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Archive for May, 2015

Installment #94

May 26 through May 29, 2015

Beloved,

I am so, so sorry.

Huh? Why?

Well, I kinda have some bad news to report and I am so hoping you won’t be angry. I don’t really know how to tell you.

Usually, the best way is to just say it and get it over with. Do I need to sit down?

Uh … I’m not sure … okay … you remember my DVD player?

The psychotic one?

Yes, my dear, that’s the one. You asked me to never get rid of the psychotic DVD player.

Yeah! I remember. That thing is so responsive.

Michael, I’ve had to get rid of the DVD player. I’m so sorry! In my defense, it had developed either a bad wire or one of the channels was going out or something. I’m not totally sure exactly what was wrong with it, but during playback of either movies or compact discs, I would entirely lose a channel … the entire “surround” effect would just disappear. I tried everything I could think of … reconnecting the speaker wires … re-establishing the connections to the television set, etc. … but nothing I did repaired the problem. So, I have had to replace the DVD player.

[Michael laughs out loud.] Geez! Don’t scare me like that! I thought we had a serious problem here. Don’t worry about it. When something isn’t working for you, you need to change it. I’ll just turn on whatever you replaced it with. I know how to get your attention when I want it.

Yes, you sure do! Oh, Baby … I am so relieved. I thought you would be disappointed and I never, ever want to disappoint you. I was hesitant to tell you.

No, I’m not disappointed. This is just another example of how you just insist on “worrying” … and tying yourself in knots … about anything. Worry is the game nobody wins.

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

Oh my gosh, Michael … that song … that song! Do you remember when we discussed the Symphony in the Key of Love and you compared the effect of our childhood experiences to hearing the Symphony through various kinds of audio equipment?

Yes, I remember.

I just love that analogy so much. You said [reference Installment #3, November 18-25, 2010]:

Okay, so … if we are the symphony … our childhood is the instrument through which we hear the music … the filter through which the music flows to our sense of hearing. Every note of the entire composition is filtered through this instrument.

You don’t have to be a musician to understand this. Anyone who has ever bought a radio can relate to this … different instruments transmit a different tonal quality. For example, a transistor radio with one earplug gives a mono or one-track reproduction of the symphony. The bass is muted; the treble is dampened and both are condensed into the midrange. So we are not hearing the symphony’s fullness through that instrument. We are getting an estimate of what the entire composition sounds like rather than a clear and true reproduction. A computer’s speaker system is similar in a way; it does not give the listener an accurate reproduction of the entire symphony because the quality of the speaker system in a computer is poor to mediocre.

A decent stereo gives better audio quality because it can separate the midrange from the bass and treble and give a truer reproduction of the tonal quality of the entire production. But we aren’t there, yet, are we? A Dolby-enhanced system gives an even truer reproduction, especially when it includes a separate woofer or bass speaker to truly give depth to the bass sections. A recording studio is the truest, most accurate reproduction of each individual note in the symphony because each line can be adjusted or modulated to give the listener the effect of being in a concert hall, but it’s kinda big and wouldn’t fit in everyone’s home.

So, each person who is listening to the same symphony is hearing the symphony through the filter of the system or instrument through which it is being played. Therefore, each listener is hearing something different … from a rough estimate to a true reproduction of every instrument … or having a different experience of the entire symphony. Right?

Yes, I remember.

That conversation (Installment #3) went on to describe how we all experience life through the filter of our childhoods and how our every thought, word and action is impacted by the judgments and definitions and labels we absorb from our experiences of childhood. We carry those judgments and labels throughout our lives. In other words, our childhoods don’t really “end” when we are 18 or 21 because we continue to see ourselves … and life … and God … and everything … in the way we were taught to view them.

Exactly! We are all born into a societal and cultural story. That story is inculcated into us through parental, educational, religious and secular authority figures from the moment of our birth into this physical life. We absorb it almost by osmosis. We are taught very early on not to “rock the boat” … not to “upset the status quo” … not to “disturb the adults” in our lives … and, for heaven’s sake, “never upset the apple cart.” 

As we grow into adulthood, we are a reflection of our experiences throughout our childhoods because they have shaped and molded us to interpret everything we experience from the perspective of those judgments and definitions. We reflect both the “good” and “bad” influences of the stories we have been told by those authorities … and those we have told ourselves … throughout our childhoods.

Many of us continue to tell ourselves those same stories with little change throughout our lifetimes, accepting them as the truth of who and what we are. You did, didn’t you?

Yes, I sure did for a very long time … until I didn’t.

Right! And I did … until I didn’t. But we don’t fulfill our purpose if we continue to tell ourselves the same stories about life and about ourselves over and over again, whether they are true or not, do we? We just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again … both personally and collectively. How often have we heard the phrase “History repeats itself?” However, we never hear anything about how to stop that repetition; we’re taught that that’s just the way it is and there’s nothing we can do about it … and we accept that … unless we don’t.

Are we just here to “blend in” … to “get by” until the end? To many, that is the goal and purpose of life. Not making waves is all they ask of the life they are living. Any challenge to their accepted concept of life is unthinkable, intolerable, dangerous and needs to be “put in its place” … if not outright killed. If we believe those voices that we hear in our heads telling us that we are imperfect, not worthy, ugly or whatever … and we really can’t ever aspire to be anything better than imperfect, unworthy, ugly or whatever because that is our nature … what’s the point of life?

We’re on a mission for the everlasting light that shines
A revelation of the true enchantment of our minds

WE ARE HERE TO CHANGE THE WORLD

How do we change the world if we just accept and retell the old stories that have made it what it is to begin with forever and ever and ever? 

Or are we here to evolve, to grow, to challenge ourselves to improve our performance in the play of life … and to develop new stories that paint a truer picture of who and what we are … NOW? If we examine those stories we have accepted without question for most of our lives and decide that they are not working for us anymore because we are interested, perhaps, in expanding our ideas of ourselves … or developing a new skill like … I don’t know … let’s say … drawing and painting … or writing … can’t we change those stories to include our new interest and to more clearly refine our definitions of who we are and what we are capable of … NOW? If those old, tired stories from our childhoods don’t define the person we wish to be in the present moment precisely enough, do we not have the ability to choose to question those previous definitions and arrive at a fuller and deeper understanding? 

It’s just like your ‘psychotic’ DVD player; it wasn’t working for you anymore so you replaced it. I assume that what you replaced it with works better, right?

Oh yeah! I replaced the ‘psychotic’ DVD player with something that is fairly new on the audio technology scene called a “soundbar” that sits in front of the television set. It is about three feet long and about 1 1/2 inches deep and high and it has a wireless subwoofer that sits on the floor at the back of the room, so it simulates a five speaker surround sound system, but there are no speaker wires snaking all over my little sanctuary.

The thing is that I have been playing with this thing ever since my husband bought it for me for Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago. I have never heard music so clearly, with the possible exception of the In The Studio seminar I attended in Los Angeles last year by Brad Sundberg. He played a lot of your music on some absolutely fantastic (and expensive) speakers and the clarity of those speakers, even at the “are you nuts” level, (approaching the decibel level at which you liked to listen to a playback in the studio) was amazing. Absolutely NO distortion in any of the frequencies. The song Childhood played on those speakers … and the video of the recording session that accompanied it … were an emotional experience that I will never forget; your exuberance during the recording of the song changed my whole understanding of that song forever. Previously, I had envisioned it as a melancholy song (as, indeed, it is depicted in the short film release), but while you were recording it, your emotional timbre was anything but melancholy; it was exuberant, triumphant, joyful and you were literally uplifted by the orchestral accompaniment … it was visible and palpable. Anyway, back to the topic.

This soundbar approaches that level of clarity (at least in my little Sanctuary); your voice played through this thing is indescribably delicious.

[Michael laughs.] Indescribably delicious … I love it … wasn’t that a candy bar? First, I’m a ninja butterfly-whisperer, then robins … and now, a candy bar! I’m slipping.

[Jan laughs.] Yeah, a Mounds bar, wasn’t it? I think. Anyway, when I first got this thing, I had to play all of your albums sequentially; it was like hearing your music for the first time. We are not talking about a transistor radio with one earplug here, Baby … or even my previous five speaker surround sound (which I thought was pretty good quality but which I have since discovered really wasn’t all that good at all. I’ve been told that they don’t put really good quality speakers in those systems. Who knew?)

We are talking studio quality reproduction of every little thread and nuance in the tapestry of your music … your beat boxing percussions in the background that so often form the foundation of your music are clear as a bell through this soundbar … your intricate, double and triple tracked harmonies are breathtaking, a rhapsodic rapture to which I could easily become addicted … your heartbeat in Smooth Criminal sounds like I am wearing a stethoscope … your pure, nearly unaccompanied voice in Childhood and Be Not Always and the a capella versions, from I’ll Be There through Xscape are nothing short of swoonworthy … well, the list could go on and on into infinity. Suffice to say … I am in audiophile heaven over here! I had absolutely no idea of all that I was missing in your recordings and short films.

There ya go. You don’t determine that something isn’t working for you and go out and get something that works less well; normally, you want something that works better … that allows you a fuller or deeper experience of the music, in this case … an improvement over what you had before. Yes, you were satisfied with your surround system while it lasted, but no technology lasts forever. How long did you have that system?

Gee, Baby … I don’t know … maybe ten years? That feels about right. I had had that system for a couple of years on the day the earth stood still … and that was six years ago.

Ten years? Wow, that’s really good! I mean that’s a really long time for something like this. In the years since you purchased and set up your surround system, technology has marched on. It has changed the entire field of audio technology in that time. IT HAS EVOLVED!

We have talked in great depth about Earth Song before [reference Installment #37, July 30 through August 6, 2011]  and the years that I worked on it. During those years of work, from the initial inspiration to the final outcome, the audio technology EVOLVED; it actually changed so that I could get the depth that I wanted to hear in the playback. I think you called it ‘apocryphal.’ When I started on the song, apocryphal just wasn’t possible, regardless of the fact that that was the way I was hearing it in my head. However, by the final release, the audio recording technology had advanced to make what was previously impossible possible.

Okay … so when something doesn’t work for you anymore … what do you do?

Well, I guess you could ignore its failings and cling to it out of desperation. I did that for several months, but I’m not terribly good at that option, especially as it relates to your music. You can try to repair it and return it to its former satisfactory status, but, in this case, I was told that repairing that system would be much more expensive than just getting a new one. Or you can replace it.

Exactly! Now … let me ask you this. When you are faced with a choice to replace something in your life, do you replace it with something that is exactly like what you had before to the letter? Do you regress and replace it with something older, less advanced, with less functionality? Or do you look for something that will do MORE than what you had before, BETTER than it did it?

Well, I usually opt for the best that I can afford unless my husband is with me when I am looking. In that case, he pushes what I can afford further and gets me AWESOME! [God bless him!] I usually want MORE and BETTER and more inclusive.

You are too easy! [Michael laughs.] And I love you!

Yay! I get to say, “I love you MORE!” this time.

That’s okay … I love you MOST! 

But back to our discussion. Quit trying to distract me.

That’s called EVOLUTION. Your taste in audio equipment has evolved. In addition, technology has evolved to allow you a deeper and fuller understanding of the music.

Life is the same way; it evolves. So, as adults, we look back on those judgments, labels, definitions that we acquired during our childhoods and we are faced with the same choices if we determine that they are not working for us anymore. 

We can, as you said above, “ignore their failings and cling to them out of desperation” and a lot of people choose this as the wisest path because they don’t want to “rock the boat” much less “upset the applecart.” It’s much safer to stay rooted in what we know, have accepted and are comfortable with than to stretch that comfort zone to include new information. The old stories were ‘good enough.’ Why fix what ain’t broke? 

However, they weren’t working for you anymore, so you tried pursuing your new interests and releasing your old resentments and, in the process, wrote a deeper and fuller understanding of your story by including new, more current information. You didn’t throw the whole thing out; there was no throwing the ‘baby out with the bathwater.’ You just stretched the confines of your story a little bit (because they were too limiting) to include new information you had acquired as a result of your experiences in the last couple of years. But as a result of your expansion, your story has changed and you are not telling yourself the same ‘broken’ and ‘wounded’ story you had grown up with. Your personal story has evolved into a truer, more refined definition of who and what you are … NOW.

Gnosis - An intuitive knowledge of Spiritual Truth Reproduced here by permission of commissioner

Gnosis – An intuitive knowledge of Spiritual Truth
Reproduced here by permission of commissioner

The same applies on a societal, collective level. We have been telling ourselves the same cultural story for thousands of years … generation after generation after generation. And we are repeating history with every generation … more killing … more wars … more devastation … more children dying … more planetary upheaval. Our stories have not evolved and kept pace with our evolution in technology, medicine, invention, science. We are trying to apply 1st Century solutions to 21st Century problems. I repeat:

WE ARE HERE TO CHANGE THE WORLD

If this statement weren’t true, why educate ourselves … why improve our technology … why increase our understanding of medicine, develop vaccines, eradicate diseases … why attend churches, develop faster communication and more efficient transportation? Why set our aims higher, travel to the moon, explore outer … or inner … space? If we’re not allowed to question the stories we’ve told ourselves … what we’ve believed in … and what we’ve accepted and been satisfied with … as true for thousands of years, there would be no point in rising above the level of cave dwellers. What would be the point?

The drive toward evolution was implanted in the human being at its creation, and each and every one of us has that chip in our genetic code. We strive to improve our standard of living, our education, our understanding of science and mathematics, our knowledge of the way the world works, the way the universe was created, the way our bodies work, the way our minds work … just as you tried to improve your audio technology.  The one thing we do not allow ourselves to question is our understandings of God; challenging those understandings will start a war or get you stoned real quick. 

However, when we refer back to the cultural story we have all been indoctrinated with, the story we find is antiquated, outdated and just plain doesn’t work anymore (and really never has, when you get down to it). Look at the world! You don’t have to look very hard for the proof of this statement.

Nevertheless, most of the world ‘ignores its failings and clings to it in desperation.’ We make anyone who challenges the stories we have told ourselves for thousands of years wrong … anyone who questions them bad … anyone who lives a life of pointing out their failings a freak.

Now, I suppose you could have done that with your DVD player. After all, calling a piece of technology wrong, bad or a freak would probably have relieved the frustration you felt with it as you clung to it in desperation out of respect for my request to never get rid of it. However, you and your appreciation of the music would not have evolved. By replacing it, you’ve expanded your understanding of the music and gained a fuller and broader experience of it. Just by making room to include your newly evolved sensory perception of the currently available technological advances and exchanging the old, outdated system with something that more closely aligns with the evolution of your sensory appreciation, you have “made a little space” for the evolution of your experience of music.

The same is true of life. We are not our stories. We are the authors and editors of our stories. We are not the ‘dramas’ and ‘plays’ we have carried with us since our infancy … and the human race’s infancy; we are the actors and directors and screenwriters of our plays and dramas. We have the ability to stretch the stories we have been told for milleniums to make a little space for a more accurate portrait of ourselves … our world … our beliefs … our God … according to more currently available information. As a matter of fact, that is what we are here to do. We ARE here to change the world.

 

Oh my GOSH! THANK GOD! THANK GOD! THANK GOD! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Michael, may we shift gears a little bit here?

[Michael jumps a little at my exclamation … like he’s startled.]  Of course … what’s up?

My Dear One, I awakened this morning (May 28, 2015) to be greeted by the news that Judge Beckloff has handed down his ruling in the case of Wade Robson’s claim against your Estate. The Judge ruled that his case was dismissed based upon the expiration of the statute of limitations. The rule of law has triumphed; precedent remains intact. This ruling is an answer to my prayers for the last two years … many, many meditations and visualizations and I am ready to dance in the streets … uncork that magnum of champagne … and “bathe in the moonlight!”

[Michael laughs.] God bless you! Go bathe in the moonlight!

Only if you come with me.

You do drive a hard bargain! Deal!

 

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Soul’s Embrace

Soul's Embrace

Soul’s Embrace

Soul’s Embrace

My heart flies to you to rest upon your breast.

Fleeter than a hummingbird, softer than a dandelion tuft

Yet more sure in flight than a heat seeking missile

I bond with you more tenaciously than a babe at its mother’s breast.

Though my eyes wander, my heart never strays

For you are the milk of my becoming

The marrow from which my platelets are born.

Your song is the beat that pumps my heart

The sighs in my silences are filled with your music

Within your eyes I find a world of vision

Your fragrance inhabits my every breath.

When fear or uncetainty threaten, I run

To crush myself against your breast

And you paint me in vibrant hues

As just another part of you

Only in our Soul’s Embrace am I content

We wander, hand-in-hand

Through heavenly fields of wildflowers

Where desolate, cold winds of winters of separation are forgotten

Resolved in everlasting blossomings of remembrance.

Angry, gray clouds transform into riotous exuberant color

To delight all our senses in waves of splendor

Assaulting the battlements of self-protection

With the battering rams of joy and discovery.

As I discover you

I discover me

There is only WE

And I rest in our Soul’s Embrace.

JC

5/11/15

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