Monday, July 13, 2009

My Attempt at a Complaint-Free World

In an effort to be more like Jesus and/or Buddha, I decided to take part in a movement called “A Complaint-Free World.”

This experiment is the brainchild of Kansas City pastor, Will Bowen, who challenged his congregation to give up complaining for 21 straight days. Participants are asked to wear a purple rubber bracelet. Each time they complain about something, they are instructed to move the bracelet to the opposite wrist to help them become aware of their habits. Eventually they will stop complaining for an entire day. Supposedly they will even be able to keep it up for 21 whole days in a row.

Pastor Bowen has nearly 6 million bracelets in circulation world-wide.

I have kept a diary of my progress and, one day, hope to join the ranks of recovered complainers…

Bracelet on, positive attitude intact, I take the kids to the pool. Whining ensues, I stand strong. Pre-teen kid belly-flops right in front of me, I give thanks for the cooling sprinkles of water that now run the words on my magazine. Snack bar’s smoothie machine breaks down.

Move the bracelet.

Bracelet on, positive attitude intact, I drive to Target. Behind a 100-year-old woman. Ten below the speed limit. With her blinker on. And I simply say a silent prayer that no one in her path dies. Bracelet stays.

All of Target’s checkout lines are four people deep. I take the time to play “I Spy,” looking for a magazine that doesn’t feature Michael Jackson. (Martha Stewart Living, btw) Bracelet stays.

Get home from Target to find I left two gallons of milk in the bottom of the cart in the parking lot.

Move the bracelet.

Bracelet on, positive attitude intact, I flip on the TV to watch Paula Deen turn a pound of butter into an edible orgasm, when all of a sudden, “We interrupt regular programming to bring you the memorial circus – er – service for the not-so-newly-departed Michael Jackson?”

Move the bracelet. Repeatedly.

(And I can’t help but wonder if, somewhere, Pastor Bowen is doing the same.)

Start my period.

Move the bracelet.

Bracelet on, positive attitude in pieces, I realize the past four days had more to do with PMS and decide to take on the challenge with a renewed state of mind.

Unfortunately, this is not the best day to try on cute new bikini for upcoming vacation.

Move the bracelet.

And go back to Target for an iced grande mocha latte with a side of brownie slab. And milk.

Bracelet on, feeling balanced and rational again, I take the kids on a long hike in the woods where I ingest no fewer than seven spiderwebs and spot two live snakes. With all my might, I give thanks for the beauty of nature, and the bracelet stays.

We come home to eight loads of laundry I had yet to fold and a living room floor covered in Styrofoam peanuts I had yet to hide from the dog. I give thanks for the life in our home, and the bracelet stays.

I tuck our kids in that night and get ready for bed, landing on a toilet rim, as the seat has been left up. For the 254th time.

Move the bracelet. Which, in my opinion, is better than flushing it.

Opt for a day of rest, just like Buddha. Leave the bracelet on my nightstand and enjoy a day free of complaints.

Obviously the bracelet must be the problem, as I hardly ever complained before it showed up.


Diane J. said...

Yep, I agree there were no complaints pre-bracelet. =)

The way I see it, I complain to stay healthy. See, when you bottle it up, it can lead to a heart-attack. So, it's a must to release.

Have a great day!

BR..K. .LL.N said...

Love it- I'd be moving the bracelet a lot more than you are.

JenJen said...

Crap! Complaining = bitching? Noticing the oddities? Damn.

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

Funny, funny post. I knew you were in trouble early on, when the smoothie machine whacked out.

A solid effort on your part, nonetheless.

LC in Hawktown said...

Love it! One consolation:Just think, when you reach peri-menopause,your fluctuating hormones will give you a good excuse to complain all month! (And turn up the air conditioning full blast on miserable summer days like today!)

Hazwani said...

This one is really good. LOL.

Will Bowen said...

Hi, this is Will Bowen, founder of A Complaint Free World. Thank you for writing about our movement and for helping us transform the world's consciousness one life at a time.

Actually a previous poster commented that complaining is healthy for you whereas as many, many research studies prove just the opposite.

If complaining were healthy for you and if you COULD actually release bottled up negativity, wouldn't the people who complain the most be the happiest, healthiest people alive? Of course they would but studies show the opposite to be true.

Just food for thought.


FRANNIE said...

I wish you could hear me because I haven't stopped laughing.

I must admit you are a bigger person than I am. If I didn't complain I'd have nothing to blog about.


Jules said...

I have to agree 100% with Pastor Bowen. We are all far more fun to be around when we smile; I just try to aid in that by making fun of myself :)

la_vie_en_shoes said...

Jules, LOVED IT! Still wiping tears out of my eyes.

I just read about the complaint free world in a magazine yesterday. It's a worthy goal, up there with competing in a triathalon.

Scarbrough-Kirk Blog said...

I was really loudly complaining about no one writing about this topic, so thanks. But I'm really mad it took you so long...

Judi said...

This is hilarious. Your writing style in this is superb! Oh man... This is so funny!

Judi said...

I left you an award on my blog, please check it out!

JenJen said...

Posted a Major Award at my blog for you. Go get it!

Diane J. said...

Hello Jules, I just tagged you as a good read (a good laugh, too) over at my blog. Hope you have a wonderful day.