Yesterday, one of my hens, Barbara Boxer, got trapped in one of those twelve inch plastic milk carton cubes that was sitting out. You know, the ones you buy at Target for storage purposes. Anyway, I discovered this in the afternoon when I went out in the humidity to check on the sweaty livestock. I heard frantic cackling. I saw curious interest. My chicken killer puppy Sydnee probed that black plastic upside-down container. Something moved inside the makeshift cage. Chapter II of “Chickens knowing how to get into trouble but not knowing how to get out of it”. Chapter LXVI of farmer playing god and reaching down from people heaven and lifting the cursed carton. A seeming miracle to the Godless chickens. A continuing wonder to the amused farmer. A constant reminder that farmer incompetence trumps barnyard stupidity. When will they learn. When will they ever learn.
Don’t know much about how poor Barbara Boxer got boxed in. Don’t know if that is the end of her woes, but probably not. I do know that she is not unique among chickens or other life when it comes to getting boxed in by her own actions and needing a seeming miracle to get out. I was there but if not, death was certain. The actual box of chicken fiasco opened me up to the hypothetical box of human humility each of us has experienced, escaped, and then been re-trapped within. Pick from life’s realities, any of life’s challenging realities, and you will be able to assemble a box from which you seemingly can not escape… without a miracle. Even though you always do. But one day your luck may run out. Someday your wits won’t be enough. Your family and friends may not be able to lift the increasingly heavier box off. What should you be doing if you are now or have been trapped in a box consisting of a job too consuming, a partner too demanding, finances too over whelming? I don’t know. But do something to escape the “box-on-box-off” cycle.
Having been within the walls and ceiling of the job-marriage-employment box, I have been trapped in more than once. I remember some one reaching down and saving me – once. I remember reaching up and saving myself – once. In both cases it was important for me to understand how I got boxed in. It was important to accept that I had the biggest hand in building the box that so imprisoned me. It was more important that I did not allow myself to let that same box to surround me again. I think I have been successful but boxes come in a great many deceptive forms these days and there is no end to the creative ways in which the crafty human can construct his own prison. Ok, so when one finally finds oneself trapped by the walls of self destruction, what are the steps to getting out?
First – what happened? Finances, affiliations, frustration will weigh heavily but unless you understand your circumstances you may make things worse by choosing quick action or slow denial. Find a sound sounding board. Put your worries on the shelf until they can properly and orderly be consumed. Maybe speculating the worst can help with putting your best foot forward. Perhaps saying some things out loud can advise you on your necessities. Never let a contrarian in the room – this brings doom. Get yourself a straight shooter to keep you on the path. Always put your concerns in an important/urgent grid which allows you to label each as important/urgent (!), important/not urgent, not important/not urgent, and NOT IMPORTANT/URGENT (!!!).
The blind pedestrian walks to work on the highway shoulder during rush hour because of the urgency of the job, not the importance his life. The beleaguered parent watches the world series on a school night because of the importance of escape, not because of urgency. The jobless breadwinner worries about the urgency of the family vacation, not the importance of getting a job. Walls are built by current urgency. They are knocked down with the acknowledgement and action on future importance. Let go of the immediate curiosity and get a hold future reality. Dream on but don’t fantasize. Unless you are still a child, you should not look outside yourself for rescue. Even though it can happen and inspire wonder, it should not be your fallback plan. But what do you do if your best isn’t good enough?
Think! You have to decide what you want before you can decide what you want to do. Balance your life. Be honest with yourself. Shed the things that don’t do you no good. Usually nagging thoughts should be addressed. When your unconscious comes knocking, let her in. She, your unconscious, will not harm you. That’s a start. You, your conscious you, has a bad reputation. Like a manipulative friend, his inspirations go awry. His motives are the kind that don’t do you no good. Use evidence, reason, logic, self-preservation if necessary but get out of the box on your own power. Get into the groove of self-reliance and intuition by acting responsibly, confidently, and slowly. That’s the ticket. Who will notice?
Everyone. Once you can not be easily influenced, lots of people will go away. Others will attack. Some will come towards you. Those are the ones you want in your inner circle. Losing friends isn’t always a bad thing. Being alone can sometimes be a good thing. A dedicated relationship is better than Facebook full of Friends. Unfriend those who have not proven to be friends. Reach out to those who are worthy to be friends. Never seek to go below or above the level of relationship that costs you self-esteem. Empower yourself using the means that work for you. Pray. Read. Converse. Listen. Meditate. Cry. Laugh. Find out who you are on your terms without having those terms dictated to you. So much of is out of power can be brought into your hands by simply reaching out. Getting out. Looking within.