Adverse Childhood Experiences and the path towards healing. You are not alone.
I share my trials, my victories, and my stories with you in hopes that if any of you were ever touched by childhood abuse or neglect, as I was, you will see yourselves in my experiences and feel strengthened to voice what you had not been able to before. I hope we can learn together why we respond to life through a particular lens, and that there are ways to climb out of this prison of pain, silence, and shame.
My name is Bess Hilpert

Joy and Hope

Can Our Deepest Pain be a Doorway to Healing? …

Without question, I had several joy bomb moments this past week while visiting our son. The moment he wrapped his arms around me and held me in the very public setting of a restaurant, I felt joy. I felt peace. I felt tenderness. I felt the beating of two hearts becoming one blending into the one heart of us all.  I felt the quietness of knowing. Knowing one is loved and held and seen. I felt connection. I believe he did, as well.

Watching his vision realized on stage through dance was a whole new level of joy bomb. It tore at my heart, wracked my spirit, and released me from the bondage of his pain. I imagine it has done the same for him. I was reminded of the words by renowned addiction specialist, Dr. Gabor Mate “Trauma is the invisible force that shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love, and the way we make sense of the world. It is the root of our deepest wounds.” I felt these words in the shapes so beautifully executed on that stage.

The piece pulled me deeply into the words of Episcopal priest and author Cynthia Bourgeault, “In the psychological climate of our times, our emotions are almost always considered to be virtually identical with our personal authenticity, and the more freely they flow, the more we are seen to be honest and in touch.” The piece was an expression of his personal authenticity. It was a freeing of his heart, and we were all carried willingly into the midst of his pain.

Cynthia Bourgeault goes on to say, “The real mark of personal authenticity is not how intensely we can express our feelings; but how honestly, we can look at where they are coming from and spot the elements of clinging, manipulation and personal agendas that make up so much of what we experience as our emotional life today. The real heart of emotion is the willingness to let go… to sacrifice your personal drama… the letting go at that level, so you can begin to see….” Our son let go, dove deep and took all of us with him. Joy Bomb. 😊

There were so many little joyous moments throughout the weekend, like sharing breakfast at oh-too-early an hour, because he did not want to miss a minute with us. This touched my heart and spirit deeply. It filled me, once again, with a knowing. A knowing he would be alright. A knowing my child was now a beautiful, confident man.

This weekend gave me joy and hope. Our son has traversed a very difficult road filled with addictions, depression, self-harm, body dysmorphia and more. Much like the road I traveled. Our son almost let the pain and suffering of abuse snuff out his light far too soon. As I did. Thankfully, he has now found his way forward, with the help an experienced behavioral health specialist, towards an acceptance of self, us, and the world. And while he still responds to life through the lens of someone touched by adverse childhood experiences, as I do, he is standing tall and telling his story bravely.

I write to bring an awareness to the long term and transgenerational effects of adverse childhood experiences. I write to share my journey through the tough stuff and the victories and to provide hope. This weekend gave me hope.

When we are brave and share our stories, we learn we are not alone. We learn there is great freedom on the other side of fear. We gain courage and a community.

I will leave you with this question that Dr. Gabor Mate asks all of us: “Can our deepest pain be a doorway to healing?”

Until next time, friends.

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