As the film Bucket List ended and I saw both friends finishing what gave them a sense of completion, I started wondering what my bucket list was.
I realised that I didn’t have one.
My buckets of life
There was nothing in life that I was still to do or see, without which, if I were to die today, I would feel incomplete. I was glad to note that, somehow, on most days, I was living a life that gave me tremendous meaning. Each day, I was filling my life’s buckets with activities, actions and people that made sense to me. I started thinking of how and when this started for me. The biggest understanding that hit home was that, very early in life, my clients had taught me, what the different buckets of life were and which one was the most important!!!
In Quest of Happiness
In my years of therapy practice and meeting a lot of clients searching for happiness and peace somewhere outside, I saw that they thought of these satisfactions as if they were things they could reach out to
– in some substance or excessive work,
– or in some relationship,
– or in a person out there
and get it back inside them.
The endless search would just keep changing their goal posts and continued their unhappiness without knowing where they were going wrong.
In my close engagements with them, with their pains, their struggles and their search for happiness, I saw client after client reach this realisation that, they were over-rating what others could give them and completely over-looking what they could find within.
Bucket of Happiness
From that point onwards, their journey within would begin and they would, sometimes for the first time in their lives, make a relationship with this beautiful person called Self and come to the understanding that, the most important bucket of happiness and peace was their own relationship with themselves.
All the other buckets -their relationships with their work, their hobbies, their friends and family, their purpose in life – though being important, still weren’t as critical as their relationship with themselves.
As long as their bucket of self-relationship was full of being aware of who they were
- unconditionally accepting themselves,
- liking themselves and their own company,
- making fun of the not so good sides of themselves and yet saying to themselves…”Well, I am still a person in the making!!!”,
- being at peace with themselves; being happy with who they were and being comfortable in their own skin
the rest of the buckets in life and the ups and downs could be managed.
So long as their sense of identity, of who they were, was deeply rooted and anchored within, their work, hobbies, relationships and direction would naturally become an expression of themselves. These other buckets would not become entities that they needed for the person in them to be complete.
The Change in Direction
As I saw this directional change in these people and their gradual movement from outside-in to inside-out, I witnessed their personalities starting to bloom.
I could see the clarity, the authenticity, the calm and the courage that came in them. Their blooming into who they always were but had only now found, was not always easy or understood by others.
But their self-relationship turned, this very often lonely journey, to one of solitude, where they were okay to not have anyone understanding them for long patches of time, yet having faith that this inner directed-ness will be understood by their important ones at sometime.
As each client would leave the therapeutic alliance, having changed from a shrivelled lifeless plant to a robust, self-sufficient, prosperous tree, I smiled to myself reflecting that what looked like a simple change in direction was in reality such a big transformation.
One shift of direction and people start moving in their own directions, at their own pace and in their own ways…
So while people might say…what’s in the direction???
I would say, it is all in the direction; from our roots, leading out towards our life as an expression of ourselves.
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