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At 5:50 A.M., I awoke to this stirring dream:

Christ of the Oceans invited me to join His fellowship. I am honored. Others were with me. One fumbled with his keys and happened to drop them in the water. I dove deep, found them lying upon a sandy spur, and returned them to him. I was already a member of His fellowship of Earth.

This dream constitutes a big one in Jungian analysis as it emanates from the deepest place in my unconscious, known as the collective unconscious. It could be a huge gift or the fruit of deepened acceptance of my terminal diagnosis, interstitial lung disease with rheumatoid arthritis—Or perhaps the completion of my care plan when actively dying, whenever that happens.

Needless to say, I’ve already received beautiful care since my November 2019 hospice sign-up. My gratitude knows no bounds.

So to the dream—I did not receive a visual impression of the Christ of the Oceans, only His presence as experienced during my annual directed retreats on the Gloucester coast; its sweetness, the quintessence of joy. His invitation to this watery fellowship suggests Richard Rohr’s study of the Twelve Steps, Breathing Underwater—doing the impossible and healing through obedience of the heart: Its daily practice enables me to continue diving deep. Who know what else I will find? Perhaps more keys to unshackle me from pretense and other character defects?

This dream is a welcome respite from weeks of darkness. Yet, Christ of the Oceans and of the Earth has been companioning me all along. There’s nothing to fear …

Since its 2004 inception in Baltimore, Maryland, Chronic Pain Anonymous has offered a heartening response to sufferers around the world who embrace the gentle discipline of 12-Step recovery. Social media and word of mouth spread this spiritual approach to the afflicted, often shunted from one doctor or health care practitioner to another. Experience subsequently led to the inclusion of chronic illness as it, too, exacerbates mental, emotional, and spiritual disorders that worsen physical pain.

Fifteen years have passed, with anonymous members reflecting upon their cumulative knowledge; from these efforts emerged Recipe for Recovery – A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Chronic Pain Anonymous. Its founder Dale L. articulated its premise to read: “…based upon faith, humility, and the ability to turn over problems of our life to a greater power, without trying to control or direct the outcome.”

This guidebook is necessarily slim to accommodate the limited energies of its readers. The recipe motif works well: a list of Ingredients (virtues) critical to working each Step opens each chapter, followed by the Description (photo of the desired product), the Directions (the work involved) followed by Questions (to be written), and What It Looks Like (members’ practice of the Step). Of necessity, the words are sparse, though not without affording a spiritual wallop.

Daily meetings, via phone, Skype, and Zoom continue forging this spiritual fellowship through which Higher Power transforms psyches: Life is still full, despite physical affliction.

A member since September 2017, I depend upon this gentle discipline, underscored by daily phone contact with my sponsor. Within each twenty-four hours, I remain largely content as I wait out my time.

 

 

Available on Amazon

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