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What Are the Bubbles Telling Me?

June 8, 2020

This post was originally published in my newsletter, The Question.


I stand by the stove and stir the soup.

Aromas of ginger, onion, garlic, and coriander rise up and meet my nose.

As the heat increases, small bubbles emerge at the soup’s surface. The bubbles soon become larger in size and greater in number.

I become mesmerized by these bubbles.

What are the bubbles telling me?


These bubbles, these bursts of soupy energy, are not separate from the ingredients.

Without the ingredients, there are no bubbles.

But the bubbles are not the ingredients, either.

They are a response to heat. They are a response to movement.

The bubbles are a coming forth of potential, an expression of what lies beneath.

What bubbles and expressions in life am I not letting out?


The bubbles are not the ingredients.

But the bubbles are not the heat, either. And yet without heat there are no bubbles.

Bubbles are what heat looks like, from the outside.

They are the outside of what’s on the inside.

What is on the inside of the bubbles I see in life?


A heated soup without bubbles would eventually explode, in one giant exploding bubble.

So the small bubbles make sense. They are the most appropriate solution to the prevailing conditions of heat.

If there is heat, the bubbles must happen. They are inevitable. The only question is their timing, size, and quantity.

The bubbles resolve the increase in movement. They are a solution to the heat.

What are the bubbles in my life solving? What are they a solution to?


When bubbles emerge in the soup, any direct attempt to remove them will fail. New bubbles will simply emerge somewhere else.

Again, the bubbles are not merely bubbles. The bubbles are a solution to heat.

So, if we want to change or remove the bubbles, we must look at where they are coming from.

What bubbles in life am I attempting to get rid of in vain?


When the soup is ready, we turn down the heat.

A completed soup does not require heat anymore.

The heat is there for a reason: to complete the soup.

A completed soup means there is no need for heat – only then will the bubbles will stop.

We must complete the soup for the bubbles to cease.

Where I see bubbles in life, what is it that is not completed?


Bubbles easily capture our attention. But it’s not really about the bubbles.

It’s about where the bubbles point us. The bubbles are signposts, informing us that a soup is still on the hot stove, and is therefore not complete yet.

As uncomfortable as our bubbles in life may be, they are actually compassionate calling cards, inviting us to become more intimate with the areas of life that are waiting to be completed.

The bubbles are life’s way of saying: “Hey! Look at me! I am trying to tell you that something is incomplete! Look at where I’m pointing you! I am begging to be completed!”

We all have individual soups that are bubbling. And we have collective, societal soups bubbling, too.

Some of our collective soups have been bubbling for hundreds, if not thousands of years. But instead of confronting the uncomfortable task of completing these lingering soups, we still find ourselves trying to squash the bubbles that we see.

If we want to, we can continue to try squashing bubbles like an eternal game of Whac-A-Mole.

But if we’d like different outcomes, we are invited to make a different choice. We can finally accept the invitation to follow the bubbles — to complete what is incomplete, thereby opening up new futures, and new soups that we put on the stove.

Only when the incomplete has been completed will new soups become possible.

Where are the bubbles pointing me?

What if I dared to complete what is incomplete?


I return to the soup.

The flavors, textures, looks, tastes, and smells all tell me that the soup is now complete.

I turn off the heat, and take the soup off the stove.

I take a spoonful, blow on it carefully, and allow myself to taste the depth and the fullness of the completed soup.

The soup is now in me. It is now part of me, completely. Bubbles and all.

The bubbles have led me to integration of what was once incomplete. The soup is now me, completely.

And now, I can move on — to future soups, and future possibilities.

What are the bubbles telling me?


This post was originally published in my newsletter, The Question.

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