One Good Cup Project

Almost every good idea I’ve had in the last seven months started with, what I call, “one good cup.” And “one good cup” started while I was on vacation (staycation actually). Finally, I had time to enjoy a cup of coffee. I didn’t have to be at work or meetings or anywhere.

My usual M.O. was to pour a cup of coffee, take two sips, start to get ready, have another sip, coffee’s cold, reheat coffee in microwave, add a bit more, take a sip, finish getting ready and leave two thirds of my cup of coffee on some random ledge, and dash out the door.

What is that?

imageYet, on vacation I found I still wasn’t enjoying a cup of coffee. I would pour a cup and then start to clean my closet or do a load of laundry, or even check my email.

Then it hit me: I am not allowing myself one cup of coffee. What the hell? Wasn’t I worth one good cup in the morning? And by “good” I meant drinking a whole cup of coffee without interruptions (mainly of my own devising).

I started to say, “one good cup,” every morning as soon as I’d made my coffee. This became a cue to sit down with my cup of coffee. Just me and my cup, no devices, television, books, or newspaper. I would allow myself paper and pen—because, I soon realized when I sat down with a cup of coffee and allowed quiet and no outside stimuli, the ideas flew in.

My one good cup of coffee every morning brought forth more writing, more ideas (I’m brilliant! Just kidding, but nearly!), and more insights than I’d done or had in months.

I eventually dedicated a notebook just to my morning coffee, sometimes I write pages, sometimes not a word…it’s all good.

This combination of intentional time plus space plus quiet equaled profound feelings of joy, and more peace than I’d felt in a very long time. Not to mention, I was finally enjoying my coffee!

Soon after I started this project, I read over some of my “one good cup” notebook entries and then wrote:
I look at this and it seems as if I’m asking for too much from myself—isn’t that hilarious?
Oooh, can’t ask for quiet or space or a little bit of contemplative time.
We’re so busy filling up the spaces with TV shows and Facebook or twitter, with emails and busybusy work afraid of what might find a crack and escape up into our consciousness, what we might have to face if anything surfaces.
But if we face it—look at it, acknowledge it, that’s when we can finally be free of it—yeah, I effed-up.

Things will surface. Sometimes I realize with deep clarity that I need to apologize to someone, or that I need to forgive someone…sometimes myself. Maybe it’s understanding what someone else’s reality is like.

Ideas will pop into your brain. Awesome ideas, creative ideas, some easily do-able, others…maybe not so much, but those will lead to baby steps of ideas to eventually get to the big stuff.

One good cup of coffee* recipe:
Allow time in the morning to enjoy your one good cup.
Allow space for contemplation
Nothing has to be done.
No phone.
No emails.
No Facebook.
No twitter.
No Pinterest.
No books.
No newspaper.
No T.V.
No conversation.
Have notebook dedicated to this time available.
Sit with the cup.
Make it a good cup (the cup itself and that which fills it).
Repeat if time allows.
*can be tea, hot cocoa, water…however you start your day…even Mountain Dew.

When I gift myself with these things (and they do feel like gifts) I can see more clearly. Life is not right on top of me obscuring my view. It’s as if there is a bubble around me, allowing me breath while also protecting me and giving me the space to see what’s ahead.

Let yourself have time to be yourself.
Wait. Read that again. Let yourself have time to be yourself.

We fill our days to the brim, bursting with waking up without enough sleep and careen around to get ready–and if you have kids, that can add like a bajillian more tornadoes to your morning. Okay, maybe not tornadoes, but sometimes.

And even if mornings go smoothly, it’s not like we take any time for actual S P A C E. Get to work, eat lunch at your computer or with co-workers…maybe with a book. Still no space.

And any opportunity for space is filled with Facebook updates, Candy Crush, Trivia Crack, and twitter. Gogogo. Dododo. Noisenoisenoise.

It’s only when we allow space and quiet into our time that we can get to who we are.

My sister Patty wanted to know what time I had to be to work every day? Okay, I might not have to be to work until 8:30, but realistically one good cup could simply be 10 minutes, I like at least 15, but even two minutes of not doing anything except quiet contemplation is ridiculously good for you. Two flippin’ minutes. Do you know how many sips of coffee you can have in two minutes? Here, I’ll time it and tell you. One…two…three… Okay, if your coffee is hot, not that many–but it’s the intent that matters, the focus.

And for good measure, let’s think about this: what if you could go into work and not check your email and/or voice mail first thing? What if you could start your day at work with one good cup, just sit at your desk (if that’s how you work), allow yourself that time and space to contemplate your day? It’s a thought. Wouldn’t it be great if that was part of your work day? Like Oprah’s staff who meditate twice daily. Pretty sure the time spent meditating isn’t taken out of her staff’s payroll.

Ending your day with contemplative space is good too—it’s even better if you can do both. But if you’re feeling no give in the mornings, sitting down after dinner with something—a nice glass of wine, a cup of tea, a cup of decaf coffee…Mountain Dew—whatever, and then following the same plan, sit in quiet and let yourself be.

Sometimes I miss a day. It just doesn’t happen. I don’t beat myself up over it, I know it will happen the next day, or that evening, but when I do miss it, it stresses (no pun intended) even more strongly how it affects me, and how much I appreciate the time I give myself.

Habits make themselves habits because of the positive feeling outcomes we get when doing them. This has become a wonderful habit because I allowed myself to enjoy it. And now it is soul deep and important.

So tell me what you think! Are you ready to join the #onegoodcup project? I’ll post weekly about my one good cup–and we’d love to hear about yours. Cheers!


52 thoughts on “One Good Cup Project

  1. Love this idea! I used to meditate in the mornings (allowed an extra 20 minutes for it). That involved taking my cup of tea and sitting on my porch, weather-permitting, inside if too cold–and communing with the universe. It was wonderful!

    But since I’ve been retired, I can’t seem to get back into that habit. Sometimes not having a structured work life is problematic. I’m going to try harder to get back into my morning “one good cup.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I so get that! That’s why on my staycation I had to say, out loud, “one good cup” just to remind myself of the importance. Now, I feel weird when I don’t get it, like I forgot to brush my teeth or something!
      But you were doing it–your meditation with your cup of tea was it!


    • Thanks Kim! Yeah, sometimes it just can’t happen in the morning for me, that’s when I try to sit on the porch (alone) after dinner. But I like it better in the morning! Actually I like it at both ends of my day 🙂


  2. You are adorable Amy! I love your idea! I find it interesting that most of us suffer from the same things. And one of them, as you so clearly point out, is not taking the time to just “be”. When I drank coffee, since I now imbibe green tea, the greatest moment of the day was that first sip. Well, actually, it started with the smell of fresh coffee grounds. But that first sip, that first cup of the day was priceless. How can we truly enjoy, or fully appreciate that One Good Cup on the run? I would get up a little earlier just to savor the moment. Yet, you take even further by embracing a little creativity along with it. Wonderful idea! 😊


    • Ahh, the smell of freshly ground coffee–it’s my aromatherapy! Thank you Karen. I truly never thought I had any give in my mornings, but if I’m organized the night before (and that’s a big “if”) and set out my clothes, make my lunch, take off my make-up…my mornings are easier and more spacious. Plus, waking up 10 minutes earlier helps.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this, Amy. It’s just so easy to get caught in the “this needs to be done” (and everything “needs” to be done… “now”) craze. Even the mindless games… somehow they just jump into every free moment with their siren call.

    I hadn’t quite put together how little time I was giving myself to just “be” for a moment until I sat one morning and had trouble settling with him to just spend time stroking his fur. Just stopping and enjoying a moment with a loved one (albeit a furry loved one) seemed like it was going to take too much time out of my busy day.

    And when I realized that… I stopped, and I stayed with my cat for a good three minutes, just enjoying the purring and the petting. It was good.

    I definitely will be taking part in the #onegoodcup…. or the one good pet as the case may be.


    • Eden, I’m so happy you got to that place of just being with your cat. I used to sit and play Candy Crush every chance I got…time I could be writing, or reading, or being. Even when I stopped playing that game, there were always other things to fill the time.

      And you’re right, you sort of have to get used to the whole, just sitting there thing, sometimes I still get a little antsy, but I remind myself what I’m doing and then I settle back in. And I adore One Good Pet! Sometimes my dog, Rascal, helps me with my one good cup!

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. I don’t work away from home, and my children unschool, which means that my everyday routine is far less hectic than most – if also somewhat less predictable, what with all the freedom and shifting sleep cycles and passions flowing all over the place in a state of lovely chaos…

    Still, I’ve fallen into a habit of grabbing my laptop as soon as I’m awake, checking blog comments and social media while I sip that first cup in bed (which kind of negates the leisure I have in being ABLE to have a cuppa in bed, doesn’t it?). Or I start figuring out what I’d like to get done today, falling into the idea that this is prime planning time.

    Lately, though, I’ve been meditating a couple of times a week, or spending time with my intentions journal – and I love those days and those spaces of time to connect, not with what to do, but with myself, and my place in the universe…

    When I read this post, I knew that I want more of that. A couple of months ago, on vacation on the other side of the country, I bought two themed journals. When I came home, I popped them in a basket in my study – and forgot I had them until today.

    I fished one out, and I will be keeping it near, each morning, while I sip. Since I often have a lull in my energy level between 4 and 7 pm or so, if I’m not busy somewhere else, I’ll take the time to have another cuppa, with one of my journals – and nothing else. I’m thinking I’ll sit outside when it’s nice, or in my study, if not.

    So happy you shared this, because not only do I have a new way to relax and connect with myself, but I think I may also just have written a blogpost! =)


    • I am seriously thrilled–not one but two themed notebooks! That’s like a treasure find. Isn’t it amazing what we do to ourselves, the expectations we put on our days? I loved your comment and am so happy you’re thinking of starting your day this way.

      Also, I love that you’ll be incorporating it into the mid afternoon slump, I just want everyone to be kinder to themselves. Last night on the porch I was doing some fiction writing and decided to have a cup of coffee–which, of course, like any self-respecting Pavlovian dog, made me stop and just have the coffee and look at the moon over the trees. Thank you so much for stopping by. And I can’t wait to read your next post!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Strange that I forgot those journals until your post reminded me. It is a treasure find, not only for the cool journals, but for the memories of the day I bought them…

        I’ve started every day this way since I read your wonderful post. Most days, I’ve also managed that bracketing cup in the evening – getting ready to have that soon, as a matter of fact. I don’t look at that as a slump, exactly, just a lower point in my daily biorhythm.

        I love that you sat out and enjoyed the moon and the trees, and that’s inspiring me. I’m going to take this cuppa outside, and enjoy the breeze that’s whispering of some much-needed rain, and enjoy – even though I’ve got only a few hours left in the day, and a day or two’s worth of Other Things I’d like to get done!

        Glad to have you here! I’ll be writing about #onegoodcup – after, well one good cup! =)


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  8. This is a great way to start the day. I fully intend to incorporate this in my life – both at home and at work and allow it to refocus my energy. What a wonderful idea. Thank you, Amy!


    • Thank you Jess! I wanted people to try this and see that it could be easy to incorporate something like this into their lives–and I’m thrilled that it seems as if folks are giving it a go! Thanks for the shout out on Twitter too. Means a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

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  14. Amy, I do this ALL THE TIME. One day it took me 4 hours to drink a cup of coffee. And you’re right, there’s a lot too be said, for taking that one cup really slow and mindfully. 🙂


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  24. When you told me about your blog the other day, Amy–the one good cup–I was totally amazed at the concept, including the simplicity of it. So yesterday I got my tea–(Caribou purchased) and sat and drank it before work. The dogs were puzzled. Why isn’t she running around, moving the tea from surface to surface? Why is she just–sitting there? Why is the computer open or the TV on or the clothes being put away? I actually enjoyed the tea. The silence. Myself. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This made me cry Cyndi! This is what I want for everyone–some peace, some stillness, some enjoyment. Just so you know, sometimes my “one good cup” is interrupted by my my one good pup!


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    • Holly, dear friend, thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and commented, it brought me back to it–of course, I still drink my one good cup, but I had forgotten that I would post once a week about it, d’oh! It’s so important to me and yet I forgot that. How does One Good Cup Wednesday sound?


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