Glimmer hunting with Sara Duigou

Posted on August 2, 2023 by Sarah Robertson

For the first summer instalment of This Creative Life, Sara Duigou takes us glimmer hunting! As an Organic Intelligence coach, somatic coach and embodiment practitioner, Sara helps women nurture their nervous systems and listen to their body’s intelligence and create more capacity for rest and play within themselves and cultivate a supportive and sustainable life.

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There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen

What if I was to tell you that there are probably hundreds of small moments in your day that could allow you to feel calm, at ease, and connected with yourself and the world around you? We just need to tune in to notice them.

As humans, we’re constantly taking in and processing information, and I don’t only mean what we’re consciously (or unconsciously) consuming on social media or the news. I mean from our environment, social interactions, and even how our bodies communicate with us.

Below your conscious awareness, your brain is scanning and checking to ensure ‘all is well’. It’s one of the brain’s most important functions; to know from moment to moment that you are protected. This is an incredibly sensitive and intelligent system, and even small things like shifts in our breathing, heart rate or digestion, the sounds we hear or the facial expressions of others can trigger changes in our thoughts and emotions.

A lot of the information you take in flows through the threat-detection part of your brain (the hypothalamus or ‘internal smoke detector’). Here, the brain uses past and present information to weigh up if something is safe or not in a split second.

Most of the time, the body is functioning as it should and our environment is secure enough and comfortable enough, so we should get the reassuring feedback that ‘all is well’, but that’s not always the case.

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Slowly we quiet the murmuring of our anxieties, rewire our negativity bias and strengthen our ability to feel resourced.

You see, we humans have a pretty brilliant built-in negativity bias – a hard-wired murmuring of anxiety that wants to keep us alive. It’s not a bad thing, and our negativity bias has supported our survival as a species. But sometimes it means that our internal smoke detector can be a little over-sensitive. It means that we’re not so great at picking up signals of safety that help us feel calm and at ease. And we’re really good at picking up signals of danger.

Because of our vigilant negativity bias, we could be missing out on many moments of feeling joyful simply because our brain is wired to put them to the bottom of the list. The good news is that we can begin to change the way our brains interpret the information they receive by giving ourselves more opportunities to receive connection in the every day so we can feel more comfortable and resilient.


The invitation is to start small, and I mean really small. Remember I suggested that there were hundreds of moments in your day just waiting to be noticed? Well, Deb Dana (LCSW and polyvagal teacher) calls these ‘glimmers’. These are the opposite of triggers, which cause emotional discomfort and activate our internal smoke detector towards a stress response. Glimmers are sparks of emotional comfort that create a sense of joy, awe, or warmth and move you towards feeling more connected with the world.

These ‘micro-moments’ of connection might be found in nature, music, a smile or kind eyes and offer us a ‘glimmer’ of feeling good. They are around us but we have to actively look for, take notice of and keep track of them, or they can pass us by. Not only do they help us tune into those important ‘all is well’ signals from our body and our environment, they encourage us to focus on the fact we are safe.

As these times begin to add up we can step out of fear and into peace. Slowly we quiet the murmuring of our anxieties, rewire our negativity bias and strengthen our ability to feel resourced.

I invite you to give it a try now.

Can you pause for a moment and take a look around? Is there a glimmer waiting to be noticed? A small spark of something that makes you feel good? Let your gaze wander around your environment. And be kind here. Sometimes you’ll sense something right away, and other times not. You can’t force feeling good, but you can open yourself up to it. And I promise the more you practice, the more your attention will go there automatically.

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As we encourage ourselves to embrace positive sensations and notice moments of connection, we help our brain to feel safer.

How do you know you’ve connected with a glimmer?

Has something caught your attention? Check in with how you feel. What are the sensations or emotions that come up? Have you found something that sparks wonder or warmth? See if you can allow yourself to receive that feeling however it shows up. You may notice it in your body. For me, there’s often a palpable feeling or an emotion that arrives.

For example, as I sit here, my eyes catch a sweet fat pigeon sitting on the tin roof opposite my office. The way he moves brings a smile to my face. Early this morning, I felt the cool stone of the footpath under my feet, and noticed a sense of weight in my shoulders before a big deep breath arrived. This afternoon the smell of cut grass landed in my senses with an explosion of nostalgia, leaving my belly feeling tingly.

It might be totally different for you. Maybe when you encounter a glimmer with the faint beginnings of a smile curling at your lips or a softening of your eyes? There’s no right or wrong here, and I encourage you to get curious and see if you can notice what happens in your body. Because it’s through this act of spotting, naming and taking in that we can begin to illicit real change in how we feel and move through the world. And I hope you can see from this short adventure into glimmer hunting that once we start to tune into these micro-moments, we can see that they are all around us.

There are tiny opportunities to feel better in all parts of our day. They exist in the mundane and the quiet, the loud and bold, and in the challenging and the joyful times. Glimmers can arrive entirely predictably or unexpectedly. No matter how you encounter one, I encourage you to pause when you feel that lightness and take it in.

As we encourage ourselves to capture and embrace these positive sensations, we help our brain to feel safer. And when we pay attention to the feelings that arise, we can learn to trust our bodies and the world around us, moving ourselves to find more opportunities for connection in our days.


Sara Duigou is an Organic Intelligence coach, somatic coach and embodiment practitioner. She helps women nurture their nervous systems and listen to their body’s intelligence, thus creating more capacity for rest and play within themselves and cultivating a supportive and sustainable life. You can find out more about Sara on her website, connect with her on Instagram and her beautiful self-led course, Moments of Connection, is now available.