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

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Christmas Poems

December 19, 2023
Hopes and Tears Throughout the Years…

“In answer to your letter
I found on the wall
I note your request
For gifts large and small.
For you may not know
But I’ll tell you right here
That times are so tough
That I ate my reindeer.”
… Grand Pa 1931 Santa Fe, New Mexico

And so, the ninety-two-year tradition began in the Great Depression by my grandfather who wrote the first of many Christmas poems to his son, my father, and placed the poem on a branch of their small Christmas tree.



Head Suitcase

December 9, 2023
Grappling with Monastic Withdrawal…

Staring through the clay-encrusted back window at the long, muddied winding road as the monastery recedes into the distance. Ahead, I see my worn suitcase of old hurts toppled on the side of this rutted road, leaning against a prickly pear cactus. It waits silently for me to stop, climb out, present my claim ticket to the universe, bend over, and grudgingly hoist my accumulated wounds off the clay and back into my consciousness.



Retreating Forward

December 1, 2023
Seeking the Quiet that Quenches Past Wounds…

Nearing Abiquiu, a hauntingly beautiful corner of the world in northwest New Mexico, my weary soul exited the highway, and a depthless breath released from my crying heart. Staring straight into the majestic red, brown, yellow, and white-streaked cliffs of the Pedernal Mesa, I physically felt the wounds of the past be absorbed into the clay and gravel that lay at my feet. The road ahead held what Thomas Merton, American Trappist monk, described “the peace which the world cannot give.”

John Dear, American priest and peace activist, described the challenge that lay ahead of us: “To call it a road is to give it too much dignity. It is more of a two-way half lane dirt path. It clings to the edge of a cliff some four stories above the river. The view snatches the breath, but you must resist the temptation to gape in awe. Otherwise, your last act on earth will be to plunge into the river below.”



High Desertion

November 13, 2023
A Quiet Escape…

“True prayer and love are learned in that hour when prayer becomes impossible, and the heart has turned to stone.” Thomas Merton

American Trappist monk, mystic, writer, theologian, and social activist Thomas Merton foresaw my weary soul’s yearning as I count down the days until I return to the high desert of New Mexico for silence, prayer, and the invisible holding by the Infinite Spirit. Completely off the grid, my communication will be with the musical whispers of the wind, the constant hum of the Chama River, the swish of the eagles flying overhead, and sound of bells ringing me into the Sanctuary to pray.



Holiday Season Thoughts

November 3, 2023
Visions of Open Hearts, Open Minds

“Oh my God!  November is here, already!  I have to start my lists for menus, presents, greeting cards, and ugh, shopping!”  [Sounds of frenetic shuffling of papers followed by frowns, gritting of teeth and chewing on lips…]
— From: The Screenplay In My Head

As we enter this Holiday Season, some may find it difficult to embrace the full meaning encapsulated in this season of love and giving.



Blessings in the Shadows

October 20, 2023
Similar Dissimilar Ways…

Welcome back, friends. How was your week? Did anyone brave doing something new and embrace the uncomfortable? What did you find on the other side?

I laced up my old pink Swoosh running shoes and pounded out another mile around my neighborhood. I dreamed of traversing the cobblestone pathway alongside my friend this Spring in Athens Greece… I jogged five minutes and walked two, for a total of seventeen very long painful minutes. I held onto hope and basked in the possibilities. But the morning after was agony. And alas, the realm of possibilities for this 68-year-old woman do not include running 26.2 miles with the whispers of the mythical figures of the past brushing my cheeks and cheering me on. A week later I am still unable to properly walk…

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