Have you heard the term ‘bucket’ used to describe the gifts you share with others? I really like the analogy. You dip your bucket into a well of experience, wisdom and talent. Then, you pour the contents into the buckets of others, to help them or to show them love, compassion or whatever it is they might need or seek. In turn, they pour some of what you’ve given them into the buckets of others.
Who fills your bucket? Sometimes, it is intentional. We solicit an individual to fill our bucket, whether knowingly or by “coincidence.” I believe that it most often occurs when we’re not looking. Or at least, when we’re not actively aware. But, you need to be open to it – Never keep the lid securely shut. Think about it. We all know someone like that. For whatever reason, they are not giving of themselves. The inability to goes hand-in-hand and they are often not capable of, or willing to, receive what others have to offer. Their bucket is empty.
Where do you go to fill your bucket? Maybe it’s a special place that has personal meaning that allows you to clear your mind and concentrate on what’s important. Perhaps it’s a friend – or group of friends – with whom you share common understanding. I am blessed to have multiple wells of goodness available to me: Church family for spiritual endowments, genuine friendships for emotional support, musicians for artistic offerings, writer’s groups for creative contributions… The list goes on.
Still, there are times when I need something I can only find in solitude. You might say that I dip my bucket into my own well to find what I need. I’m doing some of that this week. After a busy week of shopping, cooking and serving others, I was feeling pretty low on reserves. My bucket was feeling dangerously hollow. I’m spending some time alone, to write and make music. Yesterday, I managed to spend time in nature, despite the rain. Later this week, I’ll be spending a couple of days at an old inn with a close friend. It’s just what I need to replenish my bucket.
As we move thru the second half of our lives, this concept becomes both obvious and imperative. If we are involved in a relationship that does not include some refilling of our buckets, it’s okay to walk away. It can be a personal relationship or a professional one. If you’re constantly pouring your gifts into their bucket, yours will eventually be empty.
We receive donations to our buckets in so many ways. It can be as simple as being paid a compliment or an expression of appreciation. Or, having someone pitch in to help, unsolicited, because of a sincere desire to take part.
Join the bucket brigade: Give what you have, take what you need. If we always keep our buckets open, we will find the balance.