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The Box Exercise

by Basil

This is an exercise for anyone that is struggling with something, and can’t quite figure out how to explain how they feel.

Picture a box. A glass box. Your box can be any shape, size and design, as long as it is glass.

Do you have your box? Good. Now take your box, and throw it. Throw it against the wall or onto the floor. Let it smash, small piece and large pieces flying everywhere, the glass frame shattering.

Now look. Don’t say anything, just look at the broken pieces of glass on the floor. Ah! Don’t touch them, the shards will cut you, and it will hurt. You don’t want that, so just look.

This is a mess you won’t have to clean up, because look, the box is picking itself up. Sure it’s slow, and some pieces are dropped, but the box is slowly gathering itself. And instead of being put into the trash, the box is being melted down to create a new one. Look at that! Already there is a new shape forming. You can watch it be reshaped and remoulded, but don’t touch! If you touch the box, it may break. Let the box cool, and then it will be ready for the world.

That box is me, and the broken pieces are my life. I am slowly picking up the shards to melt them down and restart as a new, better box. I need to do this on my own, because though there will be times when I need help, this isn’t one of those times. I will heal myself at my own pace, because this is a delicate procedure and can’t be rushed, like all good things in life. So please understand that what I’m doing is for the best. I know I may have made some bad decisions in life, but so has everyone. It’s what makes us human. I’m healing myself from the mistakes other people have made.

And when I’m ready, when I am cool and dry and ready to face the world, you can put the box up on display for the world to see. But only when I’m ready. And when the waiting gets too much, just picture the glass box breaking, and then picking itself back up, and know that all great artworks take time.

**I used this to explain to my father why I’ve done what I’ve done. Unfortunately, he chose to ignore it. However, any one of you amazing people are allowed to use this metaphor if it will help you. And it doesn’t just have to be based on your life. You can use it to explain how you feel to a parent when they treat you unfairly, or your child if they keep misbehaving. You can say it to a friend that doesn’t quite understand how you feel, or even just for yourself, to justify how you feel. This metaphor is free for anyone to use, as long as I get my credit, because I put a lot of work into this. I hope you enjoy, and it works better for you than it did for me.**

(PS all of the above is edited)

July 2020 Edit

So, it's been a while since I've written this. I was going to get rid of the above paragraph and rewrite it, but showing proof of progress is important is it not?

I have since mended my relationship with my father. It wasn't just me doing the mending though. My dad had a lot of healing and growing of his own to do, and as an adult it's been easier for us to talk about our struggles and the issues we had with each other. While I strongly believe that shutting my father out was a very stupid thing for me to do when I did it, it is the past and we have talked about it. I now have me old man on Snapchat and we talk a lot of cr*p! But the good kind.

The person I am now has more patience and understanding of other's actions. Needless to say, I don't just let bad actions slide, but I don't yell. I don't like yelling, I feel it takes away the point you're trying to make, you know? Emotions are a hard bunch to sort through, work with and understand, but you can't help anyone else if you don't know how to help yourself. While I've gone through a lot of hardships in life, I'm grateful for the way I learnt from the world around me. I want this to be a message to everyone struggling: It is hard. It is so hard to get through the hard patches, or just the one, continuous hard patch, but you can do it. It doesn't happen over night, it doesn't just magically become better once you get through it. It's like an old car, the more time you give to maintaining it and looking after it, the smoother it will run. And to you, my beautiful, intelligent and magnificent reader, don't ever give up on yourself. If the hardest battle you fight is waking up in the morning, it's a battle worth fighting. And for the love of the gods, look after your meat suit!! You only get one ;)

With love, Basil.

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5 Reviews

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Reviews: 5

Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:17 pm
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mryankee20 wrote a review...

Thank you for your work, Basil The Cat. I couldn't have done better myself. The metaphor of yours is truly amazing, and, as I see it, it has that blue-sky spirit I have always carried with myself. I read it like a couple of hours ago, and I feel like reading it one more time, so I could appreciate it again and understand it better.

"I’m healing myself from the mistakes other people have made."

I've been thinking about it lately, Basil. In a sense that sometimes you do something wrong, something that once was done to you. It's really healing, what you've written.

Basil says...

Oh my gosh you are eternally welcome!! I truly hope this helps you with your inner healing. Everyone deserves to be happy, but sometimes it takes a lot of hard work to get there. Thank you so so much for taking the time out of your day to read my work, I really appreciate it :)

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Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:42 am
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Hey There.
May I just say WOW. That's all I have to say. Amazing.

Harshita :)

BasiltheCat says...

Haha thanks!! Glad you like it X3

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31 Reviews

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Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:12 pm
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KaiTheGreater says...

This inspired me to write a poem... Please review?

BasiltheCat says...

I love it! It's amazing!

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Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:28 am
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Milky wrote a review...

Wow, this was very poignant. I'm not as young as most of you guys, I'm 20, and I've had a good amount of life experiences. What you wrote was touching, and very well executed. I could feel the emotion behind your writing. I admire your determination to do things for yourself, and be your own person, but let me tell you something.

Sometimes you have to let somebody help.

Sometimes somebody has to be there to sweep up the glass, to breathe life back into the box.

And I know that this is something that you want to do for yourself, but think of this.

Think of a glass box, shattered on the ground, struggling to put itself back together, but losing, losing slowly. Somebody who loves the box rushes forward to help it, but they are blocked by a chain link fence. The fence grows higher and higher, thicker and thicker, as all they can do is sit there and watch, hands in the fence, helplessly watching as the glass box struggles, and fails to put itself back together.

Never be afraid of explaining a difficult situation to a loved one. Carrying a weight in your heart by yourself is a very difficult task indeed, hard for the person carrying it, and just as hard for the loved ones who have to watch that person carry it.

I hope this made sense. Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas.

BasiltheCat says...

Thank you!! I'm glad you liked it.
And I know ... yes, sometimes the shattered box can't fix itself. I understand what you're saying, and I have been getting some help. This is mostly aimed at my Dad to explain to him my feelings and why I've made the choices I have. But I have looked at your way, and I understand things better. So thank you very much for that!!

Merry Christams!!


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433 Reviews

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Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:22 pm
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TakeThatYouFiend wrote a review...

I imagined this as a device, a figment of the imagination all the way through, and when you said it was you all along, right at the end, I felt really sorry for you.
However, reviewing as a literary work, I find this as a weird and wonderful piece of imagination stimulation. That is to say, it is a brilliant device for creating the image of the box in the reader's mind.One of the best devices you used to this end was near the begbeginning, where the reader was given the choice as to the size and shape of the box. This engages without limiting the readers mind, and prepares the imagination for the final outcome.
Hope you find this review helpful,
Take That You Fiend!

BasiltheCat says...

Thank you, it did help!!

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47 Reviews

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Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:25 pm
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TinyJarStoredDreams wrote a review...

Hey Tiny here!

Okay I have bolded my absolute favorite parts of this exercise.

Picture a box. A glass box. The box can be small or large, it can be any shape or design.

Got the box? Good. Now, take the box and, ready? Throw it. Throw it against a wall or onto the floor. Smash it up. Let it shatter, small pieces and large pieces flying everywhere.

Now look. No, don't say anything, just look. You can see the broken pieces of glass everywhere. Now you are sad. No! Don't touch the pieces! The broken glass is sharp, and you'll cut yourself if you touch them. It will hurt.

Now, let the box be. Leave it alone. Give it some space. See that? The box is picking itself up, and putting itself back together. The box will be remelted and remoulded, remade to be better and stronger. Don't touch it! The box isn't ready. It is still hardening. It must be hidden for a while so it can heal. And then it will be ready for the world.

The glass box is me, and the broken pieces are my life. I am picking myself up and remelting myself, remoulding and reshaping. I am putting myself back together and healing myself. You want to do something? Right, well, stay back. Let me do this on my own. There are some things you can't fix, and this is one of those things. So please, trust me when I say this, I am doing what is right. Please understand that I need this.

But also know that I love you. I always will, because I am your daughter. And whenever you feel as though I'm pushing you away, picture the broken box that is fixing itself.

I have so many things I can use this exercise for. I understand it and I really like how unique your writing style is.

Keep writing 8)

BasiltheCat says...

Thanks!! I'm glad you like it too!!
And yeah, will do XD

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Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:34 am
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deleted5 wrote a review...

Basil this definitely is worthy of the literary spotlight! Well done! I really like how you told your feelings through a big and elaborate metaphor that is simple yet effective! :D
The only thing is that I think you should add a few more exclamations in a few places such as:

Now look. No, don't say anything, just look. You can see the broken pieces of glass everywhere. Now you are sad. No! Don't touch the pieces! The broken glass is sharp, and you'll cut yourself if you touch them. It will hurt.

Could be:
Now look! No, don't say anything, just look. You can see the broken pieces of glass everywhere. Now you are sad. No! Don't touch the pieces! The broken glass is sharp, and you'll cut yourself if you touch them! It will hurt!

Of course this may wreck the effect your are trying to create (Who try rapping to that ;)) by using more exclamations. You don't have to do this this is your work after all!
Stay cool ;)

BasiltheCat says...

Thanks heaps!!
And I see what you mean with the exclamation marks, and I would have added more in, but I didn't want to cram in too many. Thanks for the suggestion anyway ;) And the review!!
Will do,

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Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:45 am
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Laure wrote a review...

Oh, this is so deserves in the literary spotlight. Is very very very real, reflecting your feelings and as for most metaphors, especially this one. They hold the most truths in a very little space. I really love, how you've written this especially using the glass box as a metaphor then describing how it fixes itself together.

I think I might even refer this in future writing (with copyright and future to you of course!)

Well done and congratulations on being in the literary spotlight! :D Keep writing, I love your work!


BasiltheCat says...

Thank you so much!! And yeah, use it if you need ;) Hope it helps as much as it has me!!

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Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:10 pm
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Basil says...

Thank you guys so much for all the likes!!

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Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:40 am
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rothwise wrote a review...

Oh my. I was incredibly moved by this piece - probably more so than I expected to be. I'm not sure what you're going through at this time in your life, but I hope you're getting through it with enough love and support from yourself and those around you that you need.

To be honest, I might use this in the future (with due credit of course) just to talk to my friends or family...thank you. This is honestly such an amazing piece of literature you've written, and the imagery despite how simplistic with a box, is so moving and powerful. I don't even see anything wrong with it that needs to be changed.

Congrats on being on the Literary Spotlight - you definitely deserve it. Thank you for writing such an amazing piece!

BasiltheCat says...

Thanks. I'm not gonna say what it is that I'm going through, but with all this support from you and everyone else, I am grateful and I feel better.

And use it if you need ;) I hope it helps, and you're welcome!!

Thank you as well!!! And thanks for the lovely comment ^^ Good luck with the Box Exercise in the future, too ;)


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Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:52 am
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Nargles wrote a review...

Hey, this is really good and deserves to be featured.
You have a really wonderful extended metaphor here, and something that I'm sure will help a lot of people, either help them with what they are going through, or help others to understand. Either way you have done a nice job at capturing it here.

Ok, I only saw one mistake, but I'm not even sure if it is an actual mistake or me just misreading it.
"There are some things you can't fix on your own, and this is one of those things"
I'm not sure if it suppose to be like this, as I read this whole thing as the narrator fixing herself on her own. So when I read this, I was like, but I thought they didn't want help at putting themselves back together, so how come they are now saying that somethings they need help with? So this sentence confused me a bit.

Anyway, you have done a really good job and please keep writing.
Nargles xxx

BasiltheCat says...

Thanks heaps for that!!
And since it was aimed at my Dad, and we all know how Dad's love fixing things, I was saying that what I'm doing to fix myself he can't help with. Only I can do this. If I'd fallen out of a tree or hurt my leg, Dad could fix that (So could Mum, but beside the point) But if I'm to fix myself, and get over my childhood, he can't help.
I hope that makes it easier to understand. Thank you!

Nargles says...

That makes perfect sense now.
Thanks! :)

BasiltheCat says...

Welcome ^^

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171 Reviews

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Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:00 pm
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SecreteJournalist wrote a review...

Congrats on being at the top of the leaderboard! You so very deserved it! If I have yet to introduce myself, I am SecreteJournalist, but feel free to call me Brie. Yeah.. Brie is a weird name, is it not?

I was SHOCKED to find this had only two comments/ reviews. I decided I might as well review .. though really, there is not anything wrong to it.

This method , this name, pulled me into read this. I like peoples methods, and its so rare to see them on the site! I like the idea of a simple box. Just a pretty, delicate glass box. Just as life, as said in the method.

I did actually attempt the method, and let me tell you, it helped out a lot. Its a known fact depression is worse in the fall and winter than spring and summer. This has helped out a lot with my depression... so really.. thank you!

The words are just, perfect in a way. This will help out a lot of people, trust me. Thank you so much for the nice method(:

As for grammar and such, I have yet to find anything wrong! I apologize if I missed anything... but I don't think I did xD Great job(:


BasiltheCat says...

Well, I'm glad the Box Exercise helped Brie! And thank you for you lovely review!
(I don't think your name is weird at all! ;))

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166 Reviews

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Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:46 pm
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Cheetah says...

Hey there! I'm so happy this is up on the Literary Spotlight now, you deserve it! This is a great exercise and if I ever feel I have need of it, I won't hesitate to use it.


BasiltheCat says...

Thank you so much!

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183 Reviews

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Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:10 pm
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ConverseFireGirl wrote a review...

Oh my... have you read my mind? This is exactly what I need for a current situation! Thank you so much!
Right, this is beautiful writing, seriously. Your imagery that you create inside the reader's mind is perfect and I love how you write it, saying not to touch the smashed box and not to say anything, as those things totally relate to real life and real situations people go through.
I bet you've helped a lot of people here by writing this and posting it up, as this is a great way to help explain these kind of things!
Great work, a like, review and follow from me, great work! I can't wait to see more of your work!! :D

BasiltheCat says...

Oh wow thank you!! And I'm glad my Box Exercise can help you!!! It is what it is intended for, to help others!!!

And on the pedestal these words appear:/'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;/Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'/Nothing beside remains.
— Percy Bysshe Shelley