Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Experiment: It's Back On!

Imagine my surprise when daughter Rebecca handed me a note yesterday. I expected it to say something like "I love you, Daddy!", but instead it was a resumption of The Experiment we started last Fall.

For those of you who didn't follow The Experiment, it began when I was looking for an interesting way to shake up my morose and grumpy attitude, shake off some stress and introduce a little more fun and whimsy into my life. So I asked my daughter (who is nothing but fun and whimsy), if she would assist me.

I asked her to assign me daily tasks that I would agree to complete. It started out as a week-long commitment, but once the week had ended, it felt like we were just getting warmed up. So we extended The Experiment to last an entire month.

It was a fun month, and I completed about 90% of the tasks. And it was a success: after The Experiment ended, I was more joyful and less stressed. And I've been that way ever since. And, the tasks provided more opportunities for Rebecca and I to spend time together.

Rebecca and I discussed whether we should resume The Experiment since it was so fruitful. We hadn't set a start date or hashed out the details, but when she brought me the first task, I said to myself, "OK, here we go!" This time, I'm starting out feeling pretty good overall, so it feels more like exploration and fun than a quest to eradicate a bad condition.

Here's how I fared on Day One:

I didn't stare at the candle. I meant to, but I had just gotten my first smartphone around 5pm and I spent too much of the evening gazing at its screen instead, figuring out settings and such. Sorry!

I accomplished Tasks 2 and 3...well, maybe the jury's out on Task 2. It was a hectic day and I didn't consciously take an hour off work, but I am participating in Winter Feast for the Soul again this year (40 days of meditation) - so I did take an hour off to meditate. Does that count?

By the time I thought about telling 3 different family members that I loved them, it was dinner time. I told Beth and Rebecca I loved them, and then thought about who on the West Coast I would call. Rebecca cracked a mischievous grin and suggested that I think about the task a little more creatively. I pondered for awhile, with a few subtle clues, finally realized that I could tell myself I loved me! Apparently, that was the solution Rebecca hoped I would find, and she danced a little end-zone-style dance after I figured it out.

Tomorrow, I'll post the results for Day Two's tasks.

I'm also looking for a better name for this exercise. "The Experiment" doesn't seem to fit any more. It seems like we're past the beta testing phase with this practice, and the evolution of it deserves a better moniker. Got any ideas?


  1. How about Project Joy!
    Or Alarm Clocks or The Aliveness Files.
    Have fun!

  2. Some of these might be close. I was trying to figure out how to incorporate the word "whimsy". Maybe Project Whimsy?

    Thanks for your suggestions!

  3. Aww. Your daughter is such a fun kid. Your experiment is way too cool and will definitely lift up all the stress. Project Whimsy would suit it.
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