Have you ever been on a visual safari? I have had this idea for a while, to go on a several hour walkabout through my community or it could be a new place, but the idea is to take note of everyday ordinary things that strike you as beautiful, spark a special memory, or make you smile. The idea for a visual safari started as a way to find imagery for art projects. Now with my resolution to find and practice gratitude, this walkabout seems like a great opportunity to practice gratitude during work and share the visual highlights of my day in-lieu of complaining about lack of pay, mindless work, or the latest fault of my manager.
Since my arrival to California, two years ago this month, I have felt detached and not my authentic self. I am not using my talents and feel my 9 to 5 work does not matter. (Is this selfish?) I am in the throws of trying to make a career change, and came across two things this weekend that deepened my resolve to find gratitude.
Changing your job and life are by definition concerned with the future. Whereas gratitude is about the present.
Job coach Dr. Valerie Young instructs her clients on her website Changing Course that “it’s imperative to shift from a state of constant yearning for what you don’t have to being mindful of those blessings, however small, that you do have… right now.”
So much of last year was spent on bemoaning what I don’t have and comparing my career track to my peers. One way I reduced such guilt trips was to deactivate my Facebook account.
On this journey to switch career tracks, I will try not to get so lost in yearning for change or for the future that I fail to see daily blessings. I will instead celebrate my current work as I strive for change.
Reasons Why I Love My Job
- I am not fettered to a desk; instead the great part of my job as an inspector is seeing and experiencing the lanscape of San Francisco.
- I look at trees instead of a screen all day.
- My two hour round trip commute allows me to read on average one book a week.
Perspective: Half Full or Half Empty
Authors of Your Money or Your Life, Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, suggest that the fine line between prosperity and poverity is the degree of gratitude in your life.
With this in mind I found this perspective shared by Sociologist Kathryn Edin in her ethnographic research on the lives of the extreme poor, specifically those surving on less than $2.00 a day, particularly helpful in shifting my mindset. The book shares the stories of men and women, mostly single mothers.
The following is about Jennifer who recently left a low wage cleaning job because it was making her ill, and she was facing a frantic, new job search while living in a shelter.
“Her vision of the good life remains astonishingly humble: she dreams of a full time job paying $13 an hour, a set schedule, and decent working conditions. She believes that at this wage she could find a modest apartment in a safe neighborhood, perhaps even afford a reliable used car. This is her American Dream.”
There is much to rejoice in. Later this week, I look forward to sharing some photos from my visual safari-gratitude challenge.