How many of us have said “I don’t have time”? To go for a walk. To spend time on a hobby. To meditate.
There’s a way in. And it’s micropractice. A very short dedicated time to doing a thing. One way is to set a reminder to stop and do the thing. For five minutes. For one minute. For three breaths. For one. Get up and walk around the block. Have a picture of your favourite place or people and spend a couple minutes looking at it.
Let’s dive in to meditation as an example.
A practice that I give to clients for when they sense they are becoming overwhelmed/stressed out/just need a quick break is for each inhale and exhale, touch your thumb to a finger… index, middle, and so on. And back up. It’s helped me so many times. I believe combining the breaths with the touch helps embody a relaxation response.
There are so many ways to incorporate a micropractice into your day.
Inhale the aroma of your morning beverage, the sensation of heat or cold, the feel of the cup in your hands.
Delight in the colour of light and the play of shadows.
The sensation of gravity on your body.
Take one deep breath, and on the exhale, exaggerate with a drop of your shoulders. Or take a three part breath- two on the inhale and one long exhale. Like when a child is done crying. For some people that’s more effective than one breath. With practice you may find one breath is a great reset!
Eventually, you may find you have or crave more time to do the thing. This is part of habit formation and it’s amazing how it works.
When I want to regroup/reset/refresh, I often like to get out in Nature. If I’m really feeling wound up, I choose a route that requires some physical exertion to dispel that pounding fight-or-flight feeling.
I find a place to sit or walk, and take in my surroundings. Maybe noticing how my breathing is changing. Allowing the thoughts to flow, and usually they will settle down.
I will follow the whirls of tree bark, the swirls of flower petals, the flow of water down a stream. The shifting shapes of clouds. The dancing of light and shadow at my feet. Watch a bee fly from flower to flower, and delight as its yellow pollen pants grow fat and heavy.
I once laid on a rock in the middle of a river so long that I became both the river and the rock.
Sometimes an answer comes, if I’ve been looking. Sometimes I feel lighter. Almost always I come back from the mountain, or forest, or ocean ready to take on what’s next.
My invitation to you this week to to experiment with incorporating micropractices into your day. Set aside several of these micropractice minutes in your day. I’d love to hear how it goes!
The other day I was listening to a talk by Bradley T. Morris, a lifestyle and business design coach. He was describing one of his “AHA” moments. While sitting in Nature enjoying a sunset, he discovered he was already formulating a social media post rather than being absorbed in the moment. That realization was his inspiration to approach business in a completely different way. What a perfect example of how social media and online presence has taken over the lives of so many. Going through our days with an eye to creating content and capturing likes, follows, and share instead of fully embodying our experience.
Social media’s been mixed for me. I’ve definitely had moments when I take a picture or have a passionate flow of words come to me and think “Oh man! This will make a great post!” It’s also connected me to people I’ve come to call true friends, collaborators, teachers and mentors from all over the world I wouldn’t have had a chance to interact with otherwise. It’s provided an audience for my images, words, and music I might not have had. It’s inspired me to refine my photographic eye and hone other creative skills.
Being content-focused to me is living on the surface. It can take up a lot of energy, without a lot of reward for either the creator or consumer. Creating content with the goal of connection, though, has the potential to be inspirational and even interactive.
It’s important too, I feel to make sure the mission and message are aligned. That a subversive mission of gaining a following doesn’t dilute the offering.
In my own experience lately, I found I was expending a lot of effort in creating content in a way I thought would bring me passive income and potentially a large following. It. Was. All. So. Hard. I realized one day I had distracted myself from my original goal, which was (and still is) to find a way to share with others my joy of creative practice, and how it can contribute to making meaning.
To the point where even though a particular plan felt so uncomfortable, wrong, not “me”, I was pursuing it anyway. I had veered off the path of wanting to truly connect with others and holding space for them to make their own discoveries to healing, stillness, and celebration of this thing we call life.
So, Adele, you may be thinking… what does all this have to do with goals and plans?
For one, the concepts of content, connection, goals, and plans have been tumbling around all together in my mind these past few weeks.
Let’s consider, for a moment, to look at both content and goals as intent. They can both be broad and vague. Examples could be: This topic is trending and I’m going to rehash it/share a meme. I want to increase clicks with this catchy headline. We will create a brand that will create excitement in a certain demographic. I want to write a best seller novel/song. I want to be a baseball player. I want to change my weight/fitness level. Goals are an expression of a desire. Sometimes they are realistic, and sometimes they are really more dreams than anything.
Plans are the action steps: I’m going to go a new provocative route with this trending topic, and these are the steps I’m taking. The headline is not just a teaser, but the content makes you want more. This month we will launch new packaging that’s more appealing to a demographic. I am scheduling time each day to devote to a pursuit, either for enjoyment or mastery. I am sitting down today to make my meal plan for how I want to eat. They connect (see? this is how my brain works!) the dream to reality. The route to achievement. A sense of meaning is being created. Good stuff!
I chose the image for this post because for me it’s both content and connection. It’s made from a butter box I was going to recycle. I turned it inside out, and created something different. From the outside, it’s not what it appears to be. It can hold anything. Rocks, slips of paper with words of encouragement. Or as it turned out, a pair of sock I knitted and gave to a friend because I started knitting them while staying with her when I had nowhere else to stay.
My invitation to you this week is to look at what you are putting out to the world. Are your message and mission in alignment? Are you creating value, or simply a scroll pause?
I will admit- the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself becoming overwhelmed. Both by content, and the goings on in the world. It’s seemed like a priviledged extravagance. It seemed that everywhere I went there was someone promising “complete transformation in just eight weeks”, offering an app that held content much like I want to present. or making this or that spiritual claim. I used this bombardment of information and enticements as a template, and I’m discovering that’s just not me. I was not being true to my values, beliefs and integrity. Which made me laugh, because that’s one of the explorations I offer to people.
Between finishing up some trainings, looking for a “regular” job to support me on my journey, coming up with course materials and trying to figure out platforms and methods of delivery, and .. and… and… whew. I kinda shut down.
This created a fantastic opportunity! Overwhelm can indicate that a person or group is out of alignment with core tenets and values, or headed a direction that’s not right for the project at hand. It’s a cue to step back, evaluate and recalibrate. Concepts might be vaild overall, but not for the current situation.
In my personal situation, it came to that I was trying to cram too much into one package. AND yay! Many packages! Sometimes it’s necessary to do some sorting out and see what’s noise, and what’s music.
I can’t promise, nor do I want to, a formulaic transformation miracle. I’m more a hands-on kind of person, so I’m beginning to think offering self-paced learning is not what I want to offer. There’s something about in person shared experience that lights me up. I want to take “just enough” time in developing things that when the world sees it, people will think “Yeah! That’s the stuff!”
I believe my music, words, and energy come through me not from me, and I never want to lose sight of that. I witnessed too many people I’ve admired on their journeys begin to believe their own hype and become characatures of themselves.
I believe in the science behind the healing properties of meditation, sound, and energy, and that there are many ways to achieve a state of relaxed awareness. That this is accessible to everyone, and much as there are people more receptive to talents with words, or music, or painting, there are people who are more open to being channels for energy.
That some of the practices I’m exploring use symbols and tools that don’t quite jive for me, and that’s OK.
What I can, and deeply desire to offer: * A safe and sacred space for people to find their way to relaxed awareness. This can be through conversation, meditation, sound experiences and creative practice. * That in this state, people can discover what makes life meaningful to them, and a few life purposes to lead a satisfied life. * Contemplative excercises, including some fun creative practices, that have worked for me in making these discoveries, and maybe they will work for you, too.
I invite you to begin by thinking of a time you felt fully yourself, being and doing something you completely got lost in. Commit to doing this activity twice a day, for twenty minutes. Write, walk, make or listen to music, participate in your community in an uplifiting way. It can be anything that aligns with your values and longings.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, let’s chat! We can explore together a way for you or your team to develop a personalized course. Become more effective and satisfied with your life. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org