Inner Michael » The Last Word

The Last Word

“The last word, like the last supper, should be a feast.”  ~BK

I recently visited at “A Place In Your Heart” radio with Reverend Doctor Catherine Gross and we spoke about words. And the same day, November 19, 2010, I released the new “Words” video that was produced for the Voices Education Project “Words and Violence” Curriculum. Words and Violence is designed for students from middle school to college and has grown to more than 200 pages. It is intended to awaken people to the idea of a more humane narrative on the planet which includes a kinder dialogue among humans. It takes a closer look at bullying and addresses how words are used to harm or to heal. The video is now available for viewing at You Tube:

Many people contacted me to say they really liked the radio interview with Dr. Gross. It was so meaningful to hear that people found it enlightening and helpful. So thanks for saying so. In case you didn’t get a chance to hear it and would like to listen, the archival recording is here:

Some Michael fans have told me though, that they are truly struggling with the whole idea of how to defend and preserve Michael’s legacy: they find themselves torn between their desire to operate in the world from the place of love that Michal always spoke about and how to manage their anger. I get that. I have the same struggle. Their anger is justified for Michael has been used relentlessly by the media to sell copy, was bullied on a global stage for decades and the bullying continues even into death. They are so frustrated and so angry. They want to know how to defend his legacy yet remain non-violent. And they are not sure it is possible. And they aren’t even sure it is wise to use that kind of restraint.

This is a very real struggle and internal conflict that causes an internal dissonance for people and dissonance causes discomfort and restlessness. It is amplified by the fact that those who recognize Michael for what and who he was face a constant barrage of word assaults by pundits, critics, announcers, detractors, and those who pretend to be “in the know” about the man.

Isn’t it interesting– the stark reality that those who really knew Michael in life have a much different “take” on who he was and what he stood for than those outside the circle who pretend to know him. Much of the banter or fodder from them is rehashed tabloid gossip that was released into the culture by irresponsible hacks posing as journalists. Or the so-called journalists of today just spout the party line established so long ago by tabloids whose sole purpose for existence is to use sensationalism to sell newspapers to line their pockets with cash.

Recent incoherent babbling by shock jock radio and tabloid-esque TV once again ignited a firestorm with fans. It is fatiguing. The fans know better; they so know that Michael Jackson is not who “they” made him out to be. In fact he is so the opposite that the fans feel very real physical pain when exposed to the same old, same old evisceration with words that now slice at his corpse instead of his living body or body of work. Yes, it is god awful. Yes it is the darkest and most vile portion of human nature at work. It is shadow in spades. We’ve all been had! Treachery can’t hide forever because truth is so much more powerful! Its vibrational signature is much higher! One ounce of truth counteracts multitudes of lies. One person in the light mitigates thousands in darkness. That is the clockwork of the Universe. It is how it works.

The fans themselves are often the target of a shadow infused media enamored with darkness. The moniker “crazy Michael Jackson fans” is painful because those same fans know the truth. It feels like an epithet (swear word) and in some ways it is. If you really want to know any celebrity or public figure, ask those who follow them. They are “the minds of those who know.” But even if you know the truth, if the behavior you exhibit is crazy, the label sticks. And it sticks to everybody. When Michael’s grave was defaced, everybody suffered the consequences. The impulse to be close to Michael resulted in everybody being pushed and held father away. Think before acting. Use restraint so that you may respond, not react. Reactionary or emotional verbal diarrhea has never been respected. It may feel good for the moment to dischage the pent up anger but it is destructive in the long run.

Here’s the thing—it is not helpful to go somewhere and conduct a personal attack or war upon the guilty party. Name calling, tirades, rants or other incoherence puts you in the same category as the offender. It is violence with words. And it only illustrates how fanatical you are and provides more evidence for those who would dismiss you and more ammunition for those who would fire insults your way.  It is much more effective to be above all that, to be the voice of reason, to confound with facts or punctuate with statistics or prove your position and back it up. Coherence is respected. Fanaticism or ranting is dismissed. It is quite simply, not taken seriously. It is a way for the offender to lump everyone into the category of fanatical or crazy.

Those people don’t see what you see. They don’t know what you know. They are drinking the Kool-aid of lies and sensationalism. They don’t know they are in the dark. We lived then, and still live now in a culture that permits the verbal slaughter of real people. The fault lies in the consumption. If you don’t like what that culture is serving up, ask to change the menu. Do not complain about “lazy journalists” if you are not willing to write a letter of complaint to the entity that served it up or the sponsors of that entity. And you have to keep at it. It is not a one- time battle. Make no mistake—it is a full out war between darkness and light. It is the battle for hearts. You will not win someone’s heart with attack. They will only dig in deeper and learn to defend better.

This is a people problem, not a media problem. When people get sick and tired of the slaughter, the blood-letting, the spilling guts, the virtual dismemberment of others, people will demand something else. Until then we will have bloodhound journalists, tabloid copy suitable for dog droppings and a media that serves up what they think you are hungry for. They are cynnical. They lack heart.

You are in a unique window of opportunity. People are beginning to wake up. They are beginning to feel a collective nausea. They are feeling an unrest that they can’t identify and don’t know from where it comes. People are appalled by the bullying of children and frightened by the suicides it provokes. Children are killing themselves because of violent words! People loathe bullying but they don’t see the connection. They don’t understand how Michael Jackson and Lady Diana are connected to the bullying that is taking place now. They don’t understand that they have permitted it to become part of the culture. Make them see! Michael’s death is the catalyst, the window. The time of opportunity is now. The change is coming. And you are a voice for it.

But you must be viewed as reasonable, intelligent voices of solidarity that are asking for a change. You must be a united and credible voice. Using sappy monikers like “mjslover” or “mjdarkchild” or “mj4ever” and similar identities are seen as juvenile and do not give you credibility. They cause people to dismiss you, to write you off. When you are dismissed, you lose your voice because people stop listening before you even speak.

And spewing hateful remarks or personal attacks do not help matters. I know, I know. It is really hard to use and show restraint when you are in pain and angry. I struggle with myself there too. But that is exactly when you should step back, take a deep breath and rethink how to respond. You gain credibility when you give reasoned and well thought out answers that speak to the real issues. Most people who use cut and paste journalism or who mimic or parrot the “party line” and repeat the same old untrue phrases and judgments are as Michael said… “ignorant.” “It is ignorance” that is at work. Those people are not educated about the truth. So your job is to educate them. Not try to kill them with words. You may need to initially get their attention- you do that by being clever not vile. You gain with intrigue, by being beguiling, by being as seductive with the truth as is seduction with lies.

Yes, there are some “journalists”: (term used loosely) who know exactly what they are doing and are doing it deliberately to provoke responses. Learn to identify them and don’t play into their game. Provocateurs are a dime a dozen. Shock jocks are cheap entertainment. And those people will… trust me… outlive their usefulness. And to make you feel better consider this: those who made money through treachery will one day face their own mortality. Age and time have a way of making people look closely at their values. There comes a time in life when the soul leads. That is when individuals begin to realize that money means nothing, a beautiful house cannot bring comfort, the best things in life do not satisfy. People will eventually take stock and will have to face their own treachery. The day comes when we all have to take a long look at: ‘just what did I do to make the world better?’ Or they have to look at past behavior and face the consequences. Only psychopaths never had to face their own conscience when their mortality knocks.

And here’s a secret to remember: People really do want to feel better about themselves and humanity, not worse. A steady diet of darkness suffocates. People long for light. There is evidence of that everywhere. You only need to create awareness and look for it. The time is coming! And you are part of that change.

Anger sometimes is justified. Indignation ignites social change. Anger provides an energy that can be used to motivate. There are countless examples of people who took their anger and put it into action for social change. The young boy who committed suicide from bullying has a father who has now taken his anger and grief to the streets—he has become a public speaker about bullying and schools invite him to assemblies to speak. There was an African American man who was dragged to death behind a vehicle simply because he was black and his mother is now a social change activist. So go ahead and be angry but do something constructive with that energy. And when you use that energy and put something into action, remember that you are representing all the other MJ fans. You are also representing Michael. So be careful what you demonstrate in Michael’s name and understand that what you do impacts and reflects on all other fans. So be wise in your words. Educate. Use level-headed and intelligent responses and rebuttals. Understand that this shift in consciousness includes Michael but it’s not just about Michael. It is about humanity. People are hungry for humanitytheir own and in the world. Use your actions to show them; use your words to tell them. Use your voice. Have the last word. And make it delicious. Make it a feast.


Here is a little Indian story from my Oneida friend that illustrates well what I am saying; and notice how the last line holds the punch:

One winter’s evening while gathered round a blazing camp fire, an old Sioux Indian chief told his grandson about the inner struggle that goes on inside people.

“You see” said the old man, “this inner struggle is like two wolves fighting each other. One is evil, full of anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, deceit, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

“The other one,” he continued, poking the fire with a stick so that the fire crackled, sending the flames clawing at the night sky, “is good, full of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

For a few minutes his grandson pondered his grandfather’s words and then asked, “So which wolf wins, grandfather?”

“Well,” said the wise old chief, his lined face breaking into a wry smile, “The wolf who wins is the one you feed!”


  1. souldreamer7 said . . .

    Thank you for this. I enjoyed the Sioux Indian story too. Be looking for an email from me soon. I’m taking time to write details. With Love, souldreamer7

    Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink
  2. Dalia said . . .

    Sometimes I get emails from fans who invite me to join their claims against all kinds of people. Public figures boast, speak and publish about Michael and defame his memory. Then the fans are angry and invite others to “add more fuel to the fire.” I usually invite them not to follow suit because there are all kinds of opportunists trying to attract attention by talking about Michael negatively because they know that is controversial and that it sells. And that was always the goal, to “sell” their garbage. But as you say Barbara, we must be cautious because we’re fan’s of someone very important and that is a privilege that must be worn with dignity. Though it sounds silly, what I mean is that many fans lose their heads, insult and became a fool in front others when we should demonstrate maturity and understanding and that our principal goal should be to heal the world.

    Posted November 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
  3. Susan T said . . .

    No one could have said it better, more succinctly. Thank you, Rev. Barbara!

    It never fails. The person who speaks rationally, and backs it up with facts, statistics, and a certain beguiling style is rarely dismissed. Often we forget just how long it took for the horribly untrue image of Michael to be formed by the tabloid-esq writers–over 25 years! Society in general became accepting. Indifference allowed it to expand and continue. Now, it seems that the Biblical verse, “What ye sow, so shall ye reap” is yielding its fruit in even more vile and deadly ways! Children are taking their lives because of hate-filled words.

    I loved the story of the two wolves and the beautiful illustration. Anger is a heavy chain I’ve dragged around all my life. Too often I fed the wrong wolf. I still do, but he goes hungry more frequently now. Anger is a powerful emotion. If channeled correctly, it can be a powerful, motivating force. Having learned so much about Michael through months of study and research, it’s clear that he never let anger be his master. And he, probably more than any other human being on the planet, had every right to lash out in anger at his tormenters. Instead, he channeled it into intense and compelling lyrics and music and focused on love. He just intensified that inner light and overcame shadow.

    I think as we practice diligently how to choose and use words, we will collectively demonstrate to the world that words uplift or destroy. It is a known fact that human behavior is the reflection of the many habits we’ve learned over our lifetimes. A habit takes an average of 21 days to form. Conscious creation of a good habit is easily achieved by everyone. Through educating people about the power of words, we can use Michael Jackson and Lady Diana as examples of what words can ultimately do to destroy people. We have the unique window of opportunity, Rev. Barbara, to show the world what the misuse of words is doing to our children–bullying. We know how to do this. Michael isn’t here to feel this pain anymore but WE FEEL IT and we have the power to stop it and offer up a feast of life-affirming words instead of a compassion famine.

    Anything worthwhile takes effort. I love your admonition to those who are sick of the same, stomach-turning menu we’ve been offered–to change the menu. Let’s open a new restaurant! Offer a new and tantalizing menu! It’s also compares to a radio station or TV program that continues to offer up only degrading programs–Change the channel! Search for one that does resonate with you. Go ahead and let these networks know that we are going to contact their sponsors and stop buying their products. I am only one but I AM ONE and if we all realize that there is power in ONE, we can MAKE THAT CHANGE FOR GOOD!

    I used to have this on my wall:

    Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.
    Author: Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilian) Source: De Institutione Oratoria (I, 3, 3)

    Thank you, Rev. Barbara. You are a constant source of affirmation and bringer of love and light! You really shine bright and that light is penetrating the darkest corridors of our world.

    Posted November 29, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
  4. Jan said . . .

    The one you feed! Wonderful! Love it! Jan

    Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:03 am | Permalink
  5. gertrude said . . .

    “The wolf who wins is the one you feed!” Genius.

    Posted November 30, 2010 at 5:17 am | Permalink
  6. Suvie said . . .

    Recently my parents came to visit me and they stayed for about a month. In this month they discovered my MJ “obsession” and that I had “indoctrinated” my children too and even the help has not been spared. My parents are religious people and have not been exposed to all the negativity about MJ but the summary in their minds is that ‘he was a very successful and weird man. By no means that guy deserves being compared to saintly Indian figures like I do.’ He was an entertainer and should be compared to the like.

    Dad, made me sit down and with a little hint of aggression in his voice, he said, tell me, why when there are thousands of succesful artists and entertainters in the world, why was Michael Jackson targeted as you say he was? Why? I was so overwhelmed.. so full of emotion… ready to break down… not a word escaping my mouth. Why was he targeted? Why? I told dad that we will not talk about it and left. Keeping emotion out of something that means so much to you is so hard but that the only way to make yourself seem reasonable. I remember you once said to keep some ready made answers ready for some frequently asked questions. I plan to draft a mail to my dad. I loved the Indian story.

    Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:33 am | Permalink
  7. Simona said . . .

    “The wolf who wins is the one you feed”….. Oh how true, how precious! Let us feed our benign inner wolf, now and always! Thank you so much Rev. Barbara, much Love

    Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  8. admin said . . .

    Oh Suvi, I am so sorry. I can relate; my own father was upset and ‘disappointed in me’ when I was studying Buddhism and Hinduism. I got those same lectures. In seems the steadfast who believe in something and are faithful to their convictions are persecuted for those beliefs and while it’s painful, you remain in good company… Jesus, Joan of Arc, Galileo, Muhammad, Krishna… Great geniuses or messengers are rarely recognized in their own time. Intolerance for beliefs still lives on the panet and in the extreme arises as ethnic cleansing and other darkness. We are so conditioned to it. It is ultimately insecurity (fear) that perpetuates the challenge to another’s convictions; it serves to reinforce our own. As yourself why that might be necessary. Each of us must choose our own path– the one that resonates with our soul. And as you well know, those who might enlighten us are not always saints. Ahimsa is not always easy but as for truth: it is a superpower that endures; it will not be held hostage forever. Time is not an enemy here and evolution is inevitable. In the healing from an injury to the soul we become more the healer and warrier for light. I hold you there. ~B

    Posted November 30, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
  9. jeanne said . . .

    I have been through the same thing with the people who think they are doing you a favor while trying to convince you that your obsession is not sane or of the norm. But I found that my answer made sense to me and that was all that mattered. And my answer is that Michael Jackson is a person whom I love and an example of our modern day witch hunt in its most vile form. It is a reminder of how we can be fooled into following the crowd and not think for ourselves. It is not just a love for Michael but a reminder that people can collectively turn cold and not even realize it. Children not recognized or nourished, elderly forgotten, poor ignored, wounded dismissed as crazy. It is a reminder that a false God can be a dollar sign and that people place more of their energy on this sign than each other. It is also hope and an awakening. Living and not existing (Michael’s words ) is the goal for me by doing something every day that contributes to a better place. How every day I now know I am here for a reason. For me, Michael Jackson was the greatest lesson ever learned in my lifetime. Michael was and is my awakening of how I fell into the crowd and how I never will again. My soul’s purpose is to be unique for a reason I can be the change we need and I am. So if you like what you see join me. That is my prepared statement that I tell people from my heart. Some will; some won’t. I know if not now then maybe later also applies. I am a seed planter. I have a great purpose. Now argue with that! (smiling)

    Posted November 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink
  10. Suvi said . . .

    Thank you Barbara and Jeanne for your understanding. I tell my friends and parents that one day when history will be written correctly, you will be proud that I had the good sense and heart to see magic and wonder where everyone else saw tragedy. We shall overcome one day…O…o deep in my heart I do believe that we shall overcome one day. Amen.

    Posted December 1, 2010 at 6:10 am | Permalink
  11. gertrude said . . .

    Wow Jeanne. how would you feel if “someone” borrowed your prepared statement when in need of one – since I dont think I could have put into words exactly how I feel any better than that? And Suvi – if I was to add your perfect statement – one day when history will be written correctly, you will be proud that I had the good sense and heart to see magic and wonder where everyone else saw tragedy – would you mind? Such beautiful words from you both. I wont really use them as my prepared statement. I just found your words very striking.

    Posted December 2, 2010 at 5:10 am | Permalink
  12. jeanne said . . .

    When I am confronted with comments from friends or family or strangers questioning “why” I am so obsessed as they say) with Michael Jackson, I want people to know my truth. My journey will offer information whenever they need it. I am proud to love Michael. And in my eyes they do have a need to know. The response, most of time from what I have experienced is good. I think most people are not blind to what Michael stood for. I think most people people are good inside. Some do not even realize how good they are until reminded.

    Posted December 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  13. Kim said . . .

    Rev. Barbara, thank you. How appropriate that I read this story today. I have felt many emotions this past week, including anger. With that said, I am choosing to channel those emotions to something positive and sustaining. Like the other people who have posted, I also am ready to educate others as to who the man Michael was and why he inspires me. I know which wolf I will feed. Thank you. Namaste!

    Posted December 5, 2010 at 2:16 am | Permalink

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