Step 2 - Identify Your "Buckets"
Step 2 in our post-pandemic practice is to review the past year in a way that is manageable, structured, and designed to promote living a more fulfilling life. This step is about identifying the important areas where your life experiences occur. We suggest calling these areas “buckets” because they are familiar, friendly receptacles which are useful in daily life. For us, when we think about our entire life, it’s too big, too amorphous, too vague. The “buckets” give us a way to focus our attention and distill the essence of different aspects of life in a way that is not overwhelming.
Now, we're not talking about literal buckets like the one a child would use at the beach to build a sand castle. We mean mental “buckets” where you separate and place your life experiences. Those experiences, or words we use to label these “buckets”, can include work, family, friends, entertainment, spirituality, self-care, exercise, personal growth, diversions, contributions, and finances.
However, these words are not fixed. You can use whatever word(s) best define the major areas of your life. For example, if you have a significant other in your life, you might have one “bucket” for that relationship that is separate from your relationship with other family members. If you don’t have a significant other, then you might have a “bucket” for immediate family that is separate from distant relatives and/or friends.
Here is a template to help you follow along with Steps 2 through 7. After learning about Step 2, you can now use the template to help organize your "buckets". We have provided an example in the first row that shows the complete process. It is our hope that this example will be a good reference point as you go through the following steps.
Here’s a story from Margie to help explain this process in “post-pandemic” terms.
I have engaged in this “bucket” process for several years, since I formally began my wish practice. As I approached this now familiar process post-pandemic, I became aware of shifts in my “buckets”, some subtle and some not. The “bucket” categories remained pretty much intact - family, friends, finances, spirituality, exercise, personal development, health, etc. However, the significant changes were in the activities and my felt experiences of them that filled each “bucket”. As a result, priorities have shifted, such as making time for meditation and writing, and releasing pressure to get involved in some organizations and activities that I once thought were a “must”. I now savor, with gratitude, my realization of what brings me joy and, with equal gratitude, release the “musts”, “oughta’s” and “shoulds”.
The photo featured in this post belongs to Barbara J. Dickinson. Yes, that is Barbara at the beach as a toddler with a bucket and some shovels.