Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Boxing Match

Why would anyone need to purchase luggage when we have all this extra baggage?
~John P. Johnson

So much of our lives comes in boxes, is it any wonder that we think in a box? Truthfully, we do live in and from boxes. Even our homes are squares and rectangles, essentially boxes. Our food comes in boxes - even if we don‘t see the box when we buy it, it‘s been shipped in one; our electronic gear comes in boxes; clothing gets shipped in boxes; letters are put in boxes. Everything. We live boxed life; everything gets packed into a tidy square. When we move, the first thing we do is put everything in boxes. We carry the boxes in a square truck, to the next square home, and unpack everything from those squares.

It makes sense, really. Boxes are easy to stack, and can be stacked neatly. While cereal doesn’t require a box for storage, people like it because it would be a pain to have a bunch of sacks of cereal hanging around being all unruly. I have several large boxes that hold all my fabric for sewing projects. They’re stacked up, and it’s easy to find what I’m looking for - much easier than, say, rifling through a big garbage sack full of fabric. Also, the fabric doesn’t get as wrinkled in a box. I keep my craft supplies in a dresser - a big box with several smaller boxes that slide in and out. My books are on shelves - essentially open ended boxes. We live a boxed life. Oh, yes we do.

Yet, so often the cry is, “Think outside the box!” How are we to participate in something that’s so outside our nature? I’ve come to detest the phrase, “That’s outside my comfort zone.” Puh-leeze! If we’re really living, really spending some nitty-gritty, brass tacks, superlative time on this planet, we ought to be outside our “comfort zones” in some way every damned day, all day! A comfort zone ought to be saved for when you cuddle up with your pillow and drift to sleep. If we live in a family environment, how many times do we serve up dinner and hear, “That again?” It’s not that it’s a bad dinner, it’s just been done to death. Conversely, when we serve up a new recipe, we hear, “Hey! This is great! I like it - it‘s different.”

Thinking outside the box. We’re capable of it, but we don’t do it. We like to think we’re the creative species on the planet, but we live in fear of that very creativity. I spent part of this morning re-inking my ink pads. Even if you’ve never seen my artwork, even if you don’t know me, you could walk into my studio and know which colors are my favorites just by looking at the re-inker bottles. The ones that have less in them have been used more often. Obviously. I had a few that had never even been opened - a sure sign that I rarely use those colors. It’s the same with my paper stash. See? I have my own box. Granted, it’s a fairly creative box, but still… it’s a box. So, as I was re-inking every stamp pad in sight, I thought to myself, “This is where it stops, Gypsy Girl. Every color is worthy of your consideration. Get out of your freakin’ box already, and let the colors fly.”

If we live outside the box (without the safety and protection of the box surrounding us), we’re open to whatever comes our way. Me? I’m throwin’ mine in the burn pile.


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