Inner Michael » Mother’s Day Message from MJ and Me

Mother’s Day Message from MJ and Me

There are those moments in life when something transcendental, potent or so pregnant with potential is an encounter that completely transfigures our life view, our consciousness, our worldview, our incentives or our inspirations and rearranges our values and priorities creating fundamental and permanent inner change. Where we were contracted, we expand. Where we were closed and self involved, we become open and heart centered. Where we were afraid, we take a deep and confident breath. In and beyond these moments, the relationships with self and others transforms and compassion replaces indifference while we impulse outward instead of backward or inward. We connect with something greater than ourselves.

Sometimes it’s an unfolding like a lotus blooming- beautiful, silent and serene; other times its like a longing and homesickness for something you can’t identify. And there are those times when it’s a searing or heart-splitting pain that tears you open against your will. It can happen over time, through darkness, with a trauma, by a sudden and complete heartbreaking event or within a consciously or unconsciously invited timeless journey gently rocked by a curiosity that seeks an undefined knowingness. Many times it happens via a spiritual emergency– something that grabs you by the throat, the heart and/or turns your life upside down. You may recognize yourself and why I bring this up.

There are other transformational moments that are hardly noticeable- a chance encounter, a sudden sense of connection or beauty, a momentary appreciation for something never before evident, an instant where you know something profound you’ve never known before, or the chill of a quiet internal wind at just the perfect moment that give you goose bumps.

These are peak experiences. They come in many forms And almost always they are spiritual and messages from the soul. They often silence the ego so that a vaster part of the self can fly open and free the egoless soul from the bonds of ordinary to a place that is “other.”

You know them; you’ve had them. Born of awe or pain, they compel or impel you forward and out of a comfort zone and into the unknown where they sculpt with the instruments of the soul to shape a future you.

These kinds of moments of inspiration and awe appear to occur more frequently to creative, artistic and sensitive people. The art that comes from such transcendental encounters is a haunting art that won’t leave its vessel alone until the work is created in its first and even final form. One sees the vision before its on canvas, hears the melody before it is sung, feels the sculpture in the hands before it is chipped or formed from substance. What comes of this inspired work carries the essence in quiet purr to even full throttle of this driving force. The gnawing need to “get it down” in melody, paper, canvas, or whatever form it assumes based on one’s gifts, is like the grip of an addiction seeking its next “fix.” Artists simply can’t not do art. One knows the drive, the force, the deep impulse of the addiction by the quality of the product oozing or flooding from the throes of this compulsion.

Michael Jackson was one such artist. His work is the result of hearing from the inside out, of the soul tickling or sometimes slapping its subject to attention. It is powerful. It is driven. And its perfection and his reach for that perfection with the inadequate tools of the earthly dimensions creates and agony of perfectionism and a falling short (in his own mind, via his own compass) that is excruciating to live with. Inspired work can never be the exact quality as the place from which it comes. Therein lies the agony. One can invite madness by trying to distraction to copy that which originates in another realm altogether. People can go mad or die trying.

An artist in the grip of the art struggling to be born is different. Sometimes considered strange, a ‘different drummer,’ even an enigma, is in a crucible or is the crucible itself. The art is going to come and there is no resisting it. Try to dam the river and you end up with a flood. What can be said of a genius in the crucible is literally, “he is not himself today.” “He” likely isn’t even there but is off in a world that the average uninspired mind can’t access. That is why artists and their art, particularly those driven geniuses, are underappreciated– which is an understatement. The mistake made about Jackson was that some relegated him to a “pop star” which is like saying Michelangelo was an “illustrator.”

Since it is Mother’s Day and I want to pay homage to our first mother, I share with you an example of haunting art from my own experience. I suspect this is somewhat similar to Michael Jackson’s Earth Song haunting. I hope you enjoy. This is reprinted from an article for Mothers’ and Mother’s Day at the Charter for Compassion:

 Our First Mother: Celebrating her on Mother’s Day

I’ll always remember when I saw the whole of my first mother’s face; it was December of 1972. Officially she was called #AS17-148-22727 but NASA nicknamed her “Blue Marble.” Photographed about five hours out and 28,000 miles away during Apollo 17, the last of NASA’s lunar missions, we received the first full frontal photo of our first mother—the Earth.

Her elegant and elegiac beauty caused an involuntary sucking-in of breath; her magnificence equaled only by her extreme loneliness. She was the only one of her kind—a finite and gorgeous island set against the black backdrop and terrifying never-ending-ness of space.

We had seen a previous picture called “Earthrise,” a portrait of the earth rising beyond the horizon of the dead and gray surface of the moon, but it hadn’t inspired exactly that same awe. The Blue Marble looked dynamic, organized, as if a whole system imbued with intelligence and balance conspired to operate in concert as an intricately connected dynamic and complex organism, as well… a living being.

Around that same time I learned of Gaia, the Greek primordial female deity that represents earth and her intelligence. And then the Egyptian goddess Nut, who spans her body into an arc that forms the heavens overarching the earth below as she daily swallows the sun only to rebirth it the next morning. Earth has been portrayed through time not just as a living entity, but a female mother and deity.

Photograph #A517-148-22727 was mesmerizing; it pulled me in to its depths. ‘Here is,’ I thought, ‘a portrait of our first Mother—the Madonna who birthed us all.’ I remember a chill running through me, that same chill I feel when I know I am witnessing a significant moment in history or some iconic effigy or pulse in the scheme of evolution. ‘This is an iconic moment,’ I acknowledged, ‘with an iconic image.’ Such were the chills of the first glimpse of our magnificent planet, our life supporting companion. I remember the feeling that accompanied that moment too; it was similar to the moment I realized the computer and the Internet gave us the ability to communicate with the whole earth. It was as if I was looking at the birth of a new spiritual icon that would live in the lexicon of human imagination, forever changed from this moment forward. At the same time, the cross upon which man might crucify his savior, his fellow man, and himself, the crucible of his imagination, had just magnified immensely; it was suddenly—global. The in-breath and the dissemination of this one realization was urgent.

It was as if the potential for destruction of the whole planet with the irresponsible use of nuclear weapons, that only lived in imagination before was suddenly real. It was instantly much more insane and unthinkable and learning to collectively behave responsibly was more urgent than ever experienced before.

I became ever more fascinated with that iconic image and it haunted me. An artist and writer, I began to try to reproduce that moment of revelation in a variety of forms—a painting that now hangs at the Christine Center for Mediation called “Vision of the Madonna;” a sculpture called “Gaia” that was poured into a mold for reproduction in ceramic, often purchased to be given as an award to those recognized for their contributions to humanity and the Earth; a novelty patterned after the pop culture “Pet Rock”—a “Pet Planet” that comes with care and feeding instructions; a book of poetry. In two dimensional and three dimensional media I tried to convey the awe and implied stewardship.

After almost twenty years of membership and holding office in Sister Cities, the partnership with Russians culminated in securing the funding and building the infrastructure for the construction of a chemical weapons decommissioning facility in our sister city region and a trip to “the turf of the enemy.” Never before was it quite so clear that instead of turf wars, we must recognize that we are one. One humanity, one race, one people.

We are a teeming mass, a complex and interdependent web of beings living on an even more complex being—and a finite one. Swapping stories with my “enemy” brought home the message of that first glimpse and one iconic image of the “Blue Marble.” There were no borders in the photograph of the real earth, no man-made divisions, but suddenly there were edges. Beyond the edges of this fragile sphere called earth where there is life, in the vast darkness of space, there is—death. We are here together on this island with nothingness all around us, hurling through nothingness at the speed of around 70,000 miles per hour—equivalent to covering the distance from San Francisco to New York in about 3 minutes.  We speed toward nothingness but we are not “nothing.” Nor are we nothings. We are unique in all the known Universe.

Just as a human body is made up of separate parts that somehow know intelligently how to work together in precise synchronous time with perfect motion to cooperatively form a whole living system, so the Gaia Hypothesis of earth examines how intricately and delicate is the balance of our Mother Earth’s life giving ecosystem. Just the right amount of sunlight, the perfect mix of oxygen, the correct ratio of salt, the exact temperature range that perfectly supports human life, it’s as if she knows what to provide for us to support life. It just doesn’t seem random. It seems purposeful—as if a dynamic ecosystem specially designed to protect and perpetuate life—human life. The design is not just deserving of simple drop-to-your-knees awe, but of a delicate kind of respect and gratitude, a reverence that comes close, if not actually, holy.

Robert Koehler, columnist for the Chicago Tribune recently wrote about biblical scripture and the word “dominion” as used in Genesis, particularly verse 26. Koehler cites that there are clergy and other modern thinkers who believe the word “dominion” over the earth, to actually mean “stewardship.”

Later in Genesis it says something about “subduing the earth,” and those two phrases taken together and literally, without context might be used to justify unrestrained pillaging, but I doubt that’s wise. That also makes the “bestowed” dominion temporary. Genesis also says that humans are made “in our image” and while they’ve never been able to understand who the “we” is, I don’t think if we’re made in the image of God, any god, that it means it’s OK to rape and pillage—whether the earth is viewed as dynamic or living, or not.

In fact, I seem to recall that humans were kicked out of the garden for not tending to it properly or following the holy instructions. The garden has gotten much bigger since then. And if humankind was actually born from the earth as the narrative goes, then as our first mother, you think we might be more respectful of our Earth.

And as respectful children, we might at least acknowledge her, honor her; we might even try to find a way to pay homage by repaying her for the kindness and generosity. For, even before our own human mothers gave us life, Earth did.


All Donations currently are being used to publish the “Words and Violence” Compendium, a project with more than 600 pages of resources about bullying with words– from the playground to the media. The Compendia will be shared with schools, childrens’ programs, educators and other supporters.

“Words and Violence” studies the impact of words when used as weapons to promote violence.

The work is dedicated to Michael Jackson and Lady Diana Spencer.



  1. Dalia said . . .

    Barbara: I hope you spent a great mother’s day. A dispute has arisen among fans since the album Xcape was announced. Too many fans, are against the posthumous albums. I am one of those who think that the sketch of a genius should not be used to be “finished” by others because it is not what a perfectionist as Michael wished that was done with his art work. I personally doubt about buying it. Here I leave you an article explaining that feeling.

    Posted May 13, 2014 at 5:57 am | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    D, Hello. I read the article and I understand the sentiment. I feel the grief in the article. Will-I-am said about the same thing, I understand how and why fans and others feel this way. I also understand the other side of this argument that you can find here:

    It’s very difficult but each person has to choose for himself or herself. Both views are valid.

    Posted May 14, 2014 at 2:20 am | Permalink
  3. Dalia said . . .

    Dear Barbara: Again news that just tries to overshadow the launch of Xcape … it feels so helpless…again people are trying to mess Michael nationally at the release of Xcape. I have the email address of the person responsible for the posting … but do not know the precise words to defend Michael without offending this “journalist”, this is very difficult and painful. I’m tired of this…to the point of tears…

    Posted May 14, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink
  4. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    D, It seems that every time Michael (or now his estate) tries to release any new work, there is a campaign to smear. When information is planted with malicious intent, it is released somewhere other than where it originated. It’s smoke and mirrors to mask the real culprit(s.) With the new album, this was so predictable. The pattern is what needs to be highlighted. Please send me the information privately.

    Posted May 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

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