About ExPERIMENTS IN VITALITY
Hi! I am Amber, an artist and pet-sitter living near Austin, Texas. I write this blog to share the "experimental attitude" that I find enlivening.
I used to live according to some strict beliefs. Unfortunately, my beliefs (like all beliefs) were limited. So when I could not force life to go the way I believed it should go, I was deeply lost.
I am grateful for that painful dark night of the soul. I learned something new there: all of life is trial and error.
As scary as that might sound, I find it liberating. I no longer believe I have to figure out the "right" answer or do the "right thing" with my life. I simply try things that I think would be good for me, and then I pay attention to the results.
I ask myself: Did it work for me? What can I learn from this?
Doing this allows me to let go of so much shame and stress. Now when things don't go as planned, I feel curious rather than feeling like a failure. Every aspect of my life is a learning opportunity.
In this way, experimentation is an act taken to honor aliveness. It helps you grow, grow, grow. It boosts creativity. I believe experimentation is nothing short of cooperating with the vast magical potential of the universe.
My hope is to help relieve the pressure you might feel to "be somebody" or make your life look like some kind of static ideal. To that end, Experiments in Vitality is a place to share our stories of intentional messiness. It's a place to make meaning from your purposeful trial and error. Remember, it doesn't matter what happens--only that you learn from it.
I had been seeking vitality for a long time. My 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.
I was looking for a pure, singular answer that would meet all my needs. If I could just find the right job, THEN I would be happy. You're probably not surprised to hear that this "perfect answer" approach didn't pan out.
Things began to change when I started Hakomi therapy training and learned about having "an experimental attitude." No longer was I constantly "failing at life." I was simply experimenting and learning from the results.
This experimentation went into high gear after hearing Elizabeth Gilbert speak on creative living. On her advice, I began The Artist's Way. 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 allowed myself to try Prozac, something I had completely resisted for years.
One day, I was listening to Elizabeth Gilbert talk about creating things on her "Magic Lessons" podcast. She said, "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.