“Vic was a consummate teacher,” I said to my therapist last week after I’d watched a video of my husband giving a talk. “Jean Raffa is a terrific teacher, too.” I’d just seen Jean’s video Dream Theatre of the Ego and looked forward to her other four YouTube videos in this series.
My therapist smiled her “I see something” smile.
“So what are you?” she asked.
My mind went blank. What am I other than a little lost?
“I’m a woman on my own,” I said.
“I’m a woman who needs to be outside every day in any weather. Did you read May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude? I relate to that.”
She nodded yes.
“Solitude. It’s an option,” I said. “A frowned upon option, but it’s what I seem to need. ‘You’ll get depressed. You’ll get lonely. You’ll feel unloved,’ people warn me.”
“Maybe, I think. Maybe. But I feel depressed in crowds of people. I am loneliest at a big conference in a city hotel. I feel unloved and isolated when I’m unable to communicate or hear.”
I was once an extrovert, a gregarious young woman who spent most of my time with others. I still value and depend on community, but an introverted life showed up after my husband died.
“So what else are you?” my therapist asked.
“I’m a Jungian. I’ve seen my world through a Jungian lens since I was introduced to his work in 1970. It’s a perspective I’m sharing in writing. I want to do more of that.”
“I’m a woman who loves Nature. I’m at home with big trees, sunsets, and bodies of water. Yes, I miss sharing this with Vic and love friends who want to walk with Willow and me, but like Artemis the Huntress, I’m comfortable alone.
“You can give me any city you choose,” Artemis said to her father Zeus, “but just one. Unlike the other Olympians, I’ll rarely go there. I intend to live in the mountains.”
I see Artemis in the hills and valleys. I see her in the forest surrounded by wild creatures and untamed vegetation. She protects women in childbirth, the wildest of places, and provides quick death for those who cannot survive. She is a life-giver and life-destroyer. Like Nature.
“What about being a writer?” my therapist asked.
“Ah, yes. I feel a little unsure about where I’m going now that my first book is out and the second is in progress, but far from finished.”
Then my therapist did what she does so well. She remembered.
“Do you remember the advice you gave to a young boy in a dream a few years ago, a young boy who symbolized your young inner writer self?”
“I remember,” I said with a grin.
“Yes, that’s what I said. That’s what I do,” I said with tears running down my cheeks. “My heart longs to write and a writer needs time alone.”
What does your heart long for? When I feel rattled or lost, it’s good to talk to someone who helps me remember what I know. Do you have people like that in your life?
For other posts about the messy and exhilarating adventures of life as a writer, see Savoring the Solitude: A Writer’s Life or My Creative Dilemma. I hope you’ll enjoy my recent Jungian article about Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women by Sylvia Perera (Inner City Books, 1981). I loved re-reading the book and writing about it.