Guest blog by Anne Reeder Heck
Healing from trauma is a gutsy endeavor. It cannot be approached with logic, nor with expectations about a quick fix. Healing requires us to dive in, to be fully present with the discomfort and ugliness, to show compassion for ourselves, and to listen intently. This has been my life’s work.
I was raped by a stranger in 1990, at age twenty-six. After that incident, I devoted fifteen years to physical, emotional and spiritual healing. I spent years browsing libraries and later the Internet to find a true story of someone who had navigated their way to wholeness after rape—a story that could give me hope in what sometimes seemed a hopeless search.
In the early years, there were very few memoirs about rape. As time passed, more true stories of healing from trauma became available. The books that were most helpful for me were those that focused less on the trauma, and more on the subsequent healing journey, detailing the emotional and spiritual insights that led an author to a place of peace and wholeness.
Mine has been an unconventional path to healing—a path I never expected to take—one with surprising twists and turns that would eventually lead to my desired end. And perhaps healing is this way for all of us, stretching us to try new things, to listen to and act on our intuition as we navigate ever closer to our personal sense of wholeness. And along the way, we have opportunity to discover the goodness, kindness, and grace of life.
Though my journey was often challenging, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. As I tally the gifts among the hardships, I find there are many. And this embrace of all the parts—my acceptance of what I term “good” and “bad”— is what has led to my own experience of peace and wholeness.
Below are a few inspiring and hope-giving stories of healing. Perhaps you’ll find comfort and inspiration among their pages.
Nancy Venable Raine’s After Silence: Rape and My Journey Back is a beautifully written story about Raine’s experience of rape. Though difficult to read, this story served as a beacon for me. Raine’s ability to share the gross reality of her trauma and the subsequent processing of her emotional wounds helps the reader connect with the journey and experience the support and triumphs alongside the author.
Amy Scher’s This is How I Save My Life: From California to India, a True Story of Finding Everything When You Are Willing to Try Anything describes Amy’s journey to healing after being diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. Both honest and entertaining, Scher takes the reader on a healing adventure to India and beyond, sharing the interactions and awarenesses that led to her own sense of wholeness. A wonderful story of learning to nurture and care for yourself and following the still small voice that guides us to feel whole.
Edith Eger’s The Choice: Embrace the Possible is an amazing true account of surviving the Holocaust. This story teaches the reader much about courage and the power of choice, emphasizing the importance of rising above or moving beyond the challenges in our life. Wonderfully written, The Choice is a deep dive into emotions, reasoning and the powerful spirit of an exceptionally strong woman.
Anne Reeder Heck is author of A Fierce Belief in Miracles: My Journey from Rape to Healing and Wholeness, a powerful and uplifting story of determination and trust for anyone who believes in—or questions—the existence of miracles. Outside of writing, Anne is a speaker, healer and artist devoted to inspiring and guiding others to trust themselves, open to their intuitive guidance and experience the magic of life through ceremony, positive intention and a creative, curious spirit. You can learn more about her life and work and see her healing doll art at: www.anneheck.com