Light at The End of a Shame-Filled Tunnel

Is there a light at the end of Michael’s tunnel?

Many people remember Michael Jackson as a disconnected, reclusive and perverted character who was strung out on drugs. In truth, the people who knew him throughout his life, recognized him as possessing the opposite qualities.

We, humans, are neurologically wired for connection. Michael spent his entire life connecting. We see this in his music, in his on-stage and film performances, and in his compassionate humanitarian endeavors.

The researcher/storyteller, in the video below, discusses the relevance of shame in our ability to be authentically connected to each other. “The only people who don’t experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or compassion.” says Dr. Brené Brown at the University of Houston.

Michael repeatedly showed himself to be a master of human empathy, compassion and connectedness. As a child he was a willing, obedient and dedicated student in the performing arts; he was an avid and encouraging mentor to budding writers, dancers, musicians and painters; he was a fun-loving, Patch Adams type of humanitarian to countless underprivileged and ailing children; and Michael was an exceptionally empathetic and loving father to his own three children, and to numerous other children upon whom he bestowed fatherly attention.

Michael Jackson was “a victim of a selfish kind of love.” He courageously faced a life filled with shame. From the insensitive abuses by his own father, to the money-mongering leaches who took advantage of, and preyed off his wealth, to the blatantly disrespectful media journalists who twisted his reputation with lies, as they chewed him up and spit him out, Michael continually faced shame. He struggled to find meaning in his shame. He valiantly wore shame on his collar. Much of Michael’s shame was thrown at him by hecklers and bullies who find sick satisfaction in throwing rotten apples at innocent targets.

Each of us secretly protects our feelings of shame by hiding them in the recesses of our personal tunnels. We often fail to recognize that we are not alone in them. Michael assured us that “You Are Not Alone.” Everybody feels shame to some degree or another.

Like the Man in the Mirror, who Michael introduced us to, let’s turn up the collar of our favorite winter coat, and honestly recognize our own shame and vulnerability with each other. Let’s realize that the shame in and around our dark, hidden, cavernous, secret tunnels not need blind us into bitter apathy, or physical and mental disease. Let us look, like Michael did, for the light at the end of our tunnel!

We, humans, were intended to spread love and good will. As Michael liked to say, “It’s all for love. L.O.V.E.” Michael Jackson’s legacy is rich. By merit of his loving, steadfast and forgiving attitude, with a child’s heart, he marvelously turned the rotten apples thrown at him into gifts of gold.

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