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on choosing a word or intention to guide you

liz lamoreux


It’s a morning in April, and I’m in that almost awake space when the sound of the shower joins the birds. Slowly my eyes open as I hear my daughter begin to stir in her bed in the room next door. Knowing she will soon be crawling into the space beside me, I close my eyes again and breathe and then say softly to myself, “Let today be full of ease.”

It’s an afternoon in late May. I stand in front of the mirror in my bathroom. I close my eyes. Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause. I open my eyes and look at the face in front of me. I watch my forehead soften, my jaw relax. I look into my own eyes and say, “You can let in more love.”

It’s an evening in July. I’m in my studio working, and through the open windows I hear their voices. The five year old getting louder not wanting to go to bed and the dad pushing back with his words. He’s handling things differently then I would. But yet, he’s also creating space for me to be in the studio doing what I need to do. I bring my hand to the necklace that hangs near my solar plexus and rub my fingers over the word “allow.” I breathe. I let go of needing to be in charge of everything.


We Need Practices

As we move through our days, we need practices that anchor us and remind us to think about how we really want to live, practices that help us reflect on what we want to invite into our lives. One practice I turn to is having a word or intention to focus on that gives me a sense of rootedness throughout my day. It connects me to the sacred and to the everyday moments and often becomes part of me, like a trusted companion that walks beside me. I often call this word or phrase a mantra or Soul Mantra. (And yes, this practice is why I named my jewelry business Soul Mantras!)

A Soul Mantra can be a beautiful way to set an intention when you’re in the midst of change or wanting to invite in a specific feeling or hope. They can be visual and internal reminders to help you stay on your path and help you pause and reflect, and they can even become part of the inner dialogue that supports you. 

A Mantra for the New Year

Choosing a mantra is also a beautiful practice to do at the beginning of the new year. This practice creates an intention for you as you invite in what you most need as you think about how you want your next year to unfold. 

When I’m choosing a word to be my guide for the year, I think about all that could happen in a year. I want my word to bring me back to center amidst whatever beauty and uncertainty await. For me, this isn’t about choosing a word that will invite me to have unrealistic expectations for myself or my daily life. Rather, it’s about choosing a word that lifts me up and is a safe space to land even as it challenges me.


Here's one of my favorite ways to choose a mantra:

Spend some time journaling about what you want to invite into your life for a few minutes. As you're writing, think about the words or phrases that feel most supportive. Write them down. And then over the next few days, keep your heart and ears open for other words and mantras that might be the right companion for you. Jot them down. Sit in the quiet for a few moments each day and just notice what comes up, coming back to this idea of thinking about what would most support you. Then, revisit your journal and write a few more thoughts about what you’ve discovered. Read over your writing to see if your mantra might be waiting for you. You can even fill a page with possible words and phrases.

This is the part where I tell you that what often happens to me is that I'll start to notice a word - in quotes on Pinterest, in conversation, in articles and books, and it won't let me go. It just keeps tapping on me. Sometimes there's a "YES! This is my word!" internal response. More often there is resistance. I sit with it. I check in with myself. I start to tell a couple of trusted people. And then I journal about it and usually admit to myself that it is just what I need.

You can also let yourself try on a word or mantra for a while. This is a “choose your own adventure” kind of practice, which means you can choose to move on from a mantra at any time. You aren’t choosing a tattoo design, at least not yet, but are instead simply playing with words in a powerful way.

As you work with this practice of connecting with a mantra and setting an intention for what comes next in your life, I hope you’ll begin to notice how it gives you an access point to presence in the midst of whatever a day hands you as you slow down and deeply connect with you. 

And if you'd like to wear or hold a Soul Mantra to help you stay even more connected to your practice, I'd love to make one for you. All the new word of the year designs can be found right here on the Soul Mantras site.

A version of this article first appeared in Mabel magazine.