The Whining World

My wife and I are on our way to Butchart Gardens to celebrate our 47th anniversary. It is amazing to think that I have spent 2/3rds of my life with her. Butchart is on Vancouver Island which takes a ferry ride of 90 min from the mainland in Vancouver. It is a hard to imagine a more beautiful show garden in the world than Butchart. The colors and variety overwhelm you at nearly every step. As we are docking at Swartz Bay to begin the drive down to the gardens I am glancing out to see how the ship will dock. Along side me is a fellow Canadian tourist. It takes about 2 minutes into the conversation for him, a visitor from Ontario, to start complaining about the prime minister and something he did early on during the pandemic. I brush the comment aside, get back in the car, and have a gorgeous day. How could you not?

We are once again at the ferry terminal this time waiting to head back to the mainland around 5:30 pm. We head over to one of the stands and buy a smoothie. As I begin to say how great it was to get back to Butchart, the owner of the stand quickly begins to complain about the government bailing out Butchart to the tune of one million dollars. At this point my curiosity is peeked. Why have so many people become whiners? Mind you two people complaining about the government is a bit of an over-generalization on my part, but the question persists.

Earlier this year my wife had been in a car accident where she spent a few days in the hospital with a broken sternum. They also found some heart irregularities. Afterwards, the insurance company wrote off our car, gave us more than we thought and then paid for 6 months of various treatments for her. My daughter was also in the hospital twice this year. The cost to us as a family was exactly $0 for the hospitalization and treatment and, believe it or not, our insurance rates went down instead of up in the following year. Go figure. There is a lot of room for improvement in the medical system, for sure, but for the care that she got at no cost, I am very grateful. And the same care is available to every Canadian.

Back to the whiners. So what happens psychologically if you open the conversation with a complaint? It is very interesting. The complainer is protected because he is actively expressing negativity. He throws out the negative and expects the other person to be in rapport with his negativity. I am expected to agree with him and since there is very little he can do to change how the government works, then he can go about keeping his life status quo. He puts his change process into the hands of the government and looks for others to agree with him on how bad others are acting. This is a recipe for being a loser in life. It reminds me of the university professor in Canada who got fed up with having to be politically correct so now he goes around the world whining. Lots of people like the ones I met seem to follow him.

What are you feeling if you are whiner? Whining is the result of one of the most difficult negative emotions to overcome, and the one that tends to be the most destructive of relationships, envy. Envy is the negative emotion that is felt when there is a lot of desire, but very little motivation to make substantial internal changes that get positive results.

What if, instead of whining about the government, the man could have been astonished by the beauty around him and taken it all in. And what if the man selling me the smoothie, would have engaged me in a conversation about healthy living. Those are big what ifs! Envy prevents people from experiencing the best that exists in life. Instead of being grateful or engaging in positive experiences, it keeps life at a distance, protected by its desire with no positive action. When I lived in Brazil, much of the male population of the country depended on the Brazilian soccer team or their own club team winning to find some kind of joy in life. If a bunch of guys kicking a ball around did not perform well, then the press attacked them viciously as if they had committed mortal sin. The British press is even worse when it comes to sport. There is a lot of envy, hoping someone else will give joy, and not a lot of embracing of life in a positive manner.

In the Olympic games the U.S. track and field team had 26 medals, more than twice as many as the next closest country, but what made the biggest news was that one man didn’t run as fast at he had been running and the 4 X 100 relay mishandled the baton. if the men’s basketball team had not won the gold medal, it would have been a national shame. What is that? It’s envy. It is wanting something for nothing, expecting something for nothing. On the other hand, when a young Australian rode to a gold medal run in the skateboarding competition, the person who first embraced him after the run was the American rider who had been in first place! You could see the same kind of embracing of the full experience in the sport climbing event as well. They all love to see each other perform well. When Andre Deplantis, competing for Sweden, but having a parent from both the U.S. and Sweden, won the pole vault competition, he personally went around to every competitor and embraced them. So it seems that it is possible to either whine about what someone else is not doing for you, or you can embrace the very best of life and go for it. That large sections of the population are whiners is a bit troubling.

We had a glorious day at Butchart. We embraced beauty and it gave us back so much.

3 Comments on “The Whining World”

  1. Dickj/Richard, Nice to see you making a post from up there in the far north. I will always associate Vancouver Island with John Kavelin, I have 2 of his shirts, one for summer and one for winter still now.
    Your post is kind of funny as a coincidence. I had a kind of vivid daydream to entertain my mind while walking yesterday. I suddenly was struck by the image of Moses (who in this fantasy, basically looked alot like Abdul Baha) and I was standing about a dozen meters to Him, and I was thinking ,
    “Where are we going?”

    Behind us were the whole liine of our Israelite breatheren who left Egypt, strung out as far into the distance as I cold see. We alll only carried whatever we could pick up off the kitchen tables, wrap up in our bedsheets and carry out the doors. Some of course had wagons and servants. BUt I did not . I could only carry what I thought was valuable…..and all that fit into a backpack…So you see this was not an era appropriate fantasy.

    I knew that He knew all of my past, all of my present, and probably most of my future. There was no need to say anything…..Standing there was time for some thoughts of envy…wistful envy, towards the travelers who had accumulated enough wealth in their lifetimes to have a wagon and servants. I thought I could just ask to become a servant of one of them…to be sheltered and protectred by the wealth of some guy and his family. My age in this fantasy was indeterminate but I suppose younger and stronger than now.I knew my self pride would never be happy as a servant of someone else, as long as I believe I had independent capacities…

    There was also a few thoughts of longing for better notifications abourt the approaching leaving deadline. If I had a copy of the King James in those days we had plenty of warnings that the plagues were not going to ultimately sway the Pharroah. I had some reasons to whine, I think. I was too caught up in my condition, and moment which I coulldn’t change before the last call to get out!, I am/was a product of all previous decisiions I had made…..I should have been thankful for being “one of the lucky ones”? But how lucky was I, carrying only what I could, and making the final commitment to instantly pick up and walk out the door of my place, forever?

    I think of myself as pretty good at instanteous decisions. Those decision usually turn out more or less…..ok. Its the ones that are drawn out, and tortured over for days and weeks that I make mistakes. Now in this fantasy, I was second-guessing, and starting to feel the emotions of envy, of fear, of whining. and basically a desire for attentioin, for encouragement….”Yes Thomas you did the right thing” I wanted someone to come up beside me, clap me on the shoulder… So here I was standing next to Moses…How on earth did he tolerate my presence? He was steadily looking off into the distant wilderness.. where, if I followed his eyes, I could see no clue of the way to go, it seemed equally imaginable that there were at least a dozen possible routes to take …each one looked equally obscure. The silence, except for the wind blowing…and my lingering question in my mind without answer “Where are we going?”.

    Despite thse swirls of self-pity I certainly felt alot more assured while I was around Moses. One glance was enough, and yet it wasn’t enough. But as I thought about this comfort, another equal voice said “It doesn’t matter”. as soon as I had made the decision to leave my apartment in Cairo, I had dropped a prerequisite physical need for constant assurances..That decision to pack up and go had effectively cut me off from any “second guessding” or trying to play botrh sides. Looking back, the dramatic has always appealed to me rather than the slow tedius method of preparation. Easier to worry only about living day to day in Cairo.
    There were , in that long endless line of humanity I saw behind me, certainly alot of complainers, and negative thinking, in the ranks of the ones who had pushed those thoughts to the background, and made the same decision I did. And there were also guys smarter and more talented , and more physically capable…people around me at that moment who were serving as advisors to Moses on a daily basis. Were they the elites our our community? Was I just someone lost in the bacckground of the photograph of His followers? All this I was able to think about as I stood there in that “moment” looking at His silent profile and then llooking away at the wilderness in front of us……

    Should I have ended my post there? But to continue on with what you have said here, I have been lost in t he land and part of the landscape of the whiners…or I could certainly identify with the guy complaining about the government policies, and I have rebelled at the cards I have been dealt by God, and looked at the ones whose capacity was/is more than mine…

    However eventually the journey carries everyone along…all of us are carried along by the collective community decisions made and not made.I am now thinking of the latest UN climate change report.

    We have collectively messed up. Innocents will suffer, it is too late for me to worry about my grandchildren’s destiny now…Too late to wish for materail improvement that will cushion the blows which will affect their communities 20-30- 40 years from now. Should I wish for them to be able to “get out of Egypt”? I don’t know. Those who have ears will listen, and those who have eyes will see. I can now, at this point on the journey see, like that long line of humanity in my fantasy, my decisions, some good and some not so good. Making peace with my Maker is what I think my fantasy was subconsciously about ….? So the bench mark of “the next 30 years” is , in my opinion quite arbitrary, we are in for one hell of a ride that’s for sure… I have made my best effort to protect a group of vulnerable strangers in Africa…and we will see in the next world where all this goes…..and I am not going any where out of Japan, as far as this scenario goes.

    Let’s hope that we can continue to exchange comments by the resources of the internet…….;regards from Fujimino City, Thomas/aka Little Joe/AKA Joe Komagawa (however the Koma river is now part of my past…I am now living near the Shingashi gawa/river. The connotations of the Koma River are more romantic….

  2. Happy anniversary! Time sure does fly.
    And thank you for the wise words about whining, esp about things not in our control.

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