Woman in the Wind – It is written in stone!

Aging Gracefully 

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan

Antelope Canyon - Woman in the Wind

Woman in the Wind – It is written in stone!

It is written in stone that I will encounter
storms and rainbows during this journey called Life.

Breathing in new thoughts and perspectives,
I eagerly discover more about the spirit within me.
And bless the earthly form I was born into decades ago.

Time has gifted me with many challenging and exquisite moments
which have been woven into my Being.

I honor and embrace that which is sacred.
And am grateful for the eternal spirit that is my Essence.
Yes … I Am the Woman in the Wind!

Laurel D. Rund

Awareness - Antelope Canyon - Quote Art


I am opening my consciousness to my true self.  I choose to be here to grow, to free myself from conflict and to discover who I really am.  I let go of the world of illusion and imitation that the material world imposes on me.  I seek to improve myself as I explore the world of infinite possibilities.

“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm”

Henry David Thoreau

The Gift of Age

The Gift of Age by Laurel D. Rund

As a gift to myself just before my 70th birthday in October 2015, I attended the Hay House Orlando “I Can Do It” conference. For me, it was a meaningful and inspirational time, which included a poignant memorial service for Dr. Wayne Dyer who had just passed away – he was scheduled to be the opening night keynote speaker.

I have wanted to write about one particular experience I had at the conference for quite some time, but felt stuck, unable to put into words a description of my transformative soul retrieval journey led by Dr. Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.*

Dr. Villoldo explained to the audience that a soul retrieval journey is a time where one enters into a sacred space to heal the past and chart a new destiny. After conducting some rituals with the audience, it was time for us to quiet down and go into a meditative state.

With my eyes closed and in response to the guided meditation, I was led to a path in the woods, where at the entry of the path, we were told that a power animal would meet us. A large buck greeted me, and as I focused my eyes on this strong, superb animal – it suddenly morphed into a hawk who spread his wings and guided me through the woods to a clearing. I was asked to sit down on a rock in the center of the clearing and wait.

Dr. Villoldo said that a spirit would appear behind me, and to feel its presence. I slowly turned around to greet this entity. When I turned, I saw an elderly Native American woman with braids; her face glowing with kindness, crinkled, caring eyes, and a gentle smile. Her loving energy enveloped me and entered my heart. I reached over and felt compelled to trace my fingers across the wrinkles on her face and around her eyes, which felt like I was following a map of her life.

The shaman asked us to walk away from the clearing with our spirit and to return home through the forest path. But, before leaving the forest, he directed the participants on this soul retrieval journey to transmute and absorb our power animals and spirit into our beings. The hawk, the buck, and the Wise Old Woman morphed into my human form and spirit. I then left the forest and was guided back to the present moment – the soul retrieval was over.

I felt peaceful, calm and wondered what did this all mean? My intuition told me that I had retrieved my “wise old woman” – my WOW as a lesson about recognizing  the strength, wisdom, gentleness and grace that lies within me. It was about honoring my age.

 The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”   Robert Frost

When I returned home from the conference, there was urgency within me to create an image of what I had seen, and then to write about the experience. The soul retrieval journey was emblazoned in my head and heart, and set a tone of acceptance and joy for me as I stepped into my seventh decade with gratitude.  Below is My Wise Old Woman (WOW) and Power Animals, as I experienced them.

The Gift of Age by Laurel D. Rund

I felt exhilarated when the recreation of what I saw during the soul retrieval journey came to life.  It hangs on a wall in my house and has great meaning to me.   But, each time I put pen to paper to write about the experience, I felt blocked.     Somehow I knew that there was an unseen purpose for this story and that I needed to be patient until it showed itself to me.

The Epiphany

One morning, at least three months after the conference, while driving my car through an area that is populated with lush moss-filled oak trees, I had an epiphany.

I slowed my car down – as I always do when passing under the arch of these glorious trees – and greeted them tenderly with a “hello trees!” There is something about this particular street which has “talked to me” since I first drove through it several years ago.   I never fail to purposefully slow my car down and greet the trees, taking time to be present with them and to honor their magnificence.  It always leaves me with a sense of peacefulness and gratitude.  It makes my heart feel good.

As I drove on,  I began to think about the dicotomy between how we see trees and “see” our elders.  The purpose for this piece had finally percolated up;  it literally showed itself to me and my writing block was lifted!  

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” Hermann Hesse

It’s interesting how many people have come to love and honor trees.   I know several devoted tree huggers. People have sat in trees for months to protect them from destruction.

As they get older, trees reach across to each other and their branches touch – intertwine. They share their energy, their power and offer a place for humans to be shaded and rest under their glorious limbs. They build a community. And, there are many stories held within each tree – what it encountered as it grew into maturity.

When we pass a tree that has become glorious in its old age, we look at that tree in awe as we revere its strength and beauty whether or not its bark is missing or cracked, or its branches broken off.

Here’s the epiphany — I believe we humans are very much like trees. We show our age with wrinkles, changes in our bodies and its imperfections. And yet, as we grow older we, too, have a community to build and a story to share.

Our culture, however, has often stated that when people get older they are “past their prime” and become invisible. Maybe it makes some people uncomfortable with their own aging process, or maybe heartlessness has replaced caring.

Here is what Gabriel Garci-a-Marquez, author of “Love in the Time of Cholera” had to say about the essence of aging:

Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.”

There are many lessons to be shared and taught by our elders. Our society all too often disregards the journeys and stories of the aged, and places its attention on youthfulness. Yes, life is about hope, youth and building a life, but it is also about the wisdom one has gained throughout the years.

Being an elder, a Woman of Wisdom, a WOW, has given me a new perspective about aging. I’ve learned as I’ve moved into my seventies that what you feel like inside your human form has nothing to do with the date of your birth. My spiritual being is ageless.

Just like my gray hair, wrinkles, aches and pains, life is filled with joy, growth, challenges, heartaches and bumps in the road. These are the things that build our character, wisdom and courage.  This is how we learn and grow.

Each day, year and decade should be honored. Very much like the rings within the trunk of a tree, they represent and record the events which we have experienced on this journey called life.

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”
(unknown author)

Today, go hug a tree and then talk with and hug an Elder.   For all of us – being talked with, touched and hugged is a heartfelt and essential part of life.  

My very best,   Laurel

Time to fly, time to soar by Laurel D. Rund

*Dr. Villoldo is a renowned psychologist and medical anthropologist, who has studied the healing practices of the Amazon and Andean shamans for more than 25 years.  Founder of The Four Winds Society, Dr. Villoldo instructs individuals throughout the world in the practice of energy medicine.

The Soul Never Thinks Without a Picture

The Soul Never Thinks Without a PictureAristotle

Whether it be naming a new piece of art, or finding a quote to go with it – the pairing of words and images energizes my spirit.   I then, with intent, share my work with others to kindle inspiration.

It’s been a busy year for me. I’ve joined several business-networking groups as an entrepreneurial woman; and I’ve participated in women’s spiritual groups to feed my soul.   It all boils down to building special relationships that have genuine meaning to me.

I have always gravitated to people that I can share conversation with in a profound way. Sure, I can make “small talk” and have lots of fun kibitzing.   I love to laugh and to play – that brings joyfilled moments into my life.   But I must admit, I most treasure the time when I get to know someone in a thoughtful and authentic way.   Ahh – a very important word was just used here. Authentic. After many decades, being “me” in an authentic way is what brings a smile to my eyes and opens my heart to others.  I’ve taken down the mask of what I thought I was supposed to be, and found my ‘I AM’.

And, because I tend to think and hear in pictures, many of these open-hearted conversations create beautiful images in my mind.   As Aristotle said The Soul Never Thinks Without a Picture.   My soul is made up of a tapestry of images.

Here’s a challenge – why not share a few minutes today with someone you only know on a casual level.   Go beneath the surface, be present, be authentic, listen and learn.   Perhaps you will be gifted with something unexpected and delicious. And, it may be the beginning of a new, important relationship.  What do you have to lose?

Have a great day- may it be filled with exquisite moments.   Laurel

Art from the Heart quote card by Laurel D. Rund

I went to the beach last weekend with a notebook and pen in hand.  The poem below opened the door to my writing, which had been closed and dormant for awhile.  Again, pairing an image with words!  Ain’t life just grand…. Laurel

Poem by Laurel D. Rund about writing

Mother’s Day-the Vortex

Mother’s Day – the Vortex

“When a daughter loses a mother, the intervals between grief responses lengthen over time, but her longing never disappears. It always hovers at the edge of her awareness, prepared to surface at any time, in any place, in the least expected ways.” ― Hope EdelmanMotherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

Mother’s Day is a day to honor and be honored.  It is also a day which I have struggled with my whole life; having lost my mother when I was 13 months of age.  Some holidays, which are celebrated by most with joy and happiness, are triggers of sadness for others.  Perhaps this piece will touch someone else’s heart who struggles with the day as I do.

“a mother’s death also means the loss of the consistent, supportive family system that once supplied her with a secure home base, she then has to develop her self-confidence and self-esteem through alternate means. Without a mother or mother-figure to guide her, a daughter also has to piece together a female self-image of her own.” ― Hope EdelmanMotherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

The vortex of feelings which swirl around me on Mother’s Day are painful, and yet I am grateful.  I take comfort that I am a mother who has loved her sons and they are forever woven into my heart.  I also remind myself that I am a child of God, which takes the sting out of the day and makes me feel less separate and alone.

The piece below is made up of images taken throughout the years which swirl within my heart.   I remember that today is a new day!   I am present and emerge as who I was meant to be – a spiritual being who has embraced life.

an article written about how a woman feels on Mother's Day because of the loss of her mother as an infant.

When a mother dies, a daughter’s mourning never completely ends.” ― Hope EdelmanMotherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss, 20th Anniversary Edition


Why handwrite a note of thanks or gratitude?

Why would you take the time to handwrite a note of thanks and gratitude in today’s busy world? 

People want to be appreciated. When you take the time to choose a special Art from the Heart card, handwrite a note of thanks and gratitude, and then place the ‘elusive’ stamp on the envelope, address and mail it … that gesture will make a lasting impression on the recipient.

How to write the perfect thank you note

Today, a note penned by hand is making a resurgence. It is one of the things considered to be tangible, beautiful and valued.  When you give the gift of handwritten words that say thank you and/or I am grateful to another human being, it is an act of grace – a touch point.

Many treasured pieces of Pony Express mail have become family heirlooms, or are on display in museums as reminders of a time gone by … they are keepsakes!  Can you imagine what it felt like in the 1800’s when men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail delivered letters or notes to family, friends and business acquaintances?

In the cyberspace world of today, we connect with each other through email, text or through social media … Facebook, Linked-In, Pinterest, Twitter, et al.  The messages between us flash by in a nano-second and disappear just as quickly.  Do you want your message of thanks or appreciation to end up in an electronic trash or junk file?   Wasn’t your intent to leave a “lasting” impression with your words?

It is rare to receive or send out something that has been handwritten.  Your Art from the Heart notecard will get attention from the moment the recipient sees the envelope, interspersed among the pile of bills and junk mail they receive, until the time they open it.  And, if you’ve chosen carefully and found something which has a beautiful image,  it more than likely will be placed on display on a shelf, refrigerator door or tabletop.

Just think about this …   isn’t there something about a handwritten card that stops time for a moment and  makes you want to hang on to it?  Hand-penned cards have become a valued gift and are making a comeback!

That’s why you should take the time to handwrite a note of thanks or gratitude to family, friends, loved ones, clients or potential clients.  It will be the gift that keeps on giving.  Just do it!

fountain pen

To purchase Laurel’s ‘Art from the Heart’ notecards, click here!

Art from the Heart - unique art for home and heart

Art from the Heart - unique art for home and heart

To purchase my Fine ‘Art from the Heart’ notecards, click here

Change the Dance!

Over six years ago, the rebel in me emerged after leaving a  30-plus year career in the corporate world.  I vowed to never again set goals or make resolutions on New Year’s Eve.   I moved away from being a structured, goal-driven businesswoman to a creative, freedom-driven and unique spiritual being.

The transformation I experienced in my personal life after the death of my husband changed me and the world as I knew it.  My belief system shifted from worrying about the future and fretting about the past ~ to one of being grateful for the day that I am in.  I appreciate my unique and creative energy, and have become a woman who chooses to laugh and smile from the inside out. 

I have learned that the only life story I can live is my own, and have let go of trying to control or figure out someone else’s life path or choices.  I’m not perfect about any of this, sometimes it is very hard not to be judgmental, or to put on my old managerial hat and tell another human being what to do, but I’ve learned to check my words at the door before they leave my mouth.   I am grateful for the journey that I am on.

Today, on January 8th, 2015, I am a writer and an artist who treasures her freedom to be authentic…a woman who is a purpose-filled spiritual being and a creative entrepreneur.  Did I say entrepreneur?   Yes, I did ~ even though I believed I would never be able to work outside of the corporate world.  And surprise, surprise; I love the freedom being an entrepreneur offers me!

This year I have put into writing my purpose, intentions and goals. The word faith (which is my chosen word for 2015)  is about hopetrust, and belief.  In order to continue moving forward, I choose to put aside my fears and doubts. And, as an empowered entrepreneurial woman,  I am planning with audacity and executing with vigor!

By creating a vision and having faith – I am embracing success, am optimistic and am courageous.  I have learned “never to say never!”   My new mantra is “why not?”  YESI have changed the dance!

Happy 2015 everyone.   May your dreams come true!   ♥♥♥ Laurel D. Rund 

Quote art by Laurel D. Rund called “Change the Dance!"

“And let us believe in a long year that is given to us — new, untouched, full of things that have never been.” Rainer Maria Rike

Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel D. Rund

Laurel’s Kitchen

Sometimes it’s fun and intriguing to bring back an oldie but goodie.   The  poem and artwork titled Laurel’s Kitchen is in my book Emerging Voices-Living On.

It surfaced and peeked its head out today and said – “remember me”?   The words and art are as important to me now as they were when created.   Please enjoy this old and proven recipe!

Poem and artwork about the book Laurel's Kitchen

By chance, a friend found a cookbook named “Laurel’s Kitchen”.

The serendipity of this discovery gave me pause to reflect about my life.

Just what are the ingredients, when put together,

that will create a delectable and scrumptious dish?

What ought to be added and what are the exact measurements?

How does it all get kneaded together?

Should I let the mixture sit undisturbed so that everything blends and finds its balance?

How long will it take to cook up this perfect dish?

And, when tasting my concoction, will I remember to stop and

relish what feeds my heart and enriches my spirit.

I have come to appreciate that life does not come with a cookbook.

When in a place of stillness and gratitude, I remember that being alive

brings the possibility of a new recipe each and every day.

That’s when I know for sure that I am in “Laurel’s Kitchen”!

Laurel D. Rund (c) 2011


Buy Emerging Voices-Living On!



Soul-Filled Gathering by Laurel D Rund

exerpt from DailyOM …

“Our bodies are living, breathing expressions of our consciousness.

We are dual beings by nature, soul-filled spirits bound to earth by physical bodies. In our lifetimes, we are charged with the duty of nurturing and tending both with equal devotion and love. 

If the soul is the inward manifestation of our consciousness, the body is the living, breathing expression of that consciousness. The physical self provides the home in which the spiritual self takes root and flourishes. Just as we must tend to the seed of the soul to ensure that it grows strong, so, too, must we care for the protective shell that is the body to make certain it is capable of playing its role in our development.  Both facets of the human experience play a vital role in our well-being.

The body and the soul are the yin and yang of our current reality. They are, at this point of human evolution, irreparably bound together, and many spiritual teachers agree that the body is one of the greatest vehicles through which to access the soul. In fact, many believe that our spirit has chosen to be embodied as an essential part of our spiritual development. Consequently, it is the responsibility of each person to forge a marriage between the two, so that these disparate aspects bring out the best in each other, creating a vibrant, dynamic, and workable whole.”

In my words – we are all a work in progress.  Namaste,  Laurel

Let’s go fly a kite!

So….Let’s go fly a kite! 

I see children as kites.  You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless. They crash . . . you add a longer tail . . . you patch and comfort, adjust and teach.  You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they’ll fly.”  Erma Bombeck

Art from the Heart - unique art for home and heart



Few would argue even the perceived benefits of spending time outdoors.  In a time where it has become easier and easier to spend more time inside than out, kite flying provides the perfect excuse to get up and get outside.

Whether going to the beach or just a local park, it is a great way to experience the outdoors.  Although often assumed to be only a warm-weather activity, kites can be a perfect way to get out of the house in the winter as well.  Just make sure to avoid stormy weather or dangerously high winds.


Although it is widely assumed that running is a key factor to flight, quality kites flown in their recommended wind conditions do not require running.

Despite this fact, flying kites is an active experience – stunt kites and power kites even more-so.  Whether you achieve a high-end workout from flying a kite or not, once you are outside and active, you are more likely to stay outside and active.


It is true that flying a kite is a solo activity, but that does not mean you have to be out there alone.  Bring a friend and test your stunt kite skills against one-another or grab some beginner kites for the whole family and compete for highest flight or quickest ascent.

Next time you go to a local kite festival, you are likely to see stunt kite fliers performing amazing aerial feats with a group of friends.  Spending time flying a kite with other only enhances an already exciting experience.


Flying any kite requires a high degree of concentration and focus.  As it begins to take flight, you adjust to the changing conditions and work to get it soaring high above.  This will energize your mind and tends to alleviate stress.  Flying a quality kite high in the clouds can provide an overwhelming sense of relaxation.

Looking to engage even more actively in your flight?  Grab a stunt or power kite and work towards perfecting precision maneuvers and tricks.  Either way, once your flight is completed, you are likely going to feel better than when you began!


Any child standing outside holding the string to a kite soaring above is likely to be overcome with a sense of joy and accomplishment.  The feeling of happiness and excitement is not exclusive to children though.  Hold the string yourself and you are likely to feel a rush of childhood memories and a great sense of relaxation.

It is a wonderful feeling to have lifted an object yourself hundreds of feet in the air.  So get up, get out and fly a kite!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite”

 (from Mary Poppins)

Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite
And send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!


Coming Full Circle

In honor of this coming Mother’s Day – I am sharing one of the most meaningful pieces (for me) that I have written.

♥ ♥ ♥

Many of us carry within us words that define our life stories.  I have several words, and for a long time the predominant one was “loss.”  I spent many years feeling deprived of the love of my mother, her presence and her story.

Ina, my mother, died 13 months after I was born.  For most of my life, I felt like a “motherless child.”  She became a ghost-like fantasy to me, which is probably why I liked fairytales so much as a kid. Maybe I was wishing for a happy ending.

My father remarried when I was four (not a fairytale ending by any means) and the stories and pictures of my mother were buried in the vault of the past.  Because Ina did not have an extended family, she got lost in the ether.  It felt to me that the only evidence of her being here on this earth was the existence of my two older brothers and myself.  I wondered about this woman who gave birth to me, and questioned whether I would have turned out differently if she had lived.  Loss became the prevailing theme in telling my life story.

Ina Fleisig


After experiencing the loss of my husband in 2009, and gaining a new perspective on death, I have come to understand that I did get to be with and know my mother during that nine-month gestation period in her womb.  Ina left her loving imprint on me, providing the fertile ground that has nurtured my spirit and helped grow me into the person I am today.

The vision I have always “seen” of my mother’s hands gently protecting and guiding me throughout my life, and this ephiphany, has shifted me.  I have come “full circle” to a place of belief and love for what time we had together.  Laurel


COMING FULL CIRCLE .. a letter from a daughter to her mother


Coming Full Circle by Laurel D. Rund

When I picked you from afar, I knew that you would gift me with life. With intention and purpose, I floated into your womb… absorbing your molecules and making them mine.

While tethered to you, I was cared for and fearless as you willingly provided nourishment, safety and unconditional love.  I was enveloped by the sounds in the depths of your belly, and your heart and mine beat together in a life-forming synchronistic rhythm.  Within the sanctuary of your womb, I grew from a seedling into a tiny being … swimming, kicking and moving about unabashedly.

The nine months I spent inside your belly strengthened and prepared me for what was to come in the “outside world.”  As the time of gestation was  coming to an end, I tried to hold on, to resist the next part of my journey ~ I must have  a known that our time together on earth would be cut short. 

Nonetheless, you pushed me forward. Your body urged me to move into the world, like an ocean wave crashing towards the shore.   As I gulped in my first breathe of air and cried out, you breathed a sigh of relief, knowing with certainty that I would survive.

And then, as a sign of your enternal love,  you bestowed upon me the unique and beautiful name to which I answer.  I am and always will be your Laurel Diane.

Not until the afternoon of my life have I come to appreciate and be grateful for the the bonds that were built during those first nine months we spent together.   Although you had only one precious year left on earth to be with me,  your loving imprint is permanently affixed to my heart.

  Laurel Diane Rund- 9/2013

Mother’s Song by Kathy Zavada

Just Be

Today is a celebration.  On May 5th 2010,  four years ago,  I met the man who has gently and unconditionally taught me how to love again.   Here, in honor of our 4th anniversary, is the story of Philip and Laurel.

JUST BE!   by Laurel D. Rund

It’s funny about how you meet that special someone in your life at the most unexpected time.   I was getting my hair cut and colored one day without any thought other than, I really, really need to have my roots colored.   Picture this, a woman sitting in the hair salon chair with her hair sticking up as if she had stuck her finger in an electrical socket.  Now come on, this is supposed to be a place where you can look your worst so that you can look your best ~ right?

The woman who does my hair was also working with a gentlemen sitting to the left of me (he was preoccupied with his iPhone.)   I paid him little mind, why would I – this was my personal space to relax and be pampered.  Out of the blue, my “hair dresser” introduced me to the man sitting to the left of me, her next customer. After squirming with internal protest (I was thinking … HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME,)  I put on a smile and politely said hello.    Then I quickly turned my head to back to her and said “ARE YOU CRAZY!”

Well, the rest is history, as they say. This man and I began to talk. He liked my name, Laurel, and asked what color flower it was (clever pick-up line if I say so myself).  I carefreely said, “if you really want to know who I am, go to essenceoflaurel.com, my website”… knowing that it truly represented the woman I am today, including a picture of me without my hair standing up at all angles.   (Thank goodness I also wasn’t having my eyebrows colored, because then I would have looked like a combination of the Marx brothers being electrocuted.)

It took a few seconds for this guy to go to my website (thank you iPhone.)  I watched in amazement, once he found the site, as to how he reacted to my art and poetry.  It seemed to startle him in a good way, and it was then that we actually began to talk.   We could have been at a coffee shop or having a glass of wine together, the imagery of where we were quickly faded away. It was what we were “seeing” in each that piqued our mutual interest.

The long and the short of it is that we did meet for dinner, then a movie, and then on and on and on.   What I was experiencing and feeling started to make me nervous because I wasn’t, repeat wasn’t looking for someone and there didn’t seem to be any any red flags which said danger ahead.  Having spent the last year plus getting back on my feet after losing my husband, and building a new life for myself, I didn’t want to “lose my freedom.”  You know ~ I am Woman Hear Me Roar!

What did this mean to me?  I was re-emerging and discovering the woman I am today, and didn’t want to go into a relationship that would sidetrack me on this journey. I had made new friends, discovered my creative spirit and spirituality, and was bringing joy back into my life.

When I told the story of my fears about this newfound relationship to someone very important in my life, she said to me “Laurel, if you are afraid of losing your freedom, you are not truly free. SoJust Be.”    Yikes, those words said it all – and I got it!  

 I thought I would be invisible after my husband’s death. What I didn’t realize is that I just needed to look into the mirror of life and really “see” me. The rest has been falling into place – one day, one hour, one minute at a time.

Can we will we? by Laurel D. Rund and Philip W. LeberSo, I released my fears and decided to let our partnership form itself as it was meant to be.   This man, whom I care very deeply about, has been united with me in a wondrous way because he understands my need to keep true to my “Essence” ~ the woman who emerged after the storm of loss and grief. And I, too, understand that he needs to do the same for himself.

Somehow through a mysterious force, we found one another.  Slowly, tentatively, but with intention, we each told the story of our life’s journey. Sharing what lies beneath our outer facades, revealing long-felt feelings, fears, hopes and dreams. Whether by fate or by plan, a synchronistic encounter offered each of us a beautiful and healing balm ~ the gift of renewal and love.

Romance in my 60’s has come with many unexpected gifts.   Time compresses, wisdom is stored within and called upon, and I have finally learned to “Just Be.”


A budding writer – my granddaughter Katie!

A budding writer has emerged…

On January 26th, my 11-year old granddaughter Katie called and asked if we could Facetime.   She seemed to be very excited about  something … so I hung up the phone and we connected iPad to iPad.  The techie world offers many of us in long-distance family relationships face-to-face time and often they contain special moments.  This rates as was one of my top ten!

Katie flopped down on her bed, held up the iPad to her face, and proceeded to tell me that she had written a story for a school project about her Grandpa.  She said  that when she read the story to her teacher, both the teacher and Katie had tears in their eyes.  You see, Katie’s Grandpa Marty (my husband) passed away in 2009.  She is a sensitive and creative child, and she misses him.

Katie also told me that when she was writing the story, she felt as if Marty was standing beside her the whole time. It gave her the goosebumps.   I believe Marty’s  spirit watches over the family, and that he was indeed there with Katie.  I also know that he had a great big proud grin* (*his trademark) while watching Katie write her story because it was about him and golf balls.

The kicker here is that Katie made that call to me on Marty’s birthday.  I felt as if he was being celebrated and remembered – so it was also a gift to me.

I am sharing Katie’s story to let her know how proud I am of her – my budding writer.  Katie’s enthusiasm, creativity and sensitivity are evident in her story.   Katie Megan Rund is now a contributor to the Essence of Laurel website, and I am a proud grandma!

Note: The tree Katie refers to in her piece is a memorial tree planted in Marty’s name in my backyard. It faces my office window and a pond is directly behind it.

I love you oodles and oodles Katie.  Grandma Laurel

The Golf Balls

by Katie Megan Rund

It was a sunny day and no clouds were in the sky. I stepped outside and breathed in the fresh, cool, summer air. It was time to collect the golf balls. Golf was my grandpas favorite sport and picking the golf balls up, reminded me of him. I couldn’t even wait one more second. I was jumping up and down. It was our first time collecting them and I was so excited. I could hear the wind calling my name.

Now, we walked around the lake to find some golf balls for my grandpa’s tree, It was really hot out and we were all sweating like we were just working out in a gym. Phil [My grandma’s boyfriend] checked his phone and saw that the temperature was 108 degrees. It was bizzare!

We suddenly heard a Splish! Splash! I finally found a golf ball! ” It was just a fish.”, I said in a depressed way.

 “Maybe a whole school!” my sister said. The fish were wide-eyed  and I knew they wanted to be caught. We all tried to catch the fish with our bare hands. Phil, wearing a Tommy Bahama t-shirt suggested we find out what kind of fish it was, but we couldn’t figure it out. My sister stomped her foot on the ground.

 Phil said, “ I found a golf ball pretty ladies!”

“Me too!”, my sister said.

“Me three!” I said. We all found golf balls!  I reached down to pick up the golf ball and I felt a chill in my spine. In my head I was thinking “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you!” I dipped my hand in the fresh, cold, lake water and scooped up the golf ball. For a moment I felt relief.

We all rushed over to the tree and put the wet golf balls under. The tree was just like my grandpa. He was tall and so was the tree. The tree was safe and so was my grandpa in heaven. I picked up a white and black plaque that had so much meaning to me and I cried for a second. I put it down and went inside. I felt like my grandpa was right by my side the whole time.

Katie and her Grandpa Marty





Self-Empowerment – Laurel D. Rund 8/27/2013

Self-empowerment by Laurel D. Rund

The Web of Life by Laurel D. Rund ©2012

The hiatus from the art show circuit has been one of self-empowerment.  It has given me time to shift gears, learn all kinds of new techie things, be creative and recharge my batteries.

I’ve written new blog pieces for Laurel’s Journal, added inspirational narratives to Metamorphosis-Your Stories, and revised, updated and republished my book Emerging Voices.  A sweet sense of self-empowerment came from the book project,  because I did the work myself ~ from “soup to nuts.”  Although I must admit, at times, when I hit a bump in the road, I did feel like I was nuts!

I have redesigned and updated my Essence of Laurel website, after having dived into the intriging  and awesome world of WordPress.  I love the feeling of being self-empowered to learn, create and apply new techniques to my business and art. Video tutorials have become my favorite “cyberspace” tool.

In addition, I  joined several local entrepreneurial networking groups.  New relationships have been formed and my head is swimming with ideas and questions about what social media to use, keywords, search engine optimization, marketing plans, number of visits to my website – whew!  I perservered, although at times it felt overwhelming, with a lot of  information to absorb and sift through.  The main point is, as I keep on LEARNING,  I  become self-empowered.

It has been a reinvigorating and revitalizing time…and from where I sit,  life is good. Little did I know that when I wrote the piece “I am Open” – I wasn’t kidding!

Which brings me to the upcoming art show season ~ an exciting time for me.  The weariness of the previous season’s art-show circuit has dissipated (something akin to labor pains, you forget the actual pain after awhile and fall in love with what you’ve given birth to.)  My baby, Art from the Heart, has evolved and I am eager to get back out there to showcase my work and mingle with customers and fellow artisans.

Art from the Heart by Laurel D. Rund


The 2013 Art Show Calendar of Events is now available on the Essence of Laurel site. In the near future, the calendar will include the shows I am participating in through April of 2014. I am proud to say that I am the featured artist at a one-woman show for the month of September at the Solo Gallery/Arts Council Manatee County.   The opening night for the Art from the Heart exhibit will be September 6th, 2013 from 6-9:00 pm at the Village of the Arts “First Friday Artwalk.”

And, so it begins … Tales from the Booth

New from Essence of Laurel. 

I am creating (giving birth to) a new blog called “Tales from the Booth” which will be about poignant and memorable encounters that I have experienced in the Essence of Laurel booth.  It will contain stories which I’ve compiled over the last three art show seasons.   And,  I  have made a promise to myself to capture the tales as they happen this season, before they become ethereal memories.  

Hmmm ~ a vault of “Tales from the Booth” … another way for me to be self-empowered, to build a treasure trove of stories that are about hope and inspiration.  

 “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato

Essence of Laurel art booth

 Thanks for visiting.  As always,  I am the Essence of Laurel.


“Art from the Heart” One-Woman Show

Art from the Heart

I am pleased to announce that my Art from the Heart will be featured at the Solo Gallery/Arts Council Manatee County – 926 12th Street West, Bradenton, Fl., for the month of September 2013.

The opening night for the Art from the Heart exhibit will be September 6th, 2013 from 6-9:00 pm at the Village of the Arts “First Friday Artwalk.”

The Village of the Arts is a vibrant community of artists living and working together in Bradenton. It is Florida’s largest art community, and over 30 businesses call the Village home. Galleries, studios, healing arts, jewelry, fashion and books can all be found as you wander the streets of this charming area of restored 1920’s and 30’s cottages.  If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by and say hello!  Laurel


Art from the Heart exhibit September 6, 2013 artist Laurel D. Rund

I am a Baby Boomerang

A stroll down memory lane …

I was going through the library of my very first posts and found a gem which I wrote  in 2010. It was originally called “Baby Boomer Anger” … but I’m not angry or sad anymore, so I tweaked the poem and the title, and feel it is more representative of who I am today ~ the Essence of Laurel!

Baby boomerang by author of Emerging Voices, Laurel D. Rund

Baby Boomerang

Here I am, a  female Baby Boomerang!

Defined as a member of a massive group

that influences the powers to be (ha!) …

a group of women whose lives were shaped by

having our consciousness “raised”.


Even though I have aged with courage, grace, and vitality,

I used to believe that our youth-oriented culture

ignored women in their sixties as lacking in power and beauty.

After all, most women’s magazines stop counting after one’s fifties ..

something like  “here’s beauty advice for the 20, 30, 40 or 50 year old.

Oh my, what happens to all that advice when you hit the big 60!


Once again I found myself searching, questioning,

seeking self-realization and validation.

Why should a woman in her sixth decade feel less viable,

snapped back in time to the uncertainty of her purpose?


It has taken me awhile to “get” that life has gifted me

with a treasure trove of experience and awareness.

My sleeping voice has once again been raised up

from complacency  to consciousness!

I am a sage who has learned an important life lesson –

that the “best of times” is in the present moment, not the decade!


Now, at this time in my life,

I happily own my “Baby Boomerang” status ~

with the understanding that the only person

who shouldn’t overlook me is ME!

And you know what?

I love the woman that I AM today … wrinkles, crinkles and all!

Laurel D. Rund

(c) July 2010 – June 2013