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At 6:40 A.M., I awoke with this hilarious dream:

I’m visiting a new friend in Rome, Italy, the October morning shadowing our steps toward the square thronged with shoppers. We buy food, then climb aboard her double-seated Vesta and set off for the day—a new experience for me.

In no time, we’re roaring down country roads, my friend’s thick blond hair snaking around her red helmet, the same color as her Vesta. Her heavyset body sways with the turns of the dirt roads, and I with her, holding her girth between my arms. Merriment exudes from her spirit like splashing spring waters. My mouth aches from laughter.

Beneath ancient water chestnut trees near an abandoned farm, we stop. The hilarity continues as she tears apart baguettes, then offers me Brie cheese, with red grapes and wine. Even the ravens, strut in tall grasses nearby.

The dream’s setting, Rome, Italy, suggested the center of Christianity into which I was initially enculturated until directed to search deeper for the Cosmic Christ in all of creation. Dire compliance of the rules and regulations no longer drew fire.

October morning spoke of bright aging filled with even deeper opportunities for learning prior to my transition.

The new friend revealed Precious God, disguised as a swarthy French laborer, intent upon opening me to the laughter of living: She smelled of earth. She swept the floors of my closed mind and threw open its grimy windows to another world, the one that awaits me. No longer was it appropriate to grieve my diminishment—just watch it happen and let it go. To strengthen my resolve, she also offered me communion. And she’s still in the driver’s seat.

Composing this blog still evokes laughter …

At 7:10 A. M., I awoke with this shocking dream:

I’m alone, watching a horrifying scene: a bald nude unconscious man, with pasty skin, lays on the ground surrounded by enemies, their steel-toed boots kicking him. One of them covered his privates with a rag when a cameraman came by and began taping. 

This dream from the collective unconscious still shivers my innards—more visceral than accounts of Nazi and Soviet torture that I’ve studied over the years. Even the morning spent at Germany’s Dachau concentration camp was tamed by the sense of it being a tourist attraction, with informative signage.

Stunned, I still shudder. Long ago, I learned that the Dreamer tells the truth: hatred, anger, and penchant to retaliate—even with violence—behaviors I would never own in the conscious world, hide within the shadow of my psyche.

But such behaviors come with being human. Following the collapse of inner restraints, instinctual madness zings through dripping caves like bats: their mayhem terrifies. We all have breaking points, and I have mine, whether expressed or not.

The concentrated negative/evil energies, all masculine, also suggest the collapse of my own, in the face of my mortality, given the minuscule increase in my symptoms, from month to month. No longer is it appropriate to remain passive, unconscious like the victim. I am still breathing and the Twelve Steps of CPA are still to be practiced.

The antidote to this insanity is found in Step One: humble acceptance of my powerlessness and the acceptance of the unacceptable; then on to the cleansing and forgiving Steps, with Higher Power’s release of noxious energies and restoration to wholeness, until the next time.

It takes daily practice…

“If you love the truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sun will illuminate you in God.”—a trenchant saying attributed to Isaac the Syrian, the seventh-century Bishop, theologian, and monk, regarded as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Simple words, if pondered, reveal the unseen caught in the flux of time. Key to this process is passion, whose firelight, like the sun, ignites inner worlds. But who cares to go there? To discipline unruly instincts clamoring for expression? That would be like dying. Such flies in the face of our cultural mores, engulfed in denial and rationalization. The predictable is more comfortable, yet soulless.

It does not take much to see who is truly alive among us: their quickening gaze, their resonant voices, their authority, of whatever age and background.

That’s what happens when you sit in the fire.

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