Unpacking Can Only Happen if You First Choose to Pack
April 9, 2012 by
Categories: Hello World

My new backyard.

I moved into a new apartment two days ago.  Usually, moving completely sucks.  All the packing, the boxes, the packing tape that keeps disappearing into itself when you are in a rush to cut off the next piece.  Then there are those stairs that love to coach you into refining your calf muscles.  And let’s not forget the unpacking part.  It’s like playing real life Tetris or putting together a puzzle with pieces the size and weight of those Harry Potter chess pieces in that one movie (or book, but if you know me, you know I didn’t read it in order to confirm).

Anyway, moving is hard.  Change is hard.  This time, I had change that I was looking forward to.  A new place, new colorful paint on the walls, a new landlord, no mice, saving money, and a park as my backyard.  Lots to look forward to!  The process of getting to the new is hard though.  Again, the packing, the loading, the transporting, the unloading, and the unpacking.

But let’s push the pause button for a second.  Something to know about me…I like metaphors.  I live metaphors, I work with metaphors, and I speak in metaphors.  You could say that this way of thinking is hereditary (thank you, Dad).  I like it, though.  For someone who may not be the best storyteller or joke-teller, metaphors really help me bring to light the meaning in what I’m trying to say.  Metaphors can connect us on an all-sensory level.  As I talked about moving, you likely remembered a time when you moved.  You remembered all the sweat, the backaches, the feeling of “how did I accumulate all this stuff?”  I think this is important.  Metaphors can help us connect and empathize for one another.  I appreciate this aid in connection.

So, back to the change is hard thing.  You make a choice (or maybe a choice is made for you) and you have to get through the process.  The packing: you load all your stuff into boxes you have taped together yourself.  You carefully wrap the breakables into newspaper and old t-shirts.  You label the boxes in hopes that you are serving as a guide for later unpacking.  You tape everything shut and put it aside for loading.  The loading: hopefully, with some support from a good group of friends and a nice big truck, you carefully load all the boxes and heavy furniture with a strategy that fits everything together so tightly that no space is wasted.  The transporting: sometimes you are lucky enough to have a short drive to the other side of town.  Sometimes you are not so lucky and you must travel across the country.  This is the more excruciating of the two because you deal with body aches paired with the anxious feeling of just wanting to get there already!  (Taking breaks for leg stretches might be necessary here).  Either way, you hope that your ironing board doesn’t fall out the back as you make the turns.  The unloading: finally, you make it to your destination!  But wait…now you’ve got to unload it all.  Hopefully your friends are still around for this, making the burden of the boxes a little lighter as you hike up and down all those stairs.  The unpacking: it’s sometimes a lonely process.  You’ve got to understand where everything is and that might feel very overwhelming.  You’ve got to find the motivation and inspiration to take on the task.  One by one, you open the boxes and find out exactly what you packed.  Sometimes you stop to reminisce at that one photo album you haven’t looked at in years.  Sometimes you find things that you thought you needed, but then realize you don’t.  Then eventually, over time, you find a place for everything and once again you are settled into a more comfortable and cozy home.

In this process that requires time, support, and effort, we know that we can’t get to the unpacking before we go through all the other parts…the parts that got us there.  We can’t always rush to the end where we can feel all cozy and at home.  Most of the time, we have to go through a process that will require our creativity, that will give us time to sit in our emotions, that will bring about emotional soreness, that will test our patience, that will force us to face the things that feel so overwhelming, and that encourage us to reflect on our experiences.

We often see this change process as a task, a burden.  What if the task is really a disguised opportunity?  What if instead of having to get through the process, we have the opportunity to get through the process?  Maybe there is value in the hardship.

What is your change right now?  What boxes are you packing, loading, transporting, unloading, or unpacking?  In all the hardship that comes with change, I urge you to throw this ingredient into the mix: look beyond the task and reach for the opportunity.  Feel out the tough moments, but also look for the purpose.  Look for the opportunity to learn and grow.  Then let the natural momentum of your efforts bring you up and out.

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4 Thoughts About Unpacking Can Only Happen if You First Choose to Pack

  • Daddio
    April 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm Reply

    Nice Metaphors for sure! Can I have your permission to use this with my SM? I’m impressed with the method you used to reveal the points….the “punch-line” if you will.

  • Jess
    April 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm Reply

    Sis, you are amazing and you sound just like your dad! Which as you know is a great person to be like. You speak the truth and offer up such a healthy way to look at change. Sometimes we procrastinate and carry around all those boxes becuase we just don’t want to go through them and experience the inevitable. by embracing it as you suggest rather then dreading it, can make the process much more rewarding in the end.

    Love ya,


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