MJ Reflections

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Living the Legacy: My Vow

Beloved, I am Yours… now and forever
This is my promise to You
Take me, mold me, set my soul on fire
Yours is the way of my heart's desire

I will do my best to follow Your example
To love and live in the way You would teach me

To love from my soul
To live for You only
And to be all that I can be
On the path that You show me

Yes! Please use me
Take me to that place in Your soul
Where I will know what You know
Show me Your God and His Love eternal
Teach me Your ways until I’ve learned them all

This will be my vow to fulfill
For the rest of my life
I’ll bow to Your will

Take me, mold me, show me the way
Your wish is my command
I will do my best to make a difference in this world
As long as I am here on this earth, in this land

Hold my hand, won’t You please
So I will always know You are there
And I will join You when this journey is through, my love
When I’ve done all I can do
To show that I care

My heart and soul are in Your hands
For better or worse, my vow will rise
And the sands of time will see the Truth
Unveiled before our eyes!

Copyright © 2011 by Charlene Burgess

Monday, June 20, 2011

Celebrating Michael

With my computer being fairly inaccessible the last week or two, I've been taking a trip down Memory Lane, watching more of my Michael videos than I have in a long, long time! It's been very refreshing, to tell you the truth, to get back to the very thing that I spent so much time doing in the beginning of this journey. It's been like getting acquainted with him all over again, only this time, from an entirely different perspective.

The first time was an adventure of discovering all the wonderful things about this man that I already knew on some deep level, but I had not taken the time to explore prior to his passing on June 25, 2009. This time has been like a refresher course, but with the added benefit of having already done the exploring into deeper territory, it just confirmed everything I had learned before... and more! If I could possibly fall any deeper in love with this amazing man, it has definitely happened in the last couple of weeks! I continue to be amazed at the things Michael did throughout his life and career to give his fans the very best of himself. And, although it came at a great cost to him at times, I am ever so grateful for this incredible gift!

I've also been leafing through my notebooks which are full of my handwritten notes - things I wanted to remember and keep track of, especially during the first several months of this journey when thoughts and ideas were flowing constantly, and before I purchased my little laptop. I came across the text of a 3-page letter Michael had written in 1988 to William Pecchi Jr, one of his camera operators for the movie Moonwalker and during the Bad World tour. Many of you have probably already seen and read this letter, but I'm going to reprint it in its entirety here because, to me, it captures the heart and soul of Michael Joseph Jackson, the man and the genius that we have all fallen in love with. Michael always said he wanted to live forever through his art and this letter certainly reflects that desire. His passion for creating perfection as a gift for the world to enjoy and learn from far beyond his years on this earth can be felt in every word written in this poingnant letter.

As I watched the video of the Bad tour in Japan last week, I was reminded of a moment during "Shake Your Body" when Michael called out to Pecky, saying "Pecky, where are you?" After coming across this letter, it made me wonder what Michael was thinking when he said that. My own feelings about it are that he was experiencing some incredible magic with the audience in that moment which he wanted Pecky to capture, and this was his way of letting Pecky know what he expected. I shake my head in total wonderment of how "plugged in" he was to his audience!...

"Pecky - I very seldom write letters, but this is a moving occasion. I couldn't help myself. I want to thank you for putting the effort forward to capture the magic and excitement of the people of the world. What you do is a very personal and powerful medium to me. It is the art of stopping time, to preserve a moment that the naked eye cannot hold, to capture truth, spontaneous truth, the depths of excitement in human spirit. All else will be forgotten, but not the film, generations from now will experience the excitement you've captured, it truly is a time capsule. I will not be totally satisfied until I know you're at the right angle at the right time to capture a crescendo of emotion that happens so quickly, so spontaneously.

"What you have done is good, but I want the best, the whole picture, cause and effect. I want crowd reaction, wide lens shots - depth of emotion, timing. I know we can do it. It is my dream and goal to capture truth. We should dedicate ourselves to this. The person who makes a success of living, is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication. There is no other way to perfection than dedication, perseverance. Just tell us what you need to make it happen. Take the leadership to direct the other camermen. I've enjoyed working with you. That is why I asked you to come, you have a gentle spirit that's very likeable. Maybe I look at the world through rose colored glasses, but I love people all over the world. That is why stories of racism really disturb me. You hurt my heart and soul when you told me of your boyhood in Texas. Because in truth I believe all men are created equal. I was taught that and will always believe it.

"I just can't conceive of how a person could hate another because of skin color. I love every race on the planet earth. Prejudice is the child of ignorance. Naked we come into the world and naked we shall go out. And a very good thing too, for it reminds me that I am naked under my shirt, whatever its color. I'm sorry to bring up such past news, but in the car I was hurt by what you said. I'm so happy though that you have managed to overcome your childhood past. Thank God that you've graduated from such beliefs of ignorance. I'm glad I've never experienced such things. Teach your kids to love all people equally. I know you will. I speak from my heart, saying I Love you and all people, especially the children. I'm glad God chose me and you. ~ Love, M.J."

I'm glad God chose you too, Michael Jackson!! I LOVE you forever...

Copyright © 2011 by Charlene Burgess

Monday, June 13, 2011


Today, I share with you an excerpt from Michael's famous speech at Oxford University in London in March of 2001 - one that most of you have already heard, no doubt, but one that bears reminding of what he had to say about forgiveness. (Be sure to listen to both parts 3 and 4.) This is his public declaration of forgiving his father who had abused him as a child. This statement, to me, was one of the most poignant moments of this entire speech, because Michael and I shared much the same experience of harsh treatment from our fathers. Years ago, when I first heard him talk about the abuse he experienced, I remember thinking… oh my goodness, he’s talking about my life! Both of us being of the same generation, we are not alone in our experience. Many from our parents’ generation would say it was just the way things were done in those days. And to that I say, those who believe that the "old school" style of parenting is not abuse should walk a mile or two in the moccasins of those who have been the innocent victims of this type of "discipline." The tender souls of the little ones who have cowered in corners to protect themselves from the hand or the switch or the belt or the iron's electrical cord will be the first to tell you of how this type of discipline made them feel.

Believe it or not, they will also be the first to tell you that they don't want to hurt their parent by telling the truth about them! There's a unique kind of sensitivity and awareness that we have, even as small children, that there must be something hurting this person inside in order for them to treat us in such a harsh manner. I spoke about this in my devotion on compassion. But knowing this doesn't make forgiveness any easier. If there's one thing I've learned on my own journey of healing it’s that forgiveness isn't something you achieve all at once and then you're done with it! It comes in pieces... at different levels... and at different stages of the healing process. The very first time I forgave my father, I felt a huge sense of relief and release from the pain that had followed me everywhere. No matter how far away I moved from him, the pain of that experience came with me, and it effected every decision I ever made in the name of Love. By the time I turned 40, I had reached the end of my second marriage, vowing one more time to “never do this again!” I have stayed single ever since… just to be sure it won’t happen again! But I digress… now back to forgiveness.

I’ve heard it said that the healing process is very much like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, you reach new levels of awareness and insight about who you are, why you’ve made some of the decisions you’ve made, how those decisions have shaped your life experience, and the most important awareness of all… that you have choices which you may not have known even existed until you’ve peeled away a good many layers of that onion. Once you realize that your happiness does not need to depend on the approval, acceptance or even the Love of others, but it is simply a product of the choices you make, it is then that you are able to take responsibility for your own life. And when you are able to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, you are then free to forgive others.

But remember, forgiving does not mean forgetting. We remember… so that we will not perpetuate the cycle of abuse. We remember… so that we will know and use our own power to make our lives better. We remember… so that we will always be grateful to know how far we have come. And finally, we remember… so that we can use our experience to help others. In forgiving, we release ourselves from the bondage of resentment and we release the one we have forgiven from our judgment. In so doing, we give them permission to stay angry if they wish, but without our continuing to be influenced by their anger. With our resentment and judgment out of the way, they are left to face their own image in the mirror that is right in front of them.

It is also important to remember that forgiveness, like compassion, does not excuse inappropriate behavior. It merely frees the victim from holding judgment and from giving others the power to change who they are. When Jesus said from the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” he was saying that this crime against him, even though it would ultimately take his own life, was not going to change who he was. He was releasing them from his or God’s judgment, but that does not mean they were released from their own culpability.

As I mentioned before, I don’t think forgiveness is something you do only once and then you're done with it! There are times when I have had to revisit the challenge of forgiving myself and others. As more layers of the onion are peeled away, new unresolved issues have surfaced giving me more opportunities to work on forgiveness. So, for me, forgiveness is always a work in progress. And I would say that Michael probably felt the same way, even at the time he made this speech. He said that we must heal ourselves before we can heal the children. He also said, “I want to forgive.” And I believe this is where it all begins.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

For the Children

His light…
It’s still here
It’s a part of every heart
Which seeks the truth
It lives in the Love
Gathers its strength from above
Its power is in you and in me
He left it here
In the music from his heart
So that we would hear it
Speaking to our souls
Teaching, guiding, leading the way
To a better world
And a brighter day

For the children

He is immortal
He lives through us
We must carry the torch
Lift it high for all to see
His light endures
And will be the force
That redeems this world
Heals the wounds
Inflicted by a misguided humanity

Through him we have a new clarity of vision
The truth has been revealed
As never before
We see things as they really are
And we understand
His legacy is in our hands
It’s up to us
We must LIVE his message
Of Love and Peace
Sharing the feast of his Gift
Reminding others that now because of him
In a world filled with sorrow
There is promise for a better tomorrow

For the children

Copyright © 2011 by Charlene Burgess

This poem appeared in the June, 2011 issue
of Dot to Dot online magazine
published by
Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait