I have been traveling through the Northern part of Italy with my son, for the past several days. During that week, many things happened in a different way than we had planned. We took roads not knowing where they would lead us, we ate and drank food that we had not tasted before, we experienced some puzzling interactions, we dove with gusto into a new language, and I drove us through two-way streets that barely looked wide enough for one tiny Fiat.
Yesterday, we arrived at the last Airbnb of our journey together, back in France, and it became quickly apparent that the host provided neither sheets nor towels. We were tired, the guy was more than slightly condescending, and well, I was a bit triggered. He offered to rent us some sheets for 10 euros, and suggested we go buy some towels in town. Oh man, I was not happy. Trying to find bath towels (for which we had no room in our bags) at 7pm proved quite frustrating - and impossible.
And somehow very, very important.
Suddenly, being provided with towels started to feel really imperative. After a long day of driving, I wanted - no, I needed - a clean towel. I could not seem to let my mind unhook from this agreement. Yet, being two days away from starting my Essential Happiness Retreat, I also could not help but notice that I had been caught by just about exactly the kind of stuff I teach people to free themselves from. I noticed, and yet, there I was. Indignant, knowing better, and towel obsessed.
This morning, after some rest, I got out of bed and grabbed the one miniature bar towel tucked in a shelf in the studio. I set it on the tiny sink, and I stepped into the shower with a bottle of shampoo. I washed, I conditioned, I got wet all the way, deciding to enjoy the heck out of the shower. The drying part would be for later.
"Later" came, and I dried myself, head full of hair and all, with that tiny piece of cloth. The window was wide open, the wind was gently blowing, and I could catch a glimpse of the Mediterranean over the rooftops. It took a good while. It left me questionably dry. Then I hung the tiny towel to dry on the rack outside my window. In case I wanted another shower later on.
It was just fine. In fact, it was better than fine. I felt super alive.
Just like most things are just fine, once we decide to let go of the way we think they should be.
Should this host have provided us with towels? Maybe. He certainly did not need to be condescending about it. But then, that's him. And me choosing to let his way of being take away my peace of mind for a couple of hours only robbed me of these two hours. Which I will never get back.
What was I so afraid of? That things were not going to be the way I had envisioned them? That they were not going to be the way they are at home?
Isn't that the whole point of traveling?
To leave our habits behind and experience the fun and stretch of drying ourselves with a postage stamp towel, letting the wind finish the job while looking over at the sea?
This morning, I think it was...
"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. "
"Don't miss an post!
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.