Into the Box

Last Tuesday, the September 20th reading in Iyalna Vanzant’s daily reader, Until Today! began with, Do you have a God Jar?  If you don’t, you should.    I’d heard of a God Box nearly twenty years earlier in one of my first Twelve Step meetings.  A God Box could be any sturdy box.   It didn’t have to be fancy but many people either found a decorative box or decorated one with their own art work.  Mine is a carved wooden box I found at Pier One Imports, decorated a photograph I took of the hills near the location of our Men’s Retreat.  Supposedly, the God Box started out as a God Can (as in, I can’t, God can) … I don’t know whether that’s Twelve Step legend or not but it’s cute.  It turns out that the notion of a God Jar appeared in Julia Cameron’s Vein of Gold, sequel to The Artist’s Way.  In keeping with her theme of finding your inner artist, Cameron recommended decorating your jar with your own art and keeping it in a special place she called an artist’s shrine.   Vanzant recommends an old mayonnaise, pickle or jelly jar and says, If you are so inclined, you may decorate the jar, consistent with her pragmatic approach to spirituality.

In the end it doesn’t matter whether the container is a box or a jar … it doesn’t matter if it’s beautiful.  What goes Into the Box is what matters.  When I find myself obsessing over a particular problem or issue, I write it on a piece of paper and put it into the box, thus giving it to God.   Julia Cameron suggests adding hopes and dreams.  Vanzant suggests that we determine the particular issues we are currently working on ourselves and put the rest in the God Jar.   I like that because it says we need to be doing our part, not just saying, God, you do it.

So, what happens to the things in the box?   No, I don’t believe God has a special affinity for problems I put in The God Box, no matter how beautiful I make it.   The God Box is for me, not God, a visible and symbolic way of Letting Go and Letting God.   Any time I begin to obsess over my problem again, I can recall … it’s in the God Box.  I can even go back and check that it’s there, underline it or highlight it in fluorescent ink.   While it’s in the God Box, I’m waiting for God to show me the next step.   It’s enlightening, occasionally, to go back to the box and remove the problems that are … well, no longer problems.

Very enlightening.

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9 Comments on “Into the Box”

  1. Cheryl P. Says:

    I hadn’t heard of this before but I think it is a great idea.

  2. marjulo Says:

    I haven’t heard of this either, but I like it a lot! Thanks for this post!

  3. I’m curious: how do you find this process different from your writing, particularly your morning pages?

    • oldereyes Says:

      That’s a question I haven’t thought about but I’ll try to answer. Morning pages are mostly about discovering exactly where I am each morning. Sometimes I tend to go dark out of habit and in my Pages, I talk to myself, usually noting that yesterday I was in a good place and nothing’s changed. I figure out what issues are bothering me. I also talk to God a lot … I know that what I say on God’s behalf isn’t always God but sometimes, it seems to be. I try to figure out what I’m supposed to do in the situations at hand. I close with “I turn my life and will over to Your care,” but letting go doesn’t come easy to me. I’m an over-thinker and a take charge guy. So, sometimes, I need more and symbolic tools like the God Box seem to work for me. I fear that sometimes I come across as more spiritual than I am on my blog. I need a lot of tools to surrender but my life seems to work better when I try. i don’t even know if that’s an answer but it’s the best I can come up with.

      I appreciate the question. It’s the kind of thing I like to consider.

  4. I need to get a God Box immediately. I find myself obsessing WAY TOO MUCH over things, that I just need to let go of. Thank you for this Bud.

  5. Rick Gleason Says:

    Great idea Bud and one worth adopting. Thank you!

  6. undividing Says:

    Right now it feels like a lot of the really big worries in my life are all things I need to have my hands in (my divorce, finding a job, etc), so I’m not sure if I could put those in the God Jar. Perhaps if I try to put all of the “hands off” worries in, even if they’re small, it will help me better deal with the things I have to. : ) (by the way, if this response doesn’t make any sense, I’m recovering from a stomach bug my son shared with me, so I’m a little out of it!)

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