“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.” Terri St. Cloud
This past weekend, I had the honor and pleasure of serving on team of a workshop at Harbin Hot Springs with the theme of “Loving Yourself,” taught through the Human Awareness Institute (“HAI”). I have been doing HAI workshops since 2007 and after completing a training process, now assist at workshops. Being an assistant includes facilitating small group discussions and providing support to participants among other things. It is incredibly rewarding in so many ways to be a part of helping men and women reclaim their positive self-image and a sense of empowerment!
In the course of this workshop, somebody asked the question: how many women have experienced sexual abuse (including rape). The number of hands that went up took my breath away—a tragic testament to how prolific sex abuse is in our lives. Then I asked the critical follow-up question: “How many women who have experienced sexual abuse have reclaimed empowered sexuality—and now are comfortable in their bodies, with their sexuality, and enjoy sex?”
Amazingly—beautifully—almost the same number of hands went up. What I learned is this: there are many survivors of sexual abuse who are thriving, confident and empowered sexually and in all aspects of their lives! Thus, when we have the resiliency and courage to acknowledge what was done to us, to shed residual shame and blame and to heal, we are so much stronger than the effects of sex abuse AND we become more empowered in all aspects of our lives.
This extraordinary realization reconnected me with my original goal in starting this work: I want to inspire people to reclaim their empowered sexuality so they can live passionate, juicy, connected, confident, vivacious, fun, electric, powerful and integrated lives! Our sexuality is key to our passion, creativity, vitality—our wholeness, and when it is shut down, we are shut down, hiding in plain sight, living washed-out versions of our best lives.
The way I want to inspire people is through telling the stories of those women and men who have done their sexual healing work and have reclaimed empowered sexuality, who are comfortable in their bodies—and who—without reservation—enjoy sex and positive sexuality.
I am asking for your help with this. Please broadcast this post and request to friends, family, on Facebook, wherever: I want to hear from people who have healed from sexual wounding whether the result of sexual abuse, dysfunctional cultural messaging, or harmful familial or religious messaging. I want to know what helped people heal and become sexually empowered so I can share people’ successes with others. Specifically:
· What led you to seek sexual healing? [What awareness?]
· How long did it take before you became aware of a desire to heal, and your first action?
· What personal qualities did you draw on to help along the way?
o Other traits or qualities?
· What tools/resources did you use? Some possibilities include:
o Therapy? Any particular kind?
o If you worked with a therapist, were they trained in sex therapy?
o Somatics? Brainspotting?
o Art, dance, expression, journaling?
o Self-help, books? Which ones? What was helpful?
o Body work: massage, Reiki, Breema, Watsu, other?
o Workshops? What kind? Workshop sponsor?
o Spiritual/energetic practices: Meditation/Tantra/ others?
· Of these tools/resources, which did you find most helpful? Why?
· What shifts in thinking did you have about sex through your healing process?
· Please tell me about any breakthrough moments, such as:
o When you decided to seek healing/help with healing: what was your thought process?
o On your journey, when you began thinking differently (more positively) about sex, yourself, your body?
o When you ultimately decided to reclaim your sexuality for yourself: where were you, and what were you thinking or doing?
o Are there one or two things that helped you most? What were those?
Feel free to answer any or all of these questions, focusing on what led you back to empowered sexuality. I appreciate your support in helping me inspire others to reclaim their sexuality on their own terms. You may e-mail responses to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If I use any part of your story in my book, I will honor your confidentiality, or give you credit, whichever you request.