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Zoomed out

by | May 17, 2020 | Pain, Pain Coach, Pain Education

The Pain Coach

Zoomed out ~ a picture making the rounds on WhatsApp

My son asked me why he feels lethargic at the moment, despite being active several times a day. Why would this be he wondered? We chatted about being zoomed out.

Zoom and other online platforms have undoubtedly allowed many people to keep engaged. Work meetings, schools, dinner parties and much more. This is one of the pluses of internet connection.

Last week I was catching up with a friend who asked if we could use the phone instead. He was zoomed out. I think my son is also zoomed out as am I and many others. What is being zoomed out?

We are adapting to a new way of living. Some crave a return to normal, but what is normal? This is normal. What is happening right now is all that is happening. Being able to be present then, and to focus offers distinct advantages. It allows us to see things for what they really are, as best we can via our own unique representations of ourselves and the world.

That in mind, what is different that can explain this fatigue? Lethargy? Perhaps depersonalisation? Or derealisation? A veil comes down between me and what appears to be out there. My thoughts become louder.

The number of distractions from myself have diminished. I am not commuting to work, walking to the station, squishing up, walking to the clinic from the tube, acknowledging other people, grabbing a coffee, having a quick chat here and there, going up and downstairs in Chelsea, wandering over to Marylebone High Street to find a sandwich or popping into Daunt Books and talking to Chris.

The number of distractions from myself have diminished

I am exercising most days but overall I am more sedentary. Days are filled with sitting. It is often easier not to move. This requires awareness, motivation and willing. I can understand how these wain at this time.

Richmond Stace | The Pain Coach


Despite my son playing cricket in the garden and going on bike rides, he is not moving from class to class, being in proximity with his mates, seeing the whole teacher (just a head and shoulders on a screen), interacting within expected existence (this requires a recalibration that could be experienced as fatigue), or enacting his character in the common room.

The phenomenology of being Sam, as it has for all of us, has shifted in an unexpected direction. We are all making new models. But that is what we do so well as humans, despite how it feels. No-one said evolution would be a comfortable ride.

The body is always there, participating. Our awareness comes and goes. Ideally, I want to know that I have a body but not so much that it interferes. Having said that, this is the way that we meet our needs via the feeling states.

We are enacting ourselves in new ways, which in turn alters our perceptions and thinking. Enactivism speaks of living at the meeting point of thought, action and perception. Our movements play a role in sculpting our perceptions as does the inner sense of our body. The world looks and feels according to how I move and if I move. What are my opportunities in this environment? This is what I see and perceive.

Motion is lotion

What can we do to ride this wave? We can start by acknowledging and accepting that we were always on a wave, but maybe a different one. This is a concept brilliantly explored by Andy Clark in his book Surfing Uncertainty.

We can be curious. I am a big fan of the practice of curiosity, following the principle of Kaizen (continuous improvement) and the Beginner’s Mind. Think of the wide-eyed wonder of a child entering a new room filled with lights, aromas and other novel sensory signals, meeting their predictions.

We can move, often. The phrase motion is lotion is one I use with most people I coach. We need movement. There’s little we can achieve without it. Movement nourishes, makes things possible, updates our understanding, carves out perceptions, grooves thinking, expresses our characters and communicates our self to the world. You may need a reminder.

One way to start is to put on some tunes. That’s my way to start the day anyway. Be present. Zoom in and then zoom out. Write, move, dance, slide, wriggle, balance, fiddle, shimmy, sing, twerk, jump, pedal, throw, breathe.

How much energy you have at any given time will affect your decision making and your quality of life. Managing energy is an active practice, like cleaning our teeth. There are many positive ways to do this, including regular movement. Notice how when you stand up and walk around, your state changes. Interwoven into each day, recharge points give us a boost.

Zoomed out? What are you going to do?

RS ~ pioneer of Pain Coaching: guiding you to shape a positive future by focusing on your potential and possibilities; pain to performance.