When the Honey Bucket’s Your Way Out

honey bucketSometimes inspiration is drawn from the least expected things … like when the honey bucket’s your way out.

Over a holiday, my husband and I watched Castaway starring Tom Hanks; a DVD in our library we hadn’t watched for several years. We were re-reminded of the difficulties that greeted him when he was mercilessly stranded on a small deserted island out in the middle of the ocean.

If ever there was a Skinny Pig situation,
Chuck Noland was in it.


Watching the movie through the eyes of a life coach, it had many elements coaches love to tackle:

  • there was, of course, a strong survival message running through it –
    • Chuck wanted to live
  • almost immediately he found he had some tough nuts to crack, ie. figuring out how to tap into coconuts to get that life-sustaining milk (bringing with it a need for a honey bucket years before one floated his way) –
    • he found it wasn’t easy; it took trying different methods and persistence
  • Chuck had to make do with what was in his hand; since he went down on a Fed-Ex plane, he had available to him whatever packages on that flight washed ashore –
    • within the various soggy parcels, he found sufficient tools…and a friend: Wilson
  • as the years drug on with its loneliness, difficulties, challenges, storms, and even too much of a good thing when the weather was perfect vacation temp but still no rescue in sighthe knew discouragement and negativity, boredom and being left entirely alone with only one’s thoughts, which at one point in the movie took a dark turn –
    • watching his story it was hard to imagine existing like that and yet, that’s the type of situation in which some of us have found ourselves, is it not? In such a season, however long, we too need a ‘Wilson’ because – in the most non-cliché way – no man is an island.

But then, Wilson could only be present and do so much, for a time. There eventually came a point in between Chuck’s survival and rescue saga. It was the middle stage of resignation, followed by but then!

When the Honey Bucket’s Your Way Out

Let’s not confuse a honey bucket with a sugar daddy. We hope for the best case scenario (‘when my ship comes in’). Barring that, we often don’t recognize at first the raw material of rescue when it floats in.

Meanwhile on the island, at the four-year mark of being stranded and having to make a life with what was in his hand (and his head and his heart), Chuck was at the water’s edge when the tide brought in a portion of a honey bucket. Two right angle walls of a portable outhouse got caught in the tide pool and quietly bumped over and over with the swell and swish of the tide in that isolated inlet.

Chuck was annoyed at first because it interrupted the hard-earned adjustment to his mostly quiet independence. Tromping over to free it and set that honey bucket’s course back out to sea, it was marvelous to watch the ‘aha’ moment when he recognized it might be usable!

He finally noted that ‘moveable’ and ‘flexible’ were attributes of those tall honey bucket walls as they gently bumped over and over waiting to draw his attention.

Could those honey bucket walls serve as raft of rescue wings? If they could catch the current of the waves and the wind, with him on task to steer, rest, guide, stay the course, repeat … hmmm.

A life coach’s dream, two wonderful movements forward came out of that honey bucket scene:

  1. As he studied the initially perceived interruption, Chuck began to envision a way out of his stuckness,

– and –

  1. As a result, he was energized and set to work.

His brain, his body, and his hope all became engaged. The process began to flow; plans were considered and configured; and Chuck came alive again.

Sometime later, there came the day when it was time for his ship to sail. He cut the moorings and …

You’ll just have to watch the rest of the movie yourself 🙂

When the Honey Bucket’s Your Way Out

The best movies inspire us beyond the roll of credits. They coax us into steps of action and improvement to risk living life, not just exist.

If you find yourself presently relating to our friend Chuck in Castaway, let me assure you are not alone.

The truth of the matter is you are not on a literal deserted island with only a soccer ball to talk to, even though it may feel like it. There is help available for getting unstuck, which often feels like rescue itself.

Remember the child who, up to their knees in manure, excitedly declared “there’s a horse in here somewhere!” It may seem you’re up to your knees in the unsavory, but when the honey bucket’s your way out, it can sprout wings of rescue.

I’ve been there. How may I help you? We can start a conversation about your way out with a contact here.

~ Nancy

Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

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