Donna Doyon
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  • Ep127: Lessons from a Cat in a Box

Inspired by my oversize cat, Ocarina, I talk about the boxes we have settled into and question whether they are a good fit for us. Are you ready to find a new box or will you dare to live outside a box?

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Note: This is a computer-generated transcript. That means it's pretty good, but not perfect. If you read something weird or confusing, first laugh, then use the time stamp to hop into the podcast to find out what I REALLY said. 🙂


Welcome to another episode of Finding My Way, a podcast dedicated to sharing the scattered thoughts and muddled musings of this 50 something year old woman. Each week, I'll share my experiences, challenges, doubts and fears as well as the lessons I've learned that keep me moving forward toward my dreams. And yes, this is the podcast that was formerly known as Reflections of a Recovering Ugly Duckling.


This is episode 127, and I'm your host, Donna Doyon. This week. I hope to create a little bit of metaphorical magic by talking about cats and boxes. So this morning I was sitting on the floor here in my office space, and I was writing down my daily affirmations and doing a little bit of journaling, and my cat came in. Well, Earl's Cat Ocarina came in and she proceeds to come over and she's rubbing herself against me, and she needs to be petted and loved a little bit.


And then she goes over to one of two boxes shoe boxes that are on the floor in here, and she climbs into the one, of course, that has the crinkly tissue paper. It's a little bit bigger as well, but she doesn't quite fit the other smaller box she climbs into sometimes, but I think she sees the other one has a little bit more room, and I will post a picture of her on my website with this podcast episode. So you can see that picture of beautiful Ocarina at donnadoyon.


Com 127. But as I was sitting there and I was in this reflective, meditative, calm state, and I'm watching her climb into this box and get settled in. And it occurred to me life can be a lot like cats and boxes. So that's what we're going to talk about today. And another thought that's been on my mind, which actually is very related is I've been hearing the statement, Life is hard and then you die. It reminds me when I was a teenager, I used to say, Life's a bitch and then you die.


And now I think it's kind of ironic because I'm not even really comfortable saying that because I choose not to swear. Occasionally I will drop an F bomb or swear a little bit. But it's not comfortable for me. It's not typical for me, and it's not a judgment against anyone else. It's just I choose not to be that type of person. And I realized as I was making this connection, the words that we choose, the language we use, that's one of our boxes. So what are some other boxes that we have put ourselves in?


And we may not even be aware that we're in a box or that we could climb out of that box anytime we choose. So here are some boxes that I came up with, a list that I made in maybe 30 seconds, so you can probably come up with some other boxes. So here are the ones I came up with how we look, how we dress, how we earn our living, how we use our time, how we think, how we feel, what we believe, who we spend our time with and what we do.


These are all boxes. So the question we have to ask ourselves is whether these boxes fit or are they tight and uncomfortable? And we have to ask ourselves, do we even want to be in a box at all? A box can sound wonderful because it can be very safe and secure. You feel protected. You have those edges that kind of come up around you. Okay. So I just glanced over at Ocarina, and then I had to stop this recording to take a picture of her so you can see that picture.


Donnadoyan com one, two, seven. It does not look comfortable at all. Her face is kind of smushed up against the box edge is kind of cutting into her face, but she's happy and content in that box, even though it doesn't look comfortable. And today I challenge you to think about the boxes you're in. Are they comfortable? Do they feel like they fit? Do you want to stay there? Are they causing you discomfort? But you're staying there anyway because, well, it's your box. This is your place.


This is what you do. This is who you hang around with. This is how you think this is how you feel. This is how you look. This is how you dress. What are your boxes now? I can't completely discount the value of a box because as I started to say, they do provide feelings of safety and security. And feeling safe and secure is good. It's so important to us. I am a big fan of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Feeling safe and secure. This is one of your basic needs.


If you don't feel safe and secure, that's where most of your focus is going to be on. But for most of us, I think we probably do feel pretty safe, pretty secure. We may have these little occasional worries, but for the most part, we feel safe. We feel secure. So again, the question is, if we are safe and we are secure and we're living in this box, do we want to spend all of our time and energy focused on remaining in that box? Do we want to spend our time and energy defending that box?


Do we stay in that box even when there's that playstring that's staring at you from across the room and it's tempting you and saying, oh, please, I'm just laying here. Come play with me. Do you stay in the box or do you go out and play? So take a few minutes and just imagine your dream life picture in your mind. What does it look like? What are you thinking? How do you feel? What do you do with your time? Is that what your current life is or is that something better?


Is that a different box? For you to move into. Now, in a few minutes, I'm going to get into whether or not we want to be in a box at all. But for now, I just want to stick with this metaphor of moving from one box to another box to improve our level of comfort, our level of happiness, our level of selffulfilling purpose. If we're not satisfied with the box that we're in, we have the choice and the opportunity to switch boxes. We don't have to wait for our humans to come around and plop another one down because they purchased a new pair of hiking shoes.


The world is littered with boxes. We just have to step into them. So to help you do that, I want you to start thinking about that dream life. What does it look like? What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What are you doing? And now I want you to make some I am statements out of that I have a hard time with. I am statements claiming that I am something that I'm not currently. I'm too literal a person I'm too legalistic and it doesn't feel true to me.


But if you can project yourself into your future and say with confidence and true belief, I am whatever it is you want to be, go ahead and use that more powerful, stronger statement. If however you're like me and you say I am, but you don't quite believe it yet. You can use the statement. I am the type of person who and then fill in the blank or you can use I am becoming and fill in the blank. So today to create a few examples for you and I was surprised how many I was able to come up with in just a few seconds.


So this is a fun activity. So here are a few of my I am the type of person who I am the type of person who is slender and fit. I am the type of person who picks up litter. I am the type of person who earns her living by helping people break out of their boxes of shame, blame, doubt and fear. I am the type of person who says no to menial household chores, except for when things get really gross so that I can say yes to the activities that light me up.


I am the type of person who recognizes my limitations and then says, Wait, what? Who said that? Well, it's time to change that. Each of those items is a box. Okay, so the first one, the one that has been on my mind is I am the type of person who is slender and fit. What box am I in? In 2016, I lost £50. I was slender. I was fit at £130 and the reality is I've regained about £25 of it, which is so typical of people who lose weight.


We put it back on as I was sitting on the floor thinking about this podcast episode and jotting down a couple of notes. My weight came to me, came to mind, and I thought it's because I'm in the wrong size box. Whenever ERL and I would go out and look at hiking clothes and I would see something I liked, I would always reach for the size, medium or size large. And Earl would laugh at me and he would say, You're a small. You're an extra small.


I wasn't in a small or an extra small size box. I was still living in that large box, and I couldn't mentally and emotionally except that I belonged in a different box. And I am going to play with this a little bit in the coming weeks and see using that daily affirmation and writing down. I am the type of person who is slender and fit to help retrain my brain to the box that I belong in. When it comes to my weight, I allowed myself and I crept back into that larger box because it's who I felt comfortable with.


I felt safe and secure in that larger box. So you may have a practice something in your life that you have done. You've made changes, and then you've reverted back to old behaviors, old patterns. Today I invite you and I challenge you to think about what box you are climbing back into and does it ultimately match up with that greater vision, that dream vision of who you want to be, of how you want your life to be. It may be the wrong box for you. For me, I didn't feel safe and secure in this big box that I used to live in in order to feel that same level of comfort with sides of the boxes enveloping me and touching my skin and my body so that I knew that I was safe and protected.


Instead of stepping into a new, smaller box, I allowed myself to grow to fit into the old box. So watch your boxes, people watch your boxes. Now, some of the boxes we are living in feel pretty comfortable. They fit well. They are familiar to us. So the question to ask is this is that the only place you want to be? Aren't you curious about the other boxes out there? Don't you want to experience them or what about imagine experiencing life sprawled out with nothing confining you.


Now you may be thinking, oh, well, Donna, I don't feel confined. I feel like the life that I'm living is very comfortable. I have plenty of room to move. I can sprawl out all I want. And that play string is in my box, but it's still a box and you're limiting yourself and you're restricting yourself. You're not seeing what's really out there in the world. The other toys you can play with if you remain in this box, no matter how much room it has. The problem is these big, expansive boxes.


These are probably the ones that are most difficult to recognize because there's no discomfort around them. We think we have freedom, but we truly don't. And as I was preparing for this podcast episode, it reminded me of the movie The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey. Here's a quick recap. If you've seen the movie or if you have not, hopefully it will make sense. So Truman was born to play out his life on a 24/7 TV show, a movie producer. He created this world environment for this baby to grow into.


There were cameras everywhere in his home, in his community. So Truman lived on a movie sound stage. He thought it was the real world, and it was his real world, however, his family, his friends and the townspeople, everyone else that was involved in his life. They were all actors. The activities of his life were scripted, even his first girlfriend. But what the director of the production didn't realize was he couldn't script Truman's emotions. So Truman fell in love with the wrong girl. She was supposed to be just an episode or two.


But Truman was captivated by her by her eyes. He just fell head over heels in love, but because she wasn't the right girl, well, she got axed from the show and so she just disappeared. But Truman's love for her continued to grow over the years as he wondered about her, worried about her. And he started piecing together from magazine's pictures to try to recapture her face. But she was gone and life moved on for him. He eventually married the woman that the directors wanted him to fall in love with all along.


But his life was stilted. It wasn't what he dreamed of. It just kind of was what happened to him. Eventually, through a series of twists and turns like falling stage lights and then a faulty rain system where it poured on him, but not 3ft away from him, Truman becomes aware that something was off. And then he finally decides to leave his island home. The director had staged this big storm and his dad died in this tragic sailing accident so that Truman was afraid of the water.


And the only access to and from this island town that he lived in was on this bridge. But whenever he tried to cross the bridge, he would have these panic attacks. So he was stuck on this island. But then eventually enough was enough for Truman. And he gets in a sailboat and he's ready to leave this island home. And he's setting out in this boat and he's scared and it's storming. And the director has created this powerful thunderstorm and the winds are raging and the ocean is just bombarding.


This sailboat that's going to capsize. And Truman keeps going. And then the boat Rams into a wall. Truman gets out and there's a wall there. And there's a little sidewalk platform and he's looking around and he has no clue of what was going on. He walks along this wall until he finds a staircase. He climbs the staircase and discovers a door that has the word exit on the handle. And he pushes the door open and he's about to step through and the clouds have disappeared at this point and the storm has settled down and the sun is coming out.


And you know how the clouds will be there. They'll have all the fluffy Gray clouds, the rain clouds. And then the sun starts to stream down through and you can see the rays of light. That's how the director, the creator of this world for Truman, had set the stage for a message from God from the Creator. And he tries to convince Truman to stay. He tells him that Truman brings hope and joy and meaning to the lives of millions of people every day. And he tells Truman, you can't leave.


Throughout the movie there are clips of viewers comments as they're watching the Truman show, and so the scene cuts to some of their reactions. Will Truman stay? Will he go? And the anticipation is building. What will Truman do? He's in this box. Oh, my gosh. Will he climb out? Will he stay? What's he going to do? This is the only box he has ever lived in, and the creator tells him, you can't leave. Truman is standing at the top of those stairs, an open door in front of him that is completely black in front of him, about to step into a world of unknown.


And then he turns around and he addresses the creator, and he uses a line that he has used throughout the entire movie. And he says, Case, I don't see you. Good afternoon, good evening and good night. And then he bows and then he steps through the door. So the thing that is so amazing to me is the reaction of the audience. After I was thinking of this this morning, I went on YouTube to look at to see if I could find the video clip and they have it there so you can watch the final moments of The Truman Show on YouTube so you can find that.


Donnadoyon. Com 127 So the audience reaction is just amazing because people have been watching this show for decades. They're wrapped up in his life throughout the movie. They have these commentaries of the audience, the viewers saying whether they like what Truman's doing, whether they don't, what he should be doing, and that part is so much like real life. We make decisions, we do things and people are commenting on it saying yes, go for it. I agree with you and other people saying, no, stay in your box.


Just stay where you are, be comfortable. Don't take a chance. There will always be people that support you and always people that will tell you to stay the same. Truman steps through that door and the audience, all of these viewers, they go wild there's laughing, there's, crying, there's cheering because in their hearts in that moment, they know that he's doing exactly what is right for him. They're not thinking about what it means five minutes from now when the show they've been watching for decades is no longer there.


They're thinking, yes, he is the hero in his life. He has been longing to find this young woman with these amazingly beautiful eyes. His heart has been calling to her for a decade. And finally, finally, he is stepping out of that box, leaving the sound stage he didn't even know he lived on, and he's going out into the world to find her. That is so beautiful. It is so powerful. We can't live the life of our dreams. If we stay in our flipping boxes, it is time to get out of the boxes, even if they're the great boxes that have the crinkly tissue paper in them that we love to just move and wrestle and enjoy that sound.


It's time to get out of our boxes. One of the best things that I did about 15. I don't know. Time just goes so fast. I don't know how many years it's been about 15 years ago was to climb out of my box of physical inactivity. I weighed £198. I couldn't walk around my quarter mile block and I was so uncomfortable in my skin, in my body. And I knew I needed to make just one change. I climbed out of that box of inactivity and just started walking.


It wasn't far. It wasn't fast, but it put me in a new place. It's crazy to me now, thinking about the physical, the mental and the emotional challenges I had to overcome just to start a simple walking program. It seemed so easy to me now, but I had so much baggage. I was in so many different boxes and the box was not serving my life. So I stepped out of the box and I just took the physical steps. And as I started taking those physical steps, I started thinking, mentally, maybe I can do this.


And then emotionally, I had to feel the fear and the discomfort of what people might think or say about me. But all I knew was I didn't want to stay in that box anymore, and I knew it was up to me to get out of it. So I took the first step, and then I took another step and another step, and each step was both easier and more difficult, because with each step that I took, I knew that I could take more. And that was stepping into the world that was unknown.


It was stepping through that stage door into a life that I didn't know existed. But I have to tell you, it's been an amazing journey. So if you are uncomfortable and if you feel like you've settled into a box of physical inactivity, or perhaps mental sluggishness, emotional strain, or even spiritual sleep, my walk with me program will help you. You can leave shame, blame, doubt, and fear behind so you can break through those patterns of sameness. Leave that little tissue paper behind that's in the box and makes the wonderful crinkly sounds and go after that playstring that's across the room.


You don't have to stay boxed in to the roles that you play at work, at home or in your community. You can enjoy the expansive freedom of just being yourself, and you can do that when you're walking. You can learn more about walk with me at donnadoyon. Com walk. So today this week, I invite you. I encourage you. I challenge you to take a look at the boxes that you're living in. Look back at that list of I am the type of person who look at those statements.


Identify at least one box that you have gotten comfortable in and make the decision to step out of it today to take the first steps to become that type of person who fill in the blank with something that's magical, that's exciting and that makes your heart light up because that is what Finding Your Way is all about.


Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Finding My Way. If you like what you just heard, I hope you'll stop by my web address. Donnadoyon. Com that's D-O-N-N-A-D-O-Y-O-N com for a visit, feel free to bring along your friends and colleagues. You can listen to past episodes from the podcast Tab. The music for this podcast up is called Drifting Upstream by Hyson.

Donna Doyon - Lessons Learned from a Cat in a Box

That just doesn't look comfortable, but Ocarina doesn't seem to mind it.

Donna Doyon - Lessons Learned from a Cat in a Box

The one leg out position always cracks me up. 

No, Ocarina, you do not fit in that box. 

Donna Doyon - Lessons Learned from a Cat in a Box

After I recorded the episode I went downstairs for a break. I noticed the play string Ocarina had left on the stairs. 

She is ALWAYS leaving toys on the stairs. If I trip, fall,  and die, you will know whose fault it is.

And when I went back upstairs, I noticed Ocarina was positioned so she could look at the play string.

Funny that I talked about this very situation in the episode.

I talked about a scene in the movie The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey and Ed Harris.

Here's a link to the clip: The Truman Show Ending Scene

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The music for this podcast is Drifting Upstream by Hyson. The music was slightly remixed and fit to needed duration.

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