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Fill Your Bowl


Part 2 of a the 5 part series on serenity. You will recall the quote below from yesterday’s post. For the next four days we will explore each thought, one at a time. Fill your bowl to the brim And it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife And it will blunt. Chase after money and security And your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval And you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back The only path to serenity. ~ From Tao Te Ching as translated by Stephen Mitchell

Today we explore the first line, Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Let’s begin with a mental picture of a bowl—full to the brim. Let’s fill it with soup, its contents quivering at the edge, daring you to even look at it. The bowl is in the kitchen. You must get it to the dining room. It WILL spill. In deference to Forrest Gump, life may be like a box of chocolates, but for our purposes today, it is also very much like a bowl of soup: chock full of your favorite ingredients. My imaginary soup is beef barley; with onions, carrots, mixed vegetables, and a variety of spices. Yours may differ. My life soup is comprised of family, an airedale, teaching—high school and yoga, sleeping, reading, writing, walks in nature, date nights, as well as the various typical and unexpected events that come with all of the above. You will find in your own soup just as many ingredients, and just as much expectation. It’s easy to imagine why we might have a bowl on the brink of spilling. It is easy to picture any one of our ingredients placing just one more demand on our finite time. 24/7/365. It’s a thing. It should not be.

Seek those things that fill your bowl, not spill your soup. Do your work, then step back The only path to serenity. Thank you for reading!

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