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Jun 13

Gratitude or Complaint


Do you have a favorite holiday?  I certainly do. It’s Thanksgiving. I think it’s because I was born near Thanksgiving and in fact, for most of my formative years, I thought all of America was celebrating My birthday!  (Now that’s a great way to develop good self-esteem…)


Thanksgiving, Gratitude, Appreciation have all been very important themes in my life – so, you can imagine that it came as quite a shock to me when not long ago, I was sitting on my comfortable purple wing back chair in my peaceful, green living room, having a conversation with my business coach.  When out from the mouth of the speaker  phone, I distinctly heard him say – Toni – all you ever do is complain. 


You’ve been doing nothing but complaining since the first time we started to work together.  All I hear from you is Complaint, Complaint, Complaint.


Wow!  That was a shock.  Not me – I’m one of the most positive people I know.  After all, I really believe that It’s a wonderful world.  I believe that the Universe is a friendly place.  I see the Good in everything and everyone. (well – almost everyone!)


For heavens sake, I even teach people to create gratitude journals, to live in appreciation and find the positive aspects about every situation. I’m always talking about focusing on the good. I do this for a living.


Did he know who he was talking to? I quickly moved back away from the phone (as if that would help what I was hearing) and decided then and there that he clearly hadn’t heard anything I had been saying all those months we were working together – surely, he didn’t understand me –– He must have ME mistaken with someone else….  I was not a happy camper.


I see complaining as the direct opposite of gratitude and that just wasn’t the image I ever held of myself. 


He went on to tell me – it’s subtle but nonetheless true,

you never think that you are doing enough, or that what you ARE doing is good enough and I’ve even noticed that most of the goals you have set are because you feel like YOU are NOT ENOUGH.  Toni – I call that constantly complaining…


WHEW!   I didn’t like what I was hearing ONE bit –and so, I did what any high self-esteem person would have done at the moment –  I ended my relationship with him!


After spending some time COMPLAINING about this coach to my friends!! – I began to take a closer look at my life and what I was saying and thinking – albeit unconsciously. And, so, IF YOU PROMISE NOT TO COMPLAIN –  I will share with you today all the complaints that I have let go of since and how that has radically changed my life.


If you are complaining at all – you can’t be feeling and living in gratitude.  I suggest we prepare for Thanksgiving this year by beginning to  NOTICE the number of ways we complain in life and make a commitment to letting go of all complaints.


This goes along with the message I gave here last month about allowing everything to be okay – it’s just a little more subtle…


So – what do I mean about letting go of complaints -That means – the complaints you have about things not going your way – perhaps with the economy – or the govt;- or maybe we should start with something easier like your neighbors, you job or in your relationships;


the complaints you have about other people’s stupidity or lack of insight (which means they don’t think like you!) –


the complaint that says – I wish I were somewhere else or doing something else… When we aren’t accepting what is exactly as it is, we are actually complaining!


DISTRACTIONS from the present moment are a way of our being UNGRATEFUL for what is. 

Whenever we fail to focus on what we are doing, we are in effect criticizing it – wanting to do something else.

(I told you this was subtle.)


What did you complain about this past week?  Yesterday?  This morning?

Remember that What we focus on increases – When you complain, you are actually inviting the Universe to give you more to complain about!!


Do you want to know God more and to allow the perfect plan for your life to present itself in you?  Then rather than complain about things as they are – begin to NOTICE only what is RIGHT in your life and in all your affairs.


You will notice that if you start conversation with criticism all join in…and if you start with praise, the same happens.


Mrs. Jones entertained at a musical afternoon in her home.  The feature was a great and well known violinist.  When it was all over, everybody crowded around the musician.

I’ve got to be very frank with you, one of the guests said.. I think your performance was terrible. 
Whereupon the hostess interposed:: Pay no attention to him.  He doesn’t know what he is talking about.  He only repeats what he hears everyone else say.


Find something to appreciate in everyone you know.

If you find yourself in a conversation today where others are complaining – gently but deliberately turn the tide of the conversation to WHAT IS WORKING. We Get what we focus on in life.


Do you want more wholeness in your physical body?  Then praise the evidence of life and health that you already have, and the divine intelligence within your cells will be encouraged to create even greater wholeness and well-being. Even our bodies respond more to LOVE Than to criticism. (my personal story lately!….)

DO you want more prosperity?  Begin to truly APPRECIATE what you do have – whatever resources you do have,  – stop looking at what isn’t there and look at what IS instead and you will find that and what you have will multiply in new and creative ways


Forbes Magazine

If we noticed little pleasure, as we notice little pains

If we quite forgot our losses and remembered all our gains

If we looked for people’s virtues and their faults refused to see

What a comfortable, happy, cheerful place this world would be.

There is a story told about a woman Zen master named Sono who taught one very simple method of enlightenment. She advised everyone who came to her to adopt an affirmation to be said many times a day, under all conditions. The affirmation was, “Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.”

      Many people from all arenas of life came to Sono for healing. Some were in physical pain; others were emotionally distraught; others had financial troubles; some were seeking soul liberation. No matter what their distress or what question they asked, her response was the same: “Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.” Some people went away disappointed; others grew angry; others tried to argue with her. Yet some people took her suggestion to heart and began to practice it. Tradition tells that everyone who practiced Sono’s mantra found peace and healing.

      Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.      Can you imagine what your life would be like if you simply dropped your complaints? It’s a radical proposal, since most of us have been trained to question, analyze, and criticize everything we see.

I used to teach critical thinking – and it’s an important skill to master – but, I found after a while that I was more easily noticing what was wrong with things than what was right.  Does anybody else see themselves in this or am I alone?

And, then, of course, we end up questioning, analyzing, and criticizing ourselves. Then we miss out on joy, the only true measure of success.

Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.

      Perhaps there is a voice inside you objecting, “But if I did not complain, people would walk all over me and if we stopped complaining about our government – terrorists would keep crashing airplanes into buildings, and, selfish opportunists would genetically manipulate our food  and all kinds of new viruses would creep into our lives –and–Got it.

      Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.  When you are truly living that, you can’t help but experience gratitude.  And, the next step after FEELING gratitude is acting out of gratitude – which is acting in service. 

I’d like to suggest this month that you consider the organizations and people you complain about – maybe even this Church — and then ask – HOW CAN I SERVE those very people and organizations? 

Where have you found yourself saying THIS needs to be done… Why isn’t anyone doing  x?   What in your life do you believe SHOULD be happening?  What are YOU doing about it?  


Listen how often you say HE SHOULD be doing… or – we need to….  If you’d said that or thought that – I’d like to tell you what Emma Curtis Hopkins, mystic and early New Thought teacher –  once said – If an idea comes to you about what needs to be done, it is YOURS TO DO..   (REPEAT)…


Whenever you are complaining – it is really your intuitive voice calling you to SERVE!  Now, how’s that for a reframe!!


I have a favorite poem about this that I’d like to share with you today… You might have heard it. It goes:


 There once were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

An important job had to be done, and everybody was sure that somebody would do it. 

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. 

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. 
Everybody thought Anybody could do it and that Somebody would do it.

But Nobody realized that Everybody thought Somebody would do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.


So – NO COMPLAINTS – and if you do complain, ask instead HOW YOU CAN SERVE and– find things to APPRECIATE.


I’d like to make a distinction between gratitude and appreciation.

Often, there is so much in the nuances of life. For me, the difference between gratitude and appreciation is one such nuance.  I used to keep a gratitude journal, now I write pages about what I appreciate.


Gratitude often points you towards a struggle you’ve overcome and so You’re happy that you’re out of it – some of your energy might still be on what you overcame. Sometimes we are grateful for what didn’t happen – like after being sick, we often feel grateful for our health.  Or when something we don’t like happens, we’re often grateful that it wasn’t worse.

Even when we receive something from someone else.. If we think we have to repay a debt – that’s not the best of energies.

Appreciation – on the other hand – aligns you with the Source within you. It’s a very different vibration.

Try it for yourself. Say the following, and feel the difference within you:

“I am so very grateful for __________________.”

“I have so much appreciation for ______________.”

Appreciation is a vibrational alignment with who I have become; It’s Me being in sync with the whole of who I am. Seeing what I am looking at through the eyes of Source.

You could walk down the street and other people see things to criticize.  But, when you are in a vibration of appreciation, you wouldn’t see them – because you are seeing as God sees. 

So, I invite you to start making lists of the positive aspects of the people and situations in your life– You might even give them or send them to the people you are writing about.

HT Webster, the newspaper cartoonist, amused himself one summer day by sending telegrams to twenty acquaintances selected at random; each message containing the one word, CONGRATULATIONS.   So far as he knew, not one of them had done anything in particular to be congratulated on:: But each took the message as a matter of course and wrote him a letter of thanks.  Everyone of them had done something that he himself regarded as clever and worthy of a congratulatory telegram.


If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say?  And why are you waiting?

Spend the next few weeks finding people and things to appreciate – Commit to Letting go of all complaints.


Look for reasons to feel good.  Focus on your favorite things –

Look for the things you like and don’t give attention to anything else.

I think you’ll find that – IT’S TRULY –  A WONDERFUL WORLD.



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