Complaint Free World

I first heard about the “complaint free world” movement last month.  It was given as an example of how a good idea can take hold, get a little publicity, and spread like wildfire.  Then one of my clients mentioned she was doing the practice.  Every time she said a complaint she took a bracelet off one wrist and switched it to the other.  This morning a friend sent me a blog post on how he was doing the challenge as well.

The first time I heard about this challenge, I thought it was a great idea for other people.  However, I disregarded it for myself.  I didn’t think it was anything I needed at this point in my life.  My awareness of what I am doing is fairly developed, having worked on it for decades.  However, I tend to take notice when something passes by my attention three times.

The challenge is simply to not speak a complaint for a full 21 days.  You wear a bracelet as a reminder.  If you slip and complain, you move the bracelet to the other wrist and begin counting your days over.  The idea originated with a Will Bowen, a Unity minister, who noticed a lot of complaining around him and offered this idea as a solution for people to break the habit.  He went on to write a book which you can get on Amazon:

I began the challenge today. I’m using the bracelet in the  picture – starting on my left wrist.  Lets see how long before it moves.

The first question for me was, “What is a complaint?”  If I go outside and say, “It is cold” am I complaining or am I making an observation.  I think my strict definition will be that an observation without a judgement word will be considered a non-complaint.  For instant, “It is cold” or “I am cold” will pass, but “It is miserable out” or “It is too cold” will be a break.  The question of tone and intent comes into play.  “I am cold” with a whine would be a complaint.  However, I am not going to count that as a break, although I sense I won’t be saying anything with a whine for the next 21 days.

Gossiping is also out.  This used to be an issue for me, and I managed to wipe it out years ago.  Again, there is some gray area with this.  Any kind of talk about someone else, I question as gossip.  However, sometimes, such as in giving a recommendation to someone about another practitioner, it seems appropriate to provide my observations about the person’s style, etc.

The critical thing for me is to be aware of what I am saying and what it creates for me and the people around me.  I am looking forward to closing watching my thoughts and words for the next 21 days.  Would you join me?  I look forward to your comments below.




Luck or effort?

four leaf cloverI have a capacity for finding four-leaf clovers.  With the odds of finding a four-leaf clover at 1:10,000, it is kind of fun to be able to look down and spot one while simply walking across the grass.

This morning I found one as I did my chi gung exercises in the park.  This park is covered with clover.  The day I first visited the park, I naturally scanned the clover for the four-leafed variety.  No luck on that day.

Today was my third time to this park.  I moved myself onto a nice piece of grass to practice and casually scanned the surrounding clover.  As I went through my routine, I contemplated under what types of circumstances I found four-leaf clovers.

If I was just sitting down going through all the clover I rarely found one.  This type of focused approach was not usually productive, or at least not very efficient.  On the other extreme, not even looking at the clover was likewise non-productive.  If I paid no attention to the clover, finding one with four-leaves would be unlikely.  So, somewhere in between was the magic.  I needed to look, but the best approach was to look only where there was a four-leaf clover.  Is that possible?

My most predictable method for finding clovers was this:  I would look down and the pattern of four leaves would catch my eye.  Of course, many times when I bent to investigate more closely, the pattern was just adjacent clovers seeming to form one.  However, many times the pattern did indeed belong to a four-leaf clover.

This morning as I contemplated the technique: look only where there was a four-leaf clover and trust my capacity, I glanced down and found my four-leaf clover.

This affirmed a life-approach question that has been in my mind for the last couple of weeks.  Is “easy does it” a viable approach to achieving lives goals?  How much effort do I need to exert to reach my goals?  Is it possible to live life from a place of effortlessness and still accomplish a lot?  What makes things happen?

Certainly, no effort will not work.  Yet it seems that the most potent part of the system was the intention to find a clover (or reach my goals), trusting my capacity, being mindful of the proper opportunities, and applying effortless effort at the right moment.  The eyes move… the clover is found.  Simple.