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“This is more than I can handle,” said the floor nurse looking down at me, her meaty arms drawing me toward her full bosom, her faded scrubs suggesting years of experience. “Let’s call upon the Lord. He’ll help us get what you need for that pain.” Her words wrapped soothing compresses around psychic wounds and multiple fractures, caused by tripping over my vacuum cleaner. My body felt like a ruined city. This occurred in June 2017.

The compassion of that floor nurse opened me to an enfleshed Sacred moment that companied my terror, one of several spaced through my long life. Such experiences, then and now, afford me a lens through which to view Creator God’s involvement with us, moment by moment, as Ukraine’s nightmare stokes global angst and analysis.

Within the carnage, within towns fed into shredders, within the resolve of two million Ukrainian emigrants, within the Russian “slow down,” appears the age-old conflict between good and evil: It’s always been there, re-forming planet Earth’s landscape and history. Throttled nations still rebuild upon ashes of grief; individuals regroup; work start-ups abound until some normalcy appears—for however long.

Yet, despite restored cities—Old Town Munich is one example—the seven deadly sins still hide out in psyches, fomenting irritation, restlessness, and discontent. Power becomes god and governments become inflated and armed conflict ensues. Between 1946 and 2012, the Uppsala Conflict Data Program has recorded thirty-two such conflicts, with deaths, around the world, as found in the Journal of Peace Research.

Still, Creator God’s compassion for the work of his hands promotes healing and restoration for everyone who wishes. The global prayer for Ukraine intensifies. I repeat again: What’s really behind the Russian “slow-down?” 

Coils of barbed wire leaf out and produce a nine-petaled orange flower: such is the poignant design on the cover of the memoir The Choice – Embrace the Possible (2017) by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, an Hungarian-American survivor of Auschwitz.

Sustaining this teenager through ever-present death threats for eighteen months was her mother’s counsel, “You’re responsible for whatever you put in your mind. No one can take it from you.” Another factor was her life-plan with soul mate Eric enlivening her imagination, filling it with song and dance.

Yet, after the author’s 1945 liberation from the death camp, narrated within the first sixty-nine pages of this memoir, impenetrable evil continues weighting the balance. No matter what, Eger would be the free woman she was destined to become, without Eric, without her parents and grandparents, without her language, without her country.

But how return to life? What about the residual psychic wound, stalking beneath her ghostly shudders, dreams—this wound repelled by language’s efforts to make sense of it? How live with her senses having been saturated by the gruesome? Even others assault her Jewishness in other countries. Yet, decades of harrowing psychic cleansing empowers Dr. Eger to say to us: “…I would love to help you discover how to escape the concentration camp of your own mind and become the person you were meant to be.”

In my perception, Dr. Edith Eva Eger achieved a depth of psychic freedom few experience in this life. How privileged we are to have her memoir The Choice – Embrace the Possible that shows us how to change.


I still remember being transfixed by rows of chrysalis, some dormant, some thrashing about, within the glass case of the conservatory at The Sophie M. Sachs Butterfly House in St. Louis County, Missouri. Only vaguely did I recall the egg and the caterpillar phases involved in the formation of the chrysalis. But only now have I learned what transpires within the chrysalis before its metamorphosis.

A violent scenario unfolds. For the first three or four days, rich fluids fill the the chrysalis causing it to destroy most of the caterpillar cells; its organs take new forms for the butterfly’s use. Some leftover parts, like the caterpillar jaws, form the butterfly’s sucking mouthparts; its legs, the butterfly’s. Partially formed wings continue developing beneath the chrysalis’s skin. Toward the end of two weeks, its transparency reveals the butterfly’s color and patterns. When ready, the butterfly breaks through the protective chrysalis, pumps blood into its newly formed wings, then flies away.


As I compose this blog, I breathe deeply into my own chrysalis, the symbolic container for my terminal illness, lLD with rheumatoid arthritis. For over four months, hospice has supported its sick phase, and the learning has been profound. Similar to the unhappy caterpillar in the chrysalis, my dismemberment continues: old ideas, ill suited for my individuation, are ripped from the bedrock of my psych. Dreams continue tweaking my distorted perceptions. New physical symptoms surface with corresponding natural remedies that offer relief. Yet, the downward slope continues and I have no control over the disease process.


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