So how can you empty your cup in order to fill it with the right stuff? (or empty it so your light can shine through).
I have recently been reading Buddhism for Mothers for the first time. One of those books I had seen around but for one reason and another never actually read. It’s given me lots of food for thought. I wrote on my last blog about emptying your cup, but how is this possible with our rather splintered society? If we were living in a more community focused society, it would be possible to ask someone to look after your children for a while, to take some of that responsibility. But this isn’t always possible.
I am sure I am not the only person who feels that unless I manage all the housework, shopping, childcare as well as running a business I am a failure. The exhaustion of always seeming to be chasing my tail and wishing I could afford to pay someone to do my housework.
So I was interested to read in the aforementioned book about mindfulness, something I had been aware of (I always feel like I am aware of these things but have neglected to apply them to my life). One part particularly has me thinking and trying things out – mindful washing up (of all things). Rather than speed through the washing up an don to the next job and be a whirling, frantic, ball of tenseness. Take time with it. Watch the water fill up, observe the bubbles forming. As you wash each item take time to look at how the bubbles sit, the texture and the shape of each item. Carefully choose a place to put it on the drying rack. Be aware of your breathing, your tension and where your thoughts are going. Rather than this being part of endless stream of jobs, be present in the now. Put all your time and energy and thought just in this task of washing up.
I have been applying this to everything, and it has been eye opening to realise just how frantic I am, how my day is only successful if I do a certain number of jobs, but find they aren’t done hugely well. Similar to how many times I send off an email and forget the attachment or how I think I will just fit this task into these few minutes, only for it to go disastrously wrong.
Or how I don’t fully commit to playing with my son and so he becomes more needy for my attention. The days I fully commit to playing with him, be completely present in the game he has chosen fills his cup. He then moves away by himself to play something else leaving me to have some time to do what I would like to do, without it becoming an exhausting time both whining at each other.
Going back to tasks – I have noticed how I physically never fully committed to a task – washing up I would stand sideways to the sink – ready to leave that job and dash off to something else. This has been affecting me physically too – back aches, tense shoulders because of standing in peculiar positions to do a task.
I am now making a conscious effort to ensure that if I do find myself with a few spare minutes – I use these to go and observe nature, do some breathing exercises or just enjoy the feeling of being able to sit in peace with nothing to do.