House of a thousand rooms

When I was contemplating writing a blog, my thoughts about it were that the blog would be about everything other than my internship experience. Originally, I thought my writing here would be separate from that “professional” part of my life. However, one of the many lessons I’m learning from this internship and the music therapy work I do is that solid separation such as I thought I wanted is both impossible (for me, anyway), and undesired.
Separation is not synonymous with compartmentalization. The latter is a skill that some people are much better at grasping than others. I feel that I have always been good at separating, and much of the time, to a fault. I have always considered separation as being compartmentalization, and that’s not the case.
In my mind, I have different rooms for people and the places with which they are associated. Events and items also occupy rooms, but usually they are in partnership with either people or places. I have never been comfortable socializing with someone I know from a workplace, for instance. These rooms don’t have windows, so to speak. They are separate entities.
A couple of years ago, I went on a weekend trip with one of my best friends. She and I were in a band together, and we had a gig in Boise to play. During the trip, we spent some time at the library, mostly so that we could use the internet. But we saw that there was a book sale on the ground floor, and we looked through it. The books were of a variety, and I think we both both two or three. One that she bought was a book of short “inspirational” or motivational stories or essays. We read aloud from the books on the drive back, and from that particular book, there was a memorable selection. Of course I don’t remember the title of the book, who wrote it, who wrote the selection, or what it is called, but I do remember what it was. The image portrayed was that of a four-roomed house. The author assigned Cognition, Emotion, Physicality, and Spirituality to each of the four rooms. The instruction was that the reader enter each of these rooms once a day. This made sense to me, and attributed a very clear visual to the thought. Clearly, it’s stayed with me since.
My house has more than four rooms, and it has a basement. I take a mental picture of my house every so often and assess the condition of the rooms. The Spirituality Room is something of an addition, and it’s under construction, so even though I visit it every few days, I still don’t quite know how it’s going to look later. The Physical Room usually is a-shambles, though sometimes I’ll give it a surface clean. The basement, though, has been on fire for a while. The fire is slow-burning and mostly quiet, but every day it burns a little hotter. Smoke has been damaging the rest of the house, and lately the flames are no longer contained. The rest of my house is affected.
Separation and compartmentalization are two different animals. Compartmentalizing is a gift– an ability to acknowledge the existence of strengths and limitations of daily living, but to keep those items and images and ideas contained somewhere should they not directly apply to the situation before me at that moment.
I am finding that I am no longer able to separate. And this is a good thing, because this means I am learning the truth in containment. To contain, for me, is to hold with me all of everything in my life, but to recognize that only tiny trinkets in that mammoth house are really useful in the moment.
Appraise the value of my house, and see that each room influences the others, but don’t allow for one to burn the whole.
Thanks for reading.

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