Being a sensitive, engaged person right now is a fucking challenge.
Important issues are being ignored. Groups of vulnerable people are being left unprotected. Issues that we thought long-settled are being re-litigated. Rights are being challenged. Our place in the world is being redefined. We watch daily as people who have a lot of power and very little accountability are being set free among the most precious and delicate parts of our ecosystem, economy and society to do what serves them personally.
I don't know how to solve the problems we're facing. The complexity of these challenges is daunting, and the dismantling of what solutions we'd begun to create is heartbreaking. There's so much to be done, and now, re-done. But I do know this:
You can't serve from an empty cup.
Sure, it's a platitude. But it's so true, and so powerful, that I excuse its overuse and keep it in my back pocket. There's a lot of work to do, and you'll be more able to show up with strength, empathy, and even joy, if you're making, and keeping, a regular schedule of fulfilling, "pointless" tasks and activities that you do purely for the happiness they bring you.
Fill your cup
Setting aside quality time to spend on and for yourself, on purpose, may feel like an extravagance, but regularly spending time deeply engaged in resonant, enjoyable tasks and activities like hanging out with friends, reading a good book, cooking a meal, making art, going surfing or playing your guitar fills your cup. Until you develop a habit of keeping it full, you'll not only be less satisfied day-to-day, but there will be less of your best to be given to others.
A cup-filling habit will fortify you for the challenges life will throw your way
I invite you to consider what these resonant activities are for you. If you're like a lot of busy, over-tasked grownups I know, you might not be able to think of anything. (How did that happen? Can you remember a time when you knew, without thinking about it, what you loved to do with your free time? Or what free time even felt like?) If this is the case, a good start might be journaling about it. You don't need a special book, or a blog, or anything but a way to record your thoughts in ink, pencil, pixels, or even crayon - you get the idea. Just think about this a bit: What would you do for an afternoon if you had not a single obligation to demand your attention?
Make a plan, and keep your promise
Once you've got some ideas from your journaling session, make a plan. Not next time you have time, but now. Decide what you're going to do, and schedule the time to do it within the next week. It doesn't have to be for long—even 30 minutes will do. Just schedule it and look forward to it. Make this time non-negotiable.
Then, keep your appointment. You'll feel terrific about keeping a commitment you made to yourself, and the time you spend at your enjoyable, resonant task will make you feel even better. Leave a minute at the end of your cup-filling time to schedule your next appointment. Make it a priority, because it is.
Take it to the next level
I'd love to hear what you decided to do and how it made you feel! If you'd like, leave a comment at my Facebook page. And of course there will be plenty of cup-filling activities at the Gather Retreat at Mas Pinet this May! Come join us as we fortify, connect, learn and have fun. What a perfect way to make a commitment to yourself in a magical, memorable way. It's going to be amazing!