the secret of the cups part III - the leaky cup or how we make sure we never win

print by laura evans
See Part I and II.

It doesn't take long to figure out we are holding a leaky cup.

Our chin gets wet. Our shirt gets wet. Our desk gets wet. Wet happens.

(unless of course we are totally distracted by grumpy cat pictures - I am in love with grumpy cat - actually I mostly am grumpy Cat, so maybe it is the familial thing, I even have the droopy eyelids now. I can't get enough of her)

We probably wouldn't think :

"Dammit this cup leaks! I'm losing tea - I need to pour more tea into this cup!"

But this is exactly what we do with our leaky cups -  the cups that no matter how much we put in there they are never filled - they are bottomless, but we don't seem to notice.

(thankfully not bottomless in a scary hairy ugly guy in a thong at the beach kind of way but not in an endless cup of Java way either and if you are sick of me talking in metaphors you are going to be sick of me for a while because I am feeling the need to talk in pictures these days)

One leaky, bottomless cup most of us we all have is the money cup - yup, I think maybe everybody, it's societal - now don't tell me you don't care about money or you have enough money - this isn't about how much you care about money or how much money you actually have, this is about how much money you feel you have and I probably won't believe you anyway.

We will never feel like we have enough money (obviously we can actually have enough money) - this cup will never be full no matter how much we pour into it.

This is why doing it for the money or making money our main goal is a great way to make sure we can never win.

Hubs and I saved enough money to pay off our mortgage. This was our big deal goal for a long time

(and no, we didn't do this the smart way with extra principal payments - we saved our money in a sock drawer, well a bank account that just smells like a sock drawer).

But once we had the money saved we said to ourselves - "what are we nuts, we can't take all our money and pay off our mortgage - what if an emergency comes up?!" ... so we saved more money.

One day we had 3 months of emergency funds saved plus enough to pay off our mortgage then we said to ourselves - "what are we nuts, 3 months emergency money in this economy is not enough, we need 6 months emergency money!"

So we saved 6 months of emergency money plus enough to pay off our mortgage and we still haven't paid off our mortgage - we will never feel like we have enough money.

(disclaimer - we have a very small, very old, very falling apart house that we have had for decades which makes this whole "saving to pay off our mortgage" quite a bit easier)

When I was in banking I had lots of senior clients who lived like they were destitute from their social security checks while they had hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank. One woman came to me crying that she had to cancel her cable television because the rate went up.

I showed her how we could move some funds into her liquid accounts to cover her shortage for the next 12 months - she didn't need to deprive herself of Sex and the City (hell, no). The same woman who had been crying seconds before, quickly dried her eyes and looked at me like I was nuts. "That money is my savings, Catherine!"

We will never feel like we have enough money.

For many people, especially women, one of these leaky cups is called ATTENTION - as in, I need more and more and more, although we will not admit this even to ourselves (Tony Robbins says that the number one thing women want from men is ATTENTION - why are so many men so freakin' oblivious to this? I think he said the number one thing men want from women is APPRECIATION or maybe he said sex - I kinda slept through the 'what men want' part).

CONTROL is another big old leaky cup. No matter how many things we get under control ... there is always something ... else.

With my south node in Capricorn (Astrological charts are a great help with this, but your own intuition and just an honest look at your life works just as well) I knew CONTROL was a leaky cup for me - in previous lives I needed to be in control, it had always worked for me and those I was responsible for, so I came into this life with that energy and magnetized myself to a childhood situation where life was totally out of control confirming for me that I needed to be in control. 

(and you don't have to believe in past lives to resonate with this - just think 'childhood' whenever you read 'past life', it's a lot of the same stuff)

Now in this lifetime this energy (my been there/done that comfort zone) is precisely what will not work for me. And honest to God every time I give up control I win - every time I try to control things I lose (note- this is not true for everyone) - I once had a wise person say to me "what people who want to control everything really want to control is what other people think of them" - she said it kind of off-handedly and at the time I thought she was wrong, but it stayed with me (which I guess means on some level I didn't really think she was wrong) - now, many years later, I see the truth in this, at least for me (blogging is great for letting go of this one).

The problem isn't the leaky cup itself - the problem is our inability to see the mess it's making when it leaks all over our life - when we make decisions and create intentions and set our focus based on things that are bottomless - we set ourselves up to be unhappy. We need to stop refilling the leaky cup and plug the damn hole!  

I have plugged a lot of holes in the last couple years - we can all do this (I recommend epoxy grout - it's waterproof), but it's a process and life is more of a spiral then a path so sometimes even when we have plugged a leak in the cup's bottom, another little drip might start near the handle and that is ok, more than ok actually because the leaky cups are part of life's polarity that causes growth- we have intended this lifetime as a lifetime of expansion, not perfection.

So, on the path to enlightenment (letting more light in) we let go of the leaky cups (they are always of the ego). We stop looking for something outside of ourselves to fill us.

TRUST is the answer to the leaky cup (and letting go).

Trust that money will be there when we need it - trust that there is enough for us - trust that other people know what's best for them - trust that things will get done without us - trust that we don't need to control things, etc, etc. Think about the areas in your own life that are insatiable and see if more trust (in Life/Universe/God/Higher Self - pick your comfort zone here) might stop the leak. Also it works to be fully invested in an effort (process) but not attached to a result - let go.

Next Up in Part IV (I think I write such long posts so I can write roman numerals, I love them) - the hot/cold cup or the secret of right timing


lynn bowes said...


Your posts are leaving me vibrating each and every time, I swear. You are writing exactly the same stuff I've been reading in a little 'me' book lately. So much good and relevant material that I can only take it in small doses so I don't explode. Exactly like your blog - it has to be absorbed slowly but it's making perfect sense.

DancingMooney said...

The secret of right timing will be fun to read... I think I learned the leaky cup thing recently, and have also plugged a few holes (or perhaps cleared a few things that were causing the leaks from my life and my business) but there are always other things... so true.

Cait Throop said...

Yes...making perfect sense.

KJ said...

As you know, I am going through big changes and in all my planning and recognizing all the obstacles I kept saying: It will work out, then I clicked my heels three times and repeated.

It will work out. I may not have the plan worked out in detail, but it will work out.

Kathy Jeffords said...

You have blown my mind a bit. Since reading this last night, I have identified at least five leaking cups in my life and realized how just trusting in those areas could bring me SO much peace. Like you, control is a biggie for me. Money. Time (even more so than money). Worry and perfectionism in sort of a backwards sense. Those two are leaky cups that I shouldn't even be trying to fill, but do anyway.

Kathy Jeffords said...

P.S. Thanks for this series!

Catherine Ivins said...

I like the heel clicking very much Kathy! Ooh Lynn, I like the small doses, too - which is exactly how people like to have me actually - I agree Janell clearing is like plugging, probably better since I keep seeing that dutch kid with his finger in the dyke and feeling like this advice is a little unsafe ... thank you so much Cait! Kathy - yes, I see how time could be a leaky cup- if I had more time I would do this or that, but it's usually the lack of time that gets things done- imagine having all the time in the world to do something- we'd surely never do it!


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