I am indebted to Jenny Charno who inspired this conversation.
Normally when I complain, it is to be right that
It is never with the intention to access possibility. It is to make
something or someone wrong. Also, it is most often from the foundation
that someone else - not I - is to blame, and that they will do
something about it, once my complaint is heard.
This is George Bernard Shaw from his play "Man and Superman":
This is the true joy of life: being used for a purpose recognized by
yourself as a mighty one and being a force of nature instead of a
feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining
that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am struck by what a revolutionary notion it is to look for
possibility in my complaints. If I shift
(which is an already always listening for me) to "something is not
working" (which is a new assessment for which I am willing to be
responsible), I can invent a new outcome for the situation, beyond
merely stopping after complaining about it and waiting for someone else
to take the blame or to do something about it.
I can say: "I notice that something is not working here. What
possibility can I invent here, the outcome of which would transform
this situation from non-workability to workability, from complaint to
Again, this is George Bernard Shaw, later in "Man and Superman":
Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I
have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as
brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.