Saturday, March 25, 2017


Boxes.jpgToday’s essay was inspired by the 14-pound longhair cat that regally oversees our house, oftentimes from the confines of a shoebox.  Their allure seems irresistible and I’m regularly wondering why he pours himself into them. As you can see, the fit is a bit tight.

It got me thinking.

We All Come in Boxes.

I like to picture us all as being composed of 3 parts: body, mind and spirit. Our bodies are our boxes. They are our tools and vehicles that give our minds and spirits the means to interact with this amazing world we find ourselves in.

We don’t pick our boxes. Even if/when the technology becomes widely available to make detailed choices for what these boxes develop into through gestation, the owners themselves will never be the ones making those selections.

I was pondering life (as I regularly do) as I hiked a trail during Friday’s warm up. I’ve been dealing with some recurring back pain and my blood sugars have been a bit high this week so I wanted to take things for a test spin and I came up with some more ideas as I moved along.

Our Boxes Only Tell Part of Our Story

I believe we all have a unique blend of body, mind and spirit. I think each of us has a natural connection with one or more of them but we can affect that through effort. A philosopher can learn to play basketball. A footballer can earn a PhD in math.

Comfort in any of these three, including one’s box, can come early, later or not really at all. Our overall mind, body and spirit balance typically moves around as time passes, making it necessary to find a new equilibrium. It can be really tough.

Stacking Our Boxes Together

A few people are lucky enough to be born into boxes that fit the other 2 parts fairly well. With few disruptions, their existences flow from beginning to end in relative ease. Most go through many more difficulties as they struggle to come to terms with who, what, where and when they are. Lastly, there are those with daunting challenges to overcome- those with internal and external obstacles at every turn. It’s like we’re all in a cosmic driver’s ed class together with limited course materials, trying to figure things out and not run anyone else over while we’re doing it. Key words: All. Together.

Getting Comfortable in our Boxes

While the parts themselves are wearing out, I’m much more comfortable within my box than I ever have been before. Glasses, gray hair, shoe inserts and OTC anti-inflammatories are all proof of the declines and yet I feel good for the most part. Some days are better than others, but overall I feel content. I’m more accepting of my box today.

We can (and should) appreciate all the sides to our boxes. Mine has allowed me to experience motherhood. It’s forced me to experience diabetes. It lets me absorb and participate in the spectacle of a concert. It’s made me face ugly realities like discrimination, too. Light and dark both teach.

It’s true that we can affect the way our boxes look through cosmetics, appliances, fitness regimes, surgeries and the like. Ironically, it’s the young, the ones with seemingly everything going for them (from an older perspective), who fall the hardest for these ways to achieve something else. Why? I think the goal is peace.

Peaceful Balance of Box, Mind and Spirit

You feel peace when you feel like you belong: within yourself and within the space you inhabit. We all crave safety and a great way to achieve that is to not feel out of place. Real peace requires attention to all 3 parts over time until we can really understand and embrace them as they are. Some get there early. Some get there late. That’s OK.

Here’s to our boxes and that quest for peace as we head further down the trail!

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