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?
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.
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!