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Healing feels, looks, and is experienced in so many different ways. Coming to terms with my experience of sexual violence began with a journey that empowered me to speak my truth, to live into the words that kept my mind imprisoned. Sharing my story began to empower others to do the same while simultaneously igniting a fire that led to a path of creating change.  I was and continue to be fueled by a desire to make sure that others do not have similar experiences to myself. Activism helped me heal for a short period of time. It was not until I underwent my third hip surgery that I truly began to understand and acknowledge the complexities of healing. My third hip surgery ended my bowling career, which forced me to acknowledge how deeply I had been affected by sexual violence.

To heal from sexual violence is to surrender our control, yet again, to the unknown aspects of our true divine and inner natures.  It is to allow our divine selves to pull us out of the shower many survivors have found themselves in after experiencing sexual violence. Surrendering to this nature alleviates the torture of that endless shower, the countless night terrors, and the hyper-awareness of threatening energy around us.

I have since realized that healing is a journey that is shaped by our growth in to our divine selves.  Healing is a journey of redemption, reclamation, and re-embodiment that requires us to face our fears, pains, and sufferings head on so that we may grow fully into our un-breakable, ego-less, and full of love divine selves.  Healing is not about pushing away from the experiences that we have had in an attempt to wrestle with the unsettling nature of questions that allow our traumas to firmly grip our divine selves: “Why did this happen to me? Where were you, God? How am I supposed to keep going?”

I found my self in spirituality.

I allowed my self to fall away as I journey into the unknown and limitless energy that is the divine.

I opened my heart to experience my true nature; the true essence at the heart of all things; the oneness that exceeds and expands all consciousness and physical experience.

Language falls short of how I have come to experience true healing. Where spirituality ends theology begins. My quest to find the words that best encapsulate and describe my healing journey and divine love of self has not been easy.  However, re-claiming my divine self and stripping away the ego of my physical self has loosened the noose of my traumas that have continued to render me silent and breathless.

Healing requires the stripping away of all we know in this body.  One must open ones self up to fully experiencing one’s divine nature and accepting the impermanence of our stages of grief.  Planting our roots deep within our selves gives our divine selves permission to blossom within and into the divine nature present in all things.

We can never forget the experiences that change our life: good, bad, or indifferent. I will never be able to end all sexual violence. However, I will be able to help others re-claim, re-embody, and recognize their true selves.

Our bodies will often remind us of the aspects of our lives that we attempt to forget. Take the time to acknowledge where you have come from and where you are. Live in the present moment in such a way that allows your divine love to flow into the world.

Don’t rush your healing journey for it will come and go as the finding and exploration of your divine self comes and goes.

The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.


Sarah O'Brien

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