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At 5:45 A.M., I was jolted awake by this dream:

For over one year I’ve been preparing to join a study tour abroad. Hours of research, procuring special clothing, and a suitcase have filled my free time. The morning of my departure arrives. I’m excited as I lock my suitcase and hurry outdoors to meet the cab that will drop me off at the airport. My tickets are all in order. As we near the airport, my heart plummets: I’ve forgotten my passport, still sitting in the bottom drawer of my desk. I’m frantic.

This glimpse within my psyche reveals considerable activity. The over one year corresponds to the length of time I’ve spent in hospice, blogging new learning processed through Hours of research: significant authors, dreams, and discoveries outside my study windows and during short walks in the neighborhood. 

The buzz is all about the study tour abroad, a faraway place I’ve never experienced. Nor has anyone else, save for glimpses mystics have experienced, in all times, around the world. Travel to this realm calls for meticulous preparation.

Special clothing alludes to my persona, made comely, through continuous Twelve-Step work that ferrets out the unacceptable in my psyche and disposes of them. The suitcase, a container for the feminine, one that I could manage, would hold these garments.  

I’m excited denotes turbulence in my psyche, of such severity as to splinter much-needed focus at this critical time of departure. Among my airline tickets, there is no passport. I’mnot going anywhere.

And this is true today, despite past blogs referencing my eventual demise and the imminence of Eternal Life. This hasn’t happened—such expressions are veiled expressions of my willfulness. I’ve much to learn about patience and humility.

At 6:20 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is evening service at the black church I’ve been attending, at the invitation of the pastor and his wife. Again, I’m greeted and enter the fellowship filled with hymns and prayer. Other than occasional constipation, I am well. The pastor, also a physician, will perform a proctologic exam in his office in the morning. Having had one before, I’m anxious.

The vibrant setting of this dream, the evening service at the black church, opens my psyche to hidden disorders that require identification and correction. The occasional constipation keeps my body/mind starved of vital nutrients, dulls my perceptions, and dumps me within the morass of sloth: Why bother?

The pastor bridges the gap between God’s presence and the worshipers in his black church: such engagement restores disorders that sludge human interactions and quickens spirits into living flames. On my own, I’m powerless to achieve the wholeness to which I aspire.

Yet, I’m anxious. Given my long-standing pride, it’s painful to admit my arrogance and willfulness, smirches upon my character for all to behold. For much of my life, pretense kept such disorders at bay; whenever aware of them, I barely nodded at their toxicity.

Since working the Twelve Steps in Recovery, however, such disclosures become frequent cries to Higher Power to effect the necessary changes. This is precisely the task of spirituality.

With the afflicted Job (10:6), I identify with his cry to God: You must search out my faults and probe after my sin. Such purification works: It’s about becoming humble and serving others.

At 5 A.M., I woke to this curious dream:

I’m healthy, enthused by my entrance into an ancient monastery located in a mountainous region surrounded by virgin forests. I’m wearing the long brown homespun robe and belt of the monks as I follow them toward an open meadow for a meeting with the Abbott. Everyone receives a paper, printed in green that outlines today’s activities including the reminder to sign up for the Covid vaccine.

In the dream, I’m very fit, eager to participate in my new lifestyle among hundreds of monks in this ancient monastery, symbol of enclosure with the Sacred. With them, I expect to practice balanced disciplines of prayer, study, and work, within the rule of silence. Further engaging my whole spirit is the natural beauty of this setting: varied snow-covered peaks, scented pines, wild flowers, and birds songs, and so much more.

That I am the only woman, garbed in the long brown homespun robe and belt of the monks, seems to make no difference to this large community. It never occurred me to request more feminine attire; the robe I was given scratches my shoulders.

In the dream, I do not see the Abbott, but feel his presence through the paper, printed in green, with his directives: The Covid vaccine gives me pause.

The dream’s intent eludes me, given my return to health. On the one hand, there’s my enthusiastic response to this new way of living; on the other, its patriarchal underpinnings—their rules of silence and orders of day—do little to enhance my relationships with the Sacred and others.

Despite increased symptoms, perhaps I’m not to let go of my writing altogether.

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