It's a good question...and a tough one to answer.
I would guess healing might look different to each of us. I recognized my healing one day in particular when I was walking my dogs and noticed how pretty the snow looked sparkling in the bright sun. Prior to that moment, the world had looked utterly bleak – almost apocalyptic. I saw nothing but a ruined world and I, honestly, wished my children had never been born into such a world. (Clearly, I was in a pretty bad place. I also considered suicide, quite seriously. Which is when I finally acquiesced to anti-depressants.)
I was lucky enough to have a wise and compassionate friend who worked with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and she recognized what I'd been going through as post-trauma. She encouraged me to hold on to that moment of dog-walking in the sun and play it back in my head as a reminder that life was also capable of delivering beauty and peace, however fleeting right now.
She also encouraged me to look for more of those moments. Lying in bed reading to my children. Feeling their tiny hands in mine. Disappearing into a good book (that didn't have anything to do with adultery, sex addiction, forgiveness or any of the zillion other affair-related topics I had on my bedside table). Anything that I could hold on to. She even suggested I take photos of things that made me happy (she's an artist...and very visual. I never actually did this but it's still a great idea) and put them around the house to offer up visual reminders of joy.
But essentially, it was by paying attention to the slivers of joy in my life that helped open my world up to more.
So healing, for me, came in slices. Slowly, over a lot of time (three to five years as you're no doubt getting sick of hearing me say), I was able to put what happened in the past and open myself to the possibility that I could still have a good marriage. And that, no matter what, I could create a life that gave me joy. Healing wasn't so much an event as a process. One that could easily be missed because it happened incrementally. But could be sped up by simply noticing.
How about others? My commenter and I would both love to hear your stories of healing...even if you've only just begun, even if you're not sure you ever completely will. What's working for you? What's not working? Share your story...