I looked out of my window and I could see the sky bursting with colour. The clouds looked almost luminous as the light backlit them, making them appear closer than usual.
The kind of sky that the word mesmerising was invented for.
It was that time of the afternoon when there’s a quality of "aliveness" to the air that feels other-worldly.
As I listened, I could hear the birds singing so so loud. As if a million tiny bird conversations were all happening at once. Like being at a party (remember those?) when there are so many voices that they stop sounding like human voices and more like a cacophony of sound.
I noticed that my body, hunched up on the floor in my temporary "office", was actually feeling cramped and stiff. My neck felt jammed with tension and I realised that my left foot was tingling with pins and needles.
I looked down at my laptop and the papers surrounding me and realised that I had barely looked up or moved for nearly two hours.
No wonder everything felt tight and twisted!
This was a moment of choice
I could choose to let go of my noticing and dive back into the work that, if I was honest, I was struggling to concentrate on, or I could take action.
I could stand up, find some shoes and a coat and go and be part of the wonder of the late afternoon. Breathe in the sounds, the smells and the texture of the late afternoon.
This is the power of the micro-moment and it’s become my new saviour in lockdown number 3.
It gave me that moment of choice.
I chose action
Our usual demarcations between work / home / play have collapsed. That ability to spend time away from home and achieve separation between the many hats that we wear has been eroded.
And the impact of that should not be underestimated.
For me that can play out through a tendency to over 'work' and under 'play'.
Perhaps you’re the same?
I can "just" send one more email or "just" do a little more work on a project instead of seeing downtime as a chance to have space to decide what would be nourishing.
Plus the tasks that need to be done around the house seem to expand and fill every free moment.
Boredom is definitely a factor
The truth is that we’re just not used to being bored for any length of time. In "normal" life, there’s never a time where we’re forced to wallow in the same dull waters. We can always escape into activity and distraction. That’s not to say there’s no distractions in lockdown. It’s just that we’re much more likely to either forget to seek out the things we truly enjoy or overdo them to excess so they become compulsive rather than joyful (Netflix, I’m looking at you!).
My normal checks and balances aren’t cutting the mustard
I’ve also noticed that many of the activities I would normally use to stay grounded, balanced and release stress are either not quite hitting the spot or I don’t feel as inclined to do them - even though I know they help enormously.
Things like yoga, journalling, meditation, breath work, eating well, talking with friends.
It’s not that I have abandoned them completely - many of them are so much a part of who I am now, it would be like not brushing my teeth (gross!).
BUT, I know that in many ways doing what I’ve always done isn’t going to be enough when life is definitely NOT what it’s always been.
Plus, so many of my "go-to" activities are out of reach - that nice meal, the catch up with friends, the catching a show at the theatre.
Cue the micro-moment!
I feel like this deserves a mini fanfare to make it more dramatic because actually it’s incredibly simple and seemingly trivial. I’ve been experimenting and I’ve found micro-moments to be hugely impactful.
And it turns out I’m not alone.
I’ve been talking about the power of the micro-moment with clients for a long time but recent research from the University of Pennsylvania has confirmed my own findings, both in my own life and in the work I do with my clients.
In their research they define a 'micromoment' as:
"both the instant opening into conscious awareness of the present moment, as well as the brief stretch of experience that immediately follows, until awareness recedes…"
- That was like my moment of noticing the sky, my surroundings and the sensations of my body with acute clarity. Those moments when you are aware of this moment exactly as it is.
"Through this openness, awareness, and the subsequent choices we make, we are able to learn something about ourselves and shift the interactions we have with others and how we shape our days"
- My opportunity to choose to take action was a direct result of that opening. I could make a different choice only because I became acutely aware of what I was experiencing.
Micro-moments are a doorway to being in this moment and changing how we experience our lives, one imperceptible shift at a time.
How can you use a micromoment to find PEACE?
You can think of a micromoment as a mindset, as well as a behaviour. It's a way to change how you pay attention through your day rather than trying to fit something extra in. What I particularly love about the research on the topic is that it highlights a toolkit that you can cultivate. P.E.A.C.E. This stands for Pause, Explore, Accept, Choose and Enter the next moment. It's a process to go through consciously as you pause. It's simplicity belies it's life changing power. Have you noticed this superpower show up in your life with the enforced stillness of lockdown? Or does it feel like life is still flying past, in distraction and a busy mind?
We can create micro moments together
I mapped out the monthly Knowledge Sessions I provide for my membership community back in October.
Rather synchronistically, for March I devised a session called "Micro-Moment Magic: The Power of the Pause in a Busy Life".
I love it when things like that happen! I often find with my work that ideas seem to "drop" into my mind and flow through me.
This feels like the right time to draw on resources that are readily accessible and don't need lots of energy and willpower. Lockdown 3.0 is certainly draining our resources.
How does it work?
My monthly workshops are completely free for my members and for current students in my 21 Day Ninja Mind Skills programme. However, anyone is welcome to join us!
With deep relaxation guided meditation and micro practices, you'll leave this session feeling super chilled and empowered.
As with all my workshops, the focus will be on science based understanding, practical tools that work in a busy life and plenty of opportunity to share experiences.
You can sign up to join us here.