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five small acts of mindfulness


I came across this quote, and I honestly can't stop thinking about it.

Salzberg speaks so deeply to what I've learned, especially in the last year: In order for me to stick with a practice, it has to be manageable for me. I have to be able to actually do it. So I'm going to start sharing more ideas for manageable mindifulness and self-care practices here in this space in the hopes that they'll give you some ideas for the kind of daily practice you can create over in your corner. I believe that through these practices, be keep building that bridge between our daily lives and the lives we deeply imagine for ourselves.

Here are five ideas to help you bring in small but deep moments of mindfulness into your daily life.

1. Stretch and move your body.

Moving your body with awareness can quiet your mind chatter and invite you back into presence. Here's one quick way to do this: 

Stand up with enough space around you that you can sweep your arms out to the side. With your feet about hip distance apart, try to feel your feet beneath you. Bring your hands to your heart or cross your arms at your chest. With your next inhale, open your arms wide feeling the stretch all the way to your fingertips. As you exhale, bring your arms back to center, crossing them over your heart. Repeat 5-10 more times. As you stretch, continue to focus on feeling your feet beneath you while also stretching your upper body.  

When you're done, make any other movements your body needs right now. Just notice. You'll know what to do.

2. Get outside and take five deep breaths.

There's a reason why I often give people the homework of getting outside: It gets you out of your head and back into your body and mind. This happens because you're so often surrounded by so much that is simply present. From the birds singing their song every single day to the trees following the rhythms of mother nature, there's evidence of the way the world outside this screen and even your daily life finds ways to be present.

Get outside for even just three minutes today and pause, taking five deep breaths as you simply notice whatever is around you.

3. Make a list of observations.

Writing a list can invite you away from the distractions and swirling thoughts and get you back into your heart a bit more. It can also connect you to the present moment. Here's what I mean: Write a list of observations about this moment. Move away from feelings and things that need to get done and instead, imagine you are stepping outside of yourself and just notice what you see. I sometimes start lists like these with the word "here."

For example: Here blue sky shines thought the window. Here a dog snores. Here a woman pushes herself through writer's block. Here a kettle of water begins to boil. Here a favorite soft t-shirt. Here artwork dances on the walls...

Sometimes this practice becomes a bit like writing a poem. It's a great idea to try daily; you could even keep an ongoing list of observations in your planner.

4. Practice a simple breathing meditation.

Here's one of my favorite beginning meditations (that I use often). I call it the "Counting Your Breaths" meditation.

Find a comfortable way to sit. You can use a pillow or a meditation cushion or even a rolled up blanket to sit on. (Note though that you can really do this anywhere - in your car, in the shower, during a break at work, at your desk, and so on.)

Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breathing. Notice how your breath moves in your body. After a few moments, begin to count your breaths. One way I like to do this is to literally say internally, “Inhale one. Exhale one. Inhale two. Exhale two.” as I breathe. Count up to 10. If you'd like to practice longer, or after you've tried a few sessions of going up to 10, you can start over and go through this cycle of 10 a few times. When you’re done, notice your mind, body, and heart.

5. Notice your senses.

This is a practice you can truly do anywhere at any time. Pause right where you are and notice all five of your senses. Breathe deeply, and pay attention to what you hear, smell, taste, see, and touch. Depending on where you are, try to close your eyes so you can get even deeper in touch with your other senses. I also like to add in a sixth sense of knowing. I do this by taking a deep breath and literally saying to myself, "What do I know in this moment."

Check out my senses series for a peek into how I use this as a meditative photography and writing practice as well.

To think about: As you consider developing your own mindfulness practice, think about what is really doable for you. What can you create space for in your life? What do you have time for? And pair these questions with thinking about what you really need.

An invitation: If you want to circle with women to talk about self-care and mindfulness practices and how you can really make them a part of your daily life, come along on my fall Be Present Retreat. It's called Water Your Soul and it takes place this November in Manzanita, Oregon. Learn all about it here

(photo of me by Vanessa Simpson of Focus in Photograpy)


ten years, ten phrases

Ten years ago, I created my own little corner of the Internet that I called "Be Present, Be Here." I was in the middle of my first experience with really deep grief while also studying yoga and mindfulness as part of a two year yoga teacher training. The name came out of a strong desire to live my yoga each day, to practice presence in the world filled with distractions while also beginning a journey of finding my voice. These ten years have cracked me open and through it all I've found my way with the stories, connection, and community my blog has given me.

To celebrate these ten years, I've created the "Ten Years, Ten Phrases" collection, which is full of the ten Soul Mantra phrases that have been handholds for me during this time. There's a little story behind each piece, and I'm going to share them here in this space over the next few weeks. You can find all the Soul Mantras from this collection right here.

Thanks for finding your way here. My hope is that these phrases become handholds for you too as life takes you on it's awesome, sometimes messy, beautiful journey.


eight delightful things

Ellie and I stopped by Target during our girls' evening, and they were kind of hitting it out of the park with the on trend goodness. While driving home, it made me think about how I want to start a series here about some of the delightful finds I see when I'm out in the world or curating over on Pinterest.

Here are a few good things that have caught my eye lately.


I hadn't seen these Chapters Moleskines in person until today. I have a little project in mind for this one, and I'll keep you posted on how I like using it. (Oh and the meeting of Compulsive Journal Buying Club will meet at my house next week.)

Ellie could not resist this owl sweatshirt. And neither could I. The best part? The head opening is comfortable for her. Super soft and cute. (Also this unicorn shirt! And this kitty dress.)

This floral embroidery kit from Hand Made Modern came very very close to making it into my cart. But I must finish my latch hook project first. And my crochet project. Then I want to play with something like this. I'm loving handmade projects that keep me off of my phone or laptop in the evenings and this would be a great one.

And the ampersand trend continues. Am thinking I might want to wrap this one in yarn. Because why not? Ellie also really wants to get her name in these letters and "do a project Mama." I think I've created a crafter. Yep.

I'm obsessed with this hat from Old Navy. I bought the camel (aka burnt ochre) color but a couple more colors and styles are available. It is super comfortable on my not small head.

This Eileen Fisher poncho is very similar to the poncho I wear just about every day over it's cool enough over here. (It's an investment for sure. But you'll be wearing it for years.) I have a couple from Eileen Fisher, and then I have a couple my mom has made me. I'm obsessed with this asymmetrical design and how flattering it is. A whole post about ponchos is on the horizon as soon as my mom sends the new one she made me. 

Over the weekend when I was on Bainbridge Island and had a little bit of time to shop, I found the most delightful journals. Love this one.


And I found a unicorn 7 year pen! (Of course I did. It makes me so happy. There's even a rainbow!)

Check out more items to add to your fall wardrobe over here and here are some of my favorite journals

Note: Some of these links are affiliate, which means I receive a small commission if you choose to buy something via these links. Thank you for supporting this space and my little business. 


Dove Self-Esteem Project

I'm so excited to partner with Dove to share about the Dove Self-Esteem Project and their new short film, Change One Thing, that encourages girls to realize that they don't need to change one thing about their appearance. Take a moment to watch the short film above, and I have a feeling you'll be ready to join me in making a difference in a girl's life. 

To date, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has reached 17 million girls with self-esteem programming. However, there is more work to be done. Research shows that 9 out of 10 girls want to change at least one thing about their appearance. Fortunately, Dove believes that everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a girl’s self-esteem.

Today, the Dove Self-Esteem Project is launching a Pinterest page to provide free resources that address today's biggest barriers to a girl's self-esteem. With this new campaign, Dove's goal is to encourage girls to find confidence in their beauty and inspire women to embrace the power and ease of mentorship to help the girls in their lives reach their full potential. 

The articles and resources shared as part of the Dove Self-Esteem Project are accessible and full of actionable ideas to help you begin to have the sometimes tough conversations about everything from body awareness and respecting yourself to peer pressure, bullying, and navigating social media. There are also activities and starting points to help you begin to weave in more moments that help your daughter or the girls in your life think about body confidence and self-care.


My daughter Ellie is just five, but already I'm noticing the way she talks about her body and even how she talks about the ways she's liked or not liked by her peers on any given day. She isn't really saying negative things very often, but I'm observing the awareness she has about herself and her peers. I'm also noticing how she pays attention to the way I talk about myself and my body and features and sometimes mirrors what I say. 

Our daughters are feeling the pressure to look beautiful at as young as 10 years old. When girls feel that they have a positive role model, they are less likely to let anxieties about looks hold them back. (Source: Dove Global Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited)

When I think about this, I can't help but want to imagine a world where our daughters look in the mirror with kindness. (I want you to imagine a world where you look at yourself with kindness too.) I really do believe we can make this world a reality.


Several activities shared as part of the Dove Self-Esteem Project invite moms to think about how they can model positive self-esteem for their daughters and other young women in their lives. One of my favorite ideas encourages moms to get into photos with their daughters. Getting into photographs and even selfies with your daughter is actually a great way to invite them to feel connected and deeply seen while also modeling self-kindness toward yourself as you let yourself be seen as well.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that taking self-portraits is a big part of my creative self-care. I even wrote a book all about self-portraiture. So taking selfies happens a lot around here. Even though I've been working on softening my own inner self-talk for a long time and taking photos of myself is really part of the work I do in the world, sometimes I don't want to be in a photo or take a selfie; sometimes I feel like I look too tired or too stressed or simply not pretty.

But my daughter doesn't see the circles or the fine lines that I get caught up in noticing. She just sees someone she deeply loves. And she's seen me model self-portraiture so much that she often wants me to take a photo of us together.


So I'm getting in the photos with her when she asks, even in the moments when I feel tired or don't have on any make-up. When I look at this photo of the two of us in the evening light earlier this year - a photo I took with my phone and arm extended - I see that love that I know she sees. And I'm trusting that these little moments of love and self-care and connection will deeply support her as she keeps developing.

I also really recommend the body scan mindfulness activity (click through and pin that one so you don't forget). This is something I've been teaching Ellie in the evening after she gets into bed. We bring awareness to the different parts of our bodies and notice how our bodies feel. We even send our bodies love. My hope is that this will continue to be a powerful way for her to stay connected to her body and how she feels physically and emotionally. It is also a really good one to practice yourself to deeply connect with your body.

Head over to the Dove Self-Esteem Project Pinterest page and start exploring! There are so many wonderful resources to help the girls and young women in your life begin to have an awareness of what they say aloud and internally, while also helping you support them to begin to make positive changes and invite in more self-love as they raise their self-esteem. 

You could even create your own #SelfEsteemProject Pinterest board to start saving these resources so you know right where to find them when you need them. I also really like the idea of starting a mom's group where you could begin to support one another in having these conversations with your daughters and with yourself. That's something I hope to do over here in my corner of the world.

May we each take a step toward encouraging the young women in our lives and help them to see that they don't need to change one thing about their appearance.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Note: This post was sponsored by Dove and I'm honored to partner with them to share the #SelfEsteemProject message and spread the word over on Pinterest. I hope you'll join in and spread the word too so these resources can get into the hands of even more people. Thanks for being here and reading!

Photo of Ellie and the photo of Ellie and me in her bedroom were both taken by Tara Whitney.


september 28.


I couldn't let this day pass without acknowledging that I've been blogging in this space for 10 years.


I have more to say about this and a fun way to celebrate it that I'll be sharing later in the week. For now I just want to say, Thank you.


Thank you.