What’s in Your Cup??

DSC_0805The cup is often the focus of some pretty interesting, if not cliché, metaphors in our society.  Is the cup half full or half empty?  You can’t pour from an empty cup.  Does your cup runneth over?  We also see the cup used for things like disguising the taste of something else: alcohol, poison, medications, etc.  The cup seems to represent many things in our life, which begs the question: What’s in your cup?


DSC_0812To get started with this activity, I
recommend buying a silicon cup if you do not already have one.  Amazon has a nice selection of silicon cups if you cannot find one at your favorite store.  I personally have silicon beakers and an approximately 16-ounce silicon cup.  You may also want a silicone mat of some sort.  You can find one in the baking aisle if you need one.  You will also need: construction paper, flour, water, and a whisk or blender bottle.  You may prefer glue instead of flour.  You decide your preference.  Both works.


First, select the construction paper colors that best represent you.  This could be favorite colors, colors that match your personality, colors that represent your predominant emotional states, etc.  The sky is the limit.  Tear the paper into paper mache size pieces.  Not too big.  Not to small.  Just right, like Goldie Locks.


DSC_0806 - 1Second, combine flour and water until you create a thin paste, or 1:3 ratio for water and glue.  The best way for me to do this is to get a blender bottle and add the water first.  Slowly add the flour a couple of tablespoons at a time until your thin paste forms.  Keep what you are not using in the cup so you can shake it up as needed.  Find a small bowl to pour some mache paste into.  A glass prep bowl that holds a cup or two of liquid is perfect for this. Using glue instead of flour will make the colors turn out more vibrant and provide a different sensory experience.


Third, soak the paper in the paste briefly.  You only need to ensure the paper has absorbed the liquid and is thinly coated.  Then, you turn your silicon cup upside down and begin to cover the outside of it with the paste-soaked paper until the entire outside is covered.  Let dry for 24 hours.  Gently use a flexible tool to loosen the paper from the silicone cup.  This takes some patience as you work toward not ripping the paper in the process.  A silicon cup allows you to bend the cup away from the paper until it is loose enough to slip right off the cup.  My tool is from a kit that is used to make resin products.  See picture for a visual.  You may also want to coat the paper with modge podge and let that dry before removing your paper cup from your silicon cup.


After you have removed your paper cup from your silicon cup, you can begin the process of defining what is in your cup.  Think about all the different aspects of your life.  What is in your cup?  Write these things down on paper and place the pieces of paper in your cup.  Example are: past events that affect your life now (traumatic experiences), attitudes, values, emotions, recurring thoughts, things outside of your control, coping skills, dreams, hobbies, things you are growing in, things that make you laugh, things that you love, etc.  Again, the sky is the limit.  If you have more than what fits in your cup keep writing them down.  You can pile them on top of what you have in your cup and/or set them beside the cup if needed.


If you have more pieces of paper than what your cup can hold, your first action is going to be to determine what is actually in your cup and what are things you wish were in your cup.  If you only wrote down what was actually in your cup and you did not have more than what will fill your cup, your first action will now be to identify things you wish were in your cup and are not there.  Next, identify the things in your cup that you do not want to be there.


DSC_0813Are you ready for a metaphor?  I hope so because we are jumping in now.  In the United States of America, we have a pretty good water treatment system anywhere you go within the country.  That does not mean water will not taste different from place to place.  Afterall, we are quite fascinated with bottled water!  Still, the water is safe to drink due to well documented protocols for treating water to make it potable.  That is not true in every part of the world!  In fact, when I was in Africa several years ago, I experienced the truth in drinking unhealthy water firsthand.  I was so sick!  Fortunately, I was traveling with a team of physicians as well.  The experience was quite eye-opening.  We collectively agreed that what happens in Africa stays in Africa since there were many such experiences among our team.


So, what is in your cup?  Is it toxic? Do you have unforgiveness in your cup?  Do you have anger in your cup?  Do you have unprocessed traumatic experiences that give you nightmares in your cup?  Do you have financial stress in your cup?  Do you have fear in your cup?  Do you have loneliness in your cup?  Do you have isolation in your cup?  Do you have rejection in your cup?  Do you have negative thoughts about yourself recycling through your brain in your cup?  Do you have grief in your cup?  Do you have things in your cup that are trying to cover up, mask, hide, or negate other things in your cup?


DSC_0808How are the things in your cup impacting your life, daily and long-term?  Research demonstrates that stress can be deadly.  Look at the group of things that you wish were in your cup and the group of things you wish were not in your cup.  How can you start filtering what is in your cup?  What treatment process do you need to make what is in your cup healthy for your body?  Do you need to rebalance your nutritional intake?  Exercise more?  Take a break from electronics?  Take a vacation?  Seek therapy from a counselor trained in helping individuals who need help in the areas you need help with or healing from?  How do you start filtering out the toxic things in your life and start adding healthy things from your wish list into your cup?


Water is the most essential nutrient for our body, hence the cup for this activity.  The things in your cup are essential for the life you are leading or want to lead.  Are you filling your cup with the essentials to get you to the life you want to lead?  Are you filling your cup with clean water or contaminated water?  There is no shame in asking for help with filtering what is in your cup.


Author: therapeuticjava

Jessica is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist who works with women and children to address attachment breach and the effects of traumatic life experiences. Jessica is passionate about help others. This includes providing tools that can be used at home to support parents in their journey to raise healthy, joyful children. Jessica also strives to provide content that helps parents know they are not alone in the often challenging road called parenthood. Jessica's experience also includes helping women and children who have been marginalized obtain resources they need to healthy and supported in their community. To learn more about Jessica's counseling practice go to www.comeasyouarecounseling.net.

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