“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
I saw that phrase posted again recently and was thinking about the word “can’t”.
“Can’t” (like the word ‘should’) is another one I’ve been working on removing from my vocabulary. (Appreciation to Matthew MccConaughey for his story about replacing “can’t” with “I’m struggling with”, in his book Greenlights.)
When I thought about the oft-used phrase about pouring from an empty cup, I wondered how I might rephrase it.
The truth is, you can pour and pour and pour from an empty cup, if you want.
It’s just that nothing comes out.
Or, you get the dregs of what’s in the cup – the coffee grounds, the used teabag, the orange juice bits.
It’s not really what you want. Not delicious or healthy.
I’ve had a lot, and I mean a LOT, going on lately. Turns out publishing a book has a great deal attached to it – yes, there were some stresses and challenges, but even more so lately the energy and excitement and events and pre-orders and orders and book bonuses and competitions and…
It’s amazing and I’m so grateful. I’ve wanted to be in this place for a long time – where my book is out and I can send people copies or let them order their own, and most of all being able to help accountants consider or reconsider their marketing.
I’m doubly grateful I’ve been feeling good physically, too. My ankle feels so well I’ve sort of forgotten I have an ankle (which is pretty much what you want from your body, for it to do its work without making a fuss). I’m still swimming at least 3 or 4 times a week, and walking every day. I’m taking magnesium daily and sleeping a lot better most nights. I’ve even reduced my coffee intake to only ONE huge mug of it rather than three.
And with all of this health and energy and exciting events, I still have an empty cup from time to time.
Sometimes people are surprised to discover I consider myself an introvert. This can be because I’m interested in people, enjoy speaking and presenting, and often go to business events (which require a lot of talking and connecting with people). I do really enjoy all of those things. But these things also sap my physical energy in a big way, and I’m restored by silence, and solitude, and rest.
It’s also interesting the way our minds and bodies react at different seasons of life. Right now, the pattern is that I’ve got a fairly high energy when I’m running around doing things; then there’s a high motivation and excitement the next day, with a little lower energy; and finally a super low motivation combined with almost no energy on the day after that.
Knowing that is half the battle. Maybe almost all of the battle.
If I know (for example) I’m getting home from an event on Friday night, I can be ready for Saturday to be a day where I run a few errands, go for a walk and maybe a swim, and get a little work or writing done. But Sunday…that will be a collapse day. What one of the team calls a “descent into darkness”. I’m barely able or willing to text people back, or do anything supposably ‘productive’.
And yet isn’t that productive, too? Wouldn’t it be worse if I kept pushing and trying and ended up collapsing? That’s recovery, not rest.
I’m in the midst of more travel right now – I’ve been in Greenville for a few days with the Deeper Weekend people, and then on to North Carolina to see my mum and sister and brother in law. Then back to the UK, and out to some roadshow events in Belfast and Edinburgh.
So I’ve blocked out a week at the end of November to work from the Isle of Mull. Still house hunting there, but until the new house is found, I can go to my favourite island, take walks by the sea, buy fresh local food (and chocolate and whisky), read books, watch the sunrise and sunsets, and fill up my cup.
That way, when I go to pour it out, there’s still something in it: and not just any something but the really good stuff which is refreshing and beautiful.
How about you? How do you fill your cup?