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At 5:45 A.M., I awoke with this big dream:

Two black stallions, bejeweled and sleek, find their way into my backyard.

Rarely do I remember dreams from this depth of my unconscious as discovered by the Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung in the early 1900s. Called the collective unconscious, it includes genetically inherited material in symbolic form, not shaped by personal experience. The personal unconscious deals with repressed material from consciousness from whence most of my dream emanate.

So it’s the gift of two black stallions, bejeweled and sleek, to reflect upon this morning—I still remember how they looked at me, their deep souls enticing me into their world, nurturing and warm: I was content to remain there. But their adornment intrigued me—halters crafted with rich gem stones. Indeed, these horses were from another realm and I was to learn from them.

It was a question of listening, moment by moment.

Because my physical waning creates more limits, narrows my outer world, and tempers my attitude, I must remain with this morning’s gift of the two black stallions. Let them fortify my psyche with masculine energy, beauty, affection, speed, and grace, all symbolic traits of stallions that will guide me toward my ultimate destiny of unending joy.  

Perhaps in that realm, more black stallions, bejeweled and sleek, will play.How Creator God will smile…

Something red flickered, gentling the branch of the viburnum shrub outside my study window: It was the cardinal, its feathered crest bespeaking authority. Mesmerized, I sought its spirit. For a split second, turned inside out in riotous colors, it happened. Then, I was alone, the branch slick with raindrops still trembling from its visitor.

I had been visited. Its import would be revealed. I’d just have to listen.

Earlier in the morning, I wondered whether I was still eligible for hospice, given Medicare’s second benefit period winding down. I was still performing my ADLs, albeit more slowly, still managing with helpers in my home, still content with new learning each twenty-four hours. Yet imperceptibly, I was still losing ground. The steroid, at first helpful with my symptoms, was less effective, rendering me weak and lightheaded. Breathing still limited my endurance, increased my need to pace myself, and messed with coughing up phlegm during the day.

“Of course, Liz, you still meet the criteria for hospice,” Alice said later as she wrapped the blood pressure cuff around my upper arm. “We’ve also gotten to know you these past months—you’re doing very well—and you know to call us whenever you need help with personal care.” Often, she had offered this additional service. I brightened with her words, seeping into vestiges of denial still lurking within my psyche’s depths.

So again it was about acceptance, deeper than previously experienced. I felt its sweet release. This was working out, literally one day at a time. I only had to show up and keep an eye out for the cardinal, my backyard companion and teacher.

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