Uplifting Words Challenge – Day 1

Happy September! My good friend Dave Bourdeau gave me a “do not complain” bracelet a few days ago. It inspired me to do a 30-day No Complain challenge!

Join me! Start by getting a journal today. You can use one you already have. You can use your phone or tablet. Heck, you can just post to social media.

However you do it, post something you are grateful for!

I’ll be putting together a book about this project, so any feedback you offer will be great! Here’s my draft at an introduction.
Complaining. It seems to be all around us. People complain about the weather. About the traffic. About their health. About politics. Hour after hour is invested in being angry about something in our world.
That is where this 30 Days of Uplifting Words project comes in.This isn’t about not caring. Quite the opposite – it is about caring so much that you want to spend your precious time doing something rather than whining about it.
The Uplifting Words project seeks to help us become more aware about how we invest our energy and time. We all have limited amounts of both. Our time on this Earth could end at any moment.

Every day matters.I very first began a Do Not Complain project back on April 7, 2008. I’ve started and stopped it any number of times, but each new session revitalized my energy levels and focus.
I was drawn to tackle this again when a good friend, Dave Bourdeau, gifted me with a Do Not Complain bracelet in the end of August 2019. I decided right then to start afresh with a 30-day challenge in September 2019. That formed the basis for this book. I wrote messages to myself on it in gold Sharpie. When we are participating in this project, we still make note of the things happening in the world around us. We make note of things which we’d like to be different.
And then, instead of simply ranting about it to family and friends, we find some way in which we can make a difference.
We all have different roles.
Maybe we like to write letters. We can be one of the people to send a letter in to a representative to make a voice heard. Politicians do cave to overwhelming pressure, and every voice adds into that.
Maybe we like to post on social media. We can spread the news about a problem so that more people become aware. That will trigger more voices to rise up about it.
Maybe there’s concrete action we can take in our own lives. If the issue is with childhood hunger, maybe we can volunteer time at a local food bank. Maybe we can donate some food. Maybe we can spread the word so others donate food.

There are a myriad of ways to help.
It all begins with easing back on the complaining and whining, one day at a time. With refocusing those energies and minutes to something productive. Something which will help.
Something which will make our world a better place for us all.
Let’s begin!

* * *

Here’s my full text for Day One – let me know if you have any suggestions!
The beginning of any new project is often a mixture of excitement, trepidation, and curiosity.
Will this work? Just how will it go?
For today, it’s time to lay the groundwork. If you’re able to, and want one, get a physical journal. There’s just something special about writing things down on paper. If you already have one, great! You can use that one. You can use any notepad or pad of paper.
If you prefer the electronic world, start up an area on your laptop, computer, tablet, or phone. Give it a fun name and/or icon that will inspire you.
You can also do this online. Post your entries to social media. Find like-minded friends to join in with you. It could be that the more you post, the more that others start to join in. It can build its own momentum!
So here’s your task for day one.
Post or write just one thing you’re grateful for. If you want, give thought to why you’re grateful for that item. What makes it so meaningful to you?
Think about that thing a few times during the day. Keep in mind that, with whatever other challenges you face, you have that item in your world.

* * *

I am grateful for the support of my family. I hear from other people how their parents were never around when they were growing up. How in their current lives other family members actively denigrate and scoff at the things the person loves to do.

That is wholly baffling to me. Life is so short. Why would someone spend their time ridiculing the passion of someone else? We have more than enough room in our world for all types of interests.

Every day, I know my family is cheering me on in my writing, art, and other projects. I am grateful for that.

Do Not Complain

Once again I’m renewing attentiveness to my Do-Not-Complain project, we’ll call this Reboot C1. I’ve been through so much this past month, with the server crash, data loss, and server move. I strove through it all to stay calm and focused. Getting riled up and angry would have made my tasks more difficult. It’s not that I was a doormat. I spoke up strongly and repeatedly to the hosting company in order to get things fixed. But I strove not to “whine” – I strove to lay out the issues, lay out our needs, and work hard to achieve them.

I find that positive energy works wonders. As part of this crash and data loss we lost nearly all of our Mused submissions for the upcoming issue. And with the server issues I couldn’t email the Mused community to let them know. When I finally got things working I emailed everyone with the state we were in and made a plea for them to resubmit. They all rallied, raced, and we got a normal full blast of submissions to work with! It was awe-inspiring and amazing. Everyone wanted to help.

In amongst all of this, Lulu (who I use to have some books on iTunes and Barnes & Noble) had a glitch and put live two books that were supposed to be Kindle Exclusive. Amazon immediately spotted that and they stripped ALL of my books out of the Kindle Exclusive program. I have 133 books in Kindle, and a fair portion of them were Kindle Exclusive. They had been seeing substantial sales. Rather than get angry, I took a deep breath and looked at that situation. I wrote Amazon to see if they’d undo the change. But I’m also looking at putting all my books out on all platforms. If this is to be my new situation, this could be a very good one – and thank goodness it happened with some lead time before the holidays. I have time to get everything up, live, and set (with Bob’s help) to take advantage of all those holiday purchasers. So this could be a great opportunity. If Amazon does indeed put them back into Kindle Unlimited that would be fine too. So I’m just waiting to hear which way they’re going to go.

I have so much to be grateful for. A warm house to live in. I’m making progress on the decluttering. We brought in all our potted plants and we have marigolds, peppers, lavender, saffron crocus, and all sorts of cool things growing for me. I have my artwork up in five different galleries. I’m working on an illustrated haiku chapbook that I’m really enjoying. Debi and I are working on an illustrated children’s book which I’m loving. I have wonderful friends and a darling boyfriend. To complain that life has its normal ups and downs seems silly. Half the world lives in pennies a day and barely has clothes or food. I am grateful.

Do Not Complain Reboot B1

I haven’t documented my do-not-complain project in a while. I began this back in 2008 and it is an ongoing process. I have my ups and downs, but like so much in life the benefit is in simply being aware and striving to improve.

I’ll call this round Reboot B1 – I think occasionally being attentive to the project helps.

This weekend has been a lovely one. My son is over visiting, I got to spend some time with a friend at her yard sale, and I made progress on two different novels. I’m about to publish my two short stories. We’re finalizing the latest issue of the Mused Literary Review which looks just gorgeous. And I got some lovely photos of the cosmos and morning glories in the back yard after I did yoga. So I’m feeling quite content and grateful for what life has to offer.

Do Not Complain Reboot 34 Day 5 –

Do Not Complain Reboot 34 Day 5 –

The event that tripped me up on that last round was, once again, the mess in the house. It was a relatively minor thing but I think because this is such an ongoing problem it builds and builds and then I just snap. This emphasizes for me that handling the underlying issue is key. The fact that I have stress building over time isn’t good for me or for my projects I’m working on.

I need to take a two pronged approach.

One, of course, I need to work on the mess. And I am making that effort. Every day I organize just one area. I work diligently down my to-do list. There is progress being made.

Two, though, is I have to be at peace with the current state. Living stressed until a magical day when the house is completely clean seems to be unhealthy. I need to find a place of peace in my mind where I say “yes the house is messy, and it is getting better. It’s better than it used to be. And that is all right.”

I’ve pondered why the mess bothers me so. We can’t have people over right now, and that bothers me. I’d like to have friends visit for wine or whatever and we can’t. Also, we tend to have to waste time hunting for things. I am already incredibly behind on many projects. Time spent on hunting for things is time I could have been catching up on my email backlog. So those things are like the drips of water torture. I need to change my mindset on that. This is all within my own mind.

I need to just have friends over anyway and be content that it’s messy when I do.

When I look for things, I need to look at it as an opportunity to clean. It’s not “wasted time”. It’s time I am now investing in making things better. That way each hunting expedition is actually a good thing, to help the house get cleaner.

Do Not Complain Reboot 32 Day 4

Do Not Complain Reboot 32 Day 4 –

My life isn’t always stress-free smile. What I aim for, though, is to deal with those stressors in a way that preserves my health.

My stepfather is giving me much of his old stereo equipment which I’m then selling on CraigsList. It’s been going smoothly in general, with lots of happy recipients. Then I encountered P. After various back-and-forth he arrived at noon on Sunday morning, the morning after Bob’s gig. So Bob and I were both exhausted but we woke to meet P’s requirements. We had the receiver set up, demonstrated it, and answered all his questions. He haggled with us even though it was exactly what we described. I admit I’m just not happy haggling. But we gave in and dropped the price, and even found him a sturdy box to take it in.

This morning I wake up to a hostile email from P where he’s swearing at me, denigrating me, and stating that the “stereo mode doesn’t work”.

Bob thinks he simply doesn’t understand the function of the “stereo” light, which comes on if a FM station is being received in stereo. That would not light up during normal CD or other play.

My dual aims are to preserve my own health, by not allowing stress to be created in me, and also not to spread stress in others. So I took in deep breaths and did some yoga smile.

And then I wrote P, first stating that I would not allow abusive language to be used. This is a business transaction and as adults we should be able to manage this professionally. I then explained the probable situation and said we’d take it back if he wanted. (Heck, this would be good for us, since there are other people who wanted it and who would pay full price for it as is.) I told him the only real hurdle to us taking it back at this point is that, given the hostility of his message, I wasn’t sure I wanted him in the house again.

Maybe this will have him consider the language he used – especially if it turns out he was misinterpreting how the stereo is supposed to properly work. It did preserve my own stress levels and health. If he chooses to remain hostile going forward, then that is his choice as an adult and I’ll simply cease communications. I cannot change others. I can only model the behavior I believe in and ensure the atmosphere I live in supports me.

Yelling at him wouldn’t have helped – it would have riled stress in me and spread stress to him, too. It wouldn’t be likely to create a more positive outcome. For me, the best solution all around is to handle the transaction like adults, to maintain my own calm, and if he chooses not to engage in a like manner, to move on to someone else who will.

Do Not Complain Reboot 32 Day 2

Do Not Complain Reboot 32 Day 2 –

It was the mess that did me in this time. It seems to be either the mess or food that will get to me. Fri was a long day already, and a CraigsList person had decided he’d come out Sat at noon to pick up an old receiver we were selling. And the house was a complete mess. So, 2am, I’m trying to plow through quite a lot of mess just to get the living room and kitchen presentable. And I got a bit cranky :).

It frustrates me that the house gets to a state that we can’t even have people in just those two rooms without an extensive cleaning. But I’m unwilling to take time away from my already mountainous pile of projects in order to clean it. And Bob doesn’t like strangers in the house.

I guess what we need is a friend who will come in and handle the dishes and counters and such. And then we need to be more diligent about not using these areas as storage locations for months and months.

I admit that the kitchen table is completely covered with all my watercoloring supplies right now, especially as I’m working on a cool “palette” art contest where I have to turn a large wooden palette into a unique work of art. It has to be done by Feb 25th so I have 10 days left on that. Today I’m doing some experiments with folding vellum into origami.

Are you guys attempting mindfulness about complaints?

Do Not Complain Reboot 31 Day 2

Do Not Complain Reboot 31 Day 2 –

Ooops, food did it to me yet again. I compiled a slow cook recipe book which then had me craving corned beef. Bob went out and got all the stuff, even though it was out of season, and we even bought a new slow cooker too. He went through a fair amount of effort to cook it all. The smells were wafting through the house for hours.

So I’m starving for it and finally I get it on my plate … and it’s tough, pink, and salty. My desire is totally falling apart, dissolving in the mouth, and grey. So, in my brain-addled starvation state, I became fairly petulant :). Which wasn’t quite fair to him. He went to three different stores looking for supplies and this brand was the only one available.

Now I start fresh, and once again I’m reminded not to let myself get to starvation or to get too obsessed with a specific outcome :).

How are you guys doing? It’s a fun project to try!

No Complain Project

Do Not Complain Reboot 30 Day 9 –

I found myself starting to get cranky today and thought about it. I realized two things were involved. First, I was quite hungry but kept putting off getting food so I could plow through my work load. Clearly that wasn’t a good plan :). So I took a break mid-project to get a nice salad and a glass of wine.

Second, I have TweetDeck running continuously on my PC so I can glance over occasionally and see what news is active in my feed. That lets me then forward interesting studies on health, news on ebook publishing, or so on. Usually this is a wonderful way to easily keep a quick eye on my areas of interest, by following certain hashtags.

I want to phrase this part not as a complaint :). Someone I follow enjoys swear words. They use them fairly frequently in tweets and often with unflattering intentions toward others. When I see those posts my serenity is reduced. If there’s a flurry of them in a row, it can wear at me. I use that area of my life to uplift and help others, so it impacts my mood.

I tried for quite a while to try to see them differently. To accept that we’re all unique and on different paths. But today, at last, I decided that this just wasn’t healthy for me. Yes, she can be on her own path, and that’s great! At the same time, I need to best bolster my own path. I’m just juggling so much right now that I need to make my environment best supports me in that.

So I wrote her a (hopefully) gentle note explaining that I did still like her immensely, and her posts are undoubtedly great for others, but they just can’t be in my feed any more. It’s interesting in our modern world that “unfollowing” or “defriending” can be such a traumatic experience.

But I know for me it’s the right choice.

Have you had to do that?

Do Not Complain Reboot 30 Day 3

Do Not Complain Reboot 30 Day 3 –
A good example of the process I go through. Last night (well, technically, this morning) I was curling up in bed with Bob on one side and Juliet the cat on the other. Both began snoring :). Part of me thought, “really? I’m sleepy.” But then I gave it thought. Both are in good health. We are a contented family. Would I prefer that one or both were not there?

So I gave each of them a warm hug and appreciated that they were there with me, however that happened to be. And they both stopped snoring! And life was blissful :).

I just woke up, Bob is serenading me with lovely guitar music, and I’m having my morning shake. Life is lovely.