“Finding Neverland” and the courage to seek the truth

Watching “Leaving Neverland.” Michael Jackson said he was innocent, and that should settle it. Exactly as much as it settled things when he said he hadn’t had plastic surgery.

Come on, people, you only needed one eye to know there was something horribly wrong with the man. And if you start with the assumption that any healthy, creative, dynamic, physically energetic man is sexual you have to ask where that sexuality was going.

When you can see it clearly, even in retrospect, you’ve awakened a bit…and are less likely to get stung by the next one. That’s part of the “Soulmate Process” you know–learning to recognize bad relationships.  Learning to spot liars and manipulators, and being able to say “I was wrong.”  If you can’t…you are just going to be taken again, and yet again.

Until you feel that people can’t be trusted.  If you are a sexist, you’ll blame it on the opposite gender: “MEN/WOMEN are dogs” or whatever the phrasing you want to use.   But I will never forget what Swift Deer said to me: “Do not trust people.  Instead, RELY upon them to do what they see as being in their self interest.  It is up to you to determine what that is.


Get that?  When you don’t trust people, then…what you are really saying is that you don’t trust yourself.  That you’ve been around men and women all your life, but haven’t figured them out yet.  And there is only one reason that happens: YOU DON’T KNOW YOURSELF.


You haven’t looked at your own lies. The times you broke promises to yourself. Your petty cruelties, your fears and angers.  Don’t understand your own emotions, have never been honest with yourself about your urges and drives and desires.


Because if you had…you’d understand why people do what they do.  You would pay more attention to their behavior than their word–if YOU are willing to be judged more by your behaviors than your words.


But if you need to lie to yourself…and you need people to ignore what they see in your behaviors and the results of those behaviors…you will NOT be able to tell yourself the truth about THEIR behaviors.  You are trapped in a co-dependent death spiral.


You see it in relationships, two damaged people lying about their damage, locked in a marriage and beating hell out of each other.


You see it in various fandoms, the inability to separate the artist from the art, such that if you love one, you must love and accept the other.  This is great when you are admiring your kid’s finger paints, but devastating when faced with the charisma of a world-class performer.


You sure as hell see it in politics, where if you admire the platform, you will excuse the personal behavior.  And then act surprised down the road when it turns out their personal flaws seeped into their public functions.



THE TRUTH IS RIGHT THERE.  But you have to be honest enough with yourself. In your private moments, alone in the dark, have the courage to admit that you are afraid, that you lied, that you broke your promises.  To ask “why?  Who am I?” and seek answers even if they are terrifying.


The first step is loving yourself.  As odd as that sounds, if you don’t, you will NOT seek the truth. You will be terrified that the deep truth of your being is corrupt and evil.   But as the saying goes: “If you fear the truth about yourself…you don’t know the truth yet.”


Look deeply enough into ANY human behavior, and you find a search for the divine.   And once you see that, know that, then it becomes easy to forgive yourself. And do that, and you learn. And learn enough, and you will see the terrible things damaged people do in their search for safety and love and peace.  TERRIBLE things at times. And knowing their ultimate goal (peace and love) does NOT excuse the horrors they can commit in a desperate thrashing against their fear, like drowning swimmers taking down the lifeguard.


All we had to do is ask: “is he honest?’

All we had to do was admit people are sexual and ask where it was being expressed.

All we had to do was realize that homophobia drives people deep underground, unable to express their true selves…and ask: “what would we have thought of Michael sleeping with little girls that age?”


And we’d have seen it. It was right there in his desperate, sick, sad attempt to become trans-racial.  Really, if that didn’t tell you something was warped terribly, how are you going to admit the truth about yourself? About the people in your life?  About the entertainers we admire and the politicians we vote for?


All you have to do is love yourself enough NOW to forgive yourself for those past errors.  To commit to loving the child within you  enough to commit to her protection with every ounce of strength you have, every bit of courage.


Even if the world tells you to shut up and not “be judgmental.”

Even if they need love…SO DO YOU.

Even if it breaks your heart.  You’re strong. You’ll heal.


If you look at people you trusted who hurt you, lied to you, and ask why YOU made that mistake, and what YOU can do to prevent making such a mistake in the future…


How much of YOUR power you have given away…


How much YOUR fear of loneliness or powerlessness motivated you to make poor decisions, and ask what courage, what clarity you would have needed to avoid making that mistake in the future…


Once is happenstance

Twice is coincidence

The Third time it is enemy action.


And the greatest enemy is always within. NO ONE can screw us up as much as we can, and intelligence doesn’t help–we are all precisely smart enough to tangle ourselves in logic knots, disguising the fact that we didn’t make those decisions based on our minds…we made them with our wounded fearful hearts.


Love yourself enough to forgive yourself, and commit to the truth, no matter where it leads.

Love others enough to commit to support and protect them.  Know that there is a perfect, loving child within them…and that that child would be horrified if it awakened to the damage it did to innocent people.


And love yourself, and them, and the world enough to stand between evil and its innocent targets, even if it breaks your heart.  Even if they plead with you to believe them…if their words do not align with their actions.


I told my first wife Toni, long ago: “if I ever hurt you, or Nicki, do NOT hesitate to defend yourself , or her.  Whoever it is hurting you…it isn’t me. It isn’t the person talking to you now, who loves you, and loves our daughter more than life itself.  Whatever that creature is, there will be a part of me deep inside screaming STOP ME.  Honor THAT part.  Do what needs to be done, if ever you loved me at all.”


It is not an act of love to close your eyes to evil. It is an act of cowardice and self-pity.


Be brave enough to see the truth.   And where do we find the greatest courage?  When defending what we love.  Love yourself, and you will find the courage you seek.


Without love, we have no courage. And without courage…we have no love.





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