If you have not slept, or if you have slept, or if you have a headache or sciatica, or leprosy, or thunder-stroke, I beseech you, by all angels, to hold your peace, and not pollute the morning

Complaints we know. Complaints we're good at. Most of us have already mastered the art of the complaint in all its many variations: gripe, groan, moan, kvetch, bitch, whine. Probably the only person on the face of the earth who doesn't carry on the way we do is Mother Teresa.

One of the reasons we love our close friends so dearly is that they allow us to complain knowing that we'll return the favor. But if we really love them, don't you think it's about time we started sparing them? Some of us spend half our lives griping. It's time to get a grip. When we bitch and moan we're not much fun to listen to; just because you can't see the eyes at the other end of the receiver doesn't mean they're not rolling or shut. Try new outlets to channel hostility: moan on your dialogue pages, shout in the shower, blow off steam as you walk, or scream in your car as you wait in traffic. Spirit's big enough to take it. Besides, it's all been heard before. There's nothing new under the sun.

I'm not suggesting that we suppress our negative feelings. But the petty stuff we're often foaming at the mouth about isn't worth the breath it steals. Our words are powerful, so powerful that they can change our reality - the quality of our days and nights. Moaning rarely makes either us or those around us feel better. In fact, it often makes everyone feel worse. Learning to shrug is the beginning of wisdom.

Alternatively, learn to be creative about your complaining. Barbara Sher believes "in the efficacy of complaining the way some people believe in the efficacy of prayer." In fact, she encourages "hard time sessions." In her book Wishcraft, Sher suggests that the next time you feel as though you'll explode, announce beforehand that you need a hard time session. Tell anyone in close range that you're mad, nervous, fed up, and not going to take it anymore. Tell them for the next five minutes you're going to lose it. Tell them not to pay any attention and not to take it personally. Then run amok. You'll probably end up feeling much better without having to offer apologies or wipe away tears. You may even end up laughing.

Today, if you must complain, at least be creative about it.

-Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy©1995


As you get older and your world keeps shrinking, you sometimes think with amazement of the times when you trifled away friendships - insensitive in the reckless folly of youth to the wounds you inflicted and indifferent to healing them.

I would like to paraphrase a poem by Grantland Rice. It speaks to me about daily life, and the kind of difficulties that all of us face.

Trouble is busy all about us. It tests our courage and our class. It crushes weaklings before they come to fame. But it also drives the brave into a harder fight.

Hard Luck is the one that wrecks our dreams. It follows all of us that wade into life, and breaks down the quitters before they reach their goal. It also builds the fighter's strength, and molds the brave.

Sorrow comes to all, to ensure that we do not have endless joy. Weaker souls fall before it, broken and dismayed, weeping. But braver hearts know that it belongs to them, and accept it with a serene heart, unafraid.

Defeat, through the bitter fight of life, can be more than a friend, or the most terrible of enemies. For those who quit, it is the final blow. But for the brave, who seek their chance to learn, it shows the way to triumph and success.

I guess it's all in how you look at trouble, hard luck, sorrow and defeat. Persevere, and if your heart is in it, you will win in the end. Be brave, strong, courageous, and true. Then go about your daily rounds with gratitude for the opportunities to grow and learn. Success will follow in its time. Fortune will befall you, joy will enwrap you, and the laurel wreath of triumph awaits you.

The Author
Peace and Light, Michael

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