Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Cosmic Dumpster

I have lived in this great old house for over 16 years. I have 16 years of memories, projects and gatherings in this house. It was a fixer upper when we moved in.   16 years later, it's still a fixer upper.  We moved in and got busy with life. That life didn't involve a lot of fixing up.  A lot of stuff got moved into our basement 16 years ago and got added to. We both held on to the most ridiculous stuff.  Thinking it made us unique and quirky. Last spring, our basement flooded. It actually, had been taking on a little bit of water here and there over the years. This spring's flood was 2 inches, and just enough water to create mushy moldy boxes of stuff.  Enough was enough, it was becoming an energy drain.   It was musty, dirty and packed with junk making it a real challenge to not only see what we had, but move around in there. I hated to go down to the basement. Time to do something about this.   I think most of my friends were tired of hearing me talk about my dirty moldy basement. It wasn't so bad that I lived in fear of the Hoarders TV show crew showing but at my door, but left for 16 more years or less, they would have had a show down there.   I knew this was going to be a big messy project.   I approached it like that.
I looked at my calendar and scheduled the time.  Ordered the 20 yard drop box dumpster (yes it's big), gathered up supplies- hazmat suit, gloves, goggles, face masks.  
This week was the week!  I was woken up early on July 5th from the dumpster company saying they were on their way.  Once the dumpster was dropped of in my drive way, I suited up and got to tossing.
The dumpster quickly filled up, I made great progress.  On day 3, I got hit with this huge wave of emotion.
It was overwhelming.  Sadness and anger swelled up in me.  I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, as I'm not one to hold on to things, once I decided they need to go.   I stopped for the day and took a long hot bath.  With the dumpster almost 2/3 full and my basement really empty, why was I so angry and sad?
I just allowed myself to feel without attachment to why or how I got here.  I was just there.
The next morning a very good friend of mine came over to help me.  She loves this sort of project and I needed the support to finish up.  And we did finish up!  The basement now looks great.
In that sea of moldy mushy boxes, I found one box that contained several antique plates, I had forgotten I had.  They were oddly not touched by mold, they had not aged.  I was happy to see them.  These items will be brought upstairs and displayed, as they are were important treasures.  They deserve to see the light of day after all these years.
I sat on my porch this afternoon and looked at all the stuff in that dumpster.  It was massively beautiful.  All the colors. All the odd mix of stuff in my past.  It occurred to me that I had held on to all that junk from my past, hoping I could make sense of my odd past one day. At some point, I felt I needed all that junk.  I was allowing that junk to help define me. I now feel like keeping all that stuff from the past did nothing, but hold me back. It sat there and got moldy.  Serving no one and doing no one any good.  It certainly didn't bring me joy.  It was source of frustration.  It become an excuse for not moving forward. As extreme as this sounds, it felt like I all I deserved in life was moldy basement. I feel like I took a huge step forward not only in my basement but for me.
My sadness and anger gave way to joy and liberation.  My current life is still a very colorful mix, but it is forward moving and not growing mold.  Much healthier.  I didn't expect the intense insights, I got from cleaning out a dirty basement.  I'm so glad I took the time to this.   I sure you it will not get filled up. I'm enjoying the empty space to move around in.
Are there items, attitudes or mindsets from your past that you are holding on to?  Are they serving to bring you joy in the present? Or are they just sitting there taking up space in your life or worse yet sitting there just getting moldy?  Are you willing to let them go?
I'm counting this as a project of the week...  As it really was a project and I had so many insights.
So, 37 projects complete 15 to go!
Sorry no photos this week.  It would be too shocking!

1 comment:

  1. You write beautifully and I love how you really are in the moment with things- commenting the earlier post as well. You are so in sync.

    Beinghogla @ swapbot