Putting People Into Boxes
People ask me what I do. That question makes me uncomfortable. I know they love to hear straightforward answers like ‘I work at the university’ or ‘I work for a bank’ or I’m a coach’. It’s so nice for the mind to be able to pigeonhole. Putting a label and thus judging creates a sense of safety, albeit a superficial one. It is a few who want to know more after their need for the label has been satisfied. What would it be like to hear from someone ‘I am grieving the loss of a dear one’ or ‘I am trying to find my center in the midst of all this madness’ or ‘I am trying to impress you by telling you what I do for a living’? Wouldn’t this world be a more interesting place? It would for me.
For sure, labels, boxes and categories are necessary to navigate through life. But judgments also blind and cause wars inside and outside of us. They narrow our mind. I’ve done my best to fit into boxes, but thank goodness I have failed. Being out of the box keeps me alert to what is present, real and always changing. So my practice in this world full of boxes is to keep letting go of them. We think we know the boxes, but do we really? Do we dare to look deeper? Next time you ask me what I do, I will pause and feel into what wants to be expressed in that moment. It might surprise both of us.