Do you fill your cup with coffee?
Or fill it up with tea?
With all your mental anguish,
Do you pour it out for others
Leaving nothing left for you?
Steeped in good intentions,
The result a bitter brew.
Me, I fill my cup in nature,
With laughter and good friends.
By making time for myself
And a present, mindful lens.
If my cup is filled to brimming,
And teeters on the brink,
There’s so much more I have to share
As I offer you a drink.
I remember when Oprah Winfrey used to have episodes of her show devoted to showcasing her favorite things—the teas, treats, and books that brought her comfort, delight, and inspiration—and sharing those with every member of her audience. As I remember, at some point during these shows, she would turn to the audience and point at its members one by one, announcing, “YOU get a gift! And YOU get a gift! And YOU get a gift!” The people in the audience would squeal with excitement, and there was a general air of celebration and glee.
2020 feels to me like an upside-down version of one of those episodes, delivering all the things that might trigger rather than comfort us. With all of the upheaval happening globally, sometimes it seems like there's a cosmic force pointing down saying, “YOU get a trigger! And YOU get a trigger! And YOU get a trigger!” At the same time, many of our usual comforts aren't available, at least not in the same way they were just a few months ago. I'm becoming more deliberate about noticing when I'm wobbling and finding ways to bring myself back to center, sometimes multiple times a day. (My kids no longer give me a funny look when I exclaim, "Mommy needs a timeout!")
I've heard the expression, "self-care is not self-centered." What if it is? I've been playing with the idea that self-centered could mean being so centered in my core that I know who I am, what I have to offer, when I'm depleted, and where to turn for support. Could it be possible that, the more we become centered in ourselves, the greater our capacity to connect with others in a way that truly fills their cups as well.