How do we handle a moment of intense exhilaration?
First, lets examine the question. Exhilaration. What is it?
Sometimes it is something we desire. Our unique perception will determine what moments of exhilaration are for us. For some, it will be public speaking, participation in a fun run, travel somewhere off the beaten track, or for the adrenaline junkies, maybe its jumping off a cliff with a parachute. We call these moments of UM. MomentUM. Its what keeps life interesting and keeps us awake and moving forward. It puts smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts, as well as giving us tremendous tales to tell!
When we choose these moments of exhilaration, we have the opportunity for prior introspection. We weigh up the consequences, we research how to participate best in these moments, and we visualise and anticipate our actions and outcomes. We proceed on our own terms of perceived risk. Maybe we take time to reflect, try again and refine the experience to maximise our joy. This introspection and reflection, we refer to as moments of OM. MomentOM.
What if you are thrown in the deep end, however? What if these moments are thrown at us without warning? For example, when Australian politician, Tony Abbot is asked an unscripted question (click here for cringe factor) and in extreme but very real cases, war, or a a woman being stoned for “inappropriate” behaviour. How about children who have grown up in refugee camps and know nothing else? How can we prepare people for the unexpected? How can we use introspection to prepare for exhilaration in uncertain times?
I am co-creator of a project called Momentom Collective. We are a group of circus performers and yoga instructors and have developed theories in the studio and training centres for how to do just that – using introspection to prepare for moments of exhilaration. Our theories were discovered by a series of what we refer to as “chicken wing” moments. That moment that you realised chicken wings were just that… the wings of chickens. We examined how the most terrifying and emotion stirring moments of fear and trust in circus, could be overcome with the introspective practices of yoga and meditation. We started to work this into our training for the times we expected fear or trust to hit us in a performance and used introspection to pre-empt the situation, but we also started to work on how we could use introspective practice to conquer mistakes and mishaps. Being dropped by someone mid-show is downright dangerous, damaging to a relationship and really awkward for the audience. How could we equip ourselves with the mentality to not react, show no negative emotion, trust to jump on the shoulders of the person who just dropped us and take on the perspective of audience, all in one present moment without skipping a beat.
This is the OM for your UM. The OM moments to achieve your greatest UM moments.
We knew we were onto something, but how could we quantify what we were experimenting with on the field? Enter Neurotracker, a scientifically based tool to track cognitive performance. Together, we are tracking improvements in the cognitive function of our students so that we can gain recognition for yoga and circus arts in the humanitarian field.
This was the birth of Project CirQus. An NGO with a vision is to expand the availability of yoga and circus arts to vulnerable and marginalized populations worldwide, using these mediums as educational tools to bolster self-esteem and promote social inclusion. The project aims to increase the development of useful life skills among vulnerable population necessary for social reintegration.
Amazing! We developed theories, tested them and are now able to track them, and use them as a tool for people in marginalised communities as well as leisure across the globe. Well done Team Momentom!
As we progress with both Project CirQus in marginalised areas, and Momentom Collective in all kinds of unexpected and accessible places “outside the studio” (think schools, jails, rehabilitation centres and guerrilla & urban settings) we can holistically provide OM for moments of UM to everyone, unlocking the power of spirit and play in people across the globe, gifting them with the tools to be the most pure and authentic joyful versions of themselves, coming from a place of love and acceptance.
How to participate?
Momentom host classes and workshops, as well as retreats, immersions, intensive trainings and an artist residency program. You can also catch the team at festivals and performances around the world. Meanwhile, Project CirQus are working in community centres and schools in Central America and Montreal, and will soon be placed in refugee camps.