Multiple images come to mind at once. The elderly woman in front of me in line at the coffee shop can’t be whom I think she is. She turns her head to one side, and the following words seem to take control of my body: It’s Helen! The years count themselves: our six and a half years of Jungian psychotherapy ended seventeen years ago this month, a few days before I moved from Seattle to Madrid. Seven years later I returned to her office twice, the first time to say hello, and the second time I’m unsure why since I was still living in Madrid and not consciously interested in more psychotherapy. These sentences feel as if they might become part of the beginning of a narrative.
The coffee shop where this imaginary encounter occurs is four blocks from where I’m seated, in my office at home. Helen is around the same age as my parents. I forget how I know that. She helped me to begin changing my life in my late twenties and early thirties. Around a year ago I discovered online that she has retired. It is hard for me to picture her outside of her office. To me she was her work. Why am I afraid to finish my own sentence? Her healing work. She helped me start the lifelong process of healing myself.
Things could have ended better between us. When I moved to Madrid with Javier at age 34, I had only recently started listening to my intuition. Dreams suggested that our work had continued for too long.
Present, past, and future feel as if they’re speaking to me at once in these images and memories. I don’t frequent coffee shops anymore. The one where I imagine encountering Helen has always felt welcoming to me. Maybe my imagination has become a more welcoming place for my own inner experiences. Helen also helped me to discover my own imagination. I had never recorded my dreams before. This sort of writing could only have happened in my dreams. Now I can write like this awake.