I am writing this from the comfort of my new bed (bed #26 - I think), on Lesvos Island. I arrived here this afternoon, after having hugged my son, my sister and my nephew goodbye and taken a short ride in a propeller plane. Once arrived at the tiny airport, I picked up my car and was asked by the man who handed me the keys if I knew that "it was insane, over there?" So, I am here and I am safe and I know I will much to share in the upcoming days about this chapter.
Tonight, and before it starts to fade away a little bit, I want to talk a little bit more about Thessaloniki. And my god there is so much I could say about it, and about my time there. SO MUCH. I could talk about the food. I could talk about the history. I could talk about my family's history and the extra pieces we found out from my mom at 1:30am last night ... hours before I had to leave. I could talk about the smiles, the lights, the sea, the uncannily comfort my family has felt walking around the streets, the people we've met, the new friends we've made, too.
But what I want to share with you is this sweetness I have encountered many times while over there: Big Stray Dogs. At first, we could not figure out what was going on with all these big, well-fed looking dogs walking around, lounging, crossing the streets (often at crosswalks) getting petted all over there place. No collars, no leashes. It baffled us. Most of these dogs are huge. Think Saint Bernard size. Could they really be homeless, we wondered?
A few nights ago, as we exited a bakery at 1 in the morning, a big pup who had been sitting on the bakery's outside mat got up and followed us for a while. He was so sweet. Thinking he may get lost, we walked him back to the bakery and asked if he was theirs. We were told he wasn't. When he caught up to us again, we were smitten and there may have been a few words thrown around about bringing him home.
Eventually, he went left and we went right, and that's when I did a quick little internet search and found out that Greece takes care of its stray dogs with special programs such as vet care and food (unfortunately no neutering). We learned that these dogs are loved by the community and well taken care of, and that because people in the city have small apartments, they love co-owning these big fluff balls.
I love that. I love that so much.
On this furry note, I am going to snuggle into my comfy bed and get ready for what might be a big day, tomorrow.
I wish you the sweetest of New Year's!
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.