The Light of Genius - Michael Jackson Tribute

Shandi  s Beautiful Image - Genius has its own trajectory as seen in artistic legend Michael Jackson's brilliant but tragic life. His music and vigor gave our culture more innovation and new patterns for thinking about race, gender, and art than any other artist of the 20th century.

KONA, HI ~ You can’t save genius. Genius is meant to be spent. Genius is its own self-guiding force, rising up from a heart so open and free it dances and sings with the energy of the gods. The passing of any artist or genius leaves a gap in creation, but the passing of one so globally significant as Michael Jackson almost blinds us with the voltage of his brilliant light.

No, you can’t save genius, but you can savor genius. As our cultural icons remind us, genius has a trajectory all its own. Like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, and Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson has sacrificed himself on the altar of popular art.

In his innocence, Michael had said, “I’m filled up with music. I just want it to come out.” Come out it did. His life journey went to the deep well of creativity. Much of his art was wholesome and potent, but some of it was dark, irrational, frightening even, confirming how close genius and madness often seem to come.

As I watch the tributes and movies about his life, I wonder what it is about our society and our families that worships the rhythm, words, and magic of poets like Michael Jackson, and then expects so much of them that they self-destruct. The geniuses, even artistic legends like Michael Jackson with his boyish charm, freakishness, hair on fire for Pepsi, Lisa Marie blessings, tend to cut, medicate, and mutilate themselves trying to be good enough for us. They break through the barriers of mind, race, and gender to show we mere mortals how narrow our perceptions usually are, and how we too can break through, become free-spirited enough to grab our holy stone and moonwalk.

Michael Jackson’s life becomes an ever-changing landscape that reflects our dreams, just as Michael’s face became an ever-changing landscape that mirrored our collective shadow and light.

Deepak Chopra, who knew Michael since 1988 and taught him to meditate, knew about the rage and violence of his driven father, Joe Jackson. “Michael was a very damaged, abused child,” said Dr. Chopra on CNN. “Children who have been physically and emotionally abused will hide their shame by hurting themselves.”

If someone so lovable as Michael Jackson doesn’t understand how much he is loved because of early childhood wounds, it occurs to me we are doubly responsible for preventing child abuse, violence, and the use of weapons in our world. We need a context of compassion and the courage to create more ways for children and adults from all cultures to learn how to identify, heal, and correct false beliefs about themselves and the fiery beauty of the world.

Like other artists and geniuses who have shined bright and died young, Michael couldn’t hold back what was in his heart, even if it hurt. He was often misunderstood by a society that couldn’t keep up with his dynamically changing persona, a presence that attracted millions to his concerts and yet repelled others who saw in his behavior something frightening, novel, and perverse to their sensitivities.

I wonder what would have happened if Michael Jackson’s core values had included self-love and healing from the wounds of his abusive childhood. He may have given us something else, or more, perhaps a few more soul-searing songs to carry us through the soul’s longings and bring us to ecstatic prayer. But don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that he served us so long.

And serve he did. He gave us some of the most dazzling dance and music our planet has ever seen. His gift to us was his passion, his joy in movement, his light, his smile. And he was crucified for it, like John Lennon, Princess Diana, and others whose genius blinded us with their light.

But by their light, we learned to see in the dark. We learned how essential it is to shine our lights.

It’s the same light we all share, and it never goes out.

Fair winds on your journey home, Michael Jackson!

Big, Beautiful Blessings,
Marya

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