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The Grand Illusion

“Yo Larry, what is up with you? The frustration is spewing out from you. I can almost see the steam blowing out your ears! And your face, neck, you are red as a cooked lobster, burning up.”

“Oh man, don’t I know it. I just can’t believe that friends and family aren’t believing in me with this incredible company. They’re not even considering it. They blow me off immediately. They call it a pyramid scheme. Don’t they know those are illegal? Damn it anyway.

“Sure, I’ve been burned before. But this is really important to me. I really believe in this as an entrepreneur. I’m big time mad, frustrated for sure and I gotta admit, really sad that they would break the trust we had. I don’t want to give up.”

“I am sorry to hear this. Larry, mostly I’m sorry your feelings are hurt. I know people can, especially the ones closest to us, can really cut through like a knife. Please know I hear and understand you. I really do know what you mean.”

“Really?” Larry’s relief is considerate, face only a light pink now, as he plops down on a park bench. He wipes his brow with the back of his hand and turns to Gordie pleading for him to continue.

Gordie joins him, waving his hands and turns to him. “First, take a look around us. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful as this park at this time, this moment?” He erupts in laughter.

Larry is astonished at his irreverent response, shakes his head and starts to get up to leave. “What the hell, man? You too?”

“No. No, you misunderstand me. Like I said, I understand your plight. And because I do, I really want to help you.” Gordie pulls at his arm to sit back down.

“You see, life is best when we accept what is. Whether we like it or not. Actually, I believe it is the key to happiness. And being in the present moment is the first step back to that groove. This is why I want you to see, actually look at this scenery. It can be quite calming especially if you will take a few deep breaths with me.”

Larry looks at him as if he’s a crazy man. “You’re making fun of me. You said you understand but you’re talking like a mad-man. I’m going.” He gets up and stomps off.

“Aw, so then you’re going to treat me like the others have treated you. Not going to stay long enough to hear me out?”

Larry stops dead in his tracks. A minute passes and he straightens his shoulders. Another passes and he turns around to smiling face, stretched out man relaxed on a park bench. Gordie pats his hand on the seat next to him, an invitation. The sheepish man returns to his spot.

“What I am about to explain is going to seem odd. Yet, when you consider your business idea extending to others, it just might be similar in compare. Are you game?”

“I don’t have anything to lose. I feel totally abandoned by these people. Betrayed even. It’s an incredible product, backed by a trusted company and they all but laugh in my face. I want to help people. Help them feel good, so many are in pain and could also use an extra stream of income. My intent is true, Gordie. Yet they don’t see and I get the rejection. And I just proved how that works in how I reacted to you, just now. I am sorry.”

“Thank you for that, Larry. I do have a tendency to over emphasize the beauty of the world and I see how it took you for a spin. I am sorry.” The two men shake hands and smile. Larry takes the same position, stretching out and ready to listen.

“Remember, what I am about to tell you is my opinion. You are free to accept or not. I will not be taking your reaction or response personally. And this is why I want to offer this information.” He looks over at Larry, gets the nod of acceptance and begins.

“So, when you look out at the scene before us, what do you see and feel?”

Larry stares over at him as if to rebuke him, but decides not to and goes along for the ride. “Green. Kids playing, they’re happy. Folks strolling and look like they’re enjoying the day. It really is a nice day. The sky is so blue. The air is refreshing. Breathing in, yeah, it smells refreshing. Huh! Present moment? OK, I get it. Tell me what you got.”

“You see,” spreading his arms out again at the teaming life before them. “It’s like this. Life. Life and wonder. You said yourself, even the air is refreshing. When we get out of our way, that’s when Life has a chance to show us. The freedom.” Larry glowers in question, but doesn’t interrupt.

“You mentioned they betrayed you. You also probably mean they broke your heart too?” Gordie glances over to get the okay. “They committed to you then came up with excuses, whether good, stupid or even a lie?”

“Yes, how did you know? The lie, that they don’t have the money. Ha, that’s the worst because I know for a fact several do have the money. And even if they don’t, this product can help make for additional income.”

“Well now, it’s their loss of course. Especially lying and not only hurting your feelings but breaking the trust between you.” Gordie sees Larry’s attention from the corner of his eye. “People are people of course and they will do what they do. You are people too and do what you do.” He pauses for dramatic effect.

“Except. Except, you Larry, can change how you react if only you know why you take all they do so personally.”

“What the heck are you talking about? Of course I’m taking this personally. They’re my friends and family. I thought they believed in me.” Larry puts his face in his hands, while bending over. He’s starting to feel sick all over again.

Gordie pushes up to sit and puts his hand on the other man’s shoulder. “It’s okay. Honest. Everything is going to look and feel better. I promise.”

Larry thrusts up to Gordie with a reddening face. “How? Just tell me how?”

“I understand and I can see your deep hurt, Larry. Before I continue however, I would like your permission to dive in further into your the past of your life with what it is I have to explain.”

“I’m not sure where this is going, past lives? Nothing ventured, I guess. But let me ask you first. What’s the trick to not taking them personally?”

“You die.” Gordie answers matter-of-factly.

“Alright, smart ass, what’s the alternative?” Larry asks surrendering.

“Have you heard the expression, once bitten, twice shy?”

“Yeah, who hasn’t?”

“Do you remember an older family member saying it?”

Larry rubs his chin, deep in thought. Then turns to Gordie and expresses, “yes! My grandfather. He worked hard through the depression, he often explained how people would let him down. He became quite bitter as I grew up and told me to be careful with others. It was really sad, he was a hard worker and I think he became quite depressed from all the rejections.”

“Well then, I would like to let you in on The Grand Illusion! You grew up with that particular saying. It’s been built into your pattern of living, thinking and feeling. You may have not realized it because the saying itself hasn’t probably come up in your adult life. It is an older saying, after all. Nonetheless, and I can assure you, it is alive and fortified in your conscious and un-conscious minds.” Gordie pauses to let Larry digest this information.

“It is so ingrained that you are programmed to operate under its guile. And you are actually perpetuating its very existence in exercising the behavior. One could even go so far as to say you are married to it!”

Larry sits upright, facing Gordie. His color is completely drained, yet he hangs on every word being spoken. Fascination has taken over the pain and frustration he has only felt some minutes before. “I don’t know what to say. Or how to process what you’re saying. Except, wait? You mean the first shy is me getting discouraged when they ignore or laugh in my face, then the second is me willing to quit my passion? Give up? Just because I’ve been programmed after others have hurt me? I’m…well…wow. Really?”

“Yes, really. Think of it maybe as you have become comfortable with being uncomfortable. What we don’t know or, in this case, what you don’t realize. We can become quite attached to the relationship of the illusion and cannot move forward until we decide to stop dragging all the old stuff along. It’s been apart of you for so long that you haven’t known any better.”

“How do I stop? Actually, how do I not take all the negatives from them personally? Just because I know now of this illusion, that’s what you call it?”

“Yes. Actually I call it The Grand Illusion, because it does have so much power.” Gordie smiles and sets himself back in the stretched out position. Content in the knowing that all is well once again.

“You ask how you stop?” He continues. “Once you are truly aware, your whole being shifts. It’s like magic really! Because the illusion doesn’t have power over you. The people and their reactions don’t either. You are now free to respond vs react to them and simply accept. It may not be what you want to hear, but their reaction no longer has control over you. You get to say, ‘too bad, next!’ And mean it. Because no matter what happens Larry, never quit your passion!

“Again, the trick to happiness is accepting what is. Even if you don’t like it! And that’s the truth. Because, there really are no tricks, but the truth and freedom of your own well-being.”

Larry sits back, he’s still a bit overwhelmed, but allows the words to percolate. He looks over at Gordie, it’s as if the man is glowing. Larry shakes it off to the light of day. Then he looks out at the green, acknowledges how the feelings of calm within his body feel good. And maybe now, even his soul can be freer.

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