Inner Michael » To heal there must be HOPE

To heal there must be HOPE

When my benefactors of healing offered their space for recovery they invited me to think about what might be important to me to bring along or bring into this new healing space. There would be room for a bed, some clothes, a television, a couple of chairs, a dresser and a paintings or photograph or two. I was invited to bring a few things that would inspire the space, lend it to healing, make it support my recovery. Did I want to bring my 3 foot ceramic power animal- the black leopard or panther? I could bring a couple wall hangings and a few gadgets to make life easier or keep me connected to the world– the computer, phone and headset.

There are the practical things that support convolescence: medications, an inspirometer, the trappings of the leg brace and wedge pillows and more… but the essential ingredient is inspiration. Inspiration and the other thing… perhaps a little hope. That is what you all bring with your well wishes and your prayer ties and medicine bundles of cedar and that other invisible healing ingredient– love.

There are a few places where inspiration is visible: the photo of Michael who tagged along as a reminder of and to bring inspiration, a collage of my grandchildren and my gold “Gratitude” sign. My grandchildren are the reason it is important to embark upon the journey in the first place to change the world. It can and will be a better world because of them. Their invisible influence hangs in the field like a warm blanket of love, like hope wrapped tightly around me. As a writer, I “simply change the world” for them as much as for me. It behooves all of us to think about the children of the future and what kind of world we would like them to inherit. And then it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to take us there into that new world.

I envision that world with a sense of relaxation and safety. It’s a world where nobody has to “brace himself” against the onslaught of reality. Where nobody has to fear their own government or the governments of others because the leaders in that new world have long ago recognized that “we’re all in this together,” and that this planet is an island where everybody recognizes that if we trash this island, there’s no place else to go– no duplicate planet waiting to be colonized. That we live in a world of finite resources that belong to everyone not to those who grab because they are the strongest, most adept aggressor or most militant. A world where we finally “get” that we are hard-wired for empathy, sympathy and community not competition, greed and consumerism. (“You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” ~Lennon) I hope you , in fact, call me a dreamer. I hope I can call you one. Because before something can become reality, it must first be dreamed or envisioned. Shall we dream together?

And if we stand up or take a stand, are we able to withstand the onslaught of names we will likely be called? Well, what could be worse that being called a “crazy Michael Jackson fan?” Am I kidding? Not sure. I think there is a not only a dream and a new world waiting to come into being but there is a new name for the fans and a new initiative. I think they are “standing on the side of love” and that instead of seeming dreamy, idealistic and pie-in-the-sky, there may be a practical way for them to go about changing this planet. We should, perhaps talk about it. The one thing I have learned is that sometimes you have to be willing to be visible and be called names, sometimes you have to be willing to be invisible and work in secret leaving your ego and even your identity behind for the sake of the work.

In preparing for this new life of healing and of re-defining self, I found that all those things that I thought were important are not. I found that however I defined myself was an illusion. As I watched more and more “things” leave my life and felt grief for their passing, I learned that “stuff” does not define me, does not make me who I am. In writing the Power of Attorney for Healthcare and designating my children as decision makers in case I was incapacitated, I found it was necessary to define other things not so visible on first glance.

I found I had to clearly say what I wanted in case of an accident in surgery or in case of complications leaving me unable to make my own decisions. My children asked me to spell out clearly in unambiguous language what I wanted in case of coma, medical catastrophe or my demise. There are, you may know, different levels of DNR (do not resuscitate.) There are different deaths– one of which is brain death. In examining the concept of death, the best death and most digified, the quality of life comes under scrutiny.

In examining life and its quality there is an inherent “what is there to lose?” Home? Health? Possessions? Livelihood? And when those are already gone, what is left to lose? That is lwhen the greater issues come up: freedom, dignity, worth. The personal melts into the universal. The self fades, the ego dissolves and the soul emerges along with the quest and question: “What really matters?”

And even the question of “future” or “a future” assumes an identity, ego or personality. The truth is that if dead, and dead for a certain length of time, nobody will remember you or your name. All those labels that defined you won’t matter. The trappings of the ego– what limited you, defined you, named you no longer matters. What remains then is only this: what you set into motion when you were alive. In other words, who you were being on the planet and how that contributed (or not) to the future

Will it matter then what possessions you had? What position you held? What school you went to? What neighborhood you grew up in or ended up in? How much (financially) you were worth? The reality is that a hundred years from now all that will be left (if it is) is a headstone with a name. The only physical evidence of your being is a stone and a name by which you were called.

So will it matter then what they called you? It will matter if you are worthy of mention in the history books. That’s not most of us. For a figure in history it very much matters. For most of us who will fade into obscurity, what matters is what we name ourselves and what that inspires us to set in motion in our lives.

I have been thinking about names and name calling and how many names I have been called through my lifetime: “hippy,” “peacenik,” “tree-hugger, “bleeding heart,” “liberal,” “communist.” That “communist” one was hurtful because in my childhood it was a big deal. True, I was fraternizing with the enemy (Soviets) and protesting nukes and chem weapons and war, but “communist?” Hardly. I was making friends with “the enemy” in the hopes of convincing them I was not the enemy and that even though our governments didn’t know how to behave themselves civilly– we did! The most hurtful name I encountered was when I was doing statewide training in human sexuality that included AIDS and pregnancy prevention and women’s rights. They stood outside my office and yelled “baby killer!” I have yet to kill a baby. Or anybody. And I have actually saved lives professionally and in a couple cases, personally.

Do those names matter? They may have mattered to my ego at one time, but not now. And a hundred years from now nobody will remember, know or even care. So how can I impact the future? I can impact the future and define it with my legacy. What is my legacy? My legacy is what I set into motion right here and right now by my thoughts becoming words, actions, deeds and the natural future outcome of that.

As a young idealist, I believed in love, brotherhood and music. I believed in equalitly and anti-discrimination or marginalization. Music was our uniter. Music relected our political beliefs, our hopes, dreams and our blueprint for the future. Or so we thought.

In thinking about the visible and invisivle, it is evident that the most important “things” or “ingredients” are those which are most invisible and which you can crowd a great deal into a small space. There is love here. L.O.V.E. And with it comes HOPE. There is the symbolic “Hope” coffee cup I use every day. It symbolizes for me, hope in the form of meaning and that which is there but not visible. Meanwhile, what you have sent, allowed, prayed and wished into this space is here with me, is cherished and given free reign t do its work. It’s inspiring, inspirational and  inspires HOPE.

Something a bit more inspirational yet tangible took place this week at IM. I share it to spread the hope around…

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  1. mjt829 said . . .

    I am meeting Michael Jackson and getting to know him… the real man. I regret that it took his passing 33 months ago for this to happen. My eyes are being opened to the love he had for us all, and to discover his close connection to God. He has inspired me so much in my life, and in my walk with God, and his gift has encouraged me to use the gift God has given me. I thank Michael. He will always live on in his leagacy he left for us. It is comforting to know that whenever we miss him, we can listen to his music and he will be there.

    Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
  2. karen said . . .

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Barbara! Your insight and wisdom, and your easy way of sharing these gifts, always leaves me with a growing peaceful light deep in my chest. Thank you. I’m sending gentle healing thoughts, strong healing prayers, pure healing love. Karen

    Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink
  3. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    That’s the light, Karen! That’s the one! Focus on it, fuel it, feed it, amplify it. It is the true light that you are. Congratulations. ~B

    Posted March 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  4. victoria drumbakis said . . .


    You are truly an amazing being and I thank you for your guidance and wisdom and especially for sharing your incredible gift with each and every one of us, your gift as a wordsmith. You have been in my thoughts and prayers and I have been sending healing energy your way. Having recently lost my father to Alzheimer’s your words resonate deeply. What is there to lose when we are stripped of it all? I know that my Dad never lost the L.O.V.E. Although he was really gone years before our family stood by him throughout his illness and his passing. What I can say for sure is I know now that it truly is “all for L.O.V.E. ” and that in the end whatever we do for love is our legacy. It is also our future.

    I too was a young idealist and I believed in the goodness of mankind and always in the hope of a better tomorrow. That is why Michael’s message has given purpose to my life. This forum that you have provided gives me hope to carry on, provides space for my idealism and is my catalyst for change. You are doing God’s work. “and the greatest of these is love”.

    Love and light,

    Posted April 4, 2012 at 5:18 am | Permalink
  5. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    V- So sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. Alzheimers is a terrible disease; I worked with those patients in Geriatrics and I know what a tragedy it is especially for the famiies of those afflicted. You and your family provided a loving environment in the midst of the despairing of that disease. You have been through the refiner’s fire in that journey, have you not V? And what there is for Alheimers sufferers to lose is DIGNITY. Hope is the thing that humans will cling to with superhuman tenacity and it is the last thing they will relinquish. When hope is gone (and it is with the diagnosis of Alzheimers) all that is left then is dignity. And that must be provided by others since the patient cannot supply it for himself. Those are the hardest times to remember to see God in the face of another being. The breaking of your heart was your father’s parting gift to you. One of the reasons Michael Jackson was so beloved was that he advocated for, stood for, and sometimes did an in-your-face demand for (equal) DIGNITY for all beings- human, animal and planetary. He brought idealism, hope and dignity to this planet and he never let go of hope. I admire how he stood steadfast in his dignity all the while others were trying to strip him of it. His parting gift to the world was the same as your father’s: breaking hearts so that all that old stuff held there could crack, break, and be washed out with tears. Then, as Gerri Stone says “that raggedy old thing” we called a heart can be replaced with a heart that, empty of all its resentments, angst and petty insults has the capacity for authenticity and real L.O.V.E. ~B

    Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  6. Kathy Weiss said . . .


    Thank you so much for your continued love of Michael. I saw on YouTube a video entitled “voice mail cries for help” in which Michael is recorded voicing his fear for his life and those of his children to his then manager Dieter. I don’t know when it was recorded. Several years before his death. The fear in his voice. He sounded somewhat medicated and I cried. I cried because he was surrounded by hounds who gave him no access to those who cared about him. I truly believe in my heart and soul that Michael was medicated to the point where anyone who wanted to get close to him even his family had NO access to him. MJ’s publicist Raymone Bain who said so as well as Dieter. At that point MJ had no voice. I believe that there was something bigger going on and I pray that one day we will find out what really happened. I believe there is more to come. Grace, his nanny who adored Michael and his children was fired. Was that Michael’s choice? As strong as MJ was, under the influence of strong pain and sleep medications he lost control. Even his finances were messed up by those holding the purse strings. This all has to be investigated.

    Please keep writing about Michael. I recently read the book “Honoring the Child Spirit”. Then Shmuley Boteach (who later betrayed Michael) interviewed Michael about childhood, innocence and children and if you read it and listen carefully to his words, you will realize that MJ would never, ever harm a child. His love for children was so pure and boundless. He talked about Paris and Prince. I highly recommend it. Thank you, Barbara.

    Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink
  7. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    K, When it comes to Michael Jackson, I never know who to believe. If I do a journey I get better information than listening to those who stand to gain something from the destruction of another human being. I edited the comments because accusing without justification or proof is not useful to us and can do great harm. Michael was unjustly accused and even though exonerated in a court of law. the “guilt by accusation” atill stands to this day.

    I am with you that I hope the whole truth can some day be revealed. When large sums of money are involved (millions if not billions here) anything is possible and treachery is probable. While paranoia can result from some combinations of drugs, It is reaonable to guess that the paranoia he stands accused of and ridiculed for may have some basis. i suspect it does. As for the Schmuley book- I have read it and agree it is a good book and reveals the real Michael. I was not asked to review that book as I was the others so I did not include it here. I would not purchase the book because I do not believe in financially supporting a Rabbil who would betray a confidence and breech confidentiality between a client and his spiritual advisor. That is anethema to my values. While Schmuley’s book advances the legacy Shmuley insulsts all clergy with his reckless managing of client information. I agree that Michael Jackson would never, and did never harm a child. One only has to read the trial transcripts to find the real treachery and guilty parties. Thanks. ~B

    Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  8. victoria drumbakis said . . .


    Thank you for your lovely, kind and encouraging words. Dignity was what we gave him, up until his last moment. Yes, you are right, my father’s illness, in many ways, became a gift for all of us, burning away the hubris of life, leaving behind only the purest, most innocent LOVE of all, that which is the love of a child. Because, what I experienced watching my father die was the total trust and childlike nature that resides in each one of us, that we come into this life as a child and we leave the same way. Maybe that is why Michael has resonated so deeply with me. “Unless ye come as children…….”. He taught me that it is not childish to be childlike. Bless you for all your efforts and your unconditional LOVE..

    LOVE and Light,

    Posted April 6, 2012 at 4:34 am | Permalink
  9. Kim said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara. I ponder your words as I get back into my life after my move. It feels like that I took a vacation and am now coming back. The point is that as I sit here having just obtained internet access after 5 days and having no TV, I am forced to focus on other things. Not that I even watched TV that much when I did have it; but not having it seems to cause a bit of frustration or even a sense of “not having”, which is truly an illusion as I have been learning these past 2.5 years.

    As I reflect and listen to, I realized that all the things that I was trying to obtain, arrange for and acquire in order to resume my life are just things. They are not important in the grand scheme of all that is. I am reminded that I need to look deep into my soul to find the light that I search for. I never completely lost track of that path, but was side-tracked momentarily. This is what happens though. It’s happening to you, but in a very big way. I believed Michael faced that often. These experiences are what helps our soul evolve. I’m not telling you anything you already don’t know. I’m just saying that I feel and understand. I sending you prayers of healing light and love for your recovery. Thank you. -KB

    Posted May 2, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink
  10. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    You K, are appreciated more than you’ll ever know. For all your work on the Words and Violence Curriculum and for your friendship. You rock mama. ~B

    Posted May 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink
  11. Nicole said . . .

    Thank you so much dear Barbara for all what you give to us from your love, wisdom, thinking and research about Michael! You’re a wonderful human being as Michael was, I do feel a resonance with all that you write. I completely agree about dying in dignity. My mother has Alzheimer’s illness, it’s terrible, I hate to see her living a situation she wanted to avoid BUT … what can I do ? I can’t help her exit; I can’t do anything except to love her, help her with hearing music she loved so much, touch her, listen to her even if she doesn’t find the words anymore …

    Last year I had a cancer operation, I thought about all what you’re speaking, the gift is to appreciate life much better et deeply. Love to you, to Michael and to all of you who love him and his message. He was really a man of light!

    Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

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