I’m on vacation this week, visiting my sister’s family in Arizona. I’m taking as much of a break from web surfing and blogging as possible–an Internet detox, if you will. No question–I’m experiencing withdrawl symtoms.
Scottsdale is extraordinarily beautiful today, by the way, and it is true gift to be visitng a house which as a woncerful desert/mountain view.
A bit more on refraining from complaining.
People volunteering to assist at est events agreed, among other things, to complain only to someone who could do something about it. Unhappy with how someone is handling something? Speak directly to him or her. It’s a great way to approach life.
The Christ Church Unity folks I wrote about in the previous post call their project “A Complaint Free World.” They’ll give you bracelets and bumper stickers for free if you fill out their online order form (they’ll welcome any donation you care to send in return, but they don’t require it). They also sell t-shirts with this lovely Maya Angelou quote:
If you don’t like something,
If you can’t change it,
Change your attitude.
Many years ago, I was at some est (the personal-transformation program developed by Werner Erhard) event or other, or listened to a tape of Erhard, in which he pointed out that many relationships are based on an area of common complaint. He had a real point; many friendships have complaint and gossip about bosses, coworkers, rivals, spouses, lovers, children, parents, etc. at their core.
Sometimes we need to vent, it’s true. But I think if most of us could keep track of how much of our time we spend complaining and gossiping, we’d be shocked.
The members of Christ Church Unity in Kansas City have a started a program to enable themselves to do just that, and it’s catching on fast around the country. It’s a kind of group game, in which the goal is to go 21 days without complaining or gossiping. Put on a purple wristband, and when you catch yourself uttering a complaint or sharing gossip, snap the band, move it to the other wrist, and you’re back to day one. 16 folks at the church have made it the full 21 days so far, and evidently its had a big impact on their church culture.
Whether you try this yourself or not, it’s useful to look at our relationships and see if they are based on a common complaint or a common interest. As Erhard pointed out to me 25 years ago, life’s more fun when hanging out with people working together on something positive. The Unity folks in Kansas City have discovered that simple truth themselves, and are doing a fantastic job of transforming their church’s culture.
(I heard about this from the “Daily Gratitude” email newsletter.)
The New Year’s Eve parties were great. A lovely way to end a great year.
And in the fresh-start department, I’m reorganizing my blogging life. This blog seems to have three focuses: music/cello, politics and LGBTQ issues, and observations/musings on personal/family life, etc. My instinct is to give each area its own space, so that’s what I’m doing.
This blog will focus on music. I’ve started a new blog on politics and LGBTQ issues. There’s a link to it in the “about me” section to the right, as well as a feed with the titles of the 5 most recent posts a bit further down.
I’ll set up the more personal one soon–once I’ve come up with a creative name and URL.
And happy new year!
A quick note before I go off to a couple of New Year’s Eve parties.
We often use January 1 as a time to make “resolutions,” which most of us tend not to keep very long. I have made one resolution–to switch to a (primarily) vegan diet. I’m overweight and a prime candidate for diabetes, given my large belly and family history.
A long-ago friend recently got in touch with me and in the catching-up phase of our email exchange said he’s had a great life since we last saw each other 28 years ago. I loved that–a “great life”! So much of the time I am focused on what’s wrong with my life. So inspired by my friend, I thought I’d use tonight and tomorrow to celebrate the year that past.
- My teenagers are in great health, have wonderful friends, are doing great in school, are wonderful musicans and actors, and one dances and the other swims. Neither drinks nor smokes nor seems to have any built-up resentments against their mother or I. How did that happen!
- My parents are in good health, and my mother is starting to enjoy her retirement.
- My brother-in-law had a horrible stroke that we thought would kill him or leave him severely mentally and physically disabled. In a near-miracle, he’s walking and conversing intelligently and continuing to make great strides in his recovery.
- I’ve made many new friends through my improvisation work, organized a successful summer chamber music series, and had one of the best musical years ever.
- I love teaching more than ever, too.
Oh, I just realized I’ve blogged one of those Christmas letters.
Life is good. Celebrate the joys in your own life, and Happy New Year!