"I think the absence of thoughts about things you should have feelings about," my therapist said yesterday, "has a significant meaning."

I stared at Dr. Brown, puzzled.

"How useful is it to imagine thoughts about things I have no thoughts about?" I asked her.

She took her time to answer, choosing her words carefully.

"I think that you are burying the thoughts and feelings you might have--whether they be anger, envy, jealousy--so that you do not have to confront them. You put them somewhere so that you do not have to deal with them."

I nodded, unconvinced.

Dr. Brown is a psychoanalyst, through and through. Usually everything she says--like, how we feel about ourselves has its origins in childhood--makes sense to me, but yesterday had me puzzled.

What she meant was: the thoughts I do not have, about things I ought to have thoughts about, are just as important as the thoughts I do have about everything else.

Is there something wrong with not having feelings about some things? I wondered. I have enough thoughts about the thoughts I do have. Why do I have to think about the thoughts I'm not having? 

We had a long talk and I left still wondering why I would wonder about the thoughts I do not have. Honestly, I would be quite happy not having any more thoughts at all about most things and moving through life with a zen-like awareness of the present moment, no emotional baggage from the past, nor anxious feelings about the future.

That is the thing about therapy. It is great just as long as I do not end up gazing at my navel wondering why it is shaped one way and not the other. Being a person of strong opinions, perhaps it comes as a shock to people when I don't have a thought at all about something that might be significant. But who is to say what is significant to me?

I have had a lot of feelings about a great many things. I am the grownup version of the young girl who would sit in her bedroom having long fantasies about a future in which I was beautiful and popular and loved. Though that future never materialized, I took those dreams and became a writer (and filmmaker).

I do not worry about the thoughts I do not have. There is enough here already. --AL.

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