What fills your bucket?

September 22, 2023

Sometimes, all too infrequently, life feels full and rewarding. Things are clicking. You’re in the flow. People are lovely. Hope saturates. Your well-being bucket is full.

I repeat…that is all too infrequent. A full bucket is extremely rare.

Life has a maddening way of kicking holes in our buckets. Shoot, WE have a way of kicking holes in our OWN buckets. Life drains away and we are left sucking only fumes of joy.

Two things are necessary if we wish to live with full buckets, glad hearts and satisfied minds. One, we need to patch the holes. Stop the leaks. Identify the sabotage. The journey to repairing our leaky buckets is not easy. Some combination of humility, honesty, counsel, determination and faith will be essential to stop the drain. Then, we can refill the bucket and regain the well-being. It’s this refilling I’d like you to think about.

What fills your bucket? To get you thinking about that question, I’m going to share some reflections on my own bucket. Here are the things, I have come to realize, that fill me up:

Creation. I must be making something. It gives me great joy to cook a meal for my family and friends. It also jazzes me to sing and be a part of a musical production. So, I’m feeling pretty good right now preparing to be a part of Grace Church’s production of the Music Man. Side note…it is really hard to sing, dance and learn my lines as Ewart Dunlop, but it’s a blast!

Wonder. I need to experience awe. I have to be taken aback and even carried away from time to time. I get this in my faith journey as I consider God and his love. In smaller but no less poignant ways, I experience wonder at a hummingbird in our front yard and in a Tchaikovsky piano concerto. I need to feel tears of amazement.

Anticipation. I want to be looking forward to something. It might be as common as a dinner with friends or a day with my grandkids or as rare as a trip of a lifetime to England. I love the feeling of expectancy.

Love. I long to have my heart swell with affection. Facing my wife over dinner while having a deep, revealing conversation, holding my littlest granddaughter in my arms as she buries her face in my shoulder, or marveling at a picture of my oldest granddaughter on her visit to West Point as she is finalizing her future plans…all these firehose-fill my bucket.

Fascination. I’ve got to be learning something new. I go down so many YouTube rabbit holes, mesmerized as I learn about cocktails, watch repair, Japanese baking techniques and vintage toy restoration. I read books to learn but mostly to be captivated with a new thing!

Wellness. I need to walk…outside. Though not a big exerciser, I do enjoy and need a brisk walk as often as I can. I love the feeling of refreshment of my body in motion.

Adventure. This is a recent revelation. Something I have too little of but know I want. My daughter called it out in me in a birthday wish she offered. “Dad, you need adventure!” It surprised and intrigued me. Stay tuned. I’m considering a long walk/pilgrimage in 2025 as I celebrate turning 70.

Calling. I need to contribute to human beings and the world in a way that matters. My destiny is clear. I must guide people in their discovery of purpose. I must also mentor senior leaders as they seek to influence their own organizations. This is what I have been created to do. When my calling plays out in a transformed life, my bucket gets filled again.

That’s me. What about you? What fills your bucket? I’ve love to know! And how can I help you get there? For nearly 50 years now I’ve guided individuals in their journey to fulfillment and joy and I’m still at it!

Perhaps you need an overall well-being plan. I can get you there! Or maybe you need some deep work on your calling. My Calling Quilt experience is just the thing to set you in motion toward your destiny. Or perhaps you are a senior leader of an organization needing mentoring on the art of leading in the 21st century. Again, I can help.

If you’re interested in any of these things contact me with my contact page of my website.

In the meantime, I wish you full buckets of joy, hope and satisfaction!


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