Children loved Michael and they looked to him for hope. They gravitated to him. To many he and his status as “superstar” represented a possible dream of daring to escape from a life empty of dreams. Perhaps too, he held hearts fast with an invisible thread and sometimes provided invisibly also, relief and release from emotionally stifling and even dangerous circumstances. Michael Jackson was an advocate of children’s rights, an advocate for children. Period. In fact, he was the most visible one on this planet.
Michael tirelessly schlepped his entourage around the world to perform for sellout crowds while donating a large portion of his proceeds to children’s charities. Those donations have been estimated at around $300 million. In every city he performed, he had disadvantaged children bussed in and sometimes carried in on stretchers to see his concerts. Members of his entourage tell us that in each city in which he performed, he donated large pieces of equipment to area hospitals to be used in caring for the sick children.
Michel Jackson’s real legacy somehow was distorted or overlooked and even deliberately twisted. So who are the real losers in that social and cultural malfeasance? Yes, that’s right—the children. Words can and do harm. Michael understood far too well, that words can harm children every bit as much as physical attack. If fact, he may have understood that far deeper than any human being on this planet.
Children understand about the harm words can do. Several children have committed suicide because they were being bullied in school and on the Internet. A child who was being harmed by words wrote a letter to President Obama and he just responded to her congratulating her for her courage. Here is a little girl who is taking back her power! She has begun her own initiative to address bullying in the schools with her own organization.
I celebrate her courage in standing up for herself. But I am shocked and have to wonder about the people who wrote in to comment about the story. Instead of applauding her for her courage and initiative, she is now being verbally bullied on the Internet—by adults! Take a look at the outlets for this story and you will once again, see a lack of heart.
So here it comes again: a profound cynicism and lack of heart that permeates our culture, informs our world. I have had a taste of that myself in the last few days. Words carried an energy for me that produced sadness, shock and dismay. I was being pulled in far too many directions, was far too stressed and far too busy. So my words came out abrupt and too blunt at times. The shocking part was that I thought I knew people and I thought they knew me. I wanted to scream “Feel me! Feel my energy! Feel who I am!”
Michael Jackson would have understood that plea. He asked us many times to feel him, to feel who he was being and what he was doing. He understood that there is an energy field that surrounds and permeates the human. And that field is read by another person standing within the effects of that field. That’s an intuitive ability that maybe we have forgotten? The next time someone says something to you and your ego engages and begins that little tantrum, stop and feel into what the person is saying to you. We process far more non-verbally than we do verbally and that cannot take place when we communicate with words where body language and “vibe” are absent.
When I checked out with myself what I was feeling, I noticed that my heart hurt. I realized that it was not just a metaphor; my chest hurt in the area of my heart. I felt wounded. Upon closer check, it felt kind of empty. I was not engaging my heart enough. Conclusions drawn with the head rather than the heart cause misunderstandings and that leads to conflict. I was responding from an empty space! And my heart was hurting.
That is not to say that some words that came at me weren’t wounding; they were. Were they meant to wound? I can’t answer that for I don’t know what is in other peoples’ minds or motivations. I don’t want to believe it and I can hope not. I just know that for this moment, I need to pull back and pull in and breathe. I also had to make a decision. Did I want to continue even though wounded? With a hurting heart?
Add to that some messages from some people telling me there is infighting again among fans, attacks on reputable journalists by other fans and those whom I consider rocks telling me they are fatigued.
That they are dragging themselves around numb from the monumental task before us: making the world a better place as Michael asked us to do. Without my rocks? Oh, was I angry with Michael! Pick on somebody your own size! Beat it!
Well, I’ve come this far. And the curriculum I have been working on for several months with Voices Education Project and Michael Jackson admirers is now taking shape. It’s a gift. It’s for Michael. It’s all for love. It’s for all the future children who would be harmed by words. It’s for all those people whose 15 minutes of fame will bring down on their hearts things that they would never have imagined. I certainly didn’t imagine it. Can you? The work is to remind us to live more in our hearts; to recognize when our hearts hurt.
The project began with the writing of two features for Voices Education Project: A WMD: New Weapons of Mass Destruction which is about the harm done to real people by words wielded without responsibility and restraint. And Michael Jackson: Spiritual Messenger Hiding in Plain Sight a tribute to an unrecognized global humanitarian and humanity’s cheerleader.
The warm reception I got from Voices Education Project who has published my work over the years and knows my heart prompted me to be so bold as to ask Marilyn, The Executive Director: “Could we consider writing a curriculum about Violence and Words? Do you think we could do it in Michael’s memory?”
And the rest is HIStory- created everyday by admirers of Michael’s message and his encouragement to “Make that change.” It is still a work in progress. Voices Education is providing the support and I am recruiting, supplying the organizing, leadership, coaching and editing as well as some research and writing for the project. And I am fiercely protective of this initiative. So when some venues conscripted a case study from the curriculum and reprinted it on their websites, I had to ask them to remove the copyrighted material and wait until Voices Education Project announces the public release of the program and its resources. Some were upset with me because they thought they had the right to publish it. I asked them not to and for the most part, there has been understanding and compliance. But not without hurting hearts.
Voices Education Project is a global humanitarian and peacemaking pedagogical institute that as a part of their mission, writes and distributes curricula. It is an entity that Michael would have approved of with his whole heart. That is why I approached them about championing this project. And they have been supportive beyond even meteoric dreams. I know that Michael Jackson admirers would not want to jeopardize this project nor usurp the publisher’s intention and right to release it in a professional and respectful way. Michael deserves that. The children deserve that. Your heart deserves it. And mine does too.
Go to the website. Take a look at the case studies. Browse all you want. But do not take the materials from this program and distribute them. That is not yours to do. Do not market them. If you see a violation of the copyright and ownership of this project, Please let us know. The release is coming soon and we will leave that to the professionals at Voices Education Project. My heart thanks you.