Sharing Your Wisdom

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Authors, without a doubt, are writing junkies. We cannot help ourselves – there is pen, there is paper, there is Us holding pen over paper.

However, when I first began my journey to being an author, I wondered about sharing some of my work through such media as blogs, articles and newsletters. I welcomed and acquired a great deal of advice from the experts on writing-do’s-&-don’ts, grammar, organizing of thoughts, outlines, marketing and ways to reach my chosen audience. I hungered for instructions, connections, tutorials (I am NOT good with these!) and finally for the elusive TIME to do it all. Always running below the surface was the most important consideration ……What is my story? what is it that I must say to fulfill my reason for writing in the first place?

I knew from the bottom of my soul that I needed to share my wisdom on a topic that had little to no voice. Surviving tragic loss. I had managed to do it, but many had not. THAT was my story. The problem arises when we have a wisdom, and we are reluctant or afraid to share it with others without being asked to. We are polite, and unsure how it would be received or even if it is wanted. This is scary to many of us, and we often find that if we don’t act on our intuition, share our wisdom, our opportunity could easily pass us by. Then, no-one benefits.

Now someone out there might want to say, “What makes any of us think that we are ‘wise’ enough to share anything? Are we an expert, an intellectual genius?” Saying, “I want to share my wisdom with you”, could sound a little egotistical, self-righteous, even pompous? Do we all know folks who spend a portion of their day letting others know how much they know, about everything? It happens. But “Sharing wisdom” to me means something quite different. If I have a knowledge that could save another human from pain, fear, anguish, loss, danger or poor health, I instantly feel what I would have to call The Need. The Need is compelling, vital, possibly life-altering. It is definitely not egotistical or self-serving. It is not promoting one’s opinion over someone else’s just because one can. Rather, it is humane, loving and compassionate. It is one reason why we exist  –  to do for others without selfishness, requirement for recognition, self-importance or personal compensation. We are truly knowledgeable about a great many things – what can we do with it to help others?

I am convinced that you have also felt The Need at various times of your life. Did you lose an opportunity or did you take it? If you had another chance in the same situation, would you have done it differently? Did you share your wisdom?

One fantastic suggestion that I learned early on from advisor, author and speaker Sandra Beckwith, (www.buildbookbuzz.com), was to create something called Tip Sheets. While tip sheets are generally used for publicity purposes, I found that the format of bulleting or numbering important items of information are profoundly helpful when I am giving thoughtful, positive suggestions to readers on how to tackle a challenging topic. Last month I used the tip sheet idea for my readers to consider 14 Random Acts of Kindness during the holidays and all year round. I have used it a number of times in my website blog (www.survivorhealing.com): Deep Breathing, What Is It You Really Need?, Everyone Looks For Happiness, But What Really Gets You There?, and Are Your Feelings of Loss Preventing You From Having a Healthy and Fully Satisfying Life?. Tip sheets for me are just one way to share my wisdom with others. They can read it and find nuggets for themselves or not. But the feedback I get from my writings is always positive, and I have learned that there is a great deal of appreciation out there when a reader takes that nugget and tries it out. Then, if the reader finds that some movement forward is made, I have shared my wisdom on a subject successfully.

For me, this technique allowed me to share without stopping someone on the street and saying, “Do you happen to need some sage advice today??” Laughable situation, but obviously we don’t intrude or force our thoughts on someone else without the proper and fortuitous conditions existing. So how do you share your wisdom? This becomes something I see as simply being in the right place at the right time, hearing the right question or observing the right situation. Perhaps a good example might assist here.

In my book on surviving loss, Let Go and Let Love, the sixth tool I talk about is, You Manifest What You Think. Basically, we are speaking about the law of attraction. A simple example of this might be: you say, “I will never find a life partner for myself”. You may think this every day and say it out loud to yourself every night before you sleep. If you constantly think and reinforce this to yourself, you are driving away all the opportunities to manifest your perfect partnership. Why? Because when that individual steps into the ideal circumstance in your life, you will never “see” them because you are already convinced that it won’t happen. Some time ago I was having a conversation with an acquaintance who had spent several years looking for the right house to acquire; in our discussion, they used every word in our language that framed the negative.

  • I can’t decide on the town to buy in because the school systems are so different.
  • I will never find the house I want because my priority list is long and specific.
  • We don’t earn enough money to find everything I want in a home.
  • I am afraid to move and then be disappointed in my choice.
  • What if the bank thinks we are a poor risk and they will not grant us a loan?
  • I envision that we find a house, then remove a wall to find hidden issues everywhere!

In 5 minutes of listening, I heard, “can’t, so different, will never, don’t earn enough, I am afraid, disappointed, poor risk, no loan, hidden issues”. Here I sat with my personal wisdom regarding law of attraction. It was an opportunity to share with this friend a way to turn their thinking around to the positive. I took the chance, shared what I know and ultimately gave my acquaintance some information by which to look at their house search in a new way. We talked over techniques for positive thinking. She decided to give her search another try utilizing a new line of attack – positive thinking! She is happy in her new home, with the right schools and a decent mortgage.

In many situations you will be well aware when sharing your wisdom is warranted. One of today’s phrases in our world is, “if you see something, say something”. These words can save lives. Toward sharing your wisdom we might say, “if you notice something, you might want to offer something that will enlighten”. Do it lovingly with no ulterior motive. Offer. Suggest. Respond. People will ultimately be drawn to you and the wisdom you possess, because this is just how the law of attraction works. Someone needs your knowledge, and there you are in the right place at the right time. Take the chance and take a step. You just may be saving someone a long walk in the wrong direction.

Blessings, Gabrielle Doucet
gabrielle@survivorhealing.com
www.survivorhealing.com

Random Acts of Kindness

smile-pexels-photo-264196As we approach the end of December, many of us are anticipating Christmas, celebrating Hanukkah, perhaps participating in other religious events, or may not have any spiritual affiliation of any kind. It often occurs to me that if we are truly observant, it doesn’t take much to be reminded of how many people have less than what they need. Some of us are experiencing more sadness than we think we can bear, stress that sincerely battles the body and emotions, or we are desperately missing loved ones that are no longer in our midst. For many folks this holiday can be difficult and lonely. As a result, we see tempers flaring, patience running short and nerves being stepped on. Watch the crowds and citizens around you – it can sometimes be a little hard to determine, but see if you can guess, who might be struggling?

Since we could never enter the hearts and minds of our fellow passengers in this life, let’s just assume from the start that everyone could use a leg up on any given day. Even you, even me.

I was standing in one of my favorite coffee shops last month, one person ahead of me. As he waited for his order we began chatting about nothing in particular, but something he said made us both laugh. I quipped, he retorted and it was all funny. He collected his coffee and pastry, said something to the clerk, turned to leave and said goodbye to me, wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. As I received my fancy latte-something-or-other and started to pay, the clerk said, “no need, the customer ahead of you paid for it already”. He was gone, no thank-you required as far as he was concerned. A perfectly executed Pay-It-Forward. It is always such a surprise.

I couldn’t help thinking about it all morning. Why does it generally take someone else sweetly blindsiding us to get us thinking about a random act of kindness? Why not do it regularly, without a reminder, without need for a thank-you or hearty recognition? As a famous footwear company once said… “Just Do It”. I say, “Do it, and Quietly Disappear”.

Here are some suggestions for how you can willingly participate in Random Acts all year long, not just during the Holidays. But beware of side effects: if you are sad and depressed, it may make you smile, even more so on the inside; if you are lonely, you just made a friend; if you are angry, it will change your attitude; if you are afraid, you get to escape before you are caught; and if you are already feeling good, you have just managed to spread the jolly germs. (Never worry, the CDC won’t care!)

  1. Smile at someone on the street and wish them a Merry Christmas. Don’t concern yourself with political correctness. They may wish you Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa! Perfect, wish them the same right back!
  2. Say thank you to someone and shake their hand, for any reason.
  3. Thank a fireman, policeman, military or veteran for their service. Wave as they drive by in their vehicles. They give us or have given us so much.
  4. Go out of your way to hold open a door for someone with a cane, walker or other disability. Do it for persons pushing child carriages, carrying a lot of packages or otherwise overloaded. Don’t forget the outside and inside doors. Stop traffic around them if necessary. Be in charge of assisting them in getting there safely.
  5. Stick American flag stickers on your mail, bill payments and other correspondence.
  6. Pick up trash or discarded litter that isn’t just on your own property.
  7. If you can afford to, give an extra gratuity to someone who has provided exceptional or hard-worked service to you. Waiters and waitresses really hustle and spread themselves thin at this time of year, often with folks who can be quite demanding.
  8. Go through those closets and remove gently used clothing that you can dispense with. Pay attention especially to warm jackets that are no longer being used. Bring them to collection points. Many organizations are gathering at this time.
  9. Volunteer for something/anything. Bring food from the pantries to shut-ins. Distribute gifts, call Wreaths Across America and find out where near you they require help in placing or removing wreaths on the stones of our fallen heroes.  wreathsacrossamerica.org
  10. Retire a loved and cared for tree ornament by sending it to a friend. Write a note that tells them how much they mean to you. Send them love and a piece of your family history.
  11. Sit and paint with a child or grandchild. Cover the table, don’t worry about the mess. Give them your time, your attention and your wisdom. Play!
  12. Buy a coffee or hot chocolate for a Salvation Army bell-ringer, a volunteer standing in the elements collecting donations of any kind or that person in the coffee line or drive-through.
  13. Send blessings and love to the person who cut you off on the highway or parking lot; anyone who is driving dangerously or speeding. Wish them safety on their journey. Smile and give them a wide berth, not a swear word.
  14. Stop during your hectic shopping or errands, relax and have a cup of tea. People watch and send good wishes and loving energy to anyone who looks like they need it.

This is the time (actually anytime is a good time!) to change our attitude through gratitude. I assure you it is a much better thing we do when we randomly give help, love, a hand or a thought to someone else without being asked or rewarded. Best sleeping aid in the cabinet!

Love and Blessings,

Gabrielle Doucet

Out of the Fast Lane

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Just recently, I went on a 3 week resting vacation with the hope that much of that time would be available to work on my new book coming out in 2018 entitled, “The Message”. This time away would allow me to be ensconced in a cozy cottage, directly on the beach, tide rolling in and out day and night, hour by mesmerizing hour. What could be better to create and to think? Dream and invent. Feet in the sand, sunrise on the left, sunset on the right. Wow, count me in!

Within hours of arriving and unpacking, I checked out all the nooks and crannies of the cabin, the deck, the porch; then I took in my surroundings and said, “Ok, now what??”

What was a busy, New England extrovert thinking when she booked 21 days in one fairly isolated place? Was I really going to sit at a table, albeit on a lovely screened-in porch overlooking the ocean, and do the author-thing??? I had to move! Walk. I had to see stuff. I had to get in my rental car and drive somewhere, grocery shop, check the sheets for cleanliness, put on make-up, wash the salt out of my hair, vacuum the sand out of the carpet that was continuously clinging to my bare feet, plan dinner, plan lunch, plan breakfast, find a really really good breakfast place to eat the day’s first meal that I might not have properly planned for yesterday.

Next, I unpacked my laptop, plugged it into the wall, found my way into the Wi-Fi network with password provided and, and, and …..?

Uh-oh, I was already in trouble. This required patience and stillness, and clearly, I was not in a patient and still place. I know that I was supposed to be, but instead, I was restless, expectant, feeling totally out of my normal environment. What was happening here? I seemed to have prepared for the escape, and I had all the props, but my head and body were doing something else.

I stood flabbergasted. Why wasn’t I teeming with thoughts and concepts, inspiration and pounding the keyboard? The clock was ticking! Ticking. TICKING!

It finally occurred to me; the answer came in a stunning question to myself:  Exactly where was this magic creativity going to come from with nearly all of my adrenaline pumped into hyper-drive from being in 3 different airports, a significant amount of air turbulence, a car rental station with waiting line and walking with tons of luggage to another parking lot, completely unfamiliar highways and roads in an unfamiliar car and a GPS not conducive to supporting my travels to some sleepy little island town in North Carolina?

I was now cut off; my knees had been clipped from beneath me, and I was left to my own devices. I had nose-dived from the fast lane of a large New England metropolis to the 2-tire track of quiet civilization in a completely different part of the country. I was unprepared for the speed bump, that was in reality a full-bore stone wall.

Example: I needed provisions, so into my trusty rental to the “bustling” grocery store with 3 check-out lanes. With my cart of “12 items or less” I moved into what should have been a quick-out, where everyone put their potential purchases onto the belt and moved like lightning to the finish line. Ahead of me was a woman with 2 things and ahead of her, capturing the soul of the cash register person, was a gentleman of about 80 plus years with absolutely nothing else on his mind but smiling and thinking of what he needed at that moment, but was not yet on the conveyor belt. Ah, a bag of ice…..over by the cooler next to the exit door. “Do you think someone could go over there and get one of those for me?” AND, cigarettes, special brand located 2 registers over. And let’s not forget to find exactly where on his person was the cash to pay for all of this. Left pocket? Um, no, not there. Shirt sleeve hidden pouch…wrong again. “By the way”, he asked the cashier, “did you happen to give me a pack of matches with those cigarettes?” “I know I left my loose cash here somewhere, just give me a minute”. Big smile.

By this time, the only other two regular check-out lanes were moving faster than we were. The woman in front of me, appeared totally unaffected by the whole scenario, since she quickly included herself into the conversation with the elderly gentleman and the cashier, and everyone was having a grand time being in the same space. My eyelids were starting to twitch.

What in the world was wrong with me? Was I the only one not seeing how long, long, long this was taking? Did I have all day??

Ok, the crazy thing is…I DID have all day. I had no-where I had to go, no-one that I had to meet, no life or death situation that required my experienced skill set. I was not negotiating paralyzing traffic or late for some meeting somewhere. I sincerely needed to rethink what was going on in my brain and body. This gentle pace I was observing was exactly what I had asked for, prayed for and specifically begged for on my journey as an author. I was bucking the system at this very moment in my first encounter with the slow-lane. I needed to remove myself from my man-made fast lane immediately, because it was obvious I was missing a major point on my personal compass. I was facing a life-lesson.

Message: I needed to S – L – O – W    D – O – W – N.  It was now my opportunity and my duty to listen to my mind (in overdrive), my body (heart and blood racing), and my emotional status (impatient, anxious and unobserving).

Wherever you are and wherever you reside, the “fast lane” can follow you in your thoughts, actions and environment. How often do we create our own busy-ness, critical activities, deadlines, worry, criticisms and fretting? We rush through the “12-or-less”, jump in our vehicle, look at our phone calls, check the time, scream into the fast lane – and hit the traffic stall. The Universe conspires to hold us back one way or another, and direct us toward a healthier pathway, but first we must listen and observe.

Some time constraints do exist in our daily routines, but how we manage through them can mean the difference between fast-lane anxiety and slow-lane relaxation and healing. When we encounter the slower pace, it is our chance to embrace it’s contribution to mindfulness. We all know about mindfulness – being in the now moment. Fast-lane solutions can frequently derail us into missing the slower-paced ideas that will enlighten, inspire and heal. We must ask ourselves, is the fast-lane process the only guidance I am following? When and where will I take the time to bring mindful thought into my day? How can I capture an observation and turn it into a healthy solution?

I left the grocery mart, smiling at my elderly gentleman friend from the cashier line, and embraced a new thought. I will start each day on my vacation with mindfulness. Then I will give gratitude for the creativity that flows from the time spent in observation and see what that delivers to my writing. Honestly, it was an eureka moment that I needed to recognize myself and share with others. One that reminds me that we needn’t be on holiday to slow the pace, be quiet and mindful. The results are irrefutable and significant. I was content to sit on the porch, laptop in front of me, waves crashing the shore and a tasty beverage by my side. No clocks for me, no ticking heard somewhere in the background or in my mind.

After three weeks on the beach, I accomplished more that I could have imaged, and still found unlimited time to explore.

What an amazing vacation!

Advance Peek At My New Book – “The Message”

letter-handwritAs many of you may know, in 2015 I published Let Go and Let Love: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, presenting 7 tools for dealing with the tragic loss experienced when a loved one takes their own life. The books’ sole mission was to assist and guide the survivors of suicide loss on their difficult journey back to joy. Suicide: a topic loaded with guilt, grief, unanswered questions and the unending stigma associated with death by one’s own hand. This is a difficult journey I have traversed myself and understand firsthand.

As I spoke with many groups about recovery from suicide loss, I discovered some very important things. There are all kinds of loss that people are trying to overcome; surviving suicide loss is just one of them. Every loss is personal and tragic to the individual experiencing it. There are no measuring sticks deciding that any one loss is less or more tragic than another. Depth and impact of loss cannot be calculated; mine is not worse or more crippling than yours, and vice versa.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to speak to countless support groups about having lost a loved one to suicide. It has been an honor and a privilege to do this work. However, intensely related losses such as being an alienated grandparent who is denied the connection and interaction with their grandchildren, individuals who have lost their freedoms, people without personal self-esteem, self-image and self-worth, folks having lost loved ones from illness, accident and addictions – these are life-altering events as well. My conclusions are that Loss is Loss.

Now it appears that my pen desires to write again. As I begin this historical fiction about loss and recovery, I am choosing to utilize all of the tools that support and propel me each day in my own journey to tell the story of one women’s struggle with self-image and self-esteem. In The Message, (while a preliminary title, it feels quite close to what it will actually be), I will take you down the road within Aubrey Cole’s deeply tragic personal loss to a place of despair and despondency and back again. This will all take place through the visitation and guidance of her long-departed great-great grandmother, born four generations prior in 1868. It will touch upon the resilience of the heart and soul in us all. Follow the heroine Aubrey as she falls from the pinnacle of achievement in her young life, then forges a monumental battle between self-destruction and true life purpose.

WATCH FOR THE MESSAGE IN 2018

More advanced teasers to come!

We welcome your comments.

Are your feelings of loss preventing you from having a healthy and fully satisfying life?

A Self-Assessment Tip Sheet

TipSheet_ThumbnailHow do we know when loss is taking over our ability to live a full life? Sometimes, WE don’t see it, but I am quite confident in saying that others usually do see it. Shouldn’t we know ourselves better than anyone else? Let’s turn on that little bulb and shine some light on the topic.

We have the face we project outward; then there is that persona that only we can see that generally resides beneath. In simple terms, that “inside person” brings with it a lot of non-verbal language, movement and facial expression that we may be completely unaware of. Are you surprised to hear this? How many times has someone you know well, or even not so well, said to you….”what’s wrong today? is something wrong? you don’t seem yourself”. Can we really hide our inner emotions and turmoil as cleverly as we think? And to take that a step further, what if tragic or significant loss is limiting our daily experience simply because we are not facing it’s impact. Even if the loss is affecting 1 day in our life, it is affecting that very day from being a day in full.

Loss that is at the heart of our discontent can do just that – show in our physical movements, our non-verbal language and our facial expressions. Actually, this is the body’s second line of defense. When we are in turmoil, sadness, confusion, anger, worry and fear, our outer bodies will begin to give clear messages as to what is going on inside. That means there is a first line of response somewhere else. That “somewhere else” would be inside the body; the heart, the blood, the lungs, the stomach and the brain. Sometimes long before we are showing our struggle on the surface where people can notice, our bodies have been doing their best to cope and put us in better balance from within, often without success. Humm, I don’t think I want that to happen, do you?

Loss happens to everyone. Loss of some kind is unavoidable for all of us. Life is imperfect. Sometimes, however, we are determined that the loss will minimally affect our daily life, regardless of the severity. Instead, we will bluster through whatever the tragedy is, bury the worry and the affect it is having, and simply carry on. As many of you may already know, my loss centers around the suicidal death of my son Drew 6 years ago. Other losses can be just as tragic and life-changing: loss of home, mobility, self-image, self-esteem, work, livelihood, job, relationship, mental stability, even personal freedom.

Having said all of that, allow me to provide some self-assessment tips for those who are suffering loss, and the journey toward recovery seems laden with speed-bumps. These tips are coming directly from my book Let Go and Let Love: Survival of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, a book that targets ways to address the desire to live each day toward a full life.

  1. Take a good look in your bathroom mirror. Try to look beyond the traditional definition of perfection, beauty, flawlessness blah. What you should look for is some radiance from within; the eyes, the corners of your mouth, your expression of softness. Are they there or are they missing? Do you look worried? Do you look unmotivated? Do you look exhausted?
  2. Consider what is rolling around your head for the days’ events or targets. Are you expectant or doubtful? Is there anticipation on your mind or avoidance and fatigue? Do you have a plan, however small, or are you avoiding the thought of moving forward?
  3. Do you engage with others willingly? Is there interest in what is going on around you or do you find that your thoughts perpetually stray to what is going on inside your own head? Is loss consuming a lot of what you think about; how it bothers you, how it seems to hurt or change your direction?
  4. Can you be happy for others’ success? Are you genuinely delighted when someone else has found or achieved something for themselves? Or do you resent what they have gained, what you do not have, and feel cheated for yourself?
  5. Are you often ill, feel “unwell”, and unwilling to push for activity? When you look in that mirror, do you see someone in good health or do you see something else?

If you are being targeted by inquiries from friends asking “what is wrong” and you actually are surprised by this; or, you suspect that those inquiries made early on have actually stopped after a reasonable period of time, try answering these 5 questions honestly. We can all feel down and out every once in a while, but it should not be a daily occurrence nor should it fully color the waking hours we face, day in and day out.  If you think that loss and the sadness that comes with it are stopping your journey to a full life, please seek the advice of a medical professional. Follow through with all that you need to do to be and feel healthy. Our losses should not be dictating how we live, nor should it interfere with finding happiness in each day. It is our God-given right to experience peace and joy. Let us never give it away to loss.

Blessings, Gabrielle

Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, CreateSpace Publishing, $12.87, paperback and ebook available now at Amazon or purchase direct from Survivor Healing.

CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet
gabrielle@survivorhealing.com

Are We Losing Sight of the Power of “law of attraction”?

joyful-quoteDoes anyone still believe that what we say and think is what we bring to ourselves? The basic philosophy of the law of attraction is just that.

If I repeatedly say and think I am a failure, will I become one?? Wow. In my world, I don’t believe in failure to begin with.  I believe in learning, and lessons and hidden opportunities behind what appears to be closed portals. So by telling myself that this action or that action will bring failure descending upon me, and I say it over and over again, I am indicating that I believe it. For me, belief brings the real things, whether I want it or not.

How does this work, you ask? Do I pull badness to myself? In Let Go and Let Love: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, I installed an entire chapter to “You Manifest What You Think”, or otherwise  known as, what you think and say is what you get. But to explain it is not quite as simple as that statement, so allow me to deliver a better understanding of the law of attraction (LOA).

Much has been written in the last decades about the LOA, but actually the principle has existed for centuries, even millennia. In ancient times, often in the teachings of Eastern philosophy, there is reference to this law. The “law” referred to here is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like”, and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. If you accept that all things and thoughts have a vibration associated with them, then matching vibrations are pulled together. Within that theory is the understanding that people and their thoughts and words both come from pure energy, and that “like energy” attracts “like energy”. So if you think positively about something important to you, (and some people do this all day long), they always seem to have a positive aura around them and good things happen frequently. We all know someone with that positive, or others with a sometimes negative, atmosphere in their personal space.

Over my front door a few years ago there was this very small bird that chose to build a nest of mud up against the brick. Every day she would haul the mud up and try to connect it to the rough brick, and as it dried it would fall off. Over and over again, day after day, I watched almost in agony, as she tirelessly made her attempt only to have it land on my porch. It seems no one told her that this could not be done, because one rainy afternoon, somewhere between a miniscule piece of grout and a section of scrappy edge, it held. Within no time she had her mud nest, and it balanced out into the air as if it was weightless. It seemed magical. I looked at it with such wonder and appreciation and felt I had learned a lesson from that tiny creature — the seemingly impossible can be done simply because you believe it will and expect it to.

Our thoughts and words have such power! I live every day as if there are no truer words than the ones I use. I chose to initiate positive thoughts and then believe those thoughts; finally I select the words to express those same thoughts. I manifest what I say because I believe it will come and I say so. And if it comes with a stiffer lesson, so be it – what I want is still on it’s way to me. Nothing’s changed. Has much of society lost it’s powerful, manifesting connection with what they think and say? I listen to the words that folks use and estimate that much of it describes lack, rather than bounty. They describe themselves, (and often point to someone else as well), too old in age to get a particular job, old enough to be managing their lives better than they are, not having enough money to obtain what they want, unhappy with their body image, missing out on a promotion, on and on. Is the negativity in our world growing? Well, if it is, then we can do something about that starting now, today.

Begin with you, the most important person in the world. Shun and discard the power you give others to make you feel inadequate about yourself and your ideas. Surround yourself with people with the same positive posture and slant on their lives that you want to have or are attempting to achieve. Today, you will pay attention to the words you use, especially about yourself and what you are doing or saying. Replace “can’t, don’t-have, never, missing, lacking, won’t” with “I can!, I have!, always!, I will!, do!”. Listen to you and make all that you describe favor the positive vision. When you hear the negative rolling around in your head, express it in the positive form. If there is something you desire, describe it fully as if it were in your hands right now. The color, size, form, happiness and emotion that it brings with it. See it coming into your world in whatever manner it takes to get it there. You have nothing to loose, except the opportunity to watch it really happen.

Blessings, Gabrielle

Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, CreateSpace Publishing, $12.87, paperback and ebook available September 2015.

CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet

gabrielle@survivorhealing.com

 

Everyone Looks for Happiness, But What Really Gets You There?

getPart-4Whenever a microphone is placed in front of someone and the question is asked, “What are you looking for in life?”, I am willing to lay down a lot of chips that the answer is usually… HAPPINESS. When you drill down, money, jobs, and things don’t seem to be the solution. These are cushions, diversions and momentary flashes, but they are not the big score. Looking at the facts, how may of the huge lottery winners in recent history have grabbed that ticket and found happiness right along with it? Often what scrambles along behind that winning is something scary, complicated and temporary. Being happy is what we all want right; so are you happy? Does your happy come in an envelope with numbers attached to it, a bank statement, a shiny vehicle, a corner office? Are you waiting for someone to appear at your front door and deliver Happy to you?

I know what makes me happy now. It is defined by and for ME only. And what a hard and terrible lesson this was, as it turns out. When my son Drew took his own life, he had a handsome bank statement, a shiny vehicle and a corner office. It clearly did not bring Happy with it or Drew would still be on earth making me laugh. Are you struggling with trying to attain happiness in the middle of wealth or sadness or fear? If so, maybe I have some thoughts that will help you on your journey toward the real thing.

In my book, Let Go and Let Love: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, I introduce the first, and probably the most substantial of the tools for healing from loss. Intention. An Intention is a simple statement that captures in words what you would like to have, become, achieve or be, in any given situation or condition that you find yourself. It surrounds a positive desire that you are working on and have not yet worked out. It involves your thoughts, emotional input and mindset, not your muscles. To set your Intention, you have to ask yourself some truly serious questions and then accept the honest answers your heart provides.

If you said, “I would like to have a true life partner that desires the same environment and surroundings that I do, and loves me unconditionally”, you are basically setting a standard for your personal happiness. It doesn’t require glossing it up, making it shiny with stuff or positioning of any kind. With this simple statement, you declare what you want to have, become, achieve or be. Most crucial to Intention is this; you are making a commitment, a contract with yourself to settle for nothing less than what you desire. You put your eyes on the outcome and believe in the pure achievement of it. Believe. Unshakable belief. The Universe hears you and that brings you the Happy.

It is no different when reaching for the heights of Happy in the face of tragic loss. In my life, I had to make small positive Intentions following the loss of Drew. Because perceived guilt was my first and most difficult challenge, I set the Intention of becoming happy by being guilt-free for life, but I began with one day at a time. Often it narrowed to hours at a time, but when I achieved hours, I stretched them into days, weeks, months. Every positive score made me a winner. I only made those choices that lighted my path toward Happy. Positive Intention, Vision, Belief, Achieve, Celebrate. Then repeat.

Here are some simple steps to setting an Intention for yourself:

  1. Identify an issue that you see as a trigger and want to change for the positive. Let’s use the life-partner issue from earlier. (example: I have not met anyone who loves me unconditionally and shares my life choices. I am stuck.)
  2. Verbalize your feelings around this issue and state clearly how it relates to you.  (example: I run in the same people circles and activities without expanding my associations with people. I never seem to meet anyone new and different.)
  3. Formulate the response exactly as you would like it to be.  (example: I am going to change how I conduct my activities and explore the possibility of meeting new people in my life.)
  4. Follow through your ideas with actual change. See yourself making the change with conviction and decision-making. (example: I will make appointments and plans surrounding new and different activities and locations that only I enjoy. I will put aside worries and fears involving the unknown. I will follow my intuition.)
  5. Celebrate your success. Any success, no matter how small. (example: I met 3 new people who enjoyed being with me. We shared common ideas and philosophies. It feels different than anything I have done so far, but I feel good about my progress!)

Intention can get you through the next challenging moment or challenging year. It is your lighted pathway; small steps will always lead to bigger ones. Identifying the triggers that make you UN-happy and setting a positive goal for rising above them will inevitably bring the thing you want the most. Now that’s something you can take to the bank.

Blessings, Gabrielle

Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, CreateSpace Publishing, $12.87, paperback and ebook available September 2015.

CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet

gabrielle@survivorhealing.com

Personal Loss Should Never Have A Pain Rating

lotusLast September, 2015, when my book Let Go and Let Love: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook was published, I was a little unprepared for one of the prominent comments regarding Loss as it related to my book, where suicide loss was the predominant topic. Mind you, it was a positive and enlightening barrage, but surprising in that it was not something I had ever considered. It was this: Loss is loss, and no matter what the origin of the loss, the book’s tools worked for anyone who had sustained personal tragedy of any kind.

My audience had expanded exponentially right before my eyes, and I didn’t even realize it was taking place.

From that moment on, I found a whole new set of terms to be used when I spoke to people and groups about Survivors of Suicide Loss and other losses as well. What are some of these other losses?

  • loss of self-esteem,
  • loss of a friendship or partner you thought would last a lifetime,
  • loss of job or livelihood,
  • loss of health, both acute or chronic,
  • loss of domicile or home,
  • loss of stable mental health,
  • loss of a loved one through accidental death or illness,
  • loss of mobility,
  • loss of independence,
  • loss of youth,
  • loss of memory, on and on.

Who is competent or knowledgeable enough to even think about putting a measuring stick to any pain that someone experiences? My loss is worse than yours? Your tragedy is more intense than mine? I would never do it. I once met a man whose entire world consisted of his job and his two German shepherd dogs. He had no other family near him, or family who included him in their lives. When both beloved dogs died within a short period of time from each other, he was so depressed and lonely, he lost the will to live.

After digesting much of these post-publication discussions, I truly felt the connection between the loss of my son and the many forms of loss that thousands of other people traverse through. As an example, I had one member of the audience come up to me after I finished speaking and say, “I know my loss cannot compare to you losing your son to suicide, but….” I took her hands in mine, looked into her eyes and said that “every loss is personal and deeply internalized to the person experiencing it – there is no measuring stick capable of indicating whose is more painful. It is all tragic.”.  Thus; Personal loss should never have a Pain Rating.

Another measuring stick that is often imposed on the grieving person is: How long is the right amount of time that they should grieve? At my last speaking engagement, an older gentleman asked a question for the group to hear. It followed a discussion surrounding when I decided to write about my experience as a survivor of suicide loss. The question was, “how long was it before you decided to step up and use the tools that would help bring you out of the dark hole of sadness?”. This was a little tricky and my pause was a little longer than usual, but here is (paraphrasing) what I said. The timeline for sadness will probably never end. It is when sadness inhibits you from re-entering and participating in the world of your functioning life that you need to be aware and alert. Sadness is not a bad thing – we are human and we are alive with emotion. Frankly, I will experience sadness with my loss until my last breath. My personal measuring stick for each bout of sadness is that it doesn’t last any longer than it takes to have a happy memory move right up into its place. Setting a timer for how long the sadness hangs in there is something that each one of us can set for ourselves, but I do believe we should set it. The big kahuna is when sadness interferes with getting up, getting out and getting on. My actual answer to this gentleman’s question was somewhere about a year and a half. Interestingly, he and his wife were at the 1 1/2 year mark. He was ready, his wife not quite so much. There is no marker that is good for all.

Finally, please do not let anyone tell you when it is time to get on with “things”. Those that do are probably wanting to make their life more comfortable around you. The critical point to make is that if you are concerned about your mental and physical situation, you should consult your primary care provider and ask them how you are doing? Paralysis or depression in the place of daily life is not a good spot to stay in. A healthy life includes smiling, laughing, socializing, loving, sleeping, creating, adjusting, and yes, being sad. It is not so much about how many weeks and months that it takes to get there, but rather that you are indeed taking steps and making change to get there. THAT is what you measure.

Blessings, Gabrielle

Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, CreateSpace Publishing, $12.87, paperback and ebook available September 2015.

CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet

gabrielle@survivorhealing.com

Who is The Most Important Person in the World?

Cape Beach SunsetWhen I am talking to a group of people having anything to do with my passion – Survivor Healing after (Suicide) Loss – I will eventually ask the question: “Who is the most important person in the world?” I just wish you could see the looks of my audience as they stare back at me, for what seems like a full minute. Perhaps they don’t really know where I am going with this question, OR, they are not sure what answer I am looking for. Honestly, it isn’t a trick inquiry. I really want to know who that person is, from their perspective. Maybe, since I am making a big deal of it here you are already guessing the answer. YOU are. YOU are the most important person in the world. But then that would mean that My answer is ME – I am the most important person in the world. I am indeed.

In the realm of rankles and irritations, following this question, this is where you will give me every reason why a hundred (or hundreds) of others outrank you when you measure your importance. I will however, stick to what I believe are the facts. If “we” are not the most important person in our world, if we are not placing ourselves first in every category of life, we are probably treading down a long and arduous path that skirts the achievement or healing of anything having to do with us. Let me tell you a true story to prove my point.

Many years ago, my husband was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) and was slowly losing the battle of muscular control over everything in his body; bladder, speech, movement of limbs, vision, swallowing and more. We took each day at its face value, but continually lost ground with the simple tasks of daily living or managing the impact of this disease. Because I was the primary caregiver, I willingly took on gigantic tasks that pushed my body to the limit. All this took place while carrying on a full-time profession and maintaining a home. This was no-one’s fault – none of us wanted or expected this – it just was. I watched My Healthy Self systematically deteriorate as the months and years went by. By virtue of the need for safety, care and nurturing of my loved one, I became last. I was not the most important person in the world – my husband was. And like him, I had a mountainous loss of my independence, health, mental stability and joy. I began to lose something even more vital to survival – my independence and my self-worth. When any friends or family called or spoke with me, the first question out of their mouth was, “How is he?” Never, “how are you?” I don’t blame them, it’s just that I became a means to an end.

On one of the evenings that the visiting nurses were preparing my husband for bed, the RN in charge took me aside to a quiet part of my house, saying, “I want to tell you a true story of one of my other patients. An elderly couple was living with disease such as the one you are familiar with. The wife, who was 70 years of age, did everything for her husband who was unable to care for himself. She moved him from bed to chair, fed him, washed and bathed him in the tub, prepared him for bed and made sure he received all of his medications. One night, they were suddenly faced with a crisis. Her husband had taken a terrible turn for the worse with high fever and decreased ability to respond. An ambulance was called and he was rushed to their local hospital emergency department. His wife followed the ambulance in her car and met them there, along with the physicians and nurses that would care for him. After a short while, it was determined that her husband would be admitted and he was taken to a room on the medical floor. As she joined him in his room, and found him to be resting comfortably, she stood next to him and took his hand in hers. At that very moment, she collapsed and died at his bedside.”

I looked at this nurse, completely perplexed, and asked her honestly – why would you tell me such a horrible story? I can see no happy ending here, anywhere. The nurse replied, “if you don’t make yourself the most important person in the world, this might be you dropping at his bedside as well. I see your needs going unmet and the estimate of your self-worth being pushed aside”.

This became my moment of truth. I wasn’t eating properly, lost sleep every night, I had physically exhausted my muscles and bones by lifting and moving objects far too heavy for me and worried about everything. My personal loss factor was at an all-time high, the future seemed bleak and yet I pushed on moment to moment without stopping to see the damage I was doing to me. I was fast becoming useless to both my husband’s care and myself as a human body with needs of its own. The losses were onerous to both of us.

Loss. There was plenty of it to go around.

He had lost his muscles, ability to walk, ability to apply his professional training, independence, self-esteem, opportunity to help his family in simple daily ways, well-being, sense of happiness and even bathroom privileges. Yet every day he woke up with a smile. I had lost my opportunity to be taken care of, evade moving 2 tons of snow by hand, have a conversation without discussing MS or physical symptoms, park my car in a convenient location, have dinner waiting for me when I came home from work, get a hug in a standing position, do an errand without a day’s planning, have someone bring me a simple glass of water, and ultimately a great chunk of my identity.

So right up until that moment that the visiting nurse took the rug out from under me, I did what many, (or most) of us who experience severe loss would do; I inadvertently embraced yet one more loss – my right to choice. Somewhere along the way I forgot that I was the most important person in the world. I pretty much give away my options, rather than clinging to them and giving them the precious, righteous   acknowledgment that they are.  However, through confrontation and examination of my current state of mind, I finally realized that choices never can be taken away; I could restore my ability to select the abundant pathway, re-discover that good health, happiness and freedom is right in front of me through choices that are right there with me all the time. This didn’t mean that I loved someone else less. It means that I loved myself enough to take care of my mind, body and spirit as it was meant to be cared for.

Restoring our use of options. How do we do that?

We awake each day and ask our glorious self the following question: “What do I need today?” Be honest about the answer. Then – set about meeting that need, whatever it may be. Ask for help, utilize whatever resources you have acquired, find new ones that get you where you need to go or be. Claim it, demand it for yourself by any means possible. You are the most important person in the world and this is your birthright. I am not suggesting your forgo your responsibilities to others, I am stating outright that you will be healthier, more at peace, and feeding the mind-body-spirit of your personal temple if you go the distance for and with YOU in the front of everything. What is good for you today? What will perfectly meet your goals today? What do you want today? Then, and only then, can you truly meet the needs of someone, anyone else!

Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, CreateSpace Publishing, $12.87, paperback and ebook available September 2015.

CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet

gabrielle@survivorhealing.com