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What My Mailbox Taught Me About Happiness

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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18 Responses to What My Mailbox Taught Me About Happiness

  1. Antonia February 25, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    Who knew the solution was so close at hand? Andy, the mailman, has solved lots of postal ‘problems’ for me over the years. He has put a cheery and helping face on an otherwise metal gray organization. The ‘key’ is to trust myself and to know the right people. Thanks, Z.

    • Z Egloff February 25, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      Hi Antonia,

      I love this: “an otherwise metal gray organization.” Yes – Andy rocks!! We at VDL are very lucky indeed. Even though I did, indeed, have the key all along, it also helps – as you point out – to know the right people. Like Andy the lime-green unicorn. :)


  2. Kat February 25, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    Hi Z!

    My first thought was WD40…I use it on pretty much everything that moves or squeaks, particularly door hinges. And in case I can’t find it tucked away in the cupboard or closet where I think I last left it, I use canola oil spray!

    Yup, just the other day my refrigerator was squeaking as the door opened and closed, which meant that if I turned away from the open door, Jazz the cat would climb in to see what he could forage. I used the canola spray and presto magic, the squeak was gone. Ta-da!

    Thanks for the Tuesday uplift! :)

    Bountiful Blessings,

    • Z Egloff February 25, 2014 at 11:40 am #

      Hi Kat,

      Jazz the cat sounds like a smart one. And you too – knowing the solution way before I did. :)

      When I was a kid, we used to have a guinea pig that would squeak whenever he heard the vegetable drawer open. WD-40 would have come in hand then as well. Though hearing the guinea pig squealing was pretty fun.

      Thanks for your comment!!


      • Kat February 25, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

        Hi Z,

        Just wanted to let you know that the theme of your message today wasn’t lost on me. Lots of shifts taking place that allow happiness a front seat in my life, and dang, I LIKE IT!

        As you say…”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.”

        What a great reminder for those of us who have spent time looking ‘elsewhere’ for our happiness. As we learn to utilize the innate wisdom we’ve been graced with by Source our lives change by ‘leaps & bounds’ in ways we could never have imagined!

        As always I appreciate your wisdom and humor! :) Blessings!

        • Z Egloff February 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

          Hi Kat,

          I love this phrase of yours: “allow happiness a front seat in my life.” Yesssssss!! Happiness makes a much better seat mate than Loneliness and Despair, that’s for sure. Here’s to everyone allowing Happiness to ride Shotgun in the Vehicle of their Lives!

          Blessings back atcha!! :)


  3. m February 25, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    I love th trust thing….but how do you put WD40 on the endless squeaks that occur in the robot menus? ( do your best impersonation of the lime green unicorn, p[lease.)

    • Z Egloff February 25, 2014 at 11:42 am #


      I cannot answer the question because only YOU have the key to this dilemma. Great answer, eh? (I knew you’d love it!) :)


  4. Linda Robinett February 25, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    Next time use a silicon spray. WD40 has a tendency to collect dirt on the surfaces. It was developed to get rid of water and actually sort of attracts dirt. :)

    • Z Egloff February 25, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Linda,

      So far my key is still squeaky clean. But if my mailbox and I ever get in trouble again, I know have an alternate solution. (So to speak. . . .)



  5. squirrel February 25, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Hi Z!

    Duct tape is also very helpful…

    It’s funny, at the beginning of the story, I immediately went to “WD-40.” But, for me, that’s a no-brainer. I have a great deal of experience with tight spaces needing lubrication….and I actually mean locks and such…but ask me to compose a sonata? I rap. Ask me to play like Mozart? I can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the black keys. But you have mastered the art of music. You have developed your own style that I can distinguish from your wife’s. You have skill I can only dream of.

    My point is, in some areas of our lives, we definitely know the answer – we see the key within us. In other areas of our lives, we lose track of the key. All that happened was you lost track of your key. And then you found it! And that’s how I grow spiritually – returning to Source after fumbling with the lock for a while. I tend to struggle until I remember how to use the skills I have acquired to make my key work again. :)

    I don’t know why I felt the need to share my process, but there you have it.
    Love ya!

    • Z Egloff February 25, 2014 at 11:50 am #


      Yes, I almost busted out the chart again, the one about how duct tape or WD-40 is the solution to every problem. There’s also a chart that adds beer to the equation, but I have a differing opinion on that one.

      As for my musical endeavors – gosh – thank you. I’m still adjusting to being out front with Melissa. Most of the time I just find it terribly amusing. And it does, like you say, feel like finding a key. The thing I’m supposed to do that was there the whole time. But it took me a while to realize it.

      Like you say, there are some areas in life that are easy to find the key, and others that are harder. But Source is always there, lending a helping hand. Or a lime-green unicorn. Or a lime-green unicorn with hands – the best!!!!! :)


      • squirrel February 25, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

        I also find it terribly amusing when you’re out front with Melissa. 😉 And, you’re welcome. I just calls ’em like i sees ’em.

        A lime green unicorn with hands in a postal carrier’s uniform. 😀


        • Z Egloff February 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

          . . . . dancing a jig and singing “I Will Survive”!! :)

  6. Karen February 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Haha — yes, Source’s help can come in a variety of shapes and colors!

    I had this situation develop IN the stately post office itself, with my P.O. Box. The key became increasingly hard to turn on the archaic metal box, and then it eventually wouldn’t work at all. Turns out, they’d sent my yearly renewal billing to my post box and I hadn’t picked it up in time, and so my box rental expired and my mail was evicted. Meanwhile, I was pounding and beating on it for all I was worth one Saturday, while enlisting the aid of every half-burly dude that came along–all to no avail.

    Well, aren’t we darn glad we can laugh at life’s — and our own — shenanigans and not go postal. Not even close.

    • Z Egloff February 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Having to enlist the aid of half-burly dudes sounds like quite the adventure!! I’m glad you didn’t go postal. Though I know that you are a serious Abe Aficionado and would never do such a thing. 😉

      I like your reminder that Source’s help can come from various places, in many different shapes and colors. Here’s to half-burly dudes and unicorns!! :)


  7. Bonnie Gordon February 26, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    Hi Z. It’s stories like these that remind me that I need only look inside and the answer is there. Great blog and I love WD40!

    • Z Egloff February 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

      Hi Bonnie,

      WD-40 is my friend!! I’m glad that you are a fan as well. Thanks for stopping by! :)


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