So, I live in this cage. It’s more of a box, but I can see out of it. It seems as if the door opens and closes one thousand times a day, and with each opening a different toy is inserted, while the other is taken away. There are things that are constant inside my box, like my couch which I call Job, my fixtures named Family, and my TV named Leisure. Other than my routine belongings, the toys I select are a surprise, dictated by the mood of the day. I think having only one toy placed in my box at any particular time is for the best, because I cannot focus on more than one thing at a time anyway. I don’t necessarily like all the toys, and some of them flat out scare me, but I still play with them and give them attention. I allow these toys to take up space in my cage, for better or for worse. For the most part, I enjoy my cage, but sometimes I get bored, or scared, or angry inside of it, and wish that I had a different cage to play in…until someone lets me in their cage, and it becomes clear that mine ain’t so bad. It might be different if I could have all of the toys in my cage at the same time, but that would require BALANCE, which is something I do not possess. I am beginning to practice balance a little bit more as I get older, but I think that I am just becoming better at realizing how badly I lack balance. I think it is much like practicing patience. When I practice patience, I don’t become more patient as much as I realize how fu*king impatient I am. I would imagine that each of us lives in a box, to some extent, and each one of us possesses a box of a different size, and with a different selection of toys.

This weekend I had the children and Amanda was out of town. My children were front and center in my cage, and with that were almost all good toys. I went to the Children’s Museum with my kids as well as a good friend of mine, along with his kids. My friend is one of those laid back dudes who likes to laugh and take it all in. He is rarely uptight, and never argumentative. Paul is really a big kid, like myself, and we always share laughs and do stupid sh*t when we are together. He is a knowledgeable person who has naturally formed his opinion in a lot of areas, but I have never once had him try to get in my cage and rattle it. I like being in a cage close to his because I can learn a lot, without him trying to get in mine. I never feel threatened by the knowledge or toys that he possesses, and I always feel welcome to ask him about them. I don’t enjoy having guests in my cage. It is my personal area and I want it to be free for me and my toys. Sometimes, I let people, places, things, or experiences get in my cage, and I can’t seem to get them out. I cannot move on to the next until I get the other thing out. I try and do my best not to ask people what they think of the things that I play with in my cage because I really don’t want their opinion. It is not that I don’t want their opinion, as much as I am scared that their opinion will not be in line with mine, and then I will be mad…and that person will be stuck in my friggin cage.

All weekend long, I was focused on this “cage” or “box” scenario, and it was becoming more and more “real” as the weekend grew longer. Sunday, I went to the gym for some running and squatting. It was my kind of workout. It was one that would require both the running and the squatting, but would be broken up into intervals, this way I would not become bored, or dread, either of the movements. Another thing I liked about my Sunday workout is that it was LONG! I like long workouts. I can’t get geared up for the 6-8 minute high intensity stuff, because I am too lazy. When I do the long workouts, there is a specific point where my breathing gets under control and a feeling of ecstacy washes over me. What I came to realize during my workout is that running and lifting give me a bigger box. They expand my cage and give me more room to run around. I have a better understanding of the toys that enter my cage and I enjoy them the way in which they were intended to be enjoyed. There are far less toys that scare me, and they don’t frustrate me as bad, when I am doing something strenuous that gives me a sense of well being. I have a great deal more control over what types of things are placed in my box during periods of physical exertion. Endurance allows me plenty of time to sample many different objects and decide if they are really fun and interesting, or simply a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I have noticed that when I am exercising, I have a lot of ideas and thoughts that I feel like I might want to pursue. Most of them are traded out and never revisited, but often times they will stay in my cage for days. I use to feel like a failure if I did not continue to play with the toy or idea that I initially thought would make a good toy or idea. I now realize that it is important to enjoy my time with the toy, even if it is only a thought, even if it is just for a moment. An imagination that makes you feel good, is equally as real as an accomplishment that makes you feel good. If it feels good, it feels good, and that is what I want in my cage.

I want to focus on what it is that I allow to come in and out of my cage, as well as the amount of room that I have to move around. If I find myself dwelling on negatives, or playing out future events with negative outcomes, I want to practice changing out the item in my box. If it is really important, then the negative object will be placed in front of me at the appropriate time, but trying to predict scenarios for things which give me unhappiness, anxiety, or fear, need to be traded out for things which result in positivity, imagination, and productivity. I want to force my cage to be as big and as open as possible and to be willing to try new toys. I want to be open to those toys which belong to my friends and see if they have a place in mine. If not, I shall simply remove these items, with no need of action or explanation. I want to value the things that others possess and give them the proper respect, but I do not want to feel that these things are mine to either covet or resent. I want to continue to come up with short term ideas that give me at least a moment of fulfillment, even if they fade away before they become a reality. Just because a particular thing doesn’t come to fruition, does not mean that there was no follow-through. It is all just a constant variation of the creation of my favorite toy which will be constructed and one day reside permanently in my box.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

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