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Early this morning, I awoke with this corrective dream:

Anxious, restless, and hungry, I turn over in my hospital bed and check the wall clock—still several hours before the breakfast trays will reach our floor. Then, I pull the mask over my eyes and doze, until roused by the food cart’s rumbling in the corridor. More time passes and no breakfast. “Have you got a tray for Moloney?” I finally yell. An aproned server stops by my door and says, “No—Didn’t get an order for one.”

 After a short interval, he returns with hot biscuits and gravy, bacon, fruit juices, and coffee, all of which trigger the inflammation of my rheumatoid arthritis, if eaten.

Anxious, restless, and hunger suggest multiple faces of anger hiding out in my unconscious, out of reach from my blogger’s mind; how easily it has spoken of acceptance of the terminal malaise in my body. Yet, decreased breathing in tow with weakness has opened me to the biology of my body. Such has cast me within a deeper dimension of suffering, a new marker along the path toward my transition. Only with its recognition can I unite with the Passion of the Cosmic Christ in our midst.

Another take on the dream suggests my need for closer scrutiny with the “feedings” of news outlets, slanted by journalists’ and talk show hosts’ politicization of their stories. Instead of being informed, confusion and overwhelment result. Few ask my opinion, anyway. Given my present circumstances and limited time, other resources can better keep me strong in spirit and teachable.

With the Crucified, I pray, “Passion of Christ, strengthen me.” from the Anima Christi, attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola, (1491 – 1556).

“Hi Liz! So glad we’re meeting this morning. Do come in.” So welcomed Ellen Sheire standing in her doorway, her brown eyes shimmering with light, her amber bangles and earrings complementing her shirtwaist dress. It was March 1988, a humid morning that would launch decades of dream analysis with my new helper, a Jungian-trained analyst. I had nowhere else to go, racked, as I was, by terrifying dreams imaging physical and psychic disorders.

Denial screened the enormity of this undertaking: the complete gut job of my psyche, given its mishmash of others’ values ill-suited to my individuation. With no sense of who I was, with no voice, I was slowly dying.

What was obvious to Ellen those first weeks of dream analysis was my disease of alcoholism. However, denial thwarted entering12-Step recovery and the brownstone across the street until 1991. There, I learned about letting go and letting God, a process that continues into the present.

Interesting that Ellen never sought to fix me, rather midwifed me toward the God-given riches buried within my unconscious. Her tactics were simple: recommended Jungian authors who amplified the elucidation of my dreams each week; travel with Jungian study groups to Sacred sites of the Feminine in western Europe; active imagination with spirit guide Michael for, ten years; memoir writing, once retired; and monthly meetings of the local C. J. Jung Society. Thirty-three loose-leaf binders evidenced the fruitfulness of our relationship.

A woman of selfless joy, Ellen Sheire drew me to her study those Friday mornings from which I emerged with renewed hope, even laughter, to continue this arduous work. My gratitude is boundless.

From this vantage point, I’m deeply content to return this gift of life, with her finger prints, to Creator-God, whenever, however…

 

 

Has an elusive voice sandpapered your dreams with incongruent pieces from the past? Has consolation or anger-induced rapid breathing flooded your waking moments?

Who or what is this inner voice? From whence does it come? How cultivate it, how heed its directives, especially since it seems to know us so intimately? There is one who has researched these questions for us.

The Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung explored this voice, teeming from his unconscious between 1914 and 1930, and he illustrated his findings in The Red Book (2009). Emerging within these pages are his central discoveries: the archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the process of individuation. Prior to this seminal study, no psychologist had ever mapped the terrain of the unconscious, and because of which, psychotherapy has become a means for the higher development of the personality, not just treatment of sickness.

Synchronistically, harrying dreams led me to the door of a Jungian analyst in 1988. Under her tutelage, I embraced the rigors of individuation: a risky engagement with my unconscious’ voice expressed in dreams, hunches, significant conversations, or art works. Slowly, the pull of my false self lessoned, giving way to discoveries of values and behaviors more in sync with my emerging self. At times, though, such stripping was awkward, even painful. But more disorders awaited me with the next dream.

As I reflect upon this thirty-year period I’m quietly amazed. I’ve learned to name this voice, Higher Power or God of my understanding. What had begun as a desperate venture has evolved in the actualization of my birthright—this I bring to eternal life, but not before still more work on my shadow before my last breath.

 

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