Ok I’ll admit that I have already failed at being complaint free in the past 24 hours. I have had to start over countless times. I made the unfortunate decision to embark on this adventure the week I did my taxes. So…. yeah.
I am not going to beat myself up. This is all part of the process. Noticing that you are complaining is the important thing.
However, day two of this and I have had some empowering insights on happiness.
I had a conversation with a friend yesterday that led to the realization that we can choose to have a good day. I wondered, “can it really be that easy? Is it as easy as just making a choice? What about our emotions? What about how we are feeling? How do you get over negative feelings?”
As I thought I about this idea I realized that it’s true. It really is that simple. We can choose which path to take.
It’s not like I haven’t had this insight before. I shared my thoughts last summer in this blog post. This idea of choosing love is still a very powerful insight for me. However, when I had this insight last summer I attached feeling with it. I am a very emotional person by nature and I tend to easily get caught up in my emotions and the path that I choose is usually determined by my emotions. This idea that I can ignore my emotional state and just choose to “have a good day” is a new idea for me. It is an idea that empowers me and gives me hope that I can move beyond negativity and, generally, be a happier person.
I am reminded of the story of Buddha when he faces Mara. I am not an expert on Buddhist folklore but when the story was told to me I remembered it something like this: Buddha is sitting still and he is tempted by Mara (kind of the buddhist equivalent of the devil). Mara attacks him with arrows but the arrows are turned into flowers by Buddha and they don’t bother him.
There is more to the story but this part is the one that is very powerful for me and always sticks with me. Buddha changing the arrows into flowers represents the fact that we have a choice. We can choose to be hurt by the arrows or we can choose to not be hurt by the arrows.
Several friends from my meditation group have been talking about this book, “A Complaint Free World” for several months. The idea in the book is to wear a bracelet and every time you complain you switch the bracelet from one wrist to the other. The goal is to go 21 days without switching the bracelet.
When I have heard them talk about this it has made me cringe and recoil something fierce. I have always believed that there is nothing wrong with complaining and that venting can even be healthy. I don’t know if this is true, but this is what I have always told myself. If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that I am a fan of “venting.” Venting has been what has kept this blog alive for more than 10 years.
On Wednesday, however, our sangha’s teacher talked about this book and, for whatever reason, instead of recoiling I accepted this idea as something I might try.
Actually, I know why I decided to listen. I have been feeling a huge sense of dissatisfaction with my life lately and I am tired of feeling this way. I feel like I need to do something to change the way my brain works. I feel like there is too much negativity up there and I am tired of living with it. So I have decided to do something about it. I am going to read this book and try to follow this program.
When I shared it on Facebook several friends showed an interest and mentioned that they “need to read this book too.” So I suggested that we read it together and chat about it.
Are you interested in reading this with me? I will be posting my thoughts about this process as I read the book so we can discuss our experience here if you want to try this too!
I had an odd dream last night. In my dream I realized that if I looked at a person long enough in their eyes they would shift into something else and the two of us would connect and recognize each other for what we really are. When we were in this altered state I could see that these people that I connected with were here for a purpose. They were working on something but I didn’t know what it was they were working on. Not everyone would shift when I looked into their eyes, only some people. I tested it out and stared into the eyes of strangers to see if they would shift – to the point of it being uncomfortable for the other person. The dream was about testing this theory about the “other”.
When I woke up and thought about it the dream reminded me a little of the John Carpenter film “They Live.”
You might already know: I love poetry. April is one of my favorite months because of National Poetry Month and I like to celebrate it on my blog every April. It’s a tradition.
I like to write one poem a day. It doesn’t always happen but I try. Most of the time what comes out is crap and not fit to see the light of day. But I will write it, get it out of me and then revisit it in a few months. Sometimes there will be a nugget of something there to work with.
NaPoWriMo encourages us to write a poem everyday in April. I will be doing that! I won’t publish a poem here everyday in April but I will post one or two or three. I think I will also read some of my favorites as well.
To kick things off here is a a recording of myself reading one of my favorites: Anne Sexton’s Music Swims Back To Me. I recorded it for National Poetry Month last year.