Editor’s Note: This article was written in March 2011 but its message continues to be relevant today…..

Why is America obsessing over Charlie Sheen?  Seems like everywhere I look there’s some news about the latest rants from Charlie.  I even caught myself spending time watching him being interviewed the other night when I was channel surfing.  Why?

We all know America loves its celebrities.  Our media and by extension each of us seems fascinated by the rise to fame.  A person that we could care less about one day gets thrust into the spotlight, and all of a sudden we want to know every detail about their lives.

The only thing we love better than our celebrities is watching them fall.  It’s like we collectively lift them up onto a pedestal and then silently wait for them to fall off of it.  Then like a pack of vultures we gather around to pick up the carcass of their fame with our own mixed feelings ranging from sadness and disappointment to some sort of secret sense of glee that they got what they deserved.  It’s like slowing down driving by a car wreck – we really hope no one’s hurt while we gaze at the wreckage with morbid curiosity.

Personally, my heart goes out to Charlie.  I don’t know him and I don’t know what he’s gone through – I only know what I project upon him based upon what the media presents.  My projection shows me a person who has struggled with the trappings of fame.  Born into a famous family, he’s lived under the media microscope all his life.  Movies and television have allowed him to accumulate a lot of money.

All too often we witness people in these circumstances succumbing to temptations that arise around them.  Celebrity forays into drugs and sex are a moneymaker for the media.  We have been inundated with the details of Charlie’s escapades.  Now we’re being saturated with every word Charlie speaks.  Why is this?  Aren’t there more important things going on in the world?

The other night I had a series of strange dreams – I was showing up at stores that were closing and being turned away.  I was going places and forgetting why I was there.  I was reminded that I was supposed to give a talk and I hadn’t prepared for it.  It was one frustration after another – and then I heard the word “surrender”.  Suddenly the dreams made sense – my ego wants to control everything “out there” in life, but that sense of control is really an illusion.  When he gets down to it, you really can’t “control” anything.

Yes, you can set intentions and take actions towards manifesting those intentions.  I highly recommend doing this.  It’s good to have an internal sense of where your life’s calling is and then to be moving in that direction.  But it’s also good to live life with a degree of flexibility that allows you to bob and weave with grace and ease around the speed bumps that come up in life.

Trying to force your way through obstacles is a recipe for frustration.  Surrendering is not giving up your goals and intentions.  Surrendering is really knowing deeply your overall direction but releasing control over the exact route and details of the path.  Surrendering is letting go of trying to force a specific outcome and instead enjoying the ride knowing your intention will carry you where you need to go.  I believe my dreams were reminding me of this truth.

So back to Charlie and our celebrity obsession – what’s the connection?  Well, this could be my projection and I’m just taking you along for the ride, but it seems to me that our celebrity obsessions generally hold a lesson for all of us.  Something inside us forces us to look at a situation for our own growth.

We are here in this material physical world to enjoy it and to learn lessons for our own growth. Yet this world sets up traps for us. We can become so attached to money, fame, relationships, what we perceive as the “good life” and so on that it consumes us. Instead of moving through life with effortless ease  and flowing with its gifts and lessons, we try to force things – try to control outcomes – continuously focusing our consciousness on what “we need” and what “we want”.

When we focus on what we need and what we want what we tend to get is “more of the need”. You can’t get what you want while you’re focused on “what you want”. I know that sounds like a paradox. But the more we focus on what “we have”, the more we tend to receive of it. Feeling appreciation and gratitude for what we have grows more of that in our lives.

Yet there is this human part of us that “wants” for even more. And that part of us that is focused on the “want” looks to celebrities with fame and fortune as models for us to learn from. How did they get their fame and fortune? And, how are they dealing with it?

We love to see other people get successful. We love it when they handle it well. However, we are fascinated when they don’t. The question is how to turn our fascination into an opportunity to learn in these situations.

So what can we learn from Charlie? We can see that fame and fortune doesn’t always bring happiness. We can realize that the trappings of celebrity and money can also bring the problems of drugs and emotional issues.  And we can realize realize that maybe we don’t need the lifestyle of the rich and famous to truly enjoy our lives.  We can look at the lives we currently have and realize they are already blessed. We can let go of out need to control life “out there” and instead focus on our life’s intentions with a relaxed nature.  We can “surrender” and enjoy the ride.

Mark Gilbert

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!