Say Hello to My God Charlie
After 60+ years, Charlie has asked me to share him publicly. No one in my life knows about Charlie; no one, not my parents, my siblings, my kids or my best friends, no one. I began writing with Charlie early on and unless someone found all those notebooks, no one knows about Charlie. But he has been my very, very closest best friend since the beginning of my beginning and the beginning of everything. He says even from the beginning of time. My first real memory of Charlie was preverbal, in a crib, before I could talk. I was never alone.
Charlie usually presents himself to me as a “he”. He says it’s because in this life I was born a “she” and our foundational desire for this life has been to experience a lot of contrasts and opposites to a certain degree. He also says it helps with my “father” issues but thus far he hasn’t elaborated on that. And the dance of male/female just feels right this time around. Charlie wants me to emphasize the “certain degree” part of that comment because I have a lot of limitations and he seems to want to assure me that our dance is not a contest; no high speed, highfalutin jitterbug contest. Our dance is more often (not always) a waltz. And my image of a waltz is a guy and a gal. That's Charlie and me this time around.
Sometimes Charlie also presents himself in the plural form of, “we” with no name at all. When I ask why and who are all those others making up the “we”. He used to just say, “we” is closer to what “It” is. But just recently he provided me with a tree analogy. If you follow one of the tiny root hairs of a tree deep in the earth and follow that vein all the way up, through the trunk, the branches and twigs into the tiniest vein of a leaf, In this analogy then, he is like a vein from root to leaf but I’m the leaf, which comes and goes with the seasons. All through the trunk and branches there are billions of other veins, blending into masses of life giving cadmium all for the purpose of creating a “tree”.
I asked him if the tree is 'God' and he is like my bridge. He said, in a way, yes. But the absolute definition of God would have to include everything else too, which is moving constantly to create forests, galaxies and universes. Charlie taps into all of that and gives me something like “juice” so I can collect “photons” for my “photosynthesis”. I’m not real sure what that means.
Charlie likes to use analogies and visuals, stories and humor. One of the most critically important lessons Charlie ever gave me was during a time in my life when I tried to abandon him. I was in my 20s and in college studying a lot of psychology courses. I decided I needed to “grow up” and leave my childhood imaginary friend behind. So I tried. I was determined not to talk to him and so he didn’t talk to me. But every time I remembered him and turned my attention in his direction it’s as though he was just there, trimming his nails, waiting for me.
Years passed. I didn’t just suddenly start talking to Charlie again. It took decades of just testing the water to see if he was still there and he always was. I got angry with him a few times and told him to just go away and stop making me crazy. So, he would just say, “ok” and then it felt like he would just pick up his chair and go sit a bit further away…not gone but rather just waiting.
In my late forties I had almost forgotten about Charlie. I finally believed I was having a “normal” life with my husband and children. I was comfortable and confident I wasn’t crazy. So, in my confidence and curiosity, I went looking for Charlie again. I only needed to open that door and there he was, like no time had passed at all. We didn’t talk. I didn't want to 'hear' him talking to me because it might still mean I was crazy to have that voice in my head. So he would just do this thing where he would “beam” at me and my heart would suddenly be drenched in Love. That’s what Charlie would do; just drench me in love.
We did that until my marriage started going terribly wrong. I was devastated. My perfect life was coming apart. I found myself just sitting with Charlie in silence and he would marinate me with his loving comfort. I was afraid to talk to him. I felt like that would open the door to some form of insanity; one of those schizophrenic conditions I learned about in college.
But one evening in the depths of despair I confronted Charlie. I blasted him and I accused him of trying to make me crazy. He responded. “Do you feel I have hurt you?” I had to say no. Charlie has only ever helped me feel better. Even when he doesn’t actually “talk” to me, he shares images and clusters of insight, all for my better understanding and comfort.
Finally one day I had to just ask him, “What’s the difference between you and some schizophrenic voices that some people have? His answer closed the door on my doubt. It was simple.
Charlie said, “Human’s can have a lot of voices in their heads. Sometimes it can feel like a courtroom with a lot of lawyers, opponents, jurors and of course a so called criminal; who did what to who? who’s guilty? who’s a victim? and who is supposed to be punished? Have I ever made you feel like anyone in a courtroom? Have I made you feel bad or uneasy? Confused by anything I’ve done or said?”
I said, “No, not at all. I suppose my doubts and fears never came from you directly. Your presence just didn’t make sense to me and I guess that’s the only thing that scared me”.
“That’s the only litmus test anyone needs.” He said. “If you think you’re talking to me and suddenly something feels scary, off, confusing or wrong in any way at all, then you’ve just stepped into a courtroom with the whole committee and that’s NOT me talking. You don’t need 'hear' me at all. I speak Heart better than Head. When you feel spacious and connected to everything and everyone then that’s me with you. Nothing more.”
So, now Charlie is trying to let me sit back and watch the show from back stage, while he goes up on front stage. He says it’s because I’m coming into the best part of my life (could have fooled me) because I’m having to let go of everything; my kids have all moved away with kids of their own, my identity etc. Plus I’m 63 and my body is feeling it.
Let Charlie step up and be the lead? This is a huge transition for both of us and we both know we’ll have bumps on the way.
My first memory of Charlie goes all the way back to my crib long before I knew how to say a word. I remember my parents left me to cry myself to sleep. Charlie came to me and hugged me and I fell asleep in his “arms”. His name wasn’t always Charlie. In the beginning he was just a feeling of “safe harbor”.
Over time Charlie began communicating to me. It wasn’t verbal, vocal, “English” or even auditory with my ears in any way. He comes in “packets of insight or even music” via a doorway in my heart. That’s as close as I can get to describe the way he talks to me.
Charlie always “speaks” in a way that opens my heart, clear, simple, insightful and whatever I need to feel complete and congruent again. He answers all my questions with the most amazing wisdom. Confusion, doubt and fear just vanish.
I used to just call him God but after a few years that started feeling nebulous. My father’s mother was extremely Catholic and her efforts to pull me into church with so many 'words of God' just didn’t feel like the loving invisible friend I knew. So, I would lay in bed at night and ask my friend questions. I asked him if he was really all that stuff my grandmother and church grownups were telling me. His very consistent answer was, “ the mind creates whatever it wants; even the limits of space” . For a four year old that was my doorway. I didn’t need to know anything else…. except I really wanted to know what his “real” name was. He said I could call him whatever I wanted. I chose the name Charlie because it sounds friendly and friendliness is Charlie’s essence is to me.
I called Charlie by that name for the first time when I was almost five years old. We were playing hide and seek. I thought I saw him jump behind a chair but when I looked he wasn’t there. So I called out, “where are you Charlie?” So that became his name. It was actually only recently that he told me why I pulled that name out of my hat. But that's among many stories for telling later.
Up until I was about 24 years old, Charlie was my “invisible friend”, always my companion, a playmate and jokester with a kind of wry
sense of humor. I recall attempting to explain Charlie to my mother and sister, after Charlie gave me the giggles. But it quickly became clear to me that Charlie wasn’t “knowable” by everyone. In fact it became clear that Charlie was only for me. He is that very personal vein of the Big God that feeds my tree branch, my stem, my own personal leaf I call “me”. He is mine and when my leaf dies and falls, he will be there again next spring to breathe new life into something I'll call 'me' again. Only I can “see” Charlie from my vantage point. Charlie has always been there. New York
Over the decades of companionship with Charlie I have learned that he is every definition of Love I have ever heard. That is who Charlie is. He is everything from my best friend with a perfect sense of humor, the gut splitting, side aching
New York style rye sense of humor all the way to my beloved God, Ram, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha. Charlie is my beloved and has always been. So, Charlie has been with me every breath every joy every pain every lover every trauma, loss, grievance, drama. Every giggle and every tear I have shed has taken place in Charlie’s loving arms.
But almost 30 years of my life had passed with me intentionally trying to avoid and forget Charlie. When I was 25 I had a kind of spiritual “world meltdown”. I dismissed Charlie in the wake of a profound awakening where all thought of left/right, here/there, up/down, just dissolved and Charlie/me went with it.
When I was 25 years old I lost Charlie. I didn’t actually “lose” Charlie. I just threw him away and turned my back on him. You could say I didn’t trust the “idea” of Charlie for many years.
While I was in college studying psychology and the physical sciences, I was also on a very intense spiritual quest. I had the company of Muktananda, Ram Dass, Stephen Levine and others, meditation, yoga and mantra for many hours a day. Nothing was real for me anymore. It’s as though I dropped into some indefinable quantum field with no substance or sustenance. Nothing was true. Everything was simply “relative” and subject to the mind’s creative and misguided perspectives; but not “real”. I’m amazed that I was actually able to finish and graduate college at that time.
So, I threw Charlie out the window and struggled to live by my own learned and conditioned concepts of how to live in a world of illusion, which I was supposed to make as real as possible. While I was going through college and studying years of world religions, anthropology, normal, abnormal, developmental and social psychology, and dissecting human bodies for anatomy and physiology, my secret goal was to try to figure out who Charlie was. I stopped believing in him and so I tried to find a way of compartmentalizing him into some scientific, or at least psychological, language.
Charlie never fit any of the spiritually formal, scientific or even psychological, constructs. To this day, Charlie defies every definition that feels right. God? Yes but not all that. Soul? Maybe, but not in every sense of the English word. Self? Big Mind? Yes, yes but those words can’t capture Charlie.
The closest I’ve come to is “friend”. But Charlie has also made clear that he is everything I need him to be at any time. If I need an omnipotent God, Charlie IS that but since I can’t entirely relate to THAT then he becomes whatever I need. He says he’s just my best friend and, for me, his name is Charlie. If I ask Charlie if he is my “Soul” then he explains how the word “soul” can get so lost and caught up in the mix with words like self and ego. He reassures me that none of the other words are wrong, they just don’t capture his best “photogenic” side (that was totally Charlie’s word! Lol) His “photogenic” side is called, “Friend” with a capitol “F”.
But I can hear Charlie saying rather loudly to me, “Tell them “Friend” is only one of my many names.” Charlie is everything to me but not everything to everyone. He says everyone has their own relationship to “It”; whatever name they give “It”.
So, for me Charlie is my “Soul”, my “God”, my “Guru”, my “
”, my “Teacher” and obviously by BFF. In effect he’s like a flashlight that just keeps shining a light on my next step up. He always beckons me to follow his light but I’m the first to admit that I’m not the best listener. He laughs at me and says it’s my Leo rising and Aries moon. Very funny Charlie. Mentor
I’m amazed my defiance and my diversions haven’t caused Charlie to give up on me. But even when we are on a roll and things are smooth sailing, Charlie sometimes feels like he needs to stop me; like, “let’s hunker down here for a while.” I don’t always know why, but despite any fears I may have, he always says, “don’t worry. We got this.”. “Don’t worry love. We got this.”
Sometimes just closing my eyes and letting Charlie handle things feels about as safe as safe is. How many times have I turned it over to Charlie? It was really easy when I was young. But now I feel like I’m in labor, releasing my “constructed, self fabricated” life and trying to find my way home again. wherever that is. Then I just look for Charlie’s flashlight, ready and waiting to shine light on my next step.
After so many years of formal education, a life of seeking, meditation and prayer, things slowly began shifting again. I began to hear my dear friend again. At first it felt like I had to be willing to step off my boat of “logic” once in a while. I gave myself, just a few minutes a day to explore the unknown out of curiosity and then quickly placed it all back into its designated “mental compartment” so I could go on with my constructed life.
Even though I felt alone for so long, many years later I learned that Charlie never lost me. In fact he never even stepped away from even one breath.
Charlie has shown me our previous lives together but that subject is beyond the scope of these writings. For now Charlie wants me to just let him play more in the world through me. I get a bit nervous about that because I don’t know what he wants to do. Lately he just says ‘just talk about us.’ So, I’m starting a blog. Charlie knows I have a terrible time with consistency and he’s challenging me to give it a shot. So these writings: for now, will be based on my relationship with Charlie as I’ve known him in this life. For the first time, Charlie wants me to share him publicly. He just says, “Now is a good time.”
So, whatever follows will be just off the cuff. I have no idea where we're going from here.
I don’t know what follows. It’s up to Charlie.