A few weeks ago, while shopping at JoAnn’s fabric and crafts store, a sewing box at the check out counter caught my eye. I can use that, I thought, but had no idea why. Except for the basics, I don’t sew. My mom, an excellent seamstress, taught me how, but I don’t enjoy it, so I take my mending to the cleaners instead. I had no clue why this sewing box called my name; I bought it having no idea what purpose it might serve.
Driving home, I realized the box would be a great place to keep my spiritual healing tools—the objects I use during meditations, journal writing, affirmations, and other soul-centered healing practices.
These past weeks, I’ve enjoyed having all these items in one place, and since the box is portable, it’s become a traveling altar.
Here’s what’s inside my box:
Writing Instruments: For scribbling notes on a pad, or writing and doodling in my journal. I get some of my best ideas during this time.
Kitchen Timer: For timed writing exercises or meditation, so I can relax and forget about the time. An iPhone timer works, too, but I like to disconnect from electronics while meditating and doing other spiritual/healing work.
Gratitude Beads: Modeled after Greek worry beads, I use them to count my blessings. With each bead I say what I’m grateful for. If you’d like to read more about this practice, check out last year’s post, “Practicing Gratitude: To a Grateful Heart Much Is Given,” posted May 30, 2012.
Earplugs: Silence helps me turn inward and listen deeply.
Eye Pillow: For lying-down meditations, such as the chakra meditation I describe in, “Relief From My To-Do List,” posted April 8th of this year.
Stones: For the above chakra meditation, as well as for inspiration and grounding.
Oracle Cards: I use Doreen Virtue’s Ascended Masters Cards, listening to my intuition whether I’m looking at the cards to try to decide which quality I need to focus on or blindly picking one from the deck. I also enjoy learning about spiritual masters throughout the ages, from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.
Hand Mirror: When it comes to reciting affirmations in front of a mirror, some folks can’t get past Stuart Smalley’s SNL spoof, in which his nerdy persona turns to the mirror and says, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and dog-gone-it people like me.” But I find affirmations extremely helpful and healing. I’m always writing and rewriting them to clarify and honor what I want and who I am. Here are a few recent favorites:
Pendulum: Helps me answer yes/no questions. When I have a yes/no question I hold the pendulum still and ask my question. Back and forth movement reminds me of a nod, which means, “yes.” Side-to-side movement resembles the shaking of the head, which means “no.” The energy of my own desire/will/thought moves the pendulum. I also receive clarification by paying attention to how I feel when the pendulum swings in one direction or another. I ask myself how I feel about any given answer, which helps me understand more clearly what I want.
Rose Quartz Wand: Everybody should have a “magic” wand. I love how mine feels in my hand. It helps me focus on what I want, and connects me to a place of inner magic.
Tibetan Bells: To begin and end my meditation.
Here’s what my toolbox looks like inside—nothing like a sewing basket, though I use its contents to stitch together pieces of myself that stray from the holy garment that is my life.
My intention in sharing the contents of my box with you is to inspire you to create a box of your own—if the idea appeals to you. Please note that the items in my box serve me. They are personal and particular to my growth and healing. Yours may be completely different. Creating your toolbox—and deciding what goes inside—is totally up to you, but I’ll tell you this: it’s clarifying, nourishing, and fun!
What would you put into your box? I’d love to hear about it.
When I returned home from my trip I hit the ground running, burning the proverbial candle at both ends. I stayed up late and woke up early. And then, predictably, I hit the wall. Even the simplest item on my to-do list felt like it would require a Herculean effort.
My daughter said, “If you’re tired take a nap.” I didn’t think I could sleep, but I knew I’d crash harder if I didn’t rest. Plus my daughter was watching. I had to set a good example.
I crawled into bed. Tossed. Turned. Mentally revisited my to-do list. Rest wasn’t on it. Neither was “try a few new ‘healing’ techniques,” which I’d read about in David Elliott’s book, The Reluctant Healer. But that’s exactly what I ended up doing.
I rubbed lavender oil on my throat and on the back of my neck. The scent soothed me. I collected rocks from the garden, got back into bed, and placed one between my eyes, one on my chest, one on my solar plexus, one on my belly, one on my pelvis, and one in each hand as I lay down. The rocks felt grounding. I covered my eyes with an eye pillow and began breathing two breaths in and one long breath out through my mouth. I became very present in my body.
Then a thought arose: Slow down and be patient. Everything is unfolding at the right time and pace. Don’t move so fast.
I’d spent the bulk of my coast-to-coast plane ride reading David’s book. I don’t read as many books as I used to. Sadly, my attention span has decreased in recent years. I scan my iPhone and computer for information instead. But I adore books, which provide much-needed time and space to mentally wander and roam, to reflect, learn, and listen.
While resting in bed, I observed my active mind. Dazzling thoughts leapt, spun, and twirled. Afraid to “lose” any good ideas, I considered getting up to write them down. But I didn’t want to remove my eye pillow and mess up the rocks, so I told myself, Surrender, relax, let go. You don’t have to cling to every thought that comes your way. They will continue to flow. No need to hoard them.
Next thing I knew, I was waking up from a delicious nap! I’d surrendered my to-dos, anxiety, and resistance, and had fallen into a deep, restorative sleep. I awakened two hours later ready, willing, and able to face the tasks at hand, which earlier had seemed insurmountable.