To learn how to ask for what we need, only practice accepting what we’re given. This is our journey on earth.
In moments of difficulty, it is helpful to anchor ourselves to help keep from being swept away by strong emotions. In this Creative Invitation, we will make a Here and Now Box—a tangible place where we can go to offer ourselves physical anchoring and savoring through the five senses. This box is for you alone, so the invitation is to fill it with whatever brings YOU the most happiness.
- A box, a bin, or basket. Cigar boxes and shoe boxes work well, as do small fruit crates and simple cardboard boxes. Size will depend on what you plan to put in the box. You can buy sturdy boxes at craft stores if you don’t happen to have one around the house.
- If you wish to decorate your box, you’ll need your decorating materials (ex: markers, paint, glue, fabric, scissors, colorful duct tape). If you opt to découpage your box (a soothing activity in itself; tutorial here), you’ll need scissors, ModPodge, paintbrushes, and beautiful things to découpage with. You could consider tissue paper, leaves/stems/petals, lace or other textiles, photos, clippings from magazines, handwritten letters, and more; whatever you find beautiful and inspiring. If you would like to découpage on wood, here is another helpful tutorial. Finally, if you are drawn to cover your box with fabric, this tutorial might inspire you.
- Chose a box or basket that you find fits well in your hands, is adequately sized, and feels good to hold. Note its texture, its scent, the way it looks, its strength and weight. A box with a lid would be ideal. You’ll know the right vessel when you find it.
- If you wish to decorate your box, go for it! If you can, allow through the creativity and playfulness of your inner kindergartener. If joy and curiosity were in charge and they had your greatest good in mind, how would they decorate your box? You may decorate both the inside and the outside in any way that you wish. Perhaps you paint on words of encouragement. Maybe you draw things that inspire you. Or maybe you’re simply making it beautiful. As with all we do here, our deepening is in process, not in outcome, so do be present with this process and notice any strong feelings or resistances that emerge as you decorate. We’ll look at those later.
- Fill your Here-and-Now Box! We encourage you to collect objects which stimulate your five senses for inclusion in your box. Allow your inner sensations to guide you; if something doesn’t feel right, don’t include it. That a thing “feels right” is enough; no rationale necessary. Some examples to get you started:
- Fidgets, including Kinetic Sand, Silly Putty or other non-hardening clay, including, Mohdoh (a therapeutic putty which contains essential oils)
- Stones, seashells, marbles, dragon tears
- Something soft to the touch, such as a favorite scarf, a stuffed animal, a beanbag, a blanket
- Lotion or oil for self-massage
- Acupressure mat (like Yantra Mat or Salveo)
- Photos of loved ones or places
- A book that brings you pleasure or peace
- A compassionate letter to yourself (written for just this purpose).
- Your favorite soothing music (could include flute, sounds of the sea, etc.)
- Guided meditations
- a small instrument or chimes you enjoy the sound of
- A fragrant piece of wood, like cedar
- Essential oils or candles
- Scented eye pillow
- Gum, hard candies, chocolate
- Your favorite tea (also provides warmth)
- Flavored lip balm
- Markers and paper/coloring book. (Coloring pages can be printed for free, or you may purchase an endless array of adult coloring books at any bookstore.)
- Letter-writing paper, pens and envelopes
- Knitting, crocheting
- A journal and a pen
- Nail polish or other body care items
- As you assembled your Here and Now Box, did you encounter any resistance or self-critical thoughts? Please note in your journal any messages that came up and name any accompanying resistance (physical, behavioral, emotional, etc.). Under each self-critical thought, write a tender response if you can. If this is challenging, write your response from the perspective of an unconditionally loving benefactor. Breathe in that kindness and see if you can allow it to land in your heart and nourish you.
- We often find ease and joy in offering others simple, soothing pleasures. What is it like to offer the same things to yourself?
- Did any surprises or insights emerge as you assembled this box for yourself? Make a note of those in your journal as well.
- Once you’ve written all that wishes to be shared, release the exercise and enter back into your day or evening.
Inspiration and ideas: