What Would You Put In Your Box of Secrets?


Last August I buried some treasure.  Want to know what happened last week when I resurrected it?

Let me explain. I didn’t bury gold in the backyard, or a time capsule, or agree to hide the loot of some Indonesian pirates in exchange for transglobal passage in my own private suite.

I asked the Universe for some things.

I made what I call an Intentions Box. You’ve probably heard someone talk about writing intentions before, or affirmations, or manifesting. Whatever you want to call it, I really like this exercise. It forces you to really ponder and get clear about what you want in your life, and to articulate it simply and powerfully.

But don’t stop at just writing it down. You can do that in a journal, or a note on your computer… and that’s all fine and good. But here’s where I went either really dorky, or kind of marvelous.

To tell the truth, I had sort of half done this before in some form or another. But I did it much more decidedly last year. What kicked my ass into gear, frankly, was a breakup — I got left, very suddenly and quite unexpectedly, by my boyfriend… and on the way out the door, he told me I had insecurities around my job, money, and sex.


But the advantage of being face down is that you have to make a decided move to get up. I figured I better take a good, hard look at the offending categories. I did a lot of journaling after that. And I decided that in some ways, to quote the brilliant Brené Brown, “I was engineering staying small.” I needed to really look at my sense of worthiness, and allow myself to clearly ask for things I wanted that I had not allowed myself to think I could do or be or have.

So I turned it into a little ritual. I pondered and wrote my intentions (six of them; they are about my work and my relationship). Then I went shopping for a box to hold them, and I came home with a little round bamboo vessel and placed it next to my bed. (It’s actually a salt cellar.) I got all ceremonial about it, and I cut six little strips of paper and then wrote one intention on each. I dated them, read them each aloud, and placed them in the box. The box has sat next to my bed for the last year.

What I recommend here is not exactly that you get a bamboo box, or that you write down six, or that it must live in a particular place. What I do suggest is that you do something tangible to represent your intentions beyond writing them down. Have them live physically in space, somewhere so that when you look at your little box or vessel or genie in a bottle, you think of them. You know they are there. Put it out into the universe, and then let go.

A year later, I am in a very different place. I won’t say that everything I wrote down has “come true”; it hasn’t. But some things have, and some things have started and grown and evolved, and are still growing. It is a hard, hard thing for me to keep trusting the universe. I tend to want to plan everything out and know that it is certain. (Who doesn’t?) The intentions box for me is a mindful attempt at balancing clear intention with letting go. You do it, and then you put it to rest.

Since a year has gone by, I got my little bamboo box out and read them again. And I have been thinking I should write some more, amend or add to these. But a year later, they pretty accurately capture where I want to be heading. So maybe it’s just time for a check-in, a reminder. It’s a work in progress, Universe.

{Photo by hellooliviaphotography.com}