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At 7:15 A.M., I awoke with this instructive dream:

Jesuit friends invite me to join them for meetings before the opening of the retreat at their facility located on the Atlantic Coast. A reserve on my usual room, with the floral chintz shag and matching bedspread facing the ocean, awaits me. Other laypersons have also been invited. A friendly Jesuit smiles as he eases me into an armchair in the conference room. The topic under review is the culling of four Jesuits on staff, their services no longer needed.

Deep within my psyche, Jesuit friends, symbolized by masculine energy, affirmed my efforts to integrate the disparate pieces of my unlived life before spirit leaves my body. For what felt a long time, their warmth and camaraderie encouraged the arduous continuation of this work.

The topic of the conference, the culling of four Jesuits on staff, their services no longer needed, suggested outdated defense mechanisms that no longer work in my psyche: fantasy, idealization, dissociation, and denial. Such block the conscious embrace of reality where life happens: From childhood, I was only able to look around life’s corners, not participate. These defense mechanisms had kept me safe, in my self-imposed prison, but no longer are they useful in my search for psychic integration.

Awareness of their continuing presence demands activation of the “conscious contact” of Step Eleven. Only HP can release me from this tyranny, for that is what it is.

The dream’s setting, the feminine container of my room with the floral chintz swag over the window facing the ocean, supports this endeavor. I have only to be willing to participate, one moment at a time.

It happened at 3:15 P.M., November 12, 1935, a breech birth at St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri—a rough experience for Mother and me, but we survived: she to ninety-nine years and three months. On subsequent birthdays when older, I honored her over lunch at Sadie’s or The Crossings, her favorite restaurants. Again, I heard the story. 

So this day, I completed my eighty-fifth year of life; from this vantage point, a gift, despite decades of rheumatoid arthritis, with its corrective joint surgeries. Obsessing over treatment modalities, all of which were ineffective, also flooded my psyche with anxiety and stunted my psycho-social growth. Most of my life, I searched for my true identity, even achieved three advanced degrees and certification to work with the elderly poor. Interesting that they readily shared their stories, with no prompting from me. In my depths, I wondered if I had a story.

Until retirement in 2001, my life felt splintered, a fact corroborated by dream work with a Jungian analyst who insisted I begin writing. I did so. Memories flooded me, and with them, the next right word began to surface, startling evidence of my Inner Writer. I would write myself into new wholeness.

Years passed. It felt like taking dictation as two self-published memoirs and my blog emerged.  

At 2 A.M., I awoke with this dream as soft rains streaked my window with limpid fingers:

With others, I help care for newborn babies and toddlers somewhere in the Orient.

 This dream reveals soundness in my psychic depths and confirmation of my daily routine, despite fatigue and shortness of breath and neuropathy.

With others suggests my willingness to accept the support of my network of helpers, both for personal needs and for the upkeep of my home. This also includes weekly visits from the hospice team and the chiropractor. And phone contacts from my sister Martha put finishing touches on each day. Never could I have imagined surrounding myself with such spirited women as I move through my end time. All is gift that continues enriching this process and preparing me for what is coming.

I help care suggests my deepening relationship with Creator God, empowering me to care for others in need, critical for existence. Eros or connectedness energizes such healing, a process that deepens my compassion and expands gratitude for my humanness.

The next image, newborn babies and toddlers, suggests manifestations of the Divine Child, born into a dangerous world and needing exceptional interventions to survive. Their presence attests to new spiritual growth in my psyche, awaiting further refinement and actualization.

And the Orient suggests the East, the rising sun, hope. It also refers to distant lands, unknown to me, at this time. Yet in my psyche I’m already there and engaged in a specific task. No signs of unwellness, or fatigue dispirit me.

Such dreams hearten me. Without them, I falter.

 

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