I’m an early riser, usually up by 5am. First I turn up the heat. There’s a part of me that grumbles about how long it takes to warm up, and another part that says, “Give it a minute. It’s not magic. But the technology IS amazing and it’s working as fast as it can.” Then I turn on my computer. It always takes a few moments for the wireless internet to connect. Part of me gets impatient, but part of me remembers the quote from Louis CK, “Can you give it a second to get back FROM SPACE.”
Louis’ famous comedy routine, “Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy” is so on target. Louis was flying next to someone who complained about losing his internet connection mid-flight. “How quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only 20 seconds ago.”
We complain because we were delayed for 20 minutes. “Then what happened”, Louis said, “Did you fly through the air incredibly, like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of flight?” We complain because it takes 5 hours to travel from New York to LA. In the old days it took 30 years and a bunch of your family would die on the way.
If we really understood the miracle of flight, and the wonder of modern technology, we would spend the whole flight holding our heads and screaming, “Oh my God! Oh my God! We’re sitting in a chair, flying in the sky.” Instead we complain that the seat won’t recline far enough.
We expect so much, and are so hard to satisfy. The speed of light is too slow for us these days.
I’m setting the intention to stamp out complaining in my life. A recent morning was the nail in the coffin of complaining. I woke as usual at 5 and grizzled about the cold. The first thing I read about once my internet kicked in was the story of a Syrian family of 4 who had fled to Lebanon in the summer dressed in t-shirts and shorts and carrying what they could. Now that cold weather is hitting that part of the world, the father of the family Mohamed Khair Al-Oraiby said this,
It will be winter outside and winter inside. We already wake up early because it is so cold.
How can I complain about my climate controlled life, with all my incredible luxuries and choices, while this family freezes in a situation beyond their control?
I’m guarding my life, and especially my precious early mornings, as a complaint free zone. I have SO much to be thankful for, and not just climate control and super fast internet. I have an amazing family in various states of awake and asleep at 5am. There’s something about a quiet house that makes me love them even more. Not to mention the house itself, the belongings, the incredible work opportunities, the Lake, the woods…….
If I truly appreciated HOW MUCH I have in my life, the miracle and gift of life, I should be going through the day holding my head and screaming, “Oh my God! Oh my God! I’m living a dream of good fortune.”
Some days I get in a funk about my life; wonder what the future holds. It sometimes feels like a struggle. But, compared to many people, and with a little perspective, I can only see my life as a gift.
Just in case the news of the Syrian family was not enough to shock me out of complaining, I look up some mornings to see a giant moon hovering over me out one window and the sun rising out another. It reminds me of the quote from the great mystic Rumi,
After all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, “You owe me.”
Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.
Yes, my life from here forward, will be a complaint free zone. When I lapse, as I will, I will look to the sun for a reminder of what it is to live without expectation that the world owes me something and without a sense of entitlement. Life is more than good. It is a drop dead miracle and a gift. The only appropriate response is gratitude and multiple daily choices to pay this gift forward.