Shrine Box

Deb recommended The Wishing Year with enthusiasm and capital letters. “I just finished a book that you NEED to read – and I don’t say that lightly,” she wrote. She had been thinking of me the entire time she was reading it.

It’s about a skeptic who experiments with adding wishing to her toolbox of skills in her pursuit to get the most out of life. Along the way she makes shrines to her desires to buy a house, find a new man and save her soul. At first they seem foolish almost useless to her, yet one by one, over the course of a year, her wishes become her reality.

Shrines. This is part genius, part silly to me as well. Silly used to hold me back. I was such a serious child, horrible at games. My idea of fun when I was a kid was sitting alone in my room teaching my stuffed animals how to read and do math. Occasionally I would invite my mom in to play grocery store, but for the most part I just sat by myself with my imaginary friends. It’s taken me a long time to learn how to let go and be silly yet now I enjoy it immensely.

So I had a date with myself at the crafts store, Julia Cameron style. A veritable scrapbooker’s paradise, I slowly perused every aisle to make sure I was picking out the right items to set the intended tone. Settling on an olive green photo storage box, blue and white flower stickers and palm tree decals, I headed home to affix the decorations with a glue stick, like a six year old in an afterschool arts and crafts class.

Next I got busy filling it. Hawaiian Airlines ticket stubs, plumeria scented soap, journal pages from my trip to Oahu, a picture of a yurt, a picture of a beach on the windward side where I rented a bike, a card I bought on my first trip to Kauai, a picture of Paramahansa Yogananda, maps, lottery tickets for luck, an envelope of money.

It’s a work in progress and I love it.

Once I got it to a decent state, I sat cross-legged on the floor with my shrine box in my lap and my copy of Autobiography of a Yogi on top of it. I placed my palms together in Namaste and made my wishes: May I live in Hawaii. May I be financially sound and open a bed and breakfast. May I someday become a partner, a wife and a mother.

Then I chanted the “Om Mani Padme Hum” 108 times, counting on my fingers the way Deva Premal taught us when I saw her perform around this time last year. I focused on everything inside my shrine and the specific goals I want to work towards with the next 33 years of my life.

When I finished and opened my eyes, my gaze fell immediately on my alarm clock across the room at eye level. It said 8:08pm.

(808 is the area code for the state of Hawaii. Carrie would call that a Mary Moment. Ha! I love shit like that.)

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