Believe it or not my inner complainer was in full bloom during a nine-day vacation in Belize. Yes, when I was at my most privileged – getting to snorkel and scuba dive at a remote atoll – I was complaining (and not always to myself!). So much for my New Year’s resolution. And what was my inner complainer harping upon? Mostly the weather (it was cloudy, cold and windy almost every day), but also the food (despite assurances, they did not have any vegetarian entrees, so I had a lot of mashed potatoes and coleslaw). I had one truly justifiable complaint – the owners of the island on which we stayed were nasty to their employees and treated them terribly disrespectfully – but really, the weather?
I think my inner complainer was so alive and active because of how many expectations I had wrapped up in the trip. I envisioned calm seas, sunny days, and warm weather during which I’d snorkel for hours. Normally, I don’t “look forward” to vacations, but this trip to Belize was fraught with hopes and dreams and visions of what it would be like. When my expectations weren’t met, I was disappointed.
This was such an important reminder to stay present, shelve expectations as they pop into my mind, and meet what appears in life with acceptance. My friend Erica, who had joined me on the trip, had such a good attitude. The “bad” weather didn’t bother her a bit. She was happy to knit if the weather was too cold and the seas too rough for snorkeling. I marveled at her lovely and impressive equanimity.
I need to work on my New Year’s resolution more resolutely, and I think that I’ll begin by focusing on what is most good, instead of what is most disappointing. This is a new twist on the MOGO principle that I would do well to cultivate. I think it’s also time to add to my New Year’s resolution not just a negative imperative (stop complaining) but a positive invitation (cultivate gratitude).
Please wish me fortitude and continued perseverance!
By the way, lest you think I was a grumpy complainer the whole trip, please stay tuned for more blog posts on the amazing and wonderful experiences I had in Belize.
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind and Claude and Medea
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