The Cup of Life

cup of lifeEarly in my twenties I designed a tattoo to be placed onto the soft spot of skin near my ankle. The tattoo artist placed a thimble-sized chalice, made of curving blue lines that overflowed with abundance.  I named it “The Cup of Life”. It was to be a pictogram of who I was–a life-force so strong it bubbled over the top.

Over time, the meaning of the tattoo morphed to fit my changing personality. During my dating years, I joked with suitors that my tattoo was proof that I was the Grail; a treasure worth pursuing.

During my years as a successful mixologist, the tattoo was evidence of my commitment to the fine art of creating and enjoying cocktails. Later when I began studying wine–the history, varietals, characteristics, regions, flavor profiles, and wine makers–I thought the tattoo proved my enthusiasm for wine.

Then, three years ago, I gave up drinking all together.

Once I took away the daily act of wine tasting and removed boozy cocktail making from my skill-set, my tattoo trademark seemed inaccurate. During the summer months I tucked my ankle behind my leg to hide my insignia. Who I was and what I stood for was uncertain. I was undergoing an overhaul.

A work in progress

This year, David Anderson, a minister and writer (and the father of my friend Maggy of Three Many Cooks and The Big Potluck), wrote an essay on happiness that helped me to recognize the meaning of my impermanent, permanent symbol.

“Keep your vessel small,” he wrote, so that your cup of life is “easily filled to overflowing.”  The fastest way to happiness, he said, is to keep your life and your expectations right-sized.

2013 was the year I fell in love with my tattoo again. I can see that this little symbol I chose for myself is ideal. I am but a simple cup. All that fills and overflows from me comes from a source much greater than myself.

I have You to thank for all that has happened this year. Thank you for the laughter, support, joy, encouragement, discoveries, delicious meals, challenging questions, difficult situations, happy accidents, new friendships, lost friends and family, beauty, creativity, healing, abundance, love, and patience.

Thank you for a wonderful year. Thank you for helping me find my way back to the real me.

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Brooke Burton nominated for best food writing

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Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant consultant and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.

2 Comments

  1. This is so beautiful, Brooke. I’m so glad the tattoo has new, and powerful, meaning to you again. And such a wonderful meaning, too.

    Happy 2014!

  2. That’s a nice and cute little tattoo you got there.
    I assumed it symbolizes everything you have gone through,right? Hmm.. Nevermind..Just my wild guess.

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