“As I was feeding squirrels in the park, I noticed a small one that didn’t seem to trust me. While the others came close enough to eat out of my hand, he kept his distance. I threw a peanut his way. He edged up, grabbed it nervously, and ran off. Next time he must have felt less afraid, because he came a little closer. The safer he felt, the more he trusted me. Finally he sat right at my feet, as bold as any squirrel clamoring for the next peanut.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_juHGdpSZs0
Trust is like that…it always seems to come down to trusting in yourself. OTHERS CAN’T OVERCOME FEAR FOR YOU; YOU HAVE TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN. It’s hard because fear and doubt hold on tight. We are afraid of being rejected, of being hurt once more. So we keep a safe distance. We think separating ourselves from others will protect us, but that doesn’t work, either. It leaves us feeling alone and unloved.
TRUSTING YOURSELF BEGINS BY RECOGNIZING THAT IT’S OKAY TO BE AFRAID. Having fear is not the problem, because everyone feels anxious and insecure sometimes. The problem is not being honest enough to admit your fear. Whenever I accept my own doubt and insecurity, I’m more open to other people. THE DEEPER I GO INTO MYSELF, THE STRONGER I BECOME, BECAUSE I REALIZE THAT MY REAL SELF IS MUCH BIGGER THAN ANY FEAR.
IN ACCEPTING YOURSELF COMPLETELY, TRUST BECOMES COMPLETE. THERE IS NO LONGER ANY SEPARATION BETWEEN PEOPLE, BECAUSE THERE IS NO LONGER ANY SEPARATION INSIDE. IN THE SPACE WHERE FEAR USED TO LIVE, LOVE IS ALLOWED TO GROW.”
Michael Jackson DANCING THE DREAM 1992
“WHEN YOU ARE BEHIND BARS WITH NO HOPE OF RELEASE, YOU NEED TO FIND STRENGTH WHEREVER YOU CAN. PERSONALLY, I FOUND STRENGTH IN MICHAEL JACKSON. EVEN TO THIS DAY, MICHAEL JACKSON IS A CONSTANT SOURCE OF INSPIRATION.” Former South African President Nelson Mandela March 2005
You have to be afraid before you can be brave. I often think about the trip my grandmother made from Italy to Ellis Island…from New York to Eveleth, Minnesota. She was nineteen, just married and journeying to join my grandfather. Alone and speaking no English…coming from a life of poverty to live in a country she had only heard about, she had to say good-bye to her entire family, never to see any of them again. A young bride, hardly knowing her husband, she would spend the rest of her life with him in America. I know she had to have been afraid, and, I know she was braver than I ever will be.
Life for women like my grandmother…illiterate, having had no opportunity for an education…meant being married, having many children, being ruled by men. In America, my grandmother had babies every two years…twelve in all with eight surviving…four boys and four girls. Through it all, she never lost her vision…to educate all eight children and send them onto opportunities she could only dream of. Through it all, she was beautiful and strong in her Catholic faith. Through it all, she maintained her dignity, she provided a safe home for her family and for those in need. Of her modest belongings, she gave freely to those in crisis.
If La Bello Cucina was her place to create foods that nourished family, the gardens provided her with escape…to breathe, to work the soil. Tying a bandana tightly around her head to keep the headaches at bay…migraines by today’s standards…she grew heirloom tomatoes from seeds carried with her from Calabria. Cucumbers, beans, squashes, potatoes, cabbages, swiss chard, peppers…the list continued. And then, the fruit trees, strawberries, raspberries, melons…food to feed a large family twelve months of the year. Free lands, provided by the iron ore mines where my grandfather worked, added more space to grow crops. The day the watertower above these gardens burst, flooding everything, Grandma was saved…she hadn’t gone to work that day.
To think that my grandmother left poverty only to find her new home in the throws of the Great Depresson, I sometimes wonder if she ever regretted her decision to come. If she did, she never told anyone about it. Once on these shores, her gratitude never wavered.
She raised her children to be active participants in the American Dream.
You have to be afraid to be brave. I know that statement is true…but, any fears my grandmother had remained with her until the day she died.
“IT’S CURIOUS WHAT TAKES COURAGE AND WHAT DOESN’T. WHEN I STEP OUT ON STAGE IN FRONT OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE, I DON’T FEEL LIKE I’M BEING BRAVE. IT CAN TAKE MUCH MORE COURAGE TO EXPRESS TRUE FEELINGS TO ONE PERSON. WHEN I THINK OF COURAGE, I THINK OF THE COWARDLY LION IN THE WIZARD OF OZ. HE WAS ALWAYS RUNNING AWAY FROM DANGER. HE OFTEN CRIED AND SHOOK WITH FEAR. BUT HE WAS ALSO SHARING HIS REAL FEELINGS WITH THOSE HE LOVED, EVEN THOUGH HE DIDN’T ALWAYS LIKE THOSE FEELINGS.
THAT TAKES REAL COURAGE, THE COURAGE TO BE INTIMATE. EXPRESSING YOUR FEELINGS IS NOT THE SAME AS FALLING APART IN FRONT OF SOMEONE ELSE…IT’S BEING ACCEPTING AND TRUE TO YOUR HEART, WHATEVER IT MAY SAY. WHEN YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE INTIMATE, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, AND YOU’RE WILLING TO LET OTHERS SEE THAT. IT’S SCARY, BECAUSE YOU FEEL SO VULNERABLE, SO OPEN TO REJECTION. BUT WITHOUT SELF-ACCEPTANCE, THE OTHER KIND OF COURAGE, THE KIND HEROES SHOW IN MOVIES, SEEMS HOLLOW. IN SPITE OF THE RISKS, THE COURAGE TO BE HONEST AND INTIMATE OPENS THE WAY TO SELF-DISCOVERY. IT OFFERS WHAT WE ALL WANT, THE PROMISE OF LOVE.
Michael Jackson DANCING THE DREAM 1992
Touring internationally for the first time on their first overseas tour, the Jackson Five visited Europe, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.
“It was a visit to Senegal that made us realize how fortunate we were and how our African heritage had helped to make us what we were. We visited an old, abandoned slave camp at Gore Island and we were so moved. The African people had given us gifts of courage and endurance that we couldn’t hope to repay.” Michael Jackson MOONWALK 1988
THE MAJOR INGREDIENT OF ANY RECIPE FOR FEAR IS THE UNKNOWN
The past few days, I have been struggling with the horrific injustice Michael Jackson had to endure at the hands of dishonest, greedy, disrepectful evil. I have once again cried many tears over a world that can so enjoy someone else’s pain. I will never understand it as long as I live. But, with great gratitude, I have also been brought back to the millions of people who stand up for justice and truth…for all those who have stood up for Michael. And, I have been brought back to my research that tells of someone brave beyond what I could ever imagine. So, I reached back into my own writings and brought out the words I had written a long time ago about my grandmother. With Michael’s words…with what he has taught me…with the AMAZING ROLE MODEL he was for us all, especially the children, I am moving on. ONCE AGAIN THIS MONTH WE CELEBRATE MAJORLOVEPRAYERVIGIL…a global prayer that occurs on the 25th of every month inspired by Michael and the lyrics to his song, “Another Part of Me.” This month, the prayers are for appreciating our children for who they are. It makes my heart happy to know that at 4:00 PDT, I will join the energy of legions of people…all inspired and strengthened by the love and the life of Michael Jackson and all joining together to make a better world. THERE IS GREAT BRAVERY AND COURAGE IN THAT.
Jude Rejoicing in the bravery of Michael’s Army of Love!