Making Difficult Decisions

The word ‘decide’ has the same root as ‘homicide’, and means ‘to kill or cut off.’ This post is about deciding what must die a painful death to allow something else to come to life.

Growing up, there was a strong theme of medicine in our family. My dad was keen for us to become doctors and my mum was into natural remedies.

My sister became a doctor and I became medical researcher. In January 2012, our dad died of motor neurone disease, after a year and a half of unrelenting advance.

One of the last things he said to me was, “I still believe you’re going to save me.” I discovered only much later that he’d said the same thing to my sister.

I’ve always been inclined towards ‘cleverness’ - for better or worse. One year after his death, I started presenting a new model of healthcare to audiences of health professionals.

This progressed into a venture called Rethink Medicine - through which I would engage with ‘patients, practitioners and policymakers’ to unlock the ‘global health crisis.’

I invested thousands on web development from my dad’s inheritance. I had discovered my mission in life and communicated it fervently with all who would listen.

I even plugged it into a personal mission statement, “My mission is to catalyse the evolution of health by stepping into my capacity for vision.”

However, on a recent training weekend, I was doing some intense shadow work around the inquiry of “What is the story that you’ve been buying into?”

I crouched in the rain. Waiting for an answer. Breathing. Descending. There was resistance. It was something I was emotionally and financially invested in keeping unconscious.

And then the unconscious story emerged, “I have to save the world all by myself or I will cause the death of the people I love.”

It confirmed to me the mounting sense that my venture to transform healthcare had been, not a choice, but a reaction to feeling responsible for my dad’s death.

Through ceremonial ritual, I destroyed the old story and ushered in a new story, “I’m only here to be myself” and with that a new mission to “create a wholehearted world by being my truth and inspiring others to do the same.”

It is now time to make the painful but liberating decision, to kill the innocent puppet of my old story. I cut off its life, retracting three years of hope, optimism, conviction and identity.

As its eyes fade, there is the fleeting alarm that I have deeply betrayed a part of myself. Then comes a wave of tremendous grief. And in the clearing I find peace and new life.