Blueprints for Healing: Emerging from Survivorship
A Resource for Domestic Violence Victims and Survivors Seeking Healing and Peace
Thank you, new friends!
I am so excited by the response I received to my first blog. Your comments were thoughtful and insightful and hopefully they reached out to someone who very much needed the encouragement that your words provided.
Together, we can become that light that illuminates a sacred space within a fellow survivor. This is what happens weekly among my class participants at the shelter. Through the power of the internet, each of us can bring our single candle and, together, we can burn brightly as a beacon of hope for those survivors who are not involved with the support of a physical group meeting. Together, we can become the light that fuels change within the metaphorical house that is the Body, Mind and Spirit Wholeness of that person seeking healing from domestic abuse –a virtual support group for our fellow survivors. Let’s do it!
Today, I would like to share some thoughts about why a victim must move beyond survivorship to the amazing state of becoming one who shall flourish—thrive and excel in the joy of a fulfilled life.
After You Leave—The Need to Flourish
Once a woman exits an abusive relationship, it is an accomplishment that justifiably gives birth to pride. You survived! You are free. But what of the rubbish you’ve stuffed inside your interior self? What are we to do with those feelings, fears, and emotions you have stashed away in darkness to be hidden from your conscious self and from everyone else? How big is your locked closet?
If we wrap the cloak of survivorship around us like a badge of honor—if we wear it as a high school athlete might wear his letter jacket to mark his achievements—we may never move beyond survivorship to our need to thrive. Yet, we need to flourish in every sense of the word.
The word “flourish” is defined as activity within a person or thing to grow or develop luxuriantly—to thrive, to prosper, achieve, or succeed. Think of building a luxuriant garden to enfold and enrich your metaphorical home
“Flourish” can also mean to make bold or grand gestures. This action is sometimes very much needed. While still in this brave survivor mode, we must reach down deep to find yet more courage, strength, and resiliency.
We must sort through the rubble of our past to identify and name out loud the hurt, the negative, the intrusion of evil into our sacred center. For only by naming our hurts by dragging them into the light can we understand how great our ability to overcome can be.
In my life, I realized that my way through pain was, simply, to actively “just push through it.” This insight did not happen overnight—it took way too many years to discover it. Even after I had found the courage to leave my abuser, even after I had escaped to safety, even after I thought I had left the control and oppressive fear behind, I was left with the patch-worked, ragged, crazy quilt of an unraveled life.
What to do? What was my path forward? Where was the compass that could lead me to peace? Baby steps, yes, baby steps were all I could attempt.
What I needed was a blueprint, a clear plan to help me reconstruct the rubble of my life and that of my children. I desperately needed to remodel the sacred space within me where my heart, my soul, my essence lay crumbled at the very foundation of my being. I had no idea that the first baby step—my returning to college—would begin the long journey of gathering the correct tools for constructing a meaningful, successful, and joy-filled life.
Most important, I found that I could build resiliency muscles, strength training for the heavy lifting to come. But I couldn’t do this alone. In desperation, I brought in my Master Architect, who is known by many names—I call him God. Others have a different name for this being, but He/She/They answers to them all.
So, today I ask you to share your first baby steps to healing.
What got you through a first day to the next? What insight helped you push forward with your first tentative “baby step” towards wholeness?
Why share? Because each year, in the United States alone, there are 10 million people who have been physically abused by an intimate partner—that’s an average of 20 people every minute! Reach out a hand to someone, who just might need to hear your bravely shared experience of healing
Until next time, peace and blessings,
Watercolor images by Sarah Detweiler, Illustrator
NCADV. (2015). Domestic violence statistics. Retrieved from www.ncadv.org
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