everything you need is right where you are

I recently had the great pleasure of going to England for 2 weeks (much too short of a time by the way). I love it there. Crisp air. Ancient feel. Kind people. Lots of organic food. My kinda place.

I've been noticing more and more how everything that I need is right where I am. These are a few (there were many more) stories from the trip that illuminated this for me:

• The hotel I booked for my first night in Notting Hill was a little tiny dark box. It was perfect since all I wanted it for was a good night's sleep before continuing on to Wales. I walked out the door and right there on the corner (in a residential kind of neighborhood) was a lovely small cafe that served organic fresh juice. Something I love and makes me feel happy inside. I even got a yummy organic salad for the train ride.

• I realized I had brought the wrong plug for all my devices. On my lovely stroll around Notting Hill I found a whole store full of just what I needed.

• I took the train from London to Wales, changed in Cardiff (seagulls and all) to a smaller train. I had an absolutely lovely ride, creative dreamy kind of time. When we arrived at our final destination I gathered my things from my seat and headed to the baggage location to see that my very large, very heavy red bag was gone. Instead, there was a small red bag. After the intense onslaught of thoughts of every favorite thing that was in my bag and what would be needed to survive a 2 week trip in England without all of it, I took the small unclaimed bag to the tiny rural train station office.

Being very upset, at first, I would not believe that someone could have mistaken my massive bag for this 10-pound mini. But the kind man insisted that "people get flustered and grab a bag and head off the train, and the train is gone before they realize the mistake."  I was darting outside to see if Phoebe was there to pick me up. By the time I gave her a hug I was pretty calm and surrendered to what was happening. I was impressed that all that upset went away in 5 minutes. There was a tag on the small bag and he tried to get through with no luck. I suggested just calling the station where the bag looked like it was headed. On my end I heard, "I have a woman here with a red bag". Repeated from the other end, "I have a woman here with a red bag, too." We both smiled with relief that my bag was not stolen. My bag tag had fallen off so there was no info at all on it. So, my bag got on the next train, as did hers, and they found their way home.

• I brought a pair of pants (trousers, as I soon realized I should call them in England since underwear can be called pants there) that needed to be hemmed. I asked Phoebe who said, "My machine isn't working, but my friend does that kind of work and she'll be here later this morning for tea."

• Walking aimlessly through the London underground trying to decipher the map to get from King's Cross to Paddington station with heavy bags in tow, I asked a kind train employee who described exactly where to go and asked if I had a ticket already, which I showed to him (it was clear through to the airport.) He said he was sorry to see me go (which felt authentic actually) and then he said, "I'll see you in New Jersey, later…" I was a bit stunned as I walked away because that is exactly where I was headed. I searched my mind for any way he would have known that, but, of course, there was none. I was flying to New York and being picked up and driven to New Jersey. Felt like an angel encounter….ever had that feeling?

• After a very long, crowded, tight connection-ed, 8 flights of stairs up and down, train and underground journey from Manchester to London, I was tired, ready for a bath and a warm meal. The wonderful folks at the Bradford Animation Festival put me up at a hotel at Heathrow airport before my flight the following day. I have never stayed at a hotel at an airport before. Was it going to be a cubicle? Another dark tiny box? I was braced, I admit it. So when I found the entrance to the Sofitel and started walking into a gorgeous, marble-floored, beautifully lit very long hallway I started feeling a sense of relief and giddiness. I felt like a queen walking through the futuristic glass-filled lobby and into the room full of high thread count sheets, granite counters and a bath tub large enough for my whole self. We all deserve to feel royal.

• I have been traveling with my own food for more than 20 years - long before the airlines dictated this behavior by limiting service. So when I see a super-happy-quinoa-salad with loads of organic greens to grab right before going through security at the airport - I do the happy dance. Inside and out.

These are things that help me to remember I'm part of something larger. That the universe does indeed want me to succeed and thrive. Do you have any stories to share? I love a good story : )

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Valerie KausenComment