The Broken Mug

– Posted in: My Journey

I’ve been a fan of Martha Beck’s ever since 2002 when a South African girlfriend recommended Finding Your Own North Star. I instantly fell in love with her wisdom and was charmed by her whacky sense of humor that’s always had me laughing out loud.

Though I’d read all her books since North Star, it took me till early 2010 to realize that given my lifelong fondness for having people come to me to talk about the hard stuff in their lives, it just might be time to sign up for Life Coach Training and follow my own North Star. What can I say, I’ve been a slow starter in everything – from learning to read, to acquiring gray hair, so no surprise that I needed to be pushing sixty to reach this conclusion!

The weekly training sessions, my lovely classmates, and the teachers all managed to exceed my very high expectations for the course and I especially enjoyed Martha’s video recordings where she goes through her coaching concepts: teaching, enlightening, and amusing. Somewhere around the third or fourth video, a sign from the Universe showed up.

On the countertop behind Martha, was a beautiful Tiffany coffee mug. My mug!  Martha has the same mug I do, and I’ve never seen it anywhere else!

I poured so much meaning into that mug:  it was a sign that I was destined to be a part of Martha’s wisdom and brilliance;  a sign that I was travelling the right path;  a sign that powers beyond my control were smiling on my chosen career change.  For me, that mug was every much as significant as the burning bush in the desert must have been for Moses.

Needless to say, I’ve been drinking my morning coffee out of that mug every day since it beamed it’s celestial message to me from Martha’s counter top.

And then, the unthinkable happened.

Monday, October 1, 2012
My roommate accidentally tapped my mug against the kitchen counter edge and pieces of my magical totem lay shattered all over the kitchen floor.

I was distraught. How could something that meant so much to me be broken? Gone!

I went searching for a replacement on the Internet, but all I could find was a picture – not a single one for sale anywhere.

My certified coach self is not proud to admit that it took me several hours of grieving and self-coaching to get over that tragedy.

Monday, September 24, 2012
Like the movies so often do, let’s go back to Monday morning a week before the breakage.

As is my habit, I was out on the balcony enjoying my early morning journal session: looking at parts of my life where I still don’t have my act together and trying to figure out why. After all, I’ve had so many wonderful mentors and teachers how come I’m still so screwed up?

That’s when it hit me.

What if all my answers are inside?
What if it’s time to stop looking outside for guidance and answers and instead, to find them inside?
What if it’s time to connect with my inner guru?

This is the next part of my journey, allowing my teachers and mentors to step down from the pedestals I’ve had them on, and to take the parts of their wisdom that work for me, and add my own wisdom to create a mix that is perfect for me. Stop looking outside for approval and guidance. Go inside!

Monday, October 15, 2012
Fast-forward three weeks, past the breakage, to another Monday.

The scene is once again early morning journaling outside on the balcony, warming my hands on my second-best, nothing-to-do-with-Martha, Tiffany mug of coffee.

Another revelation.

The reason my Martha mug broke, was because my inner guru wanted me to know that I was on the right track, She knew that I needed a concrete sign that it was time to allow Martha to step down from her pedestal to make space for my own answers.

My inner guru is alive and well and she’s finding unexpected ways to communicate with me! She heard the voice of my inner critic telling me “you’re making this up, it will be just another one of those things you imagined could work, who the hell do you think you are to be claiming inner wisdom?”

My inner guru saw to it that my Martha mug got smashed so I could eventually understand that metaphor and appreciate that yes! I do have an inner guru, she speaks to me in many different ways and sometimes her voice speaks through a broken mug.

Has anything been breaking in your life lately? And have you wondered whether that broken thing might be a metaphor for you, perhaps a message from your inner guru?

11 comments… add one
Amy October 30, 2012, 12:04 pm

Wow! So much wisdom in this piece. It’s a good thing you took Martha off the pedestal. You’ve got a lot of your own insight to offer. What a powerful confirmation from the Uni.

Maryna Smuts October 30, 2012, 12:48 pm

Thanks, Amy! Watching you kick your approval seeking addiction to the curb was part of my inspiration! 🙂

Susan October 30, 2012, 2:35 pm

This post really hit home for me. I know we’ve talked about “our own guru” but this really says it all: yes, it’s time for you to design your own cup!!!

Maryna Smuts October 30, 2012, 2:49 pm

Thanks, Susan! Love watching you design your own cup too! 🙂

Allison October 31, 2012, 11:46 pm

This is beautiful, Maryna! Thank you for sharing! What’s broken in your life is such a good question. I completely understand your attachment to that mug, but — as MB quoted in a recent blog post — it was made for your pleasure, not your suffering. The real MB is your bridge, not your destination, right?

Maryna Smuts November 1, 2012, 1:37 pm

Thanks, Allison! Yes, I remember that comment of Martha’s about objects we love being for our pleasure and not for our suffering and I like your image of MB being a bridge and not a destination. 🙂

Jodi November 2, 2012, 5:23 pm

I personally adore your inner guru Maryna! She is brilliant and beautiful! I love the metaphor and meaning you were able to find and write about so eloquently.
xo Jodi

Maryna Smuts November 2, 2012, 8:33 pm

You’re a Sweetheart, Jodi! Thank You! And of course, you do appreciate that you’re admiring your own qualities that I’m mirroring back to you. 🙂


rebecca @ altared spaces November 3, 2012, 4:54 am

Lovely Maryna! You found the beauty. You made something more whole! I think that’s the point of the thing. I can’t tell you how much I love this. It speaks to me so much because finding the beauty in broken pieces is how I see so much of my life. Here are some of my thoughts on a very similar topic:

rebecca @ altared spaces November 3, 2012, 4:57 am

And, can I also say, love your celebration of slow….reading and gray hair. That helped me tremendously.

Maryna Smuts November 3, 2012, 9:19 am

I love your broken goblet post, Rebecca! And you’re so right – looking at these broken things from a different perspective brings so many wonderful messages.

And yes, I’ve been a slow starter in so many areas of my life and am appreciating that I love that about myself. 😉

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