9/11 is a day that holds a lot of meaning and emotion for me. I'm not sure I can clearly explain why. But I think it’s worth giving it a try.
Maybe it's because I live downtown in NYC and see the Freedom Tower every single day.
Maybe it’s because the Freedom Tower has become an important and inspiring figure in my life.
Maybe it's because I was working in a psychiatric emergency room on the morning of September 11, 2001 and after the planes hit the towers we were preparing to convert all our psychiatric units into medical units to quickly accommodate all the injured people. And then we realized there were no bodies coming.
Maybe it's because I was chosen to work in collaboration with the FBI, providing grief counseling to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11.
Maybe it's because my girlfriend and I made tons of brown bag lunches the following morning and hand delivered them to the relief workers at ground zero.
Maybe it's because I've struggled my entire life to give myself permission to feel deserving of who I've always wanted to be and the lives lost on that devastating morning of 9/11 are a reminder to me that being alive is a sacred gift, a gift that is squandered when we're afraid to give voice to who we need to be.
9/11 is a powerful reminder to me that tragedy is not just about losing your life; it’s about the ways in which we de-value ourselves and what we're capable of, while we’re alive.
I found myself putting a lot of pressure on myself while I wrote this message to you today.
Because the day is so important to me I felt an urgency to share a message that you would find extremely empowering, something that would hit you deep and make you realize the urgency of letting yourself be happy, of letting yourself really love and value yourself in a way that maybe you never have.
In looking for inspiration I was led right to the source of powerful storytelling, Bruce Springsteen.
"Whenever I see Bruce Springsteen do anything, he empties the tank, every time. And the beautiful thing about this man is that he empties that tank for his family.
He empties that tank for his art. He empties that tank for his audience. And he empties it for his country. And we, on the receiving end of that gift are ourselves rejuvenated, if not redeemed."
Today could be just another day or it could be the day.
The day you decide to stop playing small, to stop trying to be liked, to stop holding yourself back, to stop giving it all away.
Today could be the day you decide to let your real self out, to empty your tank.
Because the way we pay tribute to those who have lost their lives, is by taking control of our own; of who we decide to be, of the story we decide to tell, of what we decide to create.
The world really is waiting.
And when you decide to rise and let yourself come alive, when you decide that you are worthy of everything you have dreamed, you have given us your most powerful gift, you’ve shown all the women around you that we deserve the same.