the secrets of the cups ...

print by hair brained schemes
I've been thinking about cups.

Uh, yes, I said cups.

Empty cups and full cups and chipped cups and

that perfect cup of tea (or coffee) that smells just so and tastes just so and sits in our hand just so that when we walk into a room with that cup in our hands -

(even when that room has a sink that is filled to the brim with dirty cups, that everyone else in the house believes are cleaned by fairies - I mean they must believe this because if they weren't being cleaned by some kind of magical process, I'm sure someone would pick up a cup and wash it ... themselves ... sigh)

all is right with our world.

The cup seems a perfect metaphor for everything to me these days.

Let's start with the empty cup - you may or may resonate with this cup - it depends on which cup in the universal kitchen cupboard you are vibrating with right now - there are no rights or wrongs, goods or bads here - I only hope for your sake you are not resonating with that old Disney mug with the picture of Goofy in a racecar and the faded letters that read ... NAScaR daD.

(and it helps if you picture little Oliver Twist with his bent brim metal cup and soulful eyes imploring for more)

The empty cup is what gets our ass moving - it requires some kind of action -

now the cup doesn't need to be totally empty, of course - although for some people, and I think I may be one of them, it takes a swig of nothing from a totally empty cup

(how the hell did I not notice that this stuff in my cup - this stuff that had been sustaining me, at least in a "she's still breathing" kind of way - is ... well, gone)

to wake us up.

(yes, even when we are talking coffee here - it is the empty cup and not the full cup that wakes us up - stay with me)

When my Polarity Quit Your Day Job interview came out on the Etsy blog I got a lot of email from makers (and everyone owns this title because we wouldn't be on the planet earth if we weren't the most courageous and amazing makers in the universe, truly) - many were very drawn to the words

I made space for something new to find me.

This is the secret of the empty cup - the step away from actionable life

(and depending on your vibration the idea of stepping away from anything, even something we know in our heart is not working, can be either very alarming or very seductive - there is probably no middle ground in this for those of us who find ourselves holding an empty cup in the first place)

Now, how this cup gets emptied is a very individual thing:

defining ourselves by how much we do, putting other people first, not speaking up, being somewhere that we do not want to be, doing things we do not want to do -

the cup gets emptied by what we allow.

By the time we realize we are just sucking down air this has probably been happening for years, maybe even decades then we either create some change or more likely life creates this for us, usually in the form of some kind of loss - empty within leads to empty with-out. It has to.

(allow (inner work) + create (outer work) = well, everything actually)

My mother married her first husband when she was 21 years old. The guy she married told her when he asked her to marry him that if she said no, he was going to ask her best friend (women's friendships could be a little too competitive - they still can).

My mother thought about it.

She decided that it would be more painful to watch this guy marry her best friend than it would be for her to actually marry him herself, so she married him.

(note I said first husband)

Even when we don't know what we do want or what we do want to be doing, we still have to take action to get rid of what isn't working - this action precedes the state of allowing that is the empty cup's secret.

We can't slip into those kick-ass boots we just bought before slipping our feet out of our slippers and in between this slipping in and slipping out our feet have got to get naked - there's just no other way - well, unless we have some kind of kick-ass galoshes that fit over top of our slippers - there are never any absolutes with anything, life is tricky, folks.

But mostly this naked feet place is the empty cup place (please keep in mind the image of little Oliver Twist and not naked feet inside empty cups which will get this all mucked up for you)

In Part II we will get to the secret of the empty cup - because every cup has a secret - I think Victoria knew this first ...

(well, except maybe the red solo cup - which is probably the worst song ever written and so doesn't get one)

Next Up - Part II - the secret of the empty cup

wall decals by wall to wall decals
The empty cup's secret is, and you may have guessed this already -

it's not really empty

There is no place of nothing that creation springs from - but there is a place of stillness.

From the place of stillness (which is the beginning place, the time of allowing, the time of winter) anything can happen.

Most times when we say we want to be happy and we aren't it's because we don't really value happiness - we really value something else - sometimes we value our reputation more than our happiness, sometimes what we really value is safety.

If we really valued happiness it would be easy to let go of that thing that doesn't make us happy. Children do it all the time. And anything we could do as a child we can do now, anything we knew then we still know now - we have just forgotten our knowing - we've lost touch. It hasn't gone anywhere.

If someone is really unhappy and wanting to break up with her boyfriend - her friends would probably never say to her "well, you need to meet someone new before you break up with him - don't make any move until you have lined up someone else" - in fact, most friends would give her the opposite advice "take your time, sit with yourself for a while, rebound relationships don't work, yada, yada".

But, we tell people who are unhappy with their jobs to wait until they have something else lined up all the time.

[ And, one thing about rebound relationships - 
they actually do work -
because it's not their job to make us safe or happy forever,
nothing outside of ourself gets that job,
it's their job to break our holding pattern -
to bring us to the place of the empty cup -
and they are really good at that ] 

Now, I get that mama needs to bring home the bacon, but mama needs to be mindful of where that bacon actually comes from (and I am not talking pigs here) - because that bacon and wait, let's switch to the word moula (pronounced moola - it's Jersey for money if you are unfamiliar) because I am starting to feel sorry for the pig -

the moula doesn't come from the job - it comes through the job, but it doesn't come from the job - the moula comes from the Universe (God/Higher Self - we should pick our most comfortable word here because we really need to get this and hold it in a place we vibrate with) - the money comes from Source.

I have a niece who is divorced. She needs to go back to court about child support with her ex and is worried that she will not get the amount of money she needs from him. My advice to her is always the same - to remember the money doesn't come from the ex - it may be coming through him, but it doesn't come from him. Her source is the Universe. This was her source when she was married, too - it just looked like her money was coming from her husband's paycheck when in fact Source sent her her husband! The way the money gets to her may change, but her connection to Source is eternal.

(so she sets her intention for what she needs to flow to her effortlessly for the highest good of everyone involved and releases the need for it to come from the ex - note - this doesn't mean that she doesn't go to court and seek a fair payment because action matters, it means she knows that she is ok no matter what happens - she knows her cup isn't really empty even when it looks like it is)

This isn't New Age gobbledy goop. It may be Old-Age goobledy goop (but I don't think so - ha!) - if you resonate with any of this, but not anything New Age check out Florence Scovel Shinn's work, a Jersey girl from the 1800's who knew a thing or two about a thing or two.

Now, I am not saying we should all run out and quit a job we are not loving. There are lots of lessons to be learned from jobs we are not loving (because any kind of learning leads to expansion and expansion is our real job here) - my favorite uncle used to say that you were not really a grown up until you "took a job you didn't want and lost a job you really did".

I am saying that when we get to the place of the empty cup - we often need to step away from the actionable life to gain perspective. 

So, I am not saying we should quit the job we hate, but I am not saying we shouldn't either. It may seem more logical to line up the next thing first, but I am just not sure that what is logical is necessarily true.

[ Rebound jobs and businesses work, too - Etsy is actually a great rebound business. The work of an Etsy shop takes us into the vibration of creativity and community no matter
how much money it channels to us. We expand.]

It is always possible to start a meditation practice and start a new life from a place of gratitude for what we already have

(without leaving that job since the money comes through it, but not from it)

gratitude for what we have is a great bridge from the stuff we don't want to the stuff we do, especially when we don't know what that stuff is yet. The vibration of "I am grateful for this" brings us to a place of more of "this" - we just line up with it, it can't not come to us.

So, we make a list of all the good things we get from the thing we are looking to leave, but think we can't - and we focus on this list. We set an intention for these good things which actually come from Source to find another way to reach us.

We are grateful for the paycheck but not the job. We are grateful for the sense of connection that comes from the people we work with but not the job.

We find we can go to work with a new passion and gratitude - we jump into a new vibration. From that new vibration all kinds of little (and big) synchronicities will start to be drawn into our life and most importantly the empty cup with allow us to notice them. We get to the place of allowing and then we take action from there.

Up Next Part III - the leaky cup

xo all

One of the central teachings of the Course in Miracles is "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God."

It teaches that if you can lose it - it isn't real. This is something it can take a while to wrap our heads around (but an instant to feel its truth in our heart) and some people may never vibrate with this (and that is totally ok - we are all here to learn different stuff), but if we do, it's a life changer.

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

print by jan skacelik
Now, sometimes a cup of tea is too hot and sometimes a cup of tea is too cold and sometimes a cup of tea is just right and often we can't tell one cup of tea from the other cup of tea until we drink it.

Timing is important with tea.

Timing is about cycles.

Remember that great song from the Byrds (and Pete Seeger before them) - Turn, Turn Turn (you can thank me later for putting this song into your head - it's that freaking good) - which is actually taken word for word from the Bible.

We can feel the truth of these words in our hearts.

Life isn't static. Life doesn't support us getting stuck (and this is great news because when we feel stuck we know that we will eventually - depending on the speed of the cycle we are in and our own natural inclination toward stickiness - be unstuck). Change is what expansion is all about and contrast creates the impulse for change and so we get cycles.

Stuff changes.

We psychically detach from what we need to leave before we physically leave. We can't reattach - things have shifted and we don't fit anymore.

It's our inability to reattach that let's us know this is a real deal thing.

*One word (well 68 words actually) about this detachment and what has happened on our planet in the last couple years - lots of karma has fallen away as the planet has ascended - the dropping of this karma has created a lot of loss in people's lives as things we are no longer connected to fall away -

this is meant to feel like we have lain down some heavy baggage but sometimes we get scared and try to hold onto this stuff that is leaving - a person, a job, a way of life. But we can't stop a cycle we can only ride it out. Whatever we have lost we need to know that life loves us so much it has created this space for us. I have a friend who told me she even lost her attachment to her children for a while and it scared the hell out of her - what she really lost was the karmic connection from her stuff to their stuff. There is nothing to fear here - real stuff can never be lost and love is the real stuff.*

Sometimes with things like marriages and businesses we cycle within the relationship and come back together in a new way, but the cycle happens.

We can't fight the cycle

(it will leave us bruised and battered and calling 911 in the middle of the night if we try)

it will leave us empty.

This empty feeling just means there is no more for us in this place.

This is the feeling that has fueled every single thing that has ever happened since the beginning of time - this is the feeling that we ignore at our own peril - the very expansion of the universe is at stake!

But, because we have forgotten that we are here for expansion - because we have forgotten why we are here and who we really are - we say, "what do I do next? I don't know what to do!".

We don't really need to know what to do next before we move out of an empty place and what we really mean when we think this is that we want to know what is going to happen next. We want to see what's ahead. We want to know that we will have the fairy tale happy ending we were promised and we want it in writing and notarized.

We want to know what is going to happen before we make a move and that just isn't the way this game is played.

If we could sit down right now and watch a movie about the rest of our life; a movie where we could see every challenge, disaster and triumph ahead for us (all of these things are kind of the same to our soul which only requires expansion and doesn't care so much what kind of package this expansion comes wrapped in) - what do we think would happen?

Well, we are only human so we would probably try to avoid the challenges and we would certainly try to avoid the disasters and it would be this very avoiding that would not allow the contrast in our life to create the triumph - in short we'd fuck it all up.

And this is how we screw up our children by the way - when we do things for them and try to make things easy for them; when we take away their contrast we don't allow meaningful desires to be born within them - this has created an entire generation of people who have no idea what the hell they want to do. This isn't the way the game is played.

The truth is we know what we do next because what we do next is always the same thing ... what we do next is stop being in the world we are in. 

We make a move. And yes, this can be a small move - we are totally allowed to make baby steps as long as we keep on making them. And yes, this can be multiple moves in multiple directions because we make our own rules with this. 

The actual decision we make is never as important as the reasons we make the decision because it is the reasons we make the decision that create the outcome!

Our life is created from our decisions as surely as our bones and blood and muscles. The song about the broken, crying woman with "years of bad decisions running down her face" is ... well, freakin' scary. We don't want to be this woman and we truly, truly can't be this woman if we make our decisions for the right reasons - we don't have to make the right decisions, because there are no right decisions! There are only the decisions we make.

Many years ago hubs and I separated. I moved into an apartment with our daughter. We didn't know what we were going to do next we only knew that we had both reached the place of empty at the same time. This is a precarious place for a marriage to be. We were scared. We had another human being, the most important human being on the planet to us, depending on us to make the right decision and we had no idea what the hell we were doing.

After a few months of baby steps in different directions we went away for the weekend together.

We both knew our reasons for whatever decision we made were what would create the outcome we both wanted (which was everyone's happiness) - we both knew instinctively that either decision - to move together or to continue to move apart would eventually create everyone's happiness - so we focused on our reasons and could see that our reasons to move together (which included the happiness of that most important human being and the fact that we still loved each other) were much better reasons than our reasons for moving apart.

We started a new cycle together.

If we had divorced (and if the reasons had been there for that we would have) - then that would have been the right decision and we would have made that work. We would have all been OK. Things would be different for all of us now and we would be in different places, but we would still all be OK - there wouldn't be "years of bad decisions running down our faces", we wouldn't be second guessing ourselves, because we would know that our focus on the reasons would have created our best outcome.

This right timing cup is getting pretty wordy even for me and we haven't talked about the "striking while the iron (or teacup in this case) is hot" kind of timing that creates luck and we will in Part V.


Did you know 1 in 3 pieces of jewelry are worn for luck?
Another secret of that perfect cup of tea or coffee or hot cocoa (yum) is knowing when the temperature is just right.

(and I am starting to tire of the cup metaphor after 5 long posts and my teeny, tiny attention span and I'm sure you are, too, so if I switch to peppers or chicken wings or toasters to talk about temperature - I know you'll thank me)

Anyhoo, this right timing with tea is one of the secrets of right timing with everything. 

Many years ago, hub's lease was about to expire on his garage and we set up a meeting with the owners of the building to sign a new lease. When we arrived they told us their son had dropped out of college and had decided to ... open a truck repair business in our shop. So instead of renting to us they were going to rent to him and because our lease was about to expire we were basically out of luck.

As you can guess this was not good news. Hubs had just spent 3 years building his business in this location; working a gazillion hours. He was stressed. I was stressed, too and Olive, well Olive wasn't around yet, but let's just say, this was not a good day.

We started looking everywhere for a new location, but because we work on trucks and need larger doors than typical garages and because most locations are not zoned for trucks and because we didn't want to lose our existing accounts by moving too far away we were out of luck.

There was actually a perfect shop within blocks of our house, but it was an empty building next to a repair business that worked on cars and trucks and we didn't think they would want to rent to us (the competition), but finally, in desperation hubs went over to talk to them. The owner of the business said he didn't really work on that many trucks, but he didn't really need the rent money either - he'd think about it. 

We started to get our hopes up a little. We were only a couple weeks from having to move the shop. We thought maybe we were in luck.

The next day the owner of the business talked to the owner of the buildings who was an old woman and she said, "No, I don't know these people, I don't want to rent to them." Hubs set up a meeting, but she wasn't looking for any tenants she didn't know and she said, "No". We were out of luck.

The day before we had to move we heard about an empty airplane hanger at a nearby airport. Hubs, quite illegally I'm sure, moved his operation into the airplane hanger. We were in luck - sort of. His mechanic took a job somewhere else and hub's workload slowed down enough to make it all just barely do-able (no welding, no water, no heat, no windows). After a few months in the airplane hanger an old man moved into the hanger next door with a glider plane. He was in his 80's and getting his pilot's license.

Hubs and the old man became friends and one day he asked hubs why he was working in an airplane hanger. Hubs explained our situation and the old man said he knew an empty shop owned by one of his very oldest and best friends and he would talk to her. We were in luck.

It turned out this oldest and best friend was the woman who owned the shop down the street - it also turned out that in the few months we had been in the airport - the owner of the repair shop and main mechanic had developed carpal tunnel syndrome and was actually looking to do even less work. This all fell together. We were really in luck.

Now what is the chance that hubs would move into an airplane hanger next to a man who was best friend's with the woman who only rented to people she knew (so now she felt like she knew us because her friend did) and that the main mechanic would get carpal tunnel syndrome and now needed our rent money to make up the income he was losing from not being able to work as much.

This is the kind of win-win that life/the Universe/God can put together - it happens all the time. Sometimes we try to push and pull and make things happen instead of letting things fall into place and we muck this all up.

(sometimes there are a whole lot of things going on that we can't see - things that need to fall into their own places to make room for us to fit into ours)
Maybe the things we call unlucky - are actually the very steps that get us to the lucky - if we just stay on the path.

And staying on the path does not mean continuing to do the same thing - the very thing that isn't working for us, but it does mean doing something.

If we know what we want and if we know why we want it and we take action, maybe life can use whatever action we take - to get us where we want to be.

Maybe we really can get what we want from where we are with what we have!

 (we may have to let go of a few things first, often the idea of a rescuer - when we really get that no one is climbing down that well to pull us out, and we may need to grieve the loss of this myth for a while, but when we really get that - we can really start to make our journey to LUCKY happen)

Hubs is much more decisive than me. He is much more likely to know what he wants. My own right timing usually works differently and I'll talk about that in part VI (damn I love roman numerals!).

xo all

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