Boxes are not the most efficient way to store things you use frequently. You wouldn’t think so, but having to take a lid off to put something away is just one step too many. Having to use both hands to open a box to put something away, pretty much insures that something will not be put away. More often than not, that something will be put on top or next to – but not in - the box.
That being said – boxes make me happy. I love boxes! I love boxes in all shapes and sizes. I love that they have lids. I love that they can be stacked. I love that they can be made of wood, or paper, or ceramics, or metal, or really anything.
I love that boxes often contain special, delicate or precious things and….uh oh…I feel a metaphor coming on…whoo-woo! I love me a good metaphor! I can’t stop myself….here it goes.
Some boxes are easy to get into. They are solidly built and their hinges work well. They may have decorative details, like beautiful dove-tailed corners, but daily function is the first job of these boxes. You can open these boxes with one hand, look at what is inside, take things out and put things back in fairly easily. These are the boxes that keep the things we bring out and work with every day.
Other boxes maybe more delicate. They may have been carefully made by hand and they can’t withstand lots of opening and closing. Maybe the box itself took years to create and is precious. These boxes are good for keeping the things we hold close and keep private and share only with those closest to us. We don’t bring these things into the light very often. Mostly, we just feel good knowing they are there, safely protected in a box, ready and waiting for us if we need them.
Sometimes boxes sit for years, getting dusty while vigilantly protecting something once thought to be precious. When the box is finally opened, we see that the something isn’t so precious to us anymore. We have grown or changed and the box, as well as its contents, are no longer needed.
Sometimes, we have a lot of little boxes holding the things we don’t know what to do with. Maybe these things no longer fit us, but seem special. Or maybe these things were given to us as gifts and we feel we should keep them. These things might have been useful at one time, so we hold onto them. There might be value to these things, but we aren’t sure, so we tuck them away. These are the things we really don’t want to deal with. Putting them away in boxes is an easy way to avoid thinking about them. Sometimes we are able to completely forget about them for a while.
Eventually, we start to feel weighed down by all of the things we have accumulated and are keeping tucked away in boxes. We don’t want to have to do it, but at some point it becomes necessary to go through all of our boxes. When our things have been sitting in boxes for a long, long time, it can be hard to get the lid open and pull things out again. It might be easier to just leave things in their boxes and ignore them some more.
When we choose to do the work of getting these boxes open and looking inside, it can feel very vulnerable. Seeing what we have valued and protected for so many years gives us information we may not want to know about ourselves. But looking at what is inside means we are no longer blind to the influence these things have over us. We get to decide what to do with what we find, which can be very empowering. We can recognize that some things which might have been useful at one time, are no longer appropriate to who we are and where we want to go. We can see that the act of holding on to some things, which seemed valuable at one time, is actually a hinderance to us. If something is no longer serving us, it is simply not valuable – even if we have previously invested ourselves and many years of our lives in the keeping of it. We must let those things go in order to live fully in the present and be open to receive new things - which we had not even imagined could be precious to us – to put in our special boxes and cherish.
What are your favorite boxes? Send me a picture!