Today was a beautiful Florida day outside. Spring is typically my favorite time of year here because the temperature is just right. In the summertime, it is incredibly hot and humid so I enjoy this weather as much as I can.

Just recently, I walked my dog, Buddy, outside. Most of my readers or Facebook friends know about Buddy because he always photobombs my pictures and videos. He is a sweet yellow lab about 7 years old, friendly, and happy. So, an occasional photo with him is nothing less than a sweet experience.

In the morning, after our walk, Buddy and I run back to the house together.  As he gallops with his quick step, I keep up alongside him. We race to the door, and I slip his collar off we go inside. The whole experience is a lovely and carefree time that takes both of us away from the ho-hum daily grind. Inside he settles in somewhere comfortably, and I continue with whatever projects I need to accomplish for the day.

In many ways, the way I feel on a perfect day with my dog-mate, Buddy, is exactly how I feel when I do other things that I enjoy. One of those is my practice of martial arts. There aren’t any dogs at the martial art school, of course, but just as I run with Buddy up to the door of my house, when I enter the martial art school there is the same sense that I am moving toward something worthwhile and inviting. I am invigorated simply by being there.

Being in the dojang (martial art school) is one of my favorite places to be. Inside, there are other like-minded students reaching for similar goals. Everyone works in unison to warm up and together we practice the basics. There is an unexplained energy that develops. The temperament is enjoyable and the tone is positive.

The beautiful March weather, my walks with Buddy, and my martial art experiences surprisingly have a commonality in my life. They all feel good, and they overshadow the relentless negativity the world seems to offer. A breath of fresh air, a loving pet, and a mind/body/spirit practice fill my life bucket to the brim.

The adage that what you put into your life is what comes back out, is quite true. What goes in, must come out. If you breathe in positivity, you breathe it back out. The opposite is true, too.

What you watch on television, the music you listen to, the friends you choose, and how you behave create some of the contents of your bucket. All the actions that you take in your life, and everything that you bring into it, fill up space. Consider how you are living your life right now, compared to how you would like to live it. Do the actions, activities, and communications of your life offer a positive respite, and challenge you to live your best life?

You only have one life bucket. With what will you fill this life bucket?

It is not unlimited but has enough room for your hopes and dreams. If you choose to fill it with negativity, however, you will waste valuable portions of time, when you could be creating positive energy, instead.

Every moment in the life bucket is important because once moments are used, they cannot be replenished. That is why it is so critical to fill it with fulfilling moments, like wonderful, warm days where the breeze comforts you, and your dog wags his tail with anticipation of another walk outside. Trust in the experiences that promise self-discovery.

As I walked and ran with Buddy under the warm Florida sun, it is as if the slight breeze knew exactly where to push me. I knew right then and there that I was filling my life bucket with something good. I was replenished and enlightened.

The truth is that it does not matter what season it is outside, or what season you are in your life, or even if you have a great dog for a pet, like Buddy. All you need to know is that your life can be exactly what you want it to be.

So, where exactly do your find this “life bucket?” All you need to do is look within. It is nothing more than a metaphor for your great big wonderful life.

Fill it up!












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Andrea Harkins, a/k/a “The Martial Arts Woman,” is an internationally recognized writer, published book author, blogger, motivator, and public speaker. She has been a martial artist for 28 years, and is also a martial art instructor. Today, along with teaching and training, Andrea's passion and goal is to make the world a better place through her mission of positivity through martial arts.