Inner Michael » Michael as Mentor, as Inspiration

Michael as Mentor, as Inspiration

Seven. It was his number. Has it been that long? Seven years? Most people find 7 lucky, but for him any luck seemed to dwindle the more he grew out of childhood. The only luck Michael Jackson seemed to have was his monumental talent. Even that may have been more lucky for us than for him.’

Michael Jackson’s death was one of those ‘do you remember where you were when you heard…?’ moments. It’s up there with the moon landing, Martin Luther King’s assassination, JFK and Bobby Kennedy, the Challenger Shuttle and Lady Diana moments…  Jackson’s departure rattled the world.

When thrown into the grief process, the first stage is denial—this isn’t happening! We all thought it was a cruel hoax because legends can’t die, can they? Those bigger-than-life icons seem immortal making it hard for our minds to grasp their human vulnerability. David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali…

But for any of them, I don’t remember the fierce denial and impact that Michael Jackson inspired. ‘No; give him back!’ one grief stricken fan wrote. There were many like that. Many broken hearts. And many more wrote me to tell of their strange experiences—their own reactions and the metaphysical events they encountered. A friend of mine who is a medical and spiritual intuitive woke to find a distraught Michael Jackson in her living room the morning of June 26. She works with Angels and she retrieves them and their messages for her clients. She called upon Michael’s Angel to assist him in his transition. Was that real? Well I can’t discount any of the stories I read from his fans about earthly visitations and strange coincidences. They almost became cliché. And I had a few of my own.

I had an intuitive understanding that his soul was being pulled in so many directions as people tried to hang onto him. Having apprenticed with my Shaman for nearly a decade, I felt uniquely qualified to assist with his transition. I immediately wrote a script for soul retrieval so that he could transition with his soul intact and I called a friend with a recording studio and booked some time to record it. Many fans were able to help collect the shattered pieces of a soul splintered in life and claimed in death by millions hanging on. Together with hundreds of fans, we gathered the soul pieces and said our goodbyes. It was closure for many and it was the right thing to do.

My story and link to Michael Jackson wasn’t usual in that I wasn’t a fan late in his life having lost track of him when single motherhood demanded my attention. “We Are the World” was an anthem in our home as my children learned to tolerate and navigate around an activist mother who fraternized with the enemy—Russians, and who was an impresario of our annual Peace Concerts for Sister Cities. I grew up knowing that we, indeed, are the world when at age 7 (there’s that number again) I had an epiphany that the adults who were in charge of the world were neglecting their stewardship and responsibilities and they needed to DO SOMETHING! I vowed that when I was a grownup, I would do something.

I walked a spiritual path since the eighties and had many teachers along the path to enlightenment—Ram Das, Chopra, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a Sufi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for more than a decade—Shamans: Celtic, Native American, Hawaiian and my Core Shamanism Mentor, shaman and teacher. Those who dedicate their lives as seekers on the path to enlightenment know that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. My teachers along the way showed up precisely when I needed them and always had something important to teach me. But imagine my surprise and consternation when my last teacher showed up in the body of a pop star!

Really, God? You couldn’t send me a nice quiet Buddhist like Thich Nhat Hanh? You send me the most controversial person on the planet—or now off the planet? At this stage of my life? Really? How could you? Then you send me the fans? Hundreds of them? The most hurting people in the world at this moment! How am I supposed to do this? At this mature stage of my life? I should be sitting on a beach with an umbrella drink somewhere!”

I went to see “This Is It” to say my goodbyes. I left the theater shaken. Sometimes there’s a moment when the Universe, like in the Wizard of Oz, opens the curtain long enough for you to see what’s behind it and “This Is It” was that curtain. There was no way to ignore the message. And just to be sure, I was strangely compelled to go back and see it again just to be sure of what I thought I’d witnessed and again many more times after that. I couldn’t refuse. It was clear I was not in control. More kicking and screaming.

I wrote a “Goodbye Michael” article for a magazine that was shared with his official fan club.

“Goodnight, Michael.” 

The fans began to write to me. More kicking and screaming. There was so much pain, how could I ignore them? I called my minister and asked for an appointment where I told her what was happening.  She asked if I was going to answer the call. “This is a calling?” I asked, stunned by her question. A call to ministry?

Looks like it to me.” She gave me a copy of her ‘charge to the minister’ and wished me well in my new calling and whatever role awaited me. Deep breath.

Every single person who wrote me—fan or just an observer, shared a similar story that included a sort of awakening and overwhelming grief. There are characteristics of the stages in a spiritual journey. Those stages always include what is called a ‘dark night of the soul’ and a ‘spiritual emergency’ which are the hallmarks of someone ready to awaken to their own divinity and spiritual nature. It became clear to me pretty quickly that Michael Jackson was indeed a teacher; his death awakened people all over this planet. Every one of those who wrote was in the throes of a spiritual emergency. I couldn’t keep up so I started answering them in a blog—I called it “Inner Michael” because they were being called to their inner light. If they could identify with Michael’s light, I knew they would discover their own. It’s not an easy journey and the best I could do was be a touch point.

Some people know their life’s purpose and others don’t even know that they should wonder what their purpose is. Everyone comes here with a life mission which is the real reason they incarnate into a human body.  The whole purpose of life in a body is to push the race forward into eventual enlightenment—the definition of that paraphrased is for the human to advance their soul to a point where they become the best of themselves—they arise to their own divinity so that they can know god. And the god in self. Omniscience and omnipresence means present everywhere, including inside the human. Especially inside the human. In fact, humans are the only life form capable of it. Animals can’t aspire to know their inner maker; that privilege belongs to those made in that image.

All around me hurting people had a huge unanswered question—“why?” I knew the why. I had seen it in the film and in the research I embarked on in an effort to locate more clues to the life of a man who by all appearances, was aware of his purpose, his life mission, and embraced it even as it tore his life apart. Bodhisattvas are those who come into human life knowing they have a mission and stay steadfast to that mission no matter how difficult life’s circumstances are. They will not abandon their mission because part of it is to know enlightenment awaits, but to refuse to ascend to that state of being without bringing the rest of humanity with you. Those who wrote me were supposed to feel what they were feeling. Heartbreak was a necessity. It was part of their life journey to encounter Michael Jackson and to be affected overwhelmingly by his life and his death. Teachers do that kind of thing—make you experience things you would never choose for yourself.

I certainly wouldn’t have chosen the role I played in his death and afterlife. I too tried to run from it. I had graduated from seminary with no idea where or who I would serve, only that I would go where drawn or called. I knew intuitively I would not serve in a church. But I never in a million years would have chosen to be Michael Jackson’s fans’ minister. I’m pretty sure it was destiny as a little over a year before, I had traveled to another seminary to take their course and immersive training in Spiritual Emergency. There’s no question that was a calling—it had that feel to it. But I never could have guessed where it would lead and why the training would be so important. Again, I certainly was not in charge.

One more thing about enlightenment—it’s not what you think. Enlightenment is a state of being that for at this time in human evolution, takes a lifetime of discipline to achieve. Very few have arrived. There are a handful on the planet who are known ascendants that are close. They’re waiting for the rest of us to awaken. Michael Jackson’s death awoke millions. We are all that much closer because of the teachers among us who sacrifice on our behalf.

One thing Michael teaches is that he has never been without abuse in his life. Not as a child and certainly not as an adult. A tortured soul? Yes. By his own hand? No. By destiny. What is the teaching we are supposed to get from Michael Jackson? We are supposed to get filled up on bullying. We are supposed to get sick to death (to death!) of observing, designing, perpetrating, participating or being complacent in the face of torture—of other human beings through words or deeds. We are to get so filled up on it and so sick to death of it that our hearts are irreparably broken; for that is what will make us human—our own broken heart echoed in the broken hearts of others. That is where we find our common humanity. It will make us vow to never bully another human being with the kinds of torture we are so capable of inflicting. Michael Jackson was in life, the most bullied human on the planet; in death, he is still bullied. Are we sick to death of it yet? Has that kind of torture of other humans served its purpose on the planet?

Good. Let’s dance.

I mean that. So did Michael. The best dance we can do is the dance of compassion. The lesson is to learn compassion toward self, toward others, and toward the planet. Defend Michael if you must, but do it with compassion for the ignorance of those who seem “other.” With compassion for the boring, mundane, lifeless and soul-less life they must live until they awaken. Understand what misery that is. Understand the amount of pain it takes to wake up. It often takes great tragedy to wake us from the sleep we linger in and cling to and even then it doesn’t always work. Know that waking always takes a broken heart. Remember your own blissful sleep and know it for the illusion it is; we are here to awaken. We are, after all, walking each other home—to god. Do you want to rest? Or do you want everyone to understand human pain the way you do? That it covers and when torn away, reveals our brilliance! If they understand human pain, they are capable of human compassion. So, let me say that again…

We are all walking each other home.

The day will come when we all share the knowledge and ability of how to comprehend and measure the compassion of a man (person) by what kind of energy or aura he (that person) has. Many people saw a kind of light around Michael—some saw it in his videos, in his face, in his dance, in his music, lyrics, writing, his home—Neverland. That is the light of an advanced being. Some saw it. Some felt it or sensed it or at least felt something unusual. Many who knew him personally called him an angel in the flesh. That’s it—that light.

The time will come when enough of humanity will have reached a stage where everyone will be able to indentify it. It will be like second nature. Then the history that is chronicled will evidence the light. When most of us can see it, all of us will soon be able to know it. Michael’s light will be recognized then. His true nature will be revealed. Want to speed that up? Stop the shadow behavior. Stop throwing shade. Invite everybody into the light. You know something the rest of the world is waiting to discover—the light within. You wouldn’t recognize it in Michael if it didn’t exist in you. In this case it does take one to know one. You do not recognize anything in another that doesn’t live within self. That’s how being human works. And that includes your shade.

I’m not saying it’s easy: I am saying it’s worthwhile. The more you work on it and the faster you go, the closer we all get to that brilliance. Michael said that in so many ways that it would be hard to miss the message. You understand what happens when a human being shows his light to the world and invites others to show theirs. You’ve witnessed it thanks to a skinny little moonwalker. So, which to you prefer? The light within shared with the world, or the darkness within? Brilliance or shadow? Light or shade?

The light at work can still be observed. The work is still with us to partake of whenever we wish.  Pictures and videos and vignettes and stories abound. The man was prolific. The work was global. The gift lives on.

I witnessed this very thing once again just last weekend at the Juneteenth Celebration—the celebration of the end of slavery for African Americans. There was a Michael Jackson impersonator at the local venue and as soon as his music began people gathered but in front of everyone and mesmerized by the movement and the music—were little kids. Every color. Every age. They hugged the stage and didn’t take their eye off the mime who became, for a short time, the embodiment of Jackson. They wanted to touch him, keep the hat thrown during “Billie Jean.” They all wanted to high five him at the end of his songs. Even twice removed they “get” the light.

Eventually they climbed up on stage with him. He did exactly what Michael would have done; he scooped them up and held them, kissed them, hugged and high fived all of them. Nobody in the audience seemed to mind that this persona of Michael Jackson was intimately interacting with their children. That audience knew. I knew. You know.

As for the rest of them out there—their souls want to awaken but it takes heartbreak to crack them open. To break the shell or the armor, to penetrate their minds and loosen their feelings, unbearable pain must visit them. Allowing yourself to have feelings means you have to let in the pain. Think back to how you felt when you heard that Michael was gone… remember how your heart hurt. Your head hurt. Your whole body ached. Remember how you thought your heart would burst? How you couldn’t catch a breath? How hard it was to breathe? They’re afraid of that pain. Know with empathy what it’s going to take for them to wake. Understand why they would avoid it. Know too, that they can’t see in themselves what they can’t see in Michael for you can’t see in another what doesn’t live in you. (Or what you hide from in fear that it is indeed empty in there.) Imagine what a gaping vacuum that is.

People who must believe that others are empty of humanness fear that they, themselves are empty. They take comfort in believing that others are as cynical as they are; their cynicism is a protection from feeling the pain of humanity. They don’t believe in the light because they can’t afford to.

Have the compassion that absolutely knows it’s coming for them. And maybe someday the kindness that comes from forgiveness. That’s fierce compassion. Fierce.


If Michael Jackson was/is your mentor and inspired you to do something, start something, contribute to something, create something, join something, donate something, give up something, change something… please write something in the comments and let us know.

Your story may be appropriate for a new publication being planned. More information to follow.




  1. Keely said . . .

    I am so glad to find you are back, Barbara! Somehow I fell off your list. Thank you especially for talking about the “haters”. I’ve often felt uncomfortable with the way fans refer to those trying to defame Michael. What you say rings true. We need everyone to wake up, and waking up comes from a broken heart. Most likely their hearts were broken long ago by the very things they accuse Michael of.

    Michael showed us how to have unconditional love and good boundaries. He expressed his anger in Threatened and TDCAU, etc, but he also did Who Is It, with the video showing how the most powerful people on the planet are also victims of the system they’ve created. He was standing in their shoes, trying to understand their feelings. He kept trying to wake them up. Thank you for noticing and encouraging us to follow his example.

    Thank you also for saying this:

    “What is the teaching we are supposed to get from Michael Jackson?… We are supposed to get sick to death (to death!) of observing, designing, perpetrating, participating or being complacent in the face of torture—of other human beings through words or deeds.” YES!

    Also I’m delighted you have a bigger project in mind, I so resonate with your writing. I was touched by Michael only two years ago, when I came down with severe food poisoning. I couldn’t move, had zero energy for books or movies, and so I just prayed. It was around the time when Ferguson was exploding, and I kept asking Spirit, “how can we change the world when we are so ****ed up?” Everyone I knew was sick, super stressed and/or barely scraping by, even on their good days.

    I kept hearing a voice say, “Look at Michael Jackson.” I was a bit incredulous (I’ve been a life-long activist, and he wasn’t on my radar)…but after three days of this I was strong enough to sit up and watch some videos. The first was TDCAU, all three versions, and it hit me like a brick. Earth Song, Stranger in Moscow, Will You Be There, Ghosts! Needless to say, I spent months glued to my computer.

    I’m a child abuse survivor and community trauma educator. After figuring out the allegations were pure BS, and noticing that every time they attacked him he came back stronger, I wanted to know how he dealt with trauma. How did he survive “torture on a global stage with the whole world watching”? (thank you Armond White). How did he maintain or recover his creativity after those attacks, when trauma shuts creativity down? How did he keep loving with so much hate?

    I was so inspired I started a blog looking at his social change strategies and tactics (so we can use them too) and I’m developing a trauma healing/resilience modality based on my healing and his. My life has turned upside down and I am so grateful!

    The fact that this just started for me two years ago says Michael is still very much on the move, working from the other side to help us wake up. I connect with his energy often, and have been sustained through incredible turmoil in my life because of that connection.

    Your blog has been a huge gift for me as I’ve tried to understand Michael’s power and impact. Thank you for following your calling!

    Posted June 27, 2016 at 3:04 am | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Thanks Keely, I’m not back- been here all the time, just posting more infrequently. You might want to take a look at “Words and Violence,” a project dedicated to Michael and Lady Diana that is hosted at the Educational Institute wing of the Charter for Compassion International. It’s more than 600 pages of resources about bullying in all its incarnations– the last edition about how we bully the planet. You’ll find a link bottom left at

    You may page through the program by clicking to the next entry on the bottom right of each page or see the Table of Contents in the right sidebar

    You also might want to explore other resources at Walking Moon Studios. and http//

    Please stay in touch and send updates on your work.

    Posted June 27, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  3. Greet Boete Belgium said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara. It was too long ago that I read your posts, but I always try to read them all, if not more than once. It is important to keep on talking about Michael, especially in those very troubling times. Yes, Michael IS my mentor, and he changed my life completely for the better. I did change my attitude and I joined organizations like MJL. After helping fund different projects I am also a child-sponsor of a little girl named Sobnica in Haiti. I wish everybody would know Michael, I wish everybody would read your posts. It hurts that the tabloids are still spewing there lies and innuendo, and that every time people have to come to defend Michael (like now also Mark Lester and his daughter. But seldom people get to see these “corrections”. Is it appropriate for a Dr. (Murray) to reveal in a sensational way details about his best friend and patient ? While it seems that what he writes makes not sense at all ? While it seems that he is spreading innuendo, lies ? I really don’t know about the mental health of that person. Michael would probably say : “he needs help”.

    Posted July 28, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  4. Denise Peatross said . . .

    Hi Barbara,
    Thank you for answering your call and creating this website. I have found great comfort in your writing. For so long I thought I was crazy. I too was an abused child and much of my life I wallowed in depression and suicidial behavior. In 2002, I could begin to feel a shift within me. It is hard to put into words all the things that were stirring inside of me. I suppose you could say that I was having a “dark night of the soul”.

    On New Year’s Day 2003….I was visited by “angels” while enjoying the afternoon at a place called Celestial Park in Dallas with my own son,who also bears the name of Michael.It was then that my senses were heightened and I began to pick up “messages” everywhere. One night I turned on the television and I began to watch “Living With Michael Jackson” and I saw it. It was the “light of Christ”. The messages kept coming…”go to Neverland”they said. So I did. I was a 32 year old women travelling on a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles not knowing what I would do once I got there. I called an old friend and asked if he could take me to Neverland. Interestingly enough,he knew exactly where the ranch was. Once there, I couldn’t make it through the gate but I felt compelled to stay. That night I slept outside in the cold, next to the tree across from the estate.

    People came throughout the night and I could hear music coming from the grounds. I felt sad that I was outside the gate,and I felt foolish for coming all the way from Texas for God knows why, but then I looked up to behold the most beautiful night sky. I had never seen so many stars! I dreamed that night that I was shackled by chains and an angel had released me. The next morning I walked down the mountain and called my friend to pick me up. My life had been forever changed.

    My desire now is to only create Beauty in the world. I know the power that our words and deeds yield. We must have compassion and forgiveness for those still left behind. By our example they will advance. The ones that received Michael’s message must know that WE ARE THE WORLD. By our example he will be revealed.

    Posted January 25, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

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