9/14/2015

40 Day Challenge: No Complaining

40 Day No Complaining Challenge by Ashley Neese

Good morning friends! I am happy to be back home in Los Angeles after an intensive women’s retreat this past weekend. I’d been getting up at 3:45 to meditate every morning and I slept until 7:30 today – it felt so good. There is nothing like that first night of rest in my own bed after a retreat. Sinking into the cozy sheets with a heart full of gratitude and a super tired body. Today I feel energized and excited about a challenge I am undertaking and I would love for you to be part of it.

Something that came through really clearly for me over the weekend was that I am ready to give up complaining. It has absolutely no place in my life anymore and I want to take that energy and put it to good use. Complaining is an insidious habit. It seems like it’s nothing in the moment, but in reality it narrows our view and keeps us from living in abundance and prosperity.

Our words carry energy. Our own sound currant is a powerful force that we can use to widen our perspective and heal ourselves, or perpetuate cycles of dis-ease and scarcity. Think about it. Every time you complain about something you are giving it your energy. What usually follows is sinking your hooks into a story that preserves an attachment to a core belief.

This can sound a bit abstract so let’s break it down with an example from my weekend.

I complained about the food on the retreat. It wasn’t my only complaint, but it taught me a great deal about myself when I took the time to really explore what was behind the words.

Was it my favorite food in the world? No. Was it how I would prepare food at home? No. Was it enough nourishment to get me through the weekend? Yes. Did I bring my supplements on retreat to take care of myself? Yes.

When I complained about the food it took my awareness out of the present moment and I started thinking about other retreats I’d been on with better food. Then I went into how I would do it differently if it was my retreat (ego). From there I slid into scarcity about how my body wasn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals and my whole story about the current way I am eating to heal x-y-and y. From there I got to the core belief that there is something wrong with my body and that I doubted its ability to heal on its own. This inevitably dulled my frequency and in that space it’s very difficult to invite in love and miracles.

I get that this might sound like an extreme example, but is it?

Think about the last time you complained about something and then spend some time unpacking it. What is the belief behind the complaint?

If it’s hard to take it that far just pay attention to how complaining makes you feel. That will give you a very clear entry point into the places in your life you need to do some work.

Going through this exercise it’s now very easy for me to see that there is a great deal of energy present each time I complain. It became clear to me over the weekend that if I want more love and prosperity in my life I need to step away from the diminishing frequency of complaining and step into the light of blessing.

Just like a complaint, a blessing carries an energy current that shifts our state. It’s been well researched that the happiest people are not the people with the most money or the least amount of hardship. The most joyful people choose to live in gratitude and are dedicated to blessing each challenge as an opportunity to grow. The more we bless the more we reprogram our core beliefs to match our true spirit which has everything to do with love and nothing to do with scarcity.

Each time we complain we strengthen our core beliefs that do not serve our highest good, we also lose access to our intuition. This is key, especially as women. If you want to enlarge your spiritual capacity and deepen your intuition you must stop complaining.

All of the great spiritual teachers I’ve admired over the years have this in common: they don’t complain about the stuff that happens in their daily lives. They understand that this depletes their inner power and has no place in true, heart centered leadership.

As I take another leap into my role as a teacher I believe with my whole heart that creating discipline around refusing to complain will make me happier, more resilient, and give me a greater capacity to be of service.

Because I’ve never been good at changing behaviors cold turkey, every time I catch myself in a complaint I am going to turn it around with a blessing. This gives me a quick way to change the energy from dull to light. On days when I’m really aware of my complain-y thoughts I will change them into blessings before the words come out of my mouth. I just got a jolt of energy writing that, I think we’re onto something major here!

I have no doubt this will be a confrontational practice. I am ready. Some days I will have to fake it until I make it and that is 100% okay with me. It is a tall order to change a habit I’ve had since I can remember. It’s going to take effort, patience, practice, and community.

I am ready.

I want to participate in the constant flow of love that is happening through us in every moment. A quick way to access that healing is to make a serious effort to bless every time I want to complain. Blessings keep us in gratitude and it’s impossible to be grateful and grumbling about life at the same time.

One last thought, engaging in other people’s complaints doesn’t help us grow. Use this challenge as a time to pay attention to what is being said around you. When people come to you with complaints shift the conversation and observe how that changes the energy. This part of the practice takes work. Do your best and be gentle with yourself during the process. The beauty of energy is that the more we change the more everyone changes around us.

Today is day one of my 40 Day Challenge: No Complaining. It takes 40 days to change a habit so I am going to start here. If this resonates with you and you feel called to join me please do!

I’ll be sharing here and over on Instagram each week about the process and I’d love to create community around this. Please share in the comments and let’s raise each other up together.

Lots of love.

xoa

Comments

  • Melanie

    Hi Ashley! I’d love to join…this is something that’s come up for me recently, as well, and that I just started practicing. I did an exercise at the end of my days where I wrote down everything I complained about and when you’re itd it out like that, it’s very telling! And then thinking about how much time each complaint took and adding those up…if each one took 3 mins and you complained 5 times that day, that’s 15 mins per day of being in a resistant state! Add that up over a week, a year…. I’m curious what you mean by instead of complaining, giving a blessing – can you explain that? Thanks for the challenge!

    • ashley

      Hey Melanie!
      Oh I love reading this, thanks so much for sharing! It’s amazing how much energy it takes up as your exercise proved very clearly.

      Great question, next time you go to complain about something, give a blessing instead. Sticking with the example I shared int he post, instead of complaining about the food on the retreat I could say how grateful I am to not have to cook and that food has been provided for me.

      Or, next time I start to complain about how hot it is outside I can say how blessed I am to have sun shining on my face.

      I hope this helps. Please keep us posted on your practice! xoa

  • Alanna

    Hi Ashley,

    Just wondering, do you make a distinction between complaining and talking about a difficult situation? For example, if a relationship ends, or a person is sick or has just had a harrowing experience in traffic . . . to me, being able to externalize my feelings around any of these experiences would be important — or even critical — to my processing and healing from the experience. When the experience has been difficult, it stands to reason that what a person might say about it would be at least partly negative. Would you identify expressing emotions around such events as complaining, and if not, how would you distinguish between a complaint and constructive sharing? Very curious about your thoughts; I myself feel drained or depleted if I complain or am exposed too much to other people’s complaints, yet at the same time I feel it is so important to be able to feel we can express our feelings.

    Thanks and wishing you a wonderful post-retreat week. :)

    • ashley

      Hey Alanna,

      Thanks so much for reaching out and for this great question. There is a difference between complaining and expressing a difficult situation, it’s all about how you feel when you’re talking. When we’re complaining our energy is drained and we’re focusing on what we feel isn’t right about someone or something. This has a very specific quality of energy in the body, an energy of boredom or scarcity that we can trace back to our belief systems.

      When we’re talking about a challenging situation like a break up or loss of a loved one we’re expressing our feelings and this carries a different energy, the energy of connection. I am all for self expression and talking about what is going on with friends and on the blog, it’s important to build community and not hold our painful emotions inside.

      Another big difference is in how we talk, we can express the feelings associated with the loss of a relationship without complaining that it ended or that the other person did or didn’t do xyz. Does that make sense?

      Thanks so much for asking and being part of the conversation. Lots of love. xoa

      • Alanna

        Thanks for taking the time to provide such thoughtful, thorough, supportive responses, Ashley. Wishing you a lovely weekend. :)

        • ashley

          Yes of course Alanna! Wishing you a beautiful week. xoa

  • Jennifer

    I just can say that im totally in!!! Thanks so much Ashley for taking the initiative, and i would love to be part of a community of healing, and positivism, love the idea and i need it , all the best :)

    • ashley

      Yay! So happy you are in for the challenge Jennifer! Keep us posted on how things go, I’ll be sharing more very soon! xoa

  • Marie Christodulaki

    I am in! Feels like divine timing to change this habit now. I think I will be holding the blessing of the opportunity to let go when I feel a complaint creeping in. thank you for your words xox

    • ashley

      Hey Marie, glad to know this resonated with you and that you are on board. Thinking of you this evening and sending love. xoa

  • Sophie | The Green Life

    Hi Ashley, I absolutely love this! Reading this gave me so much inspiration and motivation. I love your honesty and authenticity. I’m totally up for this challenge! Thanks so much for sharing this. <3

    • ashley

      Hello Sophie!

      I am really happy you are joining us. It’s going to be really fun to do this together. We’ve got a pretty big group together!Keep us posted and have a beautiful day. Lots of love. xoa

  • Adena bright

    Hi Ashley! When I read your post yesterday, I hadn’t felt super connected, especially with the word ‘complain.’ Then just last night, I found myself in a cycle of never ice thought, or judgments, that fit right into that category…and really connected with what you shared! So glad I read it! Thank you for taking the time to be so articulate about this important, and seemingly elusive topic. Best of luck! I don’t do well with discipline, by your practices will be with me in the coming weeks at least!

    • ashley

      Hey Adena,
      It is wonderful to hear from you! Hi! I really appreciate all that you shared. I didn’t like the word complain when I heard it either but the more I sat with it the more it resonated. Initially I had a real aversion to it which was interesting to look at. You’re right, it’s such an elusive topic. Glad you are taking some of this to heart and being part of the bigger conversation. Wishing you a beautiful day. xoa

  • Tracy Ann

    Hi! Thank you for sharing your commitment. I’m going to take up this challenge as well.

    I did quite a bit of reading about the Syrian refugee crisis last weekend and began reflecting on my tendency to complain. This is not to say that suffering is a competition, or that I don’t have certain genuine problems of my own that I need to process and address. It helped me, though, when I got into a minor accident in a parking lot and decided to reflect upon what matters in the fullness of time instead of cataloging my frustrations.

    I feel lucky to have experienced that flash of insight. I was awash with gratitude and in that moment could scarcely believe how filled with good fortune my life is. Let us cease wasting our time with trivial matters and get into the habit of marveling at the beauty in our lives!

    • ashley

      Hi there Tracy Ann,

      Thank you so much for sharing this powerful experience. I gained a huge hit of inspiration from reading your words and I LOVE the last sentence you wrote, yes yes YES! I too can get into cataloging my complaints and am seeing clearly now it is such a waste of precious energy and it really keeps me from living in gratitude for all of the wonder that is present. Our happiness is dependent on our attitude and perspective, thank you for that potent reminder today. Can’t wait to dive deeper into this practice together! Lots of love. xoa

  • keishua

    i am joining in. i am eager to onserve what unfolds.

    • ashley

      Hey Keishua! So happy you are joining in with us. It’s been such a fun and at time challenging ride so far. Feeling really supported by our community! Glad you are here. xoa

  • Tabatha DeBose

    Hello Ashlee,

    Auntie suggested this fast to me stemmed from one of my daily devotional texts that i send out to family and friends. She said this would be good for me as what better time this could have come. I am unemployed, in school and trying to find that next career that will make me happy. I have been on 3 jobs since my transition from.the military and tho each one paid the bills they left me discouraged and disconnected. BUT on the flip side God has truly been my provider as I try to change my attitude and know that things are turning around for the better. I can’t complain but I still do so I am going to get on board as well because as you stated I want love back in my life and I can’t have that with loose strings of broken pasts. I don’t have Instagram just FB and Twitter due to I’m not much into social media but for this I will try to stay active. If i can use my Twitter account it would be most appreciated.
    Tab

    • ashley

      Hey Tabatha!
      It’s great to hear from you, thanks for checking in! I love what you wrote about turning your attitude around and committing to the present moment. I and am happy you want to take on the challenge with us. Use whatever account you want to check in and let us know how it is going. Lots of love. xoa

  • Tish

    I decided today to begin my No Complaining challenge and found your words to be a light on the subject. Lately Ive felt like everyone I talk to is bringing complaints to our conversation. This is not the connection I’m wanting in my life. I am aware that misery like company and that I have created this exchange of energy. or should I say this draw of energy. I have to make the changes within myself if I want to change the pattern of people bringing their complaints to me.
    I forgive the part in me that attracts complainers and I ask for guidance in how to heal the energy that is caught up in a belief that
    there is lack in the world. I’m ready to give each day my full attention and to keep my heart open. I wish everyone the best in this revolutionary process.
    May I evolve from being a person who walks through life finding things to complain about to a being who lives a life of gratitude and blessings.
    Thank you for your wisdom and sharing your gift for words.
    Grateful
    Tish

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