Real communications – beyond swallowing it down or belching it out

Many of us are currently engaged in the complaint free challenge, and at the stage – in his book Will Bowen talks about being at the conscious competence stage being the one where we can resist the impulse or habit to complain, though it takes conscious effort. We’re already seeing a lot of value of simply moving through unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence: a process of first becoming aware of how much we have tended to complain without even realizing that’s what we are doing, and then secondly realizing how challenging it can be to stop complaining.

Now, though, a question is naturally arising, which relates to the very basics of psychology as we’ve seen it evolve in the last 100 years. Put very simplistically, we’ve tended to do one of two things when we encounter something that is difficult, uncomfortable or painful. Either we swallow it down (aka push it down, deny it, suppress it), or we belch it out (aka cathart, vent or throw it out at others). We’ve all experienced something of the challenges and pseudo-relief of these methods, and as that’s a larger discussion beyond the scope of this post, we’ll leave it at that. Putting it lightly, we already know some of the ineffectiveness of these approaches.
Continue reading Real communications – beyond swallowing it down or belching it out

The complaint-free challenge

One of my favorite parts of the complaint-free challenge so far is that people are coming up to those of us who are in the midst of it and excitedly asking what it is, what we’re doing and how can they get into it too.

That happiness is contagious is actually research documented now.


I’ll hereby explain it briefly. It’s also well worth it, highly recommended and perhaps close to necessary to read Will Bowen’s book A Complaint Free World.


We have committed to going 21 consecutive days without complaining. Anytime we complain, we start again with day 1.

Continue reading The complaint-free challenge

When the heart breaks open


In a recent letter to one of his students, Daniel writes about the universal pain of heartbreak and how, in such a tender and vulnerable place, pain opens the doorway to one of the biggest transformations one may have.

We hope you get as much out of his letter as we have.


Oh xxx, 

My heart opens and bleeds for you in hearing your journey here. Not only do you convey it well in words, giving me access to something of what you’ve experienced, I’ve also had something similar in my life. I suppose you know already – it’s the one of the hardest and most beautiful things you could ever experience in life. 

Your marriage ending is a huge transformation: a death of part of you. Which gave birth to other aspects of you, a new life. That you met someone not long after and experienced such a powerful connection is both not surprising and amazing. A gift. 

I can well imagine that your classes are popular as your heart has been blasted open. To love as you are describing is astounding and rare, and in some ways the fact of it not being met the way you wish now provides the possibility to keep it open and even more vulnerable. There is huge power in vulnerability, and yet it’s something that is less than condoned socially. We are taught to protect ourselves, to close if we sense that we may be hurt. You are learning and experiencing that true love does not expect, does not actually need something back – it’s in the giving. 

I can imagine all of this will sound pollyanna like. At the moment, her not meeting you back in that love is excruciating. I understand that. And yet the fact that you are there, that you feel as you do, and that she’s showing up as she is – in some way that’s confirmation that you can be where you are. You can continue to love as fully as possible even in these circumstances. 

A bit from my life: I had a ‘blow my mind, life rocking, transformational period 19 years ago. It related to meeting a woman whom I would have described in some ways like you describe the woman you’re in love with now. The connection was unimaginably strong to me. And to her. And then, out of the blue, she did the same thing and said that we cannot continue. Not even as friends. I was devastated and went into a depression from it. Compounding the loss was the fact that it didn’t make sense to me. I knew that she loved me as I loved her. Yet I was powerless. 

That experience – both the loving her and the forced letting go – was part of my first real opening into love, life, service, the divine. I know and trust that these gifts, even with the torture they contain, are also the sweetest that life has for us. 

I’m sure you know this one: 


On Pain by Kahlil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.potter

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.


I hope there is something helpful in here for you. I feel the challenge and beauty of where you are in this moment. I suspect there is no way of knowing the purpose and scope of this experience right now. I do know that it’s a huge time of transformation on the planet, and you’re right at the heart of it. Your ability to be present, to keep your heart open regardless of what life (or that woman) brings back to you is a huge gift to the world (and to you). 


Much love and support,