On Making Boxes: A Meditation

There were things I loved about living on the psychiatric ward. What I didn’t love? The symptoms of my illness. The arrogance of some of the staff people, who were convinced they knew things they couldn’t possibly have known. The insistence that only hefty pharmaceuticals could heal -that any other effort was based entirely on delusion.

What I loved? The other patients -their humour, their courage, their creativity, their articulateness. Most of the staff -their compassion, their kindness, their humility, their sense of what (whether a joke, a hug, or a psychological prod) would bring us the most healing in any given day. The ping-pong table (‘cuz those are just fun, anywhere). The minimalism -a clean, bright-white, crispy-sheeted bed and little else. No computer. No phone.

And making boxes.

Well, we didn’t actually make boxes. We didn’t weave baskets either, as jokes alluding to psych wards tend to presume. Me, I built and painted a tiny wooden car. A useless task, one might say (but that one wouldn’t be me). It was in building and painting that tiny car that I experienced, for the first time in ages, a sense of presence.

Me, here, paint, brush, car.

I relaxed.

I’ve since accompanied 3 different friends on their inaugural entrance to their local psychiatric facility. They all loved their experience there, too.

The world asks a lot of us. If we’re talented in logic and in studying, we’re expected to pursue a Master’s degree in law. If we’re decent writers, it’s not enough to write, we’re required to also Tweet, Facebook, Pinterest, and otherwise “market”, even though that’s a different skill set entirely. Several of my most talented friends -many wildly educated- crave to shuck the weight of degrees, of social media, of investing, of marketing, of logging our accomplishments, of tracking our children’s progress, of cooking from scratchier and scratchier just to know we can.

We want to make boxes.

Before I settle in each month to ship you your paperbacks, I’m nervous: Will I manage this rather hefty and multi-stepped task? And then I take a deep breath, pull my supplies around me, and begin.

I start by folding and bending your box. Almost immediately, I drop into a quietness, one that remembers my little model car. A small activity. One not requiring a university education. Joy wells. I think of you. As I make your box, then sticker your book, then slip it into its plastic ziploc, then set it into the box, then tape it up, then place my address and your address on, I think of you. My body and my mind and my heart are joined in prayer, that you may be well.

On the box-making days, making your box is all I can do. I cannot Tweet, Facebook, or Pinterest. I am not marketing, presenting, arm-twisting, cajoling. Well, you may have noticed I’m not doing those on other days, either, but on box-making day I don’t feel guilty about the fact that I’m not. On box-making day, I know I am doing enough.

I have written down all of what I know to ease your path and am now folding a box, forming my prayer for you. In that moment it feels like I am doing, now, enough.


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9 Replies to “On Making Boxes: A Meditation”

  1. THANKS for sharing your wonderful thoughts and good wishes, Baden. You are so kind to wish the GAPS followers kindness and good fortune; I love how you share so openly and so empathetically!!

  2. You embody Grace. Thank you for such beauty in small things. I wish I could put you in my head some days, for the reminder not to take on what’s not mine. Or needn’t be mine, if only I could get out of my own way….
    <3 Justine

  3. Ahw…I love this story…and where it started from – your experience of being in a psychiatric facility….and how you linked that experience to the folding of boxes for sending your books. Precious. You are rich in heart.
    Knowing that my copy of your book might be coming in this batch that you are getting ready to send, and reading this made it especially sweet. I felt like you were talking to me personally, sending your prayers to me (even though I know as well that you are doing this for many people).

    So thank you thank you Baden, I accept and receive your gifts into my heart.

  4. I loved this very real post. Authenticity can sometimes be missing on the internet. I love your mindfulness in making the boxes. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. ” In that moment it feels like I am doing, now, enough.”

    Baden, how I needed to hear this very thought on this very morning. I have read GAPS and now your book and it is indeed helpful. I have been gluten free for many years & my daughter suggested I read this as I have developed another case of C.diff. (Previous time was in 08.)
    I had my pacemaker replaced and did not know I would be given IV antibiotics and 2 days later the diarrhea started and I knew it was Cdifff by it’s violence and frequency. Tests revealed it was Cdiff. I have now been on antibiotics for 3 months and since I am 74 with heart failure and renal insufficiency that followed OH surgery to repair my mitral valve, my reserves are very limited.
    My diet consists of bone broth 3X day with eggs scrambled in and bits of chicken, a veggie broth and that is it. I cannot tolerate any fiber at all…. not even veggie soup blended in the blender.
    So … sad story though it may be, your thoughts about” doing now enough” resonated with me as I have been so upset that I can not do much… my daughter goes to the store for me usually . If I go I pay a tremendous fee in lost energy and exhaustion.. Thanx so much for the reminder ” for that moment , what I can manage is …enough.

  6. Baden,
    I just received my book from you.
    I reopened this post and read it out loud before opening the box….Then while opening it, I thought about you and the thoughts and prayers you shared here and it felt so special. Thanks for writing this, it added so much more to this book.

  7. Dear Baden,
    Just found your site today. Such a lot of helpful information – thank you!
    Reading the succes stories brings hope and so does your post here! Wishing you all the best!

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