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Around 7:30 A.M., I stirred with this corrective dream:

My anxiety mounted with meaningless background noise as I waited for my masseuse. I looked forward to her soothing touch, especially upon my spine. The door opened. She was ready for me. There, she stood, but drastically altered: her head unevenly shaved, her slit-like eyes trained upon me like a hawk’s, her gap teeth resembled a clown’s, her lanky body covered by a neck-to-floor soiled sheath. She repulsed me.

Within the depths of my psyche lives my drastically altered masseuse, eager to knead her powerful hands within the contours of my body/mind. So unlike her former Feminine self, she repulsed me. Only later did I realize her clever disguise as the Sacred. The dream ended without my taking action.

Given the hectic drift of my ego, it’s no wonder that she revealed her true self. I needed the correction to slow down, especially since daily walks in the air-conditioned YMCA have energized me, a tad. My body is still terminally ill, despite obsessing on more outings with my portable oxygen and mask—Even entertaining the notion of taking the Pfizer vaccine. Such is the meaningless background noise that annoys me like thousands of fleas on holiday.

I no longer need to be out in “the marketplace” as little appeals to me. No need to fudge around the edges of my daily routine that has kept me steadfast for almost two years of hospice palliative care. Certainly, more prayer and rest will help assuage my masseuse’s outrageous behavior. She’s got my attention, that’s for sure.

At 6:20 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is evening service at the black church I’ve been attending, at the invitation of the pastor and his wife. Again, I’m greeted and enter the fellowship filled with hymns and prayer. Other than occasional constipation, I am well. The pastor, also a physician, will perform a proctologic exam in his office in the morning. Having had one before, I’m anxious.

The vibrant setting of this dream, the evening service at the black church, opens my psyche to hidden disorders that require identification and correction. The occasional constipation keeps my body/mind starved of vital nutrients, dulls my perceptions, and dumps me within the morass of sloth: Why bother?

The pastor bridges the gap between God’s presence and the worshipers in his black church: such engagement restores disorders that sludge human interactions and quickens spirits into living flames. On my own, I’m powerless to achieve the wholeness to which I aspire.

Yet, I’m anxious. Given my long-standing pride, it’s painful to admit my arrogance and willfulness, smirches upon my character for all to behold. For much of my life, pretense kept such disorders at bay; whenever aware of them, I barely nodded at their toxicity.

Since working the Twelve Steps in Recovery, however, such disclosures become frequent cries to Higher Power to effect the necessary changes. This is precisely the task of spirituality.

With the afflicted Job (10:6), I identify with his cry to God: You must search out my faults and probe after my sin. Such purification works: It’s about becoming humble and serving others.

At 4:30 A.M., this corrective dream woke me:

In front of me stood a suntanned mom, her arms filled with kid books, her blonde toddler holding onto her jogging shorts. Then it was my turn at the counter. “You’ve a ten-cent fine,” said the librarian looking over her computer.

This dream felt like a particle of a larger one, but substantive enough to work with.

The ten-cent fine stands out.Admittedly, an annoyance, it speaks to the issue of contracts, including book rentals. The imposition of fines for late returns speaks of the library’s ownership of books and other materials on their shelves.

In the dream, I incurred such a fine, unlike my usual attentiveness to such matters. Paying the dime smarted: it was not the amount but “someone” had found out—I was not perfect.

On a deeper level, the fine serves as a wake-up call to my present circumstances. That “someone,” a unified voice of trusted family and friends, kept reminding me of how well I looked, much to me dismay. Eventually, I learned they were right.

Despite diseased lungs, I was not dying—not yet.

For too long, if I’m honest with myself, I have been harboring scenarios of my demise, lapping up others’ sympathy, concerns, gifts, and notes of loving prayer. In recovery circles, such obsessive thinking catastrophes the future.

It’s all about mindfulness, of pacing my ADLs lest further weakened by exhaustion—limited living, but living, nonetheless. Others have done this and so can I, with Higher Power’s help, each twenty-four hours.

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