This was prior to my departure from Amsterdam and going through further changes. I would say I sought out a counsellor about every five years prior to some major change whether it be a job change or country move. I think when you are an expat then feeling like an alien and out of touch is a very real experience.
It can initially be difficult to settle. Also living what appears to be a different lifestyle to others can occasionally bring your life into question. I don’t know why I picked a Jungian Analyst this time but it sounded cool. Jungian analysts are inspired by the findings and insights of Carl Jung the late great 20th Century psychologist and thinker who wrote extensively about the unconscious workings of the mind, and certain collective archetypes. I will not go too deep into this as I am not that deep and it is the analyst who should have done the relevant training.
As a writer and ex-Buddhist meditator being alone is part of my life. This potential problem can be increased exponentially when living abroad so extra effort may need to be made to ensure alienation doesn’t creep into isolation and unnecessary misery. Of course, every writer needs some misery, or so I like to think, as fuel for further novels. My conversations with the Jungian analyst would wander more into the surreal and ethereal realms as I focused not just on the personal issues of being an expat abroad, but also how it all fits into the notion of being spiritual, or even just a life journey. How do I justify what appears to be a self-centred choice? Why do I not feel like settling down like all the others in my family?
We go into these themes such as alienation and the spiritual/life journey and discuss the idea of the Hermit, a well-known universal archetype. People who live alone can be marginalized by society but it is quite common for creative thinkers to need to be alone. There is a current trend in society to perceive the loner in a negative fashion which can acerbate the problem. Through the conversations I can work out my needs and balance out my desire to be alone with my need for social sustenance. Through these conversations I am reminded that it is ok to be me. To continue along my path however insane that may appear to others.