My theme has been to encourage you to explore so you can design your own safe experiments. I have been challenged to help you more with a daily safe experiment drawn from the various ideas I have collected over the years.
Will this work? Will it be helpful to you? It may no. After all, I am distilling some strategies. How does that help you? There are at least four considerations that prompt me to go ahead with this idea:
- I know practice makes perfect so anything that keeps us practising can be a good thing.
- There is something about randomness that can help. If you use these challenges – which one will it be? Will your own random choice take you somewhere that is illuminating?
- As long as my collection ‘kick starts’ something for you, then that could be a ‘good thing’. There is not a lot to lose as long as you do not do it simply because I suggest it.
- All the material in this blog has been developing for so long now that there are many combination you might use in the design of your own safe experiments. This page simply offers more and, indeed, some of the offerings are reminders of things already on offer.
So, this is a page of more experiments! Please let me know what works for you so I can an idea to this list. You can help me pass on your experiences to everyone else. I will continue this page for as long as I want, but you can help me shape it!
All experiments will occupy a short amount of time. You could make it longer – that’s up to you – but I want to be realistic about the amount of time available to us.
Let’s start with an old ‘familiar’!
Tuesday, 14th May 2019
Initiate the controlled breathing. After 30 seconds, complete a body scan and notice any thoughts, feelings and sensations. What is uppermost? Something from today, yesterday or a thought about tomorrow?
Focus on that experience, whatever it is. Do not step aside from it. If it helps, use a Subjective Unit of Discomfort (SUD) to identify the strength of any feeling and sensation. As you focus your attention, does the SUD increase or decrease? Keep your head up and, as you continue to just notice the experience, can you imagine it moving from the left side of your vision to your right side – just passing along. Note any temptation to kick it out or push it along. Simply ‘just notice’ it and see if it moves of its own accord. It may, or it may not.
Write down briefly something about the outcome of this safe experiment (and, indeed, all safe experiments). Do this so you can, at some future point, decide:
- how to do something a little bit different about any small defeat.
- how to build on your small victory.
Wednesday, 15th May 2019
Building on yesterday ……
Pay attention to a difficult thought or feeling: what is it and how do you react to it? if it is familiar, consider what makes it so? Is there any benefit from this familiar part of your own landscape?
If it is not familiar, then just notice it. Can you step back and look at it ‘from a distance’?
Make a note of the outcome. Be prepared to come back to the outcome and see if anything has changed.
Thursday, 16th May 2019
Practice random acts of smiling gently as you go about your daily business. What responses are there, if any? Do different smiles appear to produce different responses?
What might you do differently in the future having noticed the impact of random smiles.
Bear in mind outcomes can be:
* small defeats – where, perhaps, you are disappointed or even embarrassed, as well as:
* small victories – when you notice a pleasant outcome from your own random action.
Friday, 17th May 2019
Given that one thing that seems to make a human being is that we are ‘meaning-making creatures’, spend a short time noticing the thought now in your head. What is your first thought coming into mind on reading this request?
As you reflect on that thought, what other ideas is it connected to. Matrix memory, mentioned elsewhere, is simply a series of hooks of information – inter-connected and inter-laced.
Take a piece of paper: briefly summarise your first thought in the middle. Draw lines connecting the first thought to others you are now noticing. Can you form a pattern from the connecting? Possibly, something relating to family, work or relationships. Keep you single page ‘matrix’ so you can come back to it another day.
Saturday, 18th May 2019
Connected to yesterday’s experiment, return to your notes or start afresh. This time, however, allow the matrix to develop until you find a thought that is now creating a sensation of discomfort (notice how the body scan is central to so many experiments).
Focus attention on that discomfort; can you ‘hold’ the thought and the discomfort together? What ,makes it easier or more difficult to keep a link between the two. Be curious about your experience and ‘just notice’ your own unique response to this experiment.
Again, keep your notes, or the matrix you have developed for future use.
Sunday, 19th May 2019
Do something ordinary, but deliberately. This might be stepping outside your house, listening to some music, doodling on paper. What it is, it should be ordinary, not dramatic. In effect – it’s just stopping long enough to do something different.
After a few moments, write down what you did and notice the impact of that interruption on your thoughts, feelings and sensations, now. That is, do another body scan. Use the Subjective Units of Discomfort (SUD’s) to ‘measure’ your personal experience of any feelings or sensations (note that puzzlement and curiosity might well be in there – even impatience if it seems difficult to do the experiment).
Record the SUD and continue to scan as you ‘do’ the something different chosen by you. Given that nothing stays the same, notice any changes in the SUD’s and/or your thoughts.
Before you finish, notice the route you have followed since you started the experiment. Are you aware of key points which took you off in one direction, rather than another?
Monday, 20th May 2019