Last weekend, we drove to Yosemite Valley for a short overnight trip. We left on Sunday morning and returned Monday night. While there, we heard French, German, and Southern accents and I marvelled that I live in a place that people from all over the world come to visit.
It is high tourist season in Yosemite, so as I was sitting on the steps of the tram that was taking us back to Wawona from the Mariposa Grove, I struck up a conversation with schoolteacher from Ohio. She was there with her husband and their two children. It was their last day of a 10 day tour of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Yosemite Valley. They were fortunate because they had friends who lived in Hollister and that provided them with a little extra cushion on their travel budget. This was their 3rd trip to Northern California and they hoped to return in a couple of years. Their next trip would focus on the Monterey Bay and south to Santa Barbara. They really wanted to tour Highway One along the Big Sur coastline. I suggested that they make time to visit at least one mission and they should pick up some ebelskivers in Solvang. I asked her if I were to go to Ohio, what natural wonder should I see. She proudly described the shoreline of the Lake Eerie, but she and her husband said that there was nothing like Yosemite there. As the tram pulled into the stop at the Wawona Market, we smiled and said farewell.
Just a couple of days earlier, I had said farewell to my latest group of program attendees. Each month, over 100 different people from around the globe come together to learn about the company that they just joined. They were so EXCITED to be in California. EXCITED to ride the cable cars in San Francisco (or as they refer to it as SanFran) and take snaps of the Golden Gate Bridge. EXCITED to see the sea otters cavorting in the Monterey Bay and experience coolness of summer in Northern California. I had sent a group north to San Francisco on the prior Saturday and south to Monterey on Sunday. They were entranced by everything they experienced from the sourdough bowls filled with chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf to the twisted trunks of the Cyprus Trees. And I lest forget to mention the thrill of the visits to the Apple stores and the number of iPads purchased. Oy!
So where am I going with all of this? It is so easy to not see all the wonder around me, but each of those folks I met last week reminded me to see it. It seems that I get so lost in the daily drills that I forget to step back and revel in all that I have and where I am. I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, yet, I forget. I forget to soak it in. I forget to share it. I forget to be grateful.
Not today. Today, I will appreciate all that is around me. As I encourage you to do as well. Appreciation and gratitude are two of the easiest choices we can make, yet we forget.
So today, pick one thing. Spend some time with it. Admire it. Really look at it. And then, be grateful for it, really give thanks to whomever/whatever you say thank you to. You will carry that feeling of gratitude with you throughout the day. And each time you remember, you will smile. I promise.