I have been here nine days now, and it feels more like nine weeks. So much happens over the course of one day that it is hard to digest it all. So it accumulates for a time when there may be a moment to absorb it. For some people, I have a feeling that there may be months of backlog waiting for a chance to get digested.
Backlog of stories, and also backlog of this crazy blend of huge joy and terrific horror - often dancing with each other within minutes.
The last nine days have been full to the max and every night I tell myself that I will write about these amazing people I am meeting, these stories, these sounds and sights and smells. Every night, I crash without writing more than a post or sharing a video on my Facebook page.
There is so much ... backlog ... to share with you. So much horror and ugliness and so much beauty and kindness. Like I say, it's a crazy blend.
And until a few hours ago, I thought I was doing a really god job of assimilating this crazy blend. I saw the good, I saw the bad, I made sure to see the good more than the bad. I was uplifted and I was telling myself that I was contributing. I created and facilitated a Women's Circle modeled after the Soft Place to Land group I lead back home, and did not let the different languages get in our way. We had an afternoon of Mandala coloring resulting in a beautiful community tapestry of colors, I taught the basics of English to French-speaking people, I gave chocolate to a man who was celebrating his 34th birthday alone ... that kind of stuff. My energy was up and my smile easy.
Yesterday afternoon, I started to feel really tired. On the way home, I heard a story from a friend about the way his dad had died. I listened, I nodded. I dropped him off. Then I pulled over on the way to my own place because I could barely keep my eyes open. I made it home and after a small bite to eat, I slipped into bed, thinking maybe I was coming down with a cold. I felt numb and I felt exhausted. This morning, still thinking I had a cold, I knew I had nothing to offer anyone and needed to take a day off. I went back to sleep and three hours later, while laying in bed, the dam broke and the heartache spilled out. For a good long, hard time. Waves of sobs I did not know I had inside of me.
Alongside what I now know is heartbreak, I feel an awful sense of uselessness. As though no matter what I throw at this (and I see people throwing everything they have - and more) it will never be enough, it may never even make a dent. Sure I can print more mandalas and give more smiles and teach more sentences and listen some more... and then what? This is so huge and so complex. Where is the solution?
Somewhere in me, I know that the way I feel is temporary, that it's most likely something many people go through in this situation, and that on the other side, is something much better and more powerful. I know it. I know I would not have made my way here if there wasn't a really good reason, something I could bring. I also know that small things, many of them, do add up to big changes.
And I also know that this is a sign that my heart is working well, that if there was no heartbreak and outrage, something would be wrong.
So I trust.
And I allow the heartbreak, and the humility and the not-knowing to do their thing and to brew together, to create whatever soup is needed.
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Essential Happiness Retreat
January 10 to 20, 2019
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"Thank you for sharing your wonderful, heartbreaking, exhilarating experience with the world."
"Thank You Laura for sharing, for teaching and spreading loving kindness. "
"I think I love you. You bring good things into my life, or remind me of things I love and know, but have let go of."
"Laura, you are so good for me. I laugh and sniffle and get the shivers when I read your essays. Thanks so much for letting all your wonderfulness run around loose."
"Heart-achingly beautiful, your words and how you reveal your truth."
"Thank you so much for who you are and what you share with the world. Your mere being transforms lives as it has transformed mine. This particular post did to my heart what water does to parched soil."
"Thank you for your gentle words that are packed full of wisdom. I have been struggling with the concept of what words can do to another person when they are negative words. Your words are the flip side of our word power, and shows how delightfully powerful kind words can be. Thank you."
"Once again Laura Lavigne takes you on an adventure of the heart. She has a way of pulling you right in the car with her. Asking you to consider changing a fear to taking thoughtful action. Whether she's teaching a class, leading a retreat or heading for a happiness sprinkling, Laura will invite you to shed old ways of thinking and be completely authentic. Join in!"
"Essentially pure love.
I enjoy how Laura is kind to herself and to us other humans who dance in and out of each other's lives. "
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You can count on Laura for warmth, humor, charm, and a lift to your day and your heart. She inspires me to be braver than I am, and to love the world out loud. She's a gem, and a generous one at that!"
I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.