The Cup by J.G. McGlothern

What is this cup I speak of anyways? I have been using the expression, “My cup is empty or full” or “Damn, My cup needs filling: for some time now. Many of us use the expression. This idea, this expression has moved me to starting a business around it and now a new blog. So what is THE CUP?

For me, my cup is my soul. My essence. My being. My source. When I don’t tend to the cup or I have used up all the good in it, I am drained, bitter, angry, confused, hungry … empty.

Since becoming a parent it has taken me awhile to figure out what fills my cup. My needs have definitely changed since my kids were wee little ones. When our first child, my sweet bird daughter was a baby, caring for her filled my cup. Watching her every move filled me to overflowing. Now that our children are 8 and 5 ½ my needs have shifted along with theirs, often pulling us apart.

So that the gap doesn’t get too wide to reach across I need to care for my cup, nurture it, love it just as much as I love and care for our children.

My cup holds my heart, my passions, my yearnings, that still small voice. And when I am too drained or busy to tend to my cup the whole family falls apart.

Nothing makes me sadder than to hear a friend say they feel too guilty to do something for them self. Too tired to follow their heart, too busy to listen to the voice inside. That is when we need to take a breath, a deep long breath and ask the question how can I get a re-fill?

I am learning it doesn’t take much to refuel your soul. And it is different for everyone. I need a walk, a few moments of silence, some music, to read something that spins my brain waves or a connection with a friend. Others need a workout at the gym, to volunteer, a bubble bath, or a drive to Starbucks.

Our needs can change but I know for sure even if we don’t define it as such we all need to regularly fill our cup, emotionally or spiritually, mentally and physically.

Silence, Now What Do I Do? By J.G. McGlothern

When given time alone with only the sound of your breath, it can be staggering, scary, down right unreal to a parent.

On my first Mom Retreat this past January the women attending were given three hours of silence. “What can I do?,” one woman asked. “Anything,” I told her, “but take care of others, this time is about taking care of you.”

I instructed the women to go for a walk, take a run, take a nap, paint with water colors, make clay beads, write, stare out at the Puget Sound, read a book. Some women were scared by that amount of time unscheduled, all for them. But the others were excited and thought three hours wasn’t nearly enough time.

We initated the moment with a rock. I had gathered rocks from the beach and scattered them on our center table. One woman at a time chose a rock and handed it to a woman in the circle saying. “May this silence, fill your cup.” When we all had our rocks in hand or stuffed in our pocket we dispersed to find our silence.

Having been on a silent retreat before I was excited for the time. The first thing I was going to do was take a nap. But I couldn’t nap, my mind was going in a hundred directions, so I got up and made clay beads. Unhappy with my creative endeavor, I went for a walk on the beach. There on the beach, my dad showed up. He does that sometimes since he died over seven years ago. As the sun came out I was washed with the warmth of sunshine and filled with gratitude for the opportunity to hold this Mom Retreat.

Back in circle, when we broke silence every one shared about their experience. All valued the time no matter what they did; paint, write, run, sit, play.

After sharing our experience we were ready for champagne, a toast to our new found appreciation for silence. With full cups, we clinked our full glasses. Who can’t drink to that?

Calgon Take Me Away by J.G. McGlothern

As parents it is easy to run on empty without realizing we need a re-fill. The purpose of my Mom Retreats is to provide space for moms to get away from their demands and leave the guilt at home.

I am happy to report my first Mom’s Retreat – Refill Your Cup – in January, was a huge success. Five women attended, affirming my intended goal – hold space for mothers to “Refill Their Cups”. We stayed on Vashon Island in a rustic, roomy home, swept away by the views of Mt. Rainier and the Puget Sound.

I hired two cooks, so the women didn’t have to cook a meal or wash a dish. The agenda was set to provide sharing time in our small group, silent time, play, and reflection. We met in Circle a few times to carry on conversations about “refilling our cup”, silence, journaling and meditation. I led the women in two short meditations using Thomas Keatings Contemplative Prayer as a guide.

We were women of different faith practices, different experiences of God and sitting in Cirlce we were more than moms. We were women connecting with our Divine within.

I will be holding another retreat this spring and this new blog site will report about future retreats as well as provide a cup or two of weekly wisdom.

All moms deserve a re-fill, ideally before they run on empty.