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What do You Gain from Subtraction Goals? 2024 Writing Prompts from Writing Yoga®

This year, I am taking something away.  Let's call them subtraction goals. 

Rather than adding new tasks, a weight loss regimen or a grand wealth building plan, what if you took something away this year?

Try out these questions with me as you start 2024:

Can I subtract an old story that has been defining my identity?

Can I subtract the need to strive for goals that no longer reflect my values?

Can I subtract any judgement, biases or preconceptions?

Can I subtract feelings of lack and striving and become comfortable with a state of presence?

Can I subtract the need to be right?

This year is a good one to focus on dreams, work toward peace, and dive deeper into ways our small voices can make the world a more compassionate place.

What will you gain by taking something away? 

Let go & let me know how it goes!  


Remember to sit, write & move each day for a calm, creative & more compassionate life. 

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Mother's Day is Your Day Too! Make Your Own Creativity Retreat & Honor the Mothers [Writing Yoga® PROMPT #2009]

Before Covid, I taught several yoga classes a week and was either presenting Writing Yoga® workshops or planning them during every second of my spare time. I miss my yoga students! But I had no time to focus on doing the work I was meant to do. Now, I can serve even more people, take time to practice yoga and write more poems too.

Just a few lifestyle tweaks can work big magic. Mothers tend to be major multi-takers who put the self-care task at the bottom of the list. Mothers mother. It's what we do. Teachers, nurses, your BFF might mother you too. 

The Writing Yoga® method is a powerful way to connect with your creative self, feel healthy and inspired, and still live a peaceful life. There are many working parts but ANYONE can do the essentials: 1) SIT & relax  2) WRITE in a journal and 3) MOVE the body in some way each and every day.  Ultimately, they make us feel LUMINOUS or "Lumi" for short. Aka: Lumi Sit, Lumi Write & Lumi...

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Valentine's Day Self-Care with Journal Writing, Mindfulness and a Good Book!

What does your Valentine's Day look like?  Maybe you are having an overpriced meal with someone special or perhaps you are staying home with the cats and reading a page turner. This holiday can be rough or wonderful depending upon where you are in life. 

What I love about mindfulness practices and yoga philosophy is that it teaches us to be with "what is" and to not judge ourselves or others. There are so many mental and physical associations with this particular holiday, but what if you could just celebrate the day as it is without any expectations? 

Take a few minutes to focus on your breath if you are feeling anxious today. Allow your thoughts and feelings to pass through you without judging them. If something feels uncomfortable, can you simply notice that feeling, take a deep breath, and watch it pass? 

Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a mindful way can also be a big relief. It is better to have uncomfortable thoughts as energy on the page...

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12 Words to Boost Creativity and Why Creativity Matters

Does the word "creativity" make you think of paint, clay, and kids playing dress up?  We all start out creative, but school and adult life might make us think that creativity is something to be left to artists and geeks. Then we get to the workplace and are expected to be innovative and productive. Hmm, don't we need to be creative for that? 

Life is creative. All of it. We are born from its impulse. We grow up, thrive, and participate in the human experience because creativity is our nature. 

If you have lost your creative spark, here are 12 words to think about: 

  1. Imagine
  2. Plant
  3. Air
  4. Mix
  5. Illuminate 
  6. Collect 
  7. Shift 
  8. Stretch 
  9. Reflect 
  10. Propel 
  11. Focus 
  12. Release 

Start with your imagination. Collect your ideas and then shape them, mix, illuminate, reflect and focus on what you want to bring into the world. When you are ready, release your creation! 

Print out this post, cut out the words, and use as "creativity...

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A Word for Every Teacher and Student at the Start of the New Year: Abundance

Our principal asked us to pick a word at the start of the school year. The word would be our North Star to guide our goals, inform our lessons, and inspire us to do great work. School initiatives sometimes fall away as the year progresses, but a good administrator won't let that happen.

She didn't let that happen. We revisited our words at the start of the new year. What would your word be?

It feels poetic to pick just one word. No long lists, no big visions, no novels. I thought about it for days. Nothing felt right. If you know my work, you know that there are three words I think about a lot: calm, creative, and compassionate. It is my desire to see all students, teachers and classrooms feel that way in every school around the world.  But these words can't be separated. 

Why?  It is easy to be calm if we feel safe. When we feel safe, we are free to find creative solutions, work harder, and take big risks. Safety means we are not threatened...

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Write From Your Dreams! [Writing Yoga Prompt # 1254]

One night, my mother and sister had the same dream as I did.  It was a realistic dream, just a normal day at a busy city park.  I sat at a long picnic table loaded with snacks and canned seltzer.  The park was crowded, but my family sat quietly around the long table. Okay, take back the realistic part. My family is never quiet.

My grandfather walked by the table and said, “I am still here.”  My sister and mother said he appeared in their dreams that night too. And he said the same thing, "I am still here."  We all felt so peaceful afterwards. 

I don’t know what event in our lives made my Grandfather whisper reassurance in our sleeping ears. We could have been under a spell of any number of life’s transitions. It was long ago but I remember the dream part perfectly.

Lumi Sit:

Breathe deeply. Close your eyes.  Think of a wonderful dream or daydream (if night ones are hard to remember) that was memorable for...

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The Gift of a Spiral Life [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt # 1003]

Humans, just like all of nature, move in spirals. We may even feel crushed by backward momentum, but once we see the other side, our rewards can be tremendous.  That's the gift of a spiral path.

Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:

Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes in silence. Close your eyes. Breathe. Say to yourself, "I am here." Repeat. Slow down the words inside your head. "I am here." Repeat.

Lumi Write:  Draw a picture of a spiral. Take your time and notice what thoughts and images appear in your mind. You can color it in with pencils or decorate it any way you wish. Write down any words that come to mind inside the spiral. I kept thinking of the word, "lighthouse."

Lumi Move: These variations on the forward fold can be done anytime you need a break. Your head is down, but you are not going backwards. We can only restore ourselves when we step off the spiral and rest.

FORWARD FOLD VARIATIONS

Forward Fold: 1) Stand. 2) Bring your hands to your hips, bend your knees and 3)...

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What Makes You Feel Amazing? [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt #1000]

The baby boomers paved the way for us to think differently about getting old. They just aren't having it!  Studies show that it's possible to feel and look years younger than you are by developing healthy habits including practicing yoga, journal writing and meditating. Writing Yoga® combines all three to help balance your mind, body and spirit. And that balance is what makes you feel AMAZING!

Let's take a page from the boomer's book not because we actually want to be younger, but because we want to experience a life filled with child-like wonder and possibility.

Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:
Lumi Sit: Take a deep breath. Ask yourself this question: What makes you amazing? Set a timer for five minutes. Close your eyes. Breathe. With each breath, imagine how amazing you are in your mind's eye. Notice how it feels in your body to be amazing. If there is an obnoxious voice telling you you are not amazing, defend yourself as you would your own child or student. Or you...

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The Art of Mess and Love: ‘Golden Venus of Rags’ vs. ‘Venus de Milo’ [Writing Prompt #210]

Venus stands in the middle of Dallas. She’s golden, glowing and powerful, but her bedroom is a mess. Could it be she has too much to wear? This artwork, Venere deglistracci dorata (Golden Venus of Rags), by Michelangelo Pistoletto was created between 1967-1971, long before Forever 21 sold disposable clothes.

I took this picture and sent it to my daughter by text, “This looks like your room.” Very funny, she said. But it’s true. It does.

What does it take to create beauty?  Naked, Venus is stunning. What transformation will be made by adorning rags? What is true beauty? What is excess? Do you really need all those clothes, Venus?

Write Venus a note. Begin something like this: Dear Venus, How far you have come from Botticelli’s shell. Or, Dear Venus, let’s sing to Bananarama and wear rubber bracelets up and down our arms. Or, Dear Venus, I’m sorry it took me so long to write, please forgive me for not understanding your...

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Cowboys and Pickle Carts [Writing Prompt #257]

A horse rides through the streets of Dallas. Soon he will be back on the range, dusting dirt off his jeans, but for now, he’s suspended in a painting on the 12th floor hotel wall.

I passed this cowboy on my way to the rooftop pool. He tipped his hat. At least I could have sworn he did.

The man pushing a pickle cart definitely tipped his hat. We were on Houston in New York’s lower east side. He was wheeling past, heading to Delancey and I was in 1899.

Every city has history and imaginary ghosts. What stories do the ghosts of your city tell?

I stood in front of the cowboy at the hotel. He would never have met the pickle man in New York City. I relate better to tenements than ranches, but both are far away from my life today. When we write about the past through the lens of a modern visitor, interesting things can happen in the mind and on the page. 

Lumi Sit:

Find a park bench in any town or city and visit it with your notebook.  Notice the people...

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