Experimentation. Another form of rules, structure, guidelines for playing around – for trying new things…and attempting to figure out the impact of changes on your life and whether or not you want to keep them around.
It’s a way to design your life, based on truths and reality that only you can authentically assess.
Especially when you have so many ideas about what to do. What to try. Where to go. I find that the structure of experimentation provides a way to conceptualize, prioritize, and focus on the millions of ideas running around in my brain. Experimentation filters them to me one at a time, and allows me to explore each one, with some amount of discipline and patience.
I need the guidance of a game to get me going onto the path of potential change.
Without the structure, they’re just whims – quickly forgotten, immediately replaced. If they even happen at all.
I try to come up with (and carry out) new experiments all the time. They range from the miniscule (drink a cup of tea every night for a week) to the dramatic (live somewhere new every month for a year). The results vary from never even tried (elimination of morning cup(s) of coffee) to instant dependency (heated yoga in the bathroom two times a week).
This year of adventure had its structure, its game that made it ripe for experimentation. One new place every month. How did this month compare to last? Why did I bloom in this place more than others? What do I want to keep, and where do I want to go back? I asked myself a standard set of questions at the end of (most) days…they gave me time to reflect, a method for assessing, and a record to review.
Jung said “There is and can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptions, for the object of self-knowledge is an individual – a relative exception and an irregular phenomena.” (The Undiscovered Self, 1957)
Be playful. Test yourself. Learn. See where it takes you.
(Photo credit: ME! 7 hours after finally letting myself attempt to learn and start to play with a photo editor and confirming that, yes indeed I would become obsessed and it would take over my life…)