You are the laboratory
and every day is an experiment.
Go and find what is new
~ Joel Elkes
One of my experiments this week was a conversation I engaged the cashier in at the grocery store, as I packed my own groceries in the bags I’d brought. I’ve been experimenting with getting up from my desk every couple of hours to walk around outside, ruffle my dog’s fur, or talk with my son as I create a small time of relief from Zoom and the computer screen. I’ve been reading multiple books at a time, indulging in both audio and Kindle books, an experiment that has brought me the delight of being read to, of discovering something about how I take in information, as well as the accomplishment of learning how to operate my various electronic devices better.
When in conversations or other human interactions, I’ve been experimenting with noticing and being with my body’s reactions in the moment -- before I give a verbal response. A wealth of self-learning has been found in this experiment alone.
Becoming intentional about my daily “experiments” with life and mindful about what I’ve learned each day, no matter what it is -- a new recipe, a quality about a friend, or something I’ve noticed within self or in the world -- has resulted in an attentiveness to the fullness and newness of life I am co-creating each day.
I’ve noticed that when I let my heart and mind freely open to the new and unexpected, I approach life with a sense of wonder. And can approach others with wonder as well, rather than judgment. I’m often surprised by how very easy it is for me to slip into judgment when confronted by a new person, idea, behavior, or situation. And I hate that. But to embrace wonder and curiosity compels me to find out more – whether from the person or situation I’m in, or to go off and do some exploration to uncover what’s really happening for me.
When I first read Elkes’ words, I had a fleeting moment of wishing I had traveled and explored the world more. But what I know is that the very nature of our day-to-day life is so rich with opportunities to grow, to change, to create something new, to explore. There’s no need to go out seeking these things, they’re actually already here.
We only need to fling open the laboratory doors of our heart and mind with intention, and every day, if not every moment, will reveal the new and unexpected in our lives. Sometimes this will feel great. Other times it will feel so subtle we almost miss it. And a lot of times it won’t feel great at all. But we can always consider our laboratory and ask ourselves, “What did I learn today?”