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Filtering by Category: on truth and love

the push and pull of motherhood

liz lamoreux

I spent a week at Pixie Lighthorse's Soulodge Ranch at a retreat last month. I'm still finding the words to explain how that retreat deeply reminded me of my wholeness. I feel a bit put back together as I'm in the integrating phase in my re-entry time at home. I haven't been to a retreat as a participant in a very long time. Oh my gosh I needed it.

As I keep integrating that experience, here are few words today that started out as ramblings on a post on Instagram about motherhood when I got home and became a reminder that I'm letting sink into my bones.

I think about the pieces that are her story, the pieces that are mine, and I know we are here to teach each other.

And yet, sometimes our different personalities make me feel like I woke up in the middle of a busy intersection in a country I've never visited.

And yet, so often she holds up a mirror. 

And yet, even though the initial moments of my return Saturday night from a week away were in the realm of me saying to the universe, "Wait, what? You stitch me back together and throw me into this?" with tears tapping around the edges, we made it to the next day with a renewed sense of softness amidst the sharp edges.

As she said goodbye on her way to camp one day last week, she yelled through the closing door, "I can't wait to cuddle more as soon as I get home."

Yes. Yes to all of it.

Even the holy wow this is harder than I ever thought it could be moments.

Because last week in the sacred meadow I remembered the answers inside me.

I remembered I am never alone.

I remembered I could reach out with an open hand.

I remembered there is still time to teach her so much. 

The truth is: Sometimes I try to convince myself that there is supposed to be a balance. Or that other people know what they're doing while I flail. I try to convince myself that I've failed. That somehow so much that feels hard is my fault. I feel all the feelings all the time.

The truth is: I'm doing the best I can. Sometimes my best is awesome. Other times my best is tired, annoyed, and overwhelmed. 

The truth is: I so often say to others, "All that you need for the next step is inside you. Trust that truth." I say it because I believe it.

The truth is: I'm remembering that applies to me too.

There is a push and pull in this experience of life, of motherhood, of being human. Each day that push and pull is there. Sometimes you find your footing and the sand beneath the surf doesn't swirl away. Other days you realize you can step onto the boat just waiting for you (do you see it right there beside you). Other days are just hard. And other days, you see the open hand beside you inviting you to step out of the push and pull and rest. 

I could go on and on with this image because the push and pull of the waves, of the grief and the joy, of the beauty of every day and the longings inside me...this push and pull is always present within me. 

It's a piece of The And Space that I walk through.*

One reason I practice is to create space inside me that feels more centered, grounded, and better able to navigate that push and pull. I hold onto mantras and poems and minutes outside breathing so that I can pause the swirling thoughts and be present to whatever is unfolding, to whatever is ahead. I sit in meditation, write out my thoughts in my many journals, reach out to you with a story, capture life through my lens to make sense of it all. These are all pieces of my practice.

While standing on a beach with my daughter last week, reminding her, reminding us, that getting outside and just being together can provide a restart, I remembered that I have time to teach her. I remembered that it doesn't have to look like someone else's life. I remembered that I have to keep practicing so I don't get carried away by the push and pull. I remembered I can continue to give us both the tools to come home to ourselves.

Right now, as we continue to be in this part of our time where we walk side by side, each on our own paths, she often reaches out for my hand but also really wants to walk ahead of me. Sometimes at the same time. Sometimes she really wants me to carry her. There is a deep push and pull at times. And I'm seeing that she feels that too. 

So we practice. We practice so we can better navigate and find our way. We practice to find the softness and ease. We practice to find the love.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

*The And Space is what I call this place where we hold onto the beauty and the mess, the joy and the grief. It's this place where we build bridges between the routine of daily life and the longings within. It's where we acknowledge the next steps we want to take. You can read more about it here. 

This is a story I shared with my newsletter list this week. If you'd like stories like this one in your inbox, you can sign up here.

not on my watch

liz lamoreux

So this is that moment when I come back to this space and start writing. And writing. And sharing the rawness and realness along with ideas and practices and community. I'm working on lists - lists of self-care and lists of organizations I want to donate to, support, and learn more about and lists of voices I want in my daily life so that I stay informed without being consumed and lists of ways I'm going to serve. This is the day when I starting coming to this place more often to make sense of things like I have again and again over the years.

But first, here's a snapshot of thoughts from this morning, the day after the day after we did the unthinkable as a country.



Seeking the everyday rhythm as deep self-care. This simple ritual of breakfast and talking while I make her lunch. The sound of her chatter and laughter and decision that "today is all about Kitty Power!" The smells of coffee and cream cheese and a bagel toasting. The negotiation of: "If I put this piece of Halloween candy in your lunch, you also have to eat all your chicken." Audible sigh. "Fine." Finding coloring books and colored pencils for Jon to take to school for the mindfulness class he's teaching today. Brainstorming that maybe he should have a coloring station for kids. (Imagine your high school physics classroom with a coloring station?) Bringing my hand to my heart every time I remember who our next president will be. Breathing in that space that still feels a bit hallow inside me. Finding her coat and shoes and zipping up her backpack and off they go.

Today, I'll be home alone. Might stay in pjs. Will try to stay hydrated because I'm feeling brittle and dry. I'm going to write today. And write. And listen to music. And let the swirling grief and anger and disbelief sit beside me here on the couch. This is The And Space. The place where I get to feel it all. The place where I decide what's next.


One thing I do know is that I will be using my privilege, my wisdom, my love to say:

If you're going to try to hurt people who are different from you -people in the LGBTQ community, people in Muslim, Jewish, and other religious communities, people of color, people who are disabled, people who are more vulnerable than you. If you're going to try to harm my daughter who believes that love is love is love. If you're going to try to hurt anyone at all, you're going to have to get through me. You're going to have to get through so many of us holding hands and saying: Not on my watch.


I'm seeking the simple, everyday rhythms and writing and working so I can keep paying the bills, while I let all my feelings sit on the couch beside me. I'm letting this be my practice today because I know there is so much work to be done. Take care of you over there. And if you need a place to land, there's room over here in The And Space. I've got cookies.

five things to do when you don't know what to do

liz lamoreux


As I shifted from role to role yesterday late afternoon amidst the unfolding news coming out of California, the 355th mass shooting in the United States this year*, these are the words that came to me as I moved from angry to helpless to hopeless to trying to come back to love.

I reach for the light. I reach for the love. I reach for your hand. Always. :: Praying for change. For wisdom. For hearts opening. For those in charge to listen to that wisdom and light available for each of us.

I don't have clear answers. 

But this doesn't mean I want to be quiet or that I don't want to act.

Here's what I do know: The more of us reaching for that light, for that love, for another's hand, the better our world will be. And we can't do this when we're stuck in the feeling of being helpless or when we're so paralyzed by anger that we don't take action.

For those of us who move through the world in quieter ways, who can feel undone by the news, who are afraid to speak up because being in an argument with others doesn't feel like the right path, here are five ideas to help you move out of that helplessness or anger, no matter the reason why, and back into your body and heart so you can take action in whatever way feels right for you.

(And really these five ideas apply to any situation where you feel like you don't know what to do. Not just when you don't know what to do to help heal our world. You can turn to these practices at the end of a really hard day, after you get unexpected news, and even when you have a big decision to make.)

1. Find the stillness. 

Quiet your body and your mind by pausing and being still. Think about what you know about yourself. Can you find this stillness by just pausing and taking five deep breaths? Do you need to remove yourself from being around others and go outside or even down the hall to the bathroom? Do you need to move to find this stillness? (This is true for some of us. You might need to take a walk outside, without your phone, and breathe and notice. You might need to stretch and breathe. Do yoga.)

Turn off the television. Put your phone in another room. Create space from anything pulling on you. And let yourself get quiet. And if you don't know what to do in that quiet, here are some ideas.

2. Light a candle.

There's something about the pause that happens when you light the wick of a candle and watch it come to life. For a moment, that light is all there is. I light candles on a daily basis in my home and studio. They center me, but they are also like a companion that connects me to the light. Sometimes when I light them, I think about loved ones in my life, especially those who are far away or those who need extra love right now. Often, I let the candle hold all that feels like too much for me. I imagine the candle carrying it all into the wind for the earth, for all that is greater than me, to hold.

3. Hug someone.

Reach out and connect. This might mean literally saying to your partner or a friend, "Can I have a hug?" This might seem simple to some, but for others, asking for a hug is a huge act of vulnerability. But that feeling of physical connection with another roots you in love. (Let it root you in that love honey.)

If you're in a moment (or even a time in your life) where someone to hug isn't available, ask for a virtual hug from a friend through a text or phone call. I do this all the time and I really feel like it works. That simple act of saying a version of, "I'm struggling. I need to know you are there" lets those who care about you root in that same love you are seeking. 

4. Practice your own form of prayer. 

Maybe you practice a religion where prayer is a common act or maybe you don't. Those details are only important to you and the path you are on (as they should be). Even though I don't practice with a specific religion or go to an organized church service on the weekends, I pray. I believe prayer is whatever you need it to be. It might be praying to a god. It might be playing the violin. It might be listening to a specific song. It might be standing in the middle of the forest and just listening. Most importantly connect with the love, the light, that's waiting for you, for all of us.

5. Do something that moves you to a place of connection.

Here's what I mean: Think about the things that invite you to feel that deep hum of "yes, this" inside you, the things that bring you back home to you. Maybe you dance. Maybe you play with paint. Maybe you volunteer. Maybe you read a favorite inspirational book or poem. Maybe you chant. Maybe you take photos. Maybe you play with flowers. Maybe you cook. Make your own list and then put more of these things on your schedule. These are the acts that keep you centered when things feel like they're off kilter. Rituals and rhythms become the way home. 

It feels important to say this: These ideas are about moving you to a place of love and centeredness so you can listen to the path that feels right for you. So you can move to a place of action. This might mean writing your senators and representatives. This might mean asking questions. This might mean speaking up. This might mean educating yourself. This might mean having hard conversations. This might mean even more prayer.

My hope though is that moving away from helplessness and feeling like you don't know what to do and moving back toward your own wisdom will help you take action in whatever way works for you. Because talking about our helplessness or letting hopelessness take over isn't action. And shaming others for not taking the action you think they should take isn't the way either. 

I really believe we can each listen to that wisdom within us and move from a place of truth and love.

And I believe we can even hold hands while we do it. 

(photo by Lauren Oliver Photography.)

*Just wanted to update to add a cite for this statistic. From PBS NewsHour "According to the Tracker's data, which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least four people are killed or wounded, there were 372 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2015, killing 475 and wounding 1,870."

i see you

liz lamoreux


self-portrait, Taos, July 2014


I see you there heart beating in your hand, words pour from it amid tears, old stories, and new-found wisdom. I see you choosing, building, stepping forward to claim the path. I see you loosening the grip on the envy, the misunderstandings, the way it shoud have been. I see you sloughing it off (sloughing so much off) so you can feel the light upon your new-grown skin. I see you stepping forward onto this ready ground.

And you are so beautiful.


We're just finishing Chapter 4 of Inner Excavation as part this summer's Inner Excavate-along. That chapter steps into self-portraiture as a way to tell your story and rereading it inspired me to want to tell more stories using this tool that is so dear to me. This week, I've been sifting through my archives finding self-portraits I haven't edited or shared. A series I took last summer in Taos pushed me to play with the prompt "I see you" and uncover some truths from then and from now. It's felt like I've had a lot of stories I've wanted to share in this space but they have remained close to me or shared in snippets in conversations here and there for months. But I'm ready to let them start dripping out in poem notes and stories and photos.

If you'd like to play along and join in the Inner Excavate-along, you're invited to sign up at any time. Learn more right here.

five years {what is real}

liz lamoreux


Five years ago today we were in the PICU not sure of what the next few hours would hold. Our five week old wasn't thriving and eating was exhausting her and her heart was beating so fast her little body was vibrating. At her 5 year check up last month, her growth was above the 20th percentile for the first time (it was actually above 50!). For the first two years she never hit above 5%. I remember the day her cardiologist told me it was time for milk shakes and french fries. But she's always loved broccoli and peas and strawberries most of all. So when we have ice cream on girls' night and we talk about how things went at camp today and she tells me about running and creating and playing, I can't stop myself from taking photos of her eating it all up. And tonight, I think about how blessed we are that her body kept listening on those nights I'd whisper while she slept, "Your only job is to keep growing and growing so that you can live your life and see all the beauty in the world waiting for you." Yes. Yes. Yes.

I posted this photo and words on Instagram earlier tonight, and it feels important to share it here too as this is the space where I've worked so much out over the last (almost) ten years...where I've made sense of my story and the way it's unfolding. Thanks for being along beside me.


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.)

I'm thinking about...

liz lamoreux

I'm thinking about how my dear friend is probably going to lose all her hair this month because she starts chemo next week.

I'm thinking about how good this cold brew coffee tastes with vanilla almond milk and how I probably can't let myself buy almond milk anymore because of the drought in California.

I'm thinking about that moment when Ellie got down on the floor next to Millie yesterday and whispered to her and then stood up and said, "I was just chanting to Millie to let her know she can keep sleeping. I love chanting to Millie and to my stuffed animals every night." Earlier that day when I'd started chanting a song to Ganesha as I put our new statue of him on our very messy but made with love (and a side of dust) family altar, she said, "I hate it when you chant."

I'm thinking about how easy it is to judge someone else's parenting when you see snippets of a life online or even in person. 

I'm thinking about how we try on words and roles and ways of being in the world when we're five and when we're 35 and when we're 65.

I'm thinking about how many visits and trips are on our summer calendar and that I get to choose the boundaries I set about my own self-care needs and how I react to the self-care needs of others.

I'm thinking about the moment we were in Seattle over the weekend and I noticed that I still really don't feel like we live here even though it has been 11 years. Outside the city and inside the city aren't the same thing. I want more inside the city moments but maybe I actually want them in my own town.

I'm thinking about how we sat in an ice cream shop yesterday and it felt very Portland with the adorable hipster guys scooping ice cream in their shirts decorated with popsicles and the tip jar wearing a bow tie and then as Jon and I chatted about how cool it is that they opened I found them on Instagram and realized they'd been open for a year and they are less than two miles from our house.

I'm thinking about the magic that is just sitting inside my studio waiting to become talismans and touchstones that people hold in their hands.

I'm thinking about the conversations I've been having with the ladies coming to One Move and the awesome peeps who dove into my Back to the Basics beta test. And I'm convinced that these real, raw, hilarious at times, sincere, honest, gorgeous conversations about how we build a bridge between daily life and more really good days, between daily life and the longings inside us, are the conversations I want to be having with you every single day moving forward.

I'm thinking about how I thought I had to create a new guidebook to how to build this bridge but realized I already had volume one in the form of Inner Excavation. We could call it Step 1: Get to know the one person you'll be spending the most time with as you build this bridge.

I'm thinking about all the scary stuff in the world and I'm thinking about all the beauty people are creating with their hearts, with their hands, with their words, with their little moves in their corners of the world, and I'm convinced that we're all going to be okay, that there is more love than we can imagine available to us when we reach out our hands, that there really is someone out there just waiting for you to say, "You can sit right here beside me."

I'm thinking about how glad I am to be sitting beside you today.

{Thoughts from the back porch while eating peanut butter on raisin toast on June 10, 2015}

there are things i want to tell you

liz lamoreux

I want to tell you about the ways being a mother pushes me more than anything I've ever done. It knocks me around. It takes my breath away. It takes me out at the knees. It grows my heart bigger.

I want to tell you about the way I can see love float through the air whenever my daughter giggles. It's like heart-shaped bubbles surround her, surround us, and I can't help but relax into myself.

I want to tell you about the ways I'm certain that I don't know what I'm doing, the days when the questions and the shoulds and the whys stack up.

I want to tell you about the moments when I wonder why it has to be so hard, why she has to push so hard against me, against the love.

I want to tell you about the moments that are full of ease, full of more joy than one person can hold, full of certainty and wide hope.

I want to tell you about the moments when I whispered to her, "All you have to do is live. Is breathe on your own. And then you can live big in this world. You can love big. You can walk beside an elephant in Africa and discover all that you love and become a superhero and just be anyone you want to be. All you have to do is live" as the ventilator whooshed beside us.

I want to tell you about the choices I've made, the mistakes, the blunders, the parenting moves I want to redo because I'm that mom whose baby girl almost died and it can be hard to get out from under that truth.

I want to tell you about the ways I'm trying to soften inside when I think about those mistakes because she's that daughter who doesn't need to think about that almost for even a second because she's so strong and living so big in this world.

I want to tell you about feeling turned inside out while also feeling certain that "yes, even this" can be the path.

I want to tell you about the ways I don't do it all, the ways I'm plowed under by the clutter and the anxiety and the "Please don't ask me one more time if we're there yet."

I want to tell you about the ways my heart keeps stitching together as another bead slides down the string and she joins in as I chant to Ganesh and later after she's in bed he looks at me and says, "Can I hold your hand?"

But instead I'm just going to tell you that each day I'm doing all that I can to set down the pushing and the almosts and the "yes, even this" sometimes to notice the way I want it to be and the way it is, and I'm building a bridge between them where I'm going to sit and dangle my feet while I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I'm building a bridge where I'm going to live.

Where we're going to live.