Tuesday, August 4, 2009

michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 34)

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when one transcends, a new life is born. that doesn't discount the life of the one who has transcended; instead this should encourage us to take what we have learned from those who left this plane and apply it to the next generation.

i spoke with my mother yesterday (she loves the phone as much as i do, sarcastically speaking). she told me that it was good i was sounding better. she was worried about me as well, and called a few times to check up on me. i told her that i was sad, but i am feeling better (some days i feel better than others in relations to you but as i said, i can laugh these days. and that's a good thing). she then spoke about how you were all over the news. she was inundated with information about you. i responded with stating, the reason i feel better is because i don't pay attention to the news. she opined that it was a good thing i don't pay attention to the news.

i spoke with my aunt too... she knows what it is like to lose someone close to her; she lost a son by gunshot. my once-extremely optimistic aunt became inconsolable around this time, and i felt at a loss as to how i could help her. i lost a cat friend around this time as well (due to cancer), and i was devastated by that. this was a few years ago, and she is feeling much better about life now.

i will not state the old cliche of life being precious; in a funny way, preciousness would require a neglect of the struggles. preciousness requires that we hold our lives so delicately as to not be broken. but we are broken in so many ways, due to cycles of violence we act out in so many ways- from the minute to the epidemic.

of course, the word precious ultimately defines worthiness or something of high value (which is how we should treat each other, and ourselves). however, when we view something as precious we handle it so delicately, like a fine piece of glass, or artwork. therefore for me, when i look at the value of life i want to examine all of it. when we look at both the good and the bad, some glass may break along the way, if we are to truly halt this conditioning of the cycle of violence.

this begins with us examining what we have learned from those who are still here, and those who have transcended. we take what we have learned, and we provide the next generation with a better framework and overstanding of ceasing this cycle.

i would like to emphasize that it is we who are fragile (a word attributed to something which is precious, like glass), not life itself. when we transcend, life will still be here. life has many tales to tell of our fragility. we can just "follow the pattern of the wind"...
Michael Jackson

i spoke with my niece as well yesterday... i think the state of youth is definitely precious, yet those who make up the youthful generations have strength enough to withstand the direct effects of the cycles of violence, if they are surrounded by a stronger force of love. i see my niece in this way.

she has spent a significant part of her life with my mother, who is of course, MY mother. my mother has done a tremendous amount of healing work (particularly since her husband transcended) but still, she is so rooted in negativity and 'the cycle' that she seems reluctant to move beyond a sort of hopelessness. my mother has so much potential... but as you know, you can't make anyone do anything they don't wanna do. my niece though, despite some negative environments she may encounter, is growing to realize her potential more and more.

she had a stage where she hated her hair and parts of her physical self (i recognize this pattern and i'm sure you do too, teacher); but she's become so occupied with artistic activities (like dance and music lessons) that she appears to have surpassed this stage. that precious little one is growing up to have an armour of strength and autonomy. i know she will make it out a lot better than you or i did, teacher. this is the biggest gift of all- to know the next generation will succeed, both mentally and physically.

i spoke with her the day after her day of birth. i know she struggles emotionally sometimes (she is still a recipient of the cycle of violence in some ways- i've spoken to her when she was in tears), but even through her sadness she shines. she was adamant that she wanted to come to visit me. i told her that i wanted to see her too, and that we would work it out. the last time i saw her, she was about 5 years old. we shared some laughs some smiles (i asked her how tall she was and she said she didn't know) and some initial stages of plan making... most of all we shared love.

we can never let moments such as that slip away... i know you knew that... i see the images of you with children, and i saw the peace on your face. i saw how you accepted the gifts they shared with you from their hearts, and the hands and kisses you placed upon their heads for comfort. despite your stature as a public figure, when you've done this it did not echo political opportunism.

is it possible your love for children may have stemmed from your experiences at the hands of the cycle of abuse? you openly felt that children represented the 'face of GOD'; but some of these 'faces' have also lived in the same or similar cycle as you or i. that would be up to us to inform them of the alternatives to the cycle. and to not give up on them when they leave childhood. we can't leave them, when we know that there is a world out there which anticipates their failure, and discourages autonomy and community.

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when you transcended you created a new awareness... there were suddenly hundreds of people acknowledging your humanity and making those connections between you and the cycle you grew up in. for better or for worse, they were still doing it. at times i have gotten frustrated and i ask, 'why didn't the lot of you vocalize his humanity when he was physically here?!' i become so weary thinking about that. i try to think, well, to humanize you now is better than not doing it at all. still, it makes me wonder how much we value each other whilst we are still sitting here amongst each other.

and i get weary sometimes as well, when people come up to me and send me their condolences (believe it or not, it's still happening to this day). because it never leads to a discussion about what you mean to them, or about the larger consequences of your life and transcendence. so i am left just going, 'thank you, thank you...' i see such potential in discussing the larger picture, because so many people have a point of reference when it comes to you. it may not be all the same, but we can start somewhere. and when we start we can learn from each other.

i am learning how even though we are so vulnerable/fragile, life supports us in the best way possible; but life cannot do it alone. the best example i can give is the plant i mentioned to you so long ago, teacher... the plant which recently blossomed a fourth leaf is now sprouting a fifth bud. after all this time of nothing growing, within months there happened to now be two leaves. somehow the plant may have felt enough love or care around, in order to grow new leaves so suddenly. i can only hope this is the case.

such is the wonder and strength of life... even though you are not physically here i feel you speaking to this; you have left a legacy we can all grow from. those of us still here can create a positive impact and encourage the next generation so they live better than previous generations- with the knowledge they are surrounded by love at all times.

your humble student,
jamilah

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