This is Part II of an ongoing story which began here.
The man poured some fresh coffee into a thermos, opened the door, and stepped out on to his front porch. He took a deep breath, looking off across his vineyards, the temperature rising as the sun did the same. A moment later, his brother stepped out on to the porch, his thermos also releasing the steam of a fresh coffee pour.
“So you’re telling me you’ve envisioned this exact vineyard for years?” asked the brother.
“Yep, well, not quite this exact vineyard,” replied the man. “But pretty darn close. Let’s take a walk.”
The two brothers jogged down the steps and walked quietly for several minutes along a trail that ran around the vines.
“You remember right before I left the bank to smart SmithTech?” the man broke the silence. “Remember my state of mind?”
His brother kept walking, staring into the distance, somewhat embarrassed that he was so caught up at the time that he really didn’t remember.
“I guess so,” he said. “I just remember everyone being really surprised. You had a great job making good money.”
The man laughed.
“Yeah, decent money and no life,” he replied. “I was a walking stress ball. Anne and I weren’t really seeing each other that much, and I was really unhealthy. Snapping at the kids. I just had to get out.”
The brother glanced at the man as they kept walking.
“Wow, I’m sorry,” he said. “I never knew. I had always assumed you just cashed out to risk it all.”
“Well, up until I left my job, I thought it was a huge risk,” replied the man. “But it didn’t take long for me to realize that the biggest risk would’ve been staying at that job. I might’ve lost my marriage, my kids, and my health.”
The brother stopped, took a sip of his coffee, still staring in the distance, and said, “You’re describing what’s happened to me.”
The man put his arm on his brother’s shoulder.
“Yep, ain’t no sugar coating it,” he said, smiling. “But the good news is you’re not dead yet. You’re the creator of your life as long as you’re here on this earth, you can begin creating the life you want.
“But what?” the brother broke in. “I’ve really got nothing to lose. What do I have to do?”
“But…” the man continued. “You’re going to have to reprogram your mind.”
“Reprogram?” retorted the brother. “You mean, like Total Recall or The Matrix or something?”
The man laughed, taking another sip of his coffee.
“Something like that,” he said. “Listen, you’re my brother, and I want to help you. But if I’m going to help, you’ve gotta keep an open mind. Deal?”
The man nodded at his brother. “Good.”
“Now, during that period of stress and anxiety before I left the bank, I also began to question a lot of things. Meaning of life kind of stuff,” he said. “Even whether or not there is a God.”
The two men resumed walking. The brother took another sip of coffee.
“Now that you mention it, I do remember mom and dad being really pissed that you stopped going to church,” he said. “All those years of us going to Catholic school and you turned traitor! Hell, it was worse even than when I told him about my divorce.”
The two men laughed, and spent the next few minutes recalling humorous stories from their time attending St. Gregory’s Prep High School.
“Yeah, I got the talking-to from dad when I told him Anne and I weren’t attending Catholic mass anymore,” he said. “He basically told me I was guaranteeing my place in hell.”
His brother chimed in.
“Well, to be fair, you and I were always one step away from eternal damnation,” he said. “At least, that’s what the nuns, the monks, and mom and dad told us!”
“All kidding aside,” interrupted the man, “that constant guilt is one reason we stopped going to church. We realized it was part of the programming that embedded low self-esteem and self-worth into our brains.”
The brother stopped.
“Jeez, I never thought I’d see the day where you played the victim card.”
The man squared up toward his brother.
“It’s not victimhood if you’re aware of the problem and you take personal responsibility to fix it,” he said. “Listen, I don’t have anything against the church. The church has done a ton of good in this world.
“But when I realized the detrimental impact it was having on my life, I made a change — and that’s when my spirituality really took hold.”
His brother looked puzzled.
“Spirituality?” he asked. “I thought you said you stopped going to church.”
“I said spirituality, not religion,” he man replied. “They’re not the same thing.”
The man could tell his brother wasn’t following.
“Okay, we’re going down the rabbit hole, and I don’t want to get stuck on the topic of the church and religion at the expense of the underlying meaning,” he said. “So let’s get down to business.”
His brother nodded.
“When we get back to the house, I’m going to give you a business card for someone who has been an important mentor for me,” said the man. “This person was there from the beginning and helped me really break free from my scarcity programming.”
“There’s that word again,” said his brother. “Programming. I’m keeping an open mind, but it ain’t easy.”
The man smiled and put his hand back on his brother’s shoulder.
“Patience, young Jedi,” he said. “An open mind is all I ask and everything you need to know will flow to you.”
The men walked in silence for a few more minutes, but then shifted the discussion back to humorous stories from high school.
When they returned to the house, the man gave his brother the business card, as promised. The brother stayed a few more days before heading back to his condo in the city.
Like a robot, he quickly fell back into his routine at home and work. A week went by before he reached into his coat pocket on the way home from work one night, finding the business card.
“Abundance, Inc?” he said to himself. “Who is this guy?”
But he caught himself, remembering his promise to his brother to keep an open mind. When he got home, he went into his kitchen, opened the fridge, and retrieved a beer, pouring it into a pint glass. With the business card on the kitchen counter, he took out his iPhone, took a sip of the beer, and dialed the number on the business card.
Surprised by the female voice, he stumbled through his next words.
“Hi, Eddie, um, you don’t know me but, erm, I believe you’re friends with my brother and he thinks you can help me.”
To be continued…