Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Today's MOMENT OF ZEN 10/2/12

Words and photo by F LoBuono

A friend recently sent me an inspirational video via Facebook called Life is Like a Cup of Coffee. It was a simple message but, like many of the most inspirational things, at the same time, it was also profound. Perhaps you have seen it. It is the story of a group of former classmates who decide to visit an old professor of theirs to catch-up and reminisce. Their conversation covered a number of topics until they decided to talk about the state of their lives. The professor listened as one student after a another complained about what their lives had become: life is unfair, it's too challenging, it has not matched our dreams. The professor decided it was time to take a break and offered to make coffee. The students eagerly accepted. When the professor returned, he held a tray with more than enough cups of coffee to go around, using virtually every cup that he had. This meant that some of the coffee was served in fine china while some came in Styrofoam cups. Of course, the students eagerly grabbed the coffee in the best cups while leaving that served in less impressive vessels behind. The professor rightly saw it as a teaching moment. He told the students that herein lies their problem. They are unhappy because they approach life in the same way that they approached their coffee. They were more taken with the vessel rather than the contents of the vessel. As with people and life, it's what's within that matters most.

I would like to add my own thoughts on the subject (of course!). Most of my friends think that I drink a lot of coffee. At work, I am very often seen with a cup in hand. This leads people to believe that I'm downing cup after cup, all day long. Well, they're wrong - it's the SAME cup of coffee, reheated time after time!! Sometimes, I may add a sip or two, but, generally, it's the same coffee that I started the day with. Why, you may ask? There are plenty of coffee machines at work, why not make myself a fresh cup? In fact, many people, including my wife, think it's actually kind of gross LOL! I mean, by the end of day, it really does look like a cup of mud. So, again, why do it? Well, I do it because I hate to waste ANYTHING. I made the coffee to drink it - all of it. And it doesn't matter if I drink it on the spot or 5 hours later. I apply the same philosophy to my food, too. I won't leave the table until my plate is clean. I eat ALL of my food - even if I'm full and even it is not very tasty. Cat chastises me to be more selective, saying you don't HAVE to eat it if you don't like it, and, if you're full, you don't HAVE to eat the rest. But it is food. It is precious. It is not to be wasted. I was raised that way and still live that way.

And that philosophy serves me well in all things. I NEVER throw away anything of ANY value, no matter how small that "value" may be. I keep plants that have only one leaf left. I have a pair of motorcycle boots that are so worn out that a friend can only laugh when he sees me wearing them. I have pants that are too short because they've shrunk but I wear them because the material is still good. I've treated tropical fish that should have been "flushed" long before they actually died. I drive my cars for hundreds of thousands of miles. Why? Because we should use things for ALL they are worth.  ALL. We live in a disposable society where, if things stop living up to our expectations, they are simply tossed away. And I'm not talking about planned obsolescence either. We constantly toss aside things that may not be perfect but still work perfectly well enough! And, most importantly, we do this with people, too. We quit on people because they are not perfect. We should, instead, look for what people contribute rather than at what they may lack. In a sense, we should use them for the value they still truly have. ALL of it - every drop.

Speaking personally, at the end of my life, I want to be used up, spent. I will want to have given so much of myself that there is nothing left TO give. I don't want to be thrown away, I want to be used - right to the very end - the way that I use things - until they are used up - COMPLETELY - like a good cup of coffee. :)

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