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A loving critique

of the show



February 21, 1996 

Dear Jacob, 
I just returned home after spending an evening with you. I know what is in my heart, but my mind often gets in the way. So often the words we choose give our minds a certain dominance over things it knows very little. We are often controlled by the language we use, letting our minds run rampant over our feelings. I strongly agree that the program you present is challenging, moving, almost captivating, but it does not appear to represent how you feel in your heart. I guess there's one thing we both know, and that is the truth lies in us, and that we are helpless to fix that painful place we create in the world outside. 
Perhaps I should try to clarify what I am thinking. One of the young students in the audience asked you a question during the intermission, which was "What can I do, or what can we do, to make this better?" I sensed that her heart was frozen in isolation and fear, the same condition the first half of your slides focused on. I sensed that because I believe that if her heart had been open, she would not have found it necessary to ask you that question. You have the answer but your program doesn't. 
Rightly or wrongly, we must remember that during our whole lives, we are spent focused on the message which was so eloquently and artfully reconstructed in your presentation - the message of pain, fear, insecurity and compromised self-worth. This allows the messenger of love to enter and leave relatively unscathed, and for all too many, unnoticed. Fortunately, for the world, the love that you've been able to unlock in you and share with everyone around you is in all of us equally. I also appreciate that you not only know that, you say that. For some reason, you as a messenger and the message you represent, does not close that all important circle of love. Perhaps you're looking for a safer place as well, and perhaps when you find it, people won't have to ask that question - that all important question "How can I make a difference?" 
Because once we open our hearts, we know. 
You're a very fortunate person. Your heart is open and deep down you know the difference. You can't change anyone else; none of us can. All we can do is commit ourselves to reducing the fear in the fabricated environment that surrounds us so the people we love can find a more peaceful place in which to search out the truth that hides inside each of us. You may not be a preacher, but you're certainly a messenger. You may not have chosen to be a spokesman for the god outside of you, but you have certainly spent most of your life searching, discovering and sharing the god you've 
found inside of you. And I love you for that. We all love you. 

In our brief conversation, you told me you were getting tired, and I can understand why. Perhaps you've gotten caught up in running the business of right and wrong, and that activity always gets in the way of the learning and loving process. Let me put it this way. Somehow you have found that loving space inside you. What you need to focus on is sharing that success, not judging the people that opened your eyes to it. I think it's all well and good that 25 years of meaningful, heartfelt experiences have freed your spirit and opened your heart, but the message is not about you. This is about what is going on in the world around you. If that's true, you can't afford to get caught up in the pain. Fatigue is a direct result of pain, as you so clearly pointed out in your slides. Enthusiasm and energy comes from a feeling of love and joyfulness. We both know that love is not a commodity to be bought or sold. You are blessed with a unique way of sharing it. 
People like you, people take you in and care for you and share with you. Not because you're a cute guy with a beard, but because you're loving, because when they are in your company, they find a safe place to open their hearts and experience that same loving feeling inside themselves. 
You've created a very unique vehicle for bringing people together, and it doesn't make any difference whether it's your fault, the devil's fault or god's fault. The challenge is if you want this to go beyond you, beyond the limitations of your physical energies, then the messenger and the message must become one. Your focus is unquestionably on track because it's from your heart, but your vocabulary is strongly influenced by the fears and frustrations you have filed away in your subconscious. I believe people will only change if they have the opportunity to practice. 
I think you're very fortunate because you're very close to achieving that goal of oneness with yourself and the world around you. If that weren't true, I couldn't have come away with the bond of love and admiration I have for you. What I'm trying to say is that your message needs to be everywhere, and that's just not going to happen if you get caught up in the business of selling solutions and making judgements. In our brief conversation, you mentioned you had presented your program in approximately 300 schools and including repeat performances, you have shared your feelings approximately 1,000 times over the past quarter century. 
My response is that's not near enough. I'm also convinced that this is not about money or ego, but rather packaging communication and love. I think that god or love or parents or genes have given you a real opportunity to help the people around you to help them find a softer, gentler, more peaceful side of themselves. 
In short, do whatever it takes to invade the media. Don't judge them. Try to accept that they're doing the best they can with what they have. Once they have you and your message, they'll be one step closer to finding their own safe place. Trust me, the whole world wants you to succeed, so for god's sake, let them help. 

Perhaps your rational mind needs to accept the corruption associated with the capitalistic world around you, so you can get involved in the game with them. To deny hundreds of thousands of people the benefit of your message because some publishing company doesn't meet your criteria for fairness in their workforce only punishes those that you're seeking to help. This also says nothing of the damage it's causing you. 
Give your book to the biggest and best publisher you can find. I don't feel there's any way you can betray your friends no matter how you choose to get your message out. We're only victims when we choose to let ourselves be victims. After 25 years, I'm sure you see that more clearly than the rest of us. Your bucket is truly half full, not half empty and you should take immediate steps to fill it up, at all costs. There can be no mistakes when the product you're producing is love. I'm sure the Rockefeller's and the Kennedy's would gladly support you once you showed them the way, but if for some reason they don't, just move on. 
If you recall our conversation, I asked you if you had ever considered making a video out of your slide presentation. I personally think it would revolutionize your ability to get your message out to those who would benefit most from it. You mentioned a couple of schools have made your program part of their curriculum. I think every school should have some part, or all of your message incorporated in the learning process. I think it's fantastic that you visited 300 schools, but just imagine what might happen if you were in 3,000 schools, or 30,000 schools. What if every library and video store had a copy of your message. 
By your own admission, to duplicate your book costs in the neighborhood of $30 per copy, and the sheer mechanics of your slide presentation makes it a labor of love and dedication to set up and present. On the other hand a 2, 4 or 6 hour video would cost $2 to $3 at most. It could be shown in classrooms, churches, group meetings, virtually anywhere there was a VCR, a TV screen and a willing heart. 
Putting your message on a cassette tape is another option. That opens up a whole new area of distribution. Millions of people today listen to cassettes on their way to and from work, or anytime they're out leisurely driving. I don't know if I'm typical of people searching for answers, but I do know if I had a video of your presentation I would share it with at least a dozen friends. I'm not suggesting your book is not important. It is, and it's very well done, but many of the people you need to share yourself with don't read that well or that often. It would be much easier for them to pay $5 or $6 for a video or cassette than three times that for a book. Videos and cassettes can reach dozens of people at a time on a much more personal individual basis. It's also much easier to change when you're working and sharing with people than it is to change all by yourself. 

Now that we live in the age of the Internet and computers, the potential for distributing your message is unlimited. 
In conclusion, I am simply trying to tell you we love you and we love what you're doing and want to thank you for the inspiration and the love you have shared with us. 


Copyright © 1997 AMERICAN PICTURES; All rights reserved.

American Pictures - reviews