Pouring from an empty cup. The journey into deep self-love and our profound craving for connection.
For two decades I prided myself on being generous, giving and always available to share advice, lend a hand and say YES whenever possible. I created a reputation of being “the sweetest friend” and seemed to give out more energy than I had. I gave until I didn’t have anything left. And even when empty, I continued to give.
This idea of giving is a struggle for many of us because it is deemed worthy and we are held in high regard. We are the nice people; the friends who are always “there;” the ones who stay up an hour later because our sister is in need of consoling; the mothers who are wearing multiple hats; the co-workers who pick up the slack; the women who GIVE without taking a moment to RECEIVE.
Our cups are empty. Yet, we continue giving.
How do we give from an empty cup? How do we pour juice from an empty bottle?
Here is an image for us to think about. Imagine a friend knocking on your door and handing you a present. You are delighted and feel excited to receive this gift. You slowly unwrap the present and find there is nothing inside of the box. She has just gifted you an empty box. This is exactly what we are doing as women, friends, mothers, daughters, sisters and co-workers. We are gifting others our empty boxes. There is no energy left in our beings to continue giving. We MUST replenish our insides before we continue offering our spirit.
The deeper meaning of experiencing joy, love, gratitude and peace on a consistent basis. The feeling of stillness, solitude and silence. The place in which we can begin a dialogue with ourselves to understand what we are deeply craving. We are in constant GO mode, and we have forgotten that we have the ability to pump the breaks. There are stop signs and road blocks. We cannot continue plowing through our days without taking a moment to breathe, to be still, to deeply connect with our souls.
We are aching for connection, craving an existence beyond the lists and the to-dos and the calendars packed with obligations.
We are in need of a pause. We need a profound shift from doing more to doing less.
So, where do we begin? We begin by saying no to the good to say yes to the best. Often, our obligations are spent doing activities we “like,” activities that are “good,” activities that are “okay,” or happy hours with friends who are “good,” coffee dates that are “the norm,” events that are “routine.” What about the activities that LIGHT US UP? What about the people who fuel us from the depths of our beings? What about the friends that we walk away from feeling energized and rejuvenated? What about scheduling time to be WITH OURSELVES? To develop that connection that is lodged in the core of our being. To ask ourselves what peace and joy and love and meaning feel like to our hearts? To simply allow ourselves to play again. To find that creative side, the one that doesn’t have a timeline and isn’t running from one event to the next. Flying out the door, rushed and panicked. That place where time is irrelevant. FREEDOM.
In the past three years I have slowed down and allowed myself more space to breathe in the midst of all the “to-do’s.” I have asked myself what are TRUE obligations and what am I doing simply out of habit? I am not perfect by any means and last month was a real doozy of doing.way.too.dang.much.kinda.month. I recognize how easy it is for me to slip back into being busy because it is in my nature. Wearing too many hats and not taking a moment to connect to myself. I was pouring from an empty cup and wrapping boxes with no gifts inside. I was not being of service to others because I did not have the energy to share. I was not filling my own cup. Imagine that; I am certain you can.
What I ask you to think about is: why are you going so fast? When are you wrapping presents with no gifts inside? What obligations are truly obligations and what situations are you involved in due to guilt, fear, people pleasing, or habit? Where can you pause and take time for yourself? How can you fill your cup so that you truly DO have the energy to fill another’s?
I am with you, every step of this too much going on out there in the world life. It is easy to get caught up in the go-go-go mentality. But let’s pause right now. Here in this brief moment and let’s take a breath together.
Pause. Inhale. Exhale.
Pause. Inhale. Exhale.
And now, I want to ask you this:
What holds more value for you, the check marks on your to-do list and the number of social gatherings you attended or is it something much deeper? Is it joy, peace, meaning, love, compassion, and connection? Is it having a moment to pause? Is it reflection and rejuvenation? Those deeper places, I am learning, can only be found in the fullness of the present moment. And being present means slowing down to fill our cups and be filled by the beauty waiting for us in our moments of stillness.
We simply must pause to receive the gifts life has to offer.
And yes, these gifts offer us a pretty sweet present below the wrapping paper. No empty boxes here.