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Survivors of childhood sexual abuse often feel tremendous resistance to stepping onto the path of active healing. The dragons of our experience feel too large and overwhelming even when we are told we will find incredible, empowering, joy-filled, peaceful days on the other side of healing.

While I fully embrace each survivor’s choices with an open heart, I want to keep shining the light on the tremendous rewards found in healing journeys. This week, I was reminded of these gifts when another dragon came roaring out of nowhere.

It swooped into a dream that had all the signs of a fragmented memory. I woke up thinking, “I used my voice! I used my voice!” Oh, that was a glorious first, but I was also stunned because this was not my primary abuser. I was being shown another pond of slime in a landscape I thought I knew.

This memory came at a time when I was facing a big choice. One path would take me back toward the comfortable and familiar. The other one would challenge my strong beliefs about what I couldn’t have / didn’t deserve. With this decision haunting me, I chose to set aside the memory. It came back the next morning when I woke up in a dizzy, adrenalized state.

While my thoughts and feelings encouraged me to ignore the messenger, by body was urging me toward insight. The moment I actively chose to follow the clues being offered, the answer about which path to take became clear. The choice felt good and strong… I am going to embrace the challenging opportunity, the one that will open doors.

I haven’t completed my journey with this new memory, but it has already given me an empowering gift. That is always true in our healing process; we are offered treasures along the way. Without knowing the details, I already know this past experience is linked to ways I have held myself back. If the memory hadn’t nudged me, if I hadn’t listened and responded, my abuse would have been the force behind my decision. I would have chosen the safe path… and missed a chance to grow my life in a way that will celebrate my spirit.