Saturday, October 31, 2009

Michael Jackson: Thank You for the Mirror- more thoughts about Michael and "This Is It"

Goodnight Michael.
Once again I stand guilty of not appreciating someone enough until they are gone never to return. And so it is with Michael. I call him by his first name now because I know him personally—but only so after his passing and only after seeing his movie “This is It.”

I finally understand Michael the man, both the human being and the creative genius, and I see the incredibly wide love for people and the planet… that came from this singular figure.
One listen to the lyrics of his songs will tell what the man was made of…

“Heal the World/ Make it a better place/ For you and for me/ and the entire human race/.There are people dying If you care enough for the living/Make a little space Make a better place.”

“When they say why, why? Tell ‘em that it’s human nature.
Why, why do you do me this way?”

“I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change.”

I sat in the parking lot and cried for most of an hour after leaving the movie. I didn't know why. The tears were not voluntary. In the theatre I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want the magic to leak away. I didn’t want him to be gone.

I felt the finality of that curtain call and realized...
that I could never have another chance with him—to rescind my doubt. I wanted forgiveness for ever having it. I felt immobile with sadness—in betraying him, in overlooking him, in dismissing him, in questioning him, in doubting him. The tears were because... there are no do overs. Because the world lost something un-named and un-namable with his passing. Because it was something bright. Because Michael held so much love. Because I felt his loneliness. His vulnerability. But mostly I grieved for the light gone out in the world. I still do.

I had always wondered if Jackson was guilty of the things people accused him of doing. I had agonized over my own feelings, my own revulsion if the accusations were true. Over the what ifs. You see, I grew up with the Jackson 5 and my children grew up with Michael's music. I felt if Michael was guilty it would be a personal betrayal and a betrayal of my children. I rejoiced when he was finally found “not guilty” but not everyone accepted his innocence and I confess, in the back of my mind in a little corner, I always wondered.

Widespread public accusation does that- creates doubt. Few remembered he was found innocent of the crimes he was accused of. Few realize that the tabloid stories that so vilified him were sold by those looking to cash in on their association with them. Checkbook journalism arrived and thrived because of Michael Jackson when tabloids and tabloid TV began to pay for stories; the more scandalous the story, the more zeros on the check.

After seeing “This is It” I knew the truth. He just wasn't capable of it. Perhaps the Michael Jackson that those on the outside who conjured him in their own minds and imagined him to be might fit the stories birthed in their own minds, but the person, Michael Jackson, never deliberately hurt anybody. Ever...

The movie "This Is It" was never intended for release but was part of Michael's habit of filming himself for review and improvement. I didn’t miss his incredible kindness to musicians in his band; his “we’ll get it done” assurance to his musical director who wanted his contribution to be perfect because it was, after all, Michael Jackson he was trying to please. I saw his infinite patience with the singers, musicians and dancers as he worked hands on with them to polish their performances. I heard the patronizing tones in the voices of people addressing him and his gracious and patient replies. 

I heard Michael the leader, teacher and master who used metaphor to help them feel his intentions. I heard Michael the guru who urged them to share the spotlight and shine with their own talent. I saw his hands say what his words could not and I watched the tender and not so tender genius in those gestures and those hands.

Michael was beloved and adored by millions-- fans and friends. That love and a kind of artist-to-artist admiration beamed from the sparse audience that made up his cast and crew for the concert tour that was to become "This is It." Michael was teaching them as well as rehearsing. His absolute clarity was stunning. His understanding of transcendentalism, mystery, creative tension and especially using magic and metaphor to take people to places beyond ordinary awareness and through the tunnel of emotion-- to a pathos and place they had never been and never imagined was genius. All of us have that talent somewhere inside us but convention, tradition, condition and cultural boundaries can prevent us from going there. Performance anxiety runs much deeper than stage fright. His clarity in performance and leadership was humble perfection.

Because of his early recognition and financial success, very few of the limits and demands of everyday life that press upon us and drain juice from our imagination, wonder and creative impulse touched Michael. Michael's stardom began very early in life; his childhood was anything but average. And with his talent, he cultivated unrestricted access to most of the world and certainly to the creative realm of wonder and invention. Living most of his life without healthy boundaries brought great aspirations and ambition but also intense pain, betrayed trust and the anguish of being constantly misunderstood.

Michael pushed the envelope; he pushed relentlessly and hard. He was showman, businessman and genius. The grand genius of his works, and especially his concerts were the transcendental experiences. "Transcendental" takes us somewhere else beyond the personal self, to a place where the self and the world become something more and we become something more. Michael was loved for what he showed us was possible. He was the man in the mirror and the one holding it up for us to look. Are we all so far out from childhood that we don’t remember?

How do you pay for children’s’ artificial limbs and transplants in an unknown act in an unknown hospital in an unknown country meanwhile bearing an accusation of deliberately causing harm to children? 

How do you navigate the vitriolic damnation of some who haven’t heard you were found not guilty? Or couldn’t hear it because of their own shadow? When it would never occur to you to hurt a little boy because you, yourself conspire to always embody the magic and wonder for the "boy" in all of them and for the sake of all of them? 

We all have to bear sometime that one searing and rending wound, the loss of innocence. Was your innocence so great that it took that to destroy it? Did it require that much shadow to cover the light that you were? How do you ever return to Neverland? I guess you don’t.

I always loved his dancing but wondered why the sexual “beyond innuendo” in some of it. Watching him in the act of creation—I now understand that it comes from the passion of someone who “rocks it” not because he wanted to or had to but because that was what came through him, through his body. The driving beat of Michael’s music carries an intensity that demands the body move, gyrate, leap, growl and grind. 

The intensity centers in the groin and solar plexus because it comes from the “seat of emotion.” Intensely emotional, it is the language of pure passion. Hindis have a name for that passionate grinding, grounding energy that rises from the place in the human body where spirit meets matter, where physicality meets soul. It’s the energy of gestation, birth, genesis, of force and forceful release—that rises into and becomes creation.

It’s the impulse energy that rushes hot and upward along the backbone from the groin and solar plexus. It is the place of the Kundalini force, the juice of life. And it’s explosive. Like orgasm, that creation energy sends waves of physical earthquakes up the backbone. It is obvious that Michael felt it in his music; it exploded through his body, through him and through his music. 

And was it a political statement? Was it a sassing back to the master? To the white man? When they lynched your ancestral relatives for even glancing at a white woman and hacked off the genitals and either shoved them in the mouth or cast them on the ground, is the left hand that determinedly flashes to cover your private parts a protest or a reactive gesture? Are you saying "you won't get mine," or "I'm afraid you will?" And in the end, did they?

“This is It” left me with some questions:

How do you live with the paradox that millions of people around the world love you but you cannot leave your home? How do you never push a shopping cart down the aisle in a grocery store? Never enter a music store where your recordings are on sale? Never go to a baseball game, a parade, a zoo or picnic in a park with your children? How do you never be left alone yet be so very, very alone? So lonely. How do you write so well of loneliness? One can't write of it without experiencing it. 

And when you’re with people, how do you sort out if someone is being authentic with you or playing to your public persona? How do you be so painfully shy and have such massive talent that it cannot be contained? How do you never say no when and because the music hounds and haunts until it comes through you? How do you rehearse for hours to exhaustion because you can’t NOT share the bigness of your creative genius with the world?

How do you hang onto the religious and moral teachings of your youth in a world of grownups who ignore them? How do you stand up and be a superstar in a world with so much shadow? How do you keep writing lines that highlight or attack that shadow? How do you survive when the shadow turns on you? I understand now it was a calling—the kind that no one could turn their back on because it possesses them. Oh yes, Michael was called. 

Look at his lyrics—most of them are prayer.

And how do you live so naked in public light knowing that for some, you are everything and for others, you will never be enough? How do you remain steadfast in the beacon called “public scrutiny” allowing yourself to be a larger than life target for opportunists? How do you bear continuing vilification perpetuated by unscrupulous exploiters when the unthinkable accusation doesn’t even live in your consciousness, your world?
How do you come to show up for court another day to listen to them excoriate you, shred your very personhood, destroy who you are being? How do you get out of bed? Out of your pajamas? How do you reconcile being accused alone even if found “not guilty” of unspeakable acts to children when you have always loved children because of their wonder, their innocence? How do you even remain vertical in the face of such heartbreak?

How do you trust ever again after someone gained your confidence and left the best part of you on the cutting room floor and called the remainder tabloid film a documentary of your life? How do you survive a mad dog mentality in a racist zealous legal system bent on destroying you? The very system that is supposed to protect you? How then do you gather up the carelessly flung about pieces of your life? And in the midst of it, or in its aftermath, how do you even show up for life?

Maybe you become a kind of recluse and look for something to dull the pain and make the brutality and exhaustion go away. Maybe to make the world go away for awhile. Maybe you even find a doctor or two who will give a little something that helps to ease your woundedness while you try to heal yourself. Can the missing chunks of flesh chewed by those who wanted a pound, be patched? How deep is the wound? Weary soul deep or just weary bone deep?

How do you bear a lifetime of insults, slurs and lies too many to address and too tormenting to allow inside because it would paralyze you? How do you not let it harden your heart? How do you bear comments about your face? My god, your face! The only thing you can be in, express to the world, telegraph your emotions with. 

How do you live with Lupus, a disease that wants to consume your cartilage, your body and Vitiligo, a disease that mars your face? The face that presents you to the world, the face you make a living with? How do you live under umbrellas because the sun makes the blotching of your skin that much worse? When you do the best you can with the laser treatments that are necessary but that make your skin appear bleached and whiter? Now that the disease has left you with more white than black skin in large blotches, and the doctors have advised that the best treatment is to zap the dark skin with lasers to even it out, how do you bear the accusations that you have become a traitor to your race? How do you then navigate being the butt of thousands of jokes and unkind remarks that impale you? How do you survive without one single day in the sun romping at the beach?

I wish "we" could have loved and accepted you just the way you were. I wish we could have cradled you and your face with our minds. You loved beauty; you chased it, chased its perfection. The world is not kind to what it perceives and blemish and imperfection. But you knew that didn't you Michael? Your intractable adolescent acne and the bullying about your nose taught you that. Being the perfectionist and artist you were, you kept changing your face. You always empathized with the downtrodden, disabled and disfigured-- you were closer to them than any of us knew. You hid it from us so well.

How do you explain to a world that is too far gone and will never be innocent enough again to understand that boys loved to hang out with you because you are a legend? A bigger than life greatness that gives them hope in the descending despair of childhood and adolescence, a someone who gives them something undefined to aspire to? That, yes, they see the Peter Pan in you, love you because of it, and want to be close to you because you embody that unabashed joy and wonder that they feel slipping from them. The thing that the world-in-becoming-grown up lost when it lost the innocence of simple “believing?” How do you explain that boys are hanging out to hang onto something so gossamer that it can't be defined? But you too, know what it is and want them to have it just a little longer. How do you explain that they are beginning to discover that if they let go of you, (more what you represent) they will have to confront the despairing reality that they don’t care much for this world the way it is either.

Oh, yes you were eccentric, Michael. And sheltered. Creative geniuses usually are. Yes, you marched to your own drummer. Only because you didn’t like the beat or the vibe of this planet, the one you landed on at birth. Yes, you were Peter Pan in the flesh but only because the world was not a place where you could live, where your fragile spirit could be nourished or thrive. Peter Pan held more sanity for you than the real world. What the world has yet to discover is that embracing our Peter Pan is healing for us. They made fun of it because they had lost the connection with their own inner child. 

You tried to reconnect them in all your work. Despite the mocking, and yet until the very end, you were still trying to remind humanity of its inner child innocence and wonder; to your last day, you tried to make the world a better place! It would have been so much easier to turn your back on a world that didn’t understand you. It would have been understandable. Even expected. And certainly forgivable. But then you always were a master of the unexpected. How is it, Michael that you could or would continue to care?

That Michael Jackson was truly a contradiction is understated but evident in his last appearance. His humility, clarity, unassuming and egoless private persona certainly “contradicts” the moments he “rocks it.” His shyness contradicts his superstar status. In “This is It,” Michael is truly being Michael— the contradiction. The glory. 

What if that Michael truly never understood the dark energies that come from minds that cannot comprehend true innocence and genuine naiveté? The creative or creation impulse? What an incredible gift to the world yet the world didn’t appreciate him well—both lion and lamb. Yes,the world crucified yet another of our lambs who was a (oh yes he was!) light unto the world. And then again, perhaps Michael did understand. He sang, after all, about “human nature.”

And maybe we never knew him until now. Until he was gone. Until “This is It.” Were he still here, I would not have met the real Michael. I would not have known him. I would not have seen the genius, the creative impulse, the clarity of his quiet but fierce leadership, the ownership of the awesome power and responsibility that he knew he held. I would not have known the Michael in the Music as well as the music in Michael.

I wince when I think about the number of times the man put himself out there not knowing if what would return would be revulsion or love. And yet he was staging yet another comeback—he was willing to give the world and us another chance. And it would have brought him back to us and us back to him; of that I am sure. Would the world have appreciated that magnanimity of the risk, the gift? We will never know. At least he never gave up on the world. On us.

I wonder who now will take over his role-- not as the "King of Pop" but as the world's cheerleader and humanitarian? What language will she speak? How will he get the world's attention? Michael spoke in the language of music. It was because of the language he spoke that he was able to reach the masses. Because he was so widely beloved, Michael was able to mobilize forces, bring people together, and create story in the most unusual and spectacular ways. He was a man with a mission and because of who he was, he was able to command audiences of millions. He used music- a popular and universal language to trumpet his message. He used it to reach just the right audience- youth. 

Michael understood that young people hold the hope for the future and the world. And his message was about healing the world, caring for children and that "we are one." He was able to spread it universally to many generations and peoples around the globe. Who now is capable of that? We know in a quiet and secret place that there will never be another Michael. We, the world, didn't cherish him enough, in fact we didn't treat him very well at all and now he is gone.

Watching the movie, something Michael never intended for release, made me feel a little like a voyeur watching a man preparing to expose his soul to judgment. I felt like I had trespassed into sacred space. But I am grateful for it. I feel like I now know the soul of this man called Michael. He loved big. Oh, I always loved his talent, but I didn’t love Michael, the man. It wasn't enough.

And my final gift from Michael is the realization that “Man in the Mirror” which has to be my favorite song, has an even deeper message than “be the change you wish to see in the world” of Gandhi. There are some people on this planet who saw his light earlier, longer and who never doubted because they had to have seen in Michael, the reflection of their own light. Just like those to whom he reflected their darkest shadow. I wish it hadn’t taken his death to bring me the bright light that was Michael Jackson and the mirror of mine. I just didn't love him as much as he loved me.

(c) ~ Barbara Kaufmann 2009 and beyond "Goodnight Michael- a tribute."


Anonymous said...

Barbara, Thank you for writing so beautifully about a man I've always admired and trusted and "knew". Having been a fan of his for such a long time and having gotten to know him intimately through the magazines, books, music I've collected, I knew this "Peter Pan" we call Michael Jackson. This man full of wonder and joy and most of all LOVE. I'm so happy that you saw him for who he was through this movie. I wish I had seen the movie but I was traveling out of state on the one and only night of the showing. I can not wait for the release of the video to see him as you saw him for the first time. I'm sure all of my feelings about him will be confirmed and STILL I will be in wonder and amazement. He truly is a gift to our world - one I will always cherish - always.

Anonymous said...

>I just seen the movie THIS IS IT…TONIGHT!
>And, I also read your LETTER TO MICHAEL.
>I’m crying so hard right now I can’t even type.
>I can only say THANK YOU right now.
>More later when I am able.
>Luv you
>Ps your writing is UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Barbara, your writing is amazing! I have not read an article as articulate and worthy as this one is in a very long time. I feel that I did not know Michael until I read your words. Thank you for sharing your gift of words, of communicating words of the heart, of love. Thank you for sharing the real Michael with me. Namaste, Lisa Marie

LifeNStuffUSA said...

Barbara, I thank you for writing my feelings down for me. In looking back, I too believe he loved me more than I ever dared to love him, and I've always been a Michael Jackson fan. I just never fully got "it" and so regret that I didn't sooner. My heart aches--for MJ, as well as our world. There are so many lessons to learn from MJ that I am still trying to sort out in my mind so that I too may share them, and the lessons are greater than just caring about the state of our planet and children. The wonderful spirit he possessed, the complicated and many facets to MJ. Sigh. Thank you, again, Barbara. I am envious of your skills and ability to articulate your thoughts so poignantly.

Anonymous said...

Simply beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thank for that great article of yours. MJ is a great entertainer/artist as well as one of many great beautiful souls in the world.

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful letter! Thank you so very much!

Unknown said...

Barbara...Thank You so much for your words that describe Michael Jackson. Being a fan for a very long time now and I could of never said it as beautiful as you did.

PeaceAndLove said...

This is a beautifully written article. It explains everything that Michael was and what others didn't understand. Could you please explain the spiritual meaning behind Michael embodied Light, Shadow, Bright Shadow, the Divine Feminine and androgyny? The aggressive male part I got. Michael's look (the lipstick, eyeliner, etc.) was created in order to appeal to all audiences of his talent i.e. creating a brand. In all the years I have followed him I have never seen him as feminine in any way. I do hope that more people could read this article, it is right on target about him. Maybe it could change their opinions about who he was and what he was about. You are an awesome writer.

gatorgirl277 said...

your words are powerful and ring such truth...thank u for posting this...more people need to see it...

Anonymous said...

Thank for you this beautifully written article.

Anonymous said...

Your words are beautiful and so true. He was a gift and so many are just now seeing it. You understand him and express it so well. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for eloquently putting into words the feelings that I shared but didn't have the words to express.

gatorgirl277 said...

ur writing is so well done, i wanted to mention to u this project called "letters to michael jackson" not sure if u would want to take part in it or not...but just in is the link

submission deadline is 12/31...ur writing belongs in this book/project...thanks u again for ur lovely words about this special man...

Linh Ngo said...

Wow, this is a very beautiful tribute to him. Thank you, Barbara.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing this with your heart.
Michael was pure light in this world and he was indeed the mirror for our own soul.
What we saw in him was what we saw in our own hearts.
For those who felt pleasure in kicking and ridiculing another human beeing I can only say: I feel sorry for you. May be one day you will be able to become a little fraction of what Michael was as a human beeing.
I can say that I have become a better person because of him. So I feel that he has achieved his goal on earth: he helped us see the reflection in the mirror change it for the better.
I learned a big lesson with Michael: NEVER judge someone. Everytime we, flawed humans, try to judge we make injustice. Not even God judge us ( instead He pray for our salvation), so who do we think we are to judge one another?

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say thank you for eloquently saying what I feel. I wish the whold world could read your words. The loss of Michael is more profound than most people know. It's amazing that he was ever here with us at all.

Anonymous said...

Words cannot express how grateful I am to you for writing such an amazing article. It is exactly what I have been feeling. I miss Michael so much! This article helped me appreciate and love him ever more. Thanks again for taking the time to write about this incredible Soul.

candicelovesMJJ said...

Barbara, i would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing about Michael in such an awesome way.
the deepest feelings of my heart are now onpaper. I loved Michael the entertainer and the man.I felt connected to him. Ever since the oprah show in1993 i was eleven and the purity of his heart and the love that he wanted to give the world shone from his heart to mine and i am glad more people are seeing what i felt my whole life for this man.Lets keep his memory and legacy alive. he was LOVE. We have to change the world like he wanted! we have to try.

Kat said...

I am speechless and I am suffering too, I'm young(20) and not enjoyment enough of him, by the stupid media. You definitely have a gift and you use it masterfully. You feel his message and can guess his soul. That's special. I really believe that he is now an angel.

THANK YOU from Venezuela!

Hope4all said...

Wow. Of all articles I have read on Michael Jackson, this one really captures the very essence of who he really was. I too had been a non-fan before his passing so I am able to identify with you.

I hadn't understood his grinding and crotch grabbing/touching before I read this article. I had thought it was more erotic than spiritual, even knowing that MJ was a spiritual man. I wondered about it because it seemed so at odds with his character. Now it all fits and makes perfect sense. I will never be able to look at a video or at concert footage in the same way again.

I cried through the whole article, wept for his suffering, and cried for joy in discovering more about the goodness of this very sweet man. Michael was very complex and you managed to eloquently show his character.

While watching "This Is It", I was able to see his genius and his brilliance as well as his compassion, respect and love for the other artists he was working with.

As you so lovingly point out, Michael was a man on a mission, to unite the world through his spirituality, music and dance, and his humanitarian work. Michael was driven by a force that was so powerful that it caused the whole world to sit up and take notice.

Even though the media continued to vilify him, he was so well grounded in his faith, that not even that could stop him from spreading his message. Michael endured so much ridicule and hate from those that didn't understand him, but still he soldiered on. He never gave up and never gave in.
I am humbled and amazed, and the admiration that I have for Michael increases hour by hour and day by day.

Thank you so much for writing this. Hopefully and prayerfully, others will come to understand the essence of who Michael was and what he was about. Simply put Michael was the "The Man In The Mirror"

Our Voice Will Be Heard said...

I can not thank you enough from the bottom of my heart we need more journalism like this. Truethful, hopeful and enlightening to say the least as I read between the tears somehow you managed to sum it up so well. Yes Michael was a true GIFT a LIGHT
the world just wasn't ready to receive.
God Bless you for your honest loving post.
This is a start towards Justice4MJ

arubiana said...

So beautiful!

graciana83 said...


all i can say is thank you for writing that beautiful article about a man whom i have admired so most of my life.

God bless you.


sueann15 said...

Barbara, Thank you so much for your beautiful words and reflections on Michael. Michael walked into my heart when he was 9 years old, and he continued to insprie me and teach me and encourage me for the ensuing 40+ years. For me, this loss was like family, and your words have so beautifully expressed many of my feelings about him. He was light, and innocence and love, and a gift from above. Thank you again.

Lujan Matus said...

Your post is the truth. What everyone is going to miss is the purity of Michael Jackson.

He truly is a light to be revered and respected and his songs are as you say, incantations containing pure magic.

Whenever my students ask me who I respect the most, and who can I look to for wisdom, I simply say Michael Jackson. Listen to his songs and the vibratory essence of your heart will gain a frequency that will launch you into a world that is so full of absolute beauty.

mari said...

Amazing analysis!
I have never been MJ fan, yet after his death I became so much interested in his art(and life)and I did a lot of research which made me more and more aware of the value of his whole existence. I truly feel that we have witnessed an exceptional and unique phenomenon( some would call it a miracle)that has and will have a great impact on humanity.
Thank you so much and look forward to your next posts.

Linette said...

Barbara, I have tears in my eyes reading this wonderful testament to Michael Jackson. I have to admit that I feel very similar to the way that you felt. I was 10 years old in 1991, when I first discovered Michael when i saw the premiere of the 'Black or White' video and I swear it was love at first sight. His was the first CD that I bought, my first celebrity crush, he was the catalyst to my love for music in general. But as I grew older (and as the allegations, marriages, and other stuff had happened) my interest began to shift. But I had read everything that I could get my hands on about Michael and I felt that he was innocent of those 93 charges and that he would go on being the King of Pop. By the time I was in college and the 03 allegations had erupted, I was confused because this was the second time now. Instead of taking sides, I found that I didn't care which was horrible. But I still felt deep down that he could not have done it because I felt that I had a good understanding of him from the research I had done when I was younger. When Michael had died, I truly felt a big part of my childhood had died and I was truly devastated and cried for days. Deep down I felt that he could never be guilty of child abuse if I and the rest of the world felt so devastated by his death. Since his death, I had resumed my research of Michael's life and am 110% sure of his innocence and 100% in awe of his greatness, genius, kindness and love for a world that turned its back on him. Reading your article is everything I feel worded so beautifully by you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. There are still so many ignorant and shameless people out there who continue to slander and prey on Michael, his children, legacy and music. . . disrespecting him, degrading him, poisoning other people that have no knowledge of Michael, that your article is a rare gem amongst the garbage and filth being written out there. I wish there were many more of you!

Stephanie said...

Thank you for writing what I have been feeling since Michael's physical death. You have summed up all the emotions and thoughts I have been experiencing. I still cry regularly, as if he were part of my family. You have put into words what I could not express so easily. Thank you and know that "you are not alone" in the strong stirrings in your heart regarding Michael. I feel the same. What a beautiful tribute!

michky said...

i know this is coming to you late but i only just came across your work -
but i too have shared a very similar journey to you.

The day i heard of MJs passing i went into a new space. i physically felt his leaving. and at that stage i would never have called myself a fan , although i always felt a connection to the man and always thought he was innocent and unfairly judged.

I tuned into MJs memorial at 3am Australia time just so i could share in this celebration of his life in real time, with all the other people who loved him.

from that day on for many months, i have been researching his life and work and i am truly grateful to understand him. I felt the world go dark. i felt his light go. and that was all before i really saw him thru his interviews and songs and lyrics that i have studied forensically.

so i truly inderstand where you are coming from.
i believe he was the spiritual messenger of our times.
his whole life he was saying the same thing.
How could i hav e missed that message that he was so eloguently delivering with such grace and honesty and patience and love, only to discover it in his passing.

It feels unfair that i could never have personally acknowledged him while he was still here with us.
i feel guilt and shame for it, but i have made my amends and feel MJs spirit of love and acceptance.

I have spent many hours grieving how he was treated in this life and for his way too warly passing, even though i accept that all things are as they are meant to be.

Anyway I just want to say out loud, I love Michael Jackson and all that he was about. And i miss him.

May you continue with your work and keep shining your own light.

Clara Johnson said...

I didn't get to see "This Is It" in theaters because I was ill with the flu. I had to give my ticket away. I finally watched it today. I had tried to watch the video but I knew that I would be reminded of what we lost when Michael died.

I still can't believe that he is gone. It is surreal. I rarely listen to the radio now because I mainly listen to Michael's music. I've listened to it daily since his death and I am reminded of how extremely talented and incredible he was. You're right,we won't have another like him.

Your writing is very powerful and moving. It bought me to tears. It is so great to see someone that can truly appreciate what Michael was and is. It saddens me that he isn't here to know how much he was truly loved. To often we don't show our appreciation and love until after the person is gone.

I have never personally met Michael and I only got to see him once in concert but losing him felt like I had lost a close friend and family member.

Thank you for writing such a remarkable piece about a truly remarkable man.

Alicia said...

This is...well...I can hardly find the words to express what I felt reading this piece on Michael Jackson. You said all that I feel but could never put down in writing this well, and more that I didn't even know that I felt. Beautiful. Gorgeous. RIGHT ON! Thank you for writing down and sharing this perfect array of words that lets me know that I AM NOT ALONE.

Antoinette said...

Many will write about Michael Jackson for years to come but I doubt many will come as close as you did in describing the man he was. Thank you for this beautiful tribute. Now how do we get it in more people's faces?

Anonymous said...

Barbara, This is the best piece of writing I have read on Michael and I have read quite a bit.

I have been researching who Michael Jackson really was since his death; not what the media wanted us to believe.

He was a light being, a spiritual messenger of lovelovelove.He was a lightworker and Indigo child. Dark always tries to put out light. Unfortunately Michael's light was too bright for some of the darkness in this world. He was a man who dedicated his life to relieving suffering and in return, he was the brunt of jokes and judgment. It's the ones who are imbalanced in their second chakra that judged him for loving children. They had to make him wrong.

His music was the soundtrack to my life. I admired his genius and his heart. He channeled his sensitivity and sadness into magnificent art.

You have written a moving, powerful, eloquent piece on Michael. Thank you from all of us who understand who he was.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, This is the best piece of writing I have read on Michael and I have read quite a bit.

I have been researching who Michael Jackson really was since his death; not what the media wanted us to believe.

He was a light being, a spiritual messenger of lovelovelove.He was a lightworker and Indigo child. Dark always tries to put out light. Unfortunately Michael's light was too bright for some of the darkness in this world. He was a man who dedicated his life to relieving suffering and in return, he was the brunt of jokes and judgment. It's the ones who are imbalanced in their second chakra that judged him for loving children. They had to make him wrong.

His music was the soundtrack to my life. I admired his genius and his heart. He channeled his sensitivity and sadness into magnificent art.

You have written a moving, powerful, eloquent piece on Michael. Thank you from all of us who understand who he was.

A few Thoughts...

When I think about it, my own life is no less rich and the living no less inspiring than my pioneering ancestors and I come from a long line of Indians and outlaws so don't ever turn your back on me!

Life is, after all, a slice of human consciousness lived from its place in human evolution. "From here to eternity" as it were-- from earth to the stars, from personal space to cyberspace, from a small local footprint to the world reduced to the size of a notebook and sitting on your lap!

As a child I lived with the perpetual and immenent threat of annihilation. That's child abuse! It wasn't a kid-friendly world and I couldn't understand why the grown-ups who were in charge weren't doing something?

So at age seven with my face in the window eyes turned up into the night sky and staring at the stars I made a vow: "When I am a grown-up, I will do something."

My writing is that something and I write to "simply change the world." If that sounds like a lack of humility it isn't because I know that one person absolutely can change the world and I've met some who have.

Kay Kennedy put together an anthology that puts the reader in the midst of history to view it from the inside out.

When I was in high school and even college, history classes were stale and boring featuring memorization and regurgitation of dates that coincided with events that had no human face, certainly no magic, and no life!

Anthologies are great fun and stores are rich remembrances. History books chronicle; stories are little narrative slices of living. History comes alive through story. I often think of my grandmother and her story, her life-- the history she lived. In her lifetime she saw humankind evolve from horse and buggy to man on the moon.

I was a sixties kid and for the youth of the sixties, turmoil, disillusionment, and revolution were everyday 'business as usual'. Like a radio perpetually on low volume, fear and death dronned on in the background. The superpowers threatened to extinguish all life on the planet, the Vietnam War was escalating and peers were being escorted home under American Flag blankets. The civil rights and equal rights movements were testing human civility, and faster than one could recover from one shock another real life hero would fall to yet another assassin. Despair was commonplace. Contrast that with a man on the moon... we could conquer space travel but couldn't make nukes or war obsolete! It was a time when youth needed hope because hope was scarce. When it was finally resurrected, it came in the form of idealism and a philosophy of brotherly and universal love. Perfect principles; imperfect execution.

For others who contributed to "Looking Back," the history is different for each because the "times" were different as well as the perspective of the individuals. The stories of human societal evolution are enlightening, heartwarming, poignant and spellbinding. They put a human face on the past.

And there are people now who are putting a face on the future...