This morning a colleague of mine, Kitty Wolfsong, and I were having a conversation about hearing and receiving messages. I shared with her a story that I had heard Louse Hay tell about how different people can tell the same story, and you will hear it differently from each person depending on how they tell it. She shared with me her story about the bucket theory. She shared, “we each put our drops in the bucket, and who knows what will be the drop that causes the bucket to overflow (with love).” Her story reminded me a fable another colleague of mine, Jack Stephens, told in his book Soul Self: Hot to tame your mind, uncover your blueprint, and live your soul purpose. So this week, I would like to share this fable as it is all about becoming aware of how we internalize other people’s beliefs and agree to them and how the process of releasing them begins with a single step in a different direction and some courage.
At the base of a beautiful, lofty mountain peak, in a hidden little valley dwelled a bustling village. In this village, the people passed their days in an unusual pastime. Each person carried a bucket in his or her hand at all times and kept a pocket or a little purse full of pebbles. Every day, the villagers went to market, their place of work, or to visit with their neighbors. When they told an idea or a belief, right or wrong, they would take a pebble out of their purse of pocket, and drop into the bucket of the person to whom they were speaking.
The people in this village did not actually know much about the world. They kept within the boundaries of their village, and no outside visitors knew to find them. still, the villages felt sure of what the world wa like, the nature of God and the Universe, who made the best bread in the village, etc. of course, every villager had a different opinion about these things, but each one felt convinced that he or she was right. Now having a bucket full of pebbles was a sign of greatness and knowledge, so no one ever emptied his or her bucket. As the days, months, and years passed some buckets got to be extra heavy.
One day, a young girl felt inspired to leave the village, to go see what she could see from the top of the nearby mountain peak. No one had ever been there before because people were busy passing pebbles. Some had tried, but their buckets were so heavy that they would grow tired and quit, or they were afraid that their heats would give out. In time, nobody bothered trying anymore. Unlike the others, this girl decided she would make it to the top of the mountain.
She set out early that morning to get a fresh start. Though she was young, and her bucket was only partly full, it was still quite heavy, and she had to walk slowly. As the sun rose, her family and neighbors discovered that she had left, and they could faintly see her as a small spot moving up the side of the mountain. They filled one another’s buckets with opinions and judgments about her, and had to replenish their pockets and purses just to get through the gossip before lunchtime!
Meanwhile, the girl had climbed into the heat of the day, her heavy bucket dragging along beside her. Under a shade tree, near a cool brook, she though, “my journey will be easier if I take some of these pebbles out of my bucket.” This proved difficult because each pebble represented an idea or belief that she had accepted. Some of them she doubted were true, but she felt soothed by them, so she kept them. She kept nearly all of them, but she did find three ideas she was willing to get go of and so she removed three pebbles.
She continued her climb and discovered that as she gained height up the mountain she could see that some of her ideas and beliefs simply were not true! Hers was not the only valley in the world, for example. She could see two others! She discovered a flower growing that someone had told her was extinct! She did have the heart to climb – it had not quit and neither had she! With each new insight, she took out more pebbles.
The climb grew steeper and rockier, but she held firm in her determination to make it to the top. As she climbed, her bucket banged noisily against the rocks. It had been heavy in the beginning, but it was getting amazingly lighter as she went on alone. Onward she hiked into the cloud cover.
Sometime in the late afternoon, as she rested on the crest of a great boulder, she noticed something she could not remember seeing before. Her bucket was empty! Looking into the bucket, she saw the holes that the jagged rocks made when she had banged her bucket against them during the climb. Her pebbles had all spilled out!
The girl had a moment of regret. “How will I remember my ideas and beliefs now?” she cried. Through her tears, she saw the clouds parting below her. As she looked around, she realized that she was sitting on top of the mountain! She had a view of the world as it truly was. It was spectacular! Her village in the valley lay below her, and beyond it, she could see even higher mountains with valleys between. Perhaps there were even more villages.
She then knew in her that that nothing that had been put in her bucket was real. The truths she had discovered on her own – from her own effort – had always been there! She only needed to get a high enough perspective.
As her heart delighted in the pleasure of her knowing, she set down the bucket forever and began her journey home to share what she had just attained.
So starting today, may we empty our buckets of that which is not our truth and allow it to be filled with drops of love.