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Penetration of the Serpent -- Renewal of Self
Penetration of the Serpent -- Renewal of Self
What are your immediate thoughts on death?
Alright, if you were to hold that thought as you read the following short story about George a disciplined high level salesman, I wonder how much the perception of the idea might transform…
Sure George had problems - we all do, but over the course of his 25 year career in sales (in case you’re wondering, if it was high ticket, he sold it) George had built a solid practice of not letting “it” get to him. As we all know, life has its share of ups and downs - and few could argue, we all have our unique ways of dealing with both the good and bad.
To George, good was setting an above industry standard quota for himself - and tripling it by the third week of the month. Being as George was what many would consider much more than good, this became the standard. What was good, however, was making twice what he had made all month, in the last week of the month alone. This practically unheard of feat, most years, happened about four times per year.
Was there a price to pay for all this accomplishment? You betcha. Most of us would bawk at the idea of working 15 hour days, 7 days a week, month after month. Not George. No, for him, that was simply par for the course. Of course, this did have its benefits as well. He did, indeed, have all the finances socked away and invested so that he could be set for life in retirement. He did drive the most recent luxury car and live in a beautiful ocean view 5000 sq/ft penthouse. George, in his mind was just another guy struggling to live the American Dream.
Constantly, he told himself what a sorry excuse for a human being he was. Constantly he reminded himself how close to poverty he was. Could he simply waltz out to the nearest yacht broker and write a check for a 200 foot high grade Italian yacht? Not a chance. He couldn’t even qualify for a loan on the finer things in life - and the marina in the back of his ocean view penthouse served as a constant reminder of all that he lacked and couldn’t have.
The solution was simple. Work harder. Give just a bit more to the cause. Make it or die trying. You might wonder about a solid 25 years of “Excellence of Achievement” awards given to the top 1% in his industry? What the hell good was it being a big fish in a small pond - George rationed. Those awards weren’t even worth the material they were made of. Just another depressing reminder of what a piece of trash he was. Despite what others said, George thought he knew the truth about himself. He was a loser, a failure, not worthy of being in a relationship, lonely and a mere peasant in a land of Royalty, that he was likely never going to touch.
Then one day it happened. How many of us ever think we’re going to encounter a life changing event when we wake up in the morning? It’s pretty safe to attest, most of us are more preoccupied with the repetitive mundane events and tasks of the day to stop and ponder other possibilities - or even slow down and deeply feel gratitude for all that we have. George started the day like any other day. Up at 5:30 after roughly 4 hours of sleep, coffee pre-made, quickly showered and out the door just as the sun began it’s beautiful ascent over the ocean, opposite the twilight zone.
George, however, didn’t have time to think about stuff like that. Far as he was concerned, he was running late and needed to finalize a few deals overseas before the workday in London came to a close. The familiar sensations of stress began to once again overwhelm his senses. If the business he was working on were able to close in the morning, the month would close out as the highest of the year. The best month in 3 years as a matter of fact. George told himself what a screw up he was once again. If had only paid more attention to details. If only he had only applied himself more, he wouldn’t be in such a rut. He wouldn’t be such a lousy salesman. He would be one of the winners, a big shot caller -- a guy with a 160-foot vessel, helicopters, a private jet and a real life -- but no, he was a sorry excuse and a loser. A complete waste of time and life.
Closing this month out on top meant a new step in climbing out of the massive hole his life was. The highway was wide open road and the sun had broken the shroud of darkness the night skies cast upon the land. George stepped on it -- 95 mph and every second not earning income is money lost. Driving is money lost. The road was so smooth -- too smooth to lose money on the way to the office. Up came the phone and email is just a mere swipe of the finger away.
Reading the email was the right thing, George told himself. One message pertained to the business he was to work on finishing, which saved a bit more time. When George looked up, the event horizon was already breached. Traffic was completely stopped. The shoulder of the road barricaded by cement walls for construction. The semi truck in front of his car was about 70 feet away. The speedometer showed 97 mph. Georges foot instinctively stepped on the brakes -- hard.
Some say time slows to but a mere crawl in the face of tragedy. It did for George. Every millisecond was enough for segments of his life to flash by. In a matter of moments he had lived his full life over -- past relationships, childhood, school, friends, work… It dawned on him the serpent’s venom had taken him long ago. About 25 years prior to what was directly, literally 10 feet in front of him at that point. George knew the sun was rising, but why, when he was literally on top of the world, had he never chosen to realize this? Why had he besieged such a life full of so many gifts? Why had he squandered his own happiness -- for what? What happened next was over less time than it takes for an eye to blink…
To go back to the question I started off with…How many of us go through our lives without ever even stopping to live?
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