It’s quite simple really. If we pour from a vessel it will eventually empty. There will be nothing left to give. In order to give more, we must refill the vessel. Despite knowing this simple truth, it amazes me how often I find myself trying to pour from an empty vessel. And taking a look around, I’m not the only one.
We are creative vessels. Creating is an act of pouring out. The more we create. The more we must learn to also fill up. In a way, this is a confession of sorts for me. I recognize this truth in the moment because I have been struggling to pour out of a nearly empty vessel. It has reminded me of another truth. The level in this vessel will impact the quality of the work. A full life is a profound creative resource. Knowing this, what do I do about it? Learn to fill the tank.
Today offered an opportunity to visit one kind of filling station. I escaped the dim room and the television to sit outside in the strong breeze of an oncoming storm. When you walk outside and weariness immediately lifts it is a good sign that you’re in the right place! The word I might use for this kind of filling is rest – physical, emotional, and spiritual. We find it in various places. It may come in sleep, in food, in exercise, in solitude, in the company of friends, in prayer, in meditation, or in many other ways. It’s important we don’t neglect these things even when they may seem imprudent. However, I am discovering another type of filling as well. It is an investment that may change the vessel itself.
We cannot neglect living. The very act of engaging life and other people is an act of filling even as it is often one of pouring out also. It fills up our tank of experiences. Great creations come from a full life, even when the wine that fills the cup is the bitter draught of suffering. Living puts us in step with the Voice of the universe, the Creator, who is speaking creation every second of every day. I chide myself that I worry about running out of material. I must take great care that I do not come to rely solely on what I have stored in my vessel. Otherwise, I will eventually run out no matter how large my tank has become.
So, let this be a reminder to us that we must take time to fill our vessels even as our work empties them. Note that this goes beyond artistic creation to any area where we are giving of ourselves.
That said, how are you filling your vessel? Where do you find both rest and life?