Feb 12 2011

Falling Through

Category: Angels,Ecstasy,MJ Quotes,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 4:43 pm

Falling Through

"When all life is seen as divine, everyone grows wings." -Michael Jackson

Up There

Back when I worked in a large building, in fact when I worked in several different large buildings in the past, going up on the roof was a favorite thing to do at lunch and breaks. There was no rooftop garden or dining area – just a roof. Tarpaper that looked mighty thin and fragile yet was somehow solid beneath. It felt good to have the viewpoint from up there and to look upon people who didn’t know we could see them from up there. It was often high enough up that they looked pretty tiny and we could see the pattern of life teeming below from a perspective that couldn’t be seen otherwise. To be able to get away from the day-to-day grind and escape like that was a real gift sometimes. It was private, a change of pace, and when needed, solace.

Same with flying airplanes, which I used to do as well. Small planes, like single-engine Cessnas. Seeing life from a different perspective outside changes your perspective inside completely. In an airplane, there’s no one but yourself, a humming engine, and God. Physical removal from the planet, and a rise to the sky where one spends a good bit of time does something to a person. It’s why Richard Bach wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull, A Bridge Across Forever, Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, and One. He spent a lot of time up there too and he knew about this changed perspective, this further dimension of spirituality that is accessible simply from being ‘up there‘. You know of course that Jonathan Livingston Seagull was also one of Michael’s favorite stories.

The one fear one has from the roof or from the plane, is falling. Falling through the roof or through the air with no control whatsoever. You only know that you are going inextricably down and likely to a horrible and sudden end. But – this is where the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull truly began.

Delayed Reaction

When my stepfather died, they called me at 3:00 or so in the morning. We knew he’d been ill, getting worse and I knew he was in the hospital. I had called his room just the day before to talk to him. I hadn’t realized it at the time but it was a last ‘goodbye‘ for him. He didn’t say that and I didn’t know. Not until the next day. After I received the call that he was gone, I was un-fazed. I planned to go to work. But after about 3-4 hours it hit me. He was gone. Gone! My stepfather was for all intents and purposes, my father. We had wanted him to adopt us but he refused – not because he didn’t love us. He certainly did. But, had he adopted us, we would not have been allowed to see our biological father ever again. And he thought that was not acceptable. When it hit me I felt lost. Totally lost. I called my sister back and was literally blubbering. We agreed that I should fly home to be there with the rest of the family. I made arrangements at my job to take the necessary days to do so.

When I got home, the first thing I did was go to the bedroom closet and pull out his poems. That was the first thing I thought of when I thought of him – even though he hadn’t written a poem since the 1940s – 1950s or so, mostly he’d written them in his younger years, before I even knew him. I used to get them out and sit on the living room floor and read them. I think he was flattered that I had taken any interest in them at all. At the same time, I think it made him feel uncomfortable that I was reading things that he had written from his heart and soul – 20-30 years ago. No one else in the family thought about those poems. Even his own sister who knew him during the decades he had written them had forgotten about them. They were on old yellowed paper and either handwritten or typed out on an old typewriter. Some of them were even compiled into a sort of chapbook. I ended up making copies of all of them for his sister after he died. A few years later, he appeared to me in a sort of ‘dream‘ when Mom was visiting me. Odd timing, that. He was dressed in this silly fishing hat, some touristy looking shorts and a polo shirt, looking quite bright and healthy. He told me: “They have everything here!“, and he also said: “Tell your brother to take care of your mother for me.” At the time, Mom lived alone in an apartment so I thought that was interesting. Now, however she does live with my eldest brother, who along with my older sister, takes care of her. How did he know that’s where Mom would end up? How did he know she was there with me when he came to visit me in that ‘dream‘? Had he come to see her too? And do they really “have everything there”, wherever it was he was referring to?

There have been many experiences in my life even prior to this that let me know that the life we see, the physical beings we are, the material world we live in, isn’t all there is. I’ve had out of body experiences that were at once fascinating and frightening, lest I be unable to return to this vessel which contains my soul. I haven’t had one of those in years and when I did, it was before my stepfather passed so I had some inkling that things were not quite exactly as literal they seem in this life. I dread the next time I lose someone – I dread that delayed reaction I seem to have when this happens. I am fine for hours or even days, but then it hits me like an emotional freight train and I fall very suddenly into an uncontrollable sea of pain, regret, guilt, grief.

Falling Through

This is what happened when we lost Michael, too. The first day, I didn’t even know for sure that it was true. The next two days, it nagged at me from the back of my mind like a crying child that wouldn’t go to sleep or had a terrible case of colic.  Because I had been busy with other people much of the weekend it wasn’t until the end of the second day that I had time for it to sink in and started remembering. I looked back at the videos of his performances and the videos of his interviews. I looked back at his humanitarian endeavors and remembered most of those – the ones that were at all publicized. I looked back at his poems and essays in ‘Dancing the Dream‘. I painfully remembered so much about this boy/man whom I first heard sing in 1969 and his life, his music, his career, and the horrible abuse he suffered at the hands of a sick and deluded society. I remembered most if not all the songs, both his own and those with his brothers. I used to watch Soul Train and the Jacksons Variety Show and the Jackson 5 cartoon. We had his vinyl records in the house when I was growing up – Michael and the Jackson 5. I remembered him all through his major tours, albums and the trials and accusations.The more I remembered, the more I was stunned over and over again by what we’d lost. During this process, I also learned so much more that I never knew about Michael Jackson. With every old memory of him and everything new I learned about him, another piece of my heart shattered and went with him wherever he was. My mind remembered all that my heart never forgot. I cried and cried and I still haven’t really stopped. What do I do now? I was totally emotionally lost.

If someone had told me that he would die so soon and that his death would affect me like this, I’d not have believed it. I was and I am still convinced that this man/child/being was sent to humanity on a mission from God. Not just here for a purpose but a mission. Everything he was and everything he suffered because of it mirrored the problems with our world and our society. He was sent here as messenger and an example. I still believe that. It all just hit me like a freight train and I went sinking into some of the worst grief I’ve ever felt. I went for walks alone. I went into a chapel and wrote asking for prayers twice for his safe deliverance to the angels. The third time was for his children. I hid and cried alone. I still do that sometimes. Few people understand this.

Early on though, I seemed to be getting visual cues, messages, things happened that seemed to tie in with his absence – but which also told me that he was only physically absent, but not spiritually. It seemed like it was important that I realized this and that I fully understood where he was now, and why this meant that I could actually be closer to Michael than I’d ever been. After the blue heron experience I was stunned. I was overjoyed. But I questioned it. Could it really be? But it was a very compelling feeling that I just couldn’t shake. I knew it meant something and I knew what it was, but it took me a couple of weeks to actually come to grips with it. And there was always that nagging feeling that this wasn’t an ordinary loss. It has never left me. Nothing about Michael’s life or death was ordinary. No, this was something different. This man was put here for a reason, and I somehow felt he wasn’t exactly ‘gone‘.

I’d lay in bed at night and ‘talk‘ to Michael in my head. And I’d get answers seemingly from ‘nowhere‘. I don’t mean I heard voices, but I’d get answers. I shared here one of those conversations between myself and Michael. Here is part of what he said:

but more than anything, create
write a poem, sing a song, dance
draw a picture, paint a scene
express yourself in creation
do anything from your Heart
help a sick child
be a friend to someone who needs you
when you know you don’t have to
and there’s nothing in it for you
when you do any of this, that is when
most of all, I am there with you

Love is at the Heart of all Creation
to create is to live from the soul
of the Universe
to become part of all that is
This is where I have always lived

Your soul contains the wisdom of God
but don’t forget to retain the Heart of a Child
don’t box yourself inside
any thoughts of limitation
believe in yourself
if you can imagine it, it can be done
when you create, most of all
when you are kind, most of all
to anyone and the Planet
I am there with you, We are One.

So, what do I do with that? Well, besides being kinder to strangers, giving and doing more with charity, there was my writing and my poetry. I am not in that field professionally. I do something else for a living. And I’ve been doing it for over 30 years. But I would rather be writing instead. Not that I hate my other work, after all I ended up in that field for a reason. But after 30 or so years, and after being talked out of being a writer my entire life (or in the case of my family, simply ignored), I felt that it was time to do something about this. I located a vocal coach and creative instructor to both help me to be able to vocalize better (as in poetry readings) and to help me better understand and nurture my creativity. “More than anything, create“… were the words that came. This led to something else. The instructor told me about a book called ‘The Artist’s Way‘. This book explains the spiritual aspect of creativity and teaches the reader/practitioner how to develop that to its fullest and how to stop the negativity that one hears from themselves and others about being creative. Between what I found in that book and what I already knew and further learned about Michael, I realized these were the same teachings – that what Michael expressed during his life about creativity and what that book teaches are the same. I don’t consider it any coincidence that things happened this way. Michael either knew what this book teaches instinctively or he may have studied it himself. After all at least one of his directors certainly did – Martin Scorcese. And he wasn’t a considerable success until after he’d completed it from what I understand.

In Dancing the Dream Michael wrote:

Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasion when I’m dancing, I’ve felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I’ve felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The creator and creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep on dancing and dancing and dancing, until there is only – the dance.

This is exactly the concept taught in ‘The Artist’s Way‘. The Great Creator (artist) is God. We are ourselves creations of God and his/her/its consciousness. When we are creative (as we are all meant to be), we become part of that (his/her) consciousness, of that passion and energy. This energy is the consciousness of life, and of creation – when we create, we become part of that universal energy – we become One with it. At that point, there is only ‘the dance‘ and we are One with God (the Great Creator), with all of creation.  We are one with the universe. Michael also expressed it like this:

Let us dream of Tomorrow where we can truly love from the Soul and know love as the ultimate Truth at the Heart of all Creation.

God created us out of love. When we are creative, we are loving him/her/it back. It is a union, a spiritual connection. Michael knew this.

Creativity is also a child. It only wants to love, be loved, and play. Sounds like Michael, right? That’s why he loved being around children. He had a childlike heart & soul. That is part of what enabled him to be so creative – the fact that he retained that. People have trouble being creative (like, writer’s block for instance) if they lose their sense of wonder, innocence, play, fun and get too caught up in adult judgements and rules and limitations. But kids know nothing of that stuff! Michael didn’t either. He retained his childlike innocence and this sometimes got him in trouble. People misunderstood this about him and judged him very harshly for it. Children’s imaginations are very fertile. So was Michael’s. This is why fun and play inspired him so much, like when he wrote Speechless.

When we talk about God in this aspect, we’re not talking about a religious but rather a spiritual God. The Universe and the buzz or universal energy and rhythm that is contained in every living thing and in its creation, life, and death. One can think of God also as an artist, a collaborator for creativity.

The Artist’s Way:

The heart of creativity is an experience of the mystical union; the heart of the mystical union is an experience of creativity. Those who speak in spiritual terms routinely refer to God as the Creator but seldom see creator as the literal term for artist. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy; pure creative energy. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life–including ourselves.  –The Artist’s Way

Michael:

All art has as its ultimate goal the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine. -Michael Jackson

This is why one of the first words out of Michael’s mouth when asked where his genius came from was “God“. He tapped into that energy, it came through him and out to the world in the form of both his creative work and his humanitarianism. Michael was very tuned in to the spiritual aspect of creativity and he realized how this not only brought him closer to God, but to himself, and his own soul. This, along with his childlike innocence, was key to everything he did. Like a child, Michael didn’t entertain or accept any concept of limitation in anything he did. He was a very spiritually-connected, artistic child in his heart and soul, as he had to be in order to gift us with the amazing treasures that he gave during his life. This came straight through Michael from God him/her/itself. That is the magic.

I had never had any difficulty understanding Michael in general or the things he did and never thought him guilty at all of the things he was accused of. Since he’s physically left here however, my understanding of him (and thus myself and God) has deepened considerably. I’m sure that Michael didn’t know he was an angel but he was. I believe this not only because of the nagging knowledge or feeling that he was here on a God-given mission, but also because the first time I heard him sing back in 1969 or so, he awakened my heart and I never forgot that. My heart didn’t know how to dance until I heard Michael Jackson sing. I will never forget that feeling. Secondly and not least, it is angels who bring people to ecstatic union with God. That is their job, among other things, and he has done this very well, not only with me but with many others. This is why he was so beloved, as much as some people twitch and cringe at the thought. That is because they do not understand the spirituality of creativity or the creativity of spirituality.

What we think is the end is often where the story begins

You may remember that I wrote something else that I felt came from another conversation with Michael early after his death. In ‘talking‘ to him (in my mind) one night, this came to me. Again, seemingly out of ‘nowhere‘. Not a voice or even a thought but just this message. It was:

Some say Time has passed us by, but I say it never ends. This is not an endless ending. This is only where We begin.

So, like the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull the fall through horrible pain and grief is where this story begins. This is where I’ve landed: At the beginning. Of course I’d rather have Michael here especially now that I understand him so completely but I actually feel closer to him now and can remain closer to him now than I ever could have when he was physically present in this world  with all its limitations. That’s the message I’ve gotten over and over again through all of this.

I have fallen so far and so deeply through this grief, pain, regret, and guilt because of his death and of course it will always be there. But rather than a horrible and sudden ending to this fall, I’ve landed here and I do not believe this is any coincidence whatsoever. I have been led through this deeply spiritual loss to a place where I can meet Michael, myself, and God at any time in complete union. Remember ‘111’ or ‘1111’ and how it is believed by some to be a gateway of communication from angels to mortals? Remember what Michael said: “All art has as its ultimate goal the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine.”  I have been seeing these numbers quite frequently thus far this year. Combined with everything else on this journey, and the messages I’ve received and the events that have transpired, I truly believe Michael is very much alive. Not physically, but spiritually, and he is telling me that nurturing my own creativity is the way to myself, God, and him. There it is. The portal.

Of course the grief is still there much of the time. But it is punctuated by moments of sheer joy at having received this gift and this message. I will always physically miss Michael. But I always know too, right where to find him: where his sweet soul has always been. He has let me know in no uncertain terms that spiritually, he’s really not gone anywhere.

Heaven is Here. You and I were never separate. It’s just an illusion. Wrought by the magical lens of perception. In a nonlocal Universe there is nowhere to go from Here to Here.
-Michael Jackson

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© 2011, Seven Bowie (except excerpts from ‘The Artist’s Way‘ and ‘Dancing the Dream‘)

NOTE:  Richard Bach’s other books – Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, Bridge Across Forever, and One, are all worthy reads which also deal with these same concepts and themes. They may be out of print but try http://www.abebooks.com if you’re interested.

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