Right off the bat I want to say, this bucket is not about my bucket list. No, this is about filling my bucket. It started when our school principal chose a book entitled Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud. The premise of the book was that a kid could be happy or happier by showing kindness, respect, and helpfulness to others. My take away was you have to be present in the moment to take advantage of an opportunity to fill the bucket.
If filling someone’s bucket ultimately results in your bucket being filled there has to be some intentionality to living in the now. That’s one of the main differences between having a bucket list and filling a bucket. A bucket list implies that you will be or do something in the near future, or at least before you die – a kind of delayed gratification based on some day. Bucket filling is about the present. It is the result of living in the moment.
In my writing I often focus on the history and relationships of past generations (especially in poetry) while considering the effects and investments it makes on the generations of the future. Yet, I must also walk in the present. If I fail to be present in the now, then I may miss the happiness (I prefer the term joy) of the relationships I have right now. In other words, the past provides lessons while the future provides hope, and the present provides an opportunity to live life to the fullest. Therefore, in order to keep my bucket filled and fill the bucket of others, I must be intentionally present in the moment.
You may be thinking what does that look like?I Here are a few examples from my life. When I wake up in the morning I sit on the side of my bed, take in a deep breath, and stretch and twist my limbs and torso just to express gratefulness for life, strength, and a sound mind. When I step outside, I take the time to look up at the sky and listen to the morning sounds: my wind chimes, birds, traffic, cicadas. I tune my favorite radio stations so that I can sing along, laugh, and listen, but mainly remain calm and unrushed in traffic. As I drive through my subdivision, I do so watchfully and cautiously in order to spot the wildlife such as deer, rabbits, owls and opossums. (There is also the occasional pet. I am definitely a nature lover.)
When I meet my co-workers or people in the local coffee shop, I make an intentional effort to look them in the eye, notice their body language, and listen to their words. (I truly hate when people ask how you are without taking the time to listen to your response. Sometimes I’ll say something ridiculous just to catch them off guard, like I think tongue is growing longer!) When I arrive home again, I engage in real conversations with my family. I really want to know about their day and their experiences.
Being present in the moment means you engage all of your senses, as well as your intellect and spirit. Ask yourself what regrets will I have if I lost my sight (or any other sense) today. If you would wish to see your love one’s face or a sunset or a flower, the question is why aren’t you looking at them today – when opportunity presents itself.
There’s the DJ on the radio, Willie Moore Jr., he says, “Today is a gift that’s why it’s called the present” . That may sound a little glib but it’s true. We shouldn’t wait to fill our buckets with once in a lifetime adventures; we should fill our buckets with the wonders of life’s daily experiences and relationships. Really smell the roses, really savor the flavor, truly engage and commune, actually feel and reflect, actively listen and see. Fill Your Bucket and at the same time fill the bucket of others with the joy of being present. You deserve it and those around you deserve it. It’s hard to live with regret when you actively living each day intentionally.
What will you do to be fully engaged in your environment? How can you utilize your five senses to observe and experience life around you? What will it take to enhance the communion of your relationships? What activities can you use to refresh and revile your spirit? How can you fill a bucket and find daily happiness? Please share your thoughts and share this book with a child you love.