Santa Rosa Fire 7: Making Tough Choices

The week of the fire, I was supposed to go traveling.

I give many keynote speeches and workshops each year, and two days after the fire, I had to decide whether or not to travel to Canada to keynote a conference and teach a workshop (on the neuroscience of psychological trauma!). 

Either I could stay in Santa Rosa to deal with the million details of putting our lives back together after the fire or I could leave for Vancouver as planned. I dug deep into my heart to find the answer to my dilemma. 

The well-being of my wife, Christine, was a crucial factor. She is much more attached than I am—to people, to possessions, to home. She creates beauty, both emotional and physical, all around her. Emotionally and spiritually, Christine was bouncing back fast, bathed in the love of her children, grandchildren, and friends. I decided to go.

In retrospect, a week later, the decision to travel feels right. Teaching advanced techniques that clear anxiety, depression, and psychological trauma is my life's mission. That’s what I feel called to do, fire or no fire. Each day since I left, Christine and I have talked or texted, and she's doing great.

When I walked into the auditorium at the conference to deliver my keynote speech, the whole audience jumped to their feet and applauded. Seeing a person who’d lost their home and office less than a week before showing up and serving them meant a lot to the precious people in the audience.

We all have to make decisions about where to devote our time and energy. It’s so easy to get sucked into the vortex of our struggles and focus our consciousness there. It takes determination to maintain focus on the service we can render others and live our highest possible life purpose.

Yet every time we transcend our limitations and decide to express the highest version of ourselves, we come closer to making it reality. As we practice elevating our consciousness over and over again, we gradually start becoming that highest version of self. Eventually, we become the person we aspire to be. The life we have envisioned becomes the life we deliberately create.

I am thankful that the fire presented me with this fork in the road. It forced me to choose—between remaining hypnotized by the problems in my life and focusing on the gifts I can give in service to others.

Many of us have life challenges we have to transcend in order to do our life’s work. I celebrate you for any choice you’ve made to transcend your personal tragedies in order to serve and love others.

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