We have four years to get it right. It’s an important message I have to give.”

That was six years ago, now … six years in your way of perceiving and experiencing time.

We can continue on the same path we have been traveling for centuries and destroy the planet and ourselves in the process. In this scenario, no one wins, no one profits and nothing survives. If that is our conscious, fully aware choice, at least let’s be conscious of what we are doing. We do have that option and the freedom to exercise it.

Or we can become aware that we are all ONE with each other and with the planet which nurtures and sustains us and conscious co-creators of another reality, one in which each person is allowed the freedom to be the best he or she can be and contribute his or her gifts to improve the lives of all. We are just as free to choose this option and avoid the “no one wins” scenario. However, we have to become conscious of the things we have done in the past that didn’t work … for ourselves and for our world … so that we can avoid falling into the same kinds of traps in which we have been imprisoned for a very long time.

Michael! Doggone it! How the heck do you do that? I just got chills running up and down my spine! Thank you, Baby … I so love you!

[Michael giggles.] I so love you more. What are you on about now?

Well, after allowing this Conversation to “simmer” overnight, I picked up the book we are reading for our daily Library Hour and read the following two paragraphs out loud … to you:

Occasionally, in the course of history a new worldview emerges that transforms society. It happened when Jesus’ disciples were inspired by his life to believe in radical transformation through love. It occurred in the Renaissance when the idea of progress through knowledge was born. It happened in the United States when the ideas of freedom and democracy became institutions through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and again among the transcendentalists, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, who believed that each individual is an expression of the divine, a free and sovereign person. Now, once again, a new worldview is arising. This idea is the culmination of all human history. It holds the promise of fulfilling the great aspirations of the past and heralds the advent of the next phase of our evolution. It is the idea of conscious evolution.

Conscious evolution is occurring in our generation because we are now gaining an understanding of the processes of nature: the gene, the atom, the brain, the origin of the universe, and the whole story of creation from the big bang to us. We are now changing our understanding of how nature evolves; we are moving from unconscious evolution through natural selection to conscious evolution by choice. With this increased knowledge and the power that it gives us, we can destroy the world or we can participate in a future of immeasurable dimensions. Into our hands has been given the power of codestruction or cocreation.

The book is called “Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of our Social Potential” by Barbara Marx Hubbard.

Yes, exactly. I love it when a plan comes together! What surprises you?

Well, I’ve had this book for years and haven’t picked it up in ages except to dust the shelf it was resting on. However, here we are in the middle of a dialog about consciousness and my hand pulls it off the shelf and these words are the first words I read. Now, I suppose it could just be the fact that I have a lot of books on these kinds of subjects, but I interpret these things as validation … kind of confirmation that I am on the right track because there are no coincidences in the world of the Beloved.

Or in any world for that matter, but that’s another discussion.

I know you all look around you at the world that you see on television broadcasts and think, “How can we be creating a new collective consciousness? Look at this mess!” Right?

Absolutely! It is a little hard to see in news broadcasts during which they focus on war and violence and titillating stories about celebrities. Are we having any impact?

Do you remember our discussion about caterpillars?

Totally! It’s one of my favorites! In Installment #37 – July 30 through August 6, 2011, you said:

You are all earthbound caterpillars. You are all concentrating all your thought, energy and imagination on being earthbound caterpillars … “plodding determinedly” as you described in an earlier conversation … with your eyes glued to the ground less than an inch in front of you … being concerned with the things a caterpillar is concerned with … not realizing that those things offer a very limited, restricted outlook on the life you are living. You don’t look up as the caterpillar doesn’t look up. You are unaware that there is another kind of life … one of freedom … one of bliss … one of floating on air currents … one of integration and creativity. You don’t even ask yourself, “Is this all there is?” because you aren’t aware that there is a self to ask.

However, inside the caterpillar is an unrealized potential … a beautiful, carefree butterfly with gossamer, stained glass wings awaiting birth. You are not even aware that such a creature could possibly exist; such things are beyond your limited thinking. Caterpillars can’t see the sky; their eyes are not placed in their heads in the right position for sky viewing nor is their sense of sight acute enough to see that far above them.

Yet, in just a few short weeks you will be in a state of suspended animation and a short while after that some kind of magician somewhere will wave his magic wand … and you will be a butterfly! Let me be your magician. Let me show you what lies in store for you. If you could only see past the caterpillar’s blindness to the freedom of the butterfly, you would be so uplifted and your heart would soar, even while your little caterpillar bodies are still earthbound. That’s what we’re doing here … you and I … all of you and I.

Like the caterpillar, you limit yourself, instead of reaching higher, because it is what you are familiar with and what your world has taught you to be satisfied with. The smallest, most insignificant change in perspective (like alive and dead) frightens you. Total metamorphosis is unthinkable. You have very little faith in the butterfly’s presence, but it is there lying dormant within you, just awaiting the proper genetic and environmental triggers to manifest iself. Let me be those triggers.

The purpose of this exercise is to awaken the butterfly … without having to depend on the chrysalis … to alert your spiritual senses to my presence. This journey we are all on is one step at a time and each step in the process is incremental, leading you on to the next step. First, you have to be aware that there is more to life than the one-sided, myopic, earthbound view in which you are currently imprisoned before you can have the faith necessary to bring that perspective into your reality. We need to get your earthbound caterpillar eyes to see another way of looking at life. Since your earthbound caterpillar vision is not acute enough to see so far above your heads, we need to awaken your spiritual sight … your imagination … to envision me reaching for you … to awaken in you the desire to reach for me.

The next step is for us to quicken your faith in that other view of life, in your ability to climb high enough to touch me and in my ability to reach far enough to touch you. Some of you … I won’t mention any names, here <ahem> … but you know who you are … are stuck here! You just insist on losing your balance and falling off that chair! You are faith-filled, beautiful, almost-butterflies when you are writing or dancing or listening, but then you let the world intrude itself into your journey … and you allow doubt to bring you crashing back to Earth. But, remember, you can only fall as far as my arms.

Yes, that’s it. I want you to stop and consider something for a moment. How do you think the caterpillar reacts when it is all wrapped up inside its nice, comfy cocoon hanging by a silken thread from a tree branch and the metamorphosis begins that will transform it into a butterfly? Is this a joyous, carefree time in the caterpillar’s life cycle?

Gee, Baby … I don’t know. I guess I’ve never thought about this before. Is it?

Uh … no! [Michael chuckles.] Not at all. Once the caterpillar is safely tucked away in its nice, comfy cocoon, imaginal cells begin to form. These imaginal cells are all about “rockin the boat.” They are the seeds of transformation.

The caterpillar’s body interprets these imaginal cells as a disease. It doesn’t know that they will form wings and a new body … and transform its life into one of freedom … and bliss … and floating on air currents … and integration, wholeness and creativity. All its body knows is that there is an “unknown” that has invaded its cocoon … a foreign body has attacked it … like a virus … and it is wreaking havoc in there. The caterpillar is very invested in remaining a caterpillar … in maintaining the status quo … because that is all it knows. To the caterpillar, the attack heralds death. And that is true. It is death to the caterpillar, but birth to the butterfly. It’s not really death; it’s transformation; it’s metamorphosis. 

The caterpillar body tries to fight off its attacker, but no matter how hard the caterpillar fights the foreign imaginal cells, they continue to proliferate, and become emergent imaginal cells, transforming the caterpillar against its antibodies … against its better judgment … against its will! Until, at the end of the struggle, the butterfly emerges to dry its newly-acquired wings in the fresh air, a totally transformed creature … not dead, but a new-fully formed, bewinged creature, whose view of the world … and experience of it … is totally new and entirely different.

This is a very good metaphor for what my beautiful, almost-butterflies are experiencing now in the world they see around them. 

You are all the imaginal cells of this new, transformed consciousness. Many of you were around in the 1960s, a time of birthing new social movements and birthing is always a painful and laborious process. It was a time of experimenting with leaving behind some of the structures and attitudes that had held sway for so long. Established authority doesn’t like that. If you recall, the “establishment” fought the wave of new thought, often extremely violently. The caterpillar body is extremely invested in remaining a caterpillar just as the “establishment” is extremely invested in remaining in power and subverting this tide of metamorphosis by any and all means at its disposal.

But the imaginal cells weren’t really ready when they first awakened in the 1960s; they became aware that change was needed, but they didn’t have the experience, knowledge or skills to make the sweeping changes that were required to effect the transformation. So, a couple of decades later and those imaginal cells have acquired the experience, knowledge and skills to effect radical change, starting in their own little, comfy cocoons.

The thing that neither the caterpillar nor the establishment acknowledge or even recognize is that the whole purpose of the caterpillar is metamorphosis. Transformation has been built into its genome. Resistance is futile. In a similar way, the whole purpose of humanity is integration and full and conscious evolution. It’s built into humanity’s genome. Resistance is futile. So, just “give in to me. Love is a feeling. Give in to me. Give in to me.”

Installment #96

August 1, 2015 to August 26, 2015

Hello? Anybody Home? “Car 54, where are you?”

Michael! Ah … there you are! LOL! Nice lead in! Not too many people will remember that one! Where have you been? I’ve been worried.

I know! And what have we said about worrying? I can feel your fear and I respond by sending you thoughts of reassurance in the music, but you seem to have been a little distracted lately.

Thank you, my beautiful one, for always being here. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.

Yes, this has been a strange summer, in a way. First of all, I didn’t make plans to go on pilgrimage this year to celebrate your Continuation Day in Los Angeles and Neverland and, as the day approached and passed, I kinda regretted that decision. I missed being there dreadfully. However, as things turned out, it seems that it was a propitious decision because circumstances conspired as the summer progressed into a need for me to have minor surgery very closely following the dates involved. So, although I was very disappointed to have to miss visiting Forest Lawn and Neverland and being with friends who share my love for you, it worked out to be a very good thing that I wasn’t away from home when the condition cropped up that required attention.

Yes, just another example of how the Plan provides for everyone’s highest and greatest good. You needed to take care of the situation before it turned into a much larger problem. The surgery went well, didn’t it?

Oh my gosh, Beloved, so much better than I could have ever anticipated. I made up my mind to let all the worry and anxiety that would normally accompany the necessity of surgery go and just turned the entire situation over to you. There was literally no pain at all. Not only did I not experience any pain in the weeks leading up to the surgery, but there was no pain following the surgery. I couldn’t believe it. The general anesthesia was a dream and there were no side effects whatsoever. I was a little anxious because I was sedated with a cocktail of drugs which included propofol and, of course, that brought up thoughts of you. I shouldn’t have worried. It went surprisingly well and my recovery has been ideal in every way. I have felt you near me through the entire experience and I am so grateful.

However, the surgery and recovery period have necessitated me taking it very easy for the last approximately six weeks and when I am distracted like that I become a little worried that our ongoing Conversations will suffer.

No, they won’t! I’ll just wrap you in my love until you have taken care of the things that require your attention and we’ll jump right back in as soon as you are ready. I need you to remember that I am never hiding … I am always here and you never have to worry that I am far away. You have … due to circumstances beyond your control … just been a little distracted. That happens. Life happens. We’ll pick up where we left off because we are forever and we are ONE.

However, let me guess … since then you’ve been getting yourself all anxious and tied in knots again. You’re afraid that I’m tiring of always being on call. You’re thinking that I have much more important things to do than to be available to you for these Conversations … much more important people to visit … much more talented artists and writers to inspire. You’re fearful that 100 such dialogs is surely the limit so you’re hesitating to start as the numbers approach that limit, hoping to stretch them out to avoid the day when they stop. Am I right?

Yes, you know me too well. I cannot deny that those thoughts have crossed my mind a time or two and I can’t hide anything from you, Beloved; nor would I want to. However, in my defense, I have also been drawing you a lot and reading to you and talking with you in my journal and in my mind constantly. I’ve just been having on-going, informal discussions with you, augmented by little musical miracles, but not formalizing them in any coherent way.

Well, we’ve got a lot of things to talk about, then, don’t we? So, let’s get started. 

Okay, my first order of business is a request. Do you take requests, Beloved?

Sure. What do you have in mind?

 I would like to officially request that you come back here and run for President!

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[Michael laughs out loud.] What?!?!

I think we need a viable candidate for President and you are my choice as the most viable candidate I can think of. You’ve got my vote in the bag and I suspect that I am not alone. The political arena is beginning its run up to the Presidential elections and the field of candidates as far as I can see is a joke. I mean … Donald Trump?!? … really? Is that the best the country can come up with? I’m sorry. I know he’s a friend of yours, Baby, but … the man seems determined to put his foot in his mouth everytime he opens it.

You are so funny! Serious up, here!

The first thing we have to address is this anxiety and fear … AGAIN. Because you obviously have not been hearing my rebuttal to all your arguments … or, at least, you haven’t been understanding them and internalizing them … and, therefore, experiencing them in your daily life. 

Do you remember when we talked about Foreverland and how the purpose of the Healing Hall was to help souls remember the gift they were intended to share with the world … the thing that makes each soul whole and complete?

Yes, I remember that discussion very well. You explained that after its time in the Healing Hall each soul would know what its joy was … what fulfilled it and made it complete.

Yes, and you said that you thought it would have been very difficult for me to discover what that one gift was because I was blessed with so many. How did I respond?

You said [reference Installment #45 – October 9, 2011 through October 16, 2011]:

No, it was really very easy. When my time in the Healing Hall was completed, I remembered that my wholeness is only to be found in all of yours. My passion and fulfillment is to serve my Earth mission to heal the world through all of you. This is my joy … my bliss … my passion … just as it was during my physical manifestation.

All the things you mentioned were a means to an end. I love them all, don’t get me wrong. Creating music gave me such joy and recording it and putting it out there for all of you in the most perfect way I could was so fulfilling. I could pour so much love into the creative process … from catching the gift as it fell into my lap … to shaping it and molding it … to finding just the right sounds and instruments to enhance the recording … to layering the vocals and ad libs until they were just right … to cutting and editing and mixing. At each step of the process, I was motivated by LOVE … for the music … love and gratitude for the gift that God had given me in the music … love for the process … love for the audiences who would ultimately receive it and accept or reject it according to its relevance in each individual’s life at the moment of hearing.

I always knew that music is the universal language. I always knew that it has a power that few other things have; it can grab your attention and take you into a whole different mindset. It can calm the anxious; it can raise enthusiasm in the apathetic; it can ease the fearful; it can unify thousands upon thousands of strangers into a community, holding hands and swaying to the rhythm together with smiles on their faces. I had faith in that power that music has to speak to each person on the planet in his or her own language. Music is the Tower of Babel before the confusion of speech is depicted in the Bible.

It was never about the numbers for me; it was about translating Divine Union into rhythm and harmony, orchestration and vocal expression. It was about touching your hearts with love … my own love … and God’s love because She was the one who gave me the music … and conveying that emotion in as true and perfect a manner as was humanly possible … in a way that was worthy of God’s investment in me. It was about bringing you the same kind of joy … to help ease your troubled hearts and souls … as I experienced in making it. It was about letting you check your problems at the door and escape with me into a less serious, more imaginative world. Music was my vehicle to take you away; it carried my love. It carried my soul.

The same is true with every one of the things you listed above.

Dance and chorography were the physical expressions of my love … and God’s love … spoken in the language of bodily movement. It was as much a gift as the music and my gratitude for it was just as boundless. There is a centuries-old movement of Spiritual Mastery whose devotee’s ecstatic mystical union with God is expressed in twirling and body postures and drum beats, otherwise known as dance. One of my favorite poets, the Persian poet, Rumi, was one of Sufism’s founders. So, there is a long tradition of mysticism and dance being expressions of the same intent … one in purpose. Almost all cultures from Africa to American Indian to Polynesian to Oriental celebrate ritual with dance! I didn’t invent it. But I was blessed to use this language to convey emotion as fluently as I used music and harmony; it was my vehicle. It, too, carried my love. It carried my soul. I was never as articulate or comfortable with spoken language as I was with music and dance.

… The films and performances were my love for the music and dance and audience … and my gratitude for the gift of vision … made manifest in both a live setting and in the more relaxed environment of your own home. In the performance venue, my imagination was restricted by physical limitations … those nasty laws like physics and dynamics and gravity and my own human frailty … but in film it could soar and I could take you all with me … virtually … on imaginary trips to ancient Egypt and fantastic amusement parks and intergalactic spaceships and 1940s speakeasies! Film was a perfect medium for me to help you all escape the hatred and bigotry and war and diseases and drought and famine … all the terrible things we read about in the newspapers and watch on television. I was so looking forward to experimenting with the film medium and taking us all on great adventures.

… I wanted to create the biggest selling album in the history of recorded music because being the biggest selling artist would give me a powerful position from which to speak to everyone on the planet … to cross barriers that divide us and bring us all together in joy and knowledge of our Oneness. I wanted all of your attention, regardless of where in this world you were located or your age or your ethnic background or your race, so that I could reach the most hearts with my love and gain an unassailable position from which to begin to ask all of you to heal the world, beginning with yourselves and extending to include all six billion citizens of our world … one inch and one heart at a time.

This was always my purpose. It underscored every breath I took while I was with you in a physical manifestation. It continues to underpin every breath I take now. The only difference is that now, there are no physical barriers to keep us apart … no time or space or distance or economic divisions to my touch upon your hearts … no bodyguards needed to protect you or me. Now, I can be with you in ways that I never could before. And it is such a blessing.

 

Yes, let me just add that this is a perfect description of my heaven. So, in a very real sense you (each and every one of you) are my heaven … both individually and collectively. You are my Kingdom of Love just as you were during the manifestation of my physical life. Each one of you contributes to my experience of heaven and the love we share draws us into a Vortex of Love where we sing and dance together through any and all of the mediums you use to express this awareness …  these Conversations … or art … or visualization intiatives … or music … or dance … or charitable outreach … or any combination of the above … or whatever way you are moved to express it. There is nothing more important to me … never has been and never will be. We are ONE … and I love you all MORE!

Would you deny me the pleasure of these dialogs … the joy they bring me in repeating my message to reinforce and strengthen our oneness … the fulfillment and feeling of connection they bring you … the inspiration they bring to your readers … because of your feelings of unworthiness?

Deny you pleasure or joy or fulfillment? Never, Beloved. I would deny you nothing. You know that!

Good! Yes, I do know that.  I’m sorry to be so blunt, but we need to put these fears and anxieties to rest … finally … or we’ll still be going through them at #200 and beyond! (Which is okay, too … I have nothing better to do!) 

We are FOR-FREAKING-EVER! Got it? 

Yes, my Beautiful One, I got it.

Good. Now, despite my directness, please understand, I recognize … and validate … how your view of yourself became so distorted; mine was distorted in many of the same ways. We’ve talked about many of the things that contributed to this “fun house mirror” image of you your ego has built out of thin air and other people’s judgments and distortions which are now, and always have been just more hot air. We’ve talked about the stories you’ve told yourself all your life. All of these are just thoughts; they have no reality except in your mind. They have no power over you unless you give them that power … unless you believe them and allow them to define you and stop you from being who you really are. I told myself similar stories … that I was unlovable … that I was worthless … that I was ugly … that I had to earn what was mine all the time by being perfect. 

L.O.V.E. is who we are … you … me … all of us. And we dance and sing together in the joy of our Kingdom of Love, which is the only reality that matters. 

It took my time in the Healing Hall to finally understand that none of those stories I told myself were true. None of them. You have an advantage. You don’t have to wait that long. I’m here to assure you that none of those stories are true. None of them. They are figments of your imagination … mirages that vanish in the light of Love … nightmares that dissolve in the light of the awakening Truth of who you are. You are in the process of investigating … and discovering … and remembering … and creating … and experiencing who you really are. That is the whole purpose of life.

The only story that has any relevance NOW is the one that you are writing and editing and being and experiencing NOW … and that includes us … you and I … and our oneness in our Kingdom of Love. I am so grateful for the connection we all share in our love dimension … both individually and collectively.

So am I, Michael, so am I! May I just interject here that I am working on dismantling and storing away another one of the longest-running chapters of the old, tired story I have told myself all my life?

Of course! Which one is that?

Well, I’ve always told myself that plants basically don’t like me.

They don’t like you? [Michael laughs.] What in the world gave you that idea?

Well, Michael, I’ve never been able to grow a plant of any description and keep it alive for more than a week, at most. Either I drown them or they don’t have enough light or my cats eat them; somehow they just never survive. So, I’ve always told myself that plants don’t like me … that I don’t have a green thumb at all. I can handle silk flowers … they last a little longer … but I’ve always steered clear of real, living plants (although I really do love them) because I didn’t want to kill them.

However, the other day, my husband and I were out and about and, knowing my love for the scent of gardenia, he ran across a lost-looking, abandoned little gardenia tree on the clearance rack (75% off) at a beautiful nursery we stopped at and bought it for me. It’s only about two feet tall and its foliage is pretty sparse, but I am determined that this little tree is going to help me rewrite my story regarding plants. It’s going to get the royal treatment.

The royal treatment?

Exactly! First of all, I checked with the nursery and was told that my little tree needs “bright light, but not necessarily direct sunlight.” Well, that’s a perfect description of the light in our new little art studio which receives beautiful, bright light most of the year (if there is any sun at all) because of its northern exposure. I am planning on talking to it, reading to it, misting it with water regularly, and playing it beautiful music like you did at Neverland. It’s an experiment on a very small scale in nurturing one little abandoned gardenia tree back to health using the same methods you used in your beautiful garden … as well as rewriting part of my old, tired story.

Excellent! Good for you! All living things respond to love and encouragement. No exceptions. Tell it how beautiful it is … visualize it growing taller and filling out and blooming with bright, fragrant blossoms. It will respond to your love and encouragement.

That’s my plan, but if you’ve got any little gardenia fairies laying around in Foreverland doing nothing, you might send them my way?

Gardenia fairies won’t be needed. It’s just like anything that causes you conflict. Apply a bandage of love, visualize it growing beautiful and strong, and stand back and be amazed at the miracle of life! All it needs is a little love. Now, what else you got?

Well, the summer is upon us along with all its reminders and memorials, which has gotten me to thinking again about all you endured in your time with us … and questioning why your life had to be so difficult.

And you’ve gotten yourself all wrapped up in thoughts of how unfair it all was, right?

Yes.

So, your self-doubt and your undue attention to the judgment of unfairness has spiralled you into negative emotions?

Well, to a certain extent … but not entirely. I’ve been able to apply the brakes and slow that speeding locomotive down a bit. I’ve been doing a lot of reading to you … as well as to a friend who is laid up … and some of the readings have contributed to a partial, imperfect understanding … kinda changed my perspective to encompass a broader view of things … so that I wouldn’t slide down that negative spiral.

Very good! Excellent! I’m proud of you! Can you be more specific?

Well, in a book entitled “When Everything Changes, Change Everything” by Neale Donald Walsch, I found the following passages which pertain to the above:

“…What about the unthinkable plight of people who have endured unimaginable suffering in their lives?”

In which category, I include you, my Beloved. And the answer Mr. Walsch offers is:

“Everything that happens is happening for the highest evolutionary purpose – and it is notable that sometimes a soul reincarnates at a time and for a purpose that serves the agenda of another [or a whole group of others … or all of humanity collectively] …

Please note: the bracketed comment above is mine. Here, I am making the assumption that “highest evolutionary purpose” includes the highest and greatest benefit in an evolutionary (rather than a human) sense not only to the individual soul in question but also to all of the souls (lives) he or she touches during that physical life and, perhaps, beyond. Because we are all committed to a human experience, it is difficult for us to perceive that something that appears on the surface, human level to be a gross miscarriage of Divine justice could actually contribute to the evolutionary expansion of the soul in question and by extension all the souls it touches during its physical manifestation … and all of humankind.

Yes, that is true. Unless one is very “tuned in” to his or her soul’s agenda during a particular life, he or she could perceive the circumstances and occurrences experienced as cruel and entirely random, as I did at times. That’s why it is so important to remain “tuned in” on a daily basis … in touch with your spiritual essence. It’s like a radio station that fades out and becomes full of static as your car reaches the boundaries of its broadcasting radius. If you are entirely focused on the material reality that surrounds you and don’t acknowledge or pay attention to the spiritual essence that forms and creates your reality, your reception becomes full of static. But if you acknowledge and focus on your spiritual essence for a few minutes every day, even in the midst of your material reality, you can eliminate the static and stay within the broadcasting reach of the radio frequency.

Our society is entirely focused on the physical, tangible, material. The spiritual genesis of that reality is thought of as “airy-fairy, pie-in-the-sky idealism.” We are here to change that. We are here to change the world!

“…It could be said of many other masters and avatars and saints, some known and some not known, but easily recognizable by their actions, by what they have given and what they have sacrificed in order to serve the sacred and holy agenda of others.”

Mr. Walsch cites many examples of souls who have lived their physical lives in service to others, including Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Paramahansa Yogananda, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc. I have always listed you among these avatars and saints who gave of themselves so generously for the betterment of humanity, and I make no apology for doing so again, here. To me, you are the perfect embodiment of this principle.

Awww! God bless you. I love you MORE, you know!

“Here is what I now understand: Some souls co-create experiences that are clearly (on a human level) hurtful and damaging to themselves. Nobody can know why they are doing this.

“…Maybe they have come to allow other souls a chance to experience themselves in a particular way.

In my opinion, based on my experience and those experiences of many of my friends who share our Kingdom of Love, this statement rings so true of you, Beloved. To so many of my friends and most of my readers, you have brought us back to ourselves … and sometimes selves that we never knew we could claim as ourselves … in ways that we cannot fully comprehend even now.

In my case, you have served as a catalyst for me experiencing myself as so totally different from what I could have ever imagined … an author … artist … a traveler who occasionally hops on a plane and walks in places you walked … a person who awakens every morning with a prayer of gratitude on her lips for a life she never knew was possible. We experience ourselves as different … changed … almost unrecognizable in remarkable ways because you came into our lives and allowed us a chance to “experience ourselves in a particular way” … as more than we had ever imagined was possible for us. The almost uncontrollable urge we all have to express this love that has taken over our lives has led us in unforeseen directions resulting in spectacular experiences … and we are so grateful.

Tired of Injustice

Tired of Injustice

I am glad you said it that way … “a catalyst.”  Would you look up the definition of that word and put it here, please?

Of course, my dear. Catalyst is derived from a Greek word (gotta love those Greeks, huh?) which refers in Chemistry to “a substance  that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change” or “a person or thing that precipitates an event.”

Thank you. Notice it says “a person or thing that precipitates an event.” A catalyst doesn’t actually perform the action and is not the event itself. It precipitates. It provides conditions that make the event possible and, perhaps, even probable. A catalyst makes an action or event more likely by facilitating it in some way … and, possibly, anticipating the action or event.

As we’ve talked about before in these dialogs, I didn’t change your life, your perspective or anything else; you (all of you) changed your life. Those definitions were always there inside you awaiting your recognition. They were embryonic possibilities awaiting your focus … your attention … to bloom into radiant flower very much like your little gardenia tree. All I did was love you all from the bottom of my heart for my entire life. You were my foundation, my Rock of Gibraltor, my strength. You were always there … when I was joyful and when I was sad … when I was afraid and when I was on top of the world. You were the one constant that I could always depend on. 

Everything I went through both good and bad happened for a reason, as I’ve said so often before. Of course, you have to realize that those are judgments. In truth, it was all good because it was all part of the Plan and God doesn’t DO BAD! Get it? BAD?!? Hahahaha. 

[Michael is thoroughly enjoying his little joke!]

No pun intended, right?

Oh no, not right … that one was entirely intended! [Still laughing!] Laughter is good for the soul! But back to what I was saying.

There is a purpose and it is beautiful. Even the things that you have judged as “bad” or “unfair” produced ripples in the quiet pond, some of which may have swept you or someone you know closer toward the shore of awareness … or caught you up in a tide of curiosity that urgently compelled you to investigate even though you didn’t understand what was happening at the time. That’s why Jesus said, “Judge not and neither condemn.” None of us can judge because none of us has enough information to judge. What looks to us as “unfair” from our perspective may be the ripple that brings meaningful change into someone’s life … or a lot of someones’ lives … or advances evolution in all of humanity.

When we met in love … whether it was early or late … you realized my love for you … it resonated within you … and you recognized your love for me. That recognition was seeded in the field of our Kingdom of Love. It had its genesis in the invisible realm, but it needed physical expression. That kind of love urgently needs to be expressed, shared. The followers of Sufism twirl and dance; Michelangelo paints and sculpts; I sang and danced to express and share it. So, all of you came up with your own individual ways of expressing that love and each and every one of them is beautiful. You focused that love in various ways and brought those expressions into the world of physical, material reality. 

It’s not really me; love is the catalyst (which shouldn’t surprise any of us because love is the catalyst for all of creation, from the tiniest microbe to the largest galaxy.) It’s all love made manifest.

So, you have all brought yourselves back to your SELVES through love, the Creator of the Universe. In other words, you have remembered who you really are and have found unique, enjoyable, and fun-filled ways of being that in your daily lives and the results have been spectacular. I had very little to do with it.

“Maybe they have come to provide “players” or “actors” for some larger “scene” in the whole drama of life, the acting out of which will permit huge numbers of humans to come to a singular realization at once.”

Because you lived your life on such a grand scale, it has had repercussions on a  scale that surpasses just the individual lives your soul has touched as you took the worldwide stage by storm. On a less individual, more collective level, your life and the beautiful way you lived it has brought an awareness of social and human problems that is still being felt in various ways on a global scale. “Huge numbers of humans” are returning to your messages in academic institutions, in concert halls and dance schools, examining your music with an eye to decoding the symbolism you used in your short films and deciphering your warnings regarding many of the social issues that you treated in your art.

For example, racial equality (which you treated in “Black or White” and “They Don’t Really Care About Us” among others) which the United States of America has deluded itself into thinking is a non-issue that was laid to rest during the 1960s is once again raising its ugly head. Recent headlines concerning a number of innocent, unarmed youths of color being gunned down by armed police officers are proving your art sadly prophetic. This country has been patting itself on the back for decades, congratulating itself for clearing that hurdle when, in fact, we have only been paying lip service (by eliminating certain words from socially acceptable discourse) to the racial equality modality. Your life held up a sobering mirror to that particular fantasy.

A new movement called Black Lives Matter which has grown out of these youth killings has adopted your song “They Don’t Really Care About Us” as its anthem. In at least one case of love replacing racially-motivated hate, riots in Baltimore following the shooting in that city were quelled by a young man with a loud speaker blasting your music and dancing in the streets to many of your songs, including “Beat It.” When he showed up, he was alone in a very volatile and unpredictable situation. However, as soon as he turned on the loudspeaker and your voice was recognized, he was joined by many of the rioters who had been looting and vandalizing property before he arrived and a very tense situation was turned into a “block party” with everyone singing along and dancing with Michael Jackson.

Now, that’s what I’m talking about! That is what music is for … to bring people together … to let them escape for a little while all their cares and problems. Music calms the savage beast in the human spirit. I love it!

Well, you can clearly see why I made my request above. There isn’t a candidate that I can think of on the current political scene that can do that! No one can unify angry, disillusioned people into a community dancing and singing with joy instead of being hell bent on destruction. Now, back to my first point of discussion. Are you going to get your gorgeous self back here and run for President?

No! We’ve talked about that before, too [reference Installment #37]. But it wouldn’t hurt for you to begin visualizing now for an alternative to the candidate field currently being offered. The right person is out there, rest assured. 

This is a very important time in mankind’s … and the planet’s … history. Our beautiful Earth is being bombarded with loving and healing energy from the celestial spheres … energies to help humanity awaken to its responsibility (ability to respond) to the conditions contributing to the turmoil so evident and observable everywhere. 

Science is discovering that the reality you see on the visible, material, physical level has its birth on the subatomic level in the realm of the invisible. It is all rooted in what quantum physicists are calling “The Field” and religion has called “spirit.” It’s all the same thing. It’s all energy … invisible energy vibrating at denser or more refined frequencies. In this, science is moving closer to religion; the two supposedly polar extremities are becoming closer and closer to integration. It’s no longer a matter of black or white, hot or cold, science or religion. It is both/and. And we can all help to bring about this awareness by first looking at ourselves and “making that change.” 

By remembering our true nature as having been born in the realm of the invisible, we can broaden our perspective by examining the judgments we have made in the past and realizing that “it doesn’t matter if it’s black or white.” We can stop judging ourselves, our neighbors, our countries and our world and make “a little space to make a better place.” Gentleness and compassion with ourselves produces more understanding, gentleness and compassion when we deal with our neighbors.

We are on the road to great rememberings and a viable candidate is part of the Plan at this important time in the evolution of mankind. Have faith in that. Instead of worrying (which is the battle no one wins, remember), visualize happily casting your vote for a leader who will be the answer to your prayers. Then, sit back and be amazed!

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