An Experimental Life

Frameworks abound, and certainly no single one is a panacea. But the idea of life as an experiment speaks to me now. It implies the ability to test and change – to learn and grow. It hints at a dance, between experiment and experimenter, the lab and the lab work. It suggests freedom, as we are all free to choose what we test, to what goal or end. Our experiments can be big or small, ones that last a few days or weeks, or others that last a lifetime. Preparing for an event. Building a career. Repairing a relationship. Growing as a person. Finding happiness. 

The process asks of us introspection and inward focus. We recognise that the work of others, “down the hall” so to speak (and out of our control), is of less relevance and import than the work we do ourselves, which *is* in our control. Experimentation asks of us honesty and objectivity – to not prejudge our results, to not bias them with our past experiences and to not ignore the evidence in front of us now. We must let the results “speak for themselves” by studying them, objectively, dispassionately and with curiosity. We seek the truth. In doing so, we render moot concepts like “right” and “wrong.” Judgment and the prescription of “goodness” or “badness,” to people, situations and/or experiences stand in the way of learning, growth and truth. Judgments harden us and corrode our ability to adapt and to see new perspectives. They weigh us down spiritually and emotionally, often unknowingly, bringing about a rigidity that makes us brittle and weak. Over time, judgment moves us farther and farther away from the progress, growth and truth we seek. Instead, measurement, observation and *non-reaction* show us the way. Observations flow with the current of new information. The more we measure and observe, the more we display patience and understanding, the more we engage in the mental work of non-action, the stronger we become. The closer we come to truth. Despite this inward orientation, however, there is still room for community and collaboration – to expand our ideas, creativity and to push our limits, as we know them. It is at the edge of our comfort that exist our greatest opportunities for growth and change. The right community helps us get there. They support us when we feel stuck. They hold us accountable along the way. 

I’ve settled on using this blog to document my life’s experiments. To share, humbly and openly, in the hopes that it may inspire others, not just to undertake and engage in their own life experiments, but to share their experiences openly, honestly and with vulnerability with the people closest to them. Sharing has a way of being contagious, I think, and if we can share in a way that causes our communities of friends and loved ones to become closer and more deeply connected, to become more open, caring and kind, we will all be better off for it. While my initial audience is family and friends, I hope my writing, over time, can expand beyond this small group as the subject matter material is relevant for most people. As far as the tone, I imagine it will be a mix of who I am: sometimes serious, sometimes funny and sometimes something in between. I will try to post more regularly now that I have a format and structure I feel comfortable with. 

For me, now, my life experiment is this: personal growth, to be happy, at peace and free. I hope you will ponder yours too.

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