It’s Wednesday. Woe day and Carol finds time to write. Some how I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Wednesday and woe are such a natural pairing in my brain. How I want to change that channel. It isn’t easy.
To this end, I picked up yet another book at the library. This one is called, A Complaint Free World: Take the 21-Day Challenge by Will Bowen. The book came home with me on Saturday. I’ve read up to page 12. Despite how little I’ve read, I’ve been captivated by the main action idea that the book proposes. It is this: Wear a bracelet, watch, or rubber band on your wrist or put a coin or doodad in a pocket. Every time you catch yourself complaining, gossiping or criticizing out loud, you switch the item to the other wrist or pocket.
Okay, so this is even a little gimmicky for me and yet. . .how simple. I have a bracelet and a wrist watch, a coin or two and lots of doodads. Complaining is weighing me down. When I focus on the negative it grows, feeding itself like some scary monster out to destroy the world, my world. Other people’s negativity can really light up my frustration buttons probably because I’m so darned good at it myself.
“Imagine what your life might be like if you changed your thinking,” my inner voice says.
And, I do. I want to live in this place. I want to let go of the crazy stuff that holds me back and gets in my way, the thinking that “rains on my parade.” Then I start to question.
Is this level of optimism possible?”
Would it require that I take leave of my senses?
Would I devolve into some blissed-out, hot-psychotic mess?”
Do I care?”
A greater degree of contentment seems worth the price of a bit of sanity at least, if not all.
I snap a simple bracelet on my wrist and begin monitoring my less than positive, less than noble, less than helpful words. Minutes later, I move the bracelet for the first time. In the few days since Saturday, I’ve lost count of the times I did the “old bracelet switcheroo.” I’m beginning to worry that the bracelet is going to give out long before I’ve tamed the neg monster.
The book says it takes an average of 4 to 8 months. I might be a really tough case. It may take me longer. I ponder this a moment. Thinking negatively or critically or unkindly doesn’t result in having to switch the bracelet. Thoughts have a way of popping into your head uninvited. A lot of my thoughts can never be said out loud. I’m a regular verbal axe murder if given the opening or provocation. No, what counts is what is spoken and it really does count. This is proving to be really hard but incredibly valuable.
In this simple activity, I’m starting to pay a lot more attention to what I’m saying and whether or not it serves a good purpose.
As much as I love a good rant, (I consider myself a rant artiste!”) I’ve found that frustration feeds itself. It doesn’t solve a thing and it doesn’t make me feel any better. In fact, it makes me feel worse. Bracelet switching is teaching me something. There are times when I switch my bracelets so often, so quickly, I look like a paraplegic belly dancer. (Using arms to convey the dance. No slurs on paraplegics intended. Just creating a visual.)
Today, around 2 p.m., the frustration of trying to motivate the unmotivated broke through. On my way home, I was so busy criticizing and being negative that had I switched bracelets, I probably would driven off the road and caused by-standers to suspect I had a seizure. Fortunately, I was saved from further decline into a maelstrom of frustration by my car mate and neighbor who told me she gets to see a 3-month old baby and hold it for the first time this afternoon after she gets home. If I wasn’t driving, I would have hugged her. Simple talk of this baby melted the ugly critical, arm flapping, maniac, I had become.
Her words changed the course of my thoughts. Words can be that powerful. We exchanged pleasantries of how wonderful a baby smells even when it isn’t smelling that wonderful. Once I got in the house and was greeted with, “How was your day?” I was able to answer, “I can’t really talk about it without being negative so I’m not going to say a thing.”
Making a cup of tea, I change into clothes of comfort and begin to write. I had no idea how hard this would be when I slapped on a bracelet last Saturday. I also had no idea how important this would become and big a role a little awareness can play in making over my life.