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Archive for May, 2016

Installment 102

April 22 through 27, 2016

Revised cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you want to tell me about it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, please!

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

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

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

[Michael chuckles.]

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

Did you ever feel that?

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

All artists experience this feeling of “let down.”

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

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

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

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

And you … don’t forget you.

Okay … and me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I remember.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There ya go!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m committed to my art.

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

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

Union with God?

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

Yes, indeed it is.

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

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

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

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

 

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