The No Complaining Ride

In my first 12 hours in NYC I went through quite a little challenge to myself in the realm of “no complaining” so I thought I’d share it all of you.

Last night I arrived in New York just in time to catch up with friends who were going out dancing to celebrate a birthday. We went to an upscale nightclub in Manhattan. Beautiful place. Our group was dancing and drinking and goofing around. I’ve rarely laughed so much out in club like that.

I was using my iPhone to snap photos and stashed it in the front pocket of my jeans. At some point it started to annoy me, feeling like it was in the way of my dancing so I switched it to my back pocket. We were all dancing as a group and I had my back to the main part of the room. Suddenly I felt my iPhone lift out of my pocket in a quick smooth motion. I immediately knew someone swiped it. I turned quickly but the crowd was too dense and I couldn’t see the phone. I caught a waiter who was passing by and told him my phone was stolen. We looked around the floor just in case it fell instead of getting stolen, but no such luck. He then called over a security guard and the manager so I could report it. That was about all that could be done. I turned so I could return to my group, but I was in no mood to just jump back in to the dancing and laughing.

I started to wonder what I should do. I was upset and angry but also couldn’t do anything more. The phone was gone and I didn’t want to dwell in my upset – the night had been so much fun. I also didn’t want to damper the group on a birthday night. I vented to one friend who asked what we had been looking for and felt better that someone knew, but it felt kind of incomplete because I didn’t fully release any anger and I was grappling with the realization that I still couldn’t actually change the situation. I could hear my own teachings in my head and didn’t want to start telling the story over and over again but it also felt fake to just ignore it. I decided to get away from the group for a moment and just be quiet.

I got centered and started to think my way through the situation bit by bit. I wanted to enjoy the evening. I couldn’t make the phone be un-stolen. In the morning I could go get a new iPhone (an upgrade!). I didn’t have to reach anyone that night. I had backed up before I got on the plane so there was no data loss. The phone was locked and I could erase it remotely so I wasn’t really at risk of having my identity or passwords stolen.

In short, there was nothing to do until the morning. I took a deep breath and gave myself permission to wait until the morning to think about it. I returned to the group and pretty quickly was feeling playful and laughing again.

At the end of the evening I told my other friends what had happened and also that I was ok, I’d get a new phone in the morning. I still wasn’t all the way through my upset but I was feeling settled.

In the morning, I woke up thinking about it again. I also wanted to be fully done with the negative feelings so I wouldn’t keep thinking about them. I replayed everything and then suddenly it struck me: Buying a new iPhone was an option! I was flooded with feelings of gratitude. Not long ago I would have not have had enough money to be able to just walk into an Apple store and buy a phone. I had been struggling financially, cutting every expense down to the bone. I had to carefully plan out how to pay for all meals, even choosing some days not to have three in order to make my cash last. And today I had enough money saved to go get a phone. It was an amazing feeling.

As soon as this thought hit me, I felt completely released from the upset and anger of the night before. I was clear that if I had my preference, none of this would have happened. But none of the feelings associated with the theft had any power over me any more. I felt lighter, grateful for all the things that have happened in the last few months to turn my finances around, and appreciating myself for what I did to make them stick.

It was quite a ride – and I’m glad I held on until the end.


  1. Paul Bostwick

    I know the no complaint ethos helped but being backed up (digitally and economically) has got to take the edge off. Glad you got to the High Line! XOXO.

  2. Meryl Shaw

    Well done! Thanks for sharing the ride with us; very inspiring.

  3. cianna

    Very true – but I’m also learning that if I hadn’t, that would have been just another thing that I couldn’t have gone back in time and changed so one more lesson in letting go.

    And yes, I’m psyched to have hit the High Line! Such an awesome idea & the execution was fantastic.

  4. cianna

    Thank you, Meryl! I’m so glad to learn you read it! That makes me grin ear to ear.

  5. Paul Bostwick

    Also quickly getting on top of what was and what was not lost is a function of _not_ complaining (which takes time and attention) but instead just sizing it up and pressing onward. (and upward too, evidently, to the High Line and 4[s]) Come home safe and soon or there will be complaining!

  6. Julia

    Yaay, way to let go! And, interesting that you felt like it was getting in your way and then, pretty quickly, it was taken off your hands.

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