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Filtering by Category: be present retreats

Something really magical happened this week. Here's the story.

liz lamoreux


The most magical thing happened this week and I'm suddenly hosting one of my Be Present Retreats this November.

Here's the story:

Earlier this week, I had a dream (like a real dream at night while I was asleep). In the dream, I wrote a Facebook status asking if a few people wanted to gather with me in late November for a retreat in Manzanita. So many people said yes! And the dream shifted to the actual retreat. We were gathered together in a magical house with twinkle lights and journals and books and art supplies and beads and plates of yummy food and poems and conversation spilling into the air.

I woke up filled with that magic as though I'd really been there, plus I could feel the deep missing of leading retreat so much (it's been a couple of years).


So I wrote a status on Facebook (in real life) and said that I'd had this dream and explained what I'd experienced and that it was taking a lot of willpower not to just start planning a retreat even though it felt unbelievable to go from actual dream to making it happen in real life.

Here's where the most incredible magic happened: There was a chorus of replies saying, "I have this dream too. Can we do it? Can we make it happen?" People said the most amazing things and I started receiving private messages and emails saying, "I'm looking at flights! What times would I need to come in."

And here you are reading these words. We did it. We made it happen! And I so hope you can come along to Water Your Soul this fall. Read on for more details.

retreat goodies_nov2.jpg

At Water Your Soul, we'll gather in a gorgeous ocean-front home in Manzanita, Oregon from the evening of November 28 to the morning of December 2. We'll spend time learning about and experiencing soul care and mindfulness practices. We'll create the beginnings of an art journal, take some photos, share some stories, and even write a poem or two. We're also going to spend time deeply nourishing ourselves with food, walks on the beach, sitting inside by the fire, and maybe even have a dance party (okay, we will have a dance party).

Water Your Soul gives you permission to explore what you most need while in community so you can begin to integrate these practices and take them home with you. It's your opportunity to spend time with the self-care you're longing for while also letting yourself be nurtured by others.

You can read all about it and sign up right here.

Please note registration just opened today! There are just 16 spots and only 9 are left.


the fall retreat: water your soul

liz lamoreux


I'm so excited to announce the Fall Be Present Retreat: Water Your Soul. A group of about 20 of us will be gathering in a gorgeous ocean-front home in Manzanita, Oregon where we'll have time to connect, spend time in the quiet, create and laugh and dance, and deeply replenish ourselves. The retreat takes place November 11-15, and I can't wait to bring a group back to my favorite town on the Oregon Coast! You can read all the details over on the retreat site, but here's a glimpse to give you an idea.



What does water your soul really mean?

It's creating space for you in the midst of whatever the day hands you.

It's taking a walk each day and noticing the world outside even on the days the rain drips on your head.

It's saying "Yes" to pieces of your life that invite in more joy and connection and saying "No" to doing it all.

It's blocking out alone time in your planner because you know recharging is non-negotiable.  

It's looking in the mirror and telling the woman looking back at you "I've got you kid."

It's stepping into vulnerability when you look at your partner and say, "I know you're annoyed right now, but I just really need a hug."

It's realizing you're slipping into the old stories about not enoughness and putting on Johnny Cash and singing into your hairbrush to dance it out.

It's sitting on the front step for five minutes just to give yourself some space so you can move forward from a sense of being grounded.

It's holding the beauty of your life in one hand and the grit of the day in the other and letting yourself feel all the feelings.

It's choosing love even when it feels almost impossible.

Watering your soul is about creating space for you, space for your soul care practice, in the midst of whatever life hands you. It's seeking the space in the in-between moments and nourishing yourself. It's saying "Yes" to filling up your internal well, so you can be more present to your life and your loved ones.



It isn't always easy, which is why we practice it again and again. It isn't always pretty, which is why we circle to tell the true stories to be reminded that we aren’t alone.

But it is a choice. Each day. It's a choice to say: I am ready to deeply connect with me, to be with myself in the quiet, to listen to what I need. It's a choice. And this retreat is going to help you make that choice a little more each day.

Yes. Yes. Yes.



How we'll explore self-care 

  • We'll spend time practicing and learning about creative self-care as we play with words, take some photos, walk on the beach, and explore other forms of creative play and connection.
  • We'll recharge with Mother Ocean as she'll be a teacher for us as we connect with her each day as she's literally steps away from the home where we'll gather. We'll also practice a story releasing ceremony and invite her to hold our stories. 
  • We'll slow down and deeply experience mindfulness practices, create a community altar in the middle of our circle, and look at ways we can create space for the sacred in our daily lives.
  • We'll explore ways to seek stillness and spend time in the quiet. We'll talk about how you can create an individual mindfulness practice when you get home.
  • There will be time to play with your favorite art supplies and other creative goodness so you can remember the ways you want to fill up that creative well within you when you get home. 
  • There will be time to tell your story and listen to the stories of others. Many of the women who attend Be Present Retreats form friendships that last far beyond the retreat.

Before the retreat, I'll connect with you to help you decide what creative self-care practices you'll be bringing with you. For example, you might bring the knitting project you keep meaning to get back to, an art journal to play in, the "big girl" camera you haven't picked up in years, and so on. I'll also be bringing my usual vintage suitcases full of creative supplies for you to have fun with.


This retreat is your opportunity to spend time with the self-care you're longing for in your life. 

This is a place where you can show up as you, and you will be given the gift of time to rest and recharge so you can find your way back to you. 

The Be Present Retreats are an invitation to pause in your life and gather in an intimate, creative community to explore, create, discover, and soak up the world around you. Each retreat includes creative play + adventures combined with stories and "being present" exercises to encourage awareness of this moment. At each retreat, you are also invited to nurture yourself as needed as you keep building the bridge between daily life and the longings you have inside you.



There are 9 spots left at this retreat! This is the retreat many of you have been asking me for, and I can't wait to gather with this circle on the coast. If you feel like this might be the retreat for you, head over to the retreat site and read all the details and sign up to join us. 

(Photos of house courtesy of vacationrentalsmanzanita.com)


liz lamoreux

I'm in the middle of hosting the One Move Retreat on the Oregon Coast and my heart is overflowing.

There is so much tucked inside the corners of those words.

There are pieces of who I am, who I was, and who I am becoming.

There are stories and dreams I was afraid to speak out loud and love and that cliche about jumping off the cliff and your wings will appear (okay maybe it is more poetic and you instead come to "the edge" and your wings will carry you but either way it takes crazy guts and a belief in yourself that is astounding and terrifying).

There are years of finding my way and trusting that telling the true stories would lead me here and clunky conversations and deep hugs.

There are moments of wondering if I could carry this tune on my own and sitting in the quiet until the answers were revealed and dancing again and again to Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York" while letting the words wash over me like a prayer of understanding.

And there is a fierce desire to just answer the question: Is this possible?

Today, I want to leave you with this: One reason to take self-portraits is to gather evidence of those questions deep in our soul. To find proof that we're inside the joy.

So often I take them to chronicle the tough stuff, to make sense out of the grief and the not knowing and the hope. And that is such a beautiful and important practice.

But it is just as important to chronicle the joy. The real, from the guts, "I'm just going to trust that it will always come back" joy.

If ever there was a moment to hashtag blessed this is it people. This. Is. It.

(Thank you for reading my words. For sitting beside me in that quiet. For pushing me to trust my crazy dreams. For listening to my true stories.)

One Move: The Summer Be Present Retreat

liz lamoreux


When brainstorming names for the summer retreat, I filled an entire page with ideas and then decided that what I really want to call it is: The juicy, magical gathering of beautiful souls where we will feast and dance by the sea and deeply connect and step into the light of the gorgeous, messy, true lives we want to live retreat.

But that is way too long to put on a mug, so I'm calling it One Move. (And yes, there will be mugs.)

And I'm calling it One Move because it all comes down to this: So many of us have a vision for ourselves that we want to step into - a dream, an idea, a hope, a desire deep inside you. It might be a big idea with many steps that need to happen to make it real. It might be a simpler dream that you could make happen today. It might be starting a new business, being more present to your daily life, writing that book that's inside you, or even just taking 10 minutes out of each day to recharge.

No matter the vision you have swirling inside you, you have to take the first step, then the next, then the one after that. You have to make one move each day to make it happen and to sustain it.

When you make the choice to come to this retreat, you'll be choosing One Bold Move that you want to make in your life.

This move might be big, or it might be really really quiet. You might already have one in mind as you read these words, or you might need to choose one from the many you have inside you.

When you leave the One Move Retreat, you'll have your unique roadmap to guide you wherever your adventures take you.

Registration for One Move has begun! I'm so excited about this new adventure! Each participant will receive a special soul talisman necklace that we'll create together to support where they are on their journey. Also, there will a care package before you arrive that will be full of some fun things to get you excited, including a book we're all going to read and other soul(home)work. And coaching from me before and after...and so many other new and returning good things. There's even going to be a lip-synch off. For real. 

Just 6 spots left at this intimate 10-person retreat on the Oregon Coast. We'll be gathering from June 16-20 in Arch Cape, a little town nestled between Manzanita and Cannon Beach. Learn all the juicy details and register right here.

fill it up buttercup

liz lamoreux

Kelly Barton and I have gathered up all that we love from the more than 10 retreats we've taught at together and created Fill It Up ButtercupThe retreat version of this adventure will take place September 17-21 at Frog Creek Lodge near the shores of Puget Sound outside Seattle.

This retreat is your invitation to dive into the blank white pages of a journal and fill them with words, watercolors, ink, dreams, lists of good things, photographs, and love letters. 

As we gather in the Pacific Northwest woods, we will:

  • Circle and paint and daydream and sketch.
  • Sit under shady trees and spin stories.
  • Poem it out on vintage typewriters.
  • Look for clues and get curious about what we're drawn to and why.
  • Brainstorm ways to stay connected to our creative selves.
  • Push through the fear of the blank white page.
  • Discover our "go-to" creative moves.
  • Go on photography adventures and treasure hunts.
  • Walk along the shores of Puget Sound and find talismans and treasures.
  • Gather up all of this goodness and more into one gorgeous journal.

And there will be food + laughter + good music + light + love surrounding all of it.

Registration opened today and there are just 9 spots left at this intimate retreat. Learn more and register for Fill It Up Buttercup right here.

on living dreams into reality

liz lamoreux

The words above are on one of the little Soul Mantra notes that I tuck into secret spaces at my retreats. I hide them all over the house...under pillows...in the bathrooms...tucked onto windowsills. And whenever I hide this one, I always say a little blessing that as many people as possible will see it.

Because I really want you to believe that you can live even your craziest, wildest dreams into being.


At my first Be Present Retreat back in 2009, I had a moment alone sitting on the couch looking out at the sea in Manzanita, Oregon. As I sat there, I realized I felt so at home. It truly felt like I was doing the work I was meant to do. All the clichés about being where you were meant to be came together. And this phrase "I am living my dreams into reality" flashed into my mind. I remember tearing up and trying to push away the feelings because it felt like almost too much to believe.

But it was true.

And here's the part where I tell you two important pieces about the "living my Be Present Retreats dream into reality" story.

1) One of the best pieces of advice I received was: Live as though the dream is already true. 

2) I had to cancel three of the first four retreats I'd planned because I didn't have enough people. 

The advice came when I was in the "one day I want to own a retreat center or have a loft space where I can hold events but I have no money to do this yet" stage of dreaming. I was sitting at a friend's kitchen table and she'd asked me what my biggest dream was right now. I was working full-time as an editor, in talks about writing a book about poetry and creativity, and I'd just added the Soul Mantra necklaces to my slowly growing Etsy shop full of purses and prayer flags.

I shared that one day I wanted to host retreats that brought together what I'd learned from the sacred community I'd found in my two-year yoga teacher training experience with the creative community I'd found in the art retreats I was attending. I said that I thought I was about five to ten years away from that dream because we didn't have money to buy a place where I could host the retreats.

My dream was deeply connected to a belief that I had to own (or rent) a space to host these retreats I was envisioning.

My friend said, "Why don't you act like you are already living this dream?"

As I thought about her words over the next few days, my way of looking at this dream began to change. I shifted toward the, "Hmmm...that is interesting. I wonder..." phase of dreaming.

But I didn't make any moves for a few months. I started to try on the idea that I could create and host retreats now. I would imagine what it would be like, but I was too afraid to put any ideas onto paper.

Then I had a few really beautiful experiences and conversations with a few friends. Their support pushed me over the edge to move into the action phase.

I started researching locations along the Oregon Coast. I wanted a big house so it could feel a bit like I was inviting people into my home. I found some possibilities. I started brainstorming on paper. I started thinking about names for this new adventure. My blog was called "be present, be here." The name Be Present Retreats was born.

I brainstormed ideas for the first retreat. I came up with the idea of calling it Self-Portrait Excavation: a retreat about self-portraits in photography, poetry, and mixed media. I asked two friends if they wanted to teach with me. And a few weeks later, I put my dream out into the world.

There was a lot of excitement from my blog readers and friends. I felt certain the retreat would fill with excited women ready to sink into the world of self-portraits and community.

During this time the editor I'd been brainstorming book ideas with called me and said, "I think the idea you have for that retreat could be an incredible book."

I loved it. We put together the proposal and it was accepted! Inner Excavation was born.

But only a few people signed up for the retreat. 

I was really discouraged and knew I would probably have to cancel. I was determined to try again. I brainstormed in my idea notebook. I talked to a few trusted friends and they listened and gave me advice when I asked for it. I thought about the two teachers I most wanted to learn from and asked them if they would teach. They said yes.

I pushed forward with my second retreat (that really became my first). It sold out in three days.

And a few months later, I found myself sitting on that couch looking out at the water knowing I'd come home. And I consciously tucked that feeling into my heart so I wouldn't forget.

The next two retreats didn't fill.

At times it was confusing and discouraging, but I didn't let myself forget that feeling of home. 

So I planned another one and we had just enough people to make it work. I kept building from there. Last week I hosted my fifteenth retreat.

Of course there is a lot more to this story, including figuring out how to actually make money and other bumps and bruises as a business grows. There are dear friends who have supported me and a few who have literally helped make these retreats possible. There are lessons and laughter and moments of wondering. And there have been moments when I wasn't sure if I should keep doing this paired with really beautiful retreats that have brought me back to center where I feel at home again.

Today, this is what I know: If I hadn't spent those months taking time to just pretend the dream was already happening, it would still be in the idea notebook I carry around in my head. Literally trying that dream on for minutes at a time helped me step into a the story of what creating the Be Present Retreats might feel like. 

I'm so deeply grateful for that moment when someone shined a light on that dream inside me and let me know I had permission to say, "YES!"



This post is part of The Give Your Dream Wings Blog Hop. It's a peek inside the process of how inspiring people make the magic happen. We've got some of the internet's most inspiring bloggers sharing how they give their dreams wings - what they do that supports, nurtures and encourages their tender dreams to come to life. This is happening in celebration of the new e-course of the same name by Andrea Schroeder of the Creative Dream Incubator.

The Give Your Dream Wings e-course shows you how to nurture and grow YOUR dream, for free, in only 10 minutes a day. You do not have to wait until you have more time or money! Click here to find out about the free e-course and to read the other (crazy inspiring!) posts in this Blog Hop.

your story 2014

liz lamoreux

photo by Kimberly Kalil

photo by Kelly Barton

photo by Kimberly Kalil

photo by Kelly Barton

photo by Hannah Low

I'm so grateful to the 21 women who gathered on the Oregon Coast last week. They showed up as themselves, tried new things, danced, laughed, and shared pieces of their stories. I'm so blessed to do this work, to create this space where all of this magic unfolds.

We wrote poems, took self-portraits, carved stamps + made books with Elise, painted with Kelly, talked about some business stuff, shared ways we stay present amidst all of it, ate delicious food prepared by my dear friend Sasha, and deeply connected in that way women can when they come to a safe space and make the choice to just keep their hearts open to how it all unfolds.

The synergy of it all...the love...helped me come back to center when I think about what I want to do next with the Be Present Retreats. One maybe even two fall retreats are in the works (you might have spotted this sneak peek of my brainstorming) and more information will be coming very very soon. To be the first to know, sign up for my newsletter right here.

Thank you for coming along on these adventures with me. Those days on the coast last week reminded me of the simple and very tangible ways a group of people can change the world. Yes yes yes.

(Kelly's words + handwriting appear in the second photo. For the last few years I've given out mugs at every retreat. You can spot a few of the ones I gave this time in the photos above. They're from The Universe Knows.)

just show up as you.

liz lamoreux

I sent this note out to my newsletter kindreds last week and as I continue to open my heart up toward connection over here, I thought I'd share it with you in case you too need these words.

At the retreats I host, I watch a special magic unfold over the first evening and then into the first day we spend together. I watch women shed the labels of their everyday lives and begin to just show up as them. They release their grip on being identified as the roles they play - mother, wife, daughter of someone who is ill, woman going through a divorce, a person unsure of her next step, someone feeling stuck - and they settle into their chosen spot in the circle. As they listen to the stories of others, they begin to realize they are not alone in it all as a quiet chorus of "me too, me too" echoes in our circle.

For these five days, they don't have to be the strong one, the one who has it all together, the one who knows exactly what to do. They can just be themselves in the circle. They can listen and hold space for another. They can share a secret dream and not worry about judgment. They can be the quiet observer. They can even instigate a dance party after lunch. 

I watch these incredible women make the choice to open up their hearts and let out pieces of their true essence. And when they do this, the others around them so often say with words and actions, "I see you. You are beautiful. You have so much to offer this world. You are not alone. I'm here beside you."

We all need a space where we can just be us. A space where we aren't in charge. Where we feel safe enough to unearth this true essence inside us. A space to be the quiet one or the one who gives the biggest hugs or the one who invites others to dance or the one who simply nods and listens murmuring "yes." A space where we can connect with other like-minded souls.

Over here in my corner, the truth is that I'm longing for a space like this here in my own community. A space where I can just be me while surrounded by kindred spirits. A few weeks ago, I discovered a "new-to-me" yoga studio that seems very much in alignment with that essence inside me. A few times a week, I visit their website. I look at the class descriptions. I come up with another reason why I probably can't go this week. And then I find myself alone in the quiet wishing for that space to show up as me.

Are you nodding over there and thinking "me too" as you read my words and come up with reasons why you can't find this space in your corner of the world? If yes, I'm wondering if you might want to join me in taking one step toward finding that space for yourself. 

This one move might look like going to a yoga class or signing up for an art workshop or asking that other mother at daycare to get coffee this weekend or reaching out to an online friend you met in an ecourse and saying "Can we Skype?"

But most importantly, this move is going to look like practicing showing up as you. That's the only way you're going to know if it is the right space for you. 

I'll be over here working toward making my small move and cheering you on as you make yours. Let me know how it goes or share what's stopping you. Know that you aren't alone over there.


If you've been feeling called to take time away from your day-to-day life to practice showing up as you and deeply connecting with others, consider coming along to the March Your Story Retreat. Due to cancellations, there are a few more spots available.

Join Elise Blaha Cripe, Kelly Barton, and me and a circle of kindreds as we share our stories, play with paint, write, walk on the beach, and laugh late into the night. 

We will also look at how our dreams can inform our stories and dive into the topic of how to embrace the everyday joys and the messy parts of daily life. 

Learn more about the Your Story Retreat here. And please just reply with any questions. (Note that there will not be a five-day summer retreat this year, and this will more than likely be the only Oregon Coast retreat in 2014.)