Friday, July 2, 2010
michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 57)
i feel so full of inspiration right now... wait, that's not exactly correct but at the same time it is... i guess the main thing is that, since it's not just you i am speaking to (what i write here to you is public) i want to be very clear in how i say things, regardless of the fact that it all will be mis-interpreted anyways.
words are difficult to convey to someone who lived, for all intents and purposes, the dance. you lived, breathed and rested the dance. for me, my mind flows in waves like the ocean, where the tides come and go, rise and subside. i become inspired by words and aim to put it all to action. the way i process things, i work best when i write it all down. i can't articulate myself very well when i speak. and i'm certainly not as good a dancer as you, so...
i suppose you're stuck with me in this way. i hope it's not too much for you.
the catch 22 even in THIS is that my feelings for you cannot even be displayed in words. your teachings move me far beyond a place where we speak... when you left it was real easy to say 'a part of me has died' but that's not exactly what i wanted to say. how i felt was in a place so hollow that left me feeling unaccomplished. it had nothing to even do with the fact that i'll never be able to hear your voice again... i can always return to your voice whenever i need to hear you. what i felt was a huge portion of me chipping away; it was as if everything i was beginning to learn in the process was now for naught. i had to stop and think about my purpose in this whole experience with you. at that point i had to make a decision. i had spent so much of my time, getting very little sleep, advocating what i thought you were trying to convey your whole life, through my own life's perspective. you were the umbrella through which my experiences were translated. but yes, when you left i had to make a decision.
and i had to stop merely being an advocate and begin to make a goal to truly become the teachings which you presented to me. when i realized this was what i had to do i felt so much better, and i knew that everything i had done prior to that fateful day happened for a reason.
a friend of mine told me that initially he didn't fully understand why i spent all of my waking hours as an advocate for you, in the years i had known him. he told me that after a while he realized that in all that time i was simply preparing for the day of your transcendence. he said that somehow i sensed it coming.
and the truth is, i did. i kept this to myself around the time you turned 50. i saw something very dark occur, and i got really scared. i did not want to put it out in the universe. i'm sure i was not the only person to envision this. however i did not know when. i can guarantee you that i was not aware of the magnitude of that moment.
i must admit that it was something that worried me as that day was approaching; it was met with a bit of relief when you survived the day of your 50th year of existence, spending quality time with your children. i could not help but have a continuous sinking feeling though. and it bugged me to keep processing that.
again, it wasn't the fear of your physical loss driving this- everyone has to go, as they say. there was something very unsettling in the visions i had. i ended up having a couple of dreams where there was some sort of fighting involved. in the last one i had (about two weeks before you left) we fought in public. i spoke to you in an accusatory tone (actually yelling at you) then i stormed off; i eventually returned. i saw you standing, hunched over in sadness (or possibly protection). i went over and placed my hand over you, in a silent apologetic embrace.
and then you were gone. i can only imagine how straight your posture is now; you are so free...
as an advocate i wanted there to be a flow of energy in which you could feel some sort of support. i think that the flow of energy from one person to another is crucial, even if one is not physically present. i truly wanted you to know that i was thinking of you in these times, in your emotional struggles. in the midst of all this there were times that i struggled in my own personal relationships, and doubted myself. i will not go into details here, but i will say that you remained a constant in my life. there were certain points where i wondered if, due to the similarities in our experiences, you were a crutch. in the course of the dedication to my advocacy a lot of tears were shed and questions asked. i wondered if this sort of dedication was really worth it, where it affected my friendships.
however, i remained steadfast in my love and advocacy for you, and in many ways it improved my relationships with people... a huge aspect in this advocacy is self-reflection. everything you taught me would have little to no value if i were not to tune into that aspect of myself...
ricky martin called you "a great teacher, pure musical inspiration"... i have seen places where others have called you a teacher as well. as it's obvious/inevitable that i would not be the only one to consider you a teacher; i do wonder how your teachings have impacted those who have bestowed the title upon you. i try to imagine the flow of energy from your hands, as you shook the hands of your contemporaries and elders. your frame was so small but you appeared larger than life. even larger than it looked like you felt. i try to imagine the emotions expelled by those who had the opportunity to capture your teachings in person, the second you catapulted on stage... the tears and the fainting...
and how what you were doing was either making a business deal, or just giving people what they wanted on stage... either way, i saw the same energy radiate. magic is too simple of a word. because the outcome may have been illusion-based; but beyond the illusion was a force. i am still astounded when i see footage of you, a young kid from midwestern gary, indiana; grow to become an internationally-respected man dining with kings and presidents, maintaining this level of unsophistication (perhaps due to a child-like demeanor) which was extremely humbling and yet, ensuring a level of maturity rarely seen on those with similar stature.
do you see what i mean when i say that words don't convey the true nature of my sentiments? it's all too easy to become lost in semantics or phrasings; i'm not too sure how else i can share this... my feelings are too strong to keep to myself.
when i speak of you as a teacher, this is the part which can be open to mis-interpretation... because, you didn't only teach me about love, about patience, about empathy... you also taught me about weakness, about control. about owning those painful experiences. no you were not the one to help me discover these things; however, as i keep saying, learning from and about you i was forced to acknowledge a lot of these things in myself. even though i thought i was somewhat better in terms of doing this, i saw that there was much room for improvement.
to be a student of yours isn't easy. it guarantees in many ways, isolation. the isolation isn't intentional, but it comes with the territory of absolute dedication. it guarantees absolute spurts of blossoming creativity and other moments of sheer blocks. it guarantees both jumping in the air with excitement and crying oneself to sleep.
it requires an intense focus, but never a loss of sight of your surroundings, for this is also the model from which is the inspiration for your teachings. in order to fully be focused, a peripheral awareness is of utmost importance. true wisdom can never be attained within a narrow vision.
you see, it's so easy to become lost in all of these words... i see why you allowed 'the dance' to speak for you. still, again, this is the best way for me to communicate. the dance encourages you not to become dictated by euphemism. ironically, it was 'the dance' which people became fixated on, virtually ignoring your message and then, when you actually DID open yourself up to speak, allowing the dance to guide you, you were censored. "an angry dancer" fred astaire called you. when you allowed yourself to display your anger, silently, through dance, you were therein, silenced. under no uncertain terms, you were told to just backslide/moonwalk for the rest of your life, continuing the illusion of moving forward as you are being pushed backwards. it's a lot like life, for anyone trying to free themselves.
i recognize why you were a man of few words.
when you moved, be it on a stage or in a chair, i sensed sadness, frustration and anger. i observed it emanating from myself when i watched you. i felt a wave of nervous energy; not just for you but mostly for myself. over time my feelings for you became conflicted... the role in which you played in my life became unsteady, and i did indeed become upset at myself. i suppose this is all a part of the journey of establishing and securing relationships.
even this moment, the moment i write this, is part of a long journey. there will be more tears, more realizations... more learning to do. but i hope that ultimately i can stand and say my dedication was worth something.