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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 …

On my way to the front door, I noticed a red flickering among branches of boxwood hedges outside my front window, rollicked by April’s sun-washed breezes—unlike anything I had ever seen before. My heart quickened.

Planted in my flowerbed was a pair of red tulips, their petals full-blown, their color speaking of love.

Then, I remembered. Three years ago, I’d had such a surprise; only then, it was daffodils. When my gardener-friend had prepared my garden and shrubs for that winter, she’d planted the daffodils. It took a while for me to catch on.

Her professional and loving care of my property taught me about flowers and shrubs that further enhanced my home. Her spirit seemed to brighten the harder she worked, often soaked to the skin, her floppy sunhat tied under her chin, her belt of tools swaying with her movements. Lugging yard waste heaped atop a tarp to her white truck signaled the end of that day’s work, not without sweeping the walks and sharing stories about her grandchildren.

What recently impressed me was her disclosure of prayer with Creator God as she clipped, raked, pulled, dug, watered, planted, and mulched. No wonder such orderliness and beauty have followed in the wake of her gloved hands.

I’m grateful, but the red tulips enjoying today’s sun express it better to Peg, my gardiner-friend.

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

It is August, the evening of my arrival at the Eastern Point Retreat House for my eight-day directed retreat. Animated conversations of other retreatants draw me to the dining room for buffet supper. I search among them for my friend Pat, but she has not yet arrived. I’m concerned. Winds sweep dense levels of humidity from the Atlantic’s surface that borders the complex. I feel clammy, heavy.

At first, the dream’s setting, EPRH, thrilled me, the Jesuit retreat house that I had frequented for decades at Gloucester, Massachusetts. Profound spiritual cleansings had buoyed my spirit, until home for a while; and the emergence of entrenched habits resumed their former dominance.  

Then, I looked deeper into my psyche: Animated conversations of other retreatants exposedthe seepage of inner chatter, warring against my practice of meditation and spiritual reading that blocks “conscious contact” with Higher Power. This had been true at Gloucester, as well; only within its silence could I settle down to fully engage in its critical work, guided by my director.

In my present circumstances, I yearn for the same depth of silence in my psyche. This is not happening as much as I would like. I feel clammy, heavy. My body has never died before and I need guidance in prayer and from other spiritually minded persons. Yet, control still has mastery, despite my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps; though, such sparring does yield spiritual growth. Time is of the essence.

In the dream I also noted anxiety over the absence of my friend, as if unable to surrender to the grace of the retreat that necessitates psychic change. This image speaks to existential loneliness, casting me adrift in powerlessness. Therein, I eventually find my God who companions me through end time. No one else can serve this purpose.

So I plod along, one day at a time …

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