123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Blog

Filtering by Category: practice

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?

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.

it is time.

liz lamoreux

Maybe you're in a space where the longing feels thick. Where the stuff that makes up each day is piling. Where the roles you're playing are pulling you in several directions and you secretly wish you could just step away for awhile.

Or maybe you're in a season where others need you. A lot. And you know you need to create space for you and you simply don't know where to begin.

Or perhaps you've lost the connection with the creative soul inside you - the soul who wanted to write more, take more photos, play with paint and color, or even just cook like she used to. 

If pieces of these stories sound familiar, I invite you to come along to Water Your Mama Soul.

The practices you'll explore and conversations we'll have during this 10-day class will begin to create the foundation you need to tell your story - to live your way into the longings while seeing and feeling the beauty of your everyday life.

Because we can hold two things at once: The longings in one hand and the beauty of our everyday life in the other. The joy of living this crazy, awesome life in one hand and the grief that life hands you in the other.

We can hold all the things.

And we can find our way to feeling grounded and like our true selves in the midst of all these feelings and experiences.

I really believe that.

There's this bridge I keep talking about - this bridge that takes us from our daily to our longings. And no matter the longings, this bridge is really between daily life and more "really good days."

Think about that for a moment. Each day, you're building a bridge to more really good days.

That kind of sounds delicious and not impossible.

But honey, before you build that bridge between today and your longings, you've got to have a foundation to hold it up.

The practices in Water Your Mama Soul will be your foundation. They will help you begin to tell your story so you can name those longings and decide which ones you want to claim as your path.

Come along. This powerful online class is just $25. We begin as a group September 14.

Register right here.

a morning ritual (how to smudge)

liz lamoreux

They walk out the door in a rush, in a flurry of "Please hurry and brush your teeth. You're going to be late. Daddy is waiting."

Some mornings I head to the kitchen window and watch them walk down the twisty steps, him carrying all the things, her chatting and chatting as she gets distracted by the colors of the sky or a tiny insect or the lines the fog makes against the trees.

Other mornings I sink to my knees in the living room and put my hands on the floor, stretching my back into chakravakasana. Breathing. Being. Coming home to me.

And then there are the mornings I plant myself on the red couch and dive right into emails and analytics and holding my heart out in my hand in a virtual invitation.

Lately, I've been adding in a simple clearing ritual to bring me back to center. Some days it's my practice. Other days it closes my longer practice. Always it feels like a prayer.

I stand at our often dusty sprawling family altar and begin to chat to Ganesh. As the words swirl in our little house, as Millie snores in her spot on the rug behind me, I light the sage. Watching the smoke begin to swirl, my voice gets louder. I gently move my hand, enveloping the smoke, and let it encircle me.

And then I begin to walk. Chanting. Clearing the space with my voice, with the sage. 

It's a whisper. It's a roar. It's one woman in her little home asking all that is greater than her to support her in this day, to clear space for all that is to come, to clasp us gently in its grasp.

Yes. 

*****

How to Smudge

If you're new to working with sage or smudging, here are some simply steps to follow. I've included some links to supplies as well:

1. Light your bundle or smudge stick until it flames. It will usually burn out and begin to smoke. If needed, you can blow out the flame, but it should still be smoking. This smoke is what you'll use to smudge.

2. Smudge yourself by wafting the smoke toward you, getting your whole body and then step through the smoke. You can use your hand or a feather or feather wand. If you're smudging another person, make sure they turn around so you smudge both their front and back.

3. If you're smudging a space or your home, begin to walk around slowly, wafting the smoke into the space, being sure to direct it in all four directions in each room. Some traditions say you should walk around your space or home in a clockwise manner. As you're walking, be sure to also carry a small bowl or an abalone shell to catch any ashes. (Lately, I've been using my favorite heart bowls.)

4. As you're walking, think positive thoughts, even say a prayer, or sing or chant. The intention is to invite in what you most want to come into this space. You might even want to write a blessing that you say in each room (or to each person if you're smudging yourself and others).

5. When you're done, remember to gently put out the smoking smudge stick/wand. Do this by pressing it into your abalone shell or a fire-proof ceramic bowl. You'll want to make sure that it is no longer smoking and then leave it in the shell or bowl for a while.

Resources:

There are so many great sources for sage and other smudge sticks on Etsy. You can often find it at Whole Foods and other natural food shops too. Moorea Seal (one of my favorite Seattle shops/sites) also carries some sage and other good things. The sage wand in the photo is from the wondrous Jennette Nielsen.

Using sage is something I first learned about from my teacher Laura Yon. She also taught me the Ganesha chant I sing daily (if you'd like to listen to it and learn it, here's a short audio of me chanting). Additionally, Pixie Lighthorse's teachings have invited me to deepen my experience with the smudging practice.

As always, if you have questions, share them in the comments.

With love and light,
Liz 

All photos by Lauren Oliver Photography

get outside

liz lamoreux

It's that time of year where we begin to hover between winter and spring over here in my corner. Some days the rain just falls and falls and the grey can really start to get to you. 

But then the sun will appear. 

But then you'll notice the crocuses about ready to bloom.

But then you'll notice the tulips are starting to push upward.

And suddenly that fierce belief that spring will return appears again.

I've learned though that the only way I can stay connected to that belief is by getting outside.

You have to do the practice.

You can't just talk about how you're getting back to your practice if you dive right into email first thing in the morning and don't stop multi-tasking until you fall asleep just after checking email one more time.

You have to do the practice.

You can't just write articles about why people should start practicing self-care and mindfulness.

You have to do the practice.

You can't wonder why you feel so full of all the stuff that swirls around you when you know the very remedy that would help you feel connected to all that you believe in.

You have to do the practice.

So I stood outside breathing in my own backyard as someone used a jackhammer down the street (yes, a jackhammer on a Monday) and the cars whizzed by on the highway in the distance and the hummingbird chirped down at me from the plum tree and Millie the wonder dog sniffed in circles and the cherry trees preened under the sun's warmth and I realized I hadn't yet brushed my teeth and I started counting all the shades of blue in the sky and then I started counting my own heartbeats...

and I pushed aside the lists and the changes to come and the dream that won't stop tapping me on the forehead and the emails I need to answer and the realization that if I don't get in the shower soon I'm going to be that mom at the Valentine's Craft Fair who works from home and sometimes doesn't remember to shower...

and I stood outside and took five deep breaths and then five more. Just being right here. Noticing. Creating space within. Letting it all just be for a few minutes. Uncovering that connection to all that is greater than me for just seconds at a time.

You have to do the practice.

Yes, honey, I'm talking to you.

10 ways to practice self-care at the holidays

liz lamoreux

Dear beautiful soul,

We're in it aren't we? This beautiful, hard, spirit-full time of year. The Holidays.

Today, I want to reach out and invite you to think about shifting your self-care a bit to support you right now. It still needs to be on your list - your "this is non-negotiable" list - even as you wrap presents and bake cookies and run to the store yet again and how the list goes on and on.

Here are a few ideas to help you think about ways to practice self-care right now. Choose just one from this list to try. Or let these ideas be a springboard for your own.

The important thing: Take time to slow down and notice. Let yourself just breathe within the present moment instead of rushing toward expectations and stuff or whatever else your schedule holds. 

Create space to enjoy the simple things you love about the holidays

Make a quick list of things you love this time of year. Pretend that there isn't a to-do list connected to this and let go of thinking about what your family members love. What do you love? Look over your list and choose one or two and create space to make them happen.

Here's an example: There’s something about the lights of our Christmas tree at night that invite in a sense of stillness for me. I love to simply sit in our family room with just the lights of the tree on while I drink a cup of tea. I just breathe and try to let my thoughts rest as much as I can. When my thoughts are really restless, I’ll stand at the tree and look at the ornaments that represent the childhoods of my husband, myself, and now our daughter. My favorite is the popsicle stick sled from my first grade teacher that I’m holding together with tape after all these years.

Light candles

I've been mentioning this one often lately, and that's because it is such an important practice to me and my family. When it starts to get dark so early in December, I begin to light candles at dusk. Lately, I've been going back to this practice: When I light them, I often whisper a little blessing of gratitude for something that happened during my day. This pushes me to really notice the positives from the day. Then when I blow the candles out before heading to bed, I say blessings of protection and love for my loved ones. 

My current favorites candles are these from Moorea Seal and these amber candles.

Music

I’m one of those people who loves most holiday music, but even if you aren’t a huge fan, there is probably at least one album out there that makes you smile. Maybe it’s Bing singing "White Christmas" or Elvis or Johnny Mathis or Kenny & Dolly. I love just about any version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," but the one sung by John Denver and Rolfe from The Muppets always brings a wave of nostalgia that feels like home to me. Create a holiday playlist for yourself. 



Creating an altar with photos

Getting out a few photos of the people I miss this time of year helps me to keep them in my mind and heart. It feels good to have them around me instead of letting missing or distant memories get me down. I like to gather a candle and a few small things that remind me of that person, like the shells shown in the example of me walking with my grandpa on the beach, and create a little remembrance altar.

Find stillness

As your mind swirls with all that must get done, you've got to slow down and get recentered honey. Even just taking those five deep breaths several times a day can be supportive first-aid self-care this time of year. Create some reminders for yourself to pause and breathe. This might mean setting a reminder on your phone every few hours. Find a way to just get still. And if you need ideas, check out this post.

Connecting

There are so many parties and gatherings that we can feel we "must" attend, and then in contrast, so many of us can feel lonely at the holidays (whether we have these gatherings or not). As you figure out your schedule over the next few weeks, make the choice to connect with the friends and family who most support you too. This might mean a coffee date, a phone call or getting on Skype, or even texting with a loved one. Make time for those deeper connections. And remember, you don't have to say yes to everything. You really don't dear one.

 

 

A cup of tea

I bring up drinking tea often in my self-care suggestions because I really believe that making and then drinking tea (or coffee or hot cocoa) engages all of our senses. This act of slowing down and noticing the smells and taste and even the feel of the warm mug in our hands helps create space for quietness and calm. You can even turn making and drinking a cup of tea into a ritual that grounds you daily and gives you some time just for you.

And this is the part where I say: You can even make your stop at Starbucks this ritual. Skip the drive through. Go inside and order. Then sit and just breathe and take five minutes for you while you drink your latte. Try not to look at your phone for those five minutes.

Get outside

I know it might be really cold where you live, but get outside anyway. If you don't, you're going to go stir crazy. You need the fresh air. You need the sun. You need to remember that there is a big world out there. You need to remember that the birds will keep singing and the trees will keep reaching up toward the sun no matter what this time of year brings you. Go for a walk even if it's just for a block or down your driveway and back.

Let yourself feel all the feelings

This time of year can bring up so much. From expectations to past hurts to hopes that this year your family won't talk about {fill in your own family's story here} to wishing your kids would all smile for the photo to missing loved ones...there's a lot of feelings swirling. Try not to judge the feelings that are coming up for you. Let yourself feel them. Yes, you are allowed to feel sad. And yes, honey, you are allowed to feel happy! And all the other things in between. In fact, you can even feel conflicting things at the same time. You get to choose. (You also get to choose what you do with these feelings. You can dwell. Or you can create your own experience this year. It might be hard to see that, but the choice is there for all of us.)

And remember that those around you have swirling feelings too (even those who might be hurting yours). Tread gently.

Think about how your self-care might have to change this time of year

Maybe you're visiting family or a whole crew is headed your way. Maybe you have to work on Christmas Day. Maybe you're alone for the first time. As you look at what's ahead, think about how your self-care might have to shift. Do you need to get up a little bit earlier because the kids are on break? Do you need to ask your spouse for different kind of support? Do you need to set a boundary around how much you're cooking? Do you need to let go of some pieces of your daily self-care practice due to time and travel?

Think about what pieces of self-care are non-negotiable for you and brainstorm some ways that you can still make them happen.

Then ask yourself this question: What could shift so there could be more ease, more space to really enjoy my loved ones and what I love about this time of year?

I'm cheering you on over here. We really can hold the beauty of the holidays in one hand and the truth that sometimes they are hard in the other.

Give yourself the gift of coming back to center several times a day over these next few weeks.

You deserve to feel the love, and those you love do too.

Blessings,

Liz

PS Feel free to share your own self-care ideas and tips in the comments. I love when we can learn from one another.

photo credits: top photo Lauren Oliver Photography, third photo Vanessa Simpson of Focus in Photography 

creating ripples of love :: an interview with Laura Yon

liz lamoreux

 

During the last few months, you might have noticed me mentioning here and in my newsletter that I've started going to see "my teacher" up in Seattle every few weeks.  

Laura Yon was my teacher during my two-year yoga teacher training 10 years ago, and she remains my teacher today. She's been helping me with my practice and giving me a soft space to land where I can just be me. She's also teaching me more about meditation and Buddhism, and I'm feeling so blessed to be learning from her on a continuous basis again. We all needs guides and teachers to shine a light for us.

Over here, I keep sifting through my thoughts and feelings about all that's happening in our world, in the United States, in my own corner, and I try to make sense of what's being said aloud by people who are "in charge." And after my last post, I've heard from so many of you that you're doing the same, so I decided to ask Laura if she'd give her perspective on some of the stuff I can't stop thinking about.

She said yes.

And while I had her "on the line," I also asked her about her retreats as I think several of you reading these words would love to connect with her in person. (The safe space she created during our two-year training is one big reason why I felt moved to begin my retreats.)

Read on...

How does yoga and meditation help you keep your heart open amidst whatever is happening in your own life and/or the world around you?  

It is tragic to watch the events of the world and see the suffering that humans continue to perpetuate against one another. The esoteric answer is that, "everything is just as it is supposed to be." This world is a place where there is great love and beauty and also great sorrow. And we are here to fulfill the lessons that each of us is here to learn.

I believe that the fabric of the universe is LOVE and by continually dropping deeply into the places in myself that are connected with this universal energy, I stay charged with a feeling of something greater than myself and of this place. I know that this place is temporary, this feeling is temporary, this suffering is temporary and the universal, eternal energy of LOVE is ever-present, with every breath.

What would you tell someone who feels hopeless when watching the news right now? How can they move from hopeless back to love?

How are you going to be in the world and what ripples are you going to put out into the world?

When something "bad" happens, our first reactions may be based in fear or anger. But meeting the world's events with more fear and anger just reinforces this patterning in the world and in ourselves. All of our thoughts, words and actions have powerful effects, and they create ripples that flow out into the world. Those ripples can be ones of more fear, anger, hopelessness or of LOVE, compassion and understanding.

As the Dalai Lama says, we are ALL human beings who are suffering and we ALL want the same thing - TO BE LOVED. So creating ripples of LOVE, compassion and understanding have a positive energetic effect in the world.

 

Sometimes when we're overwhelmed by what's happening in the world or even to others closer to home, we can feel guilty when we experience good things, as though we should feel bad because we can't fix it all or because we're experiencing joy in our lives. That word guilt is such a big one. I so often talk about how we can hold the beauty in one hand and the grief in the other. Do you have a practice you use that helps you navigate this?

The power of a daily meditation practice for helping us to find balance, equilibrium and clarity in this crazy world can not be over emphasized! It helps us to remember what we are here to do, what is our work and what is someone else's. Their work is not for us to do; it is their practice and lessons to learn. I have a friend who says it is like what the flight attendants say on the airplane, "Put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others with theirs."

Chanting is another powerful tool to help us stay centered, remember what we want to be creating in our lives, and it can change the energetic charge of the moment. When my mind starts to spin or move in a direction that isn't helpful for me, I come back to my chant. It cuts through the busy-ness of my mind and I can go, "AH, there's my heart, that's where I can rest back into."

I think about the retreats you host and how they are full of moments of joy and restoration while also an invitation to get quiet and listen. Can you share about why it's important to get away and give yourself this gift?

Retreat time is so important! It is a time to re-direct our focus from the external world to our inner world. Everything we are searching for is inside of our own heart, most people just don't have the time in their lives to stop and listen to what our heart's are saying. To have an extended period of time where we get to stay inside the space of LOVE and openness, quiet and listening to our inner, innate wisdom and compassion, is essential to maintaining a spiritual life within the modern city. It is respite for our SOUL.

When we come back from retreat, we then take that wisdom, compassion and LOVE out into our lives, our work and our relationships. It is truly transformative!

happy souls at one of Laura's retreats

Over the years, you've taught me so much about how to create safe space and community. Within the safe space at one of your retreats and even in your classes, students get to slow down, listen, ask for what they need, and find stillness all while in community with you and others. Do you feel like the sangha you create becomes a place to practice how one wants to move through the world?

ABSOLUTELY! Deep, deep listening is SO powerful! In yoga classes and on retreat, the room will become so quiet as everyone drops deeply into their own peaceful stillness. It is so beautiful to witness! Being in sangha with a group of people who are all on an inner journey helps us to become present with what we want to manifest in our world.

As Goswami Kriyananda said, "Whatever you are doing at this moment is what you will be doing more of in the future." So what are we creating with every breath - LOVE, compassion and understanding or something else? We get to choose what we are creating for our lives! Being on this journey with others who are practicing this as well is a truly a gift!

*****

 

Laura Yon has taught hatha yoga in the viniyoga tradition since 1992 and as a student/practitioner of Buddhism for 30 years, she integrates mindfulness into all of her teaching. To learn more about Laura Yon, visit her website.

She has an incredible retreat coming up in February. And it's in sunny, warm Mexico! The perfect time to get away and spend time in the quiet, practice yoga and meditation, and connect with kindred spirits. It's at one of the world’s best yoga retreat centers on the Yucatan Peninsula, south of Cancun. Swim in the beautiful Caribbean Ocean, enjoy amazing food and great company, explore Mayan ruins, snorkel, walk on the beautiful beach, and have a spa treatment. You can find out all about it here.

dance it out (because this is self-care)

liz lamoreux

One evening last year, Jon was getting Ellie ready for bed and I was cleaning the kitchen. Paul Simon's "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" came on and I couldn't resist. I stopped everything to dance all alone in our living room.

The "stuff" of the day began to drip off of me as I twirled, the room whirring by. I brought my arms up above my head as the beat and the words mingled around me. Singing at times and just letting myself move and be in the moment. Not worrying about all that awaits but just letting in space for joy and silliness and even sacredness.

Dancing it out is a practice I turn to often. When I'm in my studio alone, I turn up Dolly Parton or Mumford and Sons or Taylor Swift and just move. It grounds me in my body. It shakes out the cobwebs and the worries and the distractions. It creates space inside me. It brings me back to me.

I also use this practice when I'm frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do. The music and movement push me out of my whirling thoughts and give me a break to just be one with the spirit within and around me. I suppose it sometimes can even be a spiritual practice for me.

When it comes to this work of using self-care and creativity to help us build a bridge between daily life and where we want to go, we need practices that keep us connected to what matters to us, practices that bring us back to center and keep us moving forward.

And "dancing it out" really can be a beautiful daily self-care practice. Something you do to fill up the well inside you each day to help you continue to come home to yourself even as you experience all that a day can hold.

Using this practice

Today, I want you to just take a few moments to think about how you could bring music into your current self-care practice. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a "dance it out" playlist. These might be songs to dance it out to or songs that feel like an old friend. 
  • Try dancing it out (or singing it out) before you spend time journaling or creating or even before doing something that is going to be a challenge. If you don't usually write or create with music on, put some on and see how it affects the way you put your pen to the page.
  • Start your day with music if you don't already. Notice how it shifts your mood.
  • Just start moving your body. Close your eyes. Let yourself just feel the music (and it's okay if that music is in your head).
  • Turn on music and dance as you clean your kitchen.
  • Invite someone to join you and dance it out together. This is exactly what my daughter and I are doing in the photo at the top of this post. She was frustrated for a moment while playing at the beach so I came up with the idea of pretending we could hear music and we just started dancing. 
  • Put aside a specific time each day to dance, just like you might put aside time to read or go for a run. Set aside just a few minutes to dance to a couple of songs. Try this for two weeks, making note of how you feel before and after you dance each day.

What self-care are you using in your corner of the world? I'd love to know in the comments or use the hashtag #becausethisisselfcare on Instagram and I'll find you over there.