Life lessons from a whiskey glass
Allow me to share a silly little story to illustrate something.
I was in my kitchen the other day making a smoothie. I blended up all my fruits and veggies and grabbed my favorite glass for smoothies. The glass is tall and slender, and for reasons I can’t describe, it looks “healthy” with a smoothie in it. I poured the liquid from my blender and filled the glass, but found I had made a little too much. There was enough left to seem wasteful to throw out, but it also looked like too little to bother dirtying another big glass.
I looked across my counter and sitting in the dish rack I saw the short, fat whiskey glass that had previously held yesterday’s night cap. It's a really nice glass. It's got a solidness to it, thick, substantial. There are "dimples" in the sides that are perfectly placed for your fingers while you sip your drink. It feels really good in your hand. It's a classy glass.
I thought for a moment… “I could use that. But it seems weird to put smoothie in it. It’s for cocktails.” Then I laughed because a glass is a glass. I poured the remaining smoothie into that glass, cleaned the blender, drank the small smoothie, then moved on to my tall, “healthy glass” smoothie.
And then, I looked at my whiskey glass on the counter, and saw something deeper about life…
Take a look at a photo of this glass. This is a whiskey glass. A tumbler I supposed you could call it to be more accurate. It is meant to hold liquor. That is what it was designed to do, why it was made, and how I usually see it and use it.
But the more I look at it that way, with the specifics and the details, the less uses and options it has. For a very brief moment I told myself I couldn't put my smoothie in it, because it's a whiskey glass. And then I thought, how silly. It's just a glass that can hold any liquid.
And then I saw beyond even that. The potential for that glass is only limited by my own imagination, my own thoughts. The less I "decide" what it's for and how it works, the greater it's potential. It can be a glass to hold any liquid, but also solids. It can hold office supplies, it can trap (and sometimes release) spiders or other bugs, it can be a cookie or biscuit cutter, it can be a candle holder or a small vase. I can use it to trace circles. And this is just what came to me over a minute. I’m sure I could come up with so much more as I let my imagination go.
You could say that this glass was designed for a specific purpose, it has a past and a history, it was meant for something. But that is also irrelevant. It is only limited by my imagination for it. Absolutely nothing about it has to change for it to be something else entirely.
What I'm saying is that the more we decide we know what anything is, what it's for, how it works, what it means, how it should or should not be used, what we can or cannot do with it, the more limited we become, the fewer options we have, the tighter life feels.
Silly as this glass example may seem, this is how we shape absolutely everything in our world in any given moment.
The dynamic part of life comes where “the outside world” meets the “inside” one. Where matter meets thought, where form meets formless. When we are conscious of that meeting point, we have complete well-being because we are sitting in the seat of infinite potential. We have options. We have lightness. No matter how it looks, no situation or circumstance or problem is solid or static or set in stone because thought makes it fluid. Like the glass, nothing about your life has to change for it to be something else entirely.
This is why the past does not need to matter. This is why “how things are” holds no real power. This is why I so rarely feel hopelessness or dread about anything any more. Not bad for someone who had a total existential crisis several years ago because the world was going to shit and there was nothing I could do about it so what was the point? I did not eat, sleep, or leave my apartment for three days and Googled "painless suicide" for comfort.
But oh how things can change. Because while the outside world will do what it will do, I now know that I have infinite creative potential to see it completely anew, to work with it in a whole new way. There are no limits to the possibilities. And it works that way for everything - big or small, personal or global. Your job, your relationship, your health, politics, economics, you name it. It's all up for grabs. A change to your state of mind, allowing completely fresh thought to come through, will change life faster than things “out there” could ever change. Waking up to this has been the most powerful realization I've ever had.
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