I think that my children's books "beg" the question of full-fillment and simultaneously point to and give insight into some of the more complicated and complex dilemmas when it comes to answering what full-fillment might be. The image itself begs the question: what does it mean to be a full bucket?  What is an empty bucket?  How do they "show up" in the world? Because our dilemma of feeling full-filled is related only to when we can allow ourselves to "feel" empty (read that again), we have a surplus of people who are always looking to get "filled up" (full-fillment), but don't want to face the dark side, the "hole" of it, in order to do it.   This dilemma is captured, I think, simply in the way that The Little Bucket presents the problem. It's simplicity and depth are what is, to me, profound.

One of my favorite things to do, and it has grown on me, is to stand up in front of a second grade class, whose imaginations are free and to tell them my story The Little Bucket.  Their mouths hang open as they see what happens (no spoiler alert) to The Little Bucket. Occasionally, and this has happened more than once, a child will come up to me and say, "Mr. Bucket, how do you know what it is feels like to be me?" I remember the first time it happened.  I was astounded.  I didn't know what to say, but what I said was, "Please, tell me more of what it feels like to be you." The door opened and I think I invited it to stay open. What that question meant for that child only that child could know, but I think it had something to do with the loneliness of life and how lonely it can be when we think others don't know what we are going through. How plethora is that experience today.

This past summer I presented my story to the summer program at Cape Canaveral Public Library, just around the corner from where I live.  There were about 25 children and youth who were there and some parents and adult chaperones.  The librarian had called me the day before because she had a cancellation and asked me if I could come.  I told my story and at the end, a older youth, probably around 14, came up to me.  He was winding up some of the extension cord for the librarian.  He was there to "help" out with the little ones.

         "I liked your story." he said. "Even though it's really a kid's book." 
         "Really? I am glad to hear it. So what did you like about it?

          He paused.  "Well, that part about the Universe in the bucket....that didn't                    make much sense!"

          I wasn't ready for a critique!  But, I said, "Well, yea, I realize that is a little bit            weird, but what do you think it is saying?  I mean, we really don't have                        "stars" inside of us otherwise we'd burn up!"  He laughed...

         "I dunno."  I got more curious.

         "How about the hole in the bucket?  What do you think that is about?  If we are           kind of like the universe, what about it if we have a black hole also, just like t               the Universe "out there?"  He looked up from his winding up the cord, and                  stared me straight  in the eye. 
         I said further, "What is a black hole?  It used to be a star right? Now it's become
         a drain.  It is an inverted star and it sucks light into it."   Suddenly he said...

         "Could the black hole be like depression?"

         I was struck by his insight - I wanted this moment to be pregnant.  It was                     without my wanting it to be.  I took a deep breath and gently said "That's pretty          deep man. I think it'd be a good idea for you to kind of meditate on that.  What            does it say to you?" 


I have a similar idea floating around in my head too.  This "hole" in the bucket.  It drains me.  I also sense it in other people when I am not good enough for them for some reason. It makes the whole world feel depressing.  When I project my "hole" out
into the world, the whole world looks dark.  And when the whole world looks dark, we can feel consumed by it.   A friend of mine just went to a memorial service of a man who was only 34 and who had committed suicide. He had a wife and two children. I think this is what the hole does to people like us, to people who have bought into a materialistic culture and who cannot feel, think or see our way out of it.  It is what keeps us addicted and codependent also.  I think that the hole in the bucket is a new metaphor of transformation.


My books gently point us, and children, to the inside for full-fillment as opposed to looking "outside" for it.  It is hard, believe it or not, to tell the difference if we've not started down the path of becoming more aware.  The reason so many of us are not full-filled as adults, is that we got started off with the wrong ideas as kids.  Over time these ideas took root and grew into us. We didn't recognize it when it was happening and 95% of people don't see a problem with it now.  They have, in a fairytale sense, been put under a spell and it's a difficult one from which to awaken.  They are sleep walking through life completely unaware of what motivates and compels them to get up and get going every day.  


Full-fillment has a "stopping" feeling to it.  It's like we get caught. It is like we can rest.  Like there's nothing missing. And, at the same time, we know we still have "work" to do - deepening ourselves.  This is a boundaries issue.  The clearer we can become with our personal boundaries, the happier we will be and really the happier others will be, except at first.  Boundaries are so subtle, but so powerful.   And sometimes when we have to set strong boundaries, it makes those who have gotten used to us "not setting boundaries" upset!  They sense and feel something different coming from us.  If they are asleep, they won't like it.  And when we become clear on our boundaries, we will "show up" better for ourselves and for others.   You won't be a drain on the system though others might think you are! You are only a drain on the system because they can't pigeon hole you anymore! They don't like it!  And to them it feels like something is missing - and it is.  It is the "old' you - call it the co-dependent you.


For example, say that you have awakened to the idea that you may be co-dependent, and a people pleaser.  The people in your immediate field of influence have gotten "used to you" being the way you are.  It is a pattern.  They like you just the way you are, but you are tired of something.  It's hard to put your finger on it, but when it boils down, you find that you have a lot of energy going "out" but it dissipates very quickly.  Nothing much comes back.  You are tired of trying to always smooth things out for everyone.  You feel left out somehow.  Suddenly, you begin to realize that you've not been receiving what you've been trying to give! You give, you understand, you support, but you really feel and experience that you get none of that back! 

So, you begin to shift.  Or something IN YOU begins to shift.  I think these boundaries shifts are invisible and pretty much happen on their own when you really get serious. You might risk to disagree, or state your opinion when you passed the opportunity before, when something comes up.  But you know that won't be well received.  Fear surrounds you being "yourself."  Those who have been asleep with you (in a Fairytale sense) don't like the "new and improved" you.  They are used to you being spineless and passive.  You start to get the feeling of the need to change, the need to find out what's really going on.  You might read a self-help book or two to find out more and you realize that you're not the only one in the world afflicted with the people pleaser syndrome.  Something deep inside of you is awakening,  like a giant, while you realize others are still content to stay asleep.  They may now avoid you, blame you, call you names, ignore you.  It's all because you chose to wake up.  This is a tough road, but keep going. You are on your way to finding "full-fillment."

For many full-fillment is sought by taking more vacations, having more money, bigger houses, faster cars, more of anything.  The mouse-wheel spinning inside of the animal brain, beaten up by PTSD, wants more and more and more. Impulsive addictive behavior is another form of full-fillment seeking.  It's because that we live in a materialistic culture that inculcates and reinforces in us a materialistic mindset, that we think, before we think anything else, that if we just had "more" of... ______ then we would be full-filled. It's also the modern medical reactive answer in action.  Something happens? Put a bandaid on it.  Problem? Fix it. And it's an "external." There's no internal awareness or appreciation of "the problem" it's genesis or how it malfunctions (dysfunctions) in each passing moment.

My life coaching presumes that anyone who comes to me will shortly realize that their full-fillment can be realized by making new connections that they will find inside of themselves, in subtle moments.  Realization comes gently as we work at it.  Almost like a seamstress who begins working in the background, or a weaver of cloth, the tactic I will use will be to enable those inner connections to be made, and made in moments that will provide "aha" moments.  Building on "insight" and not "information",  our full-fillment realized from within.  There's plenty of information out there. Just not insight.  And we need to carve out time and space for ourselves to BE in this space. ENTER: FULL-FILLMENT LIFE COACHING! :) 


So many of the relational connections we have are toxic to us.  At worst, we don't know it.  At best, we don't call them that.  We just say "that's just the way they are."  In the relational dynamics there is a focus on what you are or aren't doing for them and vise versa. There's minimal internal awareness. As a result, in our relationships, many of us go through life feeling un-full-filled. Relationships built on minimal complaint seem to be the best: symptoms of unfull-filled relationships?  Affairs.  Addictions. Distracted.  Uh, depression, loneliness, isolation. Our relationships leave us feeling like wtf. We just stay in them - unless we can get an insight.  Unless we begin thinking.  Unless we can see that what we are doing is "not so good for us."  We must discover our own boundaries. We have a weaver within. Where are all the pieces of your humpty-dumpty self?

Full-fillment is the experience of our own essence.  Here is the weaver...Without which we feel empty and we look for our fulfillment outside of ourselves, in other things, people, places. We try to please, or be pleased, and it's never enough. Essence is a presence that inwardly enables us to "be."  To feel our confidence arising from within, is not arrogant, but essential.  Confidence is not "egoic" in it's presentation (Tolle) Essence/"esse'" but is non-competitive and is the fullest most complete expression of what it means to be human.  And yet it is invisible, undetectable.  I can't see yours and you can't see mine.  It is only detectable by what it does, how it manifests in the daily world of the now. 


Enabling this process to initiate in my clients, in my readers, in my conversations with every day people, is the goal of my living and my life coaching.  To be present in the moment.  Full-fillment is really an inside job, just like happiness.  Reach out to me if you are reaching out here.  

If you feel like "something" is still missing, where do you locate it?  Is it "outside" or is it "inside?"

Let's explore in a Life Coaching relationship.  If you're ready.

Jeffrey Bates