Creating a New Life

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Do you want to know how to create a new life after combat trauma?

The first step in creating a new life is to let go of the old life. It is especially important when the trauma of the old life has prevented reintegration into civilian life.  So, learning how to let go of combat life is the first lesson for you.  We must let go of the old to make room for the new.

How to let go of combat life.

  • First, honor the process of combat life, all the good and all the bad. A support person or group can aid with this process. See RESOURCES for support groups or RELEASE EXERCISES to find a letting-go process.
  • Second, honor the experience of military life, the missions of the military, the successes and failures of the military. Again, return to RELEASE EXERCISES for this process if you need help with honoring.
  • Third, honor your personal process in the military and in combat and know you did the best you could.  Here you want to create a list of unfinished business from your combat/military experience. This is a very important process, for it might bring up vast amounts of unpleasant stuff from your subconscious. Spend time with each item on the list, as much time as you need. Then return to the Release exercises to let go of the feelings created by the unfinished business. After letting go of the feelings create your own ceremony to honor your service: I did the best I could and accept and honor myself for my service. 
  • Create a symbol of the most positive aspect of your military combat experience: For example, comrades in arms; the most satisfying mission accomplished; a favorite song.
  • Write a letter reflecting on your overall military experience. A way to start is to think of a person you want to share your experience with (even though you are not necessarily going to sent the letter): You might choose to write a letter to a young person (maybe someone you know or an imaginary person that represents a young person) contemplating the military as a place of service. List the pros and cons and your final recommendation.  Writing the letter is the exercise.  There is no need to send it.  In fact as part of the release process you may want to burn the letter.
  • Create a special ceremony to honor and then to release the combat/military experience. You may ask your military buddies or your family to participate. Or you may go into the woods with your letter and find a special spot to bury it. Or you may find a stream and allow the letter to drift away. Or you may decide to burn it. All with a final salute.
  • Part of the healing is giving back. It is very powerful to offer time to an organization that supports the military, military families, or one that supports your heart’s desire.
  • Those veterans who complete The Veterans Program of The Merritt Center have an opportunity to continue healing by returning to the Program as a Vet Mentor to stand by a veteran new to the Program.

Do you want to know how you create a new life?

  • First, allow yourself to dream of what a new life would look like, feel like and be like with your favorite work, possessions, people and places.
  • Pretend you have a magic wand or that you are a super human hero and have power to create any dream. Then decide what you would do if you had that power. Write it down and then create an affirmation for that dream. An affirmation is a statement that the dream has come true; has manifested. For example: My dream is to be a mentor to veterans in Arizona. My affirmation: I am a mentor to veterans in Arizona.
  • Then create a statement of the first realistic action step needed to begin this journey to create your dream. (I will contact the Vet Center to see if I can mentor a veteran.) Commit to the statement. Feel your personal intention to complete that action, and commit to do it by a certain date.
  • Over time, go back to the dream stage and create the next part of your dream, the magic wand, the affirmation, the first action, commitment and intention. Watch each step unfold and watch unexpected help show up.
  • As the dream begins to come true, it is important to express gratitude. As in some religions you may burn a candle with the prayer and feeling of thanks for the gifts received. Or you may create and keep a gratitude journal, a notebook in which you list all the things you are thankful for in your daily life. Gratitude journals have a magic ability to draw in more to be grateful for. . . .

Do you want to know how you can change your life?

If you want to change something in your life that is not working, it is important to understand the beliefs that are preventing you from having the life you want. There is a powerful workbook, Empowerment, by Dave Gershon and Gail Straub, that provides a road map to changing your life. They share that the key beliefs to look at are:

  • Do you believe that you are responsible for your life?
  • Do you believe that you esteem yourself?
  • Do you believe that you trust a loving, benevolent being outside of yourself?
  • Do you believe that a positive attitude means you see life as challenges and opportunities to learn and grow instead of problems to be solved?
  • Do you believe you can flow with changes?

If you do not believe one or more of the above beliefs you may notice that what you do believe has become a block limiting or disabling you from creating your dream. Once you look at the beliefs that block your dream from becoming reality acknowledge each of the blocks and then create the new belief to replace the block. Then take a look at whether your new belief is realistic and achievable. 

The Empowerment workbook suggests you look at what is the first realistic and achievable step toward your dream. This is called finding your growing edge. It is the place that is on the edge of discomfort but not over the edge impossible to achieve. If you are a surfer you would know that you want to find the place on a wave that has the energy of the crest to move forward, and you would avoid the place before the crest where there is no energy to move you forward or over the edge that crashes wildly. The goal is to catch the energy of a wave to move forward without crashing.

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