I’d never heard of a God Box until I read Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver. Tosha describes it as a place where you can place your worries and concerns. You write them on a piece of paper and place them inside the box. Once the worry or concern is out of your mind and body, and down on paper, you feel less burdened and more free.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I was raised without any religion nor belief in any particular god and I’m grateful for that. I don’t engage in organized religion, though I’m fine that other people do. So, having a God Box seemed to me to be a good mental health exercise rather than a chance to convene with the Divine.
I tried it for the first time last October and was surprised by how many worries came pouring out. I think I wrote something like twelve notes that first time. It felt good to write each one. After folding each note into a small square, it also felt good to place it into my designated God Box (a beautiful ceramic bowl with lid made by Tacoma-based artist, Reid Ozaki).
Tosha wrote in her book that it’s helpful to keep putting in more notes, even if it’s the same note, as long as you continue to have the worry or concern. It’s good to write down the worry as if it’s been taken care of.
So, I kept at it.
Then, about a month later, something happened that made me rethink everything.
One note I put in my God Box was regarding a relative I’d had issues with for years. Things had become so bad between us that we didn’t see each other for a year (this is someone I used to see regularly, every month). Four years ago, there was a general malaise building between us, and then suddenly, one interaction sent us both over the edge. It didn’t seem like our relationship would ever recover.
Nearly four years later, I wrote the following on a piece of paper on October 18, 2018 and put it into my God Box.
Divine Spirit, please release my karma with XXXXXXX by forgiving her and myself. Free me from anger, bitterness, and resentment. You alone are my complete source for abundance and compassion.
Within four weeks, an opportunity came up that would allow my relative and I to spend some time together, just the two of us.
At first, I was anxious and wanted to say no. We hadn’t spent time alone, just the two of us, for nearly four years. We avoided each other at family gatherings–quite challenging since they’re usually very small–but this was a chance to spend about an hour or so with each other doing some shopping, and after mulling it over, I said, yes.
It went well.
It actually felt like our interactions had felt like before the rift began. It was even, dare I say it, more friendly than before. I was shocked. Truly shocked.
This happened the week before Thanksgiving.
Then, remarkably, Thanksgiving went well too.
The next month at our Christmas gathering–which had been rife with tension in the past, sometimes between me and this relative, and other times between other family members–the day was cordial and friendly, with many laughs.
It felt like a small miracle. (I say “small” because in the grand scheme of things, it is small, but to my life, it felt huge.)
In the new year, I dug through all the folded-up slips of paper in my God Box and found the note I had written on October 18th. Reading it filled me with a sense of wonder and renewed faith.
Perhaps writing the note had shifted the way I approached my relative?
Perhaps she could sense it and responded in kind?
Perhaps she had reached a point in her life where she wanted to forgive and move on too?
I don’t know.
All I know is if the Divine could have given me a bigger gift for the holidays last year, I don’t know what it could have been. This was a gift that I didn’t know was even possible and I wrote it down without much hope that it would come true. Believe it or not, it came true.
It stopped me in my tracks. It made me realize that whether writing notes to a God Box was a good mental health exercise or a way to convene with the Divine, it didn’t matter. I just knew I was going to keep doing it. And, I have.
Have you ever had a God Box or something like it? Do you write down your worries for the Universe to work on? Did anything change for you?
ps. I bought my covered bowl from Reid Ozaki at the annual Tacoma Studio Tour before I knew what I was going to use it for. I was just drawn to it and bought it. Later, when I read Outrageous Openness and came across the chapter about God Boxes, I realized it was the perfect vessel to hold my worries.
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is also the creator of Fear & Writing, a workshop for procrastinating writers from all walks of life.
Photos of God Box by Peg Cheng. Photo of Peg & Reid Ozaki by Marcus Donner.