“Tell me – what can I do for you? What would you like to talk about?”
Dr. Miriam Rosenberg sat in a chair across from George.
George considered her:
(Navy blue dress and shoes – no jewelry – trace of lipstick – short grey curly hair.
Horn-rimmed glasses, which she took off at the beginning of the conversation.
Seeing her anywhere else but here I might not come to any immediate conclusions about who she is or what she does for a living.
Neutral, not inviting speculation or surmise.
Focused on me.
An open expression on her face – a slight smile, eyebrows lifted, head a bit tilted to one side. As if to imply, Yes?)
Everything about Dr. Rosenberg put George at ease.)
* * * * *
George had felt growing pressure to talk to someone about his Mender of Destinies experiences. Where could he turn for help and advice?
He had considered every possibility he could think of:
A psychic – a tarot card reader or a fortune teller?
A physician – in general practice?
Yoga training – guided meditation – group therapy?
Even a priest or a rabbi?
Maybe a psychotherapist, an analyst, even a psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist could prescribe medication, and maybe he just needed drugs.
A friend, a family doctor, suggested Dr. Rosenberg, who was English, and a member of the faculty of the university medical school in Prague.
She accepted private patients.
George’s friend said she was not only qualified in every way, but she had a reputation for being very wise.
And more than anything else, George thought he was in need of wisdom.
* * * * *
In response to her question, George began in a somewhat obscure way – he was avoiding plunging right into being a Mender of Destinies:
“Well, I’ve been thinking about those deep caves in France – ones like Lascaux, Pech Merle, and Chauvet.”
“Yes . . .?”
“I visited Pech Merle twice myself. Saw an incredible horse down there on stone.
And I’ve been interested in cave art ever since.
Just last night I looked through the latest photographs from Chauvet.
They say the drawings may be 40,000 years old.
People went deep, deep underground – into almost inaccessible places – with only torches and oil lamps for light – and using only charcoal and natural pigments like red and yellow ochre and blue hematite, they crafted beautiful images on the rock walls – bison and elk and deer and horses and mammoths and imaginary creatures.
Who knows why or what was going on in their minds?
All they left behind was their art and imprints of their hands – signatures –
as if to say, I was here.”
“Yes . . . . ?”
“There were conscious minds in those caves – and a cave in their minds.
And that’s how I feel about what’s going on with me.
I don’t know which is which.
Have I wandered into a mental cave or have I been given access to a metaphysical cave? What do I do with this? I think I’m going crazy sometimes, and then I think I’m going profoundly sane in an astonishing way.”
“Yes . . .?”
“And some days I think I’ve fallen into an alternative Universe – as if the whole theory of multiverses was true. Quantum physics might explain all this.”
“Yes, interesting . . . I think I see what you’re getting at . . . go on. “
“Some days I think I would like to be cured of what’s troubling me. And other days I think I’d like to make something beautiful out of this – leave evidence of my art – my psychological hand prints – so at least I know I was here and left my mark somehow.”
“Yes . . . Tell me more.”
And so George unloaded his tale of the Mender of Destinies – everything – from the beginning up until yesterday.
By the time he brought his story up to date, the therapy hour was over.
Dr. Rosenberg sat back in her chair, and smiled.
“Fascinating, Mr. Novak . . . George.
What you’ve told me is truly unique in my professional experience, and rather than give you a brief response in the time we have left, I would like to give what you’ve shared with me some careful thought before we talk again.
Is that acceptable to you?”
“Yes, of course – just having a chance to tell you all this has already helped.
You really are good at listening – I’m eager to know what you think.”
Dr. Rosenberg took a deep breath, and closed her eyes.
When she opened her eyes, she smiled and said, in a soft-spoken, slow-paced
way that suggested she was choosing her words carefully:
“Thank you, George. First of all, I . . . appreciate . . . your compliment.”
“And I will say this . . . I don’t see any need for any form of medication now.
You seem . . . more highly intrigued by your situation than deeply troubled.
“And . . . I’ll add this . . .
Human beings have an astonishing ability to construct multiple paranormal or metaphysical experiences out of our subconscious. Call it inner multiverses, for lack of any better metaphor.
You already know that . . . because you spend roughly one third of your life asleep, inside astonishing mental projections we call dreams.
For all the research and done on dreams, their purpose remains a mystery.”
“Yes . . .” said George.
“Sometimes . . . those projections become lucid – and become part of conscious experience woven into daily life, where what’s real and what’s not is hard to distinguish – or perhaps we might as well say that everything we think and feel and imagine is real. So it seems.. Sometimes we are certainly inclined to act as if those projections are as real as anything else we experience.”
There are lots of names for this: hallucinations, visions, illusions – just to name a few. But the label is just a label, not an explanation.”
“Yes.” George sat forward on the edge of his chair, listening intently.
“It’s also possible that you have an onset of a form of sleep walking – somnambulism – but that’s hard to document, since you live alone, and even hard to diagnose. As I say, it’s only a possibility – a surmise on my part.”
“You are not going crazy, George – that’s not a useful word or a diagnosis.
But you are surely having a unique experience, and as long as it doesn’t threaten your well-being or result in harm to anyone else, I suggest you let it continue and unfold as it will.”
“Yes. . . yes.”
“You seem to be in control of the idea of being a Mender of Destinies, and . . .
are handling it well, I must say.
I look forward to exploring this further with you.”
George sat back in his chair and relaxed – thinking.
“Are you comfortable with what I’ve just said?”
“Yes. Comfortable, comforted, and relieved,” replied George, now sitting forward on the edge of his chair again.
“Excellent – I think we should arrange a series of regular appointments – at least once a week for several weeks. Is that acceptable to you?”
“Yes, absolutely yes,” said George.
“I think I can be helpful to you, and . . . I may learn some things from you that will be helpful in my practice.
In a way, a psychiatrist is also a Mender of Destinies.”
“Yes . . . yes . . . I understand. I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Think about it, and we’ll talk more next week.”