Dusana Michaels

Author of "Chopping the Onion"

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Many years of darkness

Here comes the spring,

Begging my forward on my journey.

I’m not ready.

I don’t want to.

What else is there to do?

I listen, I’m quiet

Yet there is no action to take.

I don’t hear the next step.

I don’t feel an impulse.

Stillness and quiet is the action.

Watching, waiting, trusting the guidance.

What if there is nothing to do?

Just be my child, just be.


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Moment by moment

The abuse happens moment by moment. Time may slow down or become blurred. Details may be highlighted or forgotten as you attempt to get through the moments when the unspeakable happens.

Healing also happens moment by moment. Facing the pain as it comes during recovery in the moment and living onto the next moment. Taking the day step by step, breath by breath as you attempt to make it through. Feeling the pain to the depths until you think you can’t take another moment. But the moments keep coming and you make the decision to feel it to the end.

The end of the pain does always come, never as quickly as you’d like, but it comes. The days become brighter and you decide once more to try. You try to see what more life holds. You try to see who you really are.

You find the strength you didn’t know you had inside. You find the beauty. You find your safety. You find your peace. You find your sanity. All these grow moment by moment. It may not last forever but you learn to cherish the brief moments as they occur.

Setting time limits helped me make it through the worst moments. I could feel the pain for an hour and then get up and live my life again. I could see my family for a couple of hours and then give myself permission to leave. I could let others see my beauty for five minutes and then hide it away again. No matter what I had to face, I knew there would be a limit to how long it would actually last.

My mind may try to tell me some state will last forever but I learned I don’t have to believe every negative thought that crosses my mind. I have the power to cut it off and replace it with a more positive, and realistic, version. I meet the next moment from a new perspective.

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Feeling safe

I was watching Super Soul Sunday today on OWN with Eckhart Tolle. The discussion reminded me of some of the steps I took to feel safe in the world.

The beginning process of recovery from childhood sexual abuse is so confusing and overwhelming. I was grateful to have friends who allowed me to just be with whatever emotions I was experiencing, and more importantly, provided a safe place to hangout. They were outside the realm of my family and felt like they were out of reach. They fed me, distracted me, listened to me, and kept a level of normalcy when other areas of my life felt like they were falling apart.

As my mind became clearer, I learned to become more aware of my surroundings. I remember shopping at a mall, either for Christmas or just getting household items for my new apartment, and I was in my head a lot as I walked up and down going in and out of stores. I vaguely noticed one of many men sitting in one of many areas for resting or waiting. I didn’t think much about it until I was on my out to the car with my hands full of packages.

As I went to leave the mall, I turned fully around so my back pushed the door open. The man was following me and was starting to walk faster. I looked him straight in the eye. I’m not sure what was written on my face but he slowed down and put his arms up as though saying, I’m backing off. As far as I know, that was the closest I ever came to being attacked as an adult.

I have built my safety moment by moment. I have learned to check whether my fear based thoughts were coming from the past or the now by looking around and self-talking. If I couldn’t see anything to be driving fear in the moment, I took a deep breath and found the safe feelings within. I let myself know that this was what safety felt like. There was nothing to fear. Those bad things were in the past. No one was trying to hurt me now.

I consciously decided the universe was a safe place and looked for examples to back up these thoughts. The genuine people I was meeting. The places I went and nothing happened to me. I placed my trust in good and my faith in humankind grew. There is more good in the world than bad and people are wanting to support others if given the chance.

On the flip side, I trust my instincts when I do feel the warnings. Not everyone is to be blindly trusted and I unfortunately know what pros manipulators are towards others. I am hyper-vigilant when needed but not as a continuous state of being. I listen to the little niggling thoughts that won’t go away and they allow me to interact with others with my eyes open.

I trust my perceptions and decide my course of action accordingly. If I am in doubt, I allow it to be so as to gather more information to make a decision. The appropriate answer always comes.


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Moving on throughout life

batuwa / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Life after trauma can be thought of like a river that keeps on moving. Sometimes it calmly flows with barely a ripple to be seen. At other times it is raging over the rocks and other obstacles presenting themselves on its path. It is the continuous movement of the water that wears the rough edges of the rocks down to smoother surfaces so the river can flow easily once more.

At the raging times, I try to remember that the Grand Canyon, in all its splendor, was creating by a river cutting through the rock. My life of recovery from incest has not always been smooth. There have been moments of doubt and confusion that last much longer than I’d prefer. The core of my being is being shook up in order for some greater truth or version of myself to come forward. I have out-grown the old and the new has yet to develop. I am uncertain of the next step on my path and I have to live in the unknown.

So many good-byes in my life. So many, you aren’t enough for me, I want more. I deserve more. So many moments of guilt as I move beyond what I had previously thought was the highest high. Guilt for needing to leave others behind as I continued on my journey. The guilt of surviving and the guilt of needing to thrive. So many times of jumping and trusting the net will appear to catch me before I, metaphorically, plummet into the chasm.

What sustained me was deciding early on in my healing that the universe is a safe and friendly place. I know that evils exists and can visit upon anyone at anytime but I consciously decided to trust and place my faith on goodness. I wasn’t going to let fear win. I feel the fear and do it anyway. This decision has brought me more confidence and graceful experiences than any other decision I have ever made. I trust the process even when I don’t understand the moment.

My current lesson is learning to look at or watch the abuse happening in my memory and know that not one of us is worthy of the role we played. The horrendous actions perpetrated on me were not the actions of someone who believes he was a Child of God. Having to experience those actions were not worthy of a Child of God. I envision being able to stop it all before it even begins and shout, “This is not what God had in mind. Stop, you don’t want to do this because it is beneath you. You are loved as a Child of God. Don’t do it.”

It feels like forgiveness on a whole new level of understanding. I don’t know what is beyond the next bend in the river, but I travel along to see what is to come.