Meet an intention candle you can use for years! May 27 2016

What are you ready to invoke more of in your life?

I love to place a special intention candle on my workspace or altar and light it as a sacred practice. But I had a problem: Most intention candles are not designed to be reused once the candle burns down. I wanted ones that used tealights that can easily be swapped out. 

I couldn’t find them, so I made them: intention candles you can reuse for years.

And they’re IN as of today! But hurry - quantity is limited because my source for the upcycled glasses was limited.

P.S. Did you know can now use Amazon Payments on Tiny Altar? Payment is a snap - no need to enter a credit card! (Credit cards and PayPal still accepted too.)

P.P.S. Remember - quantity is limited. Get yours before they're gone.

Recognizing inner knowing May 18 2016

I love getting guidance and signs, but can we acknowledge that guidance and signs are not always super clear?

You might ask for guidance about how to solve a problem and then start getting an idea, but you’re not sure it’s THE guidance. Or, you hear a song that reminds you of someone - was that a clue you should call them? 

Here's what helps me...

When I went to see Mayan ruins in the Guatemalan jungle, the first thing we saw was an ancient stone building...with a wild gray fox playing on it. As our guide spoke about the history of Tikal, what stopped me in my tracks with delight and fascination was the fox.

I don’t recall a thing our guide said, but over a decade later I still remember that fox with his puffy tail. And the monkeys calling out from the tree limbs high above.

Here's the thing: when I watch, think of, or connect with animals, I feel expansive and light through my chest. I find that feeling is the inner knowingthat tells me something is a “Yes." So if I’m struggling to determine if something is a true sign or guidance, I stop to notice whether it makes me feel more expansive and lighter within. 

Perhaps a Yes feels a bit different to you: what captivates and uplifts you? what does it feel like in your body? That’s probably what an inner YES feels like to you!

Coming Soon: Intention Candles!

They're almost here! Limited quantity. Watch for an announcement next week.

They might just be the perfect birthday or graduation gift for an animal lover in your life. I'm getting 'em ready! 


Love discoveries February 11 2016

What I finally figured out about love

All my life people told me that the secret to having love in your life is to love yourself. But it took me a long time to figure out how to love myself when I didn't feel like it.

Picking up some groceries at Trader Joes on a gray day many years ago, I begrudgingly bought myself a bouquet of pink roses. I did this not for “me” - I couldn’t muster love for my personality, which was depressed and and felt very flawed at that moment - but I did it as a last-ditch attempt to show kindness toward my soul in a dark time. Someone once told me such small acts could help.

To my grouchy self's surprise, by the time I got home and placed the flowers in a vase in the corner of my bedroom, a glimmer of  brightness had started to spread within me. Since that day, I’ve tested this “small act for the soul” maneuver many times and it always seems to make a difference.

Show kindness toward your soul and the soul will smile back at you.
Similarly, I've discovered that self-kindness is key in relationships. After an argument with my husband, I’ve experimented with imagining divine light beaming through my body and regarding my being with self-kindness and gentleness as I breathe slowly. (All hard to do when you are really upset!) It doesn't matter if I'm in the right, the wrong, or somewhere in between, this act brings a remarkably positive shift to the relationship. 

Spiritual Food for Thought 

"I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your being."  

"The more you extend kindness to yourself, the more it will become your automatic response to others."
- Wayne Dyer

Found: Sacred Space Inspiration

Doesn't this look divinely inviting?

source: Apartment Therapy

Featured Product:
Lakshmi Blessing Wood Print

I am enchanted with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity, beauty, and love. This original creation is printed directly onto a thick piece of sustainable wood that you can hang up or stand on stable surfaces. The back of each piece is signed and dated and includes a pretty description card. I created this wood print for you to invite Lakshmi energy into your life.

Wishing you lots of love + soul-kindness,

Creativity January 17 2016


With paint-splattered hands and a heart full of wonder, I'm excited to see what the year has in store for you and for me...or should I say what we have in store for the year? 

Spiritual Food for Thought: Creativity 

“An abiding stereotype of creativity is that it turns people crazy. I disagree: Not expressing creativity turns people crazy. (“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don’t bring forth what is within you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you.”—Gospel of Thomas.)”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

"All creativity comes out of inner spaciousness."
― Eckhart Tolle

Found: Altar Inspiration

Beautiful, yes? I like the idea of natural, earthy elements of wood and plants mixed with colorful sacred items.

photo credit: Urban Outfitters 

New in the Shop: 
Blessing Wood Print for Creative Projects  

saraswati blessing wood print

art.  writing.  music.  muse.

This blessing wood print is of Saraswati, the goddess of creative projects,who is said to help artists, writers, and musicians flourish. Her name comes from “saras," meaning “flow.” She is a Hindu goddess who embodies the muse, arts, language, eloquence, music, knowledge, and the creative flow that purifies the essence of a person.

Printed directly onto sustainable wood, you can hang this piece up or stand it on flat, stable surfaces. A description card appears on the back, and I sign and date the back as well. 

Invite the sacred muse in 2016 with this Saraswati wood print - or get it for another creative soul in your life!
Wishing you creative joy + inner spaciousness,


A Solstice ritual for winter renewal December 20 2015

{The solstice is Mon, Dec. 21st, but honoring it the eve before is also customary.}

Merry solstice and warm holiday wishes! 

Do you have a spiritual practice for the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, when the light begins to grow again?

I like to do a ritual for the winter solstice because I find nature's signs and cycles grounding. I think we all do at some level. This
 moment that the sun stops and reverses direction in the sky has been sacred all over the world since ancient times. The winter solstice is special because, while it's the longest night, it also signals the moment the sunlight starts expanding to fill our days again. 

There's a simple solstice practice that I find satisfying and renewing. I thought I'd share it with you in case you'd like to try it out. 

This ritual is about releasing something you want less of
and welcoming something you want more of.

Gather up:

- pen and paper
- fire in a fireplace (OR candle + heat-safe bowl with some water in it)
- your Spirit/Intention box or journal (optional)
- sage, palo santo, or similar cleansing incense (optional)


  1. In a quiet setting, light the fireplace or candle. If you have sage or palo santo, burn some to cleanse the space. 

  2. Take a deep, centering inhale and exhale.

  3. Tear off a small slip of paper. Ask yourself: what am I ready to be rid of? Breathing deeply, just see what comes to you in under 1-2 minutes. Don't overthink it. Write it down. Last year I simply had the phrase, "I'm ready to let go of bullshit" come to mind. I knew what it meant. : ) 

  4. Burn the slip of paper that symbolizes what you are done with (in the fireplace, or use the candle and then drop the burning paper in the bowl with water - be safe).

  5. With another small slip of paper in hand, ask yourself: what do I want to really want MORE of in the year head? Again, it's often best to pay attention to the first thoughts that surface before the mind starts trying to speak for the heart. If the idea feels good in your very being, write it down. Imagine it. Breathe it in. 

  6. With a bow of gratitude to your higher power, place this second piece of paper in your Spirit/Intention offering box or other sacred space, or tape it to a page in your journal so you can refer back it. 

I hope you too find renewal in this time of giving something to the long night and welcoming something to grow with the light. 

Love, wellbeing, and peace to you and your loved ones,

Tiny Altar Virtual Gift Cards are here!

Need a last-minute gift that is unique and thoughtful? Tiny Altar Virtual Gift Cards are now available!

A sneak peek behind the scenes at Tiny Altar November 18 2015

My workspace (captured by the talented JoAnn Uhelski)

Your elfy little friend (me) has been busy and I just couldn't wait to show you a few things!

NEW SACRED SQUARES are coming and here's what's exciting about them:

1. Quality upgrade - a new style of square: larger (5" x 5"), thicker, stronger, and able to stand on flat surfaces or hang on your wall; printed directly onto sustainable maple with gorgeous inks for consistent quality. 

2. An all-new hand-drawn Hamsa design (in two different painted backgrounds). The Hamsa is an ancient hand symbol (seen throughout Israel, India, and the Middle East) believed to bring protection and good luck. It's also associated with feminine power.

3. Beautiful description cards will be affixed to the back of this new style of square, clarifying the qualities of the piece and making the squares extra special to give and receive as gifts. 

All of this should be ready before the end of this month! Until then...

...wishing you lots of love, wellbeing, and inner + outer peace,


P.S. Are you on the list for the secret sale that will be available only to list members when these new squares launch next week? Click to sign up so you don't miss out:


About Tiny Altar October 10 2015


Tiny Altar is a handmade boutique for infusing your world with intention and good vibes.

Here you'll find gifts for creating sacred spaces that make you smile - for your home, yoga studio, office, or zen den.

Each piece is an original design that begins by hand with some combination of graphite, ink, paint, or photograph.

I use earth-friendly and sweatshop-free materials as much as possible and put blessings into each item as I create and hand-package it. (This is fun! It makes me feel like a little elf making gifts.)

Hi, I'm Elizabeth Teal, the artist and maker behind Tiny Altar, and I believe, as Joseph Campbell said, "Your sacred space is where you can find yourself...again and again."

I believe that behind all things a mysterious force of Love is interested in helping us with and through things big and small. That's what little altars are about for me: an artful conversation with that power. 

A little more about the elf behind this enterprise?

Through creations that support our connection to inner guidance, creativity, synchronicity, nature, and animals, I seek to nurture the kindness and joy that arises from connecting to something larger than ourselves.

Since I've been on this planet, I've worked as a writer at Apple, been a holistic wellness counselor, written a little Amazon bestseller (pet loss category), ran a blog about natural cat care and the feline-human bond, studied art, and loved almost any quirky thing starring Jason Schwartzman, Jemaine Clement, or Rachel Bloom.

Today, I'm an artist, a writer, and a down-to-earth mystic. You may be one too: someone who senses the interconnectedness of all things and sees beauty and sacredness in nature and animals, including the human animal. 

More intention creations + inspiration for your sacred space are on the way. I would love to have you along for the ride... 



Customer Contact: | (415) 662-TINY


my workspace photo is by: JoAnn Uhelski


Look at Lissa Rankin's altar! + sacred-space making insight September 26 2015

Altar of Lissa Rankin, MD

The other day bestselling author, speaker, artist, and all-around inspiring, down-to-earth wise woman, Lissa Rankin, MD sent me photos of the Tiny Altar Divine and Gratitude boxes on her beautiful altar!

She said has used the boxes ever since she received them several months ago. This news inspires me to share a sacred-space-making insight I learned by following Lissa.

Lissa's work gave me a breakthrough when it finally got through to me that we can heal ONLY while in the parasympathetic nervous system state (aka, relaxed)...

"Your nervous system operates in two different states – the 'fight-or-flight' stress response, when the sympathetic nervous system dominates, and the relaxation response, when the parasympathetic nervous system is in charge. But here’s the kicker - your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms only activate when your body is in a relaxation response!” - Lissa Rankin, MD 

I thought I knew all about the parasympathetic vs. sympathetic nervous system thing, but I hadn’t grasped that last key part.

Once I did, it gave me permission to make more sacred space in my life without feeling like it was slightly indulgent and lazy to do so. You know, permission do those delicious things you thought you shouldn't do until your To Do list is complete and your retirement savings is rock solid.

Dr. Rankin's point said to me, "Go ahead, clear a beautiful corner out in your home to journal in the morning, do yoga poses, burn Palo Santo, listen to chants, daydream out the window, put another meaningful piece of art on your altar, light a candle and offer up prayers."

It said, “Take that deep blue island vacation. Slow down and savor that meal made with herbs from your garden. Paint.”

All my life I’d been told that being in a stressed, anxious state is bad for my health, but for some reason all this did was make me feel more stressed when I was stressed! I guess it made relaxing sound like another difficult To Do, as opposed to saying, "Look, if you want hormonal balance, more energy, and fewer migraines and aches and pains, these are doctor's orders: go do something that makes you feel relaxed, happy, and connected to your higher self."

Now you know about some things that do that for me. Which wonderful relaxation-response activities are calling you (so your being has a way to self-repair)?

Photo credit: Lissa Rankin, MD

Love + gratitude,



Handmade Intention Kit (Divine + Gratitude Boxes)


Art. Prosperity. Love. June 21 2015

NEW Super Pink Lakshmi

It's a bright, sunny Summer Solstice day. I'm between getting back from dancing, singing and jumping around at an English Beat concert with some old high school friends and heading out to a tree-filled hike and dinner with another dear friend. The cats are lounging on the deck, Robert is reading in the garden, and there's just something blessed and joyful and miraculous in the air, in spite of all the losses and challenges we've been through personally and as a society recently. 

There have been several times in my life where I felt bereft of art, prosperity, or love...or all of the above.
When I was a corporate working stiff, I had some prosperity, but no art.
When I was a teenager, I had art, but not much self-love or romantic love.
And when all kinds of love finally filled my life a couple decades later, it seemed I had to give up prosperity to do art. 

But there's something about the fullness of this time of year that reminds me that art, prosperity, and love can be available to you ALL AT ONCE, like the apricots falling from the tree in our backyard.

You just have to keep offering up those longings--and being willing to be guided and to receive in ways you may not have foreseen.

I wanted more time for art, but I didn't have large swaths of time or a nice big studio to litter with paint and unfinished projects. After this frustration and longing sat in the Divine box for a couple months, I finally stumbled on a practice that has changed everything: 15 minutes per day, each morning after journaling and before breakfast, I pick up my mixed media sketchbook, a sketching pencil, and a kick-butt eraser (all of which I keep where I journal) and play around with drawing things that fascinate and delight me, like foxes, trees, dragonflies, hamsas, and Ganesh.

Hello, foxy! Morning sketch

Each morning, I do what sounds fun: polish a drawing I started or begin a new one. Now I have several pieces I'm excited about developing with paint and color, all there to easily come back to, only because I was open to the possibility of finding a way out of no way.

It's like the story Tosha Silver tells in her fabulously fun new book, Change Me Prayers, where she's late to yoga class, but right after she parks, this giant SUV parks next to her---so close she can't even open her door to get out of her car! She starts to get upset, and then to struggle with crawling over the clutch to get to another door when it finally hits her: she's in a near-empty parking lot; she can MOVE her car.

So often we can get what we most deeply want if we're willing to be pleasantly surprised by the who, what, where, and how of it all.

May the art, love, and prosperity your soul longs for be in your life today and always,

Get creative: sacred space ideas April 28 2015

William Morris famously said, "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." And, I think if he were the bohemian sacred space loving type, he would have said something like: In your sacred spaces, have only things you believe to be beautiful and that make you feel good.

In that spirit, how about some ideas for getting creative with making sacred spaces? Here are a few of my favorites.

Getting creative with pillows and plants 

There's glorious simplicity in a sunny spot, a pile of pillows, a couple luxurious blankets, and some hanging or tall indoor plants. Voila! Bohemian rhapsody. Like these two rooms...

Credit: unknown (email me if you know it!)

Getting creative with tents

I love the idea of making sacred space outside with a tent. It really expands the possibilities! This richly colored gypsy get-up makes me want to pretend I play the guitar.

Quinn Cooper Style

There was nothing better than a fort when we were kids, but it never occurred to me that you could use a tent to design sacred space indoors as an adult. This picture shows how using all neutrals can create a calm, zen feeling.  

Quinn Cooper Style


Getting creative with little altars

And, of course, altars are a creative way to make an oasis of sacred space in any room. In a small house, wee altars are my way of making corners of sanctuary that affect the way a room feels. Here's part of an altar that sits in a bookshelf corner of my office/studio/workshop:

The backdrop is a 3D box sculpture I made, and I like using a pretty scarf to designate the altar area (an idea I stole from my clever buddy Jenna). The roses are courtesy of our backyard, which makes me so happy. 

And look at this lovely photo below, which reminds us that a platter of candles in colorful glass holders, along with fresh flowers and a sacred symbol or two, can infuse a whole lot of beauty and positivity into a space. 

East Coast Desi

It's so rewarding to make places in everyday life that feed your spirit and muse. I love that we can do this with simple things like pillows, plants, colors, objects of intention, platters of candles, and even a tent or two. 

Wishing you lots of creativity in your life and sacred in your space!

You don't have to figure it out alone February 15 2015

You don't have to come up with the right answer. 

You don't have to figure it all out.
You don't have to fix it.

You, one person - just like me - you do not,
and by the laws of physics simply CANNOT -
have control over all this by yourself. 

Guess what? This is GOOD news.

What I'm telling you is help is on the way. 
Instructions will be delivered.
A knowing will settle in your heart. 
A weight will be lifted from the muscles of your back.
You only needed to ask.
And then listen. 
Sleep on it. 
And then, and only then, follow instructions.  

From the micro to the macro, my Gratitude box overfloweth with the results of doing just that.

From a perfect last-minute birthday gift, to what to do about what the vet said could be a tumor. I offered questions up and eventually got a knowing - not always crystal clear, but a good-enough INKLING - and wonders ensued.  

The last-minute birthday gift: On a hunch that showed up, I sent a rapid delivery of Denise Linn's Soul Coaching Oracle cards to a dear friend who, to my knowledge, had never used (or wanted) anything of the sort. That was a year ago and she still talks about using them regularly and how mystifyingly accurate and helpful they've been through difficult times. 

The "it might be a tumor": I decided to take our cat to a different doctor - one who had a calmer perspective, and we took his advice of treating it simply as an infected area first (before panicking). In a couple weeks, the swelling went away, healing happened, and all was fine. You have no idea how grateful I am that our little guy is ok!

That's why, these days, whenever I notice myself wearing out my mind (and Google) for the right answer, or wringing my hands with worry, I say, "oh yeah...I gotta put this in my Spirit box." 

Offer it up. Incubate and wait.

That's what I'm learning to do. Still learning. Tosha's book, Outrageous Openness, helps.

Good News about New Kits!

I was delighted that the Intention kits sold out, until I realized my process for making the large boxes was so time-consuming that I wasn't going to be able keep producing (at a consistent quality) fast enough.

So, in January, I retooled a bit. I'm delighted to say that I invested in a way to make archival prints for the decoupage process - and this tiny change saves me so much time that I was able to lower the cost of the kits too!

I'm really happy with the new kits because I think they look good AND currently I'm able to get them handcrafted with a nice new wood - a smooth, sustainably harvested white maple.

Plus, I added something I'm excited about to the large kits: a small natural Citrine gemstone. It's the color of sunshine and the gemstone of prosperity and positive energy, known for enhancing personal power, creativity, wealth, and optimism. Put that on your altar!

That's my happy report for today. Thank you for reading and being a kindred spirit!

Citrine blessings,

How she found passion + peace December 29 2014

Let's pretend you've magically traded places with someone who runs a large design company, is a worldwide in-demand speaker and author, and is a mother of three and wife. You're also very financially successful.

Now - imagine this new life: you might suspect you've just entered a world of luxury cars and the latest designer wardrobes, dripping with expensive jewelry and other symbols of status.

You might also guess that people are constantly coming to you for decisions and asking you to put out fires. The emails and voicemails are endless. All you do is react to demands for your time all day. With what little you have left, you try to squeeze in writing your books and doing your speaking gigs, which require a lot of travel. 

Sure, you're rich and you have a ton of "impressive" stuff, but your time is almost never your own. At that point, is your life even your own?

But wait, back up - it could be so different! Nancy Duarte is who I described in that first "Let's pretend" paragraph, but she's none of the things other things I described.

She seems to thoroughly enjoy life, yet pricey symbols of status aren't of interest to her. Beyond her loved ones and creative passions, she said what interests her is paying her people well, helping others succeed, and giving a lot of her surplus away

I listened to a wonderful podcast interview with Nancy last night and woke up today so excited to talk about this lady who lives life so differently - with so much intention and joy. Because we need outside-the-box stories like this - true possibilities to live into.

Near as I can tell, this very successful woman gets a great deal done and creates a happy, healthy life for herself by doing shocking things like taking a couple quiet 3-hour hikes each week and blocking off her daily schedule until noon for "sacred time." Her sacred time is when she is writing, working on a book, and thinking and dreaming of the future and the role her firm can play in it. "It gives me the space to invent," she said. (And yes, she said it requires tons of discipline to keep that time blocked off!)

And, her hiking or biking time in nature lets her mind process and churn until it finally gets quiet, and then, as she puts it, she can hear her heart and "my heart can talk to God."  She attributes a lot of her good ideas, productivity, and coping ability to those long hikes and bike rides.

My favorite discovery from the interview was that she created her remarkable lifestyle by living each day with a very specific intention: She says that she and her husband (of 30 years!) have always said, "I want to wake up every day and do what brings me peace and what gives me passion. And just do those things." 

Imagine starting every day, every decision, and every year that way: What will bring me peace? What will fuel my passion? If you're the creative, spiritual type (I know you are!), you probably already place a high value on what you're passionate about. But still, I personally find it's easy to slip: months go by without travel plans or a trip to an art showing; or I forget to ask what I could do this year to support the wellbeing of wildlife and animals.

Nancy's inner peace intention is the other key part of a full YES. Very grounding. I'm not passionate about decluttering my closets and drawers, but I did so this weekend because I could feel the inner peace (of having it done) calling me. Seriously.

So, on my altar, in my Spirit box, I've offered those questions to my Divine higher power. And I'll put in more intentions (or questions) each day, as the answers unfold.

If you had to answer, "What will bring me peace? What will fuel the passionate me?", what would you decide to do this year?

May this be a year of getting the giggles just thinking of some of the things you get to do, and of ending your days with a catlike stretch and satisfied sigh of peace!

Bringing your intentions to life in 2015 December 13 2014

I don't know about you, but I never used to spend time reflecting on the year behind me, or on my vision for the year ahead.

Then, when I started doing New Year's vision collages, they were very rewarding, set the tone for the year, and made a difference! The year I put images of a home in my collage, my boyfriend and I bought our first home - a surprise to both of us.

But an even bigger game-changer happened a couple years ago when I stumbled on a free downloadable workbook (which YOU can grab without so much as an email here) from a coach named Susannah Conway.

Using that workbook gives the turn-of-the-year new depth and magic to me. I gain strength and confidence by celebrating what I've accomplished, learned, and received. 

What I also love is how the questions lead me to clarify intentions for the year ahead. At the beginning of 2014, it helped me form the intention "I make art and live in abundance." That intention - set with full body conviction, Spirit box entries, and little altar symbols (like Lakshmi, goddess of beauty and abundance) - came true this year.

So, if you haven't discovered it already and want to explore it yourself, here's Susannah's workbook. (She provides it no-strings-attached. For real.)

New mini intention kits are here! 

The new mini intention & gratitude kits are a fun, low-risk way to set intentions, invite synchronicity and guidance, and celebrate gratitude.

I've created my first batch of these little guys, so a limited quantity (until I make more) are available on Tiny Altar. If one is calling you, you can order it now and have it in just a few days.

Sending warmth from my workshop to your home!

P.S. If you have any questions about the kits, just email me ( and I'll get back to you asap. 

Creative altar inspirations November 13 2014

I love to see how people create personal altars for their homes. I find that thinking about what makes each altar "work" as a spiritual art form sparks good ideas.

I've been discovering some sweet altars on Pinterest, so I wanted to share what I'm noticing that makes these altars inspiringly artful.

The basic beautiful personal altar

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again. - Joseph Campbell

Sometimes simple is the most beautiful solution: 
Float fresh flowers and candles in a bowl of water and voila - instant sacred loveliness.

The basics of a lovely personal altar:
A central candle; plant or two, blossoms; rocks or quartz; incense; personal photos that are meaningful to you.

An adorned sacred figure makes a great altar:
I like the lively colors against the gray stone of the statue. The pretty, neutral-colored mandalas are a bonus as the backdrop.

adorned figure altar


The focused theme and color altar 

Behold the power of a color and theme altar:
Deep blues and symbols of Yemaya, the goddess of the ocean and motherhood, protector of children.  

An altar for a special intention or event:
A birth altar! What a good idea. Although, if birth isn't on your agenda right now, you could do something similar for a new job or business, an upcoming wedding, or an intention to invite something like a happy relationship or healing.
theme altar, birth

Color theme with sacred objects:
This gorgeous little altar is mostly neutral and white colors, which looks great with the larger red Om piece in the background.
beautiful little altar, sacred space

Items of personal meaning: 
What makes this altar nice is a color theme (purple and neutrals), plus nature objects, a central image against off-center background piece, and items collected over time with personal meaning.

The expansive altar 

Defining a sacred space with a floor altar:
This meandering-along-the-edge-of-a-room altar defines a meditation and yoga space. I like how framed words and images can be arranged to set intentions. Plus, flowers and sunlight really help beautify here.


I hope you enjoyed these little inspirations as much as I did.

By the way, I'm collecting pictures of altars (obviously) and would love to see your altar (perhaps not obviously), so please send a photo my way at! (Um, yes, I suppose that is what Instagram is for, and I'm not on there yet. But I'm trying to love and accept myself anyway ; )


The simple, playful practice that changed my everyday life October 10 2014

I stood in our kitchen holding a couple of small wooden boxes in my hand, searching for the words... 

"I've been doing this for several months now," I said to my fiance, "and all I can say is I feel...happier. More relaxed. more." 

He nodded and took it in thoughtfully.

I have a long-standing tendency to over-worry and resist feeling at ease with my own good fortune. But this year? My creative life blossomed, my income doubled, and my mood lightened. 

How did that happen?

Well, one day, inspired by Tosha Silver's very special book, Outrageous Opennessand Florence Scovel Shinn's quirky 1920's book, The Game of Life and How to Play It, I decided that I needed a Divine box.

But not just a prayer box full of hopes - that hadn't worked too well for me. And not a "I'm going to manifest these intentions because my thoughts control the universe" box. That tended to flop too.

I needed a different approach.

What I needed turned out to be a very specific practice involving little boxes and pieces of paper with my intentions. 

I think this approach has been more effective than other intention tactics because of these twists:

      • I watch for guidance in my daily life and journaling after "offering up" my intention to a higher power's wisdom (per Silver + Shinn)

      • act on guidance and am willing to be surprised  (also per Silver + Shinn)

      • track gratitude for the outcomes (what better way than to move the piece of paper to a Gratitude box instead of tossing it?)

      • use cute little boxes (because this makes it simple and fun, assuring I'll actually stay with it)

    The practice has really grown my sense of self-trust and spiritual trust. 

    Any intention or concern I have may end up in the Divine box.

    The purpose of the Divine box is to give my mind a way to surrender things to my higher power. It’s about saying, "Show me, guide me, help me. I'm willing to see and do what is divinely aligned here."

    You get to define what that higher power is, of course. You may think of it as your inner guidance system, the mysterious infinite energy of the cosmos, your personal concept of the divine, or even the spirit of a loved one.

    With this idea of surrendering something to a wiser intelligence that can see the long view, many of my intentions become more like questions.

    I write them down and put them in the box with the understanding that I am intending the best possible outcome, and the awareness that I may not know exactly what that is - or how to get there.

    For example, here are a few things I've put in my Divine box: 

    "What should I do about this job? Can it fit me better and be fulfilling? Or should I move on?"

    "I'm longing for a vacation, but where? How to afford it?”

    "Help with ____ friendship."

    Each of these hopes and quandaries - and many more - were resolved in surprisingly effortless ways. The job morphed into something better after the right words came to me for a heart-to-heart conversation. The vacation longing was fulfilled with synchronicity - three different soul-reviving getaways fell into place affordably over the next few months! And I suddenly felt clear that I just wanted the best for my friend and myself, even if that meant we grew apart. But then the friendship healed and deepened on its own accord.

    Occasionally it just feels like crazy magic. My friend Jenna put her desire for a raise in her Spirit box one morning and within 24 hours her employer offered her one out of the blue! 

    An inner shift happens as items move to the Gratitude box.

    While some things hang out in the Divine box for a long time, I somehow feel more at peace now waiting for clues and resolution. This is at least partly because I've got an overflowing Gratitude box, so I'm learning to trust that the right things happen when I offer an intention or concern (with a reverent, open mind) to Life.

    Now you know what works for me, but play!

    Make your own boxes or get a set here. Then, experiment to find what feels aligned with your beliefs and works for you.  

      I can't wait for you to tell me about your experiences!