Chapter 4 - Whispers from your Soul
If you haven't read Chapter 3 yet, read that first HERE.
Isabella. Marie. Richardson.
Those were the words Isabella heard over the loudspeaker as she stood in line to receive her high school diploma. Dressed in a royal blue graduation gown with a white and blue tassel hanging from her cap, she accepted her diploma. As she shook the hand of the principal, a photo was snapped. Walking back to her seat, she recalled the message she had received from Michael’s Magic Box upon waking that morning.
Love… the true meaning of success? Isabella wondered, shaking her head slightly. That’s not what she was feeling about her future. Although she felt the accomplishment of graduating, she also felt a twinge of sadness. Life as she knew it was about to change. In the fall, she would be going to college to get a degree in business, something her father talked her into doing, because “it’s a degree that can be used in any field,” she remembered him saying. Her heart wasn’t in it though.
That’s not what I want to do with my life, but I don’t want to disappoint him; I want to make him proud, she thought.
Paige wasn’t far behind her on the stage. Isabella watched her walk back to her seat, thinking about how this would be their last summer together. Paige was moving away to go to college in another state.
Even though we’ve had our challenges, Isabella thought, I am still going to miss her.
“And now, I present your graduating class!” the principle shouted with glee into the microphone. A roar ensued as every student in the gymnasium threw their caps up as high as they could.
“Here, I have a graduation gift for you,” Kristina said to Isabella, handing it to her once they had returned home.
“Aww, thank you, sis!”
“It’s just my way of saying congratulations. I hope you like it.”
Isabella’s eyes widened with delight as she unwrapped the gift. In her hands was a very precious book: Dancing the Dream by Michael Jackson.
“Oh you don’t know how much this means to me. Thank you, Kristina! I’ve wanted to get this book for a long time.”
“I knew you would like it,” she responded confidently.
“Yes, I do, very much,” Isabella said, giving her little sister a hug.
She sat down on a chair, mesmerized by the book, flipping through its pages until she came to a poem called “Heaven Is Here.” Her eyes fixated on a passage at the end of the poem:
Heaven is Here
Right now, this moment of Eternity
Don’t fool yourself
Reclaim your bliss
“Wow,” she said out loud, looking around to see if anyone was watching her. “Is he trying to tell me something?” She quietly chuckled to herself.
She began to daydream about her desire to be a filmmaker. That was what she really wanted to do. She tried telling her dad that when they sat down to discuss her plans for a career after high school, but he felt it wasn’t practical. “Go to college first. Get your degree in business,” he encouraged. “You can use that degree anywhere.”
Isabella recalled how she used to sit and watch the Oscars every year, dreaming that someday she would be the one giving a speech for winning best film, thanking God for all the blessings bestowed upon her.
“I guess it’s just not meant to be,” she said to herself, feeling a little discouraged.
Her dorm room had cream-colored walls, two twin beds on opposite sides of the room, and a desk at the end of each bed.
“This is going to be so weird,” she said to her parents, who were standing behind her, holding boxes of her things. Although the university was in the same state as her family home, it was two hours away, so she chose to live in the dorms.
“I know!” her mom echoed, trying not to get choked up. The thought of Isabella leaving home was tugging at her heart.
“You are going to love it,” her father bellowed. “It’s an experience you will never forget.”
After they helped Isabella get settled in, her parents said goodbye.
“Promise me you will call me every day,” her mom pleaded.
“I’ll try mom,” she promised half-heartedly.
“Good luck, honey,” her dad said as he gave her a hug.
“Thanks, Dad! I love you guys.”
“Love you, too,” they responded in unison.
There was one more box to unpack, the one that held Isabella’s most prized possession. Michael’s Magic Box. She gently placed the box on the top shelf of her desk, brushing a little bit of dust off it. “There,” she said. “This makes me feel at home.”
“Hi,” she heard a voice exclaim.
She turned around to see a girl standing in the doorway holding a moving box.
“Hi,” Isabella said back.
“I’m Allison. Who are you?
“I’m your roommate,” Allison stated, plopping her box down on the bed.
“Oh! Nice to meet you!”
“Likewise. What are you studying, Isabella?”
“Film?” Isabella questioned in disbelief.
“Yeah. Why?” Allison asked, responding to Isabella’s tone.
“That’s what I want to do!” she replied, barely masking her jealousy.
“Why aren’t you doing it then?”
“Ahhh…Still trying to please the parents,” Allison said boldly.
Isabella looked over at her as if to say, how did you know?
“Well, I respect their opinions and I know they just want what’s best for me,” Isabella said.
“I’m sure they do, but how do they know what’s best for you?” Allison said matter-of-factly, leaving Isabella without words.
“You have to follow your heart, or else the spirit inside of you dies,” Allison confided. “How can that be what’s best for you?”
“Well, it’s too late now anyway,” Isabella said, brushing it off.
“No, it’s not.” Allison replied emphatically. “You can change your major anytime you want. You have to find the courage to live your own truth.”
As Isabella continued to study business, she discovered that Allison was right. She felt the spirit inside of her die a little more with each passing day. The feeling of sadness seemed to be getting worse. What should I do? she silently asked herself.
Just then, Michael’s Magic Box began to shimmer. “Oh, thank you!” she said, jumping off of her bed to open it. “It seems like forever since you’ve given me a message.”
Upon opening it, she heard:
She sat back down on her bed, deep in thought. How, she wondered, will many of the problems be solved in the world if more people would go for their dreams? She wasn’t sure about that, but one thing she was sure about was that the messages she’d received from Michael’s Magic Box in the past had never steered her wrong.
She knew what she had to do. She picked up her cell phone.
“Hi, honey! How’s school?”
“It’s okay, but I need to talk to you and Mom. Will you come up here this weekend?”
“Sure, Isabella. What do you want to talk about?” he said quizzically.
“I’ll tell you when you get here.”
“Should I be worried?” he asked, laughing nervously.
“No!” Isabella tried to reassure him.
“Okay, we’ll be there Saturday morning.”
“Great. See ya then.”
“Yes!” she shouted as she hung up the phone.
Nervous and pacing, Isabella waited for her parents to arrive. She had been going over in her mind what she was going to say to them, but the anticipation of her father’s reaction was making her anxious.
Knock, knock, knock.
She walked over to the door, shaking her hands as if to expend the anxious energy.
“Hi!” she said, hugging her mom tightly. “I have missed you guys so much,” moving over to hug her dad.
“You have no idea!” her mom said in return. “It’s not the same without you at home.”
“So…the suspense is killing me, Isabella,” her father said, sitting down on the chair at her desk. “What do you want to talk to us about?”
Taking a deep breath she replied, “Okay, hear me out.”
“Do you remember the day we sat down to plan out my career and I told you I wanted to make films?” Isabella said softly, looking up to see her father’s reaction.
With a heavy sigh, he responded back with a slow “Yes.”
“Well, you didn’t give me a chance to tell you why. You shut the topic down so fast that I didn’t know how to handle it.” Looking into her father’s eyes, she continued, “I know you see it as just a dream, but it means something to me, Dad.”
“Okaaaay,” her father said, getting an idea of what was coming next.
“I don’t like what I’m doing. Business is not me. It’s you. I love the arts,” Isabella said nervously.
Her parents had sacrificed a lot so she could attend college, so she was trying to be respectful in how she approached it. Putting her hand on his, she said, “I know you only want what’s best for me, right?”
“Right,” he agreed.
“How can something that makes me feel dead inside be right for me?” she said lovingly. “When I think about making films, I come to life. I feel vibrant inside. When I think about business, I feel tense and frustrated.”
Looking over at her mom, she continued her plea. “Mom, how many times have you told me that we’re all unique? I learned that from you! When I honor that uniqueness, I feel alive. How can I deny myself that? You are the one who told me that the spirit inside of me is made of pure love,” Isabella said enthusiastically.
“Yes, I did. You’re right,” her mom responded.
“How can I experience the spirit inside of me if I don’t honor what makes me unique? Isn’t that the purpose for our individuality, to express the whispers from our soul?” She had no idea where these words were coming from, but she let them flow from her.
Just then, Michael’s Magic Box began to shimmer. Isabella’s mom had heard many of Michael’s messages throughout the years but her dad had not. Although he knew about the box, this was a new experience for him. When Isabella opened it, this is what they heard:
She closed the box gently and said, “I respect that business is something you love, Dad, but it’s not for me. If I continue doing something I don’t love, it’s going to destroy me inside, because I won’t get to experience the feeling that comes ‘when your soul is lifted up to become pure love,’ as Michael just said. When I think of doing films, I feel so much joy inside and I want to share it with the entire world. Don’t you want that for me? Don’t you want that for the world?” Isabella said passionately.
She saw a slight tear in her dad’s eye. “Wow, Isabella. I never thought of it that way. I didn’t realize that this would make you feel so badly. I just wanted to set you up for success.”
In that moment, a light bulb went off in her head. That’s why the world would be a much better place if more people would go for their dreams; because the true meaning of success is love!
“I know, Dad, but if I don’t follow my heart, then I will never truly be successful because I won’t be fulfilled. I won’t get to feel the joy of living my own truth,” she declared.
She looked over at her mom, who had tears running down her face. Isabella got up to hug her.
“Don’t cry, Mom. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad. That wasn’t my intention. I know you were both doing what you thought was best for me, but what’s best for me is to do what I love,” she said assertively. “I know you can understand that.”
“Yes, I do understand that,” her mom replied.
“So what is it that you want to do?” her dad asked. “I understand what you’re saying, but I still think getting a degree is very important.”
“I know, Dad. I don’t want to leave school. I just want to change majors,” Isabella said positively.
“Oh. Really? To what?” he asked, somewhat optimistically.
“Do they have that here?”
“Yes!” Isabella replied excitedly.
The next semester Isabella began studying film. She loved the professor because he always encouraged them to dream big. The students were asked to start considering what kind of films they want to make in their careers.
One evening while doing her homework, she turned to Michael’s Magic Box and asked nonchalantly, “What kind of films should I make, Michael?” To her delight, the box began to shimmer in response.
She closed the box contemplating Michael’s words. That was the same message she received when she was first given the magic box at 7 years old. Is he trying to tell me what kind of films to make? She wondered. Still unsure, she decided to talk to her professor about it.
Isabella approached him the next day after class. “Professor Williams, do you have a minute to chat with me?”
“Sure, Isabella. What’s on your mind?”
“You asked us to consider what kind of films we want to make, but I’m having a little trouble figuring that out. Could you help me?”
“I can’t tell you what kind of films to make, Isabella, but maybe I can help stimulate some ideas.”
“That would be great!” she said appreciatively.
“Let’s do an exercise. Finish this sentence,” he instructed.
“Okay,” Isabella said excitedly, feeling butterflies in her stomach.
“Say the first thing that comes to your mind. Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t think about it. Just say the first thing that comes to mind. Are you ready?”
“Okay…” He paused to build anticipation. “Through my films I will be able to…”
“Change the world!” Isabella blurted out.
“Really?” Professor Williams responded, sounding surprised.
“Is that wrong?” Isabella asked with wonder.
“No, of course not! I just didn’t know you were interested in something like that.”
“Yes, I am, but who am I to try to change the world?” Isabella asked.
“Who are you not to?” he responded. “The reason I asked you to do that exercise is because when you have to answer quickly, the response usually comes from your heart. You could have answered by saying something like ‘I can bring the world laughter,’ or ‘I can give the world romance,’ or ‘entertain people through action,’ but you said, ‘change the world.’”
“Yeah,” Isabella said wondering where he was going with this.
“That’s a whisper from your soul, Isabella. And your soul always speaks to you through the heart,” her professor advised.
She couldn’t believe her ears. Did he just say what I think he said? “A whisper from your soul”! That’s no coincidence, Isabella said in her mind.
“A very wise man once said, ‘Follow your bliss.’ That was Joseph Campbell. Bliss is a whisper from your soul.”
Oh my gosh, now he’s talking about bliss! She thought. Michael used that word in the poem in Dancing the Dream.
“But where do I begin?” she asked her professor.
“What moves you, Isabella?”
“What moves me? Music!” she responded quickly.
“What kind of music?”
“I like all kinds of music, but for many reasons, Michael Jackson’s music moves me the most.”
“Well, if his music touches your heart, then let it move your soul.”
“What do you mean?”
“Let his music inspire you with ideas for films.”
Those words hit her like a brick. Of course! She thought.
“I know what to do!” she exclaimed. “Thank you, Professor!”
“You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of films you do in the future, Isabella. I expect great things from you,” he said smiling.
She sat down at her desk and opened the book Kristina had given her, Dancing the Dream, turning to the poem that touched her heart the first time.
Heaven Is Here
It's just an illusion
Wrought by the magical lens of Perception
There is only one Wholeness
Only one Mind
We are like ripples
In the vast Ocean of Consciousness
Come, let us dance
The Dance of Creation
Let us celebrate
The Joy of Life
The birds, the bees
The infinite galaxies
Clouds and Valleys
Are all a pulsating pattern
Alive with cosmic energy
Full of Life, of Joy
This Universe of Mine
“Interesting,” she said, continuing to read.
To know who you are
You are much more
Than you ever imagined
Isabella felt a little nervous at the thought of creating films of this nature. “Can I do this?” she quietly asked herself. As usual, a shimmering box was there to lift her up.
Hearing those words made her feel at peace. “With the help of Michael's Magic Box, I can do this,” she affirmed to herself.
She remembered the pact she made with Grandma Allen to use Michael’s messages to live a life of love and to help others do the same. Now she understood what kind of films she was supposed to make and Michael’s Magic Box just confirmed it for her.
I get it now, Isabella thought as she closed the box. She recited Michael’s words: “You and I must make a pact. We must bring salvation back.” As she gently placed the box back on her shelf, she realized why she had been given this magic box.
“I’m ready.” Isabella said softly. “Let’s get to work, Michael. Let’s start changing the world!”
Director of Community Development
© 2012, Linda Higgins, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without written consent from the author.
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