michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 26)
my dear teacher, i wonder if you know exactly how wealthy you truly were, and still are to me... the knowledge you held in your possession held so much more value than any of the money you obtained.
i spent a good portion of the evening in communication mode- that is, doing radio. i still continue to honor you on the air, and i still am open in my grief for you. in light of all this i do the best i can to maintain a positive spirit, and encourage community building through sharing information. at times, the subject matter is so heavy, and leads to passionate dialog. this is why it's imperative to maintain a positive direction for the show, and to consistently remind listeners and callers of this fact.
i find it curious (and altogether humorous) that there is a huge assumption that i am a lot younger than i am. when people hear my voice on the air i get callers asking my age, assuming i'm at least 8 years younger than my actual age. the contradiction in this is the perpetuation of age-ism in these circumstances... is it really rare for someone in their mid-20s to have a knowledge of world affairs, or carry themselves maturely; do older people somehow automatically have more of this knowledge, whether or not they have travelled or studied? are people in their 20s really that unsophisticated?
when people hear my voice they become surprised when i speak of the subjects i do... this leads me to one of the other goals i have for the show i do: to encourage an intergenerational structure of communication and community. i want to make it plausible that age does not discount the abilities to learn and teach. age does not always define levels of knowledge, maturity or experience.
despite being in my 30s i call myself a kid all the time (because i am; i am a baby in the larger scheme of things). but when people seemingly discount my experiences and call me a little girl (at the same time telling me i'm doing a good job), it's more than a little insulting.
i admit to being naive about many things, teacher; i admit the mistakes i've made. in cases like this i refer back to you, teacher. i examine all the judgments people have heaved on you, in regards to your 'immaturity' and 'naivete'. inevitably, much of the comments made about your immaturity were in relation to your assumed sexual inexperience. i do not know the distinct, intricate details of that aspect of your life, and i do not care to know. what i am intrigued about though, is the connection between the perceived 'immaturity' and any sort of childhood trauma you've experienced.
i then return to the passage you have written so eloquently in 1993: "what we need to learn from children isn't childish. being with them connects us to the deep wisdom of life, which is ever present and only asks to be lived. now, when the world is so confused and its problems so complicated, i feel we need our children more than ever. their natural wisdom points the way to solutions that lie, waiting to be recognized, within our own hearts."
i am now looking at your face. i am looking at a portrait of you as a child, your eyes filled with such wisdom in your 11 years. you have witnessed so much by the age of 11, it's impossible to simplify these experience in terms of age. your eyes have a sadness which should not be carried by someone at that age.
i am also looking at this photo of you as an adult (you know the one: i described it to you the other day). and i still see the child. on the surface you have changed so much since 11, but i still see that frightened little boy. the maturity level of that little boy remained with you when you handled your business, but the frightened little boy stood out in interpersonal relationships.
no, my teacher... you may have had trust issues, but you were not naive. you may have been childlike once in a while, but i sense your perceived immaturity as being a derivative from the trust issues you developed, and never dealt with. let's just keep it real, teacher: you DID have trust issues... I have trust issues. i know i need to work on them in order to maintain healthy relationships. but who exactly could YOU turn to for that?
on my way home i rode past a billboard. there was an image of a notebook, close up, with the statement 'recession 101: it's a test, not a final' superimposed over the notebook. further riding led to the discovery of a church billboard announcing this sunday's sermon: 'matters of the heart'.
i instantly thought about you. i thought about the statements made in relation to your 50-date 'this is it' tour selling out within hours. there were claims that you were 'recession proof'. that statement makes me laugh, from the context of where i am coming from. from my perspective, true wealth comes from love, and the desire to take process in some sort of healing. you may not have found ways to heal yourself pro-actively but you used the tools you had in order to create a mechanism for healing around the globe.
you were 'recession proof' because you were a seeker of the truth of love, and despite all your struggles you opened your heart to so many- particularly children and to a lesser extent, fans. the test of this recession is visualizing how to engage with one another in ways we could open our hearts/childlike wonderment without fear. the money bit in terms of the recession is important to look at, but the final (and the test of true wealth) comes in what we do with each other in these times.