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At 9 A.M., I awoke with this coaching dream:

Someone gave me a gift. I pull apart the tissue paper and discover a large folded rectangle of peach cloth, my favorite color. I shake it out. In my hands, it becomes a belted leisure gown, something that Mother would have enjoyed wearing in the 1930s when it was fashionable. Later, my brother Mark joins me and explains the artistic significance of the designs woven into the luscious fabric. I’m touched.

This view into my personal unconscious heartens me. The Someone suggests Creator God, giver of all gifts wanting the best for me, even to the color of the garment, peach, a blend of orange, yellow, and white that symbolizes the divine feminine.

The belted leisure gown speaks of change, given my aging and illness and less need to adhere to my daily routine of self-care. Fit in what is possible—the essentials—and let everything else go; they’ve served me well, together with two years of on-going hospice care. My body has special needs now, and my Dreamer has dressed me comfortably in a garment that enhances my wounded femininity.

The memory of Mother in the dream recalls her love for the color peach. As a young married woman and unable to afford a form-fitting crocheted dress, the fashion at that time, she bought a pattern book and made one on her own, in peach, with long sleeves and calf-length skirt. When home alone as a child, I used to open the cedar chest in her closet, pull out that dress, and put it on—it never fit.

And my brother Mark’s expertise that informed me of the garment’s added interest speaks to my undeveloped interest for the arts, thwarted by poor health. In the dream, I was glad for his company. He just showed up.

My gratitude for my Dreamer’s coaching continues encouraging me as I trek, alone, toward my eternal destiny. It is working out …

“Here! Take the end of your stick and I’ll guide you to the treadmill,” said a petite woman, her thick white hair bobbed below her ear lobes, her soft grey eyes and mouth suggesting they’d been partners for a long time.

Ahead of me, leaning against the wall of the corridor at the YMCA was another senior, also with curly hair and a neat mustache. His unbuttoned long sleeve shirt appeared threadbare with washings, his Stars n’ Stripes suspenders hitched to faded jeans, with no hips to hold them up.

He knew what to do. With both hands he gripped the end of his white cane and followed, one slow step followed by another, until they stopped behind the treadmill. After she helped him climb on and set the controls, she turned on the one next to his, and together they walked.

This elder man was no stranger, although drastically altered in appearance. On my way to meetings, most Sunday mornings, I used to watch him climb the hills in my neighborhood, his blind stick instructing each step he took. I often wondered who took care of him, his grooming and attire always in good taste. Never was he without his high visibility vest with safety stripes that complimented his khaki pants. He seemed aware of seasonal changes and the beauty around him. Although he was alone, he was always companied, his joy overflowing.

Then, I often bemoaned my sightedness that missed out on life’s fullness. It still occurs.

So it’s about the Hebraic conversion of heart, shuv, the ongoing response to my sinfulness, as found in the Mosaic Law. Convinced that I am powerless to effect this existential change on my own, I rely upon the psalmist’s prayer, “Create, O God, a clean heart within me!” or simply, the mantra, ”Mercy!” together with working the Twelve Steps.

In my perception, however, the concept of sin appears forgotten or unimportant by many, from the global elite to street gangs to the politically and socially and academically prominent. Even spiritual leadership rots in its sanctuaries. Few to none participate in the world of the unconscious, source of dreams and spiritual direction. Instincts have a field day spinning subtle errors; recourse to head-language sets norms for what’s called moral behavior, until accepted in common practice.

Such unbridled insanity/sin leave the psyche’s doors wide open for the ravages of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: war, famine, pestilence, and death. The media reports their galloping the high and low roads of our globe; they are everywhere. Chronic shuddering attests to their presence—No denial or substance abuse can assuage their terror. “Getting back to normal” seems illusory.

As bleak as this scenario appears, conversion of heart still works; its access requires rigorous honesty and humility and simplicity, within the context of prayerful solitude. We are not God and never have been.

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