By Ellen Brown
Years, ago, when I was healing from child sexual abuse, I found it SO important to be around people (and books and movies) who could inspire me, as I traveled the journey from victim to survivor (ultimately becoming a thriver). Because navigating that transition could be grueling, and sometimes, I’d wonder whether I’d make it through the darkness and into the light. But when I met other survivors and read books about people who had traveled similar paths, I felt hopeful that I, too, would heal.
Back then, one of the people who inspired me the most was my therapist, Susan, who became a counselor, after transcending her own abuse. While she never talked about what had happened to her (thank goodness!), it gave me great strength to know that she had healed and been able to help other survivors like me. She had made it through the storm, and that gave me great hope. Because if she made it through the storm, then maybe I could too!
During that time, I also read a number of inspirational books by survivors who had overcome abuse, as well as the proverbial bible for survivors of child sexual abuse: The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. That book, which was an emblem of hope and healing for me, offered a plethora of healing exercises, as well as numerous examples of people who had overcome their abuse. The authors, themselves, who are both survivors, were also a great source of inspiration. Though I never met them, I felt inexplicably connected with them, as I made my way through their 600-page tome. Sometimes, it seemed as though they were right there beside me, cheering me on, saying “you can do it, girlfriend: keep going. Don’t let anyone stop you.”
At that time, there were only a couple of websites you could visit to commiserate with other survivors, but today there are tons of online resources for people dealing with abuse and any other transition imaginable.
Today, as a coach, I encourage my clients to seek out an extra dose of inspiration, whether they are healing from child sexual abuse, dealing with the loss of a loved one, or navigating any other challenging life transition. While I certainly provide them with plenty of encouragement, as their coach, I believe there’s no such thing as too much inspiration!
Below is a short list of inspirational resources (listed by transitions) I often recommend to clients who are dealing with difficult transitions. But please don’t be limited by this list. Explore the Internet and your local library and bookstores to find some resources that resonate with you.
Transcending Childhood Abuse
The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, By Laura Davis and Ellen Bass. (See description above).
I Never Told Anyone: Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse– Featuring a number of moving testimonies by survivors of child sexual abuse—edited by Ellen Bass, co-author of The Courage to Heal.
Freedom’s Just Another Word, By Dan L. Hays – An inspiring memoir, set in Houston, Texas in 1987, about healing, hope, and forgiveness in the wake of hismemories of childhood abuse.
Minute to Freedom: http://www.radiokevin.com/minutetofreedom.htm – One minute audio segments by author and speaker Dan L. Hays that help people transcend their difficult childhoods, one minute at a time.
Dealing with Illness and Healing
Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, By Matthew Sanford – An inspiring story about hope and healing that chronicles the journey of Matthew Sanford — from when he awakens in the intensive care unit of a hospital after a car accident that killed his father and sister — to becoming a paralyzed yoga teacher and founder of a nonprofit organization.
Choosing to Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master, By Kat Tansey – A wonderfully inspiring book that revolves around a wise Maine Coon cat named Poohbear Degoonacoon, his kitten muse Catzenbear, and author Kat Tansey, as they take the reader on a challenging and oft times amusing journey from the disorienting haze of depression to the freedom and clarity of Buddha mind.
Insomnia Relief Recipes, By Kat Tansey http://www.insomniareliefrecipes.com/
– This unique sleep program, created by Kat Tansey, is the result of the author’s personal quest to overcome insomnia. After spending many months researching the roots of insomnia and the nature of sleep, she was able to create her own unique recipe for regaining her confidence and learning how to get the restful, restorative sleep she needed, no matter what the circumstances. After realizing how pervasive insomnia truly is, she decided to develop Insomnia Relief Recipes to help others get a good night’s sleep. She used everything she learned from her research to put together a comprehensive program, complete with audios and videos, that will help you create your own, customized Insomnia Relief Recipe.
ShareWIK: http://www.sharewik.com –- A warm and inspiring online community in which experts dispense information about health and healing, regular columnists share their experience and knowledge, and people on the path to wellness gather to share what they know.
Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One
From Heartbreak to Happiness, By Aurora Winter – An intimate diary that reveals a single mother’s journey of tragedy and triumph after the sudden death of her 33-year-old husband.
The Year of Magical Thinking, By Joan Didion – Author Joan Didion chronicles the year following the death of her beloved husband, fellow writer John Gregory Dunne, from a massive heart attack in 2003, while the couple’s only daughter, Quintana, lay unconscious in a nearby hospital suffering from pneumonia and septic shock. While some may find this book less than inspiring, because of its rawness, I found it particularly inspiring and cathartic.
The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death Divorce, and Other Losses, By John W. James and Russell Friedman – A wonderful guidebook to help you navigate your loss and make you realize that time does NOT heal all wounds, but that healing is possible, if you take the necessary action. The book was inspired by the authors’ personal losses.
Inspiremetoday.com, By Gail Goodwin: http://www.inspiremetoday.com - – Free daily inspiration, designed to remind you that you have the power to create anything in your life you desire. A great way to start your day.
E-couragement,– Daily encouragement delivered to your email inbox by Thomas Waterhouse, a counselor in Tampa Bay, Florida, who believes that “Hearts filled with courage can rise to any challenge.” Sign up here: http://www.simpleencouragement.com/eCouragements
SO who or what inspires you the most?
What are your favorite inspirational books, movies or websites, and why?
Are you dealing with a challenging life transition? If so, I’d love to help out. Visit my website at http://tinyurl.com/yc7meqo to sign up for an introductory coaching session or a coaching package that’s right for you. Since coaching sessions are conducted by phone, I can work with clients anywhere in the world.
Ellen Brown is a certified professional coach, based in Cleveland, OH.
Note: This was the second in a series of posts on inspiration. In my first post, I talked about the importance of surrounding yourself with inspiring, positive messages during difficult life transitions. And today, as promised, I discussed some other types of inspiration, designed to provide you with hope as you travel this new life passage.