Your dreams can be bigger than your fears.
It’s a vision of paradise. Shafts of sunlight stream through windows in the clouds, illuminating towering rock pinnacles. Royal palms crowd their bases, rising above a turquoise sea. Luminous white birds glide between the spires and agile mountain goats scamper around precipices. This remote island paradise, Fatu Hiva, lies near the center of the South Pacific. You can’t drive or fly there. It took a decade of self-discovery and a five-year sailing odyssey for me to find my way.
Surviving Sexual Assault
My story began at age eleven, after surviving rape and attempted murder. Like many, I was silenced. By age fifteen I discovered a National Geographic image of a Polynesian oasis. At its heart was a shimmering waterfall, a dazzling sunlit cascade that surged over a cliff and vanished into mist. That image launched an obsession: escape my torment by sailing to French Polynesia and live near the alluring falls—a place I wasn’t sure existed.
Dreams can be Bigger than Fear
Forty years later, overwhelmed by traumatic flashbacks, I quit my job, sold my house, and embarked on my lifelong dream—to sail 12,000 nautical miles to Fatu Hiva. Along the way storms at sea uncovered repressed memories and threatened my life. A tribe of courageous women guided me, including a “third-gender” leader in the matrilineal archipelago of Guna Yala, Panama, a sailboat captain who had completed two world-circumnavigations, and a therapist who had climbed near the “death zone” of Mount Everest. Throughout my journey I met many women of courage, and witnessed incredible strength and beauty inside others who had transcended the stories they carried.
The truth can be hidden for years; dreams can elude. I went searching for a place I wasn’t sure existed. It was in pursuit of this dream—sailing a small boat to the Bay of Virgins—my voice emerged. I dedicate this site to wise and compassionate women, around the world with stories and inspiration to share.
I have written a customizable workbook, Knowing Acts—Engage in Healing to honor and support survivors and to share what I’ve learned sailing through a trauma-filled sea. Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Anne Hallward writes, “This inspiring book is a touchstone, a safe harbor to return to again and again as we navigate the courageous journey toward healing”Knowing Acts includes over thirty pleasant-to-use exercises with music, art, poetry, mindfulness, and more, to defuse sadness, grief, anger, and feelings of numbness or loss. If you or anyone you know is suffering from overwhelming emotions Knowing Acts provides a calming practice for a personal healing journey. To learn more about Knowing Acts or order please click here.
For more on sexual assault please click here. ; For crisis services call 800-656-4673 or dial 988 for the crisis and suicide helpline. After posting this link, I just heard from two amazing women advocates who work with domestic assault, abuse, and sexual assault survivors. I wanted to share their resources here. The first is Maine’s own Finding our Voices and the second is Helping Survivors. I’ve written about breaking the silence and being a part of a Tribe of Transcendence and am grateful for these connections. To whomever is reading please know—you are not alone.
Do you have an inspirational quote, song, book, or artwork to share? If so, please comment below. It takes a tribe to hold up the sky.
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