Michael blew our minds and hearts wide open. He was our Warrior of L.O.V.E., and once again we grieve his loss. While I honor that grief, and hold it tenderly, I also want to remind us that he called on us to follow in his footsteps.
It’s a huge, terrifying, thrilling challenge. And more urgent than ever. Fans and colleagues are blazing similar trails and inviting others to follow.
Inspired by Michael and by them, last year I set aside my keyboard and began living my book and blogs about Michael changing the world—experiencing myself as a warrior of L.O.V.E. And what a wild ride it was! I stopped on the side of an Oregon freeway to video two white state troopers detaining a black man and ended up in a grueling trial for “interfering with a peace officer” because I refused to leave the scene. Now I am teaching others to take a stand against hate, and do so as warriors of L.O.V.E.
More on this to come, but for now, I’ll say this: I feel more alive and hopeful than ever.
Today I’m going to re-run the list I sent out after the election, adding an eighth crucial point for every year without Michael. He is gone, but we are still here, and if he showed us anything, he showed us how to stand up and fight.
- Refuse to be a victim. Stand your ground and use your power in unexpected ways. (Ghosts)
- Cultivate L.O.V.E., and use it as a Warrior. Michael said, “Make love your weapon to overcome any evil.” Ghosts is a wonderful example of that. In his concerts, he used awe and wonder to open people’s hearts, then poured in new ideas, new ways of being, and said NO! to racism, war, and environmental destruction. See that love radiating from him in Another Part of Me. We can radiate like that too, and use it to fuel our NO!
- Step in front of tanks. In other words, be love and confront injustice. Michael literally stepped in front of tanks during riveting performances of Earth Song before audiences who were recovering from wars, rewriting their stories of what was possible. (See also Earth Song official video, They Don’t Care About Us – Brazil version and prison version)
- Reach out to those with power. Despite the attacks against him, Michael never stopped trying to reach the human beings in power. (Another Part of Me and Who Is It. He was reaching out to soldiers in They Don’t Care About Us – This Is It version)
- Pray, dance, be in nature. Spiritual connection kept Michael going despite the crushing backlash against him. Prayer, dance and nature shake off fear and paralysis, connect us to Spirit, bring unexpected insight, and keep us alive. Do one of these every single day.
- Say, “I see you”. We need to be witnessed, and to witness each other, our pain (Stranger in Moscow) and our hope (Jam). Who Is It is a powerful and unexpected “I see your suffering” to the rulers of this planet.
- Look in the mirror. How can you change? Keep seeking to have a greater impact. (Man in the Mirror)
- Remember Michael Will Stand With You. I felt him sustaining and inspiring me through my own trial, and you will in yours. (I’ll Be There) So call him in!
by Keely Meagan
Both stunning photos by Michael Ochs, courtesy of Getty Editorial Images
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