I spent this past week with my long time partner Steve. Both SuperGeeks for Nonviolent Communication we tend to talk about and philosophize about how to be, do and teach NVC a great deal of the time when we are together. A cool thing happened this visit.
We usually put together a list of things we might do upon my arrival. After our trip to see the eclipse [a truly ecstatic experience], we chose to participate in more projects than we originally anticipated while I was in North Carolina. It made for tight scheduling, lots of thinking, and lots of opportunity to be in distress.
We began to notice our capacity to ‘forget to enjoy life’ and even drop into complaint (albeit only in tone of voice at times), with some regularity and we decided to support ourselves in finding joy! Steve’s request was to support his return to joy by inviting him to share what he is grateful for if and when I noticed his grumpy attitude. He was far grumpier than I, and more often than I, in my opinion (hehe).
What ended up happening was pretty amazing and fun!
Working on some hard, complicated projects late into the night, we had a few [read more than you might imagine] opportunities to implement our plan. What ended up happening, is the both of us spontaneously just broke into gratitudes if the other had complaint energy. This happened instead of me reminding him…or him reminding me. It seemed more efficient somehow – not that either of us thought about it – to just begin announcing our gratitudes. Because of our competitive nature the other would then start calling out their gratitudes too!
It was so much fun! All of a sudden I would hear Steve scream out, “I love my knees!, I appreciate the sun!, I am so grateful for my life!” In an instant I knew I must have had complaint energy and broke out into my own shouts of appreciation, “I love my hair!, My body supports me!, I love my fingernails!” And then we would laugh and laugh. Instant energy shift.
More than joy.
While this new way of being was just delightful, we noticed something more. Pretty much all the week something new happened consistently.
Here are a few examples.
This same project we were working on late into the night. We were putting something together that we bought online. We were pretty certain that critical parts were missing. As we got bummed out and found our joy again, we decided to just keep going until we could not continue without the missing part. Our friend walked in to check up on our progress. He was one of the people we were hoping to contribute to by doing this. We told him of our dilemma of the missing pieces. Instantly he noticed that two pieces were connected and in fact, not missing! Not only were we able to celebrate his saving the day, we were able to complete the job that night!
It turned out that I needed to buy new tires while in Asheville. This was very much NOT part of our plan and since I was driving home 600 miles the next day, my safety became the priority need. We were also hosting an event that evening – just hours away that we wanted to create materials for. We decided to work while waiting. The tire place was in strip mall.
Not wanting to sit inside and breathe the fresh scent of rubber tires in the store, we were looking to a teeny strip of green to sit on and get to work. We had a few opportunities to shout our gratitudes – needless to say. The most astounding part was how easy this was to do.
We walked toward the far end of the lot. What did we find? A park! At a river’s edge. With tables and benches. Lots of green space and quiet. Right there. [Steve has lived in Asheville for close to 20 years, and been to that strip mall many, many times, never knowing it was that this park was tucked away in the back corner of the parking lot, just for context of the miraculousness of this].
We Upped Our Gratitude Game
Steve and I were crystal clear that staying in the gratitude consciousness ~ upping our gratitude game ~ allowed some kind of opening for us to create and/or to see what we were hoping for. Consistently. It was remarkable.
Say This Not That
I would like you to take my word for it, and just do this too. And, it really doesn’t matter. Don’t take my word for it and just do this.
Find a buddy, or do it on your own. Commit to changing your point of view the instant you notice you want to complain. Try it for a day. Or better yet a week. I will be curious to read your comments to hear what happens for you!