We hear it all the time… “You can’t pour from an empty cup!” And, no one disagrees. But, the problem with these simple pithy phrases is that we all know them, recite them and hear them with a “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know…” attitude, brushing the words off as quickly as they land on our ears. We don’t really take them to heart, and if we do, we think they’re meant for other people. In fact, we probably offer this sage advice without stopping to take a look at what it might mean to us in our world!
This might be especially important if you:
- live in service to others
- tend to over-give your time, energy, resources, and attention away to the point that you are feeling drained and depleted. You frequently give to and do more for others than you do for yourself.
- consider yourself to be codependent
- are grieving. Grief takes time and an enormous amount of energy and naturally saps you of your usual resources.
- live in a situation that brings a lot of chaos and unpredictability (or you’ve had a significant amount of this throughout your years).
- don’t allow others to support you, or even let them know what you need. Maybe asking for help feels too vulnerable or you aren’t even sure what you do need.
- are one of the many, many workers who don’t stop for a lunch break, who don’t really check out from work, even during “off work” hours or on vacation.
- are someone who feels guilty just considering taking time for yourself.
- are immersing yourself in good and important causes (think opioid epidemic, climate crisis, social injustice, anti-racism, to name a few of many).
- find yourself continually worrying and fretting about things that are out of your control or beyond your influence and you find the feeling of powerlessness only adds to your anxiety.
- have been a human on this earth for the past couple of years… yeah, you. This is for you!
Filling ourselves up, regularly and repeatedly, not just a few times a year with a retreat or vacation is critical. With the steady onslaught of anxiety-producing news and information coming at us, we need a consistent way to bolster ourselves up and resource ourselves. Living in a pandemic has exacerbated this need!
Living in a way that is sustainable, realistic, and enjoyable is worth aiming for. Otherwise, we become like a sieve that is leaking energy everywhere.
What will fill you up?
Let’s explore this a bit. Many people, including me, don’t have a lot of ideas. Do you know what is fun, relaxing, nourishing, restorative, or comforting for you?
If not, you might consider this list of Pleasant Activities (disregarding all that clinical stuff at the top – this is just for you!) and see which ones resonate with you. There are more than 130 ideas here, so if you need a kickstart to explore some fresh ideas, give it a go! We begin to be able to make changes when we get to know ourselves better!
When you engage in an activity or hang out with a certain person, does it leave you feeling energized or exhausted?
When you read or listen to something, what effect does that have on you? We have to digest everything we take in, so be sure you’re not adding to your own anxiety or exhaustion without even intending to.
There are 2 aspects to filling up:
- Stop the leaking/fill the holes where you’re being drained – getting to know the places where you’re giving away more of yourself than you have to give and/or where you’re taking in stuff that sucks the life out of you (Less is More )
- Adding something in to fill up again – we have a vital life force energy within us, this magical elixir of life – it can be replenished so finding practices, people, activities that give us a boost will help with this aspect. (Sometimes More is More)
What can you let go of? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- quiet the outer noise (other people’s opinions, ideas, and thoughts of who you should be and what you should do. Other people’s drama!)
- stop ruminating on things that are not yours to fix or figure out. Things that are out of your control
- stop feeding worry – if you’re a world class worrier like I am, worry will find you. You can’t control that. What you can control is how long you spend with it and how much you do to stir it up and amplify it.
- let go of abandoning yourself… how often do you let your own needs, priorities, boundaries slip away in favor of what someone else needs or wants from you even if you had calendared yourself in? What might it look like to begin to make yourself a priority? Or to just be willing to consider making yourself a priority?
What might you like to bring in to help you fill up? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- throw a light novel into the mix if you tend to read heavy stuff or lots of personal growth books (not that I know anything about that!)
- the arts! Poetry, music, dance, song, paint, write, or create and express just for the pure joy of creating and expressing!
- nature! fresh air, sunshine, time with the pure simplicity of nature’s sounds and sights – drink in that beauty
- pauses – allow time and space for healing, for rest, for gentle evolution
- breath… more breath! And movement. Movement that is pleasurable or enjoyable to you!
So, as you get curious, be gentle, come with tenderness, compassion, and understanding.
How might you nourish yourself, body, mind, heart, and soul? In this week of love, how might you weave in some self-love?
All of this boils down to deep, deep true self-care.
Without it, we will crumble from the inside out!
Take some time to reflect on any changes you might want to make in your life in order to fill your own cup. Pause and look at the clouds as you consider what it means to you to fill your cup and why it might be worth devoting some time to. Share your ideas and thoughts here! There is power in giving voice to your intention and being witnessed. And, you just might inspire someone else!!
For me… after writing draft one of this and before going on to editing or recording the accompanying meditation, I’m going to get outside, take a walk (because I’ve been sitting for too long), sit in the sun and listen to the birds and ocean waves while I watch the dogs play! I hope you find something equally relaxing!! (thought I'd share with you what I found!)
I invite you to practice Filling Your Cup with this meditation if you'd like!