A year ago today, I was about to leave my home for six months. The backpack I had borrowed from my daughter felt like a strange and cumbersome turtle shell, and I was looking forward to a quick stop at REI where someone would hopefully show me a few tricks on how to wear that thing more comfortably.
I knew my first stop: Italy for a Retreat. I knew my last stop: Mexico for two Retreats. In between? mostly a row of question marks.
My home was taken care of. My cat had a temporary human. I had a plan for my bills to get paid. And a huge backpack. And a bunch of question marks.
Before walking out of my bedroom, I left myself a note on the freshly made bed that would await me: Welcome home. And a little heart. I was not sure who would be reading that note. Me, most likely. But who would I be? And what if I did not make it back and someone else read that note?
A year later, with my insides rearranged a bit, my heart both slightly tougher and much more vulnerable, having walked the Greek streets that my ancestors walked, with a pretty good Italian accent and a sense of worship for olive oil, I don't want to go anywhere. I want to stay home and ... be. I want to sink into a routine and smell the fall air. I want to be home, a calmer home than the home of the big swirl of summer.
And yet. I know that there is another backpack waiting for me in my future. A much smaller one because I have learned how little I really need. There are people peppered all over the world and in Greece in particular that I will want to go hug.
Life and its invitations are so darn sweet.
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Essential Happiness Retreat
January 10 to 20, 2019
Guadeloupe, French Caribbean
"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.