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Living A Venti Life

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to share the platform with 6 strong, complex, gracious, warrior women as we each reflected upon the notion of capacity in the spaces and places we each inhabit.

SheLoves Magazine hosted the event on a rainy November Monday evening in Surrey, BC.  And it was, to say the least, deep and wide.

The snippets of stories we each choose to lay bare feels like just the beginning. A monumental, untameable, tidal wave beginning, but a beginning nonetheless. For they struck deep chords throughout the hearts and souls of the women in attendance...awakening and unleashing a rumbling of something larger, something needing to be reclaimed.

It certainly has in mine.

And where this tidal wave will take us, I do not yet know. But I have grabbed my surf board, snapped on my one-piece swimsuit and am wading into the deep water myself.

Here is my talk from Paused & Present: Christmas, Curry & Capacity entitled Living a Venti Life.

PS -- You might want to grab a coffee before sitting down to read this (it adds to the experience!)

Living a Venti Life

I have always been drawn to the rich, dark, coffee, sweet, slightly burnt, topped with gorgeous crema swirling on the surface. Black, extra hot with an extra shot. Espressos that have been ground from oily beans hand picked from cocoa fields in places like Sumatra and Kenya.

It started when I was 20 and spent a summer in Europe with my backpack and my best friend and we grabbed espressos in porcelain demi-tasse cups and a freshly baked croissants each and every morning.

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The ritual of inhaling and downing steaming cups of coffee became the starting point of each day’s new discoveries about the world we were exploring.

As a young woman, the hand of God reached into my middle class life and invited me into a full bodied adventure. One that paralleled my love for coffee.

And as I embraced my burgeoning talents in leadership, communication, teaching, nurturing deep joy and intellectual curiosity that were longing to spill out of me and into the world, that porcelain demi-tasse was no longer sufficient. A larger cup was now needed to support the growing passions I was cultivating and the talents I was entrusted with. 

And my Creator, well they had much more for me. 

And throughout university and work in interesting and eclectic places, newer, larger cups were being uniquely crafted and handed to me to contain the hot mess I was becoming…strategic, fiercely engaging, smart, funny, argumentative, bold, precise, bent towards justice and pushing hard against the stained glass ceilings that stood before me.

Tall, Grande, Venti.

And I holding this magnificent Venti cup, one that is crafted to hold the maximum amount of life, but the problem is others are handing me their tall and grande cups of beige lukewarm liquid and expecting me to be satisfied with their limiting offerings.

And lots of times I would take them and pour them into my cup, saying, “It will be my turn later,” “I can be in charge when my time has come,” or “this will prepare me for something bigger when they are willing to allow me to fill my cup up”.

But I was constantly dehydrated. Parched. Never quite satisfied.

Because I eventually realized I was always meant to live a Venti life.

And it was when I stopped accepting their limitations of me, when I ground my own beans and boiled my own water and took the time to craft the perfect blend of a dark, rich, creamy life that filled my Venti cup to the rim, that I was deeply satisfied.

Not only was I satisfied, but I was able to offer my full bodied self to the work my Creator was calling me into. Rich, meaningful, often complex but oh so satisfying.

Here’s the thing. Not everyone has a Venti cup. It may not be the cup for you. And please hear me on this. There is no judgment attached to the cup. There is no pinnacle of accomplishment or brass ring of favour around the larger cup. Don’t aspire for the venti if it’s not meant for you. Bigger is not always better. Please hear me on this.

It’s what’s in the cup that satisfies. And it’s meant to be bold and satisfying, hot and steamy, foamy, robust. And it is meant for you, and you alone.

You see, Jesus also had a cup.

In Mark 14, Jesus is preparing for his last days on earth and eating with his very best friends, he breaks bread and offers up a chalice, a cup of wine, and says, this is my body, this is my blood, do this in remembrance of me. And he offered them the one cup then and there, knowing that each of them would soon have their own cups that would need filling in order to be poured out, thereupon unleashing a movement of love and reconciliation beyond anything they could have imagined at the time.

And then just a few hours later, in a garden in the cool of the night, Jesus is on his knees pleading with his heavenly Father about the cup which he has been handed, saying this, Papa, Father, you can—can’t you?—get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want—what do you want?”

You see, even Jesus had a cup prepared for him, fashioned with purpose in mind.  One that he held onto, gazed at, pondered, one that crushed him, yet allowed his father to fill to overflowing in order for it to be poured out, as a ransom for many.

Grab hold of your cup sisters and let it be filled up. Let it spill over!

Hold your tall cups and allow them to be filled with rich and robust purpose. Embrace your grande giftedness. Don’t exchange for something that does not fit you, that does not satisfy you.

And for God’s sake, if you are handed a Venti life, stop apologizing for it.

I am Brenda-Lee May Sasaki.

I am not contained by the limiting, unsatisfying cups handed to me by anyone other than my Creator.

I am held by embracing this hot mess Venti life I am continually being called to pour into so that I can pour out.