photo: Ron Reiring on flickr

photo: Ron Reiring on flickr

What’s grey, made of metal, and likes to share profound spiritual truths?

Is it a harmonica?

photo: David Lofink on flickr

photo: David Lofink on flickr

A cappuccino maker?

cappuccino done

A Toyota Prius?

photo: TechShowNetwork on flickr

photo: TechShowNetwork on flickr

While all three of these items certainly fit the description (especially the Prius!), there is no grey metal dispenser of profound truths more dear to me – more loyal! more divine! – than . . . .

My mailbox!

photo: Melissa Phillippe

photo: Melissa Phillippe

You might wonder how I could possibly have such a deep and abiding love for an inanimate object – and a grey metal one at that. But when you hear what happened, perhaps you’ll understand.

It all started when I moved into my current home over a decade ago. I loved everything about my new digs: the living room with the vaulted ceiling, the cozy loft bedroom, the community pool next door.

Everything was going great at first. There was nothing – absolutely nothing – about my new home that I did not adore.

And then everything changed.

It didn’t happen all at once. These things never do.

It started out slowly.

An almost imperceptible glitch.

After a day at the office, I would come home to my fabulous house. I would change out of my work clothes and unwind from my day. At some point in my evening routine, I would trot outside to my mailbox.

I’d put my key in the lock, turn it, and – voila! – the mailbox would open, allowing me to pull out my mail.

photo: Melissa Phillippe

photo: Melissa Phillippe

Easy, right?

It was easy. At first.

But then the key started to resist the lock. Or maybe it was the lock resisting the key. Either way, the mailbox started to get harder and harder to open.

I asked other residents of my housing complex if they had had similar problems.

Turned out they had. They said the mailboxes were as old as the housing complex – about thirty years old – and some of the locks had stopped working.

They recommended I contact the manager of the homeowner’s association and get a new lock.

So I did. Except the manager said the mailboxes were under the jurisdiction of the post office, not the homeowner’s association.

In the meantime, my lock started working a little better, so I didn’t bother contacting the post office.

Whenever my lock started to act up, I would close my eyes and ask the Universe for help. Like magic, my mailbox would open right away.

Until it didn’t.

When even the “ask the Universe for help” trick didn’t work, I finally called the post office.

photo: Boston Public Library on flickr

photo: Boston Public Library on flickr

Actually, it wasn’t quite that easy.

I couldn’t just “call the post office.” I had to wade through a menu of choices and options to find a phone number that would allow me to talk to a live person. Once I found the number and called it, I was put on hold for over half hour, during which time I listened to the soothing sounds of Post Office Smooth Jazz.

When I finally got to talk to an actual person, I was told that I had called the wrong office.

I was given a new number and told to call a Mrs. Peterson, who was in charge of the Santa Rosa routes. I then played phone tag with Mrs. Peterson for another two weeks. When at last we were able to talk, Mrs. Peterson informed me that the mailbox was not their problem.

She told me to contact my homeowner’s association.



Meanwhile, my mailbox was getting more and more difficult to open. I was starting to think I was going to have to start telling people to stop sending me written correspondence of any kind, as I was unable to access it.

Given that I’m a practicing metaphysician, you would think I would have done a spiritual mind treatment by now, claiming and affirming that the Divine would fix the issue.

photo: ellenjean8 on flickr

photo: ellenjean8 on flickr

But I didn’t.

Instead, I was slogging through the problem, attempting to find someone to help me.

Then one day, as I was walking to my pesky mailbox, I saw my mailman.

I never saw my mailman.

We had totally different schedules, and for all I knew the mail was actually delivered by a lime-green unicorn.

But no. It turned out that the deliverer of the mail was an actual dude, with a postman suit and everything.

actual dude done

Given that I’d tried everything else to rectify the pesky mailbox situation, I told the mailman what was going on.

He stopped for a second, squinted his eyes in deep contemplation, and then he said:

Have you tried WD-40?

No, I had not.

In all my questing and questioning, no one had mentioned such a solution.

I ran back to my house, got out the little blue can and sprayed some WD-40 on my key. Then I ran back to the mailbox and put my key in the lock.

Nothing changed at first. But then I sprayed a little more WD-40 on the key and put it in the lock again – just like the mailman had said to do – and before long, my mailbox door was opening and closing like the mouth of an excited teenager.


photo: D Sharon Pruitt on flickr

I couldn’t believe it. This issue had been years­­­ in the making and never once had the ol’ WD-40 solution been suggested.

Here’s what I love about this story:

I had a problem, and I looked for someone outside of me to fix it. My first choice was a nearby authority. They were unhelpful, so I started relying on magical intervention from the Divine. This was all well and good, but it still didn’t solve the core issue.

So I looked to yet another outside authority, this one even bigger than the last. And what did the Big Authority do? They passed the buck back to the Lesser Authority.

My problem still wasn’t solved and I was more frustrated than ever.

And then came a lime-green unicorn, in the form of my mailman.

He let me know that I already had everything I needed to solve my problem. Indeed, I already had the key.

photo: Melissa Phillippe

photo: Melissa Phillippe

I just needed some magic potion to allow it to work!

Now, every time I go to my mailbox and easily and effortlessly retrieve my mail, I remember the futility of searching outside myself for answers.

I remember that I always have the key to my own happiness. When I can remember this, and trust myself and my inner wisdom, life gets better and better all the time.

Of course, it also helps to have a lime-green unicorn and some WD-40.

Then you’re pretty much invincible!

lime and WD done

How have you learned to trust yourself? Share your comments below!

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