May 27, 2011
What’s in the Well Comes Up in the Bucket:
Water and Well Metaphors Teach Readers How to Transform Their Lives
Charles Locy literally grew up in a village—the Village of North Kingsville, Ohio, a village where many still had well water when he was a child. And throughout his childhood, he repeatedly heard the saying, “What’s in the Well comes up in the Bucket.”
Although about half a century has passed since he first heard those words, he has never forgotten them and their meaning has largely influenced his philosophy on life. In this new book, Locy applies that saying to numerous situations, discussing how the well water we all have begins as water that flows to us from other people, but it is our responsibility to keep that water flowing and to cleanse it—and if we regularly change our well water and allow clean well water to flow in, it will influence our attitudes and our success in the world.
Through thirty short chapters that Locy recommends reading over thirty days, followed by a thirty day challenge to help you change your well water, Locy shows us how to create lasting change in our lives, by letting go of the past, embracing our own identities and abilities, and looking to provide healing and nourishing water for other people’s wells. Even if someone else pees in our well, it is our responsibility to clean our well water rather than by retaliating and peeing in someone else’s well.
Among the practical advice Locy presents, a simple piece I found very useful was his reminder not only not to dwell in the past, but his advice for how to change our thoughts from focusing on it. Locy tells us:
Begin letting go of your past’s power over you by practicing on yourself. When you find your self-talk taking you to past events, say out loud “STOP!” It halts the thought process. Focus on the present moment, and remind yourself of the greatness that is within you.
Locy points out that a big problem for many people is that they live with the dirty, stagnant, and peed-in well water. He reminds us that we are never victims unless we choose to be. We always have a choice and it is up to us to decide where we want to go in life and what kind of water we will drink.
Beyond his philosophical and metaphorical explanations that are never difficult to follow, Locy provides plenty of stories of famous people as well as practical examples based on insights he received in his own life. This is a guy who as a Boy Scout was awarded a Merit Badge in Latrines. As he says, “I could dig a latrine like no living scout before or since.” With credentials like that, he obviously could also dig a well and fill it with abundant, life-giving water. Charles’ gentle spirit and humanity show throughout these pages. He is able to laugh at himself as well as reveal mistakes he made to provide lessons to the reader. He also tells stories of his work at a children’s hospital, how he developed an unlikely love for reading, and how he has come to terms with the truth behind sayings such as “After enlightenment, clean the cat litter box.”
Readers who are willing to take the time to commit to reading this book slowly and thoughtfully will benefit from it as the words wash through them like water cleanses our bodies when we drink and bathe in it. Locy gently but clearly challenges us:
Water is the source of life, so we need the best water we can get in order to be the best people we can be. I challenge you to look into your well and to change your well water. Your thirst will be quenched only when you do.
The challenge is definitely one worth accepting.
For more information about Charles Locy and “What’s in the Well Comes Up in the Bucket” visit http://whatsinthewellcomesupinthebucket.blogspot.com/.
— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., and author of the award-winning “Narrow Lives”
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