I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been going through the wringer this year and we’re still not through it just yet. But maybe we’ve been going through the wringer for a long time. Maybe we’ve noticed or maybe we haven’t. Maybe we’ve been going through the wringer for so long, we’ve come to think of it as “normal.” It’s just how life is and nothing can really be done about it. It’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
Stories, and especially our belief in them, have a great impact on how we make sense of and allow our lives to play out. They hold the structure, shape, and context. They define the rules and permissions for creating and destroying. They create meaning. They form the boundaries of our conscious experiences and the edges of our sanity. They are the parameters, the matrix, we choose to live in.
Within our life stories are also particular patterns, or mini-stories, of movement, transition, and growth. Some of these have been described through constructs such as the hero’s journey and tarot cards, which enable a sense of where we are in a cycle, the challenges we are likely facing, and the general direction we are going.
Somewhere between the stories of our lives and the stories within tarot cards, I started thinking about the potential for obtaining balance within the fullness of our life cups. Specifically, our four life cups of spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. I then paired this with the idea that we cannot fill another’s cup when our own cup is empty. That is, we cannot give more than we have to give and remain in good health.
Visually, I also began to see these four cups filled with marbles and placed at the corners of a platform with a centralized coil spring underneath. I then began to wonder how balance might be maintained as marbles are taken out or added to different cups. How might balance be maintained if the marbles weren’t just glass but plastic, iron, or tin? To stay in balance, I thought, equal marbles of a particular quality would need to be replaced in one or all of the cups with each marble taken out.
Relating this back to our lives, I wonder where the balance currently exists in our personal platforms of cups and marbles. Where’s the balance within us and outside of us? Where’s the balance culturally, internationally, and globally? Where’s the balance between us, mother earth, and universal forces? And furthermore, where’s the balance within our stories that will allow this to occur?
My greatest concern is with the life stories that seem to excessively normalize and promote depletion, oppression, and disparity. The stories that are rigid rather than flexible. The stories that are stagnant rather than flowing. The stories that don’t allow us to stop doing what we are doing unless we have a good, reasonable story.
In fact, it seems like very few stories allow us to just stop. Stop, because our cups are empty. Stop, because our lives no longer have meaning. Stop, so we can just be present to notice, feel, and reflect. Stop, just because we want to!
So, amidst our current situations, I invite you to consider your stories. What stories exist that allow a balance of creation and destruction, of letting in and letting go, of receiving and giving? What stories can you create to allow a balance that aligns with your life, the lives of others, the earth, and the universal forces that begin at the point of the winter solstice and the returning of the light within and around us?