A week ago, I was landing in Greece for the first time in real life. In my mind, I had arrived in the city of my roots many times before.
In my mind, it was always a heck of a lot warmer.
Making my way from the airport to the Airbnb was an adventure as - shocker - everything everywhere was written in Greek! Several people on the bus made it their job to make sure I got off at the right place and before I could GPS the address of the place where I would spend the next 12 nights, I found myself walking out of a bakery with a box filled to the rim with the special treats of my childhood.
I was welcome to the Airbnb by an American man named Ranger, who showed me the place. Ranger was visiting for a couple of weeks and within minutes, he and I were sharing the sticky sweet pastries, while he told me a little about how he had been traveling for the last five years.
I was tired from a long day and was noticing that the bathroom barely had a door. I was starting to envision 12 days of no bathroom privacy and my intestines were making small talk about shutting down for a while.
But by then I knew that things rarely are how they seem at first glance. I think that the few tears I shed when leaving Pisciotta put the final touch of this delicious and exciting bit of truth that says: wait. just wait. Allow yourself to lean into this. And allow yourself to be surprised.
A week later, I have baked a pumpkin pie in the kitchen, taken a road trip with Ranger, Maria whose place this is (Maria is incredibly lovely and from Cyprus) and my son who arrived the day after I did. We have had a birthday party, a Christmas feast and much laughing around the small kitchen table. We have sang together, we have laughed, we have traveled by bus, foot and car. In a few short days, we have built a community that is feeding my heart so very much.
For some reason, my intestines no longer care much about the non-door. Which blows my mind a little bit. And reminds me how much we grow from stretching our comfort zone. And how much traveling has a way of doing this.
Also, I am reminded once again of how much I love and need Community.
Then, there is Thessaloniki. Salonique. The city of my ancestors.
I love this city.
Costa and I took a super awesome guided tour and learned more and more about the rich history, the great fire of 1917, the war too. We learned about this city that used to be the largest Jewish city in the world, in a country which is now quite anti semitic. We learned how Jews, Muslims and Christians lived together in harmony for such a long time - until they didn’t anymore. We visited Anapoli, walked thru the Acropolis, sat in a taverna late at night and ate whatever the owner put on our table. We attended a concert, we watched It’s a Wonderful Life with Greek subtitles for free, too.
I feel as though my being is getting more and more layered by the day, and I am taking it all in.
And as if this was not magical enough, tomorrow my sister and my nephew arrive to spend three days with us. My sister being the family’s historian, I had a feeling that it would not take much to get her to leave Florida and come spend a few days here. I was right.
And then, next Sunday, it’s off to Lesvos. Which I hear is no picnic. Which I don’t even think I can get prepared for - so for now I am soaking up all this sweetness and goodness.
Sometimes, that’s the best preparation there is.
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.