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Around 4 A.M., I awoke with this lovely dream:

An April morning, cloud wisps sweep the sun, breezes gentle my white hair, in need of another trim. I’ve just finished planting marigolds across the front of the high-rise where I live, pulled off my muddy gloves, and stepped back to appreciate my work. A neighbor approached me, her arms carrying a wicker basket filled with daffodils. She told me of the flourishing garden, nearby, that volunteers had converted from a neglected corner lot. Anyone was welcome to help themselves.

That it is April in my psyche heartens me, given January’s lingering grays and the dregs of winter still to drink. Morning suggests opportunities for fresh beginnings with tangles of roots to unravel for new sprouting.

The high-rise suggests apartness from others; some days, even isolation, given my present circumstances, as I live alone; its city location and its busyness, understood from the context of the dream.

The planting marigolds speaks of meaningful activities that have engaged me during my prolonged illness. Before the changes in my health, such riotous colors had brightened the bungalow where I still live.

But most interesting is the neighbor, unknown from reality. Her inextinguishable greening stirred my grief for omni-present trashed environs; attracted volunteers to dig up the blighted lot, nearby, and pull apart its overgrowth; tended seeds pregnant with life until thriving with fresh colors; then freely offered this produce to passersby. This neighbor speaks of Mother Earth and her desire that we love her—Perhaps plant a vegetable garden or put out bird feeders. Experience her helpfulness. See how we can change.

At 4 A.M., I awoke with this awesome dream:

I stand alone atop a steep hill as soft breezes caress my cheeks. Pinpricks of jeweled tones stud the night sky like a Moroccan shawl.

I perceived the dream as a gift from Creator God; its colors were flickering, inviting. Never have I experienced anything as beautiful—like screening the entrance into eternal life.

I’m grateful.

At 7:15 A.M., I awoke with this instructive dream:

Jesuit friends invite me to join them for meetings before the opening of the retreat at their facility located on the Atlantic Coast. A reserve on my usual room, with the floral chintz shag and matching bedspread facing the ocean, awaits me. Other laypersons have also been invited. A friendly Jesuit smiles as he eases me into an armchair in the conference room. The topic under review is the culling of four Jesuits on staff, their services no longer needed.

Deep within my psyche, Jesuit friends, symbolized by masculine energy, affirmed my efforts to integrate the disparate pieces of my unlived life before spirit leaves my body. For what felt a long time, their warmth and camaraderie encouraged the arduous continuation of this work.

The topic of the conference, the culling of four Jesuits on staff, their services no longer needed, suggested outdated defense mechanisms that no longer work in my psyche: fantasy, idealization, dissociation, and denial. Such block the conscious embrace of reality where life happens: From childhood, I was only able to look around life’s corners, not participate. These defense mechanisms had kept me safe, in my self-imposed prison, but no longer are they useful in my search for psychic integration.

Awareness of their continuing presence demands activation of the “conscious contact” of Step Eleven. Only HP can release me from this tyranny, for that is what it is.

The dream’s setting, the feminine container of my room with the floral chintz swag over the window facing the ocean, supports this endeavor. I have only to be willing to participate, one moment at a time.

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