Keeping Our Buckets Filled

How did a children's book and an event at the Donna Karen Urban Zen Center affect my life in the same weekend? Before I lead you to the answer I will tell you about Friday morning. I fell apart. We've been coming apart at the seams at home and I was exhausted. I could sleep and then wake up drained and not excited for the day. My bucket was dry (coming to that). Every drop of it was drained because I was not taking charge of filling it. When mamas bucket is empty the children's buckets drain and Patrick's bucket drains. That's pressure when your so down and lost, it's the most precious gift a woman can give when she fully owns it. I didn't have the right words to explain to them how I was feeling on Friday. I didn't know how to tell them that I couldn't hear them fight one more time or I might explode into a thousand pieces. I did know that it was my overstretched self that had brought us to this point. I was wearing every hat possible, that of mother, wife, coach, writer, woman, chef, transportation director, house cleaner, business owner, financial planner....on and on, and doing none of them well.

This story found it's way to me after my weekend was over. My aunt who helped fill my bucket this weekend had it tucked in my bag with two actual buckets to bring home for the kids. I read the story to them yesterday and realized just how empty I had been. In this story grandpa tells his grandson that everyone has an imaginary bucket, and when we fight or are mean it empties our bucket and that of the other person. When we are loving and kind, thoughtful for someone's feelings, our buckets start to fill up. In the book there are little buckets drawn over everyone's heads and you can see when the drips are coming in or out.

After I read the story to them I said choking back a few tears, "When mama left here on Friday her bucket was really empty. You know that, and I think all of our buckets were pretty empty. When I came home my bucket was so full I was dumping water on all of your heads, did you feel it? And your buckets after spending a weekend with just daddy and no mama or two year old brother seem pretty full. I want to try to do everything we can to keep our buckets full. Will you both think about what we can do to keep our buckets full?"

Here is how my bucket filled up. Spending the weekend with the most amazing woman, Marie Forleo. That is her in the picture in her very own video of Empire State of Mind. Just because she could and it was a.mazing. How many business events have you gone to with music videos playing, a D.J. and dancing at every break? Yeah, I thought so. --Insert visual of my bucket filling here.--

I have had a mentor crush on Marie for about a year now. I read everything she writes, try to follow all advise that she sends out and was dreaming of this event in New York. I entered a contest to win a ticket and was one of 13 winners invited to the event. Drip, drip into the bucket. Marie swears, she laughs, she even cries when she is moved by the moment. She is in her joy and that means living fully and presently. No bullshit, no excuses and no what if. She is elegant hip-hop, which if you have never seen that, is hot.

I left Friday with Lucas and deposited him for his own bucket filling weekend with my Aunt and Uncle in New York and headed to the city. I knew the moment that I stepped inside the doors of the most beautiful and zen space that I was going to change. Right there, in that moment, knew that the event would change me, if I stepped through the door into allowing. Allowing what I heard to meet no resistance. Allowing the wisdom and fun to never listen to excuses. Allowing the genius of the weekend to fill my bucket and go home with the power of being present. Allowing myself to have some fun.

Who's bucket can remain filled when they are always thinking about something else. I was crabby doing dishes because I was thinking about a blog post. On Mondays I was angry during dinner because I was in my head thinking about my group. When I was home I was always thinking about what I should be doing, the dirty toilet, the time that wasn't there and I think we call that multi-tasking burnout.

This weekend I weaned Lucas after two years (well, eight years total after the stretch of the three of them). I filled my bucket. I am planning a big event which I have been dreaming about for a long time. I am loving my husband up and looking at where he could find some bucket filling. I'm accepting any help that is offered or available. I'm having my babysitter watch Lucas for 8 hours instead of 4 this week. I am taking some chances. I am doing one thing at a time and doing it really well. Even if it's cleaning the toilet. I have not raised my voice, yelled or been frustrated once with the children, and that more than anything is why I believe that all of us must have support and guidance and love.

How does this translate into our lives as mothers?

If mamas bucket is full, everyone's bucket is full. You know this, our mama energy is so powerful that we can affect all that is around us. Start in the now. What are you looking at or nearby that you can see or hear, now? Allow it to come into your awareness fully. Don't think about the bills or the cleaning or the dishes. Be here now. When you do go wash the dishes today, be present with them. Feel the temperature of the water, notice the soap bubbles. When they are clean stop and notice how good that feels. Soak it up. Start with the dishes. One task.

Be there. It really is that simple, but it takes practice. Marie says that clarity does not come with thought, but with action.

Allow it today. Start with one action. And lots of play.