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This morning’s nun dream gave me considerable pause:

 It is evening, spring. Hundreds of nuns have gathered at a large convent for a supper meeting with their new Provincial. Conversations buzz, last minute preparations fall into place, some finger rosary beads. For days, I have been responsible for ordering and overseeing the preparation of the steamed vegetables for the meal. I was still uneasy, fearful of asking for help. The Superior and her entourage greet everyone as they stream into the refectory and take their places. To my dismay, I notice a serpentine mushy-like, pale green thing inching along the hardwood floor, its head moving with each twist of its body. “Is that asparagus?” I ask.

 The dream story mirrors another shameful experience in 1966 when I was a recently professed nun, overwhelmed by joint pain, loneliness, and desperately seeking attention. Then, arrangements of tiger lilies for the refectory tables, cut that morning by the creek bed, had died.

So what does this dream signify in my present circumstances? It must have something to do with that serpentine mushy-like, pale green thing: Shocking in its repulsiveness. I liken it to asparagus, its gyrating phallic form like something you might encounter in Kafkaesque imagination.

That I’m so unnerved by this glob of glistening tissue suggests its emergence from my unconscious shadow: The scum of unacceptable character defects that still dominate my choices and thoughts and keep me in bondage. Thus my CPA 12 Step work continues, one day at a time …

 

 

At midnight, a bathroom break woke me to this dream:

I accepted an invitation to join equestrians for a formal foxhunt located in a rural area. No matter that I’ve never done this before. For the occasion, I rent an outfit: black velvet helmet, a white long-sleeved show shirt, white stock tie with pin, canary yellow vest, dark blue frock coat, buff breeches, black leather dress boots, and black leather gloves. That morning, the sky alive with sunshine, I look handsome, astride a chestnut mare as I wait for others to arrive at the stables.

 My Dreamer invites me to participate in foxhunting, a sport that demands athleticism and skill, neither of which I’ve ever cultivated. But I know not to decline. Another helps outfit me in the formal attire of a hunter, a persona that hides my inexperience from more seasoned riders. Still another gift of the sure-footed mare, my knees hugging its flanks, my buttocks sensing its instinctual energy, stokes my confidence. I will do this.

But the question remains—What is this?

 Foxhunts meld equestrians within sustained danger edged in exhilaration: Hound dogs yelp, horses strain over uneven terrain, thundering hooves taking the next fence in hot pursuit of the red fox. Only with unwavering attention will the hunt continue. The stakes are high.

It seems my Dreamer urges this hunt for my beleaguered body: Like the red fox, it needs gentling once caught—no more hiding in the burrow of self-absorption and dissociation. Only with CPA’s 12 Steps have I the Hunter-persona to deal with this, one day at a time.

 

 

Only the whir of the potter wheel licked the stained walls of the studio as an apron-clad artist cupped a mound of clay slip with wet hands. Next to the wheel laid scalpel-like knives, sponges of various sizes and textures, wires strung to handles, other cutters, twigs, and leaves. But the potter’s sensitive hands, sinewy and dripping wet, caught my attention: She seemed to know when to pause, slow the wheel, add more clay, etch designs upon the lip, indent patterns, and so much more. With others, I looked on, hushed by the emerging bowl taking shape on the wheel.

 After the potter slip-wired the bowl from the wheel and set it aside to dry, she focused upon her students and smiled. “You can do this too. It just takes practice—That’s why I’m here.”

Then, as well as now, this experience mirrors Potter God’s ongoing intimacy in bringing forth new life, within limits of time and space. Like the hollow in the earthenware bowl, my body of eighty-four years has held a treasure—no matter chronic pain’s tenuous hold on my life. Light always emerged and I did find my way, albeit with new direction and resolve.

 However, my ILD with Rheumatoid Arthritis is unique: There’s no getting better, only imperceptible decline and with it, moments of terror until countered by CPA’s Step I and those following. In some future moment, Potter God will slip-wire my body from the wheel of life and set me free from my present diminishments. Until then, I wait and pray… and ask you to do the same. I’m grateful.

 

 

 

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