February 22, 2009

Boundaries, Borders and Living in Boxes


~A meandering ramble about how I hate to be put in a box~

For this abstract soul, living within the contraints of a box is unthinkable. Doing something just because that is the way it has always been done, or thinking a certain way because a certain group finds it acceptable has always been a rub for me. I find this most prevalent in religious circles, but it exists in other secular groups, as well. You could be in the Jewish box or a Christian box, or how about a Republican box or Democrat box. There is also the conservative box or liberal box, the environmentalist box or materialistic box. Oh, there are so many boxes for people to live in and put others in....ugh!

These are the days when men...seek the comfortable and accepted; when the man of controversy is looked upon as a disturbing influence; when originality is taken to be a mark of instability; and when in minor modification of the scriptural parable, the bland lead the bland. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

Even though I do not agree with Mr. Galbraith's political views, I think there is a sting of truth in his observation. Being comfortable and accepted is a safe place for most to be, since I have found a good many do not like conflict or confrontation. For myself, I have to challenge the status-quo and question the established etiquette. I like to establish in my own mind the reasons for doing things a certain way and ask "does it line up with my value system?" (or better yet, "is there an easier way to do this?"). For me, the traditions of man absolutely need to support the bottom line: Scripture. I respect the wisdom of the sages and the Oral Torah; just sometimes I respectfully disagree. The issues of who has the authority to dictate how a group of people worship and the roles of men and women are a couple of issues that cause me to ponder and pray on my own - to come to my own conclusions. I suppose that would make some uncomfortable, but I have to decide for myself if I accept the common thought or not.

Everyone needs to establish their own boundaries...definitions, if you will; that invisible line that they refuse to cross; the things that define them and shape the course of their behavior. Issues of self-respect, respect of others, duty, honesty, sacrifice and marriage are areas where we must think long and hard about what our boundaries should be. Unfortunately, I find that some just don't even give these things a second thought and end up being disrespected or hurt by those closest to them. Personal boundaries are just that...personal. Only the bearer knows that place they will not go, if they have taken the time to define it for themselves, that is. We all need to determine what those boundaries are, but that goes without saying. I guess you could say that one's character could be determined upon how their boundaries are defined...hmmmm.

But having boundaries is not the same as being put in a box. I suppose my definition of a box is a set of rules, definitions and behaviors that someone else has determined, and then imposed upon others. I know you have heard the quip, "you can't put G-d in a box", right? Well, I don't think anyone should be in a box, unless they want to. (I happen to know someone who actually says they like to be in a box! lol!) I can agree with some of the rules of the 'box', ascribe to some of the behaviors of the 'box', but may have to bust out with questions or actions rending the box inadequate.

That's just it...boxes always fall short of the potential of man - they are too limiting.

I like to say, "you never know what to expect from me!" and it's true. It's not that I like to take others by surprise, or do weird things; it's just that I may have to expand, re-think, stand firm or some other way of shaking things up at that moment.

Perhaps my destiny is to be the irritant that forces the discussion, the blister that lets you know your boots don't fit...

I don't want to be in a box that slaps me with a label, whatever that may be. I want people to know me and judge me by my behavior, my character and my reputation. I also don't want to put anyone in a box that labels them, either; a box should never define someone, in my view. I want to watch in wonder as everyone expands to their full potential, shucking off the false definitions of a box - exploring and defining their boundaries, and contributing in a way that is invaluable and gives them purpose.

~end of rant...have a nice day~

1 comment:

Ari C'rona said...

Wow - that's stupendous, my friend! Well put! Thanks for teaching me to see my self-imposed boxes that have kept me from defining myself according to what I know to be true and right. :o)