A box is a funny thing. A cardboard object made of sides with a top and a bottom. Cats love them. I’ve never known a cat that wouldn’t jump into an opened box - full or empty its fair game.
I think it’s fair to say that a box can hold just about anything - clothes, dishes, books, anything perhaps, except liquid. I hope you’ve never made the mistake of haphazardly putting a container of liquid dish soap in a box on moving day only to have it tip over. Even the liquid detergent from Vitacost has the bottle lids taped shut and the bottle itself wrapped in a sealed plastic bag. They know what liquid can do to a cardboard box.
And as I think of liquid in a cardboard box leaking all over the place, it reminds me of our thoughts and the phrase “thinking outside the box.”
When we stay inside our proverbial box our thoughts can become stagnant. Staying inside that box can feel comforting and safe, but with no air and no circulation, there’s nothing to help generate new thoughts. The repeated thoughts we do have can become dark and lifeless like a tape in a tape player that goes around and around until it's completely worn out. Even we can get tired of listening to ourselves.
I’ve been wondering about that box lately. Have I stayed inside it too long? Am I staying inside it because it’s safe? Is it time to let myself out of the box, seep through the protective layers and see what's waiting for me on the other side? What new adventures await me out there that can bring new life to the me that has maybe stayed inside the box a little too long.
The box doesn’t have to go away, there’s nothing essentially wrong with having a safe place to return to, in fact I think that’s important. But what can be equally important is to step out of that box - breathe fresh air, stretch a little bit, and see the world with open eyes in the light of day.
Maybe being like a cat that finds pleasure from jumping in and out of the box, we too can step out and bring back something new; new experiences, exposing ourselves to things outside the normal day to day, and recharging the old ways.
It’s like infusing what is already inside the box, the tried and true, with a freshness that comes with the courage to take a risk – a willingness to venture outside the box.