I recently had the opportunity to be a part of a group that got to interview the actor, Charlie Sheen in California.
I confess that for the last five years I have had not cared that much for Charlie Sheen, even though for the previous decade I’d been a huge fan.
What then caused this change that saw me want to be on stage with him?
The truth? My dislike for Charlie.
So, I dared myself to find love for Charlie and even I was surprised at the outcome.
I used to love watching Two and a Half Men. My then husband and I faithfully watched every weekly episode. This saw us in fits of laughter, as we fell in love with the characters; Charlie Harper (played by Charlie Sheen), Alan and Jake. Admittedly, if I’d met a man like the crude, womanizing, alcohol-swirling Charlie Harper in real life I’d have disliked him on the spot.
But I believed Charlie Harper was just a screen character and as far as I knew, nothing like the real-life Charlie Sheen, so I confess I felt love and respect for the actors behind each of these characters too.
Then to my dismay, the character of Charlie Harper and Charlie Sheen began to increasingly merge into each other as the media revealed Charlie Sheen’s real-life less-than-admirable behavior. Slowly but surely, the show lost its appeal for me, I no longer found it humorous, I became disenchanted with the characters and eventually, I stopped watching it altogether.
Fast forward 7 years and I am at an International Speaking Conference. Part of the product offering of this conference is being given the opportunity to interview a number of celebrities in California. Big names included Mark Wahlberg, John Travolta, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Christie Brinkley, Bethenny Frankel, Gene Simmons, Hugh Hilton, Steve Wozniak.
The conference host asks me what I do and who I would most like to interview. I tell him I write the Dare to Be Love blog and that I want to interview Steve Wozniak. He however suggests Charlie Sheen.
I immediately say, ‘No, I don’t think so.’
‘Oh, why is that?’ he asks.
Without thinking I respond, ‘Because I don’t like him.’
Having heard the judgmental words fall out of my own mouth, I realize I am triggered by my dislike. I realize am not feeling or speaking from the Spirit of who I am, Love.
Over the next few months I research each celebrity on the list, I dither and debate with myself and finally I decide that I will interview Charlie Sheen and self-help author Bethenny Frankel.
On the night of the interview I am grateful to be at the end of the queue, as I want to listen and see what I haven’t yet been able to see in Charlie. In the morning briefing, we had been given a message from Charlie’s PR person saying we didn’t need to hold back with our questions. We could ask anything. While this impressed me, I noticed my inner voice say, ‘Oh boy this could get uncomfortable’.
I had over an hour to watch Charlie Sheen on stage and his way of being with the questions that other interviewers put to him. I noticed when he was open and responsive and I noticed when he seemed to hold back a little. Then I realized with a sinking heart that the questions that saw him hold back were similar to the question I had prepared for him. Backstage, I panicked. I asked myself if I should change my question. I quickly sent a text to a friend in the audience who shared that she had the same concern. We both felt that he would attempt to side step my question. With just moments before going on stage, I considered changing course.
And then I stopped and asked myself, ‘Jacqui, how do you feel about Charlie in this moment?’
In bringing myself back to the moment I realized I had not given Charlie the respect of seeing him beyond the projections of my own stories, fueled by negative stories in the media. Charlie had done things in the past that were unloving but this was not who he was in this moment. I felt the need to go deeper and ask myself, ‘Who was Charlie right NOW?’ All the time Charlie had been on stage he was clear that others were not to blame for the things he had done.
After ninety minutes of listening to Charlie, I realized, I had been witnessing a man on stage being courageous by being vulnerable, aware of his guilt and shame stories, never blaming anyone. His Spirit of Love for his personal stories open for the world to see.
In that moment of honoring our shared humanity I could Be Love for Charlie, and myself. I knew I didn’t need to change my question. All I needed to do was acknowledge his courage beforehand, through our shared humanity.
I closed my eyes and gave thanks for daring myself all those months ago. Moments later I walked on stage and spoke to Charlie; but not before letting him know that I cared for him.
Here’s how things unfolded, as I asked Charlie what strategies he has in place to deal with shame.
Charlie Sheen didn’t side step my question. He thanked me and then went straight into both courageously and vulnerably sharing his truth.
Bravo Charlie and thank you.
There wasn’t a person I spoke to after the event who wasn’t deeply moved by Charlie Sheen’s courage as he shared himself and his stories with us by being vulnerable.
As I continue to grow from my deepest triggers (dislikes), I remain grateful that each trigger or pain story that we have is ours to own, ours to grow from, ours to openly share with the world without shame, guilt or blame as we open to being love for all that we are. While each of our stories is unique, we share our common human emotions, our humanity, our ability to find love for ourselves and each other. Herein lies the mystery and the magic of the Universe / God / Love.
Until next time, stay daring and courageous as you continually open your Spirit (Self) to finding and Being Love for all those ‘Shame Shivers’ – yours and everyone else’s.