Gratitude does not lead to complacency

I’ll be honest. My gratitude practice has been a scanty one. It’s only when things get really bad that I focus on what I’m grateful for, just enough to keep my head above water to take a deep, gasping breath before a wave crashes down on my head. Kook of the day wave crashing style. I may slip under the surface for a second or two, but I eventually find myself grateful for that deep, gasping breath and wonder why I don’t, you know, swim to the safety of the shore, away from the crashing waves. I love to learn, but I can be a slow learner sometimes.

I’ve been working from home more often now. It’s something I wanted to manifest a year ago. And here I am. Sitting in my robe, diffusing oils, drinking ghee coffee, working from home. However, I still find myself wanting something else, something more. My husband reminds me to be grateful for my job and the ability to work from home. I am grateful. I am grateful for the financial support it provides my family. I am grateful for the amazing benefits. I am grateful for the ability to work from home. I am grateful for the tools and resources available at my “disposal.” I am grateful for the learning experiences I’ve had along the way. There, 5 things. 5 breaths of gratitude, I should be good to go for another 2 minutes underwater…

I realize that the wanting something “more” comes from wanting more purpose and meaning in my life, particularly my job. And so yesterday, while deep in the trenches of a 12 hour day of commercial mortgage banking, a thought popped in my head. I am scared to practice gratitude because I’m scared it will lead to complacency. I’m scared that if I don’t have the sensation of waves pounding down on my head that it means I gave up. That I’ve slipped below the surface, content with my situation of drowning. I thought that if I was grateful for something like my job, a job I don’t have any passion for, that I would lose motivation and desire to do something more. Anyone else experienced or thought this?

It’s just dawned on me that maybe it’s my scanty gratitude practice, those one or two breaths I can take before another wave comes crashing down, that has kindled my tiny flame of desire to choose a new way of being. That being grateful for what my job provides me (financial support, learning, flexibility), that being grateful for the waves crashing down (I’m still choosing a way worth fighting for) is simply an access point to creating what I want. But it does need to require so much struggle? I often refer to my (future) decision of finally leaving my job as jumping ship. Water has a huge influence in my life if you can’t tell—it usually doesn’t have such negative connotations but then again, the oceans aren’t always smooth sailing. So perhaps the ship I’ve jumped off is the ship of complacency. And the waves trying to pull me down are the forces of resignation. And the land I see bobbing in the distance is the stability of purposeful living. And what’s keeping me going is my gratitude for the power of choice, my hope and my belief in more. I’m slowly making my way to the land of purposeful living with every incoming tide, choosing to work with every outgoing tide to preserve my strength, choosing to find refuge in the few moments of calm between the next surge, using gratitude as my flotation device, accidentally letting go of it for a bit to scramble and panic only to see the rope was wrapped around my leg. Gratitude never letting me go, always within arm’s, or leg’s, reach to keep me afloat.