Empty Buckets

October 24, 2006

The Well of Segais


No one told me

Speaking and writing poetry
I unsheathed the sharp edge
of experience that led me here.

No one told me
it could not be put away.
I was told once, only,
in a whisper,
‘The blade is so sharp-
It cuts things together
-not apart.’

This is no comfort.
My future is full of blood
from being blindfold
hands outstretched,
feeling a way along its firm edge.

David Whyte
“No one told me”
From Fire in the Earth


  • No one told me that when the water was abundant to fill up the buckets.
  • No one told me that when my sisters are thirsty to let them drink from the buckets.
  • No one told me that when I let them drink from the well, I will be sucked dry.

This is a lesson that I had to learn on my own. Now when the water flows, I fill my buckets and when my sisters are thirsty, I share this with them. When the buckets are empty, I retreat, only to return when the water is flowing again and the flow is swift enough to quickly fill them to the brim.

The creek is flowing in flood stage now – and my empty buckets are once more filling. I send a thank you to Angeles Arrien for leading me to the Well of Segais. Thank you dear Angeles, Watermelon Girl, I love you!



  1. It has been a delight to wander about here Julie. Your work is soulful, enchanting and a conduit for more creativity.

  2. I am truly inspired by this. I have a mood disorder and find it difficult understanding the drought times. The bucket full times are bountiful and wonderful. I am learning how to respect the buckets empty times…and to even see that it is full of other things.
    Lots of love from Susan in Australia

  3. Thank you Susan! I think most of us creative types have swings of highs and lows to one degree or another. Now harnessing the energy of the cycle is always a challenge isn’t it?

  4. And as we know from the Tao & Buddhist thinking, if the buckets are not empty, they can’t be filled – the emptiness must be there in order for the filling of them to happen.

    I love it that you draw like I do! Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Thanks Cathy! I draw to please myself and to listen to the summons of my soul.

    It is so true about allowing ourselves to empty – nothing new can come in until the old has decayed and turned to compost to provide the fertile soil for the next new creation.

    For me it has been a challenge to discern the difference between giving my power away and being sucked dry – and giving from a place of abundance and then retreating to be replenished.

    Empty buckets was a metaphor that helped me tease apart those two types of giving.

    Thanks for visiting!

  6. Hi Julie – I linked over from you post and felt a real connection with your writing about the buckets. In my family it was always about giving, giving, giving, and not being selfish. I started to resent this a lot, as I felt I could have no boundaries, nothing left for me.
    So your piece is really about giving and remembering to replenish, and yes I was not taught this. I just got back from a month in Santa Fe for a much needed “filling up”. My friends say I look so good and “my eyes look deeper”. thank you for this writing.

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