“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.”  ~Meister Eckhart

Travel is a compressed reflection of how we live in the world. Leaping out of our regular day to day and moving through new places and sometimes time zones amidst millions of strangers is an incredible opportunity to witness how you hold yourself in the world. It shines a direct light on how you walk your talk and leaves a clear shadow in the gap.

For the most part, gratitude is getting more and more comfortable to live within. Arriving at the vistas of California wine country, even after 8 hours in the car, was pure beauty. There are few places where the cultivation of the earth is art itself and Napa Valley has defined the art form. Gratitude for the surroundings and the bounty of wines it produces was the source and celebration of gratitude. Everywhere you looked, people were enjoying themselves with people they cared about.

I have long believed that it is when we are challenged that we see our personal coping skills most clearly. Much as I wish I could stay deep in my capacity to receive even here, the journey into San Francisco made it hard for me to remember my new life path. Our hotel was recommended as the friendliest hotel in San Francisco, which it was. Still the room was less than we had hoped for- too small for us and our bags, Good Will vintage beds, clean but not odorless. Instead of calling the truly friendly help, I went into overdrive trying to find a replacement.

After several near misses, I did call the front desk.  She was warm and apologetic and offered us a room at their sister hotel a few blocks away. The sister hotel was perfect, more than I could have hoped for. Gratitude is starting to take the lead, yet I remain a laggard. The happy ending was there all along. I wasted hours and too much adrenaline on trying to fix it myself.

Living gratefully means asking for what you need or want lovingly and trusting that you can receive it. This was the perfect, if not slightly costly lesson of trusting the process more than my own drive to control it. Resources are all around us, just like love, waiting to be recognized.