We are all born with one—a sacred place where we hold our love.
Maybe your container is more of a cast iron urn, or a crystal bowl—or maybe its a tightly sealed, army barack approved, tupperware container.
Mine’s a simple tin bucket—and it’s seen it’s days.
Its been kicked around, dropped, shot at and spit in. As I’ve dragged it through life, I’ve tried filling it in rivers, playing with it in the ocean and dancing with in the rain—hoping to catch as many droplets of affection as I could. I’ve grown more and more fascinated over the years with seeking the best possible way to fill it up.
As a young woman, I thought it was simple. Find one man willing to love me forever and that bucket would be unmoving and continually filled by him. But love is never stationary. It changes, it flows. I dipped it in the river, and I was shocked to see it ripped from my hands.
After painful divorce I found it again, but reeled in the aftermath of longing to replace that love in any way I could. Lost and confused, I found my way to yoga.
“You can never truly love another, until you learn to love yourself,” said my beautifully wise first teacher.
My bucket vibrated in its tin-iness—the metal began to respond to the vibrational resonance of those words. I would need to fill it myself. I would dance in the rain! I began to frantically gather the drops, and the toss my bucket all over—dousing people who were brave enough, or just unluckily fated, to be in range. I also began to start filling it up myself, with breath, and I began to accept myself.
But I kept beating away at it. Casual encounters left dings, cracks and occasional fits of self. I was attached to the idea of who I would become if someone else would just show up and help me fill it!
More time on my mat.
I watched my breath, I stayed present. I learned to truly like myself. Family struggles made me question the very fortitude of my bucket’s composition. My children helped by continually spraying it with a shiny, waterproof coating. I chased madly after more rain drops, coming from storm clouds of others, and wondered why my bucket was only ever three quarters full, at best.
Love would pour in, but would messily spill out just as fast—it still had holes, and was tippy as hell.
I practiced detachment, generosity of spirit. I gave to others and in turn felt so much love back. I began to teach my passion, walk my true path. I embraced gratitude for life.
I was ready to love for the purpose of giving—not just for receiving. For the sake of love itself.
And I could finally say I loved myself. I thought since I was getting so good at filling my own bucket, I could fill other’s too. I found a man who was empty—and I gave love, for the first time ever, without truly needing it returned. I patiently tipped my bucket at the shoreline and waited for some response—but when the waves came, I was surprised. The bucket would fill, then the tide would shift, the water would recede and the ocean took out more than it put in.
Sure I didn’t need him to fill it—but was it wrong to want him to ? Could I afford to lose what I had worked so hard to gain?
More breath, more calm. “Still your breath, still your body, still your mind,” said a lovely teacher in class by the sea. “Still your heart.”
I silently finished. Still my bucket. I examined my bucket. I patched the last few small holes with good choices. I decided to stop throwing it around—madly chasing rain drops, raging rivers and crashing oceans. I watched my breath and stayed present.
And always, always, I returned to my mat.
Now, I meet others and I look them in the eyes; I am hopeful I radiate the love I feel within.
I hold my bucket calmly, not gripping, but cradling it to my body.
As it stills, more love flows in and quietly and serenely trickles over the edges, gently washing over those who are near.
Suzie Doratti is a Forrest Yoga teacher and realtor in beautiful Kelowna, B.C. Canada, where she also runs a yoga bed and breakfast. She is also single mom to two amazing and inspiring children, who finds tremendous peace on her mat and joy in helping others do the same. She has recently started exploring the healing that happens when words begin to link together in writing as fluidly as breath and postures.
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Assistant Ed: Evan Livesay
Ed: Bryonie Wise