Bitch & Complain

Bitch and complain! This is what I hear most days.

“I can’t-do it!” “My skin is the wrong color!” “No one will give me a chance!” “I don’t have the money!”

Keep bitching and complaining and I ask, “How’s that working for you?”

Keep posting your woe is me story all over Facebook looking for sympathy and again I ask, “How’s that working?”

Sympathy is not what we need. Get off your ass and make things happen. No one ever got ahead from bitching and complaining how bad their life is. No one ever gets ahead by bitching and complaining. Frankly, no one wants to hear it.

So stop bitching and complaining and make something happen! If you need help, ask.

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Time

I greet you with hands clasped together in gratitude for being given another opportunity to grace this earth. For being able to take another breath and enjoy the things in my life which brings a smile to my face. For my eyes and being allowed to see my beautiful wife, children and grandchildren and whatever else graces my view throughout the day.

I have spent quite a bit of time in thought thinking about how I spent this past Sunday. I was on call for Crisis Services. Despite this and my usual Pavlovian response as I nervously wait for my phone to ring; I decided to relax and spend the day the way I wanted to spend it. When I’m on-call I make no concrete plans because a call can come in at any time. As I grow older I see less and less value in filling each day with concrete plans. There are things which need to be done, tasks which need to be completed. Those will get done for there is little which needs to get done at that moment. I found the world will not cease turning if something is left undone.

Jack and I rose and we went for our usual Sunday morning walk. Before returning to the inside of the house, we perched ourselves on the front porch and based in the solitude of the morning. There is, for me no other time of day which brings so much joy. The morning paper was where it is normally tossed by the delivery read and the CBS Sunday Morning News was watched. There remained two cups of coffee in my thermos. I chose to take those outside and sit. To simply sit.

The morning paper was where it is normally tossed by the delivery person. It sat protected in its orange cocoon protecting it from the elements which may have otherwise disturbed my ability to read its contents with some modicum of joy. Jack watched as I ground beans for my morning coffee. As his eyesight fails at his age of 15-years, his eyes grow cloudy with cataracts, he thinks he is going to be fed again. I allow him to smell the freshly ground beans. he takes a quick sniff and turns his head away in obvious disgust as he realizes this treat is not for him. read and the CBS Sunday Morning News was watched. There remained two cups of coffee in my thermos. I chose to take those outside and sit. To simply sit. I have this new coffee an Instagram friend suggested I try. Don’t tell my friends at Death Wish coffee, but I really enjoy this smooth taste. All of the information if you’d like to find them on the Internet and give them a try is right on the bag.

coffee

For those of us who reside in the year 2017, sitting and doing nothing is difficult. We all know this and many of agree using one of the excuses which make every hair stand on end; “I just don’t have the time!” First of all, this is Bullshit!!!! We have nothing but time. It is all in how we choose to spend the time we have. So, when done correctly, the ability to sit and do nothing productive, is, in fact, a momentous achievement. There are some people who see me doing nothing as defined in their terms because whatever activity in which I am engaging does not fit their definition of productivity. These are the people who would disagree with me. That’s too bad because I find reading, lying in my hammock, playing with my grandson, writing, smoking a cigar and drinking a couple fingers of a good whiskey are being productive.

coffee

In the past, I had struggled with sitting quietly alone. I felt like I need to be in perpetual motion. It seems as though the minute I sit my brain begins to wander. My eyes also wander. I begin to see things around the house which may or may not require my attention. Most certainly those things do not require my attention at that time. My son joined me. We both noted it had taken him 4 hours to clean his car inside and out. It’s not that the car was that dirty, it’s that he stopped several times, sat and we talked.

I have a salve for my spirit. It comes in the form of silence, of solitude. When I am physically able to run, it comes in the solitude which I feel during a run and which accompanies my spirit for some time after the run has concluded. It also comes in the form of reading, journaling and smoking a good cigar. My entire professional life I have found myself chained to a calendar and a clock. Questions abound such as “Do I have enough time to do this or that?” These things have resulted in a perpetual feeling of anxiety; of being on-edge. When I apply the salve, which ever one I have chosen, the grip which anxiety has had on me begins to weaken. The difficulty arises when I do not apply the salve as often as is recommended. When I neglect an application, I feel out of place. My mind wanders and guilt, self-imposed guilt reenters or should I say I allow it to reenter. I regret now not doing more in my work life to disrupt that configuration.

Try it sometime. You might actually become addicted to “not doing anything productive.”

namaste

“I can’t…”

I greet you with hands clasped together in gratitude on this gray morning.

I was asked the other day why I write. I write for one or two basic reasons. I write because it is a release for me. Writing allows me to have a therapy session on paper. Like most people, I have few others in my life who I can trust that they will be honest with me. Honest feedback is what we need. It is what I need and crave. Many years ago I did not crave the honest feedback. It hurt. Hurt is something from which we turn and run. We remember the path and we remain a safe distance from the path.

When I write, I write about life lessons which have impacted my life. There are lessons which are both good and bad. Like most people, I enjoy the positive life lessons and try from time to time to ignore the negative lessons. The negative lessons are the ones which “make me feel bad.” God do I hate this phrase too! There is nothing in life which can make us feel anyway. We choose our response which is colored by the lenses of our perceptions. Enough about this for this is a topic for another day and another time. Anyway, I write to share the life lessons which I have learned.

If we allow ourselves to pay attention to the lessons which we perceive to be negative, hurtful, however, you’d like to label them, then you’re missing out on a lot. There is often more to learn in what we perceive as negative lessons. We can learn how strong how resilient we are or can be. When we make decisions which are not in our best interest, we can learn who we can trust and who in our life we know will be there for us.

There is a word which I hear many times during the day. I have said this word myself and am mindful of the power which I allow this phrase to have when I do use it. The word is “can’t.” The phrase in which we use this word, often without thought is “I can’t.”

In my position as a social worker, I hear this word throughout the day, by clients and staff alike. One day after hearing this word said by one client at least a dozen times, I decided to make a hash mark on a piece of paper every time I hear the word. The photo below is what I came up with.  So you don’t have to spend your time counting the vertical marks, I’ve done it for you. 87 times! 87 times today alone and this was just during the time I spent in my office between 9 AM and 5 PM.

hash-marks

“I can’t.”

Bullshit!

Yes you can!!

Be honest with yourself and honest with others. When you don’t want to do something, tell the individual you won’t. When you remain stuck in the world of “I can’t” you are lying to yourself and to others. Be honest.

I love this saying. I received this as a gift in 1990 from an Executive Director from whom I learned so much as a therapist. I work hard every day to live by these words.

If you cantthink you’re being honest with yourself and others when you say “I can’t…” Please keep walking. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. If you want to tell me you don’t want to help me, that’s cool. I get it. I respect you for your honesty. Now, not everyone will be as easy as I am with your honesty, then I say the Hell with them. Do you really need or want that kind of negativity in your life?

Have you ever really looked at the facial expression of someone when they utter this phrase? Their forehead is wrinkled, their nose scrunched up; their facial countenance is what I would think one’s face would look like when a pile of freshly minted dog feces is passed immediately below one’s nose. We need to show everyone just how genuine and genuinely sorry we are that we “can’t” help them. It is this facial expression which we believe we need because it makes our lie more believable.

We stay away from I won’t because we are concerned we’ll have to explain ourselves, our decisions. So what! Grow a pair and stand up for yourself.

To sum it up; Stop saying “I can’t!” Grow a pair. Pull up your big boy or big girl panties and own your decisions. If you don’t you will allow others to own them. Then you’ll end up in my office because you’re anxious because “people just don’t understand me.”

You’ll live a happier life with less stress and less anxiety. Then you won’t need to come to see me.