Wonderful Things

When the email arrived, I thought I would ignore it. Yet it remained in my inbox for days, until finally I realized that I must have kept it there for a reason. I prefer to limit what I see in my inbox every morning. For an anxious person like myself, creating order in small things helps me to keep calm more than I wish to admit. A week or so after its arrival, I read it, reread it, and it occurred to me why I might have avoided it: it was an announcement for a psychoanalytic lecture, which I’d not attended, I didn’t want to admit to myself, in nearly two decades. A psychoanalyst from New York would give a talk at a local art museum near downtown Seattle, within walking distance from where I lived. I’d forgotten when I’d given my email address to the psychoanalytic society and institute that was sponsoring the event. What was I afraid of? I hadn’t abandoned psychoanalysis. Where did the word abandon come from? I almost wrote: I hadn’t avoided psychoanalysis for so long. Twenty years was a long time. And now I was experiencing it myself, on the couch. All of this confused mental activity was becoming too much. The unconscious seemed too much in control. My life had been full of work in the last two decades. The last sentence felt as if I was trying to rationalize something. As the date of the talk neared, I considered not attending because I might meet someone there from a previous life, when I’d trained to be a psychotherapist. I did attend. She spoke passionately about her work, and as I listened, I imagined lying on her couch in Manhattan, with her listening behind me. Imagination is a wonderful thing, sometimes. During the past twenty years, I’d never stopped reading about psychoanalysis or the Collected Works of C.G. Jung. When the talk ended, I wondered why I’d come, and I felt fortunate to imagine the answer: to have this experience.

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