Tag Archives: language

Positive Micro (2)

In my blog entry dated November 14, 2016, I talked about words that start with “micro”, my favorite being “microadjustment”. I just remembered another important “micro” concept, also of five syllables. It’s the microexpression. (My text editing program wants this to be written as two words, but I’m CONVINCED “micro” by itself is not a word. Old fashioned of me, I suppose.)

This time I checked Wikipedia. This is a “real” word, not just slang. I didn’t make it up. It’s defined as a “brief, involuntary facial expression” that usually occurs in “high stakes situations”. Books have been written about microexpressions.

I remember an experience… Once I asked a friend how it really feels to use cocaine (which I have never done). I remember the look that flashed across his face, wistful and longing. Obviously he found cocaine amazingly wonderful. I don’t remember what he said, but it was far more guarded.

A friend named Mark recounted to me the following tale: He lived near Wilmington, Delaware, in the late 1960s, a time of racial tension there and in many American cities. One day Mark unexpectedly found himself face-to-face with an African American teenager carrying a baseball bat. Tension crackled between them. Is there such a thing as pre-violence? Both parties were in high fight-or-flight mode. But what my friend saw on the teenager’s face, just for one TINY moment, was FEAR. Not aggression. Not hatred. And, somehow, Mark mustered a smile and a little wave, and the two parties went their separate ways, neither giving in to the violence simmering in their surroundings.

Readers, has this happened to you? Has your life been touched by a microexpression? I’m curious about it. Please feel free to share a comment.


Positive Micro – reflections on yoga and language

The prefix “micro” has gotten a bad rap. Nobody wants a boss who “micromanages”. “Micro-aggressions” are committed by culturally insensitive boors. Most of us meet “micro” in science class when the metric system of measurements is introduced. Only some of us learn to love it. (Digression – I’ll do a great deal to avoid the old fashioned “English” system, with its acres and Angstoms and Roentgens and worst of all, “feet of head”. It’s an engineering thing, a unit of pressure. There’s the femtojoule. The exawatt. I’m not making these up.)

But here’s the nicest “micro” you will ever meet – the microadjustment! You can do it yourself. This is the little wriggle that turns an uninteresting yoga posture into a delicious stretch. A little shift of weight. A tiny realignment. Sometimes this movement is so small your teacher and fellow students won’t even see it. Sometimes it’s a little bigger.

In addition to making you more comfortable (or less comfortable in a good way), it signals to your teacher that you have a mind (not to mention body) of your own, and you are going to do things YOUR way. A good teacher will be cheered by this.

The microadjustment is what lets me take ownership of my yoga practice. My favorite five syllable word! May the “micro” be with you.