Crabs In The Bucket

Did you know there’s no need to put a lid on a bucket of crabs?CrabsBucket

If one crab grips the lip of the bucket, about to pull itself out, the others will pull it back in.

Humans do the same thing.

“Who do you think you are?

“If I can’t have that, neither can you.”

“What a lot of gall!”

“I know more than her.”

“How’d he get that?”

A worm of envy often wriggles into hearts and forces people to smile deceitfully through a wave of jealousy.

Or, a negative event happens to a well-liked person and the word “deserves” wafts through a mind waiting for gory details.

What about those denigrating “yah buts” thrown against the character of someone who is being praised by another?

My eyes were opened during a heartbreaking example that occurred in a small community while I was fulfilling a contract.   My role necessitated hearing about incest in the community.

My colleagues who had been there for a number of years had ceaselessly worked towards quietly planting as much preventive awareness as possible.

One day, I hit a frustration point, “I realize nothing will change until this community itself decides this is not acceptable.  But what’s prevented them from taking action?”

The man who’d been there longest said, “It’s the ‘crabs in the bucket’ phenomenon.”

He explained, “We do everything to make sure that kids progress through to post-secondary education.  Some who graduate from University come back to the community committed to speaking up and doing something about the incest.  They are subjected to threats and violence until they are pulled back into the silent bottom of the bucket.  Either that or they have to leave.”

Coincidentally, only days later, I heard a woman from this same area being interviewed on a national radio program.   This woman had been a “crab” with more than one leg out of the bucket.  After being forced to leave, she mustered enough courage to blow the whistle.  The radio interview meant she signed away her family and culture – perhaps forever.

If that interview created any life-changing effect, we “outsiders” were not privy to details.

To varying degrees, humanity does the same to others wanting to grasp and hold firm to the top of that battered bastion of benign being.  How often have talented people, willing to share sorely needed gifts, smelled the freshness of freedom while the tug of “how dare you” pulls them down with resentment?

Over the past three years, I have lived outside the bucket.  Three years ago today, I hit the “publish” button the first time as “Soul Dipper”.  I felt stripped bare, exposed to unknown elements.   What was I going to find, I wondered.  I teetered on the lip of a container that no longer fit.  It was too silent.

Any writer knows the relentless drive to speak one’s truth.

I jumped out of a musty metal soul satchel with great trepidation and found YOU!

I discovered readers giving support, encouragement, positive responses.  You turned into a new family while I felt my way through the first year, figuring out where I fit.  My learning curve was huge and you patiently stayed.

The second year my courage grew with the steady growth in readership and subscriptions. I became more determined to offer a level of quality that I sense the readership is seeking.

Throughout, I actively sought and studied various gifted, talented, outrageous and authentic people. Their paths encouraged me to continue opening my soul and sharing the messages.

This third year, though seemingly lighter, has been more experimental.

The whole time, readership and subscriptions have continuously grown.  The bucket has stayed at the bottom of the well.

Thank you for your feedback; especially those who came to me through email.  Your encouragement and gentle nudging is helpful and hugely appreciated.

For the fourth year, I hope you continue to hang around Soul Dipper.  Please remember the key to getting out of any bucket is knowing yourself and having the courage of your convictions to share you. Each of us contain an inner Mt. Everest.  Everyone has a world inside waiting for exploration.  All of us have unending discoveries that may at first frighten.  If you haven’t yet, kick free of those crablike grasps and jump!  Dust yourself off.  You’ll be amazed by your beauty.

When we finally see our own beauty, we need NEVER to resort to being “Crabs In A Bucket”.  We’ll be the ones shouting, “Jump!”

I love your support, your curiosity, and your willingness to explore your inner self.

Thank you for three years of tears and laughter.  Let’s get on with mining miracles.

Without buckets!

Soul Dipper turns three today.  I’m never going to blow out these candles!

Hey, k-os, give us some Crabbuckit!



63 thoughts on “Crabs In The Bucket

  1. Congratulations .. your post is always my go-to post for centered, harmonious, gently honest and expansive thoughts.. I love that you are not blowing out your candles!! c

  2. Loved the video, Amy — too cool! Also, loved what you said — it really is true this tendency we have to try and keep everyone down at a level we perceive as personally ‘comfortable’ or ‘acceptable’. This does two things: It keeps us from facing our own faults and, regrettably from seeing our true potential.

    • Hi my Alberta “blog-sister” – not surprised at the depth of your perceptions! BTW – I was just at a memorial service for a gent who was raised in Breton. It was so much fun sharing the “teeny silly” things that prairie kids used to know about – the stuff that kept us preoccupied and full of fun.

    • Boy oh boy, Morris Brook…if I didn’t have this puss cat that needs a pill 2x/day, I’d have thrown my x-country skis (old as they are) in my vehicle and headed up for a good jaunt with the dogs and you! Or, I’d fly up if the roads are treacherous and beg a pair of snowshoes from you.

    • Good thing I sent all those fairly likeable prayers of protection for you while you baked in the desert sun! You are another one of folk who is definitely not in danger of falling in a bucket! I’m learning lots from you!

  3. I’m chuckling a little. As I read this, I kept saying to myself, “No. she got it all wrong…….. Instead of flopping down on the other side of the bucket, this Amy-like crab reached a claw back into the bucket and began helping her sisters and brothers find their way to the light.” I know. I know. You can’t write it like that, but I can say it. That’s why we come here; to learn and to share.

    • You have me chuckling, Leslie. If I’m anywhere near the bucket, my friend, I’m outside of it yelling, “Believe you can do it!” You as a teacher know the joy of seeing someone pull themselves through their own blocks and barriers. There’s nothing that makes me happier than to watch a person discover they CAN do or be whatever their heart desires.

      I just received a newsletter from my Healer-Teacher, Adam McLeod. He wrote what I believe fits not only health, but life:

      Ask yourself, “What do I want?” If your answer is that you want to be healthy, say it aloud. Shout, “I want to be healthy!” Let it resonate within you that this is your intention. This is what you expect. Focus on the expectation that this will happen. Your perception of outcome makes a huge difference. Change any habits or patterns that are not in synchronicity with your healing program. Absorb only information that is helpful to you. Let yourself know that you are seriously focused on the path toward change. Then use your own intentions to give you that extra edge in your healing.

      • I agree with you. That healing comes from within and no one else can do it for you. I meant my comment to be a compliment to what you do here, by sharing your special message with us. Your blog is an extension to those who wish to learn. That is like a claw extended or you standing outside the bucket, yelling. Through your example and your willingness to put it out there, others become more aware. Who knows? That was my point. I think your blog offers the ingredients for those naysayers to change.

        • Awww…yes, Leslie, I understood, and very much appreciated, your comment. I ought to have let you know that your support and encouragement came through loud and clear. Instead, my response focussed on how we can be a conduit, but the real work is within each person’s own power. (Probably a reaction to my not wanting to be near that danged bucket! It’s unavoidable, I realize.)

          If you look at Mel’s comment…she’s the courageous one. She jumps back into the bucket and agitates! I’m not good in chaos – I become so focussed that I can be seen as cold. So I wave a claw at her and salute her with my tentacles! My approach is, “Stay in there if you like, but if I see one of your claws coming over the lip of that bucket, I want to grab hold so you know you’re not alone.”

  4. Oh this is so true … it is a shame the majority of people are clinging and clawing crabs … complaints galore, but when offered a solution — naysayers they become. If someone has the courage to climb out, hop out, or stretch out of the bucket – the naysayers are fighting tooth and nail to see who is the first to bring the escaping artist back to the bottom of the bucket and attempt to pin the progress. Tsk, tsk. I see it all the time … particularly in the area I live …. these crabs are very tightly wound and narrow-minded indeed. I applaud all who escape to fly and soar. Thank you for a great message. CONGRATULATIONS on three wonderful years!! Keep soaring!!

    • It’s as simple as making a new choice, a new decision, to be supportive instead of critical or judgemental. Years ago, I worked for the Virtues Project. It teaches people to verbalize virtues…i.e. when we catch someone in the act of being loving, kind, polite, or….whatever…we acknowledge it. It was during that time that it dawned on me that it didn’t matter if someone was 26% kind – I didn’t have to judge it. If I saw kindness, I could speak up and name it. You can guess what happens…if someone has been acknowledged with 26%, they’ll likely strive to be 52% the next time! 😀

      Thank you, Becca – you are certainly one of my family. I respect all you do for animals and all the love you give them. We may have to nominate you to be St. Franbecca (as opposed to St. Francis).

      We’ll soar together.

      • LOL — I am just reading this response … I certainly agree with acknowledging any ones kindness, and the results of doing so … I believe it has a ripple effect … and if it is from someone less likely to offer random acts of kindness, I pray the kindness continues with more to come.

        I have to laugh at St Franbecca — thank you for including me and donning me a new name. 😀

  5. Gorgeous! Truly great writing. Well done! And for keeping at it to turn the corner into your fourth year. Lucky us. Thank-you soul dipper, for inviting our hearts to be touched.

    And what a punchy, energetic message. Of course! Stop allowing others to hold you back. In other words, take responsibility for getting up and out of the bucket. I have already made that promise to myself this year. I do so love your timing.

    Blessings to you and yours in abundance. And to your faithful readers. I am privileged to be sharing this glorious adventure with you.

    • It’s so good to have a visit with you again, Jinkspots. Your seat is definitely reserved in my heart! Thank you for your supportive comments. By now I hope you and your family are well settled in your new home and life. Most of all, I hope you feel safe.

      Like you, I’ve been spending more time with matters in my life – especially in my community commitments. One of the things I wanted to create was a meditation group. Five of us women meet regularly each week now and find the time full of quality. Besides meditating, we take time to review our week with one another – in a spirit of trust and confidence. We feel heard!

  6. Hi,
    That is the first time I had ever heard of the crabs and the bucket, I will have to remember that one.
    Loved the video, and congrats on your 3rd year blogging, that is fantastic. 🙂

    • It’s interesting how using WordPress’s Reader keeps us connected to those who post regularly, but it’s not obvious who has stopped posting. When I finally saw a post from you, I went to the New Year’s Eve videos and didn’t realize you had been away. I thought I’d just been negligent in visiting as much as I used to.

      Glad everything has turned out well for your father and you!

  7. *laughing* The whole time I’m watching the video I’m thinking ‘oh, look……another Mister Crabby Bucket’! It’s one of those things I pull out and attach to a poor soul who’s stuck in the muck and grumbling about it. Of course, I’M never the Crabby Bucket. LOL
    Liar, liar, pants on fire! 😉

    If I could do that revolutionary strut on crutches, I would. I might even give it a go just to say I tried. Catchy beat, that one.

    I’m an out of the bucket kinda gal. No secret there–and I’d agree with you. There are some very socially taboo things that I get loud about. Go figure that incest is one of them. Oh, and I do mean loud. I’d blame the choice in what I DO, but I think I’ve been an out of the bucket kinda gal my whole life–it’s just been about how I’ve used my voice and where. Being the passionate person I am, I have no qualms about truth telling. It’s been about becoming more effective in the delivery. Sometimes I’m the crab outside the bucket, sometimes I deliberately crawl in with ’em to just disturb the bunch.
    Yep–if I were a wash machine I’d be the agitator. *laughing*
    Good thing it takes all cycles to make the thing work, huh? 😉

    Happy Birthday! Congratulations–I’m looking forward to many more celebrations.

    • About incest, it’s funny how it sometimes feels as though there’s more power as a private citizen than as a professional. When the “Pro” word comes into play, we’re suddenly having to manage within processes, protocols, legalities, liability concerns and all the danged fluff that can seem to perpetuate the abuse!

      Funny, isn’t it, Mel, how people react to hearing the truth. I’ve certainly had to learn how to hold up a mirror instead of delivering a hammer. To find the balance, there was a period of time when I was so diplomatic someone actually thought I was supporting the “other point-of-view”. I had to learn how to SAY IT with tact instead of being heavy on the “prefacing” – which felt like grovelling anyway.

      I find people accept a message from the heart far easier and more effectively than one from the head. I work at balancing head and heart, as best I can, so emotionalism stays out of it while feeling statements do their work. When I let passion take over, I’m left with a distant observer instead of a fellow believer!

      Then that humbling process… 😀

  8. I wasn’t aware that crabs did that. I’ve met too many “crabs” in my life and have learned to identify them and send them compassion, but from a distance. I’m among the ones who will be using all my strength to lift anyone up and encourage them to attain their goals. I just can’t conceive of another way of living my life.

    • My mother was an encourager. If she saw even a spark, she’d help us fan a flame. However, this has fostered some naivety and I’ve been blindsided with such surprise a few times that I’ve almost been awed by it all.

      Consequently, I am a devotee of Maya Angelou’s “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” No more “three strikes”! It’s not doing any good being an enabler so I, too, know about distancing from crabs. I call it “preventative maintenance”.

  9. HAPPY 3rd Bloggoversary, Amy…

    I love the metaphor of the crabs. YES!

    I love that you were naked and pushed publish anyhow.

    I love that we are better individuals because you did. Xxxx Kisssssssssssssss

    • Kim…many thanks for your up-beat enthusiasm. I love you for that!

      However, dear woman, how on earth did your comment end up in spam? That has never happened before. The second question: how did you know your comment was in spam? Have you become seriously psychic in 2013? 😀

  10. So much to read and absorb here, your lovely post Amy, and all the perceptive and thoughtful comments it provoked…
    You’ve left me with much food for thought and inner searching about what I do, and where I’m going…
    And a happy birthday!!!

  11. Ah,Soul Dipper, how sweet it is to know how sweet it is!! Congratulations for taking the risk and creating excellence! I am so grateful for this venue that allows me to “look and listen” and realize I can hear what is going on deep inside myself. I know what I hear can lead me to growth and healing. It often takes a lot of listening to observe where our hearts draw us. It requires time and patience. My heart is drawn to you today and hence, my first “post”. As to the bucket, I had only ever thought about my “bucket list”. Perhaps I should sit down and make a list of resentments that I may be carrying and nurturing, holding onto and giving my energy to? Hmmm…..I’d better think carefully.

    • Welcome, my friend! So you’ve begun your blog…fantastic. I only knew it was you by the email address that appears only to me, not to other readers or commenters. I see the name of your blog must be Stumbles, but it’s not hot linked so I can click on the name and find you. I look forward to you setting things up so I (we) can. This is great, Ms. B. I can hardly wait to connect to you on your blog.

      Just make sure you continue to be the supportive person you’ve been all the years I’ve known you! That will get you a free flight out of the bucket and you can be even more certain you are not one of the crabs.

      I gather you did not hit my island over the Christmas Season. Hope I didn’t miss you!

  12. Hi Amy,

    Reading your post only reiterated how similiar we all homo sapiens are in our behaviours and responses, though so separated we may be in terms of the geographical distance and /or socio cultural development.

    In the northern cow belt of rural India, there exists small governing bodies in the villages and some of them are called Khap-panchayats.I am amazed at the similarity of thinking and responses of these guys to the ones you speak of. Indeed the crab syndrome seems to be alive and well all over. “We versus Them” remains a powerful motivator for many of us even though we may not want to admit it.

    Cheers and God bless.


    • Abuse – gross cowardice inflicted on innocents…unfortunately this dark side of exists throughout humanity. But we can turn on lights, Shakti.

      Yes, isolation gives abusers a false sense of power since dysfunction thrives where there is fear. Sadly, I have yet to meet a victim who has been able to heal fully from this travesty. Neither male nor female.

      Though outsiders can seldom move swiftly to stop these events, with technology we certainly can turn those buckets on their sides – expose and educate. Victims can realize and reclaim their rights.

      Wouldn’t it be grand if our biggest problem was what to make out of all the empty buckets?

  13. It’s as simple as making a new choice … we’ll soar together. I stole your words from your response to Becca. They just seem so “eternal” and right. Loved each word and k-os.

    • Yah, Raven, even though some of us have had times of wondering about the “we”, it is a “we” world. The blogosphere confirms that daily. There’s so much goodness out here. We almost quit believing. We almost bought the danged bucket!

  14. so glad you left that darn bucket at the bottom of the well where it belongs. You bless us, expand our consciousness, send healing our way, make us smile and even laugh aloud. Here’s to another year of you sharing wisdom, smiles, a few tears and big hugs.

    • Staying power – you have it in spades. Buying a house over Christmas would cause anyone to find theirs. Thanks for your visit, Rebecca. I hope you’re charging Irma a hefty rent!

  15. What an inspiring and heart wrenching post. Those poor crabs (and children), but what a metaphor! Congrats on your 3 years. I will reach the one year mark in a few weeks. I feel I’m in the beginning throes of something – not quite sure what – but I find it infinitely satisfying. I’ve visited here a few times in the last year, but will pick up the pace in this new year.

    • I’m glad you feel “in the throes of something”, Stephanie. Hopefully that feeling will keep you buoyed when you have those periods of questioning.

      Many thanks for your visit – and especially for taking the time to comment.

  16. Congratulations on your 3rd birthday Amy. I remember telling you in the first comment I left you how lucky I felt to have met you! I still feel lucky to be your blogging buddy. All your posts are interesting, thought-provoking and full of wisdom and love.

    I’ve heard the crab in the bucket story before and thought I’d read it at Mags blog but she said she hadn’t heard it before… Its something we mustn’t forget. A very good story for a new blogging year.

    I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for you to work in that small community and have to pretend you didn’t know about the incest. Shame on those men.

    • Thanks, Rosie. Feels good being three! 🙂 And I’m glad you’re my blog buddy!

      Actually, with this sort of reality, the whole community needs to look at itself – the silence, the non-support, the fear. I believe violators of trust do finally have to face themselves. It may not be in this lifetime. If justice is a virtue, something has to happen when it is absent.

    • Thank you so much, Cin…you are still one of my heroes. You write so well, we can stack you up against any full-fledged chef and you’re gorgeous. Haven’t you got some miracles due? One will involve a certain teen – when you least expect it. It’ll take time, but we all have tons of time!

  17. Another wonderful blog, I often wonder how many lives you have touched, or how many people you have made realize their own potential. I think many, keep on writing.

    • Any lives touched, Dee, mean those people allowed themselves to look at themselves. The great thing about blogs, it’s easy for people to take as much or as little as they want or can absorb. The post is as deep or as shallow as they believe.

    • Oh, Becca…all I can say is “Oh Wow!” I have a bit of “crud” happening (a cold that wants to get me) so my spirits have been flickering. You have no idea what this gesture has just done for my day. Mwwaaaah!

      • Well you are a delight … you might go to my FB page, and there are two reposts — cough “syrup” and nature’s flu shot … If you don’t mind, I will reshare to your page. Hope you feel better SOON! Mwauuhhh!

  18. Hi Amy – nearly back in the full blogging seat again … I’m a year ahead of you – but have loved your posts and the wisdom contained within their words … it’s so interesting who we meet online and the relationships we build, even though we may well never meet.

    I loved the crab in the bucket scenario – and yes .. everyone has to do what everyone else does .. and isn’t it frustrating??!! Me: I definitely like to be different … and not conform! Upsets a few … I’m not very controversial though .. I just do what I do …

    Crabs in the Bucket … I loved the video – gosh I wish I could move like that!! I wrote a post about a film on a musician from Detroit, who was a huge hit in South Africa, but was completely unknown … early 1970s … the film is so fascinating to see – he did a philosophy degree … there isn’t a book – but the film is like like a book … I even wrote a blog post on it!

    That’s how much it entertained and touched me … something you might be interested in … another perspective on life ..

    I’m around now I hope – cheers and so pleased you’ll still be posting and giving us food for thought … happy fourth year! – Hilary

    • Wow, Hilary, I WILL see that movie. Without even going to IMDB – you did such a thorough job – I will find it. I remember that poster for some reason…I wonder if musicians on my island (there are a few professionals) brought the movie here and I didn’t realize the significance.

      Thank you for all you have said. I have to write, my friend…there is no way I can ignore inner nudges and implosions. The challenge is keeping a balance between life and having alone time in the sanctuary of scribbles.

      WordPress has brought out a “Reader” capability that takes us to new posts of those blogs we follow. We are no longer notified about each new post in our email. I appreciate fewer emails, but it’s easy to let days go by without checking the Reader. So I am hit and miss…often have to read a number of posts at once.

      I think back to my mother becoming so frustrated with having to adjust to changes in technology…like needing a new answering machine. When I think of the continuous adjusting and learning we undergo with every software we use today, surely we’re building an immunity against any degree of dementia!

  19. Hi Amy .. glad to read about the film … it is wonderful and is entertaining, as well as prophetic in many ways – thought provoking too …

    My brother’s MIL (91) is having problems with their tv and can’t wait for those few seconds with a blank before the tv clicks in .. so they’re going back to basics for their set up – they’re not that technically inclined anyway … building an immunity against dementia … I think we’re encouraging it!!

    No – change is good … it is just very fast – especially for those of our parents’ age and those perhaps who were never interested in the first place or prepared to keep up – I find too many bury their heads in the sand. I was up to date .. but now not so much – but I make a plan around change and get on with it ..

    Cheers for now … Hilary

  20. Congratulations on the three-year milestone, Amy. It’s quite an accomplishment. But your blog represents more than staying power; it’s about growth, too, and reaching out to people who may not even be aware that they’re seeking what you have to offer. I’m sorry I haven’t been here in a while, but this beautiful post is exactly why I’ve missed your words and your insight. I hope the new year — and the new year of blogging — will bring you many surprises, and that they will all be happy ones.

    • Many thanks, Charles. Do we always groan when we happen to read past posts? Man…I need a chain saw! Me, too, Charles – I’ve missed reading you. Time to do something about that. Referencing your latest post, I don’t want to miss the train you’re on!

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