Off to meet a yoga teacher in Brussels. A woman of many trades, a mother of two, lives in a multicultural dimension, inhales more understanding with every breath she takes. Her daughter has just started college. She translates novels thick enough to stop the bullet from a colt .45, and she is more than familiar with all the psychotherapy tricks, terminology, pitfalls, etc of lying on the couch in someone’s office. How refreshing if you’re used to going for drinks with women whose primary concern seems to be how much cleavage they can show without risking jail time.

On the way over am reading ‘On being a therapist’, by Jeffrey Kottler, the fifth edition. When she spots a book in my bag, she immediately asks which book it is. It’s a nice substitute for the typical questions women throw at me such as: ‘When did you last get a haircut?’, or ‘do you always wear this kind of pants?’

A passage in the book reads:

It’s not what the therapist does that is necessarily important -whether she interprets, reflects, confronts, disputes, or role-plays – but rather who she is as a person. A therapist who is vibrant, inspirational, and charismatic, and self-disciplined will often have an impact through the sheer force and power of her essence, regardless of her theoretical allegiances.

The first and foremost element of change, then, is the therapist’s presence – her excitement and enthusiasm and the power of her personality’ (page 3)

It’s as if Kottler is describing my therapist. And the lady that’s waiting for me at the top of the stairs in the main hall of the station Brussels Centraal. She’s agreed to come as the embodiment of Celia Bowen, from the Night Circus. I’ve come as Robinson Crusoe to explain away the ragged clothes, scruffy beard and the sheer bewilderment of being outside. I’m feeling like a hunted animal, and the heavily armed army squad that the government deems necessary to protect us from exploding backpacks isn’t helping much. I’m wearing a T-shirt with Kafka’s face on it in mute and anti-fashionable protest.

Celia Bowen, by

Modern day Robinson.

Celia Bowen Abramova is a Slovak lady who lives in Brussel, she’s quite the connaisseur of this often despised capital city with its myriad little streets.

She takes me to Les gens que j’aime (the people I love) a restaurant/bar in the city centre.

We find a spot upstairs. Dark and secluded enough to delve into the murkier nooks and crannies of the mind.

She’s elegantly dressed, without trying to impress.

We do a couple of kokology exercises, some of which seem to hit the right spot. It’s a treat to talk to someone who’s not cut off from her inner currents. She’s a Slavic rusalka, a mermaid, just like Anaïs Nin, she has ‘no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living’.

We are momentarily united as two hungry children. She is yearning to be in the arms of her Wandering Dutchman, a great friend of mine, the man who captured her heart months ago, on those same steps in the station where we met earlier today, and for more insight, she’s even looking for her Ikigai, if I understand correctly. What’s clear is that she has healing powers, not because she has a phd in psychology, but because she cares and is not rigidly stuck in the confines of her own skin. You cannot relate like this to an inexperienced woman. I’m very grateful for being  here with her, a nice excursion out of the prison of ‘shallow living’.

We talk about the techniques and motivations of professional pick-up artists (do they all look for their idealized mother in those conquests?), fathers, affairs, The Affair, a series that’s very subtle and potrays the jugular of a relationship in a couple of shots, a glance here and there and a succint comment in between. She has a way of conveying her life and all that she’s been through by simply being present. The energy she emanates is contained, but in a movement, in a touch, it’s like sitting on a powder keg. I understand how she could entice my otherwise slippery friend.

It’s a great gift if someone can make you forget the dreariness of every day existence, even if only for a couple of hours.