Only one-quarter of me is happy with these lofty ideas of unconditional love. The Wounded Mother in me wants to live that way but the Inner Child, the Prostitute and the Black Witch are screaming in pain. I keep myself busy during the day but by night, I continue to find myself confused and lonely.
On October 3rd, I have a headache so bad that it keeps me in bed. I can’t eat because I feel nauseous but I can’t manage to throw up either. My stomach hurts. I rush to the bathroom again and again but nothing comes out. I’m alternately burning up, sweating and shaking. I feel so bad. I don’t want to live.
Around 7PM, out of nowhere comes a clear, gentle, male voice in my head telling me to leave the house right now. But where to?
“How about attending this?”
My eyes glance at the table next to me, where a magazine happens to be lying open at a page reading: “BEVERLY HILLS, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the 60th-anniversary screening of Limelight, Charlie Chaplin’s final masterpiece, on Wednesday, October 3, at 7:30 pm at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Presented as an installment of the Jack Oakie Celebration of Comedy in Film, the evening will welcome co-stars Claire Bloom and Norman Lloyd, who will discuss their work with Chaplin and the influence he had on their distinguished careers.”
I laugh hysterically. “You want me to go to this?”
The voice says, “Yeah! Won’t it be fun?”
Sure, it’ll be fun. Claire Bloom and Norman Lloyd will be there. It’ll be a black tie event with fancy Beverly Hills folks. I’m sure it’s sold out. On top of that, the event starts in half an hour. I’ll never make it on my bicycle. It’s too late.
“Just go. I’ll take care of it.”
I am sick. I really do not feel like getting out of bed but the voice persists. I push myself out of bed. I’m in no mood to change out of my grubby jammies, so I simply put on a jacket, and ride into the night.
I peddle slowly. The cold night air feels good on my numb skull. The ride to Beverly Hills usually takes about 45 minutes. I will be too late but the voice encourages me to keep going.
I get to the theater just as the lobby lights start blinking, signaling that the show is about to start. I see many people dressed up in evening gowns and black tie. I look down at myself and feel more than a little embarrassed by my jammies and old jacket. I am about to turn back but the voice encourages me, “Stay!”
There are two big bouncer dudes, handsomely dressed in black tie, proudly guarding the door. I sheepishly approach them to ask if there are any tickets left.
They look at me with pity, “Sold out.”
I nod, “I thought so. Thank you.”
As I back away from them, feeling small, sick, old, stupid and much more depressed than when I left, one of the bouncers says, “Hey, wait a second.” He produces a single ticket from his trousers and hands it to me. “Here, complimentary ticket. You can go right in. Enjoy.”
I look at him in wonderment as he winks at me. At that moment he shines like a being of light.
“Thank you!” I say to both him and the voice inside my head.
Limelight is the last film Charlie Chaplin made in the US. He made it when he was already 60 years-old and he wrote, directed, starred in and composed the music for the film. Each of his children either played a role or were part of the film crew. His own studio distributed the film. An artist, an entrepreneur and a father – true success!
By the time the credits roll in two-and-a-half hours later, I’m lit up with inspiration. Seeing this kind of success makes me realize that there is so much more I still want to achieve. All the girls inside me are lit up. The Black Witch wants to be as powerful as Charlie! The Prostitute wants to be as famous as Charlie! The Wounded Mother wants to be such a successful parent! The Inner Child wants to be an artist like Charlie but in her own unique, childish ways!
The gentle yet firm voice I heard on my way to the theatre, goes around and around in my head. “Keep going, keep going, keep going.” When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Yes! Yes! I’ve come a long way and I’m not going to stop now. My bicycle ride back home feels like a magic carpet ride with the cool breeze lifting me upwards.
At home, all of the gloominess, sadness and depression are gone. I fall into a deep sleep.
The next morning, at the crack of dawn, Tippi and I head to the park. Everywhere I look, I see pristine nature, fresh with hope and in heavenly perfection. I’m wrapped up by the divine glory around me. In this state of rapture, I see, with my spiritual eye, a man approaching me. I immediately know that he is the voice I heard in my head. He is in a medieval monk’s outfit of light brown canvas held together by a loosely tied rope. I look at him with my third eye and I get the feeling that I am looking at a painting that I’ve known since childhood. The painting is of Jesus with an exposed heart wrapped in thorns projecting a halo of light.
Our conversation is non-verbal, yet we understand each other completely.
I project a question, “Are you Jesus?”
“We’ve had enough trouble with that name.”
“Why do you show me that painting of Jesus then?”
“That’s for you to figure it out.” He smiles lovingly and projects directly at me. “I came to you as soon as you were born.”
I understand that he means Christianity and this is absolutely true. My mother was a devoted Catholic. I was baptized when I was very young and attended a Catholic all-girls school from the first grade until graduation. Unfortunately, the nuns were very mean to me.
He understands me fully. He comforts me by projecting a wave of healing love towards me. I feel redeemed. He then sends me an image of myself from a past life: I’m a man in a black robe. I am a bishop during the time of the Crusades. “You’ve killed many in the name of God.”
With this revelation, suddenly many events in my current life make sense to me. It’s the wheel of karma in action. The aggressor becomes victim and the victim, aggressor. The nuns treated me roughly because I had once treated others roughly. With this new perspective, I feel sudden grace and am able to let go of my lifelong grievances with the nuns. A wave of forgiveness washes over me.
The monk is happy and projects a wave of appreciation and approval.
I make a request, “Are you my new spirit guide?”
He smiles, “Yes, I am.”
“Now that I’ve finally found you, please don’t ever let me go.”
“I’m everywhere, always with you.”
I can feel that when he says “I” he means love.
I look around and indeed see that he is everywhere: inside the flower, inside the leaf, in the grass. He is everywhere and he is always with me, always has been. The entire encounter lasts for just a split second, yet it feels like hours have passed.