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

It is August, the evening of my arrival at the Eastern Point Retreat House for my eight-day directed retreat. Animated conversations of other retreatants draw me to the dining room for buffet supper. I search among them for my friend Pat, but she has not yet arrived. I’m concerned. Winds sweep dense levels of humidity from the Atlantic’s surface that borders the complex. I feel clammy, heavy.

At first, the dream’s setting, EPRH, thrilled me, the Jesuit retreat house that I had frequented for decades at Gloucester, Massachusetts. Profound spiritual cleansings had buoyed my spirit, until home for a while; and the emergence of entrenched habits resumed their former dominance.  

Then, I looked deeper into my psyche: Animated conversations of other retreatants exposedthe seepage of inner chatter, warring against my practice of meditation and spiritual reading that blocks “conscious contact” with Higher Power. This had been true at Gloucester, as well; only within its silence could I settle down to fully engage in its critical work, guided by my director.

In my present circumstances, I yearn for the same depth of silence in my psyche. This is not happening as much as I would like. I feel clammy, heavy. My body has never died before and I need guidance in prayer and from other spiritually minded persons. Yet, control still has mastery, despite my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps; though, such sparring does yield spiritual growth. Time is of the essence.

In the dream I also noted anxiety over the absence of my friend, as if unable to surrender to the grace of the retreat that necessitates psychic change. This image speaks to existential loneliness, casting me adrift in powerlessness. Therein, I eventually find my God who companions me through end time. No one else can serve this purpose.

So I plod along, one day at a time …

At 8 A.M., I was jolted awake by this dream:

It is night. I am alone, my present age, but not ill. Many years have passed since last visiting the Jesuits’ College Church, located on their campus at St. Louis University. The Gothic-like church is ablaze with light from overhanging bronze fixtures. What puzzles me is the large number of virile Jesuits, all wearing black clergy shirts with white collars, belly laughing, guffawing, and slapping each other on their backs. Something is very funny. No one notices me as I meander among the rooms, many of which are being renovated and enlarged; sawdust, everywhere. Then, I notice a small boy, unwashed, still in soiled pajamas wandering around the corridor. I’m overwhelmed.

This glimpse into my psyche disconcerts me. The image of the Jesuits’ College Church speaks of my thirty years involvement in that venue, until my departure in May 2007 due to a significant dream. By that time, my earlier idealization of the Jesuits had dissipated, but the dream suggests their continuing influence in my psyche: the patriarchal muffling of deep stirrings toward the Sacred Feminine.

The renovated and enlarged rooms of the churchsuggest an inflation in my psyche, swollen by pride and masquerading as control over my terminal illness. Lest I lose ground, slavish adherence to my ADLs, especially exercise, is critical.  

The unseemly behavior of the very young Jesuits suggests purposeless distractions, to which I can succumb whenever shadowed by the noxious specter that wants my body dead. And like those very young Jesuits, I dress up for each twenty-four hours as if still participating in the land of the living.

The small boy suggests the neglected Divine Child Archetype in my psyche, unattended, ignored. No wonder that I’m overwhelmed.

Ultimately, the dream lays bare my denial toward what is advancing toward me. All the more to cling to the practice of CPA’s 12 Steps and pray, ”Mercy!”

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