Imagine “Complaint-Free West Seattle”


Somehow we have missed the boat on the Complaint-Free World campaign that apparently is a major phenomenon. But it’s not too late. West Seattle’s own Nia Divas are planning a free event to kick off a campaign for a Complaint-Free WS … replete with complimentary purple bracelets like the ones shown above, while supplies last. It’s not till next weekend but it sounds so fun, we wanted to give it a shoutout tonight — a special event including refreshments, a free Nia class, and “time & facilitation to understand what constitutes complaining and how it dramatically affects our lives,” 9 am-11 am Saturday 11/10 at Youngstown Arts Center. Below, a letter from one of the organizers:

Hi, I’m Jill and I’m a Nia Teacher who reads People magazine (confession time). I read about A Complaint-Free World back in February before it skyrocketed to success. I immediately wanted to do this for myself, with my students. I just love the idea; so I made a donation and ordered 40 bracelets* and that’s how this whole thing got started….. My motto is learn, love and share and I’m thrilled to see that happening.

What does Nia have to do with a Complaint Free World (CFW)? Some people may ask, “What does a fitness class have to do with the worldwide movement of not complaining?” Well, here’s how they work together for me.

#1) Awareness: Taking a fitness class is not the same as a Nia experience. In Nia, you’ll dance and move with awareness, in joyful relationship with your self–body-mind-emotions and spirit. CFW invites you to become aware and pay attention (to what you are saying) and make a conscious choice to change the way you speak.

#2) Energy follows Attention: What each of us focus on grows. In Nia, we focus on movements that feel good. We focus on finding how to move with pleasure, all the time. If we aren’t in pleasure, we tweak our movements to regain pleasure. In CFW, we know that complaining doesn’t make us happier, so we tweak what we say to regain pleasure and refocus on the goodness in our life.

#3) Moving your body impacts your existence more than anything. You can read about how to ski, what a sunset may look like, how it feels to meditate or make love. Until you do it in with your body–it’s just a story in your head. Nia is body-centered. It’s a joyful, simple and effective way to implant this new state of being–less complaining, and more gratitude!

Participation is the key to changing your life. If you can’t make the event, there is more information on our website or

PSS – Wil Bowen, the creator of A Complaint-Free World, will be at Bellevue Unity Church, Sunday, Nov. 11th, 9 am and 11 am. What a surprise, I had no idea he was due in town the same weekend as our event.

*Here’s how it works:

Begin to wear the bracelet, on either wrist.
When you catch yourself complaining, gossiping or criticizing (it’s ok, everyone does) move the bracelet to the other arm and begin again.
If you hear someone else who is wearing a bracelet complain, you may point out their need to switch the bracelet to the other arm; BUT if you’re going to do this, you must move your bracelet first!
Stay with it. It may take many months but when you reach 21 days you will find that your entire life is happier, more loving and more enjoyable…

*Adapted from

Again, that’s a week from tomorrow, Saturday 11/10, 9 am-11 am at Youngstown Arts Center. No child care but young people 12 and up are welcome to participate. Read more here.

35 Replies to "Imagine "Complaint-Free West Seattle""

  • Bubba November 2, 2007 (7:32 pm)

    WSB….pretty sure community bloggers should just wear two bracelets.

    and if… “through movement we find health” are we saying that the more movement our bracelets do the healthier we are? I’m confused.

  • WSB November 2, 2007 (7:38 pm)

    We think Jill ordered 40 bracelets in hopes that many people may show up. Just guessing. We ourselves are braceletless at the moment, but may have to sneak into this event to remedy that.

  • Ken in West Seattle November 2, 2007 (7:57 pm)

    If this is such a good idea, why is it being promoted using the nearly the same language, buzzwords and content free feel good psychobabble as Scientology at it’s inception?

    Behavior modification for the masses? What, is insipid tv not washing your brain fast enough for ya?

    What happens when self help hucksters run out of colors to make bracelets out of?

  • CO Transplant in WS November 2, 2007 (9:10 pm)

    I am 100% in favor of a voluntary movement that encourages fools to keep their mouths shut.

  • The House November 2, 2007 (9:12 pm)

    How about if I wear 50 regular rubber bands on each arm and everytime I see one of you guys with a purple one, I shoot one of mine at you?

    My group will be called undergroundrubberband

  • V Bar November 2, 2007 (9:26 pm)

    Great idea – go Nia Divas! See you there!

  • khyizang November 2, 2007 (9:39 pm)

    Hey, you go guy! Shoot all you like, we won’t complain.

  • MargL November 2, 2007 (10:22 pm)

    The House – you could probably get a whole handful of those thick purple produce rubberbands at Safeway – the kind they use to keep broccoli and asparagus together. Then you could go purple, too.

  • Wes November 2, 2007 (10:34 pm)

    well geez, since no is complaining, I’ll be there to taken names and addresses so I can come over and take your valuables.

  • Wes November 2, 2007 (10:36 pm)

    Also see “Running against the Wind” by Brian Flynn-it’s a really good new age read.

  • Picklemom November 2, 2007 (10:49 pm)

    I agree that a positive attitude works wonders, but “complaint-free” is the last thing Seattle needs! Let’s face it, we Seattlites have a reputation for being passive-aggressive, for not complaining, for not speaking out, for negotiating ad nauseam without getting things accomplished, for endless meetings in search of ever-elusive consensus, etc. Let’s hear it for complaining – just be sure to make it constructive! No whining, please!

  • grr November 2, 2007 (11:01 pm)

    hmm..complaint-free…mmm…..what on EARTH would my mother do???

    time to take another hit off the reality-bong.


  • Erik November 3, 2007 (2:06 am)

    Having a positive outlook is fine and good but doesn’t necessarily change the underlying situation. I wore a pink bracelet for a few years…and my wife still passed on.
    We can smile and dance on our way to the slaughter…pass the koolaid.

  • Sue November 3, 2007 (4:43 am)

    LOL, House! love it!
    Do you think it would be appropriate if I went to the Nia class wearing my Eeyore shirt that says “Frown … Complain … Repeat”? ;)
    I think it would be very difficult to be complaint-free. Complain less, perhaps, but never? Then again, I’m the person who once got a gift of a mug that said “the more you complain, the longer God lets you live,” so may I’m not the best judge. :)

  • Kayleigh November 3, 2007 (5:21 am)

    Too airy-fairy for me. But then, I’m one of those people who if you ask me how I am, I’ll tell you honestly, and am happy to hear an honest answer from you,too.

    No NIA for me either. I’m a runner.

  • Niadiva November 3, 2007 (7:28 am)

    Lively discussion…right on! I especially like the idea of getting the purple rubber bands at Safeway…very clever. I would totally love to see the Eeyore shirt and the person it on, dancing around the room.

    Two quick things– Not complaining is different than not speaking what is true and needs to be addressed. If I live in an apartment and my faucet is leaking, heck yes, I am going to go to the manager and tell them I want it fixed! What I choose NOT to do is go ON and ON about it to my mother, my friend, and everyone else in the building. That’s where the poison of complaining is. It don’t feel any better to keep reliving it (neither does anyone else)

    2) Kayleigh, I run too, it’s my dance of forward motion.

    Delight in the day!

  • OP November 3, 2007 (7:35 am)


    These people don’t drive in Seattle, do they? ;-)

  • praying man-tis-i November 3, 2007 (9:01 am)

    Nice gesture (not complaining), but it’s so relative that it won’t work. What have we come to that we need rubberbands, shirts, bumper stickers, and organizations to tell us how to feel or be or express ourselves? The things that divide us are mind-boggling: animal rights, enviornmental issues, politics, religion, morals, ethics, ignorant and self-centered people…the list goes on and on. We have good reasons to complain or at least speak out, but close-minded people (some with agendas) aren’t going to care or listen. Instead, they’ll just make fun of those trying to encourage change.

  • Lesley November 3, 2007 (9:42 am)

    How will we know that it (no complaining) won’t work unless we put it on and try it? Think of all the transformed energy that can be put to use!

    Internally, I daresay, that every one of us understands the difference between speaking out, giving feedback, and complaining. The first two help create a better and more communicative environment. The last one, complaining, becomes a heavier and heavier weight on ourselves and others. Just my experience.

    I sense a friendly self-challenge coming on! Whaddya say? Let’s do it!

  • flipjack November 3, 2007 (11:32 am)

    Hi, I recently stopped complaining and I have this fake smile and a positively patronizing attitude to prove it!
    Yeah, why not, stop complaining.

  • Erik November 3, 2007 (12:22 pm)

    Reading through the Nia site this reminds me of the Walmart version of awareness training. Okay, I took 3 steps to the right and 2 to the left…that’s nice. For real change to happen you must first know ‘how’ you do something, not that you did it. More movement = less awareness. I’m sure Moshé is rolling in his grave.

  • Jo November 3, 2007 (2:48 pm)

    You mean we can’t complain about the weather, either? What will true-Seattleites do??? We ALWAYS complain about the weather.

  • Kayleigh November 3, 2007 (5:42 pm)

    I see what you’re driving at, Niadiva. But one person’s complaining is another person’s “keepin’ it real.”

    Still…point taken.

  • JumboJim November 3, 2007 (7:04 pm)

    Since I can tell a whole lot of you won’t be joining in the Complain Less movement maybe I can just highjack a truckfull of Prozac and drive it into Seattle’s Tolt River Reservoir??

    And yes, thank you, I will be jumping out of the truck before it goes underwater…

  • Sue November 3, 2007 (9:11 pm)

    I actually looked up their website and found out that you can get 1, 2 or 3 free bracelets at this link (free shipping too):

  • Sue November 3, 2007 (9:12 pm)

    Jo, I don’t think that complaining about the weather counts. Neither does complaing about politicians. :)

  • MargL November 3, 2007 (10:13 pm)

    Oh man! I want to complain about those automated political phone calls. Arrrrrgh – driving me nuts! Wearing an armful of purple rubber bands and snapping them every time the phone rings would feel BETTER than the frustration I feel when I answer the phone and realize it’s ANOTHER one of those calls!

  • Jan November 4, 2007 (1:34 am)

    MargL…as soon as their recorded political message starts in on my answering machine, I pick it up and disconnect. If, by some chance, it’s a real person, well, too bad. They get disconnected, too :)

  • Kayleigh November 4, 2007 (5:11 am)

    Ditto that on the political calls! I’m getting five a DAY.

  • Lesley November 4, 2007 (8:18 am)

    Gotta admit that automated calls, of any kind, but currently the political ones, are a challenge not to complain about. Our landline seems to have become our “junk” phone line and we unplugged it yesterday afternoon! Will replug after the election. On the other hand, if a REAL person were to call to discuss the issues, I’d pick up and talk.

  • ms_f November 4, 2007 (10:24 am)

    What’s wrong with complaining, when it’s warranted? My poor, courageous husband is battling brain cancer. When asked how he’s doing, he will say “I can’t complain” if he’s having a decent day (which are fewer and far between these days). Crap! Oh, yes he can complain. He’s got every right to to complain. In that context, this “movement” seems kind of silly.

  • Jo November 4, 2007 (2:25 pm)

    If we can’t complain, can we whine?
    Or does whining fall under the cateory of ‘complaining’?

  • The Velvet Bulldog November 4, 2007 (3:31 pm)

    ms_f: thanks for putting it into perspective. Every now and then when I’m feeling especially pitiful and whiny I think of dear Molly Ivins (RIP) who, when writing about her own cancer described being stuck in traffic with a bunch of people honking horns at each other. She thought to herself, “You know, it’s not like you have a tumor!!” So, when I start to think things are bad, that pulls me up short and I realize, things ain’t so bad.

  • MargL November 4, 2007 (8:40 pm)

    If do feel like complaining and you’d like express yourself thru song, instead of dance, there’s the Complaints Choir!

  • Sue November 9, 2007 (6:15 pm)

    Niadiva, I’d love to come dance in my Eeoyre complaint shirt. :) Unfortunately I’m recovering from knee surgery, so no dancing in my immediate future. Some other time . . .

Sorry, comment time is over.