An experiment in vitality is any intentional, creative act taken to honor your life. Maybe it's shaving your head because you've always wanted to. Maybe it's quitting something or daring to begin something. It might not be something that other people understand or approve of, but it is something you must do if you are going to live your own life.
When you experiment in vitality, you say YES to your curiosity. You listen to the strange, small voice inside you that has desires and dreams. You respect the messages of your body and your intuition.
When you experiment in vitality, you affirm your absolute sovereignty of self.
I am a human creating a happy life. I do this by engaging in little experiments to more closely follow my intuition and foster a feeling of vitality. I have spent more than a decade struggling with depression and other health issues, at times completely unable to function. I am in my biggest experiment yet--my first year depression-free. Who am I? What do I like to do? It is weird figuring these things out when for so long, depression made me feel like nothing interested me or could be enjoyed. Now I feel like I have a decade's backlog of things that are exciting and worth pursuing! I hope to inspire others to experiment and share their results. May we empower each other to live lives that are rich and interesting, without constraining ourselves by ideals of perfection.
I have been seeking vitality for a long time. I was often dragged down by a sluggish thyroid, bedridden by depression, or exhausted by stress. My own desire for an adventurous, meaningful life--one I never had the energy for--often left me in despair. Even after I got some essential physical care figured out, I couldn't face the uphill climb of figuring out what to do with my life.
Eventually, it has become clear to me that I was looking for a pure, singular answer. Even though I had ostensibly left perfectionism in the ashes of burn-out, I still held out hope for an ideal life. You're probably not surprised to hear that this "perfect answer" approach has yet to pan out.
Things began to change when I started Hakomi therapy training and learned about having "an experimental attitude." No longer was I trying and failing repeatedly to secure my ideal life. I was simply experimenting and learning from the results.
This went into high gear after hearing Elizabeth Gilbert speak and beginning The Artist's Way. I quickly moved from brainstorming tasks to active experimenting with "artist dates." Suddenly, I was living a whole different way. Instead of hiding behind nights of Netflix and days in bed, I went to art galleries, got dressed up in my favorite clothes for no reason, and went swimming on random weekday mornings. I also experimented with Prozac, something I had completely resisted for years.
One day, listening to Elizabeth Gilbert talk about creating things on her "Magic Lessons" podcast, I heard her say, "It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be in motion. And that, of course, is the definition of vitality."
Everything inside of me stood up and said YES. This makes sense: I don't have to find one perfect thing to feel happy. I just need to be in motion, experimenting.
And finally, I feel alive.