My own tea cup

I love old Zen fables and I was reminded of one this weekend. I had to recall the story of the overflowing tea cup as I spent some time in the “dog kennel room.” (For those of you who might not know the story, I have copied a very short version at the bottom of the post.)

I have been calling our third bedroom “the dog kennel room” since March 17, 2008 when I resolutely stopped calling it the nursery. I was wholly unprepared to have a miscarriage and I handled it in my way which was to grieve intensely for a short time then to lock the whole thing away. Out of sight, out of mind… sort of. So the dog kennels were placed in front of the boxed up baby furniture we lovingly chose and I left the kennels there for well over a year. I also started piling things in that room. Need a place for clothing waiting to be taken to Good.will? The padded glider seems the perfect spot. Too lazy to put the Christmas decorations in the attic? I’ve got the perfect spot. And on and on my process continued until the room was hardly recognizable as the room I once held in such high regard. I also kept the door closed. all.the.time. The metaphor is almost silly but it is so true.

However, this weekend I had to venture into the closet of the 3rd bedroom to find the ceiling paint and I had the “aha” moment. The room no longer holds overwhelming emotion for me. So I decided that I needed to make some space so that something new can fill it (namely a baby). I began cleaning. Decorations went into the attic. Trash was bagged up. Gently used items were offered new homes. I vacuumed and dusted and I hummed a happy song. The space feels lighter and I feel more free. I am even planning to paint with the lovely classic po.oh colors I chose long ago. The door is thrown open. Okay baby(ies), physically and emotionally, I am ready for you now!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – –

A Cup of Tea
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “My own tea cup

  1. luckylittle13

    So true, so true. It's got to be a great feeling to have that room clear. I have some closets to clean now…

  2. poppycat

    Wow Cindy. I have that same exact room that I have treated in exactly the same way. It was a perfect haven for a baby but now it is stacked like a jenga puzzle to the ceiling. I shut the door and avoid it like death and only open it to shove in more things I want out of sight. It's a mess and the only place in my house that isn't tidy and neat. I can't stand that room.I like your zen and I think you have inspired me to tackle that room whether there is a baby scheduled to arrive or not. I am glad you have made some peace with your room.

  3. insertmetaphor

    I loved reading this post. I am so happy that you're cleaning out your nursery and getting it ready for a wonderful future.

  4. C.I.W.

    This is a FANTASTIC post.. loved the Zen part.. clicked. .big..Ciw

  5. Best When Used By

    I love this post! What a beautiful metaphor-come-to-life. Emptying your cup a bit to make room – for something happy, something wonderful, something precious. I bet even the physical cleaning itself (i.e., carrying things to the attic) was therapeutic. I'm so glad you had this experience and I could just about hear you whistling….!

  6. thebao

    What a lovely, inspiring post. I am so thrilled for you that you had this experience and that you feel so good about what the future will bring. Just wonderful!

  7. Danielle

    love it! I'm stealing it… the story that is.Glad to hear your room and your heart are ready.D

  8. anofferingoflove

    i had the exact same room! its taking us weeks to clear out! its exciting to hear you've tackled yours and have made room for baby's arrival!

  9. tireegal68

    that is a wonderful story and a great metaphor. I am so glad that you are ready to reclaim the baby's room with such enthusiasm. looking forward to seeing it when it's ready!

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