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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!

AWAKENING

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AWAKENING

Awakening the lightning, slumbering deep within
It waits …
It knows not for what
While we sleep the featureless sleep of the unconscious
Sedated by the just good enough
Insensitive minds
Drugged by complacent mediocrity
Dreamless in self-righteous judgments
Compassionless in our apathy
Motionless in our unawareness
Loveless in our blind attention on mindless chatter
We drift
Afraid to live, but scared to die

Until …
In one blistering, glorious moment
The darkness is pierced by a single beam,
Pulsing just once
Across the minefield of our defenses
A no-man’s land
Bordered by barbed thought to keep love out
Stretching from a past, filled with cold regret
To a future, warning, “no, not yet.”

Quicksilver …
You flash across our cloud-draped skies
Hung in funereal mourning
For what we don’t even know we’ve lost
Eyes focused in a present moment we have no comprehension of
Jaw set in bold, challenge, “Awaken!”
Body relaxed, flowing … yet tightly coiled
A feline grace, readying to pounce
On an unsuspecting mouse
One tiny, precious beacon
In a sea of lost humanity
Savoring the build up
Anticipating an intense release of energy
Crackling earthward
To ignite the lightning rods of a million hearts

In that flash, we see pain
We have lived over and over
In that flicker, we embrace
Joy we have never known
But sought desperately
The thunder of your storm alerts us
In your presence, we dance at last,
Joyfully abandoning our difference
Happy to finally be released from invisible bonds
With which we have shackled seldom dreamed of ambitions
We sing
Our muffled voices stilled no longer
We flock to you
Our point guard and Wayshower
Our Pied Piper
Who dances before us
And whose song drifts back to us
In tidal waves
“Awaken!”

We turn as one
Soaring into a tomorrow
Vastly different from yesterday
Yet fully present in this moment in our expanded awareness
Featureless no longer,
Our slumber is filled with golden landscapes
Vibrating with color
Undulating in soft, summer breezes of love
Dreamless no longer,
Our sleep is peppered with vision not yet born
Awaiting only our attention to become reality
Sedated no longer,
We strive for the unattainable
In a vast, fathomless ocean of what is possible
Apathetic no longer,
We reach out from our prisons to hold hands with our world
And find bars insubstantial
Boundaries offering little resistance to our achievement

Because your lightning flashed across our lives
In one, blistering, glorious moment

Awakening …

@ J.C. 7/13/2015

image

The Seer

You are the Love Song
Playing always in my heart
A beautiful melody bringing laughter and tears
Joy and sadness
Its beauty captivates my soul
Its magic moves my body
Its rhythm, the ever-present pulse
Pushing delicious liquid through the veins of my moments
Branching into every part of my being
Making them whole
Leaving nothing untouched by its sweetness
Would I savor the sweetness
Leaving the bitterness on the plate to be discarded, forgotten?
No …
For its bitterness is also you
I would taste it all
Every morsel, every drop
Is your sweet song
Peace and pain inseparable in this tune
Intricate harmonies wind themselves in a web of unearthly splendor
Delivering both within the tapestry
Delicate, complicated syncopation
Weaves them together
Bonds them each to the other
They are ONE and the same
Joined in an unbreakable sacrament
Yet …
Only the most elementary lyric
Could speak of such beauty
L.O.V.E.

 

Bodhisattva

Bodhisattva

May 28, 2015 through June 15, 2015

Since I will not be attending the events surrounding the Sixth Anniversary of The Day the Earth Stood Still in Los Angeles and Neverland this year, I felt that all of us “stay-at-homes” needed a little distraction. Of course, I do realize that we all have our own ways of memorializing … and celebrating … Michael Incredible Jackson. Mine will undoubtedly include (but not, by any means, be limited to) my customary month-long, nightly prayer/meditation vigil, a ritual observance I began in June, 2010 (described in Installment #21, March 26 through April 2, 2011) and which I have continued in each successive June when I am not physically “on pilgrimage.”

Nevertheless, I feel, our inability to participate in the communal events occurring in California (for whatever reason) while we all, at the same time, long to be there and part of it all with all our hearts, fragments our wholeness, divides our attention and keeps our inner worlds in turmoil. These conflicting emotions and thoughts cause us anxiety and stress. So, I thought a little distraction … for a few moments, at least, might be a good idea. Maybe, just maybe, we could, instead … uh … take our minds off being physically homebound by engaging our imaginations in a joyful, playful, innocent, open “pilgrimage” … allowing them to soar free to the sacred places we so dream about … above divisions and conflict.

I have decided that  … drumroll, please … cue the soft, relaxing music … perhaps, an Imaginary Interlude would be welcome. Buckle your seat belts, please, dear readers; some turbulence is expected.

As regular readers will no doubt recall from the end of Installment #94, I had just learned that the claim against Michael’s Estate filed by Wade Robson had been dismissed by Judge Beckloff and I was in MAJOR celebration mode, particularly in light of the over two years of increasingly horrifying and sick-making sensational stories leaked to the gutter press and our prayers and visualizations covering the same span. Since I am usually home alone, my celebrations are by necessity fairly staid and frequently consist of finding ways to include Michael. So, it will come as no great surprise to anyone to learn that I decided to visit Neverland Valley Ranch with the help of my Neverland CD of nature sounds. What follows is a description of that visit on May 28, 2015.

As the natural symphony of birdsong and water rushing over rocks in its path began to play, I was instantly transported to Neverland Valley Ranch. The ease of my passage shocked even me. I found myself standing on the beautifully manicured lawn at the rocky escarpment beside Ryan’s Bridge so quickly that I stood, disoriented for a few moments, taking in the beauty and tranquility of this feature of Neverland’s scenery. From this vantage point beside the bridge, incredible vistas designed by an artist of incomparable skill stretch in every direction, all painstakingly carved out of and grafted onto the land and backdropped by the mountains in the distance, in such a way that they appear to have occurred organically as a result of nature’s exuberance rather than plotted and planned by human hands, each scene more beautiful and colorful than the last.

During my regular visits to Michael’s ranch, I usually take a few minutes to breathe deeply and set my intention to release my hold on what is commonly referred to as reality … to be open and innocent … to reserve judgment and let go of my mind’s need to qualify, identify, classify, explain, categorize, judge, label or, in any way, dissect the experience. Since I was in celebration mode, this was especially true during my visit on May 28, 2015.

As I steadied and quieted my breath and mind, I was able to very clearly visualize my surroundings. [Note to the reader: the clarity of the sensory experiences described in this Installment was awe-inspiring. It was like sitting in an IMAX theater watching these scenes unfold in full technicolor and Dolby surround sound.]

As many of my readers know, this visualizing thing is still fairly new to me. I used to think I couldn’t visualize or dream, for that matter, until Michael showed me during the trial of Conrad Murray, that I can, indeed, be fairly successful in this new exercise of visualization. I have been taking full and unabashed advantage of his tutelage ever since. Personally, I have found these visualizations entirely beneficial as my skill in creative visualization has increased and I recommend them highly to all my readers. However, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to witness. The clarity of sight … sound … olfactory … tactile sensations I was about to experience still leave me breathless.

I turned around very slowly to fully savor the sights and smells and sounds in every direction … the flower beds, all planted with riotous color, redolent with the scents of flowers and fertile earth and bordered in natural stone … the coolness and softness of the lush carpet of lawn extending as far as the eye could see on my bare feet … the majestic, gnarled trees forming a canopy above the plantings through which various breeds of bird flew, singing and rejoicing exuberantly … the water sparkling like diamonds as it falls over the rocks at the side of the lake … the mountains in the distance lit warmly golden by the afternooon sun … the main residence and guest cottages behind me and to my left with their mullioned windows and dark wood, Tudor-style beams, shaded by tall trees and lushly planted in wonderful garden settings on every side … the fountains and water features lending their magic song to the symphony  of the garden settings … the winding pathways of natural stone leading into, around and through each lovely feature … the rocks directly in front of me with the bridge to the right … and the lake flowing under the bridge to emerge beyond it, opening into an ornamental lake with water spouts climbing into the sky and swans floating motionless on the surface.

The place just teams with life and overflows with the force of love. It is a place in which organic, natural beauty is completely harmonized with artistic ingenuity, man-imagined, designed and crafted beauty. The product of one man’s imagination … Michael Jackson … and it shows what humanity is capable of creating by working hand-in-hand with nature rather than against it. It is a place of joy; it is my place of joy. Every blade of grass exudes it, every flower petal and leaf breathes it, it rises from the very ground to create an atmosphere of pure love energy. The man who created it poured his soul into every project he undertook and that soul is reflected in every inch of the 2,700 acres. It is here that that man painted his life like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and invited all comers to participate and enjoy his vision. Every vista … every scene … is a masterpiece of planning and execution and each contributes to the serenity slowly filling me with every breath.

I completed my slow revolution and began to spin faster and faster, my arms outstretched to embrace this place and the beautiful soul reflected in every feature … with my head thrown back to view a nearly cloudless, blue sky. I recognize it … remember it as if I had been here before and it welcomed my return. It is truly the home of my heart and soul.

Feeling a little dizzy, I stopped revolving and turned toward the bridge where I saw Michael approaching on the opposite side. As he stepped onto the bridge, he was our beautiful Beloved as he appeared in This Is It … tall, lean with his smile lighting his eyes … but step-by-step he became younger and younger … shapeshifting before my eyes into the trial years … the Invincible years … the HIStory years … the Dangerous years … the BAD years … the Thriller years … the Off the Wall years … the Jacksons years … each more beautiful than the last … until he reached the side upon which I was standing as a 10-year-old boy with closely cropped hair, beautiful mocha-colored skin, deeply penetrating eyes and a great, big, mischievous smile on his face, setting the tone of this visit firmly in the realm of the “inner child.”

I knew I was in for some F-U-N! While no words were spoken, the feeling was:

“Clap! Clap! Anybody here like games?”

I was not surprised to find myself, too, morphing into that 10-year-old child I never really got the chance to be due to circumstances beyond my control (and described in several previous Installments, so I won’t bore my readers with those details here.) Suffice to say that Michael has schooled me in revisiting that innocent, playful girl on occasion … and she and I are becoming much more fully … and happily … acquainted. What I did NOT know … and could never have imagined … was exactly HOW MUCH magical, mystical fun was going to be squeezed into this hour-long visit. I mean how much F-U-N can one possibly compact enough to fit into one, tiny little hour? I was about to find out!

While many of my afternoon “power naps” in Neverland are replete with meanings and significance that send ripples radiating outward toward the far-flung shores of the rest of my life in various ways … or lengthy discussions of long past but never-quite-forgotten events that help me broaden my perspective … I got the feeling that this visit was going to be different. After all, during our discussion in Installment #94, I had asked Michael to accompany me in my celebration and he appeared on this occasion to have every intention of showing me a celebration to end all celebrations. I would not be disappointed.

When Michael reached me, he grabbed my hand and ran to the rocky escarpment by the bridge, his clothing landing in little piles along the way, and dove into the water from the rocks. Finally surfacing, he turned back toward me, his head rising up and down as he treaded water, and waited for me to dive in after him. We swam and dunked and splashed each other, laughing hysterically the entire time. Then we slid down the rocks nearest the water (made smooth by the water rushing over them and leaving a slick surface behind) with him leading the way and me following in his wake, splashing once again into the lake only to run up the bank and slide back down.

The afternoon sun was warm, the sky a clear blue and the water was cool, tingling against our bare skin; it was a perfect California afternoon, the droplets sparkling with little diamonds in the sun. Occasionally, we would leave the lake and dry ourselves in the open air, lying on our backs under the trees, two beautiful, innocent, uninhibited children holding hands … with no pasts to cloud our happiness, no shame to mar our enjoyment and no future to worry about. We were free to do nothing more than fully live these moments … NOW.

We did manage to take a few moments from our carefree romp to remember our “Change the World” intention for the day and sent the light of love to the corporate global media lying beneath a massive tree with our hands linked, our fingers intertwined and listening to the natural symphony playing out all around us.

Gazing up at the perfectly blue sky through the leaves of the tree, a cloud … wispy and amorphous … floated past where we were lying, soaking up the sun. At first, we tried to imagine a shape in the cloud with varying degrees of success, and we giggled over our unsuccessful attempts. Eventually, Michael laughed and said we needed to make things a little easier; we graduated from imagining shapes to creating them.

We reached up and stopped the cloud’s passage to mold and shape it … as if it was Play Doh … into magical animal shapes. Unfortunately, since we were still holding hands with our fingers tightly woven in a tapestry of togetherness, while my right hand was shaping a rabbit’s haunches, his left hand was shaping an elephant’s trunk and floppy ears … so we ended up with some fairly interesting and hysterical hybrids, which would slither, slink, slide or gallop off across the sky, making room for the next cloud to float past to be shaped and eliciting peels of laughter as it exited stage left. As we got warmed and dried by the sun, we jumped up and dove into the water again for more swimming and sliding, dunking and splashing … and, of course, more peels of laughter rang out to enrich the entire atmosphere with joy.

Eventually, we swam under the middle arch of the bridge to play in the ornamental lake, being scolded by a pair of swans for disturbing their peaceful playground, which just sent us into more gales of laughter. Swimming up to the dock where a swan-shaped boat sat moored, we jumped aboard it, cast off the lines tethering it to the dock, and lay on the seats, facing in opposite directions and just let the small craft drift wherever the current took it. We continued our game with the clouds, shaping them like clay with the added hysterical-laughter-producing effect that because we were facing in opposite directions, either my side or his side of the animal was upside down. Have you ever seen an eight point buck standing on its head with the wings and tail of a peacock? Uproariously funny!

When we got hot, we jumped back in the water and swam, tipping the boat as we climbed back on board soaking wet and taking up our positions on the seats again. Of course, all this tipping resulted in the bottom of our little ship filling with water to the level of the wooden seats, but instead of sinking, the craft just overflowed its sides and stayed afloat with colorful little fish being dumped in both directions over the sides and jumping over our bodies, lying on the seats, still joined by hands and fingers.

Michael grabbed a wispy cloud and fashioned a ring to hold up for the fish to jump through … and, surprisingly enough, they did. Furthermore, they seemed to enjoy jumping through his ring. So, he grabbed another one, fashioned it in a ring and handed it to me … and we had a regular “fish circus act” jumping through his hoop, back into the water in the bottom of the boat  and then through mine. Who knew you could train little, tiny rainbow-colored fish to jump through hoops? It seemed … at least, in this moment and in this place … that anything was possible.

Suddenly, he sat up on his seat, released my hand, cupped his hands and submerged them in the water to form a little lake and lifted them to me, his eyebrows raised in challenge. He offered his hands and what they contained to me. I, too, sat up with my knees touching his, covered in water and took the contents into my cupped hands. There, in my hands, was a small, brightly colored WHALE the size of a guppy, breaching in the bowl of water he had gathered from the bottom of the boat. I looked deeply into his eyes in the wonder of it and we both just laughed. No explanations were considered, offered, necessary … or possible. And the wonders and laughter just kept on coming.

When we got tired of playing in the boat, we swam to the edge of the lake in search of ice cream, leaving the boat to be buffeted by the gentle currents created by the water spouts, and ran willy-nilly toward the arcade room, dripping ice cream along the way. I understood, somehow, that he was unable to contain his excitement to show me a new game he had just received called “Black Holes” and he wanted it to be a surprise. Coming up behind me, he put both of his sticky, ice-cream-covered hands over my eyes as he steered me inside.

I knew he wanted me to be impressed … and I did try to act surprised when he removed his hands … but it didn’t look like much from the outside, except it was BIG. I mean, this game was huge, occupying the entire middle of the floor of the arcade room, leaving little room for the rows of pin-ball type games in single file along the walls, and extending all the way up to the landing on the stairs of the two story room … just below where Captain Hook was being chased by Peter Pan around the cove-like ceiling. It was big enough for two of us to sit side-by-side in the capsule-shaped cabin with plenty of room left over. Fortunately, we were still children so my hips fit comfortably next to his on the bench as he closed the cabin door to start the game.

Immediately, we were plunged into a black, tunnel-shaped funnel and ejected forcefully out the other end into a magnificent starfield with millions of stars interspersed and joined by a bluish cloud. The capsule seemed to be able steer itself through the starfield at a leisurely pace, but could also be steered by a joystick-looking protuberance located between us and Michael took great pleasure in steering us around clusters of stars for an upclose and personal look. By using the dials and buttons, he could lasso the stars, gathering them together as if he were herding cattle, and fling them out into the beautiful blue cloud with ease, creating new configurations and constellations. We could, if we chose, reach out and touch the stars with our hands or pop them like bubbles blown from a child’s wand dipped in soapy water. It seemed like we spent hours circling around this first starfield with the beautiful, blue light swarming around us. We were in no particular hurry.

The fact that these visualizations were so clear and beautiful and visually stunning is one that I have to attribute to something other than my “novitiate level” skill at visualization, which, while I admit is improving, has in no way reached this level of detail and clarity. I was being majorly helped here by the pilot of the vessel … and my ever-generous and solicitous host. I understood that. While my body was resting in my recliner on the dark side of the moon, I was being taken on a tour of galaxies and nebula light years beyond my poor ability to imagine.

Dreamer

Dreamer

As we neared the center of the starfield, the capsule accelerated towards another circular tunnel and we were deposited into a new and different starfield joined by pink and purple wispy clouds with bright, white, strobing lights at the center. The capsule slowed, once again, to allow us to explore to our hearts content, playing with this starfield as we had with the first. We drifted our hands through the swirling pink and purple gases, leaving trails and ribbons of brightly colored “tails” in their wake which appeared, at times, like peanut butter and jelly swirled together in ribbons and at others like cursive handwriting spelling out messages like “I love you” and “We are forever.” Michael was all wonder and awe as his curiosity soared and he steered us through clusters of stars and clouds that seemed neverending.

Through another Black Hole tunnel, the starfield resembled a revolving disc with trails of brightly-lit, white clouds that were almost milky in viscosity and we rode the farthest reaches of this galaxy which so closely resembled the Milky Way in which Planet Earth is located as if it were a carousel, spinning in joy and trailing stardust; through another, we were surrounded by galaxies and universes extending as far as the imagination would allow. There seemed to be an infinite number of these starfields, each different and unique and beautiful. And we explored them all.

“Black Holes,” the game, seemed to have no time limit, as indeed the entire fun-filled afternoon of swimming and playing with clouds and “circus acts featuring fish” and laughter seemed to stretch into eternity. But eventually, we exited the capsule and the arcade still holding hands as one would with one’s best friend.

However, as we left the building and entered the sunlight outside, we were again our adult selves … Michael as we have all seen him, beautiful and in command in This Is It … the director and lead actor in this 4D, technicolor movie … and me as I am today. We ambled down the walkway to Ryan’s Bridge hand-in-hand as “You Are Not Alone” began to play and he began to sing along. Together, we danced beneath the massive tree that had held our Play Doh cloud animals and nurtured our “inner children” as he swung me around, kneeling in front of me … chivalrous and gallant … only to rise again, swing me around and kiss me on the forehead.

I awoke just as my 60-minute CD of birdsong and water tripping over rocks in its path was ending. We had squeezed as much fun and frolic, laughter and play … and love … into one afternoon as any two children could have possibly imagined … and, more amazing, it all happened in one hour. Sixty minutes … one tiny little hour!

I admit to being a little sad to awaken back into this reality, but my sadness was completely overcome by my joy and gratitude and all were leaking from my eyes. I put in disc 2 of my HIStory CD and danced again with him with the strains of “You Are Not Alone” filling the space in my little Sanctuary.

When I had invited Michael to join me in my celebration, I had no idea … none whatsoever. He had shown me a celebration to end all celebrations. No one and nothing could have topped this one.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour

He had led me to EXPERIENCE the meaning of those famous words by William Blake (and he had experienced them with me) … rather than just to know them. These words have been used to portray Michael’s sense of wonder and awe by Howard Bloom. It was an apt portrayal. Experiencing them with him is something that will stay with me forever.

 

Postscript: When I tried to rise from my recliner, I was sore … as sore as I have ever been from an afternoon of physical exertion … like swimming, for example … hmmm!

Post-postscript: I pray that all of my beautiful friends travel safely in the light of love, gather joyfully and peacefully in Michael’s honor, and walk softly in his sacred places. He will be walking among you … yes … but he is also holding all of us who travel in our imaginations closely. In His Love

Jan

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