I am sure we’ve all read a book that we can’t put down. I love all kinds of books, but lately I am being drawn to the heart-felt books, on how you can live a more soulful life, and how you can be a better version of yourself, whilst still loving who you are in this moment. And that’s important. You can / must love and accept yourself as you are, right now, whilst still wanting to change.
There’s been a number of books that I have read over the years, that have changed my life. Two in particular come to mind; Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, because I identified with how she described the feelings of depression and anxiety, it’s a story of hope, love and finding yourself. And then there’s Pema Chodron – When Things Fall Apart (all of her books have touched my soul). I have read these books a few times, and each time I feel something more and something new, it’s as though I am uncovering layers of my being.
This weekend I was enthralled yet again by a book by Jonathan Fields, How To Live a Good Life. I highly recommend getting your hands on this book, but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you, what it’s about and what it means to me, with the hope that you might get something out of it. It’s not so much of a self-help book but more of a soul-help book. I think there’s a difference, because without connection to your spirit, heart, soul, whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty damn hard to be connected to others, or to yourself. (by the way, I am creating a blog at the moment about soul connection and will post it soon).
Filling our buckets
So, the premise is, that he lives his life based on how full his 3 buckets are (more on this later). I am sure you have heard the expression, filling up your cup before you can give to others. Well, this is much the same, except he separates different areas (or buckets) in our lives that need to be filled, in order to expand and give to those around us. It really hit a chord with me, as I have been feeling pulled in many directions lately, and reading this book couldn’t have come at a better time. I am a big believer that things i.e. people, events, books etc are sent to us at the perfect moment, and so I have taken this book as a proverbial slap to get my shit together. And I mean that in the kindest of ways. It reminded me, that I have complete control over my life. And to stop allowing others or circumstances to dictate, how my life or journey unfolds. Furthermore, these steps are actionable, practical, bite-sized ways to get you feeling your best.
The 3 buckets are:
The Vitality Bucket
This includes things like, your health, energy levels, exercise, sleep, being free from pain, ability to deal with stress, gratitude, living a life of meaning, feeling optimistic about your life or the future, feeling well.
When I checked in with myself, I definitely felt that my Vitality bucket was low. I am exhausted, a lot, I feel quite irritable and my tolerance for inconveniences is low. I am having to apologise to my loved ones a bit more lately, because I am a bit snappy. And I feel extra sensitive and emotional. Added to that, I am not exercising much, because my energy levels are not what I would like them to be.
I tend to check in with myself on a regular basis, so intuitively, I know, something’s up. I am including this important step in the blog I mentioned earlier.
The Connection Bucket
This bucket is about nourishing relationships. How are your relationships at the moment, do you feel loved and supported, are you being loving and supportive, are you feeling connected with people, with a community? Do you feel like you belong?
Now, for me, I was making much more of an effort earlier this year, connecting with my friends, and being a bit more social, on a more one-on-one, intimate level. I tend to shy away from big gatherings because I am easily drained by crowds (another topic for a future post). And it occurred to me that, I am starting to not want to do these things, which is another sign that my Vitality Bucket needs filling.
The Contribution Bucket
This is about how you contribute to the world. Are your actions aligned with your values? Are you regularly doing things that make your heart sing? Are you being of service to others?
I read this and thought, hell no, seriously, I am WAY too tired to bring my gifts to the world.
All these buckets are interconnected. The wake up call for me was, unless, I consciously start to fill up my Vitality Bucket, there’s no way in hell I am going to fill the other 2. Because my philosophy is, it starts with you. Full stop. If you are running on empty, forget giving to anyone / anything else.
I have been there. Often. And I drove myself into the ground. I won’t do that again. There is too much counting on me. And, that my friends, is enough of a warning.
So what now?
Fields, offers 2 options, to fill up your buckets, you can either, go through each bucket’s chapter and take immediate action or take on a 30 day challenge. The latter, for when your buckets are really low. I picked the 30 day challenge as it’s small, actionable, and manageable steps. And I think this is key, if a challenge is too, um, challenging, then you might be setting yourself up to fail. He also recommends, each morning and evening, check where you are at with your buckets and do any of them need attention.
On Monday, I got straight into filling up my Vitality Bucket, by doing a 5 minute mindfulness meditation (which is included in the book by way of reference to a link) and finally, setting an intention for the day. I must admit, my morning routine, had fallen by the way side, you know, because Life.
I have only been doing it for a week though just making that tiny change has meant, my days are feeling a lot less chaotic, I am more present and more focused and I am certainly feeling a bit more of a spark. I haven’t done anything else on the other buckets yet, because I want my Vitality Bucket to be a bit more filled.
So far, I feel optimistic that I can get my buckets filled up so that I can show up for myself, which in turn means, I can show up for my family and friends and also make a contribution to the world. You see, it is all connected. Are your buckets full or dry?