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Archive for November, 2013

In Service of the King

November 13, 2013

During my recent illness, I was prone to sleepless nights or interrupted sleep. As a result, I often found myself awake at 2:00 or 3:00 AM (or even later … uh … earlier?), unable to sleep because of the congestion or coughing or waiting for the medicine to kick in so that I could get back to sleep.  Many begin to suffer from insomnia as they approach my advanced age, but I have never been one of them. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the World’s Greatest Sleeper. It is my one true talent. It is one of the traits for which I am thankful, so it’s unusual to find me awake at such hours.

The following post is not a Conversation (at least not in the way we have all come to expect and appreciate) and I do apologize for those who anxiously await the next Installment. However, it is a kind of communication … a ‘stream of consciousness’ … a kind of ‘coming to grips’ with what Michael Jackson suffered over the fifty years he spent with us, trying to be an Angel living a human life.

In Service to the King

These early morning wake up calls have me thinking, Beloved. Once again, I am awake before dawn. The only sounds to be heard are the gentle tinkling of my lotus flower fountain and the low hum of the furnace fan heating my home. We won’t mention my coughing, which woke me from a deep sleep to begin with. I’ve already changed my clocks back to daylight savings time and made myself a cup of hot coffee. It’s a perfect time for reflection and sharing quiet, contemplative moments with you.

In my mind, I see you in the early morning hours during the five months of your trial, up and pacing in the guest cottage at your beautiful home after being driven from the sanctuary of your bedroom’s comfort by people looking for what didn’t exist. Perhaps, you stood and looked out the French doors at the fairy lights festooning the trees, making every night Christmas Eve … or listening to the song of the night creatures echoing across the valley as they merged with the distant music of the water features to create a natural symphony.

Were you seeking some escape from the harsh, unforgiving thoughts of a cruel reality in the enchantment you created and embedded into your home environment by providing ample space for nature’s magnificence to shine in every panoramic view and by adorning every floor, wall, ceiling and room with objects of unimaginable beauty? Even the rocks in your gardens contributed their song and the massive trees, hung with thousands of strings of fairy lights, added their own grace notes.

The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought … We have yet to learn that we can’t survive without enchantment and that the loss of it is killing us.

Thomas Moore – The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life

Few of us can even begin to imagine what it would have been to be so dreadfully alone … and so burdened. Karen Faye and Michael Bush have stated that they arrived at 3:00 AM to begin to prepare you for your day in court.

How blessed they were to have been able to share those moments with you!

Most of those mornings, you didn’t need to be awakened, did you? You were already awake and dreading the coming of daybreak. As the dawn drew back the dark curtain of night, did you want to hide in the folds of its cloak as you hid in the folds of the red velvet curtains at the sides of the stages when you were little more than an infant … to savor for a few more moments, the spell that, at times, helped you to forget the brutal reality of your fate?

Your life-long pattern of chronic insomnia must have been at fever pitch during this time … with the mental and physical anguish you suffered, your fear for your children’s safety, your uncertainty over your own future and the ever-present, uncompromising pressure to behave with dignity and reserve, a constant playmate since your earliest days, upon your shoulders because you were always aware that the entire world watched your every move. What was it like, Beloved?

In my mind’s eye, I can see them arriving hours before the sun streaked the eastern sky with the colors of dawn, exhausted from the two and a half hour drive from Los Angeles, but eager to be there for you, ready and willing to assist you in your determination to present the very best Michael Jackson possible to the world despite the crushing weight of your uncertainty and insecurity … and the equally weighty millstone of the world’s tireless resistance to presenting its best possible face to you.

How did you do it day after day? How did you continue ‘keeping your head up to the sky’ and putting one foot in front of the other? How did you retain your hold on your dignity, your sanity, your faith?

The quiet, reserved ‘Gentle Warrior’ example you set shamed your detractors, lined up in their thousands to capture your million dollar tears and broadcast any impatience you might show as they flashed their cameras – even as their attempts to shame you mounted and multiplied. The rabid media, with its camera angles, may have rendered your complexion paler and sharpened the angles of your face, but they could not distort the nobility of your countenance nor the regality of your carriage as you walked their gamut of biased self-interest and greed.

I see you kneeling to pray for strength in the guest house, the dark-stained hardwood floor bearing your weight with pride and gratitude as you began your day as you always had – on your knees in prayer.

How blessed were those who heard those prayers, who shared them with you, who held your hand in those moments.

It reminds me of the story of Job from the Bible, who, beset in every possible way, still called out in faith to his God.

It reminds me, too, of the story of Jesus, who prayed that the cup of the knowledge of humankind’s cruelty and ignorance be taken from him without his tasting of it … let alone drinking of its content in full measure … but who didn’t turn in headlong flight from his certain death in his terror. He stood firmly in his innocence, garbed only in his faith in his father in heaven.

Where does that kind of courage and faith reside? What small pocket in the clothing of humanity hides that kind of stubborn refusal to be cowed … that determination to be nobler, to be bigger, to rise above the voices raised in loud, angry, accusatory chaos, to embody strength, to remain dignified in the most challenging of situations?

How blessed were those who were able to contribute the smallest part – the turn of a curl … the cut of a jacket … the bright, colorful shade of a vest … the heart-shaped cufflink that spoke so eloquently of the one who wore his heart on his sleeve – the sparkle of a bedazzled brooch … the golden chain bearing the regalia of a king … the whispered “amen” – to the appearance of strength in the face of epic, monumental adversity.

As I look back at our conversations, I realize that you have credited your ability to withstand the strain of those interminable days … and nights … to our love and prayers. I pray that is true.

I also pray that the fluidity of time allows our love and faith in you now to be retroactively applied to your need then (a band-aid, perhaps, to stem the hemorrhage) – in a similar fashion to a retroactive raise … given after the fact but encompassing all the ensuing time from the effective date to the present – that love borrowed from the future can redeem the lack felt so strongly in those early morning hours when the hounds baying at the altar of your resolve rivaled the wild creatures of the night that wandered onto your precious enclave, destroying your tranquility.

Our beliefs have the power to change the flow of events in the universe – literally to interrupt and redirect time, matter and space, and the events that occur within them.

Gregg Braden – The Spontaneous Healing of Belief: Shattering the Paradigm of False Limits

From recent readings, I gather an intimation that the nature of time may, indeed, be so flexible … if not in the physical, material dimension, then, at least, in the spiritual … and, like a balloon, can be stretched to accommodate such fanciful notions. No machine is required to accomplish this feat; Jules Verne can rest easy in his grave.

She said that her experience of being on the “other side” was perfectly clear on one thing: Everything is happening at once. There is no past or future, only one and only now.

Wayne W. Dyer – Wishes Fulfilled

Let us imagine, for the sake of argument, that the Human Mind (version 1.0) was packaged with all the equipment required to perform the formula of time travel in its imagination. Perhaps, it is not the hardware that is missing; rather, what have been lost are the instruction manuals and user guides.  For as Wayne W. Dyer writes in Wishes Fulfilled:

The greatest gift you were ever given was the gift of your imagination. Within your magical inner realm is the capacity to have all of your wishes fulfilled. Here in your imagination lies the greatest power you will ever know. It is your domain for creating the life that you desire, and the best part of it is that you are the monarch with all of the inherent powers to rule your world as you desire.

If that is the case, perhaps, we can examine this concept of traveling back in time to amend what was in error, to redeem what opportunities were lost in ignorance. If that is so, please accept my love (albeit offered during the early morning hours so long after those when you paced the narrower, but no less luxurious for that, confines of the guest house) and add it to the bouquet of prayer you offer this morning. It’s a small gift, but one given with all my heart. In this, let me, too, adjust your collar, offer you a mirror, brush an errant curl from your brow, clip a small diamond crown to your neck tie, and add a whispered “amen” to your prayer. In this way, let me, too, be blessed to be in service to the King.

One might argue that it is humanity’s imaginative capacity which separates it from … and supposedly makes it nobler than … the other members that share its biological category of mammals. It is long past time to rediscover and reclaim that with which we were equipped as a species. It is also long past time for human imagination to outgrow the confines of childish restriction and judgment, with its threats of punishment and promises of reward, and to assume its proper place at the forefront of human endeavor and, consequently, human evolution.

In this advance, my love, as in so very many others, you are so far ahead of the times in which you dwell. Let me play a small role in releasing human imagination from its playpen of the past to take its rightful place in the board rooms and oval offices of its future. We’ll never know our own strength until we try it against our weakness. Let’s face it, we’ve tried everything else.

A life of fifty years is filled with 18,250 days and nights. How many of those roughly 18,000 dawns did you greet having never slept? In how many cities in our world did the rising sun find you standing at the window greeting her approach as she spread her multi-colored negligee over the eastern sky and dressed the buildings in her bedazzled, rainbow-colored splendor?

May we, in our advanced knowledge of the future return to those countless pre-dawn vigils and, in our return, comfort, solace and provide companionship for your aloneness?

I see you in your rented house in Las Vegas – the one where you weren’t allowed to use the front door because it was too exposed to the road and gated drive and your security team was concerned for your safety, as they should have been. Your isolation is heartbreakingly described in “Defending a King: His Life and Legacy.” This was another period in your life when your wakefulness caused you to haunt the rambling mansion, checking on doors and windows and making sure your kids were safely tucked in their beds. Did you miss the companionship of their nanny? Did you miss the open spaces, the quiet glens and golden mountains of Neverland in those early morning hours in Las Vegas?

One of the most poignant scenes in the book describes you and the children escaping to the rooftop deck – the only outdoor space in that residence where you could flee the confines of the four walls of the opulently appointed house.  For one accustomed to the freedom of roaming dessert trails, riding horses through acres of natural woodlands and raising elephants, giraffes and llamas, you must have found the restrictions hard to bear. One whose soul is so nourished by nature’s fierce gentleness must have been desperate to break out of that prison, that gilded cage. It must have been an isolation that prowled and stalked, feasting on your beautiful, nature-starved heart. Reading about it was heartbreaking; living it must have been devastating.

Can we add those early mornings to those of the trial years – times that we can revisit and heal the wounds you bore in the silence of your soul? Most of your false friends in Hollywood had deserted you; all those whose careers you had sponsored; all those you inspired to follow their dreams – none stood at your side. After that horrible trial, few came to your defense or offered you a twig of comfort.

My poor beautiful Angel! Perhaps, if time is, indeed, flexible, we can return to those early mornings, too, and heal the ache of your aloneness.

There are so many early mornings, my love – mornings spent in hotel rooms in cities on every continent – when your beautiful body was exhausted from performing but flooded with too much adrenalin and pain to find rest – mornings when the headlines shouted in your head incessantly and the agony of accusation melted your bones, but you were still expected to go out on that stage and perform as if nothing had happened – mornings when Joseph’s stringent warnings to ‘never disappoint the fans’ reverberated in your mind … when all you wanted to do, in truth, was run and hide, pulling your innocence in around you to protect you from further hurt.

I remember one of those early mornings, Beloved – a morning when your agony and fear called out to me, halfway across the world – a morning when your bruised and battered soul just could not contain the extremity of your hurt any longer and reached out to any other human soul in this world which had enough love and compassion to share the burden with you. Your cry woke me on that morning, Beloved; it woke others, too, I know now. Pictures of your performance the next day in Bangkok clearly evidence your pain. You greeted the crowd with tears streaming down your face, your make up tracing the tracks of your tears … and your strength, for you DID greet the crowd!

Bangkok1

It would take years to heal each individual morning, Beloved. How will we manage it? The touring mornings – the Neverland mornings – the Las Vegas mornings – the ‘This Is It’ mornings! How to mend the countless mornings in your beautiful life when you got dressed, prepared for your day and walked forward in faith, hiding your fears and uncertainties behind Michael Jackson, poised and endlessly confident megastar, like you hid your pain behind hours and hours of rehearsals and barricades of strength, dignity and extravagant claims of rhinoceros skin?

I commit myself to this task from hence forward. When I find myself awake in the early morning hours, when the traffic on the road outside is quiet and the darkness is a comfort, when the stars wink out and the moon sets outside my window, when the sounds of the ticking of the clock and the gentle tinkle of my fountain accentuate the hum of the furnace fan … I will spend those hours with you.

Jan – November 13, 2013

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