When I opened my eyes early Tuesday morning…I wondered what this fourth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death would reveal. I must admit, I was apprehensive. I couldn’t help remembering June 25, 2010 and my complete and utter disappointment. Naively, I had anticipated a day celebrating Michael’s unparalleled life and legacy. Instead, I was bombarded with media vomit so mean-spirited it made me physically ill. This was before I discovered Facebook or started writing my Blog. Completely frustrated and very, VERY angry, I wrote these words:
(a testimonial, compliment, acknowledgement of gratitude, esteem, regard)
That is what I believed to be the meaning of the word. June 25, 2010…that definition, in the hands of every television network in the United States…changed. Tribute was defined as expose. Here was I, thinking that once a person left this earth, we celebrated the life well-lived. I have attended dozens of funerals that focused on a collage of pictures of joyful times, achievements made, gifts and talents awarded. None of these were visible for Michael Jackson on June 25th. In their place was a litany of accusation and judgment.
I was always taught to treat others the way I wanted to be treated. I reinforced that everyday with my students. I wonder who among the talking heads would have wanted their loved ones’ lives shredded while millions looked on. I thought of Paris, Prince and Blanket, Katherine and the entire Jackson family. My anger wished that those spewing this vomit would have these lessons visited upon them.
But, then, I paused, words ringing in my head, “DO IT FOR THE LOVE AND HEAL THE WORLD” and I felt my anger shift, turning to a stronger force for love. I remembered a piece of research I had found, taken from one who studied Michael’s humanitarian efforts: “TO THOSE WHO DO NOT SEE, I EXPRESS MY SINCEREST SYMPATHY. THEIR BLINDNESS EXTENDS FAR PAST THEIR VISUAL APPARATUS…IT IS A BLINDNESS OF THE SOUL.”
I knew that my frustration, hurt and anger needed to turn into a stronger force for love. That is what I have learned from Michael. With God’s help, the struggles I felt inside would calm and I would seek beauty and love again.
And so June 25, 2013 did dawn with memories of that first anniversary and all the pain I felt. My great good fortune, however, is that I have come such a long way. I have studied and learned and been inspired over and over and over again. I have experienced so much joy. And, at this moment, I am connected to my MJFamily and Facebook Friends. That connection turned June 25, 2013 into a day of wonder and happiness and incredible love. I was a part of this global family who were celebrating Michael. OH, WHAT A MAGICAL AND SPIRITUAL FEELING. Each time I sat down at the computer, I received celebration. As I walked through the gardens, I felt so much love in God’s natural world. I felt connected to Michael. When the time came for Majorloveprayer, I truly felt the energy of the legions of collective voices around the planet. How amazing is that! Pictures came in from Forest Lawn and I could almost feel like I was there! I was so very proud to have contributed seven roses to the 13,447.
Today is June 26, 2013. It is a day of reflection for me. And, along with that reflection, I am anxious to share the gift of words from others. I have felt an intimate connection with their thoughts. As you know, PAYING MICHAEL FORWARD means, to me, gathering into one place thoughts and words that tell Michael’s truths. I am committed to that.
MICHAEL JACKSON TRIBUTES
(thoughts, words, memories that get us closer to an understanding of the man’s character)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G7i-B8-LoQ
The following passage is by bestselling author and former publicist, Howard Bloom, on his brief experience working with Michael in the mid-1990s. I think it beautifully describes the magic that was MICHAEL JACKSON. Enjoy! Joe Vogel Remembering Michael Jackson, Four Years Later…
We were all bunched together on the opposite side of the pool table from the art director. Michael was in the center. I stood next to him on his left. And the brothers were crowded around us on either side. The CBS art director slid the first of the portfolios toward Michael. He opened the first page, slowly…just enough to see perhaps as inch of the image. As he took in the artwork his knees began to buckle, his elbows bent, and all he could say was “oooohhhhh.” A soft, orgasmic “ooooh.” In that one syllable and in his body language, you could feel what he was seeing.
Do you know the poem by William Blake
To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour…
The intense ambition of that poem, the intense desire for wonder, was alive in Michael. More alive than anything of the sort I’d ever seen. Michael saw the infinite in an inch. As Michael opened the page further, inch by inch, his knees and elbows bent even more and his “ooohs,” his sounds of aesthetic orgasm, grew even more intense. Standing elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder with him, you could feel him discovering things in the brush and inkstrokes that even the artist never saw. An aesthetic epiphany. I’d never encountered anything like it. Michael felt the beauty of the page with every cell of his being.
I’ve worked with Prince, Bob Marley, Peter Gabriel, Billy Joel, and Bette Midler, some of the most talented people of our generation, and not one of them had the quality of wonder that came alive in Michael. He saw wonder in everything. His quality of wonder was beyond anything most of us humans can conceive.
Look, above all other things I’m a scientist. Science is my religion. It’s been my religion since I was ten years old. The first two rules of science are 1)the truth at any price including the price of your life; and 2) Look at the things right under your nose as if you’ve never seen them before and then proceed from there. And that’s not just a rule of science. It’s a rule of art. And it’s a rule of life. Very few people know it. Even fewer people live it. Michael was it, he incarnated it in every follicle of his being. Michael was the closest I’ve ever come to a secular angel. A secular saint.
Look, I’m an atheist, but Michael was not. He believed he was given a gift by God. He believed he was given talents and wonders and astonishments seldom granted to us very fragile human beings. Because God had given him this enormous gift, he felt he owed the experience of wonder, astonishment, awe, and Blake’s infinities to his fellow human beings. But unlike other generous humans-Bill and Melinda Gates, for example-with Michael giving to others was not just a part-time thing. The need to give to others was alive in every breath he took every single day.
Michael Jackson’s entire life was receiving and giving and the whole purpose of receiving was so he could give. He worked with every cell in his body to give the gift of that amazement, that astonishment to his fellow human beings.
Needing the adulation of crowds WAS Michael’s connection to others, his profound connection, far more profound than family and friends (though those are indispensable), and far more healing. The act of giving keeps an iconic person, a person who never knows normalness, alive.
I’d love to tell you the stories of how Michael made these things clear. But, again, those tales will have to wait for another day.
It seems strange to say this, but Michael will always be a part of me. No other superstar I worked with wound himself into the threads at my core the way he did. Michael opened a window to a quality of wonder unlike anything I’d ever been exposed to in my life. For that gift, I felt I owed him. And we still do. We owe him an honest view of who he was. We will owe him that until we finally sweep away the crap of sensationalist headlines and clearly see why those who love him know more about him than any expert or journalist who claims to have probed his life. Those journalists and experts do not know Michael Jackson. But if you love him, there’s a good chance that you do.
When my head hit the pillow last night, I smiled through my tears. The fourth anniversary of Michael’s passing was filled with global love like I have never experienced before. It was beautiful and that joy spills over into today as countless friends share their pictures and creations…all made with so much love for Michael Jackson. We are an important part of Michael’s legacy. Our efforts will continue as we act on Michael’s behalf. He earned our love in every way. IT IS ALL FOR LOVE.