~Deana J. Tavares
We live within a society made up of boxes. Boxes stacked so high that we can no longer see the sky. We can no longer see the horizon. We can no longer see one other and all of our stripes, our sedimentary layers. It’s time to clean house. Time to put those boxes into the recycling bin and create something of beauty. It’s time to clear the space so we can once again see the horizon, because it’s still breathtaking.
The process of throwing away human attributes because they are complicated is not a new concept. It has existed all throughout time, but we are wiser now. Right? When we think back to the ideas and concepts of indigenous people, the inventions of Albert Einstein, Van Gogh’s paintings, the courage of Harriet Tubman, Mother Theresa’s depth of compassion, MLK’s dream, were they all crazy? Not at all. They were simply avoiding any box in which the world attempted to herd them into and discovered the depths of the human spirit and the knowledge that lies within each one of our souls. All of these individuals challenged the realm of possibility and discovered that the human spirit is the widest valley and the deepest ocean that one will ever come across within their lifetime.
I began this thought process as a result of processing the flawed systems within our world. How has mental illness, attention deficit, and depression become so prevalent these days? My personal opinion is that these labels are handed out like candy on Halloween. I believe it is because human expression is continuously being judged, questioned, and stuffed way down into a box with no wiggle room. As humans we have a whole range of emotions that we teach toddlers to express “Use your words.” Are you angry? Are you sad? Are you hurt? Are you excited?
Then when children become of age to attend school we stop these healthy practices and medicate them so they can then fit into a box, labeled happy. What happens to that range of emotions? Where do they all sit within the human psyche? How do they manifest themselves within the body? That human spirit and its various components lie dormant, a hushed away soul. How does that later manifest itself within the world? Through love? Through connection? Through compassion? Through self expression? Through violence? Through hatred?
I believe deep within my soul that we are destroying our world as a result of this disconnection to one another. Starting as early as grade school I believe that children need assistance processing the world around them in a healthy manner. Teaching the children boxed lesson plans hurriedly to meet deadlines does not leave much room for genuine human connections. I’m a firm believer in the art of conversation, learning from one another, generating many thoughts, realizations, and growing together through shared experiences in a healthy way. Listening to the children can also inform adults and teach them better ways to approach these young minds in a more effective, and productive way. We are all more receptive to one another when we are being seen and heard.
There are many adults that are also quickly labeled as mentally ill within our society where that label may not fit. Time constraints can lead to a rushed diagnosis at times, quickly hurl an individual into another labeled box, creating a taboo, and uncomfortable place card for them to sit behind. Children go through difficult years and we call them growing pains. Is it not possible for adults to also go through growing pains? Think about this for a moment: From childhood to the teen years we come to the realization that many things that we were told were false. Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, becoming a woman is a celebration, marriage is forever, and when people die in video games they always get back up again. So imagine how painful it can be coming into new truths and realizations during the teen years. We just brush it off and say “Oh you know teenagers.” Do we though? Do we try to know them? How about adults? Do we try to know them?
Along this same idea, as adults I believe that we all reach a point when we then question life as we know it once again. We become more informed as a result of education, relationships with one another, and life experiences. We begin to process the world around us in a very different way as we age, and for some it can be a bit overwhelming. So why are we so quick to label those adults as mentally ill instead of calling it growing pains once again? Healing is a process that takes time, support, love, and understanding. Individuals can be pointed towards the directions as to where they can find the resources they need and not immediately labeled and pointed in the direction of a pharmacy. There is a great deal of other medicine out there and much of this medicine in my opinion should be in all of the school systems. There is a lot of healing medicine in the form of, conversation, yoga, meditation, exercise, healthy eating, art, music, dance, stories, writing, the ocean, nature, silence, and just reaching out to share a moment of connection with another human being. Human touch.
The indigenous people, Albert Einstein, Van Gogh, Harriet Tubman, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., all had the courage to not allow the world to limit the depth of their spirit, and the insight from their souls. They all had the courage to step out of the boxes, one foot at a time and navigate new waters. They cleared away some of the boxes so we too could see the horizon. I believe that we can each clear away a few more from that stack so individuals in the future can thrive within a box-less world. I know that’s wishful thinking, so maybe less boxes. Just like within our homes when we clear away the clutter energy can flow freely, and so much more becomes possible.
I believe that change is possible! I believe that if we stop teaching children and adults to tuck away many of the unique attributes that are contained within them, they will naturally be healthier individuals. If we stop attempting to herd people into a very narrow box, they will be happier as well. When cars, hot water heaters, and any machinery doesn’t work we fix the problem. The current system for helping humans to move through the world smoothly without breaking down isn’t working. So maybe it’s time to fix the problem? Or perhaps try another path, another road.
There are so many different expressions of human life, human spirit, and resilience. We are all so much more than this world tells us that we can be. We are all seeds that will create deeper oceans and wider valleys for the next generation. All of our unique attributes should be valued! Allow your soul to be, what it needs to be. Free! ✌🏽❤️🌞