Jun 23 2012

Remembering Michael: Making space for innocence

Category: Angels,Children,MJ Quotes,Photos,Quotes,VideosSeven @ 2:20 pm

Michael

Remembering Michael on the three-year anniversary of his departure from this realm, I begin with a poem:

To The Tender
by Kristen Tracy

Midsummer, and along came a hapless jay —

blue and wobbling — flight feathers nothing more

than pins of white. It arrived at the nest’s edge

unready, which was only half the problem.

Crows perched in the oak across the street, alert,

aware of all the world’s worst secrets. Naturally

I rooted for the jay. Oh, but this was life.

After the blue jay fell from the Scotch pine’s terrible height,

it righted itself in the grass and, like a skin-kneed child

after her first bad spill on a bike, cried out for help.

I set down my rake and shepherded the bird

toward my spindle tree. Hopping from

low branches, it pressed toward the center, tucking itself

into my tree’s sturdy heart. For two days

the parents swooped down to feed it.

Thankfully the crows never came, though

I kept my eye on them. I knew their game.

Pirates. Gangsters. Extortionists. Thieves.

But even if the world is half bad, it remains

half good. While some of us sleep, our hearts

lie open,turned to the tender, dreaming up ways

to thwart the crows. Yes, a hapless jay stumbles

into our lives believing it can fly, and we — knowing

what we know — do what we can to make it so.

— From The Sun magazine’s April 2011 issue.

Something that has settled atop the heap of thoughts in my mind lately is the fact that after Michael’s acquittal in 2005, his fans gave him roses. I read somewhere that a couple of the fans stayed up all night removing the thorns from the roses for him. I thought: “this was similar to how the woman made space for the innocent little blue jay, removing the threats or at least somehow protecting the little jay from them so that he could continue making his way in life unharmed.

Michael’s fans, each in their own way, have always made space for his innocence — an innocence we all knew he possessed. It wasn’t just because of the utter lack of evidence against him that so many were certain of his innocence. Much of that certainty came from Michael’s personality itself, long before the extortionists ever targeted him. One read of his book ‘Dancing the Dream‘, written long before any of the worst nastiness began, reveals a unique combination of innocence and wisdom that only Michael possessed. That’s the innocence so many millions made space for – in his life, in their lives, and in their hearts. He found, and his fans found in him, a ‘Ally in Innocence‘ so-to-speak.

But this innocence isn’t a naive one. It’s not a gullible one. It’s a wise one. It’s the one that knows a table littered with animosity, grudges, mistrust, suspicion, bitterness, and conscienceless greed cannot be a platform for a sumptuous meal, or the creation of beautiful poetry or breathtaking music or an astounding dance performance — things that connect the physical world with the divinity in all life.

We must free ourselves to be filled by God. Even god cannot fill what is full.

-Mother Teresa

It’s that innocence that sees the whole world with wonder and that knows there is real magic in dreams and that even though the most beautiful choirs and passionate churches sing of it, true Divinity is only found in the silence of the stars nestled in the velvet black and purple sky and the quiet of a flower blooming – those things we hardly notice amidst the jarring jangle of our everyday lives. Some colors exist in dreams that do not exist in the waking world. I have seen these colors in my own dreams and I know they are there.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence.

-Mother Teresa

Michael’s daughter Paris tweeted something about girls in her class wearing revealing clothes. I tweeted back that if they were trying to attract guys, this is not how a girl gets respect. She ‘favorited‘ that tweet. The girl is her father’s daughter. She knows. Someone else interjected that some young girls wear revealing clothing to somehow persuade the male teacher to give them better grades. But such a lack of self-respect and ill-gotten rewards for unearned accomplishment are costly and short-lived. One cannot build a sturdy future upon them. I’m sure those girls in the revealing clothing might think girls that don’t dress that way are somehow not ‘cool‘, or are inferior. But who wants to be ‘sexy‘ if it means you get less or no respect as a person and that your accomplishments in life really aren’t accomplishments at all, but rather reward gained through manipulation or self-devaluation? This innocence, which to someone in the process of making unwise but temporarily convenient choices in life might seem useless, is the one Michael lived and taught his children.

I believe Michael knew this:

Lack of understanding of the true nature of happiness, it seems to me, is the principal reason why people inflict sufferings on others. They think either that the other’s pain may somehow be a cause of happiness for themselves or that their own happiness is more important, regardless of what pain it may cause. But this is shortsighted. No one truly benefits from causing harm to another sentient being. . . . In the long run causing others misery and infringing their rights to peace and happiness result in anxiety, fear, and suspicion within oneself.

-The Dalai Lama

And, I believe that many of today’s problems in the world are the result of this lack of understanding. Most people in the business or political world might see an unwillingness to do others harm in order to profit or succeed as naive or pollyanna-ish. But it’s not. Such reluctance to harm others (or one’s self) in order to succeed or profit may appear as childish innocence or naïveté to others, but it is actually a deeper wisdom than most people understand – or care about – because they are too driven to profit at any cost, particularly to others. We saw the ugliness of that in Michael’s own life and we see it every day all around ourselves.

Michael understood that a certain innocence is necessary for creativity, as well. It makes sense that as children grow up, they become less creative. And most adults discourage it as we get older – telling their children to be a lawyer or accountant, or computer programmer rather than pursuing any type of artistic or creative endeavor, thus instilling in them a disbelief in their own artistic ability and a distrust in their own ability to become a success by being creative. Yet the refusal to be creative – in whatever way a person has an aptitude for -could be counter to what God(dess) intended. If, as Michael and many others including myself believe – God communicates spiritually with the physical world via art and creativity –  and we refuse this, we are refusing to be a conduit for him/her to speak to the physical world through us. Many people believe too, that this can be the source of addiction ie: that the person has an emptiness within themselves, in their soul or psyche, that they are trying to fulfill or numb the pain of. I call it ‘The God Hole‘ and so does at least one other person who has written about this. Michael certainly understood the value of a childlike mind as a necessity for creativity – one that does not perceive any limit to what is possible.

Some people and entities seeking to advance themselves monetarily and otherwise portrayed Michael’s penchant for innocence as “strange“, and “bizarre” and portrayed him as a “pedophile” because he preferred the company of children than scheming, backstabbing adults who always wanted something from him for themselves – seeking to profit by hurting him or others. It seems to be a requirement that anytime a media outlet mentions him, the word “bizarre” must be inserted in the piece somewhere, just to keep the meme going. And, it seems that anytime a pedophilia case makes the news, such as the recent Sandusky case, comparisons must be made to Michael who was the polar opposite of a child molester – and who was acquitted because even after decades of efforts to frame him, was found innocent due to sheer lack of evidence.

Who is really “bizarre“? Someone who refused to hurt other people in order to succeed in this world – and in fact worked at his craft all his life primarily so that he could help others — or those who daily make a living by hurting others, including Michael, in order to profit and build careers via manipulation and dishonesty? I’d say the latter are the ones who are not only bizarre, but deeply immoral.

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.

-Angela Monet

He tried to keep empty so that he could give us beauty. What do I mean by that? Though it was impossible with all persecution he endured, it was clear to me that Michael would rather write positive, inspirational and hopeful songs than hurting ones — though his hurting angry ones were always what I call ‘teaching‘ songs, such as ‘Why You Wanna Trip On Me‘, which decried all the ignorant greedy obsession the media pundits and government had with Michael’s appearance and with the ridiculous allegations against him, rather than with solving the real problems in the world, such child neglect, war, poverty and lack of education. And it’s a very good question that no one has yet answered. But he did try to keep his psyche clear so that beauty could enter and he could share it in a creative sense without his mind or heart being cluttered with embitterment or anger. And this too, is a certain type of innocence.

What one wishes is to be touched by truth and to be able to interpret that truth so that one may use what one is feeling and experiencing, be it despair or joy, in a way that will add meaning to one’s life and will hopefully touch others as well. This is art in its highest form. Those moments of enlightenment are what I continue to live for.

–Michael Jackson

The most beautiful paintings and sculptures, the greatest poetry, have not always been born from torment or bitterness. Often they have sprung from contemplation, from joy, from an instinct or wonder toward all things. To create from joy, to create from wonder, demands a continual discipline, a great compassion . . . With time and sincerity, you will discover a way to work and write that does not harm you spiritually, that does not tempt you to vanity, that is the deepest expression of your spirituality. You will find a voice that is not your voice only but the voice of Reality itself. . . If you can be empty enough, that voice can speak through you. If you can be humble enough, that voice can inhabit you and use you.

-Thuksey Rinpoche

I think that in this way, Michael did embody the voice of Divinity, Beauty, Reality, Truth. So today I remember Michael this way: in the wise innocence that permeated every aspect of his life and with which he obviously raised his children and worked at his craft; an innocence which those who understood him tried to make space for in his life and in their own – by removing the thorns from the roses so they could be held without harm – the same way those who love Michael will always hold him within their hearts.

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.

-Clarence Budington Kelland

©2012 Seven Bowie

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12 Responses to “Remembering Michael: Making space for innocence”

  1. LJ says:

    Beautiful – every part of this. Thank you! I will remember this as I feel that pang of loss.

  2. Lia says:

    Seven,i´m here reading your beautiful article, and i don´t have words to express( and in english is a litlle more dificult)how much i am gratefull that you are there….always..giving us such beautiful articles/posts, about Michael.Thank you so much.

  3. Veronica says:

    Thank You SEVEN !! God bless you always

  4. Ara says:

    Seven,

    Below is a poem I wrote this spring for Michael, when thinking about his death three years ago. I wanted to share it with you. You may share it with others, or not, as you see fit. I still cry for him. But he is in my heart and with me.

    I Still Cry

    I wonder what happened
    the night you died—whether
    the stars burned brighter
    during your last hours,
    whether the breeze off the ocean
    flowed inland on your current, whether
    the last pure stream of light
    folding deep into your irises
    was any help at all,

    and whether you knew
    how beautiful you were—
    kind death, at last, your lover,
    your long black hair fanned out
    upon the carpet,

    and whether you lifted you head, slightly,
    at the very last moment, as if trying
    to steal a kiss from what was
    left of the elements,

    and how absolutely still the world
    became for a moment, before the
    wind picked up off the coast of
    Australia,

    On boulevards in cities, large
    crowds of mourners gathered, some
    cupping makeshift votives, others
    holding fragile flowers.
    How had they heard? What did
    any of us know?
    You’d barely stepped away
    from this blind world into another.

    Now, here in this room
    what I feel for you
    is a desire to keep you safe—desire
    more potent than I’ve ever known.

    And I cannot.

    Just like you never could.

    The tiger waits. The tiger springs.
    With one swift slice, the tigers wins.

    Always.

    Yet you still lived

    only half-devoured.

    “Stay back.” You whispered. “Don’t come any closer,”
    your dark eyes filled with terror and sadness.

    And cowards that we were, we faded into
    shadow, watchful but remote, while
    your lungs slowly flooded.

    You, who’d charmed millions, brought
    down by a witless mob, despite the
    gentle mercies you strove so hard to foster.

    My heart, ever since, has been in sorrow.
    You sang your songs for me. Now
    I sing for you.

    Ara Krejci

    (with love, for Michael)

  5. Elena says:

    Thank you so much Seven, your words are so precious, deep, true and describe so well the real essence of Michael

  6. jaegermax says:

    Over his life-time, Michael gave us the gift of himself, and it is with us, still.

  7. dialdancer says:

    Anyone who opens your eyes to suffering and injustice, and inspires you to do something about it is worth remembering. Michael continues to inspire in this way. A most extraordinary man

  8. Susanne says:

    That’s a beautiful article, Seven, every word of it! Thank you!

  9. Alicia says:

    Our hearts will go on and our love for Michael will always be.
    Dear Angel,you may be gone,but you will forever be in our hearts.
    I just miss you so much and always will love you.
    Thank you for your tender love.

  10. Marcela says:

    Thank you. Beautiful poeme, beautiful article. Thanks for sharing

  11. Sina says:

    Thank you Seven, beautiful and true.
    Heartwarming metaphore, fans removing the sharp thorns from the roses,so he wouldnt hurt himself, he was already hurt so much.

    The average give the world its durability
    The unusual its value

    Rest in peace, angel.

  12. BlueLotus says:

    @Ara
    That was a lovely poem…very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    Lovely article Seven…I esp. loved the part, “fans made space for his innocence”. I guess thats what it is…thats why we feel so connected to him.

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