MJ Reflections

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Give Me Your Wings So We Can Fly!

Occasionally one of Michael's songs which I have listened to faithfully over the last year and a half will suddenly take on a new meaning for me as the lyrics resonate with something deep in my soul - something that decides it is time to come into the light and make itself known. Lately, I've been listening to the album "Michael" almost exlusively since it came out in December. I can't seem to get enough of it! The more I listen to it, the more I want to hear it all over again. As with all of Michael's music, there just seems to be something about it that you want to absorb into every cell of your being. The very essence of him - his message, his love for us and his concern for humanity - is present in every single song! The lyrics, the beat, the melody, and of course, his amazing voice in its every unique expression pulls you in and holds you there. I love to sing along too, so each time I hear a song I pick up a few more lyrics that I'm able to recite along with him, until I know it well enough to belt it out confidently, sometimes singing harmony and other times the melody depending on the range of the parts. (Michael can reach notes much higher than I can!) It is only when I have learned the entire song that I can truly enjoy the experience of being his vocal partner in a duet made just for Michael and me! :)
But I digress...

In recent weeks, I've been particularly drawn to "Keep Your Head Up" and "Best of Joy." From the comments published in the CD cover, we know that Best of Joy is a song Michael wrote for all of us. And, of all the songs on the album, it is the one that was written and recorded most recently - in early 2009. It warms my heart every time I hear him sing "I am the moonlight, You are the spring, Our love's a sacred thing, You know I always will love you...
I am forever, We are forever!" God bless him! It's almost as if he knew we were going to need to hear those words after he was gone. In fact, many of his songs are like that - even those from decades past. There's just something about much of his music over the years that feels as if it was created in preparation for this time, you know? Inviting us into a love relationship with him that would last forever, and inviting us to join him in his mission to heal the world.

"Keep Your Head Up" also feels like such a song. To me, it's not just about a single mother struggling to live day-to-day or paycheck-to-paycheck. The message is directed at any one of us who may feel uncertain, overwhelmed, lost or hopeless at any time in our lives, but especially on this journey with Michael. It's a message from him to give us strength to keep going when we may feel like giving up; because he knew the challenges we would face in attempting to make a change in this world, and he wanted to give us something to lift our spirits and bring us hope, encouraging us not to give up. He briefly mentions the plight of the planet and adds "It's never too late - just lean on me... Keep your head up, Don't give up today." And his final plea to all of us "I need your love, I need you now, I need your light right here today, I need you now!" while the chorus is singing about the sun shining it's light on us today, tells me he is urgently pleading with us to stay strong and to let our lights shine in the world... NOW! Had Michael been able to finish this song himself, I believe this is where his voice would have increased in intensity to reflect the urgency of the message. As it stands, the words speak for themselves and deliver the message just as powerfully: He needs us to be present and actively doing something... anything to make a contribution toward healing this planet.

The chorus of this anthem gives us a clue as to how we are to accomplish this:

Keepin' your head up to the sky
Keepin' your mind up stay alive
Give me your wings so we can fly

Keepin' your head up to the sky
We can just rise up, tell me now
Give me your wings so we can fly

Looking up to the sky has become a daily habit of mine. I do it every chance I get. I have found many treasures there and I always feel a strong connection to Michael when I do. The moon and the stars, cloud formations, sunbeams, rainbows, sunsets and sunrises, birds in flight... these things all carry a message or a special meaning that only a true Michael lover would understand. Michael himself found much inspiration in looking to the sky while considering all the possibilities in the universe that lie within our vision... and beyond. He was spiritually in tune with all of it. It nourished him and kept his creativity fresh and divinely dazzling. I, too, have felt this sense of connection and nourishment and have written several poems inspired by the things I've witnessed there. To me, the sky is God's canvas to paint as He chooses with colors and images of things and concepts that many an artist, writer and poet have found fascinating - whether for pure and simple enjoyment of the beauty of it or to possibly relay a message hidden in the context of the art. Metaphors abound if one is open to recognize them, and one can easily be caught in the spell of love, power, light, majesty, and awe-inspired story as told by the Creator of Heaven and Earth. It's where magic lives. I really believe Michael exists there. It's only natural, considering everything we know about him and his soul. He was and is, above everything else, an artist to his very core - a creative genius unlike any other we've ever known. His own unique expression through his art will never be duplicated, and the lengths to which he explored and was willing to go in order to take us on his adventure were unlimited!

In the verses of the chorus above, he encourages us to keep our heads up to the sky (where we will find our strength and inspiration.) And when he sings "Give me your wings so WE can fly"... he means just that. He needs our help to continue his work in the world ("I can't do it by myself... gonna take somebody's help"), and he's given us all the tools we need in his music. He holds us up with his words and his love, but he does not enable us to depend on him. He wants us to shine our own light in the world, because he knows we all have that capability. He lifts us up to help us find our own light, spread our own wings and tap into our own power to fly, and he will be flying right there with us. His message is that together, with our combined light and love, we can accomplish great things!

I'm the kind of person who has always been most comfortable hanging out in the background. Being a cog that helps the machine function effortlessly is what I do best. Taking care of logistics, details, paperwork, and anything else that needs doing in order to make a project run smoothly has been my job... in my career and in my personal life. Although my high school counselor said I was a leader among my peers, I didn't see myself that way. And, until recently, I didn't see myself as the creative type either. Oh, I had creative skills and ideas which I never hesitated to share with those who were 'in charge.' I didn't think twice about allowing them to take full credit for my ideas. To me, it was safer that way because if the idea failed, it would be on their shoulders, not mine! Nice cop-out, eh? I had an unreasonable fear of criticism, and I would be terribly embarrassed to be caught in the spotlight, even if I were to be caught doing something remarkable. But mostly I feared making a mistake for all to see because I'm a perfectionist (much like Michael) and any little error made in front of others would surely send me running to the hills to hide out in shame for the rest of my life! (I told you my fear was unreasonable.) So..... for most of my life, I played it safe. And because of this, I haven't accomplished nearly as much as I probably could have out of sheer terror of getting it wrong. Nor have I been able to reach outside of myself to help others for the same reason. This is where being a perfectionist pulled me down, unlike Michael whose perfectionism allowed him to soar to extraordinary heights and shine his light far beyond anything we could ever imagine. He is a beacon of brilliant light to all of us who have experienced pain and hardship in our lives and have allowed it to hold us back. By his example of courage and perseverance, and with his unconditional love for each of us, he has inspired us to spread our wings and fly... to let our lights shine before others!

Not long after this journey with Michael began, I had a dream that Michael came to the place where I work and was going to put on a concert there. Before the concert started, I was busily working in the background doing what I do best, making sure all the necessary things were in place so that everything would run smoothly. I remember distinctly the moment Michael arrived and he began warming up on stage. I stopped what I was doing long enough to watch this musical genius at work from across the room. Even in my dream he had a presence about him that was indescribable - I could feel it - and right now as I'm typing this, I am in tears remembering what it felt like to be in the same room with him. I was in awe!! And I stayed just far enough away and slightly out of sight so he wouldn't see me watching (or so I thought.) I would have been horribly embarrassed if he'd even looked my way! Soon, I busied myself again with my work and I didn't notice when he came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I knew it was him before I even turned around. I caught my breath and held it there for a moment (very much like the breath Michael took in "The Way You Make Me Feel" video when he first saw the beautiful girl - I love that moment!) I summoned all my courage, composed myself and turned around to face him. He was stunning! Right there in front of me! And my knees felt like they were going to buckle under at any moment. But I remained surprisingly calm and waited for him to talk first. He then invited me to come up front with him. He asked me to introduce him when the concert started and he wanted me to join him in singing the opening song! I was flabbergasted by his request, wondering how he even knew that I could sing, and all I could say was... "What about my job? I have work to do." And he said, "Give it to her", pointing to a woman across the room who looked a little lost, as if she was wanting something to do. "She needs something to do and she can handle it just fine." So, I said "Alright, as long as you don't make me dance!" and, after giving the woman a few instructions, I joined Michael on stage. I woke up about this time in the dream. I don't remember doing the introduction or singing with him, but that wasn't the point. The point of this dream, for me, was that he was inviting me to share my light up front for all to see. He seemed to see something in me that I didn't see in myself, and simply because he noticed, he gave me permission to shine... without fear... to spread my wings and fly!!! And the fact that he knew I could do this without even knowing me, gave me the courage to do it. He took me out of my comfortable place of hiding in the background where it was safe and he lifted me to a place of prominence where my gifts could be shared with others, bringing joy and inspiration just as he has done his entire life. This dream represents everything he has done for me since he cracked my heart wide open in the summer of 2009.

Now, all this talk about shining and flying brings me to the reason I started writing this piece to begin with! After contemplating the lyrics to these two beautiful and very meaningful songs, "Best of Joy" and "Keep Your Head Up", I knew it was time for me to share a couple of poems I'd written in the last year about flying. The first one "If I Could Fly" reminds me of "Best of Joy" simply because it's a joyful and playful piece. One that reflects a feeling of pure joy and abandon at imagining what it would feel like to be able to fly. I wrote it in July of 2010 when I was on one of my ocean retreats as I watched the seagulls playing in the air currents on a very windy day at the beach. I used to have dreams about flying and, to this day, I still remember what it felt like to soar above the earth. It was incredible! Somewhere along the path of my life, I stopped having those dreams, and this poem was, in a sense, a re-capturing of that feeling of being able to soar and command the air in flight.

Photo taken by C. Burgess at Brookings Harbor, Oregon coast

If I Could Fly

If I could fly
Like a seagull flies
Dipping and swooping
Playing with the wind

On a wave of air
With total abandon
Never a care

Perched atop a rock at sea
I would plan my strategy

Which way to go
To get the best lift
Make the wind carry me to the sky
Then swoop to the ground
Like falling off a cliff

Gliding with precision
So close to the ground
Like an airplane
Coming in for a landing

A roller coaster ride
On a windy day
It’s by far the best time to play

Going with the flow
I’d swing and I'd sway
Let the wind have its way
Like a kite with no strings

This must be
What it feels like
To be totally and utterly free!

Copyright © 2010 by Charlene Burgess

The second poem "Just Do It!" reminds me more of "Keep Your Head Up" in that it's about taking a leap of faith - without thinking about it too much - just taking off and flying, allowing myself to soar to the heights God intended. I wrote this poem at my ocean retreat in December 2010. I was eating breakfast at the resort where I was staying, watching the seagulls take off from their perch on the rooftop of a nearby building. I had been feeling somewhat "stuck" in recent weeks leading up to this retreat and I was looking to find some answers and fresh inspiration to move forward on this journey. Watching these seagulls take off without a thought, simply because it was natural to them, is what inspired this piece.

Just Do It!
Up high, so high
I can’t even see the sky
‘Cause I’m in it!
There is no limit to what I can do
If I believe…
Just do it!

Impossible, you say?
I don’t think so
There is always a way
Turned on by the power of love
I can do anything
Once I choose to move
Into the groove

Thanks to you, dear one
Your love lights up the sky
Even on a cloudy day
I don’t need to ask why

Birds in flight
Show me how it’s done
They just take off
Without a thought!
It’s natural to them, you see
God gave them wings
To fly above me

To me he gave a spirit to fly
Above the clouds
So high in the sky
So I could see the world below
Its beauty and pain
So I would know

My heart and soul say
Step aside, make some room
For love to enter the atmosphere
No more doom and gloom!

Up high, so high
I can’t even see the sky
‘Cause I’m in it!
There is no limit to what I can do
If I believe…
Just do it!

Copyright © 2010 by Charlene Burgess

My hope and prayer is that we will ALL continue to experience Michael's "Best of Joy" on this journey, being the very best that we can be for God, for Michael and for ourselves - and also sharing our light right here today and spreading our wings so WE can fly together with him! If we continue to do this... I mean really DO this, not just talk about it... we will achieve his ultimate dream, heading toward that bliss which Michael has written so much about, doing our part to make this world a better place... for God... for Michael... and for the children. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Someone to Hold

Truth be told
I long for someone to hold when the day is through
God has led me to you
I speak softly your name
Sweet and smooth on my lips
Will you remain?
The wind whispers…yes!
Come drink from the well of my love, my bliss

A gift from the heavens, bright star to call my own
God’s grace and forgiveness leading me home
Riches beyond measure are found in thee
Your soul is the treasure offered to me

The colors of your love
Like a rainbow rich and true
Invite me into your open arms
To forever be with you

With courage to be vulnerable once again
Trusting in you, I place my heart in your hands
Please handle with care
Gently and tenderly leading me where
The promise is captured
Heaven’s reward… oh, sweet rapture!

A love for all time flows like a stream
Over and under, around my being
Embracing my soul, washing away
The heartache and pain
With joy leading the way

You are my someone to hold while dreaming at night
You comfort, cajole, relieve my fright
Cooing like a dove
I’m safe and secure in the arms of love
And when I awake, you whisper at dawn
Gentle as a fawn

 O Gift Divine
Your light a stunning reflection
Beautiful as the moon
Resplendent as the sun
God lets me know you are The One

A thousand years and more
I am you and you are me
Seems we’ve been here before
That it was always meant to be

My sweet bird, my soul
You speak the language of we
I am ready to go, my love
Wherever you lead

In your arms I’ve dreamed an eternity away
Lived a lifetime I’ll never forget
You’ve always been there it seems
With a love that’s here to stay

You captured my heart, offered yours for free
That’s why I’m in this for all time, don’t you see?
You’ve gained my trust, taught me to be bold
Therefore I must be
Your someone to hold
Forever more

Copyright © 2010 by Charlene Burgess

Friday, February 4, 2011


It was brought to my attention on January 31 this year that this was the date in 2005 when Michael stood before a judge and plead 'not guilty' to unthinkable charges which were brought against him by a money hungry family and a greedy politician. I couldn't get the imagined picture of him standing in that courtroom proclaiming his innocence out of my mind. Other images of his famous walks to and from the courthouse in Santa Maria, California, during the 5 month trial that followed his official plea flooded my thoughts as well. And I couldn't help thinking about all the events leading up to that time as well as the events that followed the jury's verdict of "Not Guilty" 14 times on June 13, 2005. This date will stand out in history as the day Michael Jackson was declared innocent of child molestation; but even though he was exonerated, the truth is, his life would never be the same after that. And we continued to hear slanderous remarks and innuendoes regurgitated by the media and the public from those who just couldn't seem to believe in his innocence. It's an unfortunate and an unjustified misconception we are still dealing with today.

This is not the first time I have thought of these things, nor is it the first time I have cried many tears over the injustice of this insane situation and how it crushed Michael's soul! But this is the first time I found the words to express all that was occupying my heart and mind when these images - these memories - came flooding back all at once.

This remarkable journey I've been on with Michael since June 25, 2009, has led me through some extreme highs and lows along the way, learning new things at every turn about this innocent and generous man we all love so very much. I just keep loving him more and more as time goes on and I want him to know how much of a difference he has made in my life. I want him to know that everything he gave us...all he sacrificed...all he endured was somehow not in vain. The impact he has made on my life and the lives of so many around the world is a powerful testimony to the effectiveness of his life's work and the mission he was here to accomplish! I bow before him in humble gratitude for the precious gifts he shared with us at such a high cost! And I thank God every day for the gift of Michael in this world!

His message was love, pure and simple... we got it!... And we're not letting it go!


An innocent man went to trial today
Accused of things he couldn't even say
Seventy officers invaded his home
Ransacked and pillaged through everything he owned

The paradise he'd created
Lost its soul that day
And Neverland lost its Peter Pan
Because they couldn't accept
He was an innocent man

Handcuffed, paraded before all of humanity
Viscious tongues lashed out in glee, "He's Guilty!"
The lynching began before the trial even started
This innocent man was hate's favorite target
Thirsty for blood, they couldn't wait
For him to meet his presumed fate

Humble and proud, he stood before the judge
"I'm not guilty, your honor
And I want you to know I won't hold a grudge
I forgive them, you see
For they know not what they do
I'll face the jury
Then the world will know the truth"

His innocent nature was not an act
Some found it hard to believe
'Cause the truth is, as a matter of fact
On stage he was a 'beast'
A sensitive man to the very core
An artist, a genius, a master of his craft
We'd never seen anything... or anyone
Quite like him before

His love of children
Was the whole of his existence
Without them, you see, he wouldn't want to be
The children of the world were his reason for living
They knew his true soul
His innocence they could see

A healer of the sick
And a lover of all things pure
He believed in magic, this innocent man
And he only wanted to share it
With everyone throughout the land
Bringing joy and escapism
To this hurting world
He gave us all he had to give
His love, energy and light
Put our spirits in a whirl
Growing wings to fly
Like Peter Pan
Above the clouds so high

A child at heart
God's innocent delight
He inspired us all to be child-like
To love as a child loves
And to remember their plight

But the media vultures
And their pandering public
Didn't understand
The purity of his soul
They really believed
He was capable of hurting
The very thing
That made him feel whole

They judged and ridiculed
Laughed and pointed
Chewed him up and spit him out
They were ugly and mean
They just didn't understand
What this innocent man
Was really all about

The trial was a farce
It should never have been
And ultimately
They couldn't convict
This innocent man

But they took his soul
In two thousand and five
And even though
He came back to show us
He was ever alive
This innocent man
Would leave us again
When the doctor contrived
To let him die
In the year two thousand and nine

Although his body is gone from this earth
His spirit lives on
A new day, a new birth!
His love penetrates
The hearts of those who believe
'Cause he planted the seed
In you and in me

The gifts God gave him for us to see
How to live and love and just how to be
Have inspired us to be the very best that we can be
He gave us insight to heal this planet
So, we're workin' day and night to put some love back in it

'Cause this innocent man
Gave his all to humanity
To heal the world
For the children, you see
The very thing
He was accused of hurting

So, no matter what they say
No matter what they do
They can't take away his innocence
We'll see to it they never forget
If it's the last thing we ever do!

 Copyright © 2011 by Charlene Burgess 


 The following video is provided courtesy of:
Valmai Owens, Dir. of Publications at MJTP.
Thank you Valmai!