When Michael Jackson died, I was only around 10 days into activity after being felled for 6 weeks by a major Chronic Fatigue Syndrome episode, and just a couple of days into a very pivotal production cycle (beginning with “What’s My Motivation”, “Give Me Your Time”, and “Heavenly Virtue”, composed during that episode) that could not be hindered. In fact, I was really happy to be in it and had awakened from a deep sleep late that afternoon, refreshed, ready and excited to go to work. I went into my studio, from which I can see my living room television and paused in turning music things on to go and turn on CNN; just to see if there was something important of which I needed to be aware. The local news came on first and I saw that banner, “Michael Jackson Dead”. I heard the announcer say “More on the death of Michael Jackson when we return.” Flash to commercial. “WHOOooaaaa!!” I stood there, checking reality; “I DID just see that.”… “I DID just hear that.”… “I AM awake!. !!!”Â Then, my knees went out from beneath me. I sat there on my couch, hoping I wouldn’t hear what I knew I would be hearing; that info was too clear – and I was hoping for a metaphor, “Let it be just a metaphor; please!”
Before the broadcast returned; I told myself. “If this is real, you cannot let this stop your process.” [Gotta tell ya, I might have every MJ recording and broadcast ever released. Major, staunch, unfailing fan here!!!] My tears came to my eyes, precipitation of shock paused only by my hopeful uncertainty, (and my own fierceness.)Â Then, the news. The impact of that broadcast upon me was extremely profound; no words… no words… “NO!”… words…; when a poet feels too deeply to find words to express those feelings, there’s a vacuum within her, a void; it continually get’s filled with vast amounts of loud thought and feeling, yet it cannot be filled and pardoxically remains empty and silent. BUT –
Business is business and I was at work: I could respond to my feelings and thoughts and freeze, being too overwhelmed by them to progress or I could subjugate them and succeed. I decided to succeed; for two months, I pushed and pushed and pushed them away, like the Great Wall of China poised against an hurricane – the Wall would stand; it HAD to stand. It did stand! And, the feelings did not go away.
Last night, at sundown, I finally began to release them. First, a little background, then the story of that initial release.
From my Facebook wall:
“As unusual as this might sound, one of the things I enjoy most in life is chanting in tombs; large mausolea, in particular. For many years, while living in Los Feliz (L.A.) the Great Mausoleum in Forest Lawn was like a sanctuary for me. I would go …there and chant from shaded alcoves, for long periods of time. It’s a perfect place for Michael to be buried…
I would love to tour the world and record chant in world’s great mausolea. I wish every singer could understand what it’s like to do so; that deeeep connection with Source that occurs when we’re in “the zone”, on stage, in the studio, in the shower…, is MAGnified and comes with an huge, still Peace and Presence of Love that is literally incredible; words cannot aptly describe the experience. It’s not spooky at all; quite the contrary.”
“I was taking a shower, preparing to go out dancing and, realizing it was the scheduled time for his funeral, I stilled myself, spiritually and mentally returned to the mausoleum and chanted the song. In that moment, I realized I really wanted to capture that experience. Off with the water, into my studio, (still wet, the Cardinal sign rewriting cardinal rules, for that moment); experience captured. NOW, I can finally begin to resolve my feelings about his passing.”
I booted up my computer, set up the mic, turned on the mixer, recentered myself in the Mausoleum, pressed record, entered the Silence and sang. This being done, I made and processed an mp3, uploaded it and proceeded with getting dry and dressed and out the door. Really, it was just like that. My 2-month suppression was second nature, so I just let the feelings flow, (but not show as I went out to party.)Â After dancing awhile, (you know how you can start to feel nauseous if you hold in negative feelings too long? – that’s what happened to me); I was allowing, not suppressing emotion and I had to return home to remove the stress of mobile activity from my body – emotional healing must be allowed when enabled. I’d finally begun to resolve my shock.
I needed the funeral to have resolution. Since that tragic day, I have ignored MJ news, thought only of my work, Mrs. Jackson (a LOT, [I feel about her as I do my mother]), the Jackson family and my immediate community. I needed the funeral; I still haven’t fully watched the Memorial Service or read the program for it – watched the entire procession from Forest Lawn to the Staples Center, but muted the volume while the Service was on, turning up the volume during Brooke Shields’ communication, Jermaine’s singing and, fortunately, Paris K.’s testimony – no time for tears; the show must go on!; I had music to produce; “don’t falter; don’t fail!”. I didn’t; and it took a lifetime of practice to keep from cracking under the pressure of doing that. Now, I have finally entered the Void and
to move toward the smile at the end of this sorrow. If you or anyone you know is having difficulty handling his death, you/they are welcomed to download my chant of Smile. In the 90’s, the public access to most of the Great Mausoleum was inaccessible, however, there was a great deal of room and several sacred spaces/”nodes”, on multiple levels, in which one could be secluded and chant in Peace. It’s probably not as accessible now, but my frequent experiences there in that decade enabled me to be there last night, in spirit, mind and heart, to intimately participate in Spirit blessing sacred space there with Song; (singing as a cleric, not a singer/songwriter). I hope the Music that came through my body in those moments helps you to heal from this wound as it has begun to help me.
(I first heard “Smile” in the 70’s; Diana Ross’ version. It immediately became one of my favs; I played it over and over and over and over again, learned it and then kept playing it while singing it. It was Michael’s most fav song; it’s my 3rd, after Pavane for a Dead Princess [Ravel] and Bachianas Brasileiras: No. 5 (Cantinela) [Villa-Lobos])
Written by Rev. Michaele Alyras de Cygne.
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