… on my cup and the new year

The other day I shared a meme on my personal Facebook page.

Wait. Short diversion here…

To be honest, I’m not sure where the definition of ‘meme’ begins and ends. Like, is it just a static image? Do static images of text count? Can a video qualify as a meme? If so, when is a video a ‘GIF’? Also, how do you pronounce GIF? Is it like the peanut butter, or like 3/4 of a present? Hang on.

Looking it up.

Apparently, Steve – the guy who invented the GIF – says it is pronounced like the peanut butter and not a partial present. My son, Gabe, has decided to disagree and is going to use the hard ‘G’ even though I corrected him.

I’m now calling him ‘Jabe’.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. The <air quotes> meme I shared on Facebook.

It’s just one of those quote-y, story-y, analogy-y things that smacks me in the brain from time to time, startling the chipmunks up there into action.

The version I originally read had no author attached, and the best I could do with an online search was to find one version credited to ‘Hiral N’, and another to ‘Raghu’ (which I assume is pronounced like the spaghetti sauce, but it could be ‘Rajoo’ (What. You don’t know either!).

Anyway, this is the meme/message/quote/large thought bubble that I shared:

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you, or shakes your arm, and your coffee spills everywhere.

Why did you spill your coffee?

“Because someone bumped into me, of course!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

If there had been Tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you – which will happen – whatever is inside you will spill out.

It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

So, we each have to ask ourself, “What’s in my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over?”

Joy, gratitude, peace, humility?

Anger, bitterness, fear, harsh words or reactions?

Life provides you the cup, you choose what to fill it with.

Today let’s work toward filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation to yourself and others, kindness, gentleness, and love.

Yeah, I know, the last bit is a little prescriptive and a bit should-y but still…

What. A cool. Analogy.

Sure, we are the products of all of the experiences and happenstances and circumstances and decisions and failures and triumphs that we have lived with and through. Those things are tucked into each of us… from all that we remember to all that we yearn to forget.

But those are the things we experience.

The Cup doesn’t hold that stuff.

The Cup holds how we decide to feel about all of that stuff… how we choose to live with it all… and how we choose to apply it to our lives moving forward. Its contents are the result of our processings and ponderings and everything we have sat with and chewed on and considered… and incorporated into the practices of our everydays.

The results of the work.

That is what we pour into our Cups.

You got that, right?

We get to decide what is poured into – and hence carried around in – our own Cups. No one else. Which means we are also responsible for what’s in there.

I once had someone tell me that, when he felt that someone had wronged him, or he felt hurt or jealous or angry at someone, he felt it ‘right here’ (and gestured to his heart). And from there, he explained, he “just reacted” “just lashed out” (his words).

I was so surprised and confused by his description, I remember my response was, “But… you know that’s biologically impossible, right?”

I know. A nerdier response may not even have been possible.

But the thing that jumped into my brain, nearly as soon as he said that, was that it is truly physiologically impossible for me to even lift a finger without my brain telling my finger to move. I mean, sure, there are some functions in my body that are all but beyond my conscious control… my heart beats without me thinking of each beat, I breathe unless I hold my breath… pupillary response also comes to mind. But an active (or passive aggressive) nasty and/or otherwise off-putting response to a perceived slight?

That is totally, consciously, one hundred percent my call.

And what spills out of my Cup when I come face-to-face with a stressor?

Absolutely my responsibility.

I’m not saying that I don’t have a smart or snarky response for someone every now and again. I’m actually kind of proud of some of them (I’m thinking about one right now and actually chuckling (It was a really good one)). But purposefully hurting someone and then trying to blame them for what spilled from my cup? Nope.

In the inner world of me, my cup is pretty dang sacred.

I know that I’m not so together and polished and in control – let alone coordinated enough – that I’ll never spill my cup. But it’s kind of a big deal personal goal that, when I inevitably do spill it, no one gets hurt. The most I want anyone to have to do is dab up some supportive, sappy stuff from their shirt or jeans (or perhaps the floor around them).

As this new year kicks off, I’m grateful for the folks who shared the cup meme/GIF/quote/analogy/thingie so that I found it. A big thanks to Hiral N. or Raghu (Rajoo?) or whoever else originally wrote it. I really do love it, and now carry it with me.

I’ll continue to work on the contents of my own cup, as the seconds and days and months tick by.

And I raise it – my cup, that is – to all my fellow humans, working on what’s in theirs.

Thanks for readin’.

You can comment below, or join fellow ponderers on Just Ponderin’s Facebook page… or both! You are in total control.