Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Creating Containers

Containers are interesting things. They purposefully hold something in a finite space and protect it. I took my first trip to The Container Store a few weekends ago. I had been wanting to go for quite some time, but I was terrified that I would just want everything in the store and completely lose control of myself. So I took my husband with me and we started up and down the aisles. And I realized anew that I LOVE CONTAINERS!
I love that I can have a lot of little things that I like and when I categorize them and put them in a labeled container it just makes me so happy! Those things have a place. They now belong there. They are protected.
I just finished cleaning out my office at my old job (it feels weird calling it "old"). I went through binders and containers of over six years worth of work and memories. Successful projects that I completely forgot about and failed ones that make me laugh to look at now. Files, binders, shelves of 6 years of life, put into boxes...containers. I sat and looked at my empty office and was just a sad and thought, "I HATE CONTAINERS!"
I hate that 6 years of my life's work can be reduced to ten boxes, taken to my car, and never used (at least not in the same way) or noticed again. It will just be sorted through and put into new containers for new purposes.
The truth is that containers are both lovely and limiting. We create them to feel safe and protected...and for good reason. Containers of success, comfort, easy relationships, operating within our realm of competence and knowledge - they're all lovely, safe, and protected and we need them. They are also so limiting. It's easier for us to see the containers that were created for us as limiting - our family of origin, our life experiences, our socioeconomic status, our gender. But in the end, isn't that all in your perspective as well? What about those things was exclusively limiting? No, for the most part, those are lovely, safe and protected too.
All of this isn't to judge your containers or mine or to say that we should or shouldn't have them. They are. They exist. We do have them. It is to say that we should be at choice about the ones that we create for ourselves and the ones we carry around and want other people to climb in to.
So I don't have a conclusion. Just questions - If you could categorize and label your life containers, what would they say? What does your God container look like? How about your friend container? What is it like to think about getting a new container? What is like thinking about having no containers? Do you love your containers? Do you hate them? Who do you need to be to make your container bigger? What new containers need to be created?

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