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Love Bucket

How much love can you hold inside of you?  How much anger or negativity?  What happens when the bucket that holds the positive and negative overflow?  Listening to a podcast (a recent entertainment discovery while exercising) the lady being interviewed mentioned several ways that people tend to sabotage themselves.  Have you ever lost that 10 pounds you dream of losing only to gain it back?  Worked up the nerve to pursue a dream only to find ways to not like it later?  Enjoyed a spectacular weekend with your spouse and then picked a fight?  I’ve done each of those things.  It’s as though I have two buckets inside of me to hold my emotions, one for the positive and one for the negative.  If the positive gets too full, I have to dump some of those emotions out.  If the negative spills over, it’s like poison in my system leaking out onto those around me.  My entire life has been about managing and containing my emotions. 

What possible good can develop from limiting the amount of love I can give and receive?  How can anyone benefit from trying to contain and manage a bucket of negativity?  I am not saying it will happen overnight, lifetime habits are hard to change, but I am kicking my buckets - no more containment measures allowed.  I want to become amorphous, allowing love to flow through me like an unending, cleansing river and also allow negative emotions to flow through me, acknowledge them and then watch them flow out.  To be clear, I am not endorsing self indulgence like eating a container of ice cream and calling myself happy or lashing out in anger at another no matter how righteous it might feel.  The art of self discipline still applies but in a different way.  Instead of using self discipline to allow only as much happiness as my bucket will hold or to contain negative emotions, I want to use it to control how I address the emotions flowing through me.  Anger is anger; it doesn’t go away if it’s floating around in my negative bucket.  Talk about emotional sewage!  But if I acknowledge it, handle it to the best of my ability (hopefully in respectful way), and then let it flow out there is no containment necessary.  Wow, suddenly I am feeling lighter and freer. 

This concept has hit home for me regarding my grandchildren.  They live with me and take up most of my time and energy.  With two children still at home and four grandchildren, our house can be described as chaotic on most days.  I love them.  I also resent them.  Then I feel guilty for resenting them which must mean that I don’t love them enough.  And what’s wrong with me not to love my grandchildren the way I should?  And so my thoughts flow in a crippling circle.  My two emotional buckets were sitting side by side spilling the good and ugly back and forth all day long.  Without those buckets, I can honestly say (and feel good about it) I love my grandchildren.  I also resent them (another honest emotion).  To work through that I try each day to take time for me by exercise and meditation.  It doesn’t work perfectly every day but when I feel that crippling resentment building, I acknowledge its existence, let it flow through, and then go lock the bathroom door and meditate even if it’s only for 5 minutes.  

It’s an ongoing learning process.  Tipping over my buckets holding a lifetime of emotions means there is a lot of sludge in the bottom but I am working through it a little at a time mostly with Energy Medicine and EFT.  The habit of limiting my emotions or stuffing them away because I didn’t like them is darned hard to break.  Bills are still due, the children face the same challenges, and my house needs some serious cleaning.  However, sitting here typing, listening to Norah Jones, I can feel the peacefulness flowing through me.  I give thanks to God for the lessons I am learning…and podcasts.