Inner Michael » Happy Birthday Michael… for the children

Happy Birthday Michael… for the children

Voices Education Project and I have a birthday present for Michael Jackson. I think it is something he would have liked. It’s for Michael, for his legacy for the children of the future and for the world.  It’s also for that salvation Michael talked about—the one he said we should bring back. And it’s a request for the return of our humanity.

Voices Education Project is a global humanitarian organization and pedagogical institute whose mission is to create peace and work in tandem with others to help promote a more just and humane world. Voices advocates today number about 18 thousand and counting. Voices and I believe that change can come most poignantly and readily through the arts… and that includes story. The telling of story is an ancient art form; oral tradition is our oldest avenue for conveying ethics, values, inspiration, morals, ideological and social mores or norms. “Walk in my moccasins” or “welcome to my world” can be accomplished through the telling of story about your world, your moccasins, where they have traveled and what was seen and felt.

When I was a child, I couldn’t have dreamed of where my moccasins took me. I remember feeling frightened about the world with its weapons and wars, its diseases and starvation, its prejudice and violence. And I just couldn’t understand why the grownups weren’t doing something! The grownups were in charge of the world; why weren’t they doing something? Why wasn’t somebody doing something! I remember staring at the night sky, at the starts and the full moon and making a promise to the cosmos that when I was a grownup, I would do something.

So the years went by while I was busy doing other things. And then, after my children were born, I revisited that old familiar place—‘why wasn’t somebody doing something!’ Having children makes you think about the world, and about its impact on them. It also brings back the overwhelming nature of the something about the world that somebody needs to do. Having children makes it more poignant, more urgent because as adults and parents, we want our children to have it better than us. We want to spare them the wounds and insults that we suffered. We do the best we can but the job is just too big, just too overwhelming. It’s hard to get your mind around it, never mind your arms.

So into our lives moonwalks a young man whose brothers and family graced our lives as a child—Mr. Michael Jackson. And he is singing We Are the World and he is asking the world (which we are) to give him money for Africa. The next thing you know, he is doing the same thing for AIDS and for starving children and he establishes the Heal the World Foundation. Oh my gosh, somebody is doing something! A child who became famous on the stage is now using that stage to change the world! What an inspiration! A grownup is doing something! It is possible to make the world a better place! And that possibility arrives in the most unlikely form and the most unlikely language—the form and language of music! It comes in the most unlikely package—a pop star and musical icon.

The reason so many stars and celebrities champion causes and hold telethons and concerts is because somebody named Michael Jackson started using the stage as a pulpit to show humanity how to be its own missionary, to show humanity the way to its own salvation! Bring salvation back? Sign on to change the world? Yes, count me in! Where do I sign up for this mission? So we did and we do. All because one young man had a dream to change the world. So he did it and he kept doing it his whole lifetime. And he continues to do it through his legacy—the people he left behind who caught the vision and became inspired.

So you think the mission is too big for you? Maybe the opportunity to change the world is as close as your own back yard or close to your yard. Maybe it’s as close as your local schoolyard, your neighbor the teacher, your uncle the principal, your local Boy Scout Troop or Junior Achievement leader. Maybe we can get excited and on board with something that gives us hope and inspires. Maybe it’s something as simple as talking to people about it. Maybe it is in the form of volunteering our services to get behind something that can potentially make not only the world a better place, but the future. Perhaps it’s going to schools and asking them to consider adding material from a new curriculum; maybe it’s referring others to a website that promotes peace and humanitarianism, maybe it’s making a phone call to say “how can I help?”

Oh, and one more little thing—to ‘make that change’ you have to make a vow: “I vow to do what I can do to make that change, to heal the world, to make it a better place. My vow to make the world a better place came very early in life for me just as it did for Michael Jackson. That vow made so long ago has led me to some interesting places like Siberia to work with Russians to support the mission of peace and the decommissioning of chemical weapons, to using my gift as a writer and artist to move people to change and to action, with words—as a wordsmith. At the website “One Wordsmith”,  my tag line says “writing to simply change the world.”  We can do that with words and with story. We can change the world! Our story is our narrative or the way we tell story and the story we tell. The narrative on this planet is the collective meme (collective cultural ideals, symbols and practices) that create the world that is created by what we are doing and who we are being.

Can you feel that? Let’s think about that one more time: we create the world by what we are doing and who we are being. We change the world collectively by who we together are doing and being. Want to make the world a better place? Watch for the release of Words and Violence. I will announce it here and I will send you a personal notification. If what you see inspires you as much as it has me and the many who built the architecture for this new narrative on the planet, write me a note and we’ll talk about what you can do.

So who could have forseen that the path these moccasins would take would intersect with a skinny little Moonwalker who crossed my path? I didn’t know where they would lead me, but that’s what happens when you make a vow—the Universe leads you where you need to go and where you are needed and brings you to a place where your life mission is written in invisible ink on the signpost of life. And when the ink dries—well, there you are, right where you are supposed to be– at the address where you belong.

Today that address for me is 2300 Jackson Street and Gary, Indiana to celebrate a birthday. To meet other people who are inspired by a pushy little Moonwalker.

So from the birthplace of this man who inspired so many around the world, I bring a gift… It’s a birthday gift to and from and for Michael Jackson. Voices Education and I along with those who were inspired decided that if he could change the world, so could we. We heard you Michael; we are that somebody and we will ‘make that change.’


  1. Jan said . . .

    Yes, Rev. Barb – a birthday gift for a little moonwalker. And one that I believe would have touched him to his very soul – as I told you so long ago (it seems – but, in reality, this thing has come together with miraculous rapidity, thanks to you). I believe he would have so gotten behind this cause being so much a victim of the words – and the violence those words inflict – on hapless and helpless innocents.

    During one of our conversations, you indicated that you didn’t know what you were going to do with yourself once the Curriculum project was released. I have your answer, should you choose to accept it.

    Now, that we have nearly completed the tangible component – let’s start working on the place those words come from – the intangible component. Thoughts. It’s the thoughts that we think that produce the words that we say – the emotions we feel – the actions we commit – the reality we create. Because we do, indeed, create our history everyday. Most of us believe that thoughts happen to us and we react. It’s not true. We can either react or we can create. Either consciously or unconsciously, we are responsible individually and collectively for the world we see around us. Most of us are doing it unconsciously – by default. It IS possible to create consciously a better tomorrow. We all need to learn how to do this with purpose and grace. And you can teach us how to do it. I know you can. We begin by monitoring our thoughts because they are our closest connection to the Source of our being. Instead of being caught up in the violence we see on our daily news, or devoting ourselves to vengeance (even if we believe that vengeance is just) – let’s stop those negative, judgmental thoughts at their source and manifest a different reality for our world and our race.

    He aint finished with us yet, my dear! He told us that himself. This is not the end. This is NOT it. We are only beginning.

    But we will give you a heartbeat or two to catch your breath! 🙂

    P.S. As I am writing this, Michael is singing You Are Not Alone. The disc has roughly 100 songs on it. It is set on random play. And this is the song that chooses to reveal itself to me as I send this comment. Thanks, Dear One! I know! By the way, Happy Birthday!

    Posted August 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  2. Theresa said . . .

    All I have to say today is thank you to those that inspire us to be the best we can be. Thanks to the pushy little Moonwalker who has changed the world forever. Thank you to Barbara who keeps writing these inspiring words. And, thank you to all of the ordinary people in our lives who do extraordinary things. They are out there and my life has been touched by many of them. Happy Birthday Michael Jackson!

    Posted August 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
  3. gertrude said . . .

    This day marks what would have been the 52nd year God graced us with the magnificent presence of Michael Jackson. The world was a much better place for having him in it and it is a much lesser place without him. But there is the light of Michael in every one of his fans hearts and we will strive to be him so the healing change he prayed and worked for in this realm will come about. As Reverend Barbara Kaufmann has informed us, Gregg Braden, in his book Divine Matrix says the minimum number of people required to make change in consciousness is the square root of 1% of a population, which has been proven by the100 Monkies study, borne out by quantum physics and studies of the morphic field that connects all our conciousness. Therefore less than 10,000 people are needed to bring about a shift in awareness on the planet – and we are milions. WE can and will bring about peace, harmony, unity and balance on the planet. IN MEMORY OF MICHAEL.

    Posted August 29, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  4. lmt said . . .

    Wonderful, positive words, Barbara. I must say that my path blessedly crossed with yours sometime ago. Curiosity and intrique with this little moonwalker triggered an examination of his life, and that journey led me to you and your wordsmithing. Your words and innate understanding of Michael; who he was, who he is today, his life’s challenges and mission; the who, why, when and where of the man opened my mind and heart to him. So, here I am today, working behind my vow to protect, defend, honor and love Michael. Making the world a better place–in my place, in the best way that I know. I am very proud and grateful to have played a small part in Michael’s gift. It’s terrific and profound and blessed work that you and Voices have crafted. And with my small contribution, I say Happy Birthday, Michael. The world is becoming that better place.

    Posted August 30, 2010 at 2:15 am | Permalink
  5. admin said . . .

    Appears the little Moonwalker’s “not alone” in being pushy. Kidding! I was kidding. What I meant was: after going 90 mph for months, I couldn’t imagine cruise control. I am discovering that there is no cruise control in a Michael world.

    Posted August 30, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  6. Gerri Stone said . . .

    Barbara LOL. For sure there is no cruise control in a Michael world. Once you are on board, it’s full speed ahead. And in his immortal words: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet…’ [Poet Gerri who is also inspired by a pushy Michael Jackson ~Rev. B.]

    Posted August 30, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
  7. Jan said . . .

    Pushy? Moi? Surely, you jest! Yeah, Michael had only one speed. He referred to it often. It’s called ‘Are You Nuts?!?’

    Posted August 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  8. Charlene said . . .

    Barbara, it’s exciting to know the birth of this new “baby” of yours is just around the corner! To see the vow you made as a child intersect with Michael’s dream to make the world a better place in the culmination of this project must bring you great joy! And I am proud and honored to have had a small part in bringing this important awareness to young people. I know it will make a difference! I, too, made a vow as a child to always treat people with kindness and respect, especially children. Michael has brought me face-to-face with that vow once again and through his unwavering commitment to the children of the world along with his huge love and kindness toward everyone, he has rekindled the spark in me which enticed the vow to begin with!

    It does not surprise me that I was led to you on this journey. I want to thank you for being our guide as we have navigated our way through the emotions and the heartache of losing the magnificent soul of Michael Jackson on this earth. With the brilliant light he left with us in our hearts, and with your knowledge and skill regarding all matters of the heart and soul, you have helped us turn our heartache into action in a big way!

    Jan, I agree that he ain’t finished with us yet – we have much more work to do! And may I add to that something else Michael said…”the best is yet to come!” Full speed ahead!!

    Posted August 31, 2010 at 4:25 am | Permalink
  9. Dalia said . . .

    Michael said many times: “together we will change the world” He had faith that those words would resonate with us, in every one of us. That faith is the force that must push us away from surrender and see that changed world around us. Despite having been betrayed by many people, Michael continued believing in people– a great example we can learn from to not fail and continue working for that change.

    Posted August 31, 2010 at 5:56 am | Permalink

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