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July 1, 2014

Micro-Love: Making the Seconds Count. ~ Kelly Edwards & Brooke Edwards

credit: Adriana Cecchi

On-the-go lifestyles struggle to integrate depths of intimacy with the hum and buzz of juggling careers, relationship, family and independence.

Yet true connection actually takes very little time. It is the intention for that time that counts. Approached with desire and love, mere seconds turn into little presents wrapped in joy.

Micro-love is not like a love microwave: quick cooked emotions speeding up the idea of falling in love or maintaining deep intimacy; rather, it is a recipe for continuing to stir the pot, adding spices and tasting as you go to check in as the flavors cook down and evolve.

Micro-love is about showing up, being present, taking the time to make the seconds count in meaningful ways. The idea of micro-love focuses not on the traditional relationship advice regarding compromise and sacrifice (giving something up), but rather on what you have to give. The idea is to rise up. The hope is that you will be met.

“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”
~ Tom Robbins

We have all experienced that classic negative spiral where a fight over the toothpaste leads to a blame session that results in slammed doors, either emotionally or physically. And just like acts of micro-aggression can slowly steel one’s body and soul against the world, a positive spiral does just the opposite. When we have the courage to rise outside of ourselves, above our own ego and feed our partner with love, inevitably we are rewarded by a feedback loop in return that fuels openness, positivity and love.

To guide you in this concept, we have created a top-10 list of simple ways to share micro-love.

1. One word, one line in a secret shared spot. From magnetic refrigerator poetry to sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, words are tiny gifts.

2. The look in your eye when you see your partner after any time away. We can tell in just a look whether someone is present are not, and in that moment, everything else becomes possible.

3. Pause to make the ordinary, extraordinary. (This is a fantastic practice not just in partnership but in daily life: make eye contact with the barista, smile at the bus driver, pause to tell a stranger they look fabulous in that hat…)

4. Turn that 10 seconds of rushing to get out the door, into 30 seconds of grounding and breathing together.

5. A shared moment of gratitude before meals. Whether you are religious or not, creating a grace that appreciates food and time shared is to recognize how lucky we are to get to nourish our bodies with abundance and our minds with companionship over a meal.

6. Be gracious in your appreciation and genuine, people can tell when compliments are empty or rehearsed, find something to say that you truly mean.

7. Learn what your partner’s language of love is and take the time to study it and incorporate one small thing from it daily.

8. Practice the art of real listening—focus on what your partner is sharing about their day. Listen without thought of response, your own personal story or judgment. Before responding, breathe for 30 seconds. Take in their story and what they are sharing with you. The pause can give them the recognition they need to open to your story and thoughts.

9. Celebrate the beauty, sexiness, gorgeous luscious being that is your partner: what is most attractive about them today? Tell them. It never gets old. No matter how confident and beautiful your partner is. Really.

10. Take the time to fill up your own well, so that you can be present when your partner needs you most.

11. To quote This Is Spinal Tap, “This one goes to 11”: Have something you want changed in relationship? Rather than scold and be negative, instead frame in it the positive. If you start to say “You never…”, rethink your phrasing. What would you love to see or which action or gesture would nourish you? Ask for it. Do it yourself for your partner and you will be amazed how much joy begets joy.

How much is enough? As Aristotle says, the right amount is what is needed in that moment. Sometimes we get out of balance or lose connection, even briefly, in a relationship. At times like this, it can be even more important to re-invest in intentional moments of micro-love.

Sometimes these acts are just second nature interactions within a relationship. Other times, the acts do take a re-commitment and decision to pour more love into your partner and your relationship. Pay attention, ask for what you need and experience the reward of a thriving holistic partnership.

While we may be referring to micro-love in terms of intimate partnership, these concepts can be equally applied in work relations, familial relations and friendships. For example, when work is overwhelming and the to-do list is long, that is exactly the moment when you need to fuel the relationships around you, to attend to human connection, to meaning, to the ability to laugh at the madness of it all, to “why” we are doing what we are doing.

These moments of human recognition and sharing can take just a short time—there is time enough to get back to the task list, and the opportunity to be even more productive since you are working with a clear and buoyant heart and mind.

In general, micro-love starts with appreciating a half-full glass, by living as if each moment was a gift that can only be received this one time. Spoken word poet Anis Mojgani completes his poem Direct Orders with these final words regarding how to live: “rock out like this is the last weekend, like these are the last words, like you don’t ever want to forget how.”

In fact, that’s your homework assignment—watch Anis perform this whole poem:

Or the Kid President, who shares this wisdom in his letter to his newborn nephew: “You are alive, you are awake. Now act like it!”

With that, we challenge us all to incorporate into every day gratitude, grace and generosity.

It turns out you’ve had the magic wand all along, now go out and make the ordinary become truly extraordinary.

“There are only two mantras, yum and yuck, mine is yum.” ~ Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

 

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Editorial Apprentice: Jamie Khoo/Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Adriana Cecchi/Flickr Creative Commons

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Kelly Edwards & Brooke Edwards

Kelly Edwards and Brooke Edwards: Though five years apart and over 2500 miles apart, these two sisters maintain a best friendship that is a constant collaboration and conversation engaging life, love and adventure. Kelly Edwards is a professor of ethics at University of Washington, and also works for student success within the UW Graduate School. She is committed to institutional, educational and personal environments that promote human flourishing. For more, visit her website or find her on twitter @engagedethics.

Brooke Edwards is a passionate skier, writer, instructor and guide in Alaska. She calls the Chugach Mountains her home in the ski town of Girdwood, Alaska, and spends her time rafting, biking, stand-up paddle boarding, writing poetry, backpacking, ski instructing and backcountry skiing. Her poetry and freelance articles have been published in Powder Magazine, Backcountry Magazine, elephant journal, Off-Piste and Telemark Magazine.