This story I heard when I was younger: the story of two brothers that owned a circus. They had been traveling for a long time, carrying their show from town to town, until they found out that they were broke.
The two brothers were in despair; they didn’t even have enough for the payroll which was to come due at the end of the month. The night before they arrived to the next town they were programmed to perform, they came up with a desperate plan for their last show.
The next day, they started to promote the event around the town, the usual way, only this time they announced the “Abominable Beast act”. Not even the other members of the crew knew anything about this terrible creature: it was a secret surprise that was going to be unveiled at the end of the show.
The day came and the circus tent was full with people eager to find out about what the Abominable Beast looked like.
The show started normally with the common performances and, between acts, one of the brothers -who acted as the circus’ host- would enhance expectations announcing the appearance of the incredible creature at the end of the program, in the main event.
When the time finally came, the host rushed into the center of the stage and yelled: “the Abominable Beast has escaped, run for your lives!!” – The audience spread in panic destroying the circus and the surroundings. The two brothers disappeared and nobody ever saw them again.
Ten years later, one of the brothers passed through the same town while in a business trip, and stopped by the town’s bar to have some drinks. The night came and the man felt the urge to go to the bathroom. When he asked for the toilet whereabouts the bartender told him where the outhouse was placed: around the corner, outside the bar.
Just when the former circus owner was walking through the exit, the bartender stopped him, looked directly to the man’s eyes and said to him: “Be very careful, there is an abominable beast loose around this town”.
I find this story to be a very good example of one of the most affecting –and disregarded- aspects of human behavior: we run our lives among inexistent abominable beasts. Over the years I recognized the beast many times. Some were obvious, some were more subtle. Some came soon, as the fear of “not fitting in”; some came later, as the so called “emptiness” hidden inside of us.
Some fears are real. We are not looking at those right now.
We are looking at the ones which are not real: limiting illusions programmed in our heads; preconceived ideas about success and failure; the fear of not being important or not being appreciated; the dread for financial insecurity… and many more.
Whatever you are running away from is probably inside of you. Stop and face your abominable beast. You might be very surprised. You might find out that it was never there. Funny, isn’t it?
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