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Archive for November, 2011

RESURRECTION

Do you hear my voice?
Even now,
In the silence between your thoughts
I reside and abide
In the rests, the dramatic pauses of your life
You will find me
In the music which accompanies your moments
The rhythms of your heart and blood
When minutes drip and hours flood
Do my whispers haunt your dreams?
My words thrill your soul?
Do your cries against injustice
Echo mine?
Amidst the clamor and clang
Of a noisy world
Listen, attend
In your hearing
I am resurrected.

Do you see my form?
Even now,
In the clouds blowing across the vault of heaven
Do you take delight
In the full or crescent moon
Basking in its pale beams
Do you swoon?
In the rainbow sunrise
Do I dance on the very edge of sight?
Spinning in ecstasy
Can you see me there?
Just over your shoulder
Hiding in plain sight
Do my images entrap?
My eyes enthrall?
My smile seduce
My dance captivate
Look, watch
In your vision
I am resurrected

Do you feel my touch?
Even now,
In the warm, ocean breeze
The cold, rain-drenched blusters
Do my arms hold you close?
My lips kiss your fears away?
Through your days
Do you reach out to touch my hand?
In your dusk-darkened room
Does your soul yearn for my embrace?
Does my comfort bring peace?
Does your heart welcome
What your brain cannot understand?
Do you eagerly accept what cannot be explained?
In grateful homage
I bow
In your feelings
I am resurrected.

Do you taste the salt of my tears?
Even now,
Do you feel the sting of every fear?
Does my agony pierce your heart?
A million golden arrows awakening empathy
Do my joys
Lighten your burden
Ease your distress
The Ecstasy of Oneness expressed
In song and dance
Rhythm and motion
Do the ebb and flow of life
Fail to touch
The space inside
Where we twirl in the dance
Of silent togetherness
On your tongue
I am resurrected

Does my scent awaken?
Even now,
In the lingering fragrance of our love
We Are One
As we have always been
Inseparable
From the beginning of time
In your hearing
Your vision
Your feelings
Your taste
You know the truth
In your knowledge
I am resurrected

In YOU, I am RESURRECTED.

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November 13 through November 20, 2011

Michael, I am confused.

Confused? About what?

Well, the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray is over. He was found “Guilty” on November 7, 2011 (11/7/11) of the ‘involuntary manslaughter’ of Michael Jackson.  Many of us felt that the charge should more appropriately have been ‘second degree murder,’ but as Mr. Mesereau explained in one of his interviews leading up to the trial, the single charge was a smart move on the part of the prosecution in light of several factors (which should admittedly have had no bearing whatsoever upon the leveling of charges.) However, because of those factors, not the least of which were the twenty-five years of unremitting media-based attack you endured aimed at labeling, stereotyping, character assassination and ridicule and resulting in an almost complete dehumanization and lack of sympathy for the most humane of human beings, it was thought more prudent to strip the legal charges down to a very ‘black or white’ scenario and to hinge the charge on negligence and violation of ‘standard of care.’

As you know, the buildup for this trial was huge. It was more than two years in the making. Many of your children were praying and meditating and basically bombarding heaven’s gate for this outcome for well over a year. I wasn’t able to watch it live due to work commitments, but it was televised (making it fairly difficult for the media to spin reports from inside the courtroom like they did in your trial in 2005). Thanks to several friends who were as engaged in the outcome as I was, I was able to follow fairly closely by reading transcripts of the testimonies and evidence in the case. I must applaud the prosecution for a well-presented, straightforward, objective rendering of the facts and the judge for allowing no irrelevant distractions to muddy the waters for the jury.

While there was a moment in which I felt a kind of triumph … an emphatic “YES” when the verdict was read at 1:17 PM the afternoon of 11/7/11 … there was almost an immediate sense of ‘let down.’ There is a definite ‘hollowed out’ feeling … a sort of ‘numbness’ attached to this outcome that I really didn’t anticipate. I expected to feel like uncorking a magnum of Dom Perignon and celebrating ‘til the cows came home. I expected to feel fulfilled somehow … vindicated … triumphant, but I don’t.

Beloved, I need your love around me … to cry on your shoulder … because tears are so very close to the surface right now. The verdict seems to have reopened the wound of your absence and underscored the tragedy … the loss of the most gentle and beautiful of souls … so many broken hearts. It has highlighted … made more irreconcilable … the wanton waste in this situation. I expected to feel like dancing in the streets, but find, instead, that the choreographer has ‘left the stadium.’ It has made your physical absence so much harder to bear. There is no real closure. It’s all so senseless … so pointless … so avoidable! I don’t comprehend this emptiness. Can you help me understand?

[Jan is blessed with a visual of Michael. He is dressed in a black shirt open to his waistband and black pants similar to the You Are Not Alone short film. His hair is short with locks falling over one eye. His arms are extended to each side to gather her into his heart and his smile is magnetic, drawing her toward him … inescapable. She feels his arms closing around her, his right hand cradling and stroking her head against his chest as he sways and rocks her in his arms. She breathes his warmth, his wonderful scent expanding her lungs to their fullest capacity with his spirit and murmurs, “Thank you, Beloved. I so needed that.”]

So, did I … My Dear … so did I! And this soul is not lost; it is merely freed. There’s a big difference.

“Please don’t ever let me go.”

You are MINE. We Are One … for all time.

Yes, I think I can help you understand.

In order to do that, I want to take you back to one of our previous discussions when I mentioned that there really is no justice to be had in this situation. That is true … and it is a bitter, hard truth for you to hear … and even harder to swallow. You wanted resolution. Nothing can undo what has been done. Nothing can restore me to my family … to my children. Nothing can unbreak the hundreds of thousands of hearts which have been shattered or the lives that were disrupted by my apparent departure.

Only the knowledge that I haven’t left can even begin to heal the scars and scab over the wounds. That knowledge is a gift for you … all of you … but it is difficult to impart to hearts that cannot understand … or feel … or even, imagine … my ongoing presence. For those who are experiencing that gift, no explanation is necessary; for those who aren’t, no explanation is possible.

I think you’ve just fully experienced the fact that the verdict doesn’t really change that or solve anything. It does little more than pay lip service to the ‘blame game.’ The ‘blame game’ is a dangerous game to play and often has unsettling, conflicting, uncomfortable repercussions.

Well, at least, one result of this episode is that your lack of ‘responsibility’ in the tragic events of ‘the day the Earth stood still’ has to be acknowledged, even in the myopic eye of the media pundits. Their eagerness to blame you has crumbled around them like a house of cards.

Has it? When you play the ‘blame game’ by the rules … with honesty and purity in your heart … there are some truths with which your spirit knows you need to come to terms. You’ve been resisting them because you think that they are disloyal to me. So, instead of facing them squarely … head on … you’ve been hiding from them … walking around the elephant in the room … even when you trip over its trunk.

Let me just say, in explanation, that I know your loyalty to me; so should you. I do not question it; neither should you. It’s not a matter of loyalty. Truth is truth … it is not loyal or disloyal … it just IS. The truths to which I am referring reflect upon the verdict that has been handed down … and your reaction to it.

The first … and most uncomfortable … of those unsavory truths is that I have to bear some responsibility for my own transformation. I asked for the drug that ended my physical experiment. I mistakenly thought it was safe if I was closely monitored. I had used it before and was assured by previous doctors that it was a safe method of getting some rest when all other methods failed … with few lasting side effects. When my friend told me it was dangerous, I thought she was just being melodramatic. I owe her an apology … and I am working on that. That was my choice and I must own it and accept responsibility for it. I have done that as part of my healing.

That being said, I was not aware that Murray would not closely monitor the administration of it … nor was I aware that he was unable to adequately handle resuscitation if something went wrong … nor was I aware that he would hide evidence and lie to emergency medical professionals. Those were his choices. I had nothing to do with them.

Was I addicted to the drug? No! Diprivan, I was assured repeatedly, is not addictive psychologically or physically!

I, like all of you, was addicted … to sleep! All human beings share this addiction. The human body requires it to recharge its batteries and continue to function with precise and coordinated movement. I am a dancer; precise and coordinated movement is like breath to me … a necessity … not a luxury … especially when I’m working. The human brain requires it at regular intervals to maintain clarity and focus. I am a musician; clarity and focus are my food and drink, especially when I’m working. You heard testimony referring to a day when my clarity and focus, my precise and coordinated movements were absent. The media wants to make drug addiction the cause; lack of sleep is just not sensational enough. It’s too mundane; no juice to be squeezed there for ratings or sensationalism.

It is an undeniable fact that I suffered from chronic, long-lasting insomnia (which is just sleep deprivation in lamb’s clothing; they vary only in degree) as a direct result of several of the medical conditions which plagued me for much of my life … as well as many of the experiences that were, by that time, an integral part of the extraordinary physical experiment in which I played the lead role.

All of you are aware that I suffered from Vitiligo. Vitiligo messes up the melanin in the skin and destroys the pigment. Because melanin is also the receptor for Vitamin D in sunlight absorbed through the skin, it is directly connected to the level of Serotonin, the hormone responsible for the Circadian Rhythms that govern and regulate sleep. It is a Serotonin imbalance that causes ‘jet lag’ and ‘seasonal affective disorder’ which are widely recognized syndromes and closely associated with balanced, efficient  Circadian Rhythms.

That’s why touring and traveling between time zones was always so rough on me. Vitiligo compounded the effects of ‘jet lag’ inherent in hopping between time zones … and the excess adrenalin needed for performing intensified the insomnia to an intolerable, crippling level … a level that left me unable to function with any focus, clarity, precision or coordination (also known as sleep deprivation). Add to that my admitted addiction to presenting the most technologically-advanced, musically-seamless, 99.9% perfectly-executed live performance humanly possible … and you have a ‘perfect storm’ alright … a ‘perfect storm’ of sleeplessness!

I also had Lupus and, in addition to causing pain in the joints and several other symptoms, one of its side effects is insomnia. So, Lupus … and Vitiligo … and ‘jet lag’… and adrenalin … and not being able to shut my brain off long enough to sleep all added up to major, industrial strength sleep deprivation.

It is being called insomnia by the media and doctors because labeling it as insomnia minimizes the seriousness and degree to which my medical conditions escalated its effects. It brings it down to a category of illness from which many people suffer on an occasional basis … and makes it easier to relate to … but, in my case, insomnia was sleep deprivation … its most extreme form. It’s a little like calling a saber tooth tiger a ‘nice little kitty.’

They don’t want me to be viewed as anything but a weirdo, a freak, a drug addict … even now … for the same reasons that they cooked up such shoddy cases against me during my life … because that would elicit sympathy. They don’t want to admit the wrongs they committed against me. They are too invested now in the parody which has made them so much money and so fully turned the general public against me. We discussed this point in an earlier conversation as well. Those forces for darkness … and their proponents … are still very much present in your world. Sympathy for me, even now, would be an intolerable burden because it would show how they manipulated and twisted everything I ever touched or loved into something weird, bizarre, monstrous.

This chronic medical condition was aggravated during the trial in 2005. Any kind of rest or cessation of fear became impossible, causing another commonly recognized medical condition. Soldiers returning from war in Iraq and Viet Nam were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and they were treated for this condition with anti-anxiety medications. Many of them became addicted. But PTSD is not confined to returning soldiers. Abused children and women suffer from it, too. As a matter of fact, it is much more common in our world than you realize. The trial in 2005 (and the allegations of misconduct in 1993) were my Armageddon … my Viet Nam … my Iraq. We’ve talked before about how it affected me and how your love sustained me. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder also causes insomnia. That’s six different and distinct medically valid causes whose effects were sleep deprivation.

What many of you don’t realize is that sleep deprivation can be a very serious thing. It can result in several serious symptoms like disorientation, short-term memory loss, lack of concentration, lack of appetite and its resultant weight loss, slower reflexes, slurred speech, stumbling and lack of coordination, hallucinations and even death – all of these are symptoms or side effects of extreme sleep deprivation. In past conflicts, it was used as a form of torture … an interrogation technique … like waterboarding was used in Iraq by our own government to get information from its prisoners.

Yes, I had also used Demerol in the past to manage the pain from my head injury and scalp burn. The reconstructive procedures to repair the damage were even more painful and longer lasting than the original injury, causing excruciating, unrelenting discomfort in and of themselves. Small bladders (balloons) were placed under the skin of my scalp and inflated over a period of months to stretch the skin over the damaged areas. The headaches and nausea were horrendous!

The injury to my back in Munich during the charity concert when the bridge fell caused lasting damage to my spine (which was noted in the autopsy report) and necessitated painkillers, occasionally, as well. In addition, my feet became extremely dry and cracked, often bleeding, from dancing and being on tour for such extensive periods of time made the simplest movement unbearable.

During the Dangerous World Tour, I had become addicted to Demerol just to get through the days while the world was tearing me apart and you all know that I went into a rehab program in England, but I wasn’t using Demerol at the time of my rebirth. That would have shown up in the autopsy report.

I just needed to sleep so that I could go on with the rehearsals for the O2 concerts. So, I asked for the drug that ended my physical experience and must share some portion of the responsibility for the results. That is not disloyal. That is truth.

However, for many of you it is an uncomfortable truth … one that you prefer not to face. Your spirit, which is all about truth, won’t let you deny that truth any longer.

Oh, my Dear One … hearing you describe your agony is torture for me. May I return the hug?

Of course. You never have to ask. If you need my love, just call my name. I’ll be there. How many times … and how many ways … did I say it and sing it? How many of you did I embrace on all the stages throughout the world praying that ALL of you would feel it and know my love? It is true. You can count on it.

[Once again, Jan is immersed in love so pure and all-encompassing that there are no words to describe it.]

Hmmm … this could become an addiction quite easily, Dear One.

[Michael laughs.] Hmmm … hug addiction … that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Michael?

Hmmm? Shhh … we’re having a moment here!

I have to ask you a question.

You ask too many questions! Okay … what’s your question?

I was talking to a friend of mine today who was one of your ‘followers’ and she told me that she had been going back through the diaries she kept of those trips. She had the good fortune of attending an almost obscene number of concerts throughout Europe on both the Dangerous and HIStory Tours. As a matter of fact, she is shown in the audience on Moonwalker and in Bucharest. She was one of the girls you recognized and flirted outrageously with from the stage.  [Michael laughs.] She got to talk to you, personally, and she has a photograph of you embracing her from the Dangerous period.

She related that on one occasion you had asked for her to be filmed outside your hotel answering your questions as if you were conducting an interview with her.

Yeah [Michael giggles], I used to do that occasionally. Since I couldn’t really go out of the hotel room and talk to anyone without all heaven breaking loose … and I couldn’t really invite girls up to my room without the media having a field day speculating on what went on behind ‘closed doors’ … I would send my videographer out with a list of questions and watch the videotapes in my room. It made me feel a bit more connected to the human race, sometimes. It was a poor substitute, but it was the best I could do.

Having all that love out there … knowing it … sensing it … feeling it … but being unable to reach out and hold it. Can you imagine how impossibly alone one would feel in that situation? I had to find creative ways to be with it. Do you know what I mean?

Yes, I know what you mean … and no, I can’t even imagine. Well, anyway, she had forgotten about this particular incident until just recently. While going through some of her diaries from her trips, she came across an account of this ‘interview’ and said that one of the questions you had your videographer ask was, “Do you think we share a spiritual connection?” When she told me that, I just about fell off my chair.

[Michael giggles.] That would have been funny! Why?

Well, I kinda guess you would have had to have been there. Let me see if I can explain. When this filmed ‘interview’ with my friend  occurred, I was just in the very early stages of becoming ‘aware’ of Michael Jackson in the sense that I am ‘aware’ of you now. I was just forming this ‘cosmic’ connection; I was just becoming conscious of this ‘spiritual’ affinity which we share and which we’ve examined from every possible angle earlier in our conversations. As a matter of fact, at the time this videotaped ‘interview’ occurred, I was thinking I was deeply disturbed … profoundly unbalanced … or hormonally unstable. At best, I was imagining things; at worst, I was unhinged.

I, like much of the world around me, didn’t believe that such connections were possible. It took a while, but, eventually, through a series of ‘coincidences’ (which I have come to call synchronicities), I came to believe … and have faith … and act upon … the belief that I could be deeply, spiritually linked to another living human being whom I had never met nor seen in real life (at the time) without the aid of modern technology. Several of our dialogs have outlined the steps taken along that road to belief so I won’t repeat them here.

For a very, very long time, one of my most persistent questions was, “Is Michael Jackson aware of this bond between us? Does he feel this sense of connection, too? Or is it just me?” You answered that question for me in our earlier Conversations.

However, in a manner of speaking, you answered my twenty-year-old, persistent question … and your answer was relayed to me today because my friend felt the need to go through some of her old diaries, written during her years of being a tour ‘follower’ … and felt the urge to share her experience with me. By asking her this one question … and her telling me about this incident that she had, somehow, forgotten, you were speaking to me … and to all of us who have experienced similar uncertainties. You answered my version of the question twenty years ago … and I didn’t even know it … until today.

It’s just another example of those ripples radiating in concentric circles from the central point in the pond. You are the central point, Beloved … the center of my universe.

It gave me goose bumps … chills up and down my spine! It was a body rush that left a warm, tingly glow as if I had been touched by your love when I read those words. It’s Back to the Future in real life! The beauty and awe of this experience with you just continues to stagger me. I am so grateful to have been swept off my feet by a ‘Smooth Criminal.’

You thought YOU were unhinged? How do you think it felt for me? Experiencing all these strange things … with no one to talk to about them because no one could possibly understand the feelings that were pouring through me. My religious education hadn’t prepared me for any of this. My social education was almost non-existent. Thank God for Mrs. Fine. She was the one who showed me the world that jumped out from between the pages of a book and planted the seeds of dreams inside my head. I will always be grateful to her for that.

I was plagued by all the same doubts and fears that haunted you … the same anguish that stalked you dogged my footsteps. I doubted my own sanity just as strongly … probably more strongly … because I had the whole world’s media reinforcing those fears and doubts! However, there were times when I could almost see the energy sparkling in rivers of love between all of you and my heart. I wondered if I was having a heart attack, it was so strong. That’s why I asked your friend that question … to see if she felt it, too. At least, you had friends you could bounce your thoughts off … a husband you could talk to.

No, I didn’t, Michael. Remember me? I’m the one who lives on the dark side of the moon … and this particular moon orbits the Bible belt. The only thing that saved me … was YOU! I didn’t have anyone to talk to, including my husband or children. Everyone thought … and still thinks … I’ve gone off my rocker. They are measuring me for the latest fashion in straightjackets as we speak.

Oh, well … don’t worry about it. There’s plenty of space in my rubber room for you … and anyone else who cares to join us. We’ll all be ‘off the wall’ together. When the world is on your shoulder, gotta straighten out your act and boogie down. If you can’t hang with the feeling, then there ain’t no room for you in this part of town. Cuz we’re the party people night and day, living crazy that’s the only way. So, tonight, gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf and just enjoy yourself. Come on and groove, let the madness in the music get to you. Life ain’t so bad at all, if you live it off the wall. [Michael sings.]

So, I talked to you … in the stories and articles I wrote back then … and now, in these Conversations. I poured my heart and soul out to you; and you poured your heart and soul out to me through all the different media you manipulated so masterfully. Have I thanked you, today?

[Michael laughs.] No thanks are necessary. God bless you for being there. Now, come back here, woman! I need another hug! There’ll be no darkness tonight. Lady, our love will shine, lighting the night. Just put your trust in my heart and meet me in paradise. Now is the time. You’re every wonder in the world to me … a treasure time won’t steal away. [Michael sings under his breath.]

God, I love you, Beloved.

I love you more!

Jan

November 18, 2011 

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We are here

Then we’re gone

In the end

Only LOVE lives on

So, take a moment

While you can

To stop one heart

From breaking 

Michael, these words are on ‘continuous loop’ in my mind today. Can you tell me what their significance is?

Yes, I can. But first, I want to address your fear … AGAIN.

My fear? Which one is that? I have a boatload!

Tell me about it! Believe me, I know! But one, in particular, seems to be a recurring fear.

This time, you’ve talked yourself into believing that fifty is some kind of magic number and that either or both of us are going to turn into pumpkins when we reach that benchmark. As a result, your fear of reaching fifty of these Conversations is blocking me from getting through as easily and tactilely … and as often … as I want. To get your attention, I’ve turned on your DVD player in the middle of the night repeatedly last week. Instead of seeing this little trick as a sign of my presence and being grateful (as you have been in the past, remarking, “hi, baby!” or something similar), you’ve told yourself that there must be something wrong with your player and you just get up and shut it off, annoyed that it had the nerve to disturb you. I’ve also planted songs in your head in ‘continuous loop’ or on your music player to get your attention. … and you’ve just ignored the message in the songs that are repeating over and over in your life.

Have you noticed any other songs that seem to be cropping up more regularly than what you would consider normal lately?

Yeah … now, that you mention it. For All TimeWe’ve Got Forever … You Are Not Alone … Best of Joy … I’ll Be There.

Hello-o-o? Do you detect any kind of pattern, here? You’ve been so busy organizing me that you’ve forgotten how to listen to me. [Michael giggles.]

[Jan laughs.] Consider your arm punched, Beloved.

Ouch! Consider yourself hugged!

I am so sorry, Michael. I guess I’m a bit single-minded when I’m trying to get something done. I can’t believe that I’ve totally missed that! LOL! Okay, okay … you’re right. I admit that I am a little frightened of hitting fifty conversations.

Good … now we can discuss this rationally. What is it that you’re really afraid of?

Well, I guess I still can’t believe my good fortune in participating in these conversations, at all. To share in one of these beautiful dialogs with you is an honor beyond anything this world can bestow. Fifty of them represent an entire year of nearly weekly … very, very special and unique connections with you that I find so stimulating, inspiring, heart-warming, comforting and beautiful. I am so grateful and feel so undeserving of the honor that you pay me in speaking to me. I am afraid that our dialogs will end when we get to fifty. I’m afraid of losing you.

And what have I told you … over and over and over … in these dialogs? Could it be that we are connected For All Time … that We’ve Got Forever … that You Are Not Alone … that We Are Forever … that I’ll Be There? Hmmm! What part of FOREVER don’t you understand?

Now you’re just being cheeky!

Okay … first of all, it’s not about ‘good fortune’ … it’s about LOVE. You love me, right?

Absolutely … Beloved … with all my heart. Love doesn’t even seem a big enough word to describe my feelings for you.

LOVE is the BIGGEST word in any language … but it’s gotten a pretty bum rap … it’s a victim of bad press.

Michael, you know that you are my first thought in the morning and my last prayer at night and I send up prayers for … and to … you throughout my day. Many nights you are with me in my sleep, though I may not remember dreaming. I feel your presence in a beautiful sunset (or sunrise now that it’s still dark when I head off to work in the morning) and I greet you in the moon in all its phases. Photographs of your beautiful face send me into paroxysms of ecstasy until I can capture them for my own collection … and I totally believe what you told one of my friends … that the image is a gateway and that through contemplation, I can open the gate between worlds and be one with you in both physical and spiritual dimensions. I use your image as a mandala or meditative aid. My computer is just going to explode one of these days and spew images of Michael Jackson to coat the world.

[Ewww! What an image … your computer vomiting pictures of me endlessly. He laughs.] And I love you, right? Hmmm … silence. There it is! You doubt my love for you. You wonder how I could love you when we’ve never met face-to-face. Yet, you love me and we’ve never met face-to-face. I should have known this would crop up. I see what the problem is … we need to talk about love. I think we have a conflict of definitions, here.

You are entangled in the ‘human’ definition of the word love. And the ‘human’ definition of the word love often isn’t love at all but something else entirely. So, let’s go back to the very beginning.

How do you define love?

No one can define love, baby. It just is.

Okay, let’s get a little more specific. How do you define your love for me?

Hmmm … Michael, it’s so hard to put into words. I feel an uncontrollable compulsion toward union … merging … in whatever way union can be achieved. I want to breathe you into every pore of my being … to absorb you or for you to absorb me … to be One with you. I want to be your thoughts … ride your dreams … sing your songs … dance your movements. I want to be the tear of joy that escapes the corner of your eye as your dream becomes reality … and the gentle kiss that tastes the salt of it away. I want to see the world through your eyes and hear the world through your ears. I want to wrap myself around your heart and never let go!

Exactly … it is that yearning for the experience of Oneness which is responsible for every person, every living thing, every rock and grain of sand, every drop of water, every blue sky and red cloud and rainbow, every falling leaf or budding rose, every hair on every head in the universe. That is LOVE … as opposed to love. It is God’s definition of the word. It is the way She loves us. It is passionate. It is uncontrollable. It is ever-present. It is the magnetic pull of the sun toward all the planets. It is inescapable.

Is that yearning for union dependent upon my physical presence … or appearance … or attention?

No, not really … although your appearance did (and still does) contribute to it, particularly at the beginning of our acquaintance. Well, that’s not really true. I am just as strongly physically attracted to you now as I was in the very early days of our relationship. Okay … total honesty … I am MORE physically attracted to you with every breathe I breathe!

[Michael giggles.] Does the feeling that you describe include a need to control me, possess me, hold me back from achieving the best possible me that I can achieve?

No, I never want to hold you back from achieving any dream you can conceive. On the contrary, I want to help you fly higher and further than you ever dreamed possible. [My life has taken me beyond the planet and the stars. You’re the only one who could take me this far. I’ll be forever searching for your love.] Yes, exactly … I want to be the fuel for your intergalactic adventure … the wind beneath your wings that provides lift.

Does it embrace or reject the thought of getting more out of the relationship than you give?

No, this love is not an economic transaction or an ‘even-steven proposition.’ I want to give you every part of myself with gratitude for the opportunity to give.  [We are the world; we are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving. There’s a choice we’re making; we’re saving our own lives. It’s true we make a brighter day, just you and me.]

Michael, did you know all this when you wrote those words? [Michael laughs. No, but I love it when a plan comes together, don’t you?]

Is there ever a twinge of jealousy when one of your friends describes an experience of me that is different from your own?

I wish I could answer that last question in the same vein, but I am ashamed to say that I can’t. I do, sometimes, feel a twinge of jealousy when one of my friends describes a very vivid experience of you and I do, occasionally, have to remind myself how truly blessed I am in your ongoing presence in my life and reassure myself of your love. Yes.

And those feelings of jealousy … give rise to your fear of losing me (which is just distrust on steroids) … which encourages your jealousy … which deepens your fear of losing me … and on and on and on. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.

You are in transition … moving from the limited, restrictive, human definition of love toward the Divine, expansive, healing definition of LOVE. Like all transitions, this evolution is characterized by a step forward followed by at least one, sometimes two, steps backward. So, don’t be dismayed by those backwards steps … and don’t feel guilty about them … because then you just cover them over with a layer of guilt, which makes you feel more unworthy and undeserving. Do you see how all this adds up and contributes to the negative energy that is crippling the world? Recognize them for what they are and the blessing they hold for they are indications that progress is being made. Be grateful for the steps forward and, if possible, for the steps back as the sign of advancement … and return to the Divine energy.

Because that’s what LOVE is … energy. It’s not just a passing emotion that may fade with time or with changes in arbitrary factors such as physical attributes or expectations of return. LOVE is energy … ever-fresh, always uplifting, freedom-enhancing, ever-expanding, infinitely generous, healing, creative energy.

It's been a rough week. I thought each of us needed a hug. I know I do.

As a matter of fact, LOVE is the most powerful, most creative, most dynamic energy that ever existed. As the lyrics of the song say, “In the end, only LOVE lives on.” No matter how much fame or fortune, accolades or scorn you amass in your life, only the LOVE you give lives on. If that statement weren’t true, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

LOVE is the conduit that continues to carry me into all of your hearts … the tunnel through which I can continue to touch you with my spirit to encourage you to be the best that you can possibly be. If your yearning to give all of yourself to me was not matched by my yearning to give all of myself to you, this conversation would never occur. It is the singer and the song … the knower and the known. LOVE is expressed in life itself … in all its diversity. It expects no return. It is love for the sake of loving.

So, when I say, “I love you” … it is the absolute truth in the highest, purest understanding of the word. You can take it at face value. You can trust it … and me … it is LOVE. It is not dependent upon our physical nearness … but our spiritual Oneness. It does not rely on any particular physical attributes but on the attributes of character and shared empathy and purpose. It is not contingent upon whether you are worthy or deserving; in LOVE you are deserving and worthy.

My love for each of you is as all-inclusive and passionate as my love for the other. Your desire to give everything you are to me only mirrors that same passionate yearning to empty myself in your service that resides in my heart. [Jan cries softly and feels a warm glow as she is bathed in light and rocked gently in Michael’s arms.] Don’t cry! You are all I need in my life. You are all I dream here at night. Close your eyes. Imagine I’m … takin’ you … away … tonight. [Michael sings.]  

Each of you experiences my presence in your own unique ways because you are individual people with unique back stories and experiences that have shaped and molded your appreciation of my presence and each of you processes and translates my presence in different ways. Conversations are not better than dreams … vivid visualizations are not better than poems … visitations are not better than musical compositions. A psychotic DVD player [Jan laughs] is not better than drawing an image … and an attack by a herd of rogue butterflies is not better than writing a symphony. They are different avenues of expression and each is as pregnant with your own interpretations … and the meaning you give to them … as it is with my presence.

They do, however, share the same goals … to make you aware of my presence … to fill your spirit with joy, comfort, reassurance and a consciousness of our togetherness … to remind you of our shared mission … and to fill your hearts with LOVE. When your hearts are full to the brim with the certainty and security of this LOVE, it must radiate outward into your world in your thoughts … and in your words … and in your compassionate outreach. It must expand outward! You have experienced this yourself … the feeling that you will just burst if you don’t capture the emotion in some way and share it as soon as possible. You will not be able to refrain from singing it … dancing it … writing it … drawing it … painting it … composing it … sculpting it, just as I couldn’t hold it back. It is an energy that must create, always renewing itself by challenging itself to give more of itself in service to those whom it loves.

I count on each of you sharing your experiences (in whichever medium feels most comfortable) with each other so that all share the experience together (either directly or vicariously) … and through those shared experiences we are all dancing the same dream together, pushing those ripples ever outward toward infinity. In this LOVE, there is room only for the JOY of filling the beloved with JOY. Jealousy is not possible for it is a manifestation of fear and when this LOVE fills all our hearts, fear is banished like a candle flame banishes the darkness that surrounds it.

Okay, so now that we’ve defined love in God’s terminology, let’s talk about the human definitions of love.

Human definitions of love divide it into three different kinds according to the expected expressions of that emotion. So, for example there is eros, which is sexually-expressed love and is often based in physical attraction. (This is love with an expectation of return, ideally benefitting both participants. In our society, this partnership has been distorted to more commonly provide more benefit to one of the participants at the expense of the other.) Next is philos, which is love expressed in friendship and is often based in shared experiences, ideals or goals. (This, too, is love with an expectation of mutually-beneficial return.) And last is agape, which is altruistically-expressed, compassionate or unconditional love. (This is love for the sake of loving with no expectation of return or even acknowledgment.) Some theories add a fourth called thanatos, which is love of the self and is expressed in a longing for self-improvement, self-realization or self-perfection.

By dividing it into these smaller, bite-sized pieces, the human race satisfies its craving to dissect a concept which is too infinite for it to grasp in its entirety … to categorize or pigeon-hole love and make it more palatable and easier to swallow … squeezing it into little boxes to make it easier to understand .In this way, we can be more comfortable with a concept that defies definition (a thing our egos cannot tolerate).

The problem with this is that God is LOVE … and like God … LOVE doesn’t fit easily into a little box, regardless of its expression.

The second problem is that our modern society has lost the ability to accurately gauge and quantify even these conceptualized little boxes, partly because of several centuries of sexually-repressive history. We are still dealing with the backlash from the sexual revolution of the 1960s … and the Civil Rights Movement … and we are not dealing with them well.

It’s acceptable … even encouraged … to express sex in our culture. Just look at any news stand or movie theater for proof of that statement. However, it is not acceptable … or considered ‘normal’ … to express love publicly. Do that and you risk accusations of being sexually-motivated by certain factions of society who are unshakably entrenched in established societal mores from much earlier generations.

In addition, the covenant of trust which once shaped our human relationships has been broken and love is founded in trust. Stories of a vengeful, angry, violent God who condemns his children to everlasting torment have caused us to distrust our deity. Domestic violence, abuse and abandonment have resulted in children distrusting their parents. The struggle to ‘get ahead’ has ended in children left too much to fend for themselves further severing the familial bonds that are supposed to nurture and sustain them. Sexual addictions and abuse have broken relationships and homes. We have forgotten how to trust. Without trust, love is just a four letter word.

Whether viewed as cause or effect (which comes first … the chicken or the egg?), it doesn’t help that we have priests who admit using young children for their own gratification and teachers who take advantage of their students reinforcing these prejudices. So, society enacts laws to blunt expressions of natural human empathy … and we tell our teachers that they can’t show affection or support for their students without the likelihood of accusations of child molestation. Of course, our young people are confused by us watching sexually-charged television programs and reading material while we tell them to refrain from the same activities as well as about their sexual identities and that confusion leads to bullying behaviors by young people threatened by difference . And the marginalized, aberrant factions of society express angst in sociopathic tendencies and sexual crimes.

Finally, our culture has formed an unspoken agreement that love in all its infinite varieties is legitimately expressed in only one way … sexually … and, frequently, love has very little to do with it. It has morphed into a form of violence, exploitation and manipulation.  Romantic love, as practiced today, isn’t love at all. There are large elements of ‘what’s-in-it-for-me,’ which is not at all what love is all about. Possession gives rise to jealousy …  control begets abuse … manipulation produces dishonesty … … domination spawns co-dependency … often, violence results in people broken by abusive relationships … and all are called love. Yet, the culture glorifies it, sanctifies it and extols its virtues through its use of art and sensational story. Many of us wouldn’t know LOVE if it came up and bit us on the butt.

Michael!

Sorry, but it’s true. It has become ‘wrong’ (within the prevalent worldview) for a man to love children and express affection for them by hugging or touching them because there is a fear that his sexual instincts will be roused (which clearly shows vestiges of the sexual repression we thought we had shaken off in the turbulent 60s are still with us, just buried beneath our calm, sophisticated, empathy-numbed exteriors.) This is especially true of a man of color who, it has been rumored for decades, cannot control those instincts. That’s why so many lynchings occurred in the deep South, giving rise to the Civil Rights Movement. Sexually active black men were hung and killed for looking at a white woman … which translated as ‘wanting’ a white woman to the White Supremacists who were in control … which translated to raping a white woman without batting an eyelash because of this belief that he was unable to curb his appetites. And the establishment in control backed this bigoted view by using the Bible as its authority. “He who looks at a woman with lust in his heart has already committed adultery.”

That belief is still at large in the world today. My life is proof of that. This inaccurate and incomplete definition of love lies at the very epicenter … ground zero … of the events of my life. I did not conform to the ‘normal’ societally-approved, sexual behavior expected by the culture in which I found myself until much later in life than most men in my position.

In addition, I always expressed my love for children with affection and empathy and compassion. I could not turn a cold eye toward their need to be loved and healed; I hugged them and kissed their heads and blessed them. I allowed them to hold my hand and rest their heads against my shoulder. I played video games with them and watched movies … and gave them my bed.

I am a black man (regardless of how many times certain news magazine anchors remind the world that I don’t look like a black man should look, which is just another racially-charged comment) and, according to the supremacist’s theory, unable or unwilling to curb my voracious sexual appetite. Those factions are very aware of the under-the-rug racial history behind the Civil Rights Movement. It’s not the first time that they have taken advantage of the fear of the sexually active black man to rouse the ‘mob mentality’ so often employed successfully in the South in the 1940s and 1950s by employing the media to warp my affection and compassion for children through this lens, and presume it was sexual in nature when, in fact, it was spiritual in nature … empathy … a desire to heal and make whole.

The world was talking eros … while I was talking agape. That is the danger of trying to define a concept like LOVE and fit it into those little tiny boxes. Unless we all agree on the definitions we are using to stick that label on the concept, there are going to be misunderstandings.

There is no possibility of misunderstanding with LOVE … and, yet, it is a fact that it is usually the most misunderstood concept … not because of any ambiguity or lack of clarity in its promise … but because of humanity’s inability to believe in its promise of selfless, all-encompassing, healing, creative LOVE. And there’s that lack of trust again.

Thank you, Beloved. I love you!

God bless you! I love you more! Do you believe me?

Yes, Michael, I believe you.

Do you trust me enough to believe in my love for you?

Yes, Dear One, I trust you enough to believe in your love for me. Michael!

Hmmm?

Did you just turn on my DVD player?

[Innocent (and, indeed, anemic) whistling.] I told you … the thing is psychotic!

Jan – November 3, 2011 

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