Every day we start with an empty cup.
Some people even use a real cup to symbolize this process. Over lunch on a friend’s porch on a sunny day in September, she told me of a ritual Zen monks use- they keep a cup by their bedside. At night they turn the cup over, with the mouth face down, to illustrate the emptiness of the day, of relinquishing all of the stress worry and struggles that take up space in their head. Then, in the morning they turn the cup back upright to show that their symbolic “cup” is empty and ready to be refilled. As I listened to her tell this beautiful story it made me long for the ability these days to empty my cup without reservations or regret.
The Cup of Karma Project reminds me every day of the importance of making choices. I truly believe that each day we have new choices to make like who, what, where we put in our cup. What thought we choose to think, what person we decide to spend our time with, where and who we are in the world both physically and spiritually.
But lately it seems like my cup is constantly filled with choices have that have in large part been made for me, or at least it feels that way. I realize more and more how natural it has become to let myself be carried away on a news feed or in a conversation or over an email that I obsess over or spend way too much time thinking about, letting them take me down roads I don’t want to go down.
So I have been forcing myself to look away from social media, the images and messages flooding in from television and media and even other people around me and just be quiet. I realize it’s become habit to not take responsibility for where I am headed and how I am going to get there.
So, in the quiet I am reminding myself and re learning to empty my cup of all of it and just be. Little by little I am beginning to see the strength of my ability to decide exactly what and whom I want in my cup and make these conscious decisions throughout the day. I try and check in to feel how it feels, and when when my cup feels too full, I turn it over and start again.
Most nights we end the day with a full cup, it’s just part of being human. Just like the monks, I am hoping to commit to looking in that cup and before turning it over let go of the day gone by. In doing so I hope to realize that I have made my choices, my mistakes and had my triumphs for the day. I am going to give myself permission to say good bye to what doesn’t serve me or help me be a better person, and when the morning comes, I will turn my cup over and start again.