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At 4 A.M. I awoke with this dream:

I’m shopping at a boutique. An older friend of Mary Ann asks me to drop by a cherry- red velour long sleeve dress with a self-tie belt, along with a burnt-chocolate cropped jacket that she’d picked out for her. The outfit appeals to me and I regret not having selected it for myself. I drive over to Mary Ann’s house and find her dispirited, uninterested in the outfit. She hands it back to me.

The dream lays bare dynamics hidden within the recesses of my shadow tucked in my unconscious. The boutique resembles ones I used to frequent, decades ago, their high energy pumping desire, their clothing remarkable for crisp fabrics, vibrant colors, and flattering styles.

I brighten with interest noting the cherry-red velour long sleeve dress with a self-tie belt, along with the burnt-chocolate cropped jacket. The ensemble, though representative of the 1980s, still reflects my tastes as well as my past addiction for still another outfit. Twice each year, I had to thin out my closets for more space.

 An older friend suggests the thoughtful woman in my psyche, properly aligned with Higher Power and willing to fulfill her request. But Mary Ann is another story: chronically angry, controlling, rigid, self-absorbed, the dross of my character defects still to be removed, once recognized and turned over to Higher Power.

Even the outfit, specifically selected for Mary Ann, fails to evoke spirit as she turns her face to the wall. This tidbit recalls years of outfits for which my godmother gifted my birthdays, most of which I returned for credit.

Despite daily efforts to live more mindfully, I still have work to do before leaving here—My Dreamer always tells the truth.

The meaning of last night’s dream still eludes me, but wrapping words around it will release its intent for my psychic growth:

 It was 10:30 p.m., Christmas Eve, very cold. The Director decided to activate the carnival grounds in honor of several of us leaving the following morning. Brilliant floodlights illumine the hilly area filled with rides, games, and confection stands. A calliope pumps tinny melodies among the merrymakers that score the darkness. I wasn’t expecting this celebration, given my limited energy and need for rest before beginning my journey. My companions feel similarly, but we join the festivities.

 10:30 p.m. situates the dream story at night, the symbol for the end of life, one often found in my dreams. Christmas Eve suggests pregnant fullness, the final hours before Mary of Nazareth delivers her son Jesus in Bethlehem; suggests, as well, the tense waiting for what is to come after my last illness—also unknown. In the dream I’ve been in formation with others, similarly trained, and we’re ready to move on.

The Director does not appear, yet makes all decisions conducive to his students’ projects. Up to this point, the scrutiny of his program has borne fruit, or so it seems. But to interrupt the solemnity of Christmas Eve with a carnival gives me pause: The yells of hawkers, the blinking lights, the grating music, the money rapidly changing hands, the gaudy prizes, the long lines, the smelly garbage cans.

Unfortunately, the commotion mirrors the disorder in my unconscious. I can’t deny it, despite working the 12 Steps of CPA. Again, a smooth-talking director has hoodwinked me. Enmeshed in groupthink, I overextend myself at the carnival and violate my self-care practices.

So I stand corrected by the dream: it’s happened before. I don’t need such madness.


This morning’s nun dream gave me considerable pause:

 It is evening, spring. Hundreds of nuns have gathered at a large convent for a supper meeting with their new Provincial. Conversations buzz, last minute preparations fall into place, some finger rosary beads. For days, I have been responsible for ordering and overseeing the preparation of the steamed vegetables for the meal. I was still uneasy, fearful of asking for help. The Superior and her entourage greet everyone as they stream into the refectory and take their places. To my dismay, I notice a serpentine mushy-like, pale green thing inching along the hardwood floor, its head moving with each twist of its body. “Is that asparagus?” I ask.

 The dream story mirrors another shameful experience in 1966 when I was a recently professed nun, overwhelmed by joint pain, loneliness, and desperately seeking attention. Then, arrangements of tiger lilies for the refectory tables, cut that morning by the creek bed, had died.

So what does this dream signify in my present circumstances? It must have something to do with that serpentine mushy-like, pale green thing: Shocking in its repulsiveness. I liken it to asparagus, its gyrating phallic form like something you might encounter in Kafkaesque imagination.

That I’m so unnerved by this glob of glistening tissue suggests its emergence from my unconscious shadow: The scum of unacceptable character defects that still dominate my choices and thoughts and keep me in bondage. Thus my CPA 12 Step work continues, one day at a time …



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