Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Standing on the Side of Love: The Michael Jackson Legacy

When the last exhale of the “lets blame Michael Jackson” foolishness is finally breathed and the death gurgle is unmistakably heard, the world will finally know its mistake. I believe Michael even knew that. I believe he even planned for it. And like trail markers left on trees in the forest, the path he took to immortality was well marked by Michael himself to one day be recognized.

A trailblazer is often not appreciated until long after they are gone. Genius is an elusive thing and it’s easily misunderstood. And those who carry it are often thought odd or different. The truly gifted among us are rarely recognized in their own time by their own culture and often they are outcasts of their own kind. Especially the ones who shatter ideals on the rock of truth. They are always disturbing to the unenlightened and unwilling. They are always ahead of their time—sometimes a bit or sometimes a lot, and it’s human nature to fear that which we don’t understand. When we fear, we try to destroy. This too, shall pass.

Some future and not-too-distant day we will put away childish things and as a race, we will grow up. We will learn to treat each other better and we will recognize when those among us are treasures. We will wake up from a deep hypnotic sleep and understand where we came from and what that merits in how we behave and treat each other. The trail that Michael left points out one way that we might exit the forest to find the trees. Or exit the fog and to enter the clearing. His message said every which way but loose, whispers to us or sometimes shouts: “Awaken!”

When exploring Michael’s legacy and what he left behind in his work, I am often reminded of the poem by British playwright, Christopher Fry, whose work I also admire:

 The human heart can go the lengths of God...
Dark and cold we may be, but this
is no winter now. The frozen misery
of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;
The thunder is the thunder of the floes,
the thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.
 Thank God our time is now when wrong
comes up to face us everywhere,
never to leave us till we take
the longest stride of soul men ever took.
 Affairs are now soul size.
The enterprise is exploration into God.
Where are you making for? It takes
So many thousand years to wake...
 But will you wake, for pity's sake?

Who Michael Jackson was and is, is so complicated that it is hardly recognizable that we are in a puzzle that needs to be put together to reveal the bigger picture. Finding the pieces, identifying what they are and where they belong is a process. Not all the pieces are yet on the table. Some of those puzzle pieces will come from the most unexpected places.

Michael Jackson was a force. His message and mission was divinely inspired and God is not going anywhere. The Universe has a way of supporting the advancement of its creations—in this case, humans and the race. There is something to be learned here and it is big. Michael knew that. He knew his place and his worth and he taught that philosophy to others. His message was simple—remember you are god-sent and act like it.

I believe there is a grand plan, a blueprint, if you will, for the evolution and advancement of the race. This experiment called Earth is an important one; it is at once elegant and genius because it is an island and there is nowhere else to go. Putting all kinds of live beings together on a lonely island, hanging it out in space somewhere and then letting them have free will and free rein, is either a prescription for disaster or a blueprint for that race’s eventual evolution toward love. Michael understood that and began standing on the side of love. He helped to push the race forward. Someday that will become clear.

There are forces of course that push back and that has always been true. Resistance is one of the things we do well. And we still learn more through fear than love, but that is changing. In order to know what we want, we must starkly represent and identify what we don’t. Michael helped us with that. Just because he’s gone does not mean it’s over. His memory is still very much alive in the collective mind—sometimes for good and sometimes not. But Michael understood even that polarity and its purpose, and the alchemy of opposites and paradoxes and breakthroughs whether subliminal, recognized, yielded or wielded. And wield he did. The Excalibur sword was not forged in a moment and is not drawn from the stone without force. And we have yet to discover we are the kings who have already arrived.

To keep hope alive, take a look at the take back of our democracy movement in the Midwest, the anti-tyranny movement in the Middle East and North Africa. Remember the overnight attention given environmental toxins from offshore oil and now the safety of nuclear fuel. See how an unknown woman named Neda, in Iran, can become a martyr and symbol for a movement that rumbles quietly in the background of the collective psyche. Notice how the new youth eschews complacency and embraces civil disobedience and more for the sake of revolution, and how U.S. Senators stand for principles instead of the more safe “political correctness”, and vote with their feet when those feet feel the heat on the path to autocracy. With the internet and social media, it becomes harder to hide treachery and easier to oppose it together. Sometimes one event can change the world. Overnight.

The world around us swells with the winds of change. And that is the kind of wind that takes the breath away and knocks humans off balance who eventually learn to stand aright. People are weary of corruption, of corporate and other greed and inequality of all kinds. It’s all a modern version of the movement of Michael’s youth: “Power to the people!” That too is a prescription for disaster or a turn toward the light—in the hands of the capable, the responsible and level headed. Chaos theory works, darkness will not prevail and the truth is not going anywhere—it’s only hiding. For now.

While controversy stills swirls around all things Michael Jackson because there are still those who find darkness comfortable, there are others who seek the shimmer in whom he really was because they are able to acknowledge their own inner brilliance. This Is It has caused many to rethink their initial judgments. Michael Jackson The Experience will lead youth into that frequency and Michael vibe with dance and its’ exhilaration. Joe Vogel’s book Man in the Music promises to reveal the true musical genius, and other books to reveal the man. Cirque de Soleil’s Immortal will be experienced and remembered by thousands, and they will understand the message in the music and lyrics of one skinny little Moonwalker.

How will Michael be remembered? It’s not over till it’s over and the fat lady is still in the dressing room with her vocal coach just getting warmed up. There is no mistaking the work of the heart and art for the evolution of the soul in service to the world; there is only the forgetting that one is the gallery. It’s not going anywhere. Michael is not gone—only his body is now still. The legacy moves and lives forever. The truth is a marathon and the race is not over; I am not betting against that sword of truth or against Michael for I have my ticket, I am the gallery and I am left standing on the side of love. Ah… I see you are standing here too. Now could you please pass me that sword over there?

Artwork by Rev. Barbara Kaufmann. 41/2 foot by 41/2 foot painting: "Vision of the Madonna"  acrylic on 1/2 board which hangs in a retreat center in the midwest.

by Rev. Barbara Kaufmann

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.
No reproduction without permission from author.

This article appears in the publication Dot to Dot: Keeping Michael’s Legacy Alive,
and its content is the property of the authors and the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait. Articles and exclusive interviews are copyrighted; therefore there should be no republication without permission. You may email
edito@michaeljacksontributeportrait.com with any requests for republication. If permission is given, credit must be given to the author, Dot to Dot: Keeping Michael's Legacy Alive and the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait.

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