By Shefa Ali
Tuesday was the 10 year death anniversary of Michael Jackson, I was and still am a huge MJ fan. When I was a child — listening to all those songs, watching the epic videos, waiting in line for hours to attend a concert, I didn’t give the song lyrics too much of a thought. Now 20 years later, I understand what a profound impact those lyrics had on me. Songs like, Heal the World, Man in the Mirror, The Earth Song and They Don’t Care About Us inspired me to care for mother nature and later, become a humanitarian.
Sadly, for last decade of his life, all I remember was the negative media, judgments and accusations. I know some of you love him, some of you hate him and some will fall somewhere in between, but I believe there are always lessons to be learned from each person’s life. These are just some of the things I learnt from Michael Jackson’s life and death, there are many more, but I would need a full page for that.
Love people while you have the chance
Imagine what would be possible if you just loved the people you loved for who they are right here, right now? It’s worth the time and effort because as we all know (but seem to forget), our time here on the earth is extremely short.
Never let go of childlike wonder
Unfortunately, we all seem to lose the ability to tap into the childlike wonder within us because of the day-to-day stress of being in adulthood. Allow the child within you to come out to play once in a while, imagine you are doing the things you do every-day for the first time. Keep life fun and light.
Focus on What is Right, Not Wrong
People will always have something to say, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, even Gandhi have had many nasty things said about them after their death, but that cannot take anything away from their wonderful contributions to the world. I’m not saying to sweep things under the carpet or turn a blind eye if/when someone does something wrong or inappropriate, but it doesn’t have to be all consuming and then become the lens through which we view them. Most people, unless they are psychopaths have divine, beautiful and wonderful gifts to share with the world. Let’s shine the light on that and allow it to expand.
You never know what someone is going through
People are so quick to project what they think onto someone else’s life. No one, except for a few close friends, could have ever really known what this musical genius with a huge heart was going through. From what we saw and read, it seemed a very deeply troubled and painful inner life. Whether it’s a celebrity or your colleague at the office, never assume that you can truly ever know what someone else’s experience is like. Treat everyone with kindness and compassion.
He welcomed other people and their differences with his big heart. The music video Black or White taught us to celebrate the diversity within others and ourselves.
Live with Compassion
We all go through turbulent and difficult times; it is part of the human experience. I could literally feel Michael’s pain in the song Will you be there, yet he always seemed to walk with compassion in his heart. He reached out to those in need; he empathised with others in pain.
If we could breathe in some of these lessons, we can live richer lives of our own right here, right now.
* The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa, Website: missshefa.com