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It’s the human condition. From the depths of scarred hearts emerge bruises, likened to neon flashing in crass colors on roof-top dumps. Only in night’s inky blackness can their evil be observed. Once aware of them, however, riddance is critical.

Such is my experience when side-winded by the unplanned, when beached upon foreign shores. It feels like my rootlessness rots in the scorching sun. More than ever am I alien to the once familiar. Such setbacks still occur, despite my daily vigilance and Twelve-Step living in Chronic Pain Anonymous.

I wait, my breathing crumpled like an accordion in the hairy hands of an amateur.

A closer look deepens shock-waves crashing around me: some of my bruises laced with entrails of sea birds; others, in stinking landfills.

I sit back in my chair and ponder where these words come from. I wait. More words come. My psyche glimpses the contours of my true shadow and informs me of more disorders likened to hard-shelled barnacles encrusted on the bottom of an abandoned lobster boat.

This lamentable image speaks of years unlived life, held in bondage by insidious fears of chronic illness and pain. But denial’s influence is lessening, the more I take responsibility during my end-time and surrender to God’s will. From hence comes true spiritual growth.

Often this mantra fills my psyche: Your will, not Mine, be done. Change comes, and with it, relief.

At 6:30 A.M., I woke with this curious dream:

I am angry with the Swiss psychologist, Dr. C. G. Jung. All fired up, I prepare a paper with my disgruntlement, then reserve a conference room for my audience. I also make posters, handouts—anything to carry my message. The evening for the presentation arrives. To my chagrin, behind me rushes a very young Dr. Jung wearing a sparkling gold bodysuit that delineates his bearded face, musculature, even his genitals. He does not see me. Enthusiasts escort him to another conference room. I feel wilted.

In the dream, I am my present age, but healthy and hopping mad at the Swiss psychologist, Dr. C. G. Jung—No matter my having entered Jungian analysis in 1988 with a Zurich-trained analyst that initiated the quest toward authentic self-hood. Having been helped so much, why the projection of anger toward Jung, the retaliation?

Perhaps this behavior conceals an older one of impetuous thinking/action when riled up? Before embracing Twelve-Step recovery, this was my modus operando; it can still emerge.

Yet, the image of Dr. Jung wearing the sparkling gold bodysuit that delineates his bearded face, musculature, even his genitals did remind me of the Oscar statues awarded recently by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences for last year’s nominees. True, this year’s multiple winner, Nomadland, appears a must-see. But in my perception, the film industry, whether for theater or television, has collapsed its output within the sick culture that surrounds us: its values, eroded, its vision, clouded or nonexistent.

For those aware of this bankruptcy, grief smarts the edges of life. For such soul sicknesses, many sought dream analysis with Dr. C. G. Jung. Certainly, I have benefited as my life continues emptying like sands in the hourglass, one grain at a time. There’s no going back …

At 4:30 A.M., a coughing spell woke me to this corrective dream:

A summery evening, I attend a free movie screened in a nearby park. I join others seated behind a narrow counter, my brown leather shoulder strap bag at my feet. Still mesmerized by the film’s impact, I slowly walk toward my car, then discover I don’t have my bag. I retrace my steps and, beneath subdued lighting, discover it missing. An ill-tempered cleaning lady is no help.

The dream story reveals shadow content I’ve been keeping from myself: my penchant for warmer weather, my attraction for freebies, and my distractions skirting full consciousness of my present circumstances.

With the waning light of October, my psyche begins to resist winter’s bluster, but there’s no stopping it; within its dismemberment, a deeper reality is present: both nature and my physical body undergo wasting and death—This is unacceptable. Of course, I cling to summer, full of riotous color and warmth.

Sloth’s lethargy, laced into a lifetime of chronic illness, always drew me toward freebies. In the dream, the free movie usurped my power of choice, preferring distraction rather than dealing with the reality of my terminal illness. At times, research and significant authors still envelop me, to the detriment of my self-care.

At the movie’s conclusion, brain fog settled it. No matter that I’d left my brown leather shoulder strap bag behind: within it, my identification, money, and keys. Only later did the pain of its loss goad my return to the site. The ill-tempered cleaning lady was a perfect fit for my mood: exhausted, alone, stripped of persona, and pissed.

So the urgency of paying attention to each moment allotted me is critical; there are still lessons to be learned. Flawed I am and flawed I will remain, within Higher Power’s unconditional love.

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