New Life : Sensei Charlie

New Life : Sensei Charlie

“You’re afraid other people are going to be as unsupportive as you.” 

Charlie sits on my laptop on the table in the living room. It is morning in Thailand and his Thai girlfriend moves around in the background making food and clanking pots and pans. At first, I was disturbed by this. I wanted her to stop making so much noise. I watched his eyes carefully but Charlie never seemed to mind and eventually I forgot about it too. Now, when she walks in the background, she turns to the screen and smiles at me. It’s like I know her even though we have never spoken. Charlie says her energy signature has translated to me and mine to her. That this happens when we look at anyone.

“We use judgment as a means to keep people from getting close to us,” he continues.

“I judge everyone. Even before I realize it,” I tell him.

He tells me that even realizing that is a stronger practice than most are willing to engage in. He says this because I am having a bit of a breakdown talking about my worst character trait.

“Just catch yourself. And then ask yourself – how would you want to be looked at and treated if you were this person? How would you want this person looking at you and all of your weaknesses?” 

I turn my back on people when they make mistakes. It fills me with anger and embarrassment. It is so much work to be perfect and when people fall short I don’t want to know them anymore. 

Charlie talks a little about his father, who was an abusive alcoholic. 

“Some nights he would be so kind. Because I did something great. I got a scholarship or a job. Something that was exceptional. And he would tell me how proud he was. But I couldn’t accept his acknowledgements, or my own accomplishments, because I couldn’t afford to be talked into thinking everything was okay.”

It might be a matter of hours before he was being beaten again. 

Charlie tells me a story about being an Aikido master in Japan. His students used to attack him four at a time. 

“When you’re in flow, you don’t focus so much on the details. I have four different guys trying to hurt me. But there’s only a few things they can do. Only a few ways they can get to me. I am able to step back, like I’m leaving my body, and see the pattern of their movement. And in that moment, they cannot touch me.” 

He tells me to step back and notice the patterns.

“The obsessing over details, especially the negative ones, is just an easy way to tap into adrenaline and drama.”

He asks me what behaviors I’ve learned from my father.



Fear of vulnerability

Short temper

Never apologizing.

“Okay, what else?”

“Well, he is incredibly hard working and a great provider. He’s the smartest person I know. He tried to be better than his dad. And he finishes his projects.”

“Those are pretty good things, right?”


“They apply well in your life as a businessman I would imagine?”

“They do.”

“So maybe it’s time we wrap that all together and say, ‘This is what my father taught me and I’m grateful for all of it.’” 

Little by little, I am becoming more myself.
Orbital breathing.
Noticing what’s around me. 
I am just Kirk.
Thank you.

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