One of my best friends and I recently talked about how thrilling it would be to have the superpower of omniscience.
“Ever wish you could just see the future as clear as day and then make your choices?” she said glancing down to her coffee in hand, half-smiling, but definitely serious.
Humouring ourselves for a moment, we imagined a world in which we knew everything. Regret could not tip-toe into our imaginations, un-welcomed, telling us we could have made a better choice or done more. We imagined a world in which we were in total control of our circumstances. Bliss.
2020 has taught us a lot valuable life lessons, one of which being that change and uncertainty are great revealers of how little control we have. I can’t count the number of times this year I have wondered how helpful it would be to have a hotline to call that would tell us exactly what will happen, when and how.
Change and uncertainty are great revealers of how little control we have.
Control, however, doesn’t promise what culture thinks it does. Control does not mean satiety or satisfaction. Change is also a good revealer of how and what we have filled our cups with. Is my cup only full when I have knowledge, power and control?
This year, I have been digging a little into what it means to have a cup that “runneth over” in the midst of great change and uncertainty. How good can life get, with less? How hope-filled can we really live when not chained to circumstances? Could we be even more free?
There were times throughout the year when I was faced with so much uncertainty and confusion that it felt overwhelming: unable to get back to my home country from the U.S., a COVID-19 diagnoses, sadness and disappointment from close friends, unsure of when my fiancé would see his family again due to border closures, visa application centers closed all while trying to plan a wedding!
I, along with many others, felt overcome. Perhaps, in the many uncertainties that felt like undoings, there was a chance to learn that contentment and satiety are as much about how you fill your cup as what you choose to fill it with.
Contentment and satiety are as much about how you fill your cup as what you choose to fill it with.
So, I started to re-evaluate what I fill my cup with. I began to let go of things that brought no life or hope. It felt reckless and irresponsible at first, even selfish, before I discovered that there was always a pattern of light that could capture our attention, if we let it.
The good in each day began to fill my cup, instead of the deterioration of circumstances. Oftentimes, it didn’t change my circumstances, but it did change what happened on the inside of me. Each time I felt deflated and defeated, I remembered that I can choose what guides and fills me. It takes bravery and self-discipline but the narrow road is always, always one worth choosing.
The choice to see the daily good then becomes a habit, and before you know it, your cup is filled with hope. News of a second lockdown doesn’t threaten the way it did before because our cups are filled with hope.
News of a second lockdown doesn’t threaten the way it did before because our cups are filled with hope.
The “how” to fill came easily once I found the “what.” Bring simplicity back and actively look for the good. Select what your mind will dwell on, which is the greatest freedom and, therefore, control that we’ll ever have. I found that this gave me courage to look at loss and disappointment and to help and love others, knowing that my mind and heart were being led and filled with something else.
This is the “runneth over” part. When your cup is filled with the right things, you begin to look upward and outward, not inward and downward. I know it’s possible because I’ve seen it.
What has been filling your cup in 2020? How can you choose to see the good in each day despite adversity?
Image via Raisa Zwart Photography