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My parents built a box for me to live in.
Four walls, a floor, a roof.
My teachers, family and friends, my experiences, the world
Decorated it for me, decided how it would look.

I could live in this box my whole life.
It has my pillow and my food,
My habits, the things I’ve been taught to
Think for my entire life.

The box keeps me in my place,
Tells me what to think,
How to see the world around me.
I thought the box was real.

But the walls are closing in on me.
I’m outgrowing my box, feeling uncomfortable.
My head is pushing up against the ceiling.
My box is bursting at the seams.
What used to feel comfortable has begun to feel
I know now, sadly, that I cannot live in this box forever after all.
It’s not my box anymore, I know with finality.

But then I struggle for decades to get out of it.

As I try to get out of the box.
It pulls me back down,
An invisible hand over my mouth,
Making me keep quiet, telling me more lies.

The box can’t hold me anymore.
And yet, I still can’t get out of the damn thing.
Every time I try to work my way over the sides,
It pulls me back in.
Holding me firmly in my place,
Keeping me down.

I slide back into my safe haven,
At least what I think is safe.
It’s familiar anyway.
I know this place.
I can hide here in my box.

Exhausted, spent.
From having tried to get out of my box
That now I’m not sure I want to leave in the first place.
Indecision is taking root.

Am I really sure I want this to happen, after all?
Where do I go if not to my box?
Who am I
If not who I’ve always been told that I am?

What’s out there beyond this box?
Would I be on my own out there?
Would I have to work harder out there?
What’s the point?

Oddly, when I AM out of the box it feels amazing – for a flash of a moment.
I notice. I freak out.
It’s uncomfortable to feel something so new . . .
Feeling good does not feel natural to me.
I start to feel guilty, regretful, confused.
I scuttle my way back.

But then, yet again, after a time, the feeling of being
Uneasy, dissatisfied, complacent
Becomes too much for me.
And I feel, in a way that’s hard to explain or describe – nothing –

I know there is more to life than this
willy nilly non-existence in my box that was once so cozy.
There’s a force that won’t let me be comfortable here anymore,
I thought I could stay, but I am clearly being
Grown out of it,
Through no action of my own.
I can’t stay here anymore. It’s impossible for me to be satisfied here.

But I’ve proven time and time again that
I don’t know how to get out either, not for any sustained amount of time.
And with crystal-clear certainty, I know this:
-I’m not going to be able to get there on my own.-

Forget all the effort of climbing, scraping, maneuvering.
Reaching, grasping, clinging . . .
The only way out of the box, really out and I mean for good, is through
Trusting the One Who is growing me.
The only solution is to blow the whole box wide open.
I picture it in my mind.

The sides fly through the air
To land in a battered heap.
The roof and floor
Disintegrating into tiny bits of dust.

My box is gone.
I can’t go back.
No matter how much I want to.
To retreat to my place of safety that no longer exists.
I start to panic, looking around frantically for something to go back to.

And then, finally, finally I realize that
My box was created and held entirely in place by my mind.

The box was
And held entirely in place
By my mind.


Please use this poem as your own writing prompt. I think it could be very revealing.

When you have some time, get paper and a pen, read through it again then sit for a couple of minutes with your eyes closed, not trying to think about anything in particular, but just resting and letting your mind wander wherever it will. When you’re ready, open your eyes and write swiftly and naturally whatever comes off the pen.

Alternatively, if you’d like to really spend some time with it, read through it again, slowly, and whenever it brings something up for you, begin writing and then go back to it and keep going. Then, after you’ve finished with the whole piece, read back through your own writing – out loud is best. And write, again, whatever comes up for you as you hear your own words.

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