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I’m uneasy with another corrective dream:

It is night. A former classmate hosts a lavish party. The commotion of music, chatter, shrill laughter, and tinkling glasses of bubbly wines unnerves me. In no way is significant conversation possible. Then, Rachelle, one of the guests, takes possession of the dance floor, with solo gyrations in sync with the music. Clown-like circles of rouge cover her pasty cheeks. A narrow black belt nips her waist like twine on the end of a sausage link, over which her red blouse and navy skirt jiggle in fleshy folds.

I cringe as I record this dream with its recurring theme: chronic noise of my own making that blocks significant learning from Higher Power, that plunges me in painful isolation.

As in other dreams incorporated in this blog, night suggests the culmination of the day’s activities, or on a deeper level, the end of time. With increased symptoms of my terminal illness an undeniable fact, such dreams warrant close attention.

The lavish party speaks of my being dressed to the nines, feigning smiles, and being miserably bored, not unlike attending such gatherings in younger years.

That there is a Rachelle in my psyche gives me great pause. Like the wildness of my obsessive thoughts under cheap carnival lights, Rachelle high steps, twists and twirls, claps ringed hands above her horsehair wig, yells piecemeal lyrics. There’s no stopping her. Her garish make-up, her tasteless attire, her aging body gone to seed, and her self-absorption—all revolt me. Yet, she reflects multiple shadow issues I’ve accumulated through decades of mindless living.

But Rachelle is also my teacher as I deal with the inevitable diminishment and death of my old body. It doesn’t take much to set off such protest-racket that further worsens my breathing.

Whenever Rachelle surfaces, I’ve work to do.

 

The meaning of last night’s dream still eludes me, but wrapping words around it will release its intent for my psychic growth:

 It was 10:30 p.m., Christmas Eve, very cold. The Director decided to activate the carnival grounds in honor of several of us leaving the following morning. Brilliant floodlights illumine the hilly area filled with rides, games, and confection stands. A calliope pumps tinny melodies among the merrymakers that score the darkness. I wasn’t expecting this celebration, given my limited energy and need for rest before beginning my journey. My companions feel similarly, but we join the festivities.

 10:30 p.m. situates the dream story at night, the symbol for the end of life, one often found in my dreams. Christmas Eve suggests pregnant fullness, the final hours before Mary of Nazareth delivers her son Jesus in Bethlehem; suggests, as well, the tense waiting for what is to come after my last illness—also unknown. In the dream I’ve been in formation with others, similarly trained, and we’re ready to move on.

The Director does not appear, yet makes all decisions conducive to his students’ projects. Up to this point, the scrutiny of his program has borne fruit, or so it seems. But to interrupt the solemnity of Christmas Eve with a carnival gives me pause: The yells of hawkers, the blinking lights, the grating music, the money rapidly changing hands, the gaudy prizes, the long lines, the smelly garbage cans.

Unfortunately, the commotion mirrors the disorder in my unconscious. I can’t deny it, despite working the 12 Steps of CPA. Again, a smooth-talking director has hoodwinked me. Enmeshed in groupthink, I overextend myself at the carnival and violate my self-care practices.

So I stand corrected by the dream: it’s happened before. I don’t need such madness.

 

“Hey, Liz! Santa’s coming over at 7:30! Wanna come?” The invitation pierced the soggy gloom. It was my neighbor, emerging from her car with both hands weighted with holiday bags stuffed with toys. Across the street white lights swathed an evergreen tree and outlined the roof of another bungalow. It felt like the whole world was holding its breath.

“Sloane and Clark can’t wait. There’ll be other kids, too,” she added, her boots squishing the bent grass as she approached me.

The little kid within, stirred: Memories of waiting in line for Santa, of Mother unbuttoning my snowsuit and removing the knit cap from my brown hair electrified by the dry air. The music and jingling bells, jumbled pieces of chatter, babies crying—all disconcerted me. I was leery. Only my hand in Mother’s could contain my flip-flop feelings. Each Christmas, we rode the trolley downtown to enjoy the animated windows encircling St. Louis’s Famous-Barr Department Store, then to visit Santa. I was always glad to return home.

I was next. Within moments, arms hoisted me upon Santa’s lap, his whiskers brushing my cheek. My words dried up.

Then it was over until the next Christmas, the box of paper dolls with blunt scissors under my arms.

It seems like the greatest gifts are sourced within terrifying moments as if to strip us of securities that stunt spiritual growth. That’s been my experience, gratitude only coming later, with new lessons learned.

 

 

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