On September 4, 2011, Hazlerig learned that his office in the Alum Creek Center on Way Station Trail had burned to the ground. He lost thousands of dollars worth of hypnosis books, a special zero-gravity relaxation chair for clients, and all his client records. He also lost various awards and certificates, antique furniture, a light and sound machine worth over $1,500, and a number of keepsakes from his other career as a musician.
With no clients to see—and nowhere to see them—Hazlerig went to the evacuation shelters and spent hours giving free concerts to soothe the other evacuees. He also donated free stress-relief hypnosis sessions to firefighters and other first responders.
Within days of losing his business, and everything in it, Hazlerig started to rebuild his practice with help from an unlikely source—HypnoThoughts.com. The social network for hypnotherapists and stage hypnotists rallied around Hazlerig, one of the site’s top contributors. When Kevin Cole, a fellow member in Las Vegas, heard that Hazlerig's office had burned down, Cole launched a fundraiser on the site to help the Bastrop County resident get back in business.
Members of HypnoThoughts donated roughly $1,000 in cash, a number of books, DVDs, and other reference works including a new copy of Heart of the Mind. All told, Hazlerig received donations from throughout the U.S., plus Australia, Aruba, Hong Kong, Israel, and the U.K. “I also received a whole stack of books and training materials by Richard Nongard, a hypnotherapist in Tulsa,” said Hazlerig. Nongard donated the services of his web designer, who created http://www.HypnosisAustin.com for Hazlerig free of charge. Kathleen Hanover, a public relations consultant, donated a press release and distribution.
“Michael Yapko sent me an autographed copy of his seminal book, Trancework, plus a DVD,” says Hazlerig. “Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas sent me a copy of Ormond McGill’s Hypnotherapy Encyclopedia;
“Most of these are people I’ve never met in person,” says Hazlerig. “You know, I’m finally to the point that I can talk about it without bursting into tears. Every time someone did something that kind, I literally cried in amazement.”
That wasn’t all. The Photosonix company sent Hazlerig a light and sound machine to replace the one he had lost. Locally, former clients brought him a fountain, a salt lamp, and a Scentsy burner. Furniture stores gave him discounts, and Cherry Blossoms Spa allowed him to use their space until he could get his office up and running.
"During the fire and its aftermath, every time I thought about the loss, I just felt numb,” Hazlerig continued. “The worst moment was when I thought about re-reading a chapter on grief so that I could be ready to help fire victims--and I realized that chapter was in a book that burned up in my office. But every time someone showed kindness to me, tears welled up in my eyes. I'm very fortunate to be in such a giving profession and to live in such a generous community."
Hazlerig rebuilt his business by starting a new office in north Austin—a long way from any forest fires.
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