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03 November 2007

Learn what it looks like not to complain

Okay. This got me. It really got me. Not only because of the spirit of the young man featured, but because of the depth of love and devotion shown by his father. That is sheer, breathtaking love. And if I ever needed a kick in the butt to stop complaining, this is it. Thanks to Jeannie at Living on Purpose where I found this story.

Sometimes we just need that kick in the butt, don't we? And so, now being Day Six of Day One of my complaint-whine-gripe-gossip-free challenge, I'm turning to others for help and inspiration. Rick and  Marilyn (when is something a complaint and when is it stating a fact?) and Carmen and Lela are all sharing new insights from the experience, the attempt, the mindfulness that this challenge brings--are there others on the journey?

Kate offers me wisdom from The Biology of Belief about how our thoughts and internal, subconscious scripts create us, our reality. Kikipotamus the Hobo fascinated me with her challenge reflection about "first purpose." Chris Corrigan intrigued me with the thought that our words create our road, that "we are all the same size, spiritually."

And Christine, the one who started us on this path, wouldn't leave us hanging without support and direction--she also offers keen advice for those of us who are struggling with the impossible: It's not about perfection, she says. And here's the mantra she offers that makes so much sense to me: "I make requests rather than complain."

While I am failing by some measure at this challenge (by a measure of time passing, which may not be the ultimate measure of success in this case), I am surpassing my expectation in the form of learning. What have I learned? That I am sometimes angry disproportionately to the catalyst for anger. What is that about? That without the mindfulness that has come with this challenge, I can sink into negativity too easily, and shockingly so. That sarcasm is my complaint of choice. It sometimes deflects discomfort, a sure laugh, a disarming. Go for the laugh, not the truth. It is a deflection, not an honesty. It is intended to cut, not heal. It sometimes measures intelligence, the witty bon mot, but not character.


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Hold on...I have to get some more Kleenex...

When I woke this morning, I thought about how today would be Day 3, having successfully convinced myself I'd gotten through two days of not complaining. But that thought was immediately followed by this one: I want to start over today with Day 1. Here's why... I felt a lot of anger the past few days (re a work issue). And although I technically wasn't complaining, I was gaining a little too much satisfaction standing next to those who were. This challenge, for me, isn't about parsing words (well, except when I'm trying to justify myself to J.) ;) ... it's about intent. And my intentions the past few days weren't anywhere near where I want them to be.

Thanks for the good cry--it was just what I needed.

Thank you for the great links, esp to Christine Kane's list of suggestions.

This video is so beautiful.

Thanks for the connection to the video Patti...I just went from a "5" on the 1 - 10 scale, to a "10". I was struggling with staying positive today and that just sent me soaring off the top of the scale! So beautiful and inspirational.

what a wonderful, wonderful story. what a joyful young man. thank you for sharing it.

All words aside, the beatific smile on Patrick's face as he finishes Claire de Lune did it for me. I'll be playing this video over and over just to get to that smile...and to laugh as he describes his dad messing up in the marching band formations.

Patti--thanks for finding this, and all the other great things you bring to the attention of your readers. Oh...and, did I mention the great worth of your own passionate writing?? Thanks, again and again.

Thanks. I've been working on the complaint-free challenge and am becoming more aware of my words and thoughts, but this video shows what can be done if, instead of complaining and whining, one looks for positive possibilities and goes for them.

I am thankful to Asthma for the years spent struggling for air and I am thankful to my friend Richard for surviving and living with locked in syndrome...He is really living
as in, remarried and another child, art in the works and his spiritual life intact and growing....

When anyone around me complains or begins to explain how they are surviving rather than thriving- I remind them that they are not bleeding out, not suffocating or experiencing heart attack or stroke, therefore they are thriving, whether they choose to be aware of it or not.
I remind myself of this too as I take breathing for granted and am living more normally than ever before.

locked in syndrome: one is unable to move, yet, able to feel everything. From the mosquito biting to the painful muscle spasms.

In Richard's case he knew he was thriving while he spent the first year getting to be able to sit upright in a special wheel chair.
Now he can move a few fingers and type, etc.
He can make sounds, some are almost audible.

Marilyn - I know what you mean about the Kleenex...and I think you've hit the nail on the head with the word "intention."

Kikipotamus the Hobo - you're welcomed for the links - and I think Christine has such great, realistic suggestions...

Jill - it really is beautiful in so many ways - thanks for sharing your response to it.

Kate I - how can we all stay at a "10," I wonder? Doesn't it feel fantastic to be there? And yet, it's so hard to maintain...I wonder why?

Leah - thanks for your note and response to the video...

Rick - I love that moment, too. The one that really gets me is when I realize that it is his dad pushing him on the football field. And thanks for your very generous words about 37days...

Jenclair - it really is a great testament to outlook and framing, isn't it?

Grace with ease, T - Your distinction between surviving and thriving is really profound to me, my thanks.

i'm still behind, but i had to save and watch/read this one again. thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us! i wanted to comment on what you said about sarcasm. this has also been my issue in relating my complaints. i have worked had to keep sarcastic comments to myself and even try to ban them from my thoughts. especially since a friend told me that the word 'sarcasm' comes from a greek word meaning 'to tear flesh'. that really put into perspective for me what i was doing to people i care about.

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