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Around 4:30 A.M., I awoke with this dream, one of direction:

I was invited to attend a weeklong seminar with a mixed group of academics in an Old World estate, located in the Swiss Alps. The pine cone-laden evergreens seen from the open windows of my spacious private room scented the air. In the garage was a Rolls Royce for my use.

The first morning, the Director, the seven professors, among whom were my former Jungian analyst, Ellen Sheire, and the other students met around a large oak table in the conference room. The Director’s opening comments frustrated my expectation of being credentialed at the conclusion of my studies. Not so. I was to work with my professor this week, deepen those studies during the coming year, and in the following, return to be tested before being handed over to the next professor as the others were doing. To myself, I moaned that my credentialing would take years.

Then, the Director noted my anger and said, “We didn’t fully inform you about the process because we wanted a candidate willing to learn our way of handling things. We know you’re teachable.”

The Director, a strong compassionate stand-in for the Sacred in my psyche, had arranged everything. I had only to participate. The Old World estate, located in the Swiss Alps, more than fulfilled my need for beauty and order and solitude. The mixed group of academics provided psychic stimulation. The seven professors, together with Ellen Sheire, were seasoned guides into the new learning, ahead of me.

My takeaway from this dream is the need for deeper patience and willingness with the process of my terminal illness. I still have much to learn. I’m not in charge.

I jolted awake around 3:30 A.M. with this dream:

Word had gotten around that I was actually dying. My doorbell rang. My phone rang. Others knocked on the opened front door and came in and made their way to my bedroom, already filled with others paying their last respects. I’m sitting up in my full bed, unsupported, wearing a T-shirt, my forearms resting on the covers. Shortness of breath prevents me from speaking clearly. My words are muddled.

This startling dream gave me considerable pause: the ravages of death in my body, witnessed by others. Other dreams have suggested end-of-life issues, each with its own lesson, but none this specific.

My first response to this morning’s dream was repulsion toward the crowds filling my bungalow and their raucous noise. Seated atop my full bed, however, you would never have known: I was all smiles and gratitude toward my well-wishers, despite shortness of breath and muddled words.

I’ve always envisioned my serene passing like a beam of sunlight slowly opening onto vistas of Quiet Beauty.

Yet, no indications of physical death appear imminent today. In view of my recent shift—letting death have its will in my body, when and how it will—this morning’s dream seems more of a call for a deeper stillness in my psyche, for a more mindful maintenance of my boundaries in the daylight world, and for communion with each remaining life breath in the time allotted me.

My gratitude for the opportunity to prepare for the greatest experience of this life knows no bounds—to enflower it with full-blown white roses that never fade.

In silence, shrouded in shadows, we crouch, elbow to elbow, waiting. At the end of our resources, we long for someone to trim our wicks and refire our lanterns. A people without vision—we have lost our way.

Such, too, was the longing of the anawim (the Hebrew word for those who are bowed down), the lowly ones in first-century-Palestine, oppressed by monstrous Roman greed. They longed for deliverance, a deliverance that resonates throughout the Psalms, fruitful prayers to sustain our angst, even today.

A messenger arrives, panting and begrimed from the arduous journey across the mountainous desert. “The word’s out! He’s finally coming! Do hold on!”

Our spirits quicken like ravens frolicking across the sky suffused with dawn-light.

“Little time left! Hurry!”

How to prepare our manger-hearts to receive Him?



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