Living in little boxes


Our boxes manifested.



Today I find myself here at my computer, writing. Finally. How long has this road been and is it just a step along my search to expressing my unique creativity and dreams? In thinking about this, I tried to trace what was it that had me toiling for decades in the 9 to 5 work-o-drama that is a corporate job. One job led to another, each one a successive rung higher on the proverbial ladder. My thoughts landed on the choices we make. Our choices in life are many, a multitude of options as vast as the universe. Each of these choices directs us down a certain path and we have absolutely no idea of where it will lead us. I considered the choices of my life; the direction of my studies, the people I choose to meet, the food I choose to eat, the activities I choose to do and every other choice right down to the routines I’ve set for myself. All that I have done has led me to this moment. I am present in the moment, quiet and still and yet I continue to make choices. What am I thinking of, am I hungry enough to get something to eat? The constant chatter does not allow my mind to be empty. With some practice or experience or perhaps wisdom of age, we all can learn to observe our thoughts, behaviours and ourselves. In youth, it seems we do not have this chatter of judgement and self-criticism. We just enjoy the moment, the joys of being and playing. Societal norms and expectations are imposed upon us, or rather we internalize them. To counteract and balance what is expected of us, we must ensure that personal empowerment, positivity and encouragement in our creative expressions are acknowledged. We collectively like to compare and judge and in the process we place higher value on certain activities. How impressed we may be when a child does a complex math problem or makes it on the science club. Do we have the same level of praise when they do an impromptu song or draw an interesting scene? These seemingly insignificant acts of expression build the foundations of future possibilities.


We are all creative by our very nature of being alive. Our bodies are in a state of constant creation with each cell renewal. We live in a natural world that creates and recreates itself all the time. Why is it then that we do not spend enough public discourse or value on our place in the world, our natural world? We are an extension of it. Our cities are not designed to coexist with nature. We remove ourselves from it. We cut ourselves off from this Life force and put ourselves into boxes. We are forever putting ourselves into boxes. Whether physically in homes or offices that literally are boxes to our societal norms that we must each fit into a neat category of who we are. Even with our inner life we may ignore or discount that little voice inside trying to get us to pay attention to our dreams. Instead of allowing it to develop, to explore where it takes us, we box up the thought for fear of ‘pick yours that apply’ and move it neatly to the back of our mind.


I have been rooting around in these boxes. They are not so solid and just by looking at them they disintegrate, as would something so old and fragile disintegrates just by touching it. As people search for happiness, they seek it in external goods, status and such. Some might opt for meditation. It is a matter of perspective and what you choose to see. Everything else is shrouded by fear and this fear wants to put things into boxes, neatly put it away, control things and convince itself it is happy. Eventually we glace back at the boxes and see that it is painful to deny our dreams. What we can do is start to observe where we are living. Not just the physical location but where we exist in mind, body and spirit and take a look at what boxes we have created for ourselves. While we have physical limitations, our creative ideas, thoughts and dreams are unbounded. The colloquial saying may be ‘think outside the box’. I’d rather say ‘forget the box entirely!’.