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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Flood the Bucket

Monday, November 18, 2013

Flood the Bucket

A friend of mine who is coming out of a very bad breakup was telling me that she is plowing through lots of good books on grief. She is speaking out all the pain to her support network.  She is taking quiet time, saying some prayers, walking and crying and writing and really trying to feel the feelings and bear the pain.  She knows she is grieving.  She knows it will take time.

And still.

It keeps on keeping on and she does not seem to be able to get relief, at least not the kind of relief she'd like.  She knows that part of healing means that there is really no way around - there is only through. 

She told me though, that one wise presence in her life told her this:  Flood the Bucket.
Meaning: picture a bucket of water.  Picture a drop of ink in the bucket.  If you stir the bucket, the ink spreads and colors the water.  But if you flood the bucket then the ink just sloshes around and gets lost.  It gets diluted. It gets smaller and smaller.

Flood the bucket with new things, things that comfort, things that add, things that give meaning.  Flood it with good wholesome healing activities, people, places, interests.  Flood it with creativity, art, writing, song.  Flood it with good deeds, fresh air, sunlight.

This does not mean, not by a long shot, that we should not have our feelings, that we should not feel them, or that we should minimize them or ignore them.  Or that having more will erase the pain.  Or that we should be compulsive or overly busy. 

It just means that it can help to be open to new things, new activities, new forms of substance, nurturing, contribution and creativity.  It can help to add life giving things when life feels so dark and so bleak and so vacant.

There is, I believe, so much value to having our feelings, to letting them live and breathe and be and giving ourselves full permission to do so.  But there is also something very valuable to the idea of flooding the bucket.  Of adding life.

A thank you to my friend and her friend for this idea.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I am grieving for a loss that I may not ever get back since my daughter has cut both of us out of her life and with our only grandchild. I've had so many stressful life events in a period of 8 months. I am just beginning to cope with not crying everyday, which I have. I am learning not to cave into my broken heart, which seems to have so many band aids on it. This helped me know that I am not alone, and I'm not the "mean, hateful, selfish, delusional" woman that I have been accused of being.

I'm grieving and so sad.

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Hi Anon.
Thanks for commenting

Glad you stopped by.