I completed an assignment in Julia Cameron’s book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, that suggested writing down 25 things that I love. She calls these touchstones, things that are personal to me. Touchstones are to remind me of my identity and connect me with joy.
I began the task more than a week ago, and created the second part of the assignment first…I made mud babies. (You can read that post HERE) I’ve slowly added to my list, and then divided it into categories, grouping the things I love around the five senses. Surprisingly, this task was more difficult than I thought it would be. It required much thought.
As a reminder, a touchstone, long ago, was a literal stone, a dark one such as basalt or jasper, used to test the quality of gold or silver. Later the word referred to a reference point from which to evaluate the quality or excellence of something.
A touchstone can be a physical item, such as a feather or a rock, or a symbol, such as a butterfly representing a dream or a goal, or it can be something created, such as a drawing or a photograph, used to represent something significant.
I like the creative idea of listing things I love, and then creating representatives of those touchstones.
Here is my list, divided by senses:
25+ Things I Love
Taste – watermelon (connects me to gardening and my grandfather Pop), potato soup (something my mom made often and I’ve loved since childhood), blueberries (one of my dad’s favorite fruits for pie), hot herbal or Scottish tea (connects me to the grounding practice of afternoon tea), and Cara Cara oranges (one of my favorite fruits and representative of my improved health).
Touch – flannel sheets (oh so cozy and snuggly in winter), garden dirt (love getting my hands into the warm earth), holding hands (connection with another), soft blanket (coziness seems to be extremely important to me), feathers (they are soft, cleverly made and represent writing), summer evenings as the heat leaves (it’s a magical, mysterious time).
Smell – vanilla (my favorite personal scent), cinnamon (reminds me of the holidays), herbs (whether growing in the garden or dried, the fragrance of herbs represent Life to me), curry (one of my favorite cooking scents), just bathed babies (does anything smell sweeter? The scent of a just bathed baby, snuggled in my arms, evokes a strong maternal response).
Sound – children’s laughter (one of the most joyful sounds on earth), crackling fire (cozy), gurgling water or sound of ocean waves (water sounds soothe and ground me), movie soundtracks (my favorite style of music, they reconnect me with the films), thunderstorms/rain (energizing), instrumental music (played by a variety of musical instruments, it reminds me of the bigness of life and that everyone has a part to play), summer frogs & cicadas (a favorite sound from childhood, it represents freedom).
Sight – movies (one of my major touchstones, for so many reasons), gardens (represent beauty, growth and the earth), moon/stars (I’m drawn to both and the vastness of the universe), firelight/candlelight (cozy, enchanting and mesmerizing), water (I can stare into it all day and reflect), my family (connection, unconditional love, legacy), my passport (represents travel), nature (one of my favorite places to be).
This exercise brought up many memories, as I mentally sorted through things that I love and examined the reasons why. Touchstones have been a crucial part of my life I’ve realized, marking what’s important to me. Turning to any of the touchstones I’ve listed immediately centers me and brings me joy.
Over the next few months, I intend to review this list and stay receptive to ways I can creatively form a symbol for the touchstone. Some items, like my soft blanket that I’m cozily wrapped up in now against the cool of the air conditioning, already exist in material form. Others, however, like garden dirt, can be represented, which is why my marvelous mud babies are now at home in my creative studio.
I’m excited to see where this journey takes me as I stay open to inspiration.