This summer, Lindsey Rosen and I were invited to perform my new play, On the Doorstep of the Castle, at the International Jungian Congress in Copenhagen. What a fantastic experience! Such a thrill just to be there – all the voices in languages across the world. Lindsey made contact with legendary dance therapist, Joan Chodorow, at the pre-conference workshop on the body and active imagination. All of the dance therapists became our colleagues for the week. We began the Congress by attending a workshop led by David Gerbi, a Jew from Libya, and an analyst, actor, and refugee. He was so excited about our play, which deals with the oppression of the Jews in 16th century Spain. Lindsey and I were blown away by David’s workshop – he has lived what we are portraying in art. Meeting him gave a depth and meaning to the entire week, as we attended workshops on such a grand scope of topics, including evidence-based research on the validity of Jungian therapy and the use of symbols, metaphor, and emotion to promote mental health. We played hooky some mornings to take in the sights of Copenhagen. What a beautiful city! We were able to immerse ourselves in a classic European city. Bicycles everywhere – families – a sense of relaxation and care for the people –priority space on the buses for baby carriages and old people. And, oh, my , the town square of cobblestones – Olympic gods and goddesses atop ancient buildings – fountains filled with frog-spitting statues; breast-feeding goddesses with water spouting from their nipples– a sense of ebullience everywhere. Of course, our own ebullience was matched only by how nervous we were as the time for the performance drew close. We had no time to rehearse lights or sound, but Murray Stein’s Red Book performance came right before us, so the room was at least set up, with a stage big enough to dance and act on. And, true to old theater lore, after all the angst, the performance was a dream. Our characters connected with so much electricity, passion, and depth. Standing ovation. We were sticky with sweat, but accepted the embraces of Joan Chodorow, Jean Shinoda Bolen (one of my icons: author of The Goddess in Every Woman), Naomi Ruth Lewinsky (author, analyst, poet), David Gerbi, the dance therapists, and many others…I am still walking on air, and lo and behold, the greatest gift –such irony — the inner active imagination I did all week to calm my silly nerves inspired a profound shift in my inner world, even as we traversed the adventure of the outer one.
An affirmation of this work, the International Jungian community — all of us who love art, psyche, and each other!
Footnote: The published book of On the Doorstep of the Castle is now on Amazon with stunning cover art by Seattle Jungian psychotherapist, Patrice Donahue.