THE BLOG
08/12/2013 08:04 am ET | Updated Oct 12, 2013

Bereavement Boot Camp Week #1: "I'm Still Here"

Welcome to Week One of "Bereavement Boot Camp".

Did I just scare you?

Relax.

Let me reassure you that that this particular Boot Camp does not include barking drill sergeants and 20-mile hikes. What it does involve is you getting serious with and about you and your healing. It involves you committing to you that you are going to do one tiny thing every single day to move yourself forward and out of a place of pain.

Did you note the emphases on the words, "you" and "your"? There's a good reason for that emphasis -- you may have not put any real emphasis on you for a very long time. Guess what? The time to put yourself on your own "To-Do List" has just arrived.

Getting serious and choosing to move forward on a healing journey sounds pretty obvious doesn't it? Perhaps -- but it might surprise you to learn just how many people choose not to either start or continue moving forward from a place of grief to a place of peace. The reasons are as numerous as there are people -- guilt, fear, lack of faith in oneself, lack of deserve level,... the list goes on and on.

It might also surprise you to learn that grief recovery does not automatically mean that we are speaking only about grief recovery after a death. There are myriad kinds of losses and challenges that happen throughout our lives and regardless of the kind of loss that has touched your life, what your loss perspective is or the effect that the loss or challenge has had on you, one thing is certain... grieving a loss and overcoming challenge is essential.

However, so too is healing.

Starting today and for the next seven weeks, we are going to share Bereavement Boot Camp. You and me. Together. Each week's piece will be based upon an affirmation borne of my own particular loss experiences -- in other words, I authored and used these affirmations to move forward from the most horrendous of losses (plural) to a place of healing and peace. These articles and affirmations are designed to help you move through whatever obstacles might be holding you back from reaching the destiny that you choose to design and that you deserve. Take each weekly affirmation, print it out and put it in a place where you will have no choice but to see it every day; the more often the better. Why? It's nothing more than simple math: Affirmation equals reinforcement; reinforcement creates belief and belief is the foundation of healing.

Now the obvious question is, "So Carole, I read these articles for the next few weeks and immerse myself in affirmations and complete the weekly Boot Camp challenges... does that mean that in eight weeks, the grief and pain will be totally gone?" Of course not. My core belief has always been that no one can "guarantee" emotional healing of any kind within any set period of time. However, we can get you moving in a forward-focused direction -- and isn't forward --focused the direction in which we all want to be heading?

One note of caution: The talk may get tough along the way. You know, years ago, I had a brilliant mentor who said, "I can be good to you or I can be good for you". I choose to be good for you and that may entail taking off the velvet gloves and talking the tough talk -- which is really just code for "honesty"... and the good news is that this honesty is coming from a person who has walked a similar path to yours. If making your current comfort zone a little uncomfortable is what it takes to get you moving forward, so be it. I personally do not want to see anyone becoming comfortable in a place of grief, sorrow or emptiness. I do not want people thinking, "OK, this is it for me" (whatever your "it' is) and basically choosing to settle for... well, settling. Too many people who are grieving a loss or who are suffering through a challenge will choose to settle simply because they (a) do not know how to take the first steps forward, (b) they were doing fine for awhile and then something or someone hung them up to the point where they now feel "stuck" or (c) they are listening to the wrong people -- those with negative opinions who are exerting way too much negative influence.

So what is it that you are recovering from? The loss of a loved one? The loss of a marriage or relationship through divorce or breakup? The loss of a job? A loss of purpose? Plain old inertia? Whatever loss experience has visited you and whatever grief or challenge you may be struggling to overcome, there is a positive and healthy way through. Hang out with me for the next few weeks and let's see how we can help you start -- or continue -- your Healing Journey.

Following is your very first Boot Camp Affirmation to print out, stick to your bathroom mirror, paste to your forehead or otherwise keep in front of you as much as possible:

"I am still here. Although I have experienced a devastating, life-altering event or seemingly insurmountable challenge, it is because I am still here that automatically makes me entitled to a life of abundance -- the life that I truly want to live. I do not have to wait any specific amount of time to begin or continue my Healing Journey and I will not feel guilty over my pursuit of healing; nor will I question my right to live a life of happiness. Settling for less than the life that I choose to design for myself is not now, nor will it ever be an option".

Now is the time. Today is the day. You may have had little or no control over your loss or challenge circumstances -- but you have control now. Make up your mind right now to truly feel the entitlement that this affirmation is giving to you. Let it into your heart. Believe it. Own this thing called life. Wake up every day with this sense of entitlement -- and let no one take this most basic entitlement away from you.

BOOT CAMP CHALLENGE: Share your commitment to this very special Boot Camp with just one other person who will support you on your Healing Journey. Sharing creates accountability and it also invites the support that you will need. Plus, whether you realize it or not, you may be sharing with a person who needs this kind of boot camp just as badly as you do.

Next Monday: Bereavement Boot Camp Week #2: "My Healing Journey... is Mine".

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Carole's latest book, "Happily Even After..." has won the prestigious Books for a Better Life Award. For more information about Carole Brody Fleet and Widows Wear Stilettos, please visit www.widowswearstilettos.com

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