This probably shouldn’t surprise me…

…but it does, a little.

I received an email from a music therapy colleague a couple of days ago. A friend of hers, who lives in a city some three dozen miles from my home, is looking for a music therapist to do private sessions with her son, who has developmental disabilities.

I thought to myself, “Hey! I know someone who might be able to help!” I fired off a reply, with a carbon copy to the potential helper, so that either party could initiate the follow-up if they chose. Helping people make connections! Yay!

The question didn’t occur to me until about fifteen minutes later, and then it stopped me in my tracks:

Why didn’t I offer to work with the boy? Why was I so quick to refer a potential new client to someone else?

Well, as I thought for a moment, I realized that it made sense. I have a lot on my plate right now: a nursing home contract that takes up 24 hours a week (not even counting the travel time, which is substantial); two Music Together classes at a local Montessori school, a private client. Then there’s my PhD program, and my family…

If I’d thought it through, I’m sure I would have decided that I didn’t want to pursue this new opportunity, that I preferred to pass it along to another professional.

But I didn’t even think it through.

That’s what really startled me.

There was a time, in the earlier days of my self-employment, when I would have jumped at anything, anything I could conceivably shoehorn into my schedule. At the very least, I’d consider whatever crossed my path.

This feels like a milestone, somehow.

I think it also calls for some deep contemplation. I’d like to get in touch with my inner — agent? career counselor? — whatever subconscious part of me just said, “No thanks, we’ll pass on that,” without thinking twice.

I want to ask her: Okay, then, what new creative projects would we like to take on? And what can I do to help us move towards them?

Subconscious protective instincts are all well and good…but there’s also a lot to be said for mindfulness, and for paying attention.

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