Goddess Can: Stop Your Relentless Jack-In-The-Box.
Remember the old jack-in-the-box toy? We’d tirelessly wind him up and wait until he popped up with a Boing?
We would act surprised, squeal and laugh, then close him back up and do it again.
Sometimes it feels like no one is winding up the jack-in-the-box, which today is the news cycle, the division in communities, the tragedies resulting from senseless acts of hate possible by lack of laws in place that protect all of us from hate, paranoia is running amok from the highest office, and social media addiction has replaced face-to-face conversations. You name it, jack-in-the-box keeps popping up.
We want him to stop. We shove him in the back of the closet and somehow we still hear that annoying Boing. What’s a goddess to do? There’s yoga, therapy, a good walk, run, dance, swim, meditation, hug, kiss, love-making — yes, all these are wonderful releases. Still, I have found a creative antidote to the relentless jack-in-the-box. The Goddess Can.
A friend told me about this can-do cure. It is akin to the recovery practice and mantra, “Let Go and Let God.” You know the drill — we are powerless against addiction of any kind and cannot change another and all that jazz. Turns out that is quite true. We can only surrender and change ourselves, our outlook, and our responses to other people. But anyone can start a God Can. For me, I prefer Goddess Can.
You can choose your own adventure. Find a coffee can or anything that can be covered and a slit/opening made in the top for your slips of paper. I used a breadcrumb can. I covered it with mandala art a friend gifted me, and where it didn’t fully cover the Can, I added a photo of Quan Yin, the Goddess of compassion, and a small handwritten note from said friend in script that says, “You are beautiful.”
I glued my designs onto the can and made the opening in the top for my offerings. For example: “I’ll let you deal with this person, Goddess, I give up the struggle.” Or “my relationship with so and so.” Or “this uneasy feeling that won’t go away.” Maybe “my impatience,” or “my sleepless nights.” You get the idea. It’s your can, you can fill it as much as you like. You might have a lot of offerings. Get a big can.
I had specific requests or “give it ups” the first day. Each day since, it’s been a week so far, I’ve added many names and troubles to the Goddess Can. I keep it on my kitchen counter in plain sight. It’s colorful with my red-and-white mandala — a series of circles my friend drew that evolve into triangular designs almost like a kaleidoscope, these she painted the color of one of the seven chakras.
My Goddess Can is red, representing the root chakra, which is about grounding, balance, standing on your own two feet, feeling moored not tossed at sea. It’s a happy-looking can, and it’s filling up with feelings and situations and any trouble or people I am releasing from my worried mind and energy field. Into the can they go! Goddess can sort them out.
As I add another thought or person to the can, I picture them touching one another, some as different as each mandala my friend paints. Does one sink to the bottom due to the heavy weight of its written contents? Does it get hooked on another’s fold or corner and meld into some beautiful solution? I don’t know.
One day I will empty the can and see what solutions came to be or what people no longer worry or annoy me because I’ve let them go into the can. Then I can burn the little papers and begin again. But for now, they remain paper donations to the can until Goddess sorts them out. It’s on her clock, not mine. I have let them go, and that is what matters.
My mother used to sing us a song when we were young girls. “Que Sera Sera, Whatever Will Be Will Be.” It was her way of telling us not to hold on so tightly to things we couldn’t control. Dream and then let go, leave room for wonder. It seemed simplistic to me back then. Now it makes perfect sense. Like the Goddess Can.
We cannot control anyone, and the thought that we might if they just————- is an effort in futility that exhausts and frustrates us.
Before I learned of the Goddess Can, I was sharing a problem with a friend who had been through recovery. I was saying that a person I had a recent encounter with had “issues.” My friend smiled and calmly shared that in recovery she learned it is not that a person has issues, but simply “that is who they are.” That gave me pause.
Now I am incorporating that thinking into my life when I get impatient with people or fed up with the same conversation that goes nowhere, like the repetitive jack-in-the-box. That is who they are — good, bad or indifferent — for now or maybe for the rest of their lives. It isn’t our job to judge or fix them. Instead we need only to see them and believe it is just who they are.
Do you want to release them or yourself? Write their names on a piece of paper and put it in the Goddess Can. When I don’t know what to do about someone or something, it is much better if I do nothing, except make another donation to the can. Let Goddess sort it out. Giving our troubles up in this creative way is a conscious effort to let it go. What isn’t serving us in a positive way goes right into the can. Give it a try.
This simple ritual may ease your busy mind. In those moments where you “just can’t?” The Goddess Can.
Nanci LaGarenne has just completed her third novel, and is seeking an agent. Her previous novels, Cheap Fish, a Montauk fishing and mermaid murder mystery, and Refuge, a homage to survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence, have been well-received. She hopes to write a non-fiction book about women and their connection to passion and creativity. She lives in East Hampton NY, and is an ever-changing late bloomer.