A love note to mini-dates

When was the last time you felt connected to yourself?

It’s not always easy, is it? Sometimes life comes at us quickly and we feel at the mercy of our to-do list. We might not even remember what connected feels like.

Here’s an antidote you can try right away: The micro-date.

A micro-date is a date you go on with yourself, for a tiny amount of time. 37 seconds will do it, although 3 minutes will feel even more luxurious.

What is a date, after all? It’s an opportunity for connection.

My idea of a micro-date stems from my own experience of changing my life in five minute increments. I learned this from Danny Gregory, the former advertising executive who, in the wake of personal tragedy and grief, started drawing his coffee cup while waiting for the water to boil.

Danny found that three minutes of drawing his coffee cup grounded him. For that brief time, he stepped away from his grief. He focused on his cup, on the present moment. And every day there was a new drawing, a new way of engaging with his surroundings.

My sister gave me one of his books about a decade ago and I too started drawing my coffee cup while the water boiled. I didn’t call it a micro-date then, but that’s what it was. An opportunity for connection with myself & the objects of my life. A way to be present for a few minutes. And those minutes led to more, to a deeper reconnection with the part of myself that loves to create, without judgment. And that reconnection led, eventually, to my podcast and this love note.

All kinds of micro-dates are possible. A friend started keeping her yoga mat in the kitchen so she could do a few postures while the kettle boiled. Instead of telling herself, “I have start going to yoga again,” and spinning in questions of which class and when, she took herself on a yoga micro-date and remembered how good yoga feels in her body. She carried that good feeling with her through the day.

What might you do on a micro-date? If you have only 37 seconds, you might try something physical. Put your hand on your chest and breathe. Wrap your arms around yourself in a hug or stroke your arm for 10 seconds.

And if you don’t drink coffee or tea, you can go on micro-dates when you’re waiting on hold or in line. While the shower heats up. Time changes when you look for opportunities to micro-date.

The micro-date is a way of reminding yourself that you are here, that you are more than your “to do” list, that you can be with yourself and your environment in new ways.

This week, look for moments to connect with yourself. Decide in advance what you'd like to do on your micro-date and look for opportunities.

The "to do" list brain is a strong habit, though, so be careful not to turn your micro-date into a task. You may enjoy it and decide to do it every day, which is great -- until the first day you miss it. Be kind to yourself and don't use the micro-date against yourself.

The micro-date is not an obligation. It’s a date. It’s pleasure. It’s a gift we give ourselves. And gifts can come in the tiniest packages.

Even 37 seconds.*

Art is one of the ways I connect with myself. It reminds me that I am part of something bigger and that I too have things I keep showing up for again and again. This week's podcast comes out of my time at the Art Institute of Chicago, and it's one of my favorites.

Episode #64: Your life is your art

Your life is your art. It sounds so pretty, doesn't it? We're artists, shaping the canvas of our life. It sounds so good, but we have art wrong.

To embrace our life as art, we have to get real about art as well as about our lives. Art, like life, is full of self-doubt and failure.

In this episode, I highlight three powerful truths about art that we can use to see our lives differently. These powerful truths increase self-compassion, self-trust, and let us see the beauty in our messy, imperfect lives, as they are right now.

Take a listen and see what resonates for you.

Love, Rachel

P.S. * 37 seconds comes from Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, my daughter's favorite movie. It's a film about life, death, and letting yourself shine. Dustin Hoffman is Mr. Magorium, a magical toy store owner, and Natalie Portman is Mahoney, the composer who comes to work for him. Here's one of the lines from the movie.

Mahoney: "Thirty-seven seconds. Great, well done; now we wait.

Mr. Magorium "No, we breathe, we pulse, we regenerate. our hearts beat, our minds create, our souls ingest. Thirty-seven seconds well used is a lifetime.”

And indeed it is.

⭐ I love being connected to you ⭐

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Rachel Baum

I'm a life coach, college professor, and former president of the Overthinkers Club. Also, I host the Making Midlife Magic podcast. I love helping middle aged people dream again and create lives they love. Sign up to get inspiring mind shifts sent right to your email box. I don't over-send, and you can unsubscribe any time.

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