When you're considering reading a blog post about basement cleaning, alphabetizing your vegetable drawer may sound much more worthwhile. Hey, I feel the same way when I consider actually cleaning out the basement. Even writing a blog post about cleaning the basement sounds better than actually cleaning it out.
But I really did clean my basement-well a small part of it. (My husband would emphasize the word "small.") I started cleaning out the materials I've been using in my special education work. I went through books, visual aides, instruments, letter and number cards, and communication tools so I can donate it to some fellow music therapists. Because...(deep breath) in one week (deep breath), I'll be finished working with families with special needs (deep breath.) Forever. (very deep breath-maybe three breaths.)
I thought this task would be easy. Make a couple of piles-stuff that I'm going to pass along, stuff I'm going to throw away, and a very few things I'm keeping for my kids. Garbage, donation bin, my child's bookshelf or toy box. One hour or so. Easy peasy. I was not prepared for the emotions that surfaced while cleaning this stuff out. Each piece had a memory attached to it. Something, someone, someplace. Some of them I haven't thought of in years. And there was a memory of myself attached to them too. How I have changed as a therapist over the years. From fresh graduate to experienced therapist. From someone who wanted everyone to automatically like and value her to someone who knew how to stand her ground when needed. From single to married to mother. Independent contractor to business owner.
I think-no, I KNOW there is a relationship between what we do on the outside and what is going on inside. As I was making space in my basement, I was also making space in my heart and mind. As I sorted and packaged physical material, my heart was sorting my emotions. Less of a jumble of everything mixed together. More of an organized awareness of what is there. I made space for my music therapist-doula bag and for the emotions that are coming up as I close this very large chapter of my life. Some of it has been hard to look at. There were materials that could have been thrown away a long time ago. And I have to admit to feeling some fear and nervousness taking this big step. But there is also room for excitement and empowerment just as there is room for blue-tooth speakers, art materials, and massagers.
I'll always love the families and professionals I've worked with. They have taught me so much. And now I'm ready to give and receiving love from families in a different role. I expect to continue to learn so much.