Open Your Hand, Empty Your Cup

Open Your Hand:

In the movie Star Wars, Princess Leia is captured by the Empire in hopes of forcing her to reveal the location of the secret rebel base. In response to Governor Tarkin’s bravado she replies, “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

Only an open hand can catch what is thrown at it. A closed fist not so much. But how often are we tight-fisted in our lives in a desperate attempt at control? We act as though if we just keep enough pressure on the seemingly chaotic aspects of our lives, then everything will work out like we want. We falsely believe that we can shape, mold, and control our universe.

We can’t. At least not all the time.

And maintaining that constant grip is exhausting. And stuff slips through our fingers. Sometimes that stuff is our sanity and our peace of mind.

What if instead, we relaxed our grip? What if we uncurled those metaphorical fingers so that we were in a position of readiness to catch whatever gifts or opportunities the universe was willing to toss our way? Maybe by giving up some control we invite new opportunities into our lives.

Empty Your Cup:

The legendary martial artist Bruce Lee would advise his students to “empty your cup.” A full cup is not capable of receiving any new or additional liquid. It just spills over the edge and is wasted. In essence, he was asking them to throw out all preconceptions, all assumptions, all previous training. To approach their training with him as complete neophytes. Total newbies.

His pupils were the cup. He was the pitcher. They had to empty theirs cups so he could pour in all his knowledge, wisdom, and expertise.

Both of these concepts center around emptiness and openness. When we willingly give up trying to know everything in advance, or when we become comfortable with not knowing and perhaps even looking foolish, at least for a little while, then we open ourselves up to greater opportunities for growth.

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