The Three Buckets of Sanity

The Three Buckets of Sanity

Just as boxes can be helpful in time of stress, buckets are important, too.

Most stressors just won’t go away. We can wish that they would disappear, but they won’t. We can demand that they stop (“Damn it, traffic jam, go away right now because I say so!!!”) but most won’t go running.  We can keep up our raging, demanding, and striving to change all things to fit our wishes, or we can take a few moments to look at stressors with a wise eye.

What would we see with that wise eye?  Most stressful situations can be sorted into one of three categories:

Bucket No. 1 – Those Things That Are Clearly Under Our Control

Bucket No. 2 – Those Things Where We Might Be Able To Control

Bucket No. 3 – Those Things That We Have to Wisely Admit, We Have No Ability To Control

Simple to understand but tremendously hard to follow.

Imagine what life would be like if we sorted things into these three buckets and stuck by that sorting. If we could clearly see and accept how we sorted things we would escape a tremendous amount of frustration and disappointment. For one, we would stop trying to force our way on the world once we saw that we have no real influence on the matter, the person, or the event (bucket 3).  We let go and in letting go, we concentrate more on ourselves and on those things that we can influence or change. We become more humble by putting things into bucket no. 3. We are not gods who control all.

Bucket No. 2 requires us to be honest with ourselves.

Bucket no. 2 is tough to work with because it is filled with so much “maybe”, “perhaps,” “you never know,” “yes/no.”  Things are not so clear cut as with bucket no. 1 and no. 3. How can we be sure we don’t have control?  What if more tough mindedness is required and then all would fall under our control?  The mind can spin a lot of options, possible exceptions to a rule, many possibilities. It is easy to confuse the movement of our minds that never rests with reality. Our minds give us a false perception that we are making progress in changing something when in fact, reality is standing still. Only our minds are moving.

But, if we struggle and practice three bucket sorting, over time, we will have a better life. A life in which we put our energies into the right actions.  And one which is more free from endless struggles that block us from seeing helpful and wise potentials.

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