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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.

At 6:A.M., I woke with this corrective dream from my personal unconscious:

It was winter, several inches of snow covered the ground. Headlights from a car swept the corners of my bedroom and turned into my driveway. It was my ride. I stirred under my comforter, anxious. I was supposed to be ready. I dressed hurriedly. Because I had no boots, I grabbed a handful of blue rubber gloves in the box on my dresser to cover my stocking feet. The gloves were mashed together and impossible to separate. My anxiety escalated into rage. Alone, I sat on the floor.  

Winter, several inches of snow covered the ground of my psyche suggesting anger’s stranglehold of my spiritual faculties: Anger of monstrous proportions distorts each image in the dream. 

My ride corresponds to my actual helper, well schooled in my needs, daily, since last September. In this dream, though, she does not appear but her taking care of me suggests the loss of my independence. I still don’t like it, even after these months.

My having no boots suggests an unsuitable foundation upon which to stand: I was off balance, dizzy. Desperate, I sought a substitute, anything to protect my feet from the snow-covered driveway.

The blue rubber gloves in the box on my dresser used by my helper when tending to my personal needs and the preparation of meals come to mind. In the dream, I grab a handful of the gloves but fail in separating them. It did not occur to me to ask for help, a lifelong pattern that ill-serves me, even now.

Despite frequent blogs alluding to acceptance of my terminal illness, this anger dream reveals another scenario unfolding within my depths. Only denial keeps me at bay from its full terror, and that’s as it should be, for now. Occasionally, however, breakthroughs do occur that wash over me until the next one, usually in the evening.

I still plead with the Psalmist, “Create, O God, a clean heart within me!”

At 1:15 A.M., I awoke with this spirited dream:

Alone and in full health, I’m traveling through the Middle East. As I approach the outskirts of a dusty village, an old man with a serene countenance approaches me. On his forearm he carries something colorful. He tells me of tonight’s festival in the square with the fountain; then, invites me to come—Even has a long dress for me to wear so I’ll fit in with everyone.

Later as I stand before the mirror in my hotel room, I discover that the long dress with scoop neck and short sleeves fits perfectly; its hem stitched with tiny brass bells jingle with my movements. I smooth my hand over the coarse fabric, then trace my finger around swirls of vibrant reds, whites, blacks, and turquoises. My shell jewelry and sandals complement my new dress.

That evening, I walk to the square and join the dancing, already underway. Laughter tickles every cell in my body.

This dream speaks of wholeness, adventure, and relationship: wholeness in my robust health; adventure in the exploration of unknown worlds; and relationship in my socialization with others. Introducing me to such experiences is an old man who seems to have been watching for my arrival. He knows what I need for further spiritual maturation: dancing, in the sense of deeper communion with Higher Power, on my way through end time.

He also knows my need for proper apparel to fully benefit from the festivities planned for later and provides accordingly. My reflection in the mirror stuns me, perhaps like the guests attired for the wedding feast in one of Jesus’s parables.

Such dreams hearten me …

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