Laura's Love Letter: Rebirth & Renewal
I hope this finds you well as we step into the season of spring a time full of rebirth and renewal. I love nature and the seasons — though we don’t experience much more than GREEN/GO in South Florida! I remember living in Nashville and wondering if I was going to enjoy walking around the lake in the winter - the spring was full of magnificent blooms and bright greens, the summer had a fullness to it and fall was draped in gorgeous colors. Winter, though, felt empty. Yet, in that emptiness there was stillness and space - two magical elements to the creative process! It’s all connected and it all serves - even the dark and seemingly barren times.
In this episode of "In the beginning", let’s go way back. Around the age of 7 or 8, I remember learning something in Sunday school that I took to heart - two ideas that set my mission in motion. I heard the teacher speaking about Jesus and love. I had a deep knowing wash over me that we’re all sisters and brothers and, because of that, we’re meant to love one another. Jesus didn’t care what religion, nationality, or color we were, how much money or education we had, where we lived, etc. The message was clear - there’s no room for hate, we can like or dislike someone’s actions or beliefs, but, even if we strongly disagree, we are sisters and brothers and LOVE IS A GIVEN. I remember wanting to stand up and raise my hand in the air saying, "One day I’m going to travel the world, meet my sisters and brothers and share the message of LOVE."
I practiced Lent then, and actually still love to, yes, someone pointed out how odd that sounded the other night when I declared, “I love Lent!” In the fourth grade I gave up biting my nails for Lent, and I used to bite them RAW. For 46 days I didn’t bite a nail, and now that’s been that about 44 years. I truly don’t know how I pulled that off at such a young age. Oddly, or Goddly enough I’ve always had great nails, even though many people with Alopecia do not, given your hair and nails are made of the same stuff. I’ve always considered my good nails a gift for giving up biting my nails. It wasn’t until 2003 at Book Expo in Chicago that a reporter who worked for a Yoga Journal asked if she could interview me, in talking about my Alopecia and other symptoms or related conditions, I shared the story about my nails. I had shared that I once heard a doctor say that they couldn’t conclude that Alopecia is stress triggered, as it happens to children. I remember thinking “that’s absurd” as stress is relative, it can be a bad grade, a move, divorce, something you’re eating that is causing stress to your body, or some people it triggers after they had dental work done. Anyhoo, in my conversation with this journalist, she asked when my Alopecia started and I shared around the summer before fifth grade - guess what… that was just about the time I stopped biting my nails. Biting my nails was a form of stress release, and when I stopped, the stress released elsewhere, for me it was the onset of Alopecia. Do I have any medical proof of this, NO, do I know deep in my heart that this was the path, YES. For those of you who don’t know, I consider my experience with Alopecia as one of my life’s biggest gifts. I would never trade my hair for the lessons I’ve learned, and the life I get to live. Who knew that I’d one day be doing school visits, where while the elements of my program are awesome, the true gift of my being with the students for an hour is that they spend time with a person who has a big, obvious challenge and that I’ve embraced being myself, I’m having fun and living an extraordinary life. They get a sense of knowing that whatever challenge they are facing, that they can be amazing, maybe even more so, because of what they are going and growing through! Amen to that, as life is full of challenging situations, and knowing we grow by journeying through them, helps make the ride more exciting, rather than one to be feared.
So, while I don't consider myself any specific religion these days, I still love practicing Lent. This year I gave up purchasing anything (except food) that wasn’t specifically for my business - no new shoes, outfits, jewelry, beauty products (minus essentials), even books and courses are on the do not buy list! This could be my biggest sacrifice since my nails, and I’ve given up drinking several times! I’ve joked that I’ll need to do all my buying on Sundays, as somehow that was always an exception day during Lent -but I’ve never played that way, and won’t start now.
In case you’re wondering, I consider myself more an Ambassador of Love, still on the mission that filled my heart at that young age, to travel the world, meet my sisters and brothers and share the message of love. I believe that love, connection, appreciation, enthusiasm and imagination are all fertile ground for greatness. They are key pieces of my school program, "YOU are a Star…Keep Shining!" If you’re interested in me visiting your child’s school, or know an involved parent/educator, I super appreciate you sharing my contact information.
A few of you may not have received a welcome newsletter - THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE! Also, I found a typo or two in the original download which have been corrected, so please click here to access your GIFT of You Are a Gift to the World/ The World is a Gift to You. Enjoy!
One of the fun parts of Easter is an Easter egg hunt, but who needs it to be Easter, or for it to be eggs you hide? I can’t tell you how much fun we’ve had with the littles in our family hiding things, in fairly obvious places, and having them search for them. It also serves as a great way to pass time when young ones start to get restless. You can use coins, stickers (cut out), paperclips, construction paper cut into different shapes, etc. It’s a way to teach numbers and self-regulation - by saying bring me back one, bring me back two, find five, etc. You may have one circle, two triangles, three squares, four diamonds, five ovals, etc. and have them match the shapes up. You can play the hot, cold, warmer game. I did this a few years back when we had just one young one for Easter, and some of the not so littles couldn’t help but jump in! Playing with your young ones is LOVE IN ACTION.
Feel free to screenshot, or right click (on desktop), save and share! Use #lauraduksta and #iloveyoumorebook when sharing on social media.
Even better, I love to see pictures of your little ones and loved ones with the books - tag the pics and we’ll share them!
Books make great gifts for Easter baskets, Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation gifts! Signed copies are available on my website!