For many years I found myself living in my own proverbial prison cell. Wherever I turned the bars of my cell were staring right back at me. It seemed that I couldn’t find my way out of this box of sorts. I was stuck. Yet there was this little voice inside me that kept saying: There is so much more Leon. So much more. During those moments I didn’t have the strength or the courage to listen. I couldn’t face living in my box but I couldn’t face living outside of it either. I was stuck. I had no hope. I had no sense of direction. I had no guide. I had no one to take my box and smash it to smithereens. Or so I thought…
I once read a book called How to break out of prison by John Wareham. In it he retold a story about the great composer Mozart. As a youngster Mozart was the darling of Viennese society but as he grew older and lost his boyish charm people started deserting him in droves. Mozart died penniless and alone. At the end of this rendition of Mozart’s humbling decline Wareham noted that: No one saved Mozart.
These four words struck me viscerally. They invoked a powerful truth: the only person who was going to save me from myself and extricate me from my box was Leon. I was responsible for finding my way out of my old way of life. I was responsible for taking my box and smashing it to smithereens. I was responsible for living a great life.
For too long I had wiled away my days hoping that someone else would save me. My family. My friends. God. Anyone. Reading that book gave me a glimpse into a truth about life. The truth being that we always have a choice. We can live inside our boxes or we can break free from the constraints we put on ourselves. When these constraints are banished to the fogginess of our past we are free to live our true greatness. To give back to the human family and to give of our gifts in life.
For we all possess gifts that need to be given back to others.
It’s often interesting what it takes to spark change inside us. A firestorm of reflection. A revolution of sorts. Something that takes us out of our old reality and propels us into a new and better one.
Boxes are for putting things in. Not living in. Throw out your box and live.