Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This Is It!

Eleven PM October 27, I was one of the first to experience "This Is It." I will have to admit it is hard to process everything because of the inner conflict that many of us share. The inner conflict is the block on the filter for all of the information we have built up over the last 42 years (I'm not 42, but no matter how old, we have all seen footage from an earlier day) since MJ came on the scene with the Jackson 5 mixed with our own life experiences. It is an inner conflict that is entertained, casts judgement and asks questions all at the same time. This is my attempt to make something meaningful of it in my mind.

When I look at the life of Michael Jackson, I see a reflection of the human condition. There is the desire to be the best, stand for something noble, communicate that message in an influential way and simultaneously know that our hearts and lives will never measure up to what is on stage for the world to see. We all create a stage for people to see what we want them to see. We dance, we sing, we perform on cue the moves that we believe will be the best expression of the moment, yet we suck at improvisation. Why else would we lie, cheat, steal or kill? If life could only be choreographed perfectly, rehearsed endlessly and the end product could be sheer genius. But in the film, "This is it," we see an unfinished performance. This is where we live our lives with others.

Throughout his career, MJ had a great message, and he could not escape the judgement of others. Does that sound like your life? It sounds like mine. Here are some of my thoughts on both:

Secret of a great message: it is something with which almost everyone agrees would make things better. Michael's message is just that, Beat It (there are other ways to solve problems without violence), Billie Jean (when we are innocent we want the truth to be known), Earth Song (we need to take care of the planet), Man in the Mirror (if we want to see change happen start with yourself), Black or White (skin color should be a feature not a profile), etc (feel free to continue). We all have a great and noble message we want to share, but we know the inconsistencies and contradictions inside ourselves. So, what do we do? We try to escape our imperfection by pointing it out in others.

Secret to judging others: it is easier to see the flaws in someone else, especially celebrities, rather than bringing to light the flaws we have in our own heart. When I find myself becoming judgmental, it is usually because I am covering something up inside of myself. It diverts the attention away from my reality and makes someone else's life look like hell. It is easy to pick on someone, but it is hard and near impossible to fix our own flaws that others can see so much more clearly. When we feel this treatment from others it makes it even harder to do what we believe we should do because of that improvisational thing we have such a difficult time doing. We overcompensate in order to cover the flaws. So what is the answer? Maybe there is no clear answer. Maybe our search for answers has blocked our view of the truth. The truth is that we are all flawed and need the grace of others to survive. The truth is that there are consequences to our actions that we and others have to endure. The truth is that our judgment, while well meaning, can actually hurt more than help.

Where do we go from here. We say goodbye to someone who through celebrity has changed the way we look at the world. Some say we will miss you, and others say good riddance. I say, I hope I don't miss the point of a great message because of the inconsistencies that I perceive from the vantage point of my couch through a satellite communication portraying a fraction of the truth. Let's take the great message and leave the judging to the creator. After all, we have enough to work on in our own lives. So in conclusion,

Michael Jackson is one of the greatest entertainers in history. His dance moves were fluid and crisp. His voice was distinct and enjoyable. His creativity was off the charts. And his budget was almost limitless. He was larger than life, yet he could not escape death. He will live on in our memories, his body will rest and his soul will move on to what's next. And we are left with an inner conflict and only our own lives to live. What will you make of yours? This is it!

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