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6 ways making lists can be an act of creative and mindful self-care

liz lamoreux

list making self-care.jpg
 

I love a good list. From lists of favorite things to lists of 10 places you should visit in Paris to gratitude lists to your favorite songs in high school, I love them all.  

List-making can actually be an awesome self-care practice. The act of slowing down and focusing on writing a list pushes you out of the swirling thoughts in your mind to bring your attention to just one thing: writing the list. A list can connect you to the present moment and the beauty and gratitude waiting to be found in your daily life.

It can also be a great writing practice and warm up before you dive into a writing project or it can even be the bones of an essay, a blog post, or a poem. I often encourage women who have the "I want to be writer" dream deep inside them to begin with lists. Get some words on a page because writers have to write and push through just dreaming about writing.

Here are a few list-writing prompts to get you started with your own list-making practice.

The "Want To Do" List

When the "to-do" list starts to feel heavy and even overwhelming, it can be helpful to create a "Want To Do" List.  

You can make it really doable and include items like: take-out for dinner, stopping by the park on the way home from school pick-up, taking a 10-minute nap, and reading before bed.  

Or you can fill it with the dreams and desires you have right now and add things like: a weekend getaway, less time on devices each weekend, more whole foods in your diet, or more time with everyone together in the evenings.  

Having a "want to do" list pushes you to notice what you need and separate it out from what must get done each day. You could make this list every day in a simple small notebook (I love Field Notes and pocket Cahier Moleskines) and begin to notice patterns as you listen to what you need.

 
list making as self care
 

The What I Did List

When I get to the end of the day and have that "I really wish I'd gotten more done today" feeling, I sometimes make a list of the things I really did today. When I start listing things, I begin to realize that I accomplished so much more than I thought I did. This is a simple one but can make a profound impact on your internal self-talk. Try it and see what you find.

I Want to Remember List

Pausing to pay attention to what you want to remember can be a beautiful daily practice. It invites you to really notice the moments of joy and growth and realness that make your life what it is.

This practice is a great one to pair with scrapbooking or a simple album of photos and words. And it is one that you can do with your family. I love asking my daughter a version of this question that is age appropriate for her, like, "What did you love most about today?" Making lists like these can help you to see the positive moments in your life, which is especially helpful when you're going through a tough time.

Gratitude Lists

Here's the thing: writing a gratitude list every day will change your life. For real. So even though this one has been around for a long time (Remember learning about this on Oprah in the 90s?), it can be a lovely and supportive practice. 

Psychology professor Robert Emmons explored the idea of keeping a gratitude list in one of his studies. He found, “subjects who wrote down one thing that they were grateful for every day reported being 25 percent happier for a full six months after following this practice for just three weeks” (from “6 Surprising Reasons Why Gratitude is Great for Your Health,”). If this isn't a reason to try this one, what will be?

To begin this practice, simply answer the question, "What am I grateful for today?" and make a short list. Try to write down at least five things you're grateful for each day, and notice how this practice makes you feel. You might even want to journal about that very idea once a week to see how this practice affects you. My daughter and I have been making these lists together for a few weeks now (about 2-3 times a week after dinner), and I'm already noticing the ways that throughout our days, we each bring up things we want to add to our lists.

 
listography
 

List Journals

My daughter and I also love these "My Listography" journals that are full of fun list prompts that invite you to think about so many things. There are versions for parenthood and lists about the future and books and movies. They are an accessible way to give yourself a few moments of slowing down and thinking about yourself in the middle of your day. And they are simply fun!

A List of Here

Another list I make sometimes is actually one of my favorite poetry prompts. I call it "a list of here," and I literally just make a list of what I'm noticing in this moment. I like to list somewhere between 5-15 observations. This is a really beautiful mindfulness practice as it centers you in the middle of your day and brings you back into your body and heart as you take time to simply observe your surroundings along with your inner self-talk. Over the past year, I've started sharing them on Instagram with the hashtag #alistofhere - feel free to join in!

I hope you'll try list making as a self-care tool in your corner of the world. I really believe that it can help you slow down and notice your life in a new way. And it can help you get to know yourself better, which is a pretty awesome thing, don't you think?

Create your own afternoon retreat

liz lamoreux

creating your own afternoon retreat.jpg
 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, "I believe that true identity is found . . . in creative activity springing from within." This speaks deeply to my belief that creativity and mindfulness can help us deepen our inner relationship as we find our way in this wacky, wonderful, hard, beautiful world.

Over the years, I've hosted quite a few retreats, and I learned how important it is to talk about how we can take what we've experienced during our time away from our daily lives and recreate a piece of the experience at home. I encourage the women I work with to take an afternoon every month or so and carve out some time, even if just for two hours, that is devoted to creative play and reconnection with themselves.  

As I get ready to go on a retreat this week - this time as a participant instead of a host - I thought it would be fun to share a template for you to use to create your own creative retreat afternoon for one.

 
creative books
 

Something Inspiring

First, gather something inspiring to read that will get you in the mood to dive into taking care of yourself.

I almost always start with poetry or blessings that help me set an intention for the day. A few favorites:

Maybe you'll want to gather several creative books (like the examples I show in the photo above, including Inner Excavation) or others that inspire you that you can peruse through during your afternoon. Magazines like Flow, Womankind, and Happinez can be fun too.

 
liz lamoreux photo walk
 

Something Creative

Warm up with some simple creative play.

Consider starting with a photo walk. Get outside with your camera (or phone) and notice the beauty around you. Take about 10-20 photos (or more) and just have fun. You might want to:

  • Take a self-portrait or two.
  • Find something green, something purple, something citrus.
  • Find your shadow.
  • Find a heart.
  • Find your senses.

Another idea is to start with a writing warm-up. Take out a notebook and set a timer for 5-10 minutes and just start writing. Don't pick your pen up, just get all the thoughts onto the page. This is actually a great exercise to do at any point during the day. You can use it when you feel stuck or if thoughts of what you "should" be doing pull on you. Think of it like a brain dump that will free you to get back to creative play.

 
watercolor play liz lamoreux
 

Something Colorful

Add in something colorful to your creative play. Gather a few art supplies. These can be really simple, like crayons, colored pencils, a blank sketchbook or notebook, watercolors and watercolor paper. You also might want to gather some collage supplies like magazines, a glue stick, journal, photos, and other fun things.

If you are new to this kind of creative play, here are some prompts to help you get started. With each prompt you can collage a page with images and words from magazines, draw, make lists in different colors or markers, just write your response, paint whatever comes to mind, and so on. Choose one and go for it:

  • I am...
  • My secret dream is...
  • I hope...
  • The colors of my life...
 
liz lamoreux retreat for one
 

Something Nourishing

Gather a few nourishing foods that you love and that will give you energy. This can be another form of creative play as you choose the colors, little bowls and plates, etc and make it special for yourself. Think about adding in fruit and protein and even some chocolate.

Most importantly, listen to what your body needs and nurture it.

Something Grounding

Finish your day with something grounding. A few ideas:

  • Sit in the quiet and take five deep breaths.
  • Journal for a few minutes with a prompt like "I want to remember" or "In this moment, I..."
  • Go on 10-minute walk and notice what you find.
  • Stretch.
  • Stand outside barefoot and feel the earth beneath your feet.

Consider closing your day with a commitment to creating space for more afternoons like this one. Maybe even put the next one on your calendar. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like even more ideas about creating your own retreat (for a few hours or even a weekend), let me know in the comments and I'll work on some more posts like this one.

Photo Credits: All photos by Vanessa Simpson of Focus In Photography, except the watercolors, which shows a glimpse of the kind of creative fun that I like to share on Instagram.

a care package from my heart and studio to your corner of the world

liz lamoreux

 

Introducing the Soul Mantras Care Packages!

Imagine: The anticipation of receiving a care package full of goodies just for you. When it arrives, you set aside time to open it so you can savor everything. As you carefully unwrap each piece of Soul Mantras goodness, you realize you can feel the love, the joy, the support of having each item chosen just for you. You then take time to put each piece in special spots in your home where you will be reminded that you are a light in the world, that you are enough, that you are not alone over in your corner of the world.

There are three package options to choose from: Level I, II, or III.

There are three package options to choose from: 
Level I: $45 (items included valued at $60+)
Level II: $85 (items included valued at $100+)
Level III: $135 (items included valued at $160+)

Or as my assistant Bonnie likes to call them, the Like It, Love It, Want Some More of It Levels.
 

 

Each level includes a necklace, talisman, and gemstone chosen just for you based on the information you share when you place your order. Then, depending on the level you choose, additional goodies will be gathered up and added to your care package. 

Come along and join me in this dance of connection with a little magic and mystery and experience these moments of support, love, and self-care that come with a Soul Mantras Care Package.

7 Journaling Prompts to Help You Tell Your Story

liz lamoreux

One of the most important ways I help women practice self-care is by giving them ways to tell their stories. So often our stories get stuck inside us, and we long to get them out.

 

liz journaling studio 2015.jpg

 

There are many ways to tell your story - from writing to painting to singing to sitting down with a friend and being vulnerable in sharing who you are. One of my favorite ways is through journaling prompts. These prompts give you a place to begin to find the stories waiting inside you. With writing prompts, you have the opportunity to uncover pieces of your own story that you've forgotten, that surprise you, or even that you've been avoiding.

Prompts are so much fun! They can be light, and they can be deep. And the word "journaling" takes the pressure off. This isn't about writing your memoir or a great work of fiction. This is about putting pen to the pages of a journal and telling your stories. 

Here are a few of my favorite prompts to get you started:

I want to remember

This is a great prompt to use when you want to tell a recent story. It helps you capture the pieces of an experience and gives you just enough of a push to drill down to the important moments and feelings. Get into your senses as you gather up the memories you're exploring in your journal.  

With this prompt, you might want to make a list or repeat the prompt, like this example from my weekend:

  • I want to remember the sound of their laughter as he tucked her into bed.
  • I want to remember the look of joy on her face as she crossed the finish line.
  • I want to remember the full Harvest Moon shining through the clouds as I stood on the front steps.
  • I want to remember the delight of hearing him singing "On the Road Again" when he thought we weren't paying attention.
  • I want to remember the quiet truths that linger when we let ourselves be loved.

Yesterday/Today/Tomorrow

This is a prompt that invites you to explore the past, present, and future, but it leaves the subject open ended. You might explore who you were, who you are, and who you are becoming. You might look at a relationship, dreams you once had and how they've evolved, places you've lived, beliefs you once had, and so on. This prompt can be a rich playground for so many stories.

Write a letter to yourself

Imagine letters full of the kindness and wisdom you most need. This is what this prompt is all about.   

I have a simple notebook that I fill with letters to myself (often paired with self-portraits I print out at home and then stick in my journal with washi tape). This practice gives me a safe space to just show up as myself. These letters are sometimes a pep talk. Other times I ask myself a question and then answer it. Some letters are full of forgiveness and deep truths. 

One of my favorite prompts to give the women I work with is to start a letter that simply says, "Dear girl..." and then just start writing the words you most need to hear. Before you begin, you might want to pause and just close your eyes and get present in your body, heart, and mind. Let the day drop away so you can listen. Then open your eyes and start writing. 

See what comes up. Try to let go of judgment and keep your pen moving across the page. Then when you're done, notice if there are any themes or specific phrases that stand out to you. Those phrases could become prompts for your next letter.

A secret dream

Writing about a secret dream can be a beautiful way to unearth the longings you have inside you so that you can begin to not only name but also claim them. This can open up new possibilities because these dreams are no longer hiding in the secret places inside you but are dancing on the pages of your journal. 

I come from

"I come from" is a prompt I first learned in a workshop with Susan Wooldridge. Susan wrote the wonderful book Poemcrazy. If you feel the call to write poetry or simply tell your story through more lyrical writing, this is one you need for your book shelf.  

"I come from" can be a prompt that digs deep into where you were born and the land of the people who came before you. It can also invite you to look at where you live now. You might want to make a list, repeat the prompt like the "I want to remember" example above, or write this prompt across the top of your page and see where it takes you. This is one of those prompts I love returning to again and again.

Inside/Outside

One of the creative prompts I love that grounds me in my everyday life is to act like an observer of the world and of myself. I get curious. I try to just notice without judgment, without a need to label or claim something as true or false.  

A great journaling prompt for this is Inside/Outside. Here's how you use it: Begin to pay attention to the world through this lens: 

Inside I notice... 
Outside I notice... 
Inside I see... 
Outside I see... 
Inside I feel... 
Outside I feel... 
and so on

Let yourself find a rhythm with this idea of seeking the differences (and sameness) of your experiences with "outside/inside." 

Then put pen to the page and write, letting this prompt take you down a path of unearthing evidence of who and where you are. 

Joy

In your journal, make a list of the things/people/places that bring you joy.  

Think about the simple joys you experience in your daily life. Reflect on the bigger moments/events that have brought joy into your life. Think about the younger you and what brought you joy years ago. Keep writing and writing. Return to this list often and add to it. You could even fill an entire spiral notebook with all your joys. 

One cool thing is that this list becomes its own list of writing prompts for you to use for future journaling.

I hope these journaling prompts give you a place to begin to dive into your own journal. May the practice of telling your stories support you in creating a self-care practice for yourself. 

COME ALONG TO TELL IT: COLLAGE

 

If you'd like to explore journaling even more, come along to my current ecourse. Tell It: Collage explores the mediums of collaging + journaling (plus a big dose of inspiration and connection) to help you tell the stories waiting inside you.

But it's even more than that.

It sets the foundation for creative self-care that you can do almost anywhere so that you feel supported and connected to your truth and inner wisdom as you move through the world.

The next round starts on March 21, but you can join in at anytime throughout the class. Read more and sign up here.

Tell It: Color Starts Wednesday

liz lamoreux

Here's what I know: Simple creative + mindfulness practices change our lives. They get us through the tough stuff. They bring us joy. They help us make sense of these wacky, beautiful, sometimes really hard, incredible, messy lives we get to live.

And in my new course, I'm sharing some simple, fun ideas to help you dive into the world of creative play with color to help us add in a little joy + connection to these last two weeks of February. Because I really want to help you create space for creative self-care moves that can change your life in real + doable ways.

(And if you've been wanting to join but aren't sure what creative medium to choose, you don't even really have to choose one. Read on for more about that!)

 
 

Come along for 14 days of creative play as we take back the gray days of February and fill them with color. 

  • Because playing with color opens us up to the beauty and joy around us.
  • Because we live in a time where the overwhelm can feel tangible, and we need go-to practices to get us back into our hearts (and this course is filled with some easy to add in practice ideas).
  • Because creativity is a form of self-care, and self-care can free you to show up as your whole self.
  • Because you deserve to have a little fun over there in your corner of the world.

Tell It: Color is an ecourse that helps you practice self-care through the act of being inspired by the everyday joy of noticing the colors around you. (Noticing color as an act of self-care? How cool is that?)

When you come along for Tell It: Color, you choose the medium you want to play with (more on that below!) and I'll provide prompts, inspiration, ideas, and connection during our two weeks together.

Here's how it works: You'll gather up the supplies you need for the way you want to play along plus a journal and a favorite pen, and I'll provide prompts, stories, inspiration, and community.

And then we’ll meet in a private Facebook group and on Instagram to share our creations and stories each day. 

I'll also share peeks inside my Tell It: Color journal + a few other colorful practices I use and how creative play + mindfulness help me each and every day. 

AND if you just want to join in without choosing a medium, there will be plenty of creative ideas in each day's email for you to use for your daily creative act. 

OR if you're really longing to play with some art supplies but don't know where to begin, pick up some watercolors and an inexpensive watercolor paper pad and come along!

Dates: February 14 - 27
Cost: Just $18 (Register here)

 
 

Tell It: Color Includes

Daily emails: During our 14 days, you'll receive a daily email from me in your inbox. There will be ideas about capturing color through our chosen medium, and ideas about reflecting and writing the stories that rest in those colors. Every day will be about connection and how we can create space for inspiration and curiosity in our daily lives.

Facebook group: An optional private Facebook group that gives you a space to connect with like-minded souls as you share your Color stories.  

We’ll also connect on Instagram via a hashtag, which is a fun and easy way to share and meet others in the course. 

Ways to Play Along

  • Play with paint or markers or crayons and blank paper
  • Play with collage 
  • Make a quilt (yes, a quilt!)
  • Write
  • Cook
  • Take a series of self-portraits inspired by the prompts
  • Do a different colorful act each day
 
watercolors liz lamoreux
 

And here's another idea for you:

Let color itself be your creative medium! Each day, use the prompt to inspire you to do something creative with color. You might decide to:

  • Bake a cake and decorate it with the color(s) from the prompt.
  • Gather up a collection of items that are all one color and photograph them.
  • Paint with watercolor one day.
  • Make a meal that celebrates the color(s).
  • Gather up crayons in shades of a certain color and play in a coloring book before bed.
  • Choose your daily outfit based on the prompt.
  • Make a list of everything you can think of in that color.
  • Write down a memory that connects to that color.
  • Buy flowers and create different mandalas each day.

The most important piece is that you're creating space for creative play and self-care in your daily life. Yes. Yes. Yes!

Register and join in RIGHT HERE!

like a visual poem of possibility

liz lamoreux

A post shared by liz lamoreux (@lizelayne) on

I shared this little video over on Instagram and wanted to share here too (just hover over it and press play).

Because it inspires me so much.

Because this bowl is like a poem of possibility.

Because these little words really will change the world, one person, one brave move, at a time.

A big thank you to Ali Edwards for all that she does to inspire so many of us to choose a word to guide us. 

You can find these heart pocket talismans (along with other talismans, jewelry, and other mindfulness tools) over at my Soul Mantras shop.

2018 Talisman of the Month Club

liz lamoreux

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2018 Talisman of the Month Club subscriptions are open through January 15 this year. 

The Talisman of the Month Club is a monthly subscription that includes a package of inspiration and support delivered to your door. Each month presents a new theme that provides you with lessons, practices, and creative prompts on the month’s theme plus a community of people practicing along with you.

The intention behind this club is to give you tangible practices and reminders to see, hold, and use to help you create space to practice self-care.

You can read all about it over on Soul Mantras, but I wanted to share a little bit here too.

This year there are two editions: 

 
TOTM_April_box1__1024x1024.jpeg
 

The Toolbox Subscription

The intention behind the Toolbox edition is to give you a monthly practice + tangible tools you can use to create an altar or other meditative space. It includes:

  • A handmade pewter pocket talisman hand stamped with a phrase to support you, infused with love and blessings, and packaged in a bag so you can easily carry it with you.
  • An additional item or two that complements that month’s theme that you can use as part of the monthly practice (for example, a gemstone, framable artwork, bowl for your altar, mini prayer flag set, prompt deck, etc).  
  • A tiny print with that month’s theme that becomes a reminder to place on your desk or altar (all multiple months create an inspiration deck for you).
  • A note from my heart to yours focusing on the monthly practice with creative ideas to get you started.
  • Another surprise or two to support your self-care journey.
  • Thoughtful packaging that invites you to slow down and create a mindful moment as you open it each month.
 
Ease_TOTM_Box_IG.jpg
 

The Pocket-Sized Subscription

This offering is perfect for those who want to focus on the monthly practice each month at a smaller price. It is also a good option for those living outside the US (see shipping info below). It includes:

  • A handmade pewter pocket talisman hand stamped with a phrase to support you, infused with love and blessings.
  • A tiny print with that month’s theme that becomes a reminder to place on your desk or altar (all multiple months create an inspiration deck for you).
  • A note from my heart to yours focusing on the monthly practice with creative ideas to get you started.
  • Thoughtful packaging that invites you to slow down and create a mindful moment as you open it each month. This edition will come in an envelope instead of a box.

Both editions also include:

  • Community, connection, and support via a private Facebook group where we talk about ways to work with the month’s practice, share supportive stories, and so on.
  • A few surprises along the way just for 12-month club members.
  • A monthly newsletter to help you deepen your self-care practice.
  • The opportunity to add on 1-on-1 sessions with me to dive deeper into your practice.
  • Discounts for the Soul Mantras shop and some of my other offerings (including ecourses).

Please note that photos show a peek at previous boxes from the 2017 subscription and other goodies similar to what you might receive. The 2018 boxes will be unique with all new practices and all new additional tools inside (for the Toolbox edition).

You can read all the other details, plus the FAQ, over here at Soul Mantras.

52 Lists Project

liz lamoreux

52 lists project cover

 

One of my favorite self-care moves is to make lists. It gives your mind a place to rest and can even become a mindfulness practice when you slow down and create intention around it.

Earlier this week, I came across my copy of Moorea Seal's The 52 Lists Project and decided I wanted to dive back in this year. Last year,  I made it through four weeks of lists, but then dropped off, and I want to start back up again. In her book, there's a different list prompt for every week of the year and some suggested actionable steps to take inspired by your list as well. The book is beautiful and throughtful (just like everything Moorea puts into the world).

I shared my intention of diving back into it on Instagram and Facebook and several people shared that they would love to join in writing a list in this book each week. So we're going to do a "list-along."

I really love this idea of all working through the book together this year. And I love the idea of keeping it really simple. 

Here's how it will work:

We will gather on Instagram and share our lists (or something about the book and our experience with it) on Sundays using the hashtag #52listsSundays so we can find one another.

To share your post in the feed of others sharing about the book (who aren't connected with our list-along), you can use #52ListsProject. You can see lots of ideas and goodness in that feed from people who have been using the book over the last couple of years. 

Some information to answer any questions you might have:

This is a "choose your own adventure" kind of experience with a side of support and connection. Anyone reading this can join in at any time. There are no real rules except that we're using The 52 Lists Project. My hope is that we just have some fun practicing self-care and connecting about it each week on Instagram this year. And if you have the companion 52 Lists of Happiness book and want to use it instead, go for it!

It is easiest to connect on Instagram using hashtags. You can use them on Facebook, but your post has to be set to public for us to find one another. I will be focusing on connecting on Instagram and will also post my photo on Facebook for connection there. I won't be searching Facebook for hashtags though.

You can join in whenever you want to! If you're reading this in March, you can still join in. If you've done a few weeks and want to join in, you can. Like I shared, I have already done a bit of work in the book. I'll be adding to my lists or posting reflections on how they might have changed in a year for the first couple of weeks and then diving into new lists. 

 

52 lists project_list 3
 

You don't have to share your actual list. Some topics might feel too private. That is totally okay. Take a photo of the page before you write on it. Take a photo of the book closed. Take a photo of something that represents the list to you and share about it. Use the "blur" tool to hide parts of your list like I did above. You can make this as personal as you want it to be.

If you don't have the book and want to come along, just order one when you can and jump in if you'd like. 

If you're feeling overwhelmed about writing in a beautiful book, maybe use a pencil so you can erase! I know this is actually a huge piece that stops many people from using these awesome self-care books that people spend some much time creating and making in the hopes you will get messy and write and create in them. Try to let the beauty of you taking time for you in this simple act of self-care be bigger than the fear of messing up your book. I'm cheering you on over here!

If you can't post on Sundays or forget etc, just post on another day! We'll just always use the #52listsSundays hashtag to keep it simple. 

Again, all you need to participate is a copy of The 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal (or her 52 Lists of Happiness book if you already have that one and want to come along).

And if you have questions, just let me know. I will answer them in the comments.

Looking forward to listing with you each week!

Big love,
Liz

PS This post and read-along/list-along is not sponsored by Moorea Seal or the publisher of her books. This list-along came up very organically and informally. My biggest hope is that by joining in together, we can keep each other accountable to actually take this time to practice self-care each week. The links above are affiliate links though, which means when you purchase something through them, I will receive a small commission. You can also purchase copies of these books on Moorea's site.