My day began as normal. Woke early, perfect weather, out for a jog. Joined my partner in a cab downtown to a cafe for coffee and bagel. Our offices opened before most at 8am. Our staff, all thirty five of them trickled in after hangover cures or yoga or both. We were a fun office at 555 5th Avenue, NYC. It is the Jewish Law School building. My bags sat packed on the floor. Not usual Porsche Design luggage, nor my Armani overcoat. This time I was off to Nepal. Again. With a group of 14 mostly Canadians. My regular limo was booked, he was a private driver, actually a minister of the church who did limo driving part time. He was African American. I don’t know how I found him but I loved every trip, every time I went anywhere, in or out of NYC, I’d even change my flight so he could drive me. We loved our debates in the car. At the office I made a phone call to Australia and chatted to one of the people coming on the trek, Judy. Judy and I had dated until she felt fond of my son and they made a number together. She was still a good friend. Those things don’t bother me much. Judy had introduced me to a book publisher and I got a good contact and a big advance to write Innerwealth. The book was due for launch in weeks. I’d invested a huge amount in the launch with press agents and speaking events coming up. But all that was small compared to the $35mil deal we’d just struck with GM finance to fund REAL. Four of us had sunk three years work and all our wealth into this project, a global flagship store for conscious products. That’s why our office was so full of people. We’d flown most from Aussie to work on the start up. A magnificent idea to take a series of high brand merchandise plus food and learning and make a home for it in NYC. The funding was for the first store in NYC and we’d placed a $100,000 option on the premises out of our own pocket. We had people enrolled in our college for the following year and investors ready once the seed program and venture funding came through. We signed that deal two nights ago over a massive dinner at an expensive restaurant right next to the World Trade Centre. We even had a gala night where I was the MC with entertainers and the Mayor who came to celebrate what we had created in the world. When I was twelve years old I wasn’t really good at soccer, I preferred Aussie rules and let the European kids play soccer. But I got on the school team. One day in a ferocious game I tried to kick the ball back over my head. The guy opposite me was thirteen at the time, and he wanted nothing else but to be a great soccer player. But he was so determined in his pursuit he didn’t see my leg come up to kick the ball and I smashed his testicles by mistake. I kicked up right between his legs at full force. He went down the ground screaming. He was taken home accompanied his parents and came back to school the next week all fixed. But about six months later he didn’t come back to school. He died. I remember finding out and hating myself so much. No one ever linked my kick to his balls and his death, but I did. I’d never hurt anyone before that. I used to collect crickets for biology projects and I was always so careful not to hurt them. I dug up worms for Dad to go fishing and didn’t want to break them so dug really carefully. I could never put a worm on a hook let alone kill this kid with a ball kick. Hurting someone was so devastating. What bought this back to memory was the next 30 seconds in NYC. A plane flew over the office, really low, I looked up and admired the pattern of rivets under the wings. I saw the bolts that hold things on to the plane and small signs for the maintenance people to avoid opening. It was arms reach away. Wow. Then I thought. What’s the problem. Why is a plane flying down 5th Avenue. I watched. I was holding the phone in one hand talking to Judy and a camera in the other getting it ready for Nepal. I spoke to Judy describing the plane fy into the World Trade Centre. It disappeared. Gone in like a car into a roller door garage. Some black smoke came out. I wasn’t very good at describing it. She found nothing but mixed messages. But I kept on speaking sort of to myself. “there’s a plane just flew into the building” nobody would believe in their life they would say those words except maybe for a movie. Not in Manhattan either. I often look back and take myself into the mind lab and put my thoughts under a microscope. Would I do what did if I did it again? And again. Until I ask myself about that soccer game. If I don’t have answers I eventually become the world’s leading self hating individual. People always ask me if there was anything more I could do. I say yes. It’s easy to look back and not try to kick the ball over my head without checking if someone is there. On that day in NYC my job mainly consisted of being helpless. I felt so helpless because there were millions of people rushing about and I could only be one pair of hands. My love and my thoughts seemed so pathetic. Weeks later my book published and I was so embarrassed when the advertisements came in the papers. Amongst all the mayhem something so irrelevant, my book. I couldn’t stop the ads. I wrote so much for that book that I always fell asleep to the sound of my own fingers on the keyboard. If you look at the arc of my work, it’s clear that my true passion was helping people not get hurt. And here I was. I loved to collect and synthesise information. Preventing hurt was now just an empty darkness. And I slipped into that world. I’m not sure how much self-examination extended to my own emotions. I never talked about feelings in my house. I was the teacher. So when my business in NYC shut a month after the WTC, our house burnt to the ground in Sydney and took our last dollar, and our relationship ended, finally I had no option but to talk about my feelings again. Or die sad. Living back in Sydney trying to put the pieces of my situation together I was surprised to receive a letter from my dad. He said that he loved me. And that he felt like the worst father ever, because when the buildings collapsed in NYC he thought I was dead and that made him realise his feelings he’d never shared. That’s not at all how I viewed him. But clearly it was a belief that he’d been living with. It was the first time he’d ever been vulnerable with me. Dad suffered another heart attack not long after that, he survived. And it’s been really hard. Because ever since he’d written that letter, he closed up again. I wanted his last years on earth to become best friends with him. But no. We didn’t talk about those NYC events anymore. He was not sharing his feelings. It wasn’t perfect. He wouldn’t even admit writing the letter. he’d say “I must have been drunk” – my eyes would get spotty. But Dad was beginning to pack up his mind to leave this earth and he wanted to leave on his own terms. He called our relationship “a can of worms” – I understood that sadness, those dark emotions aren’t just an inconvenience that get in the way of truth. They have a life of their own. They’re part of the fullness of life. They’re what make us different than terrorists. I remember the year after the WTC when Dad shut down and his letter forced me to let go of my sadness. I saw how Dad feared it and therefore lived with it locked inside him. Dad eventually passed away sad. He’d been sad all his life. It motivated him somehow. And finally killed him. Now, I refuse to hold onto it. I’ve got a few expressions I use to help me deal with those “soccer kicks” I’ve given people and wish I had done better, “it is what it is” that’s one of them. I know if I lived my life over again, there are some things I couldn’t change, like the WTC or the soccer kick. But the thing I would change is to throw every moment of sadness at a wall, examine it, find the teaching and celebrate it. In that way love and sadness for me have grown much closer. to each other. It’s like eating dinner together at a seaside restaurant. I remember sadness came to me after this decision and I said to my sadness: welcome, I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m feeling sad about lately and I’ve found it thanks to you, so, I’ve now decided to let it go and feel the love. Like be happy.’ It was the first time that I’d ever welcomed sadness as a teacher, and sadness became a friend who dropped in once in a while to bring me a gift. It’s a friend that grows me.”