The festival season officially starts this week. Along with the excitement of the summer activities, comes the pervasive ritual that has been honed to a fine art for many of us who have the privilege to call ourselves locals.
The Sawdust Festival preview party marks the first formal opportunity to claim the right to begin the chatter. “The parking! It’s ridiculous. Do you know how long it took me to find a parking space? And this is just the beginning of the nightmare. Imagine what it is going to be like when the tourists start pouring in here!” Insert the appropriate eye rolling, head nodding and shoulder shrugging here.
This isn’t just your garden variety complaining. Awareness and skill is required to pull this off. You can’t indiscriminately mouth off anywhere since you can only be sure you are talking to a local if they are someone you know and then you can freely indulge. After all it is bad form to bite the hand that feeds our city.
I remember when I first moved to town in 1986. My first summer here entitled me to indulge in this time-honored ritual. It was downright seductive and I took to it with relish. I was so thrilled to be able to call this beautiful town my home that my ego wanted to let everyone know that I wasn’t just a visitor. I live here.
I am a local. Yes, I live here. It takes on proportions of being a member of royalty. Yes, I live here. I am lucky. I am one of the chosen ones. Don’t hate me just because I am a local.
Since our habitual attitudes and behaviors yield both benefits and prices, it is pretty easy to see why year after year we re-visit the habit of complaining louder than usual during the summer months. That probably isn’t going to change anytime soon since the cheap thrill of local bragging is almost like a rite of passage into this community.
Instead, I am proposing that when you do complain, know why you are doing it. Then when you are ready to move past the negative realities of our tourist town, here are some quick tips on how to quickly accomplish that.
There are three attitudes that can shift your point of view to energy enhancing from energy draining thoughts. These three attitudes hold the key to transforming the way you are presently experiencing your life. They are the closest thing to the Aladdin’s lamp genie and his three wishes.
The first attitude is gratitude. When we stop to evaluate our lives through grateful eyes, we immediately see that our life is filled with value everywhere we look.
The second magic-maker is praise. Praise is the mother of beauty. By adopting an attitude of praise and validation, we begin to look for, seek out and see beauty all around us. Beauty comes through the door of self-acceptance and acceptance of others. When we court beauty, we activate our curiosity, kindness, exuberance and spontaneity as we let go of our harsh judgments.
Harmony is adjustment number three. When we adopt an intention to bring harmony into our lives, we open the door to cooperation, caring, mutual understanding, collaboration, community and a deeper connection with the goodness of our lives.
Use the power inherent in harmony, gratitude and praise to break free of habitual and limiting habits that keep us stuck in repetitive, inflexible ways of seeing our world. All that is required is an intentional flip of the attitude switch.