One thought that I come back to over and over again in my weaker moments involves how many experiments I have run in my life, especially in the last 2 years, and how very many of them failed. I declared 2008 the Year of the Failure. In 2009, I upgraded to the Year of the Fiasco. My frustration levels have had a tendency to run rather high.
But then I just read a bit from Rob Brezsney that included the phrase "turning up our curiosity full blast" [Facebook link] and was struck by the thought that maybe I should reframe my failures as indulgences of my curiosity. Isn't that what an experiment is? A curious thought, and then action to satisfy that curiosity? I often think of myself as "constantly churning" as a way to describe my restless urges to try new things and see if they can be successful. (There are powerful connections between "churning" and the "mouse that fell into a bucket of cream", btw.) Perhaps I should also see my "churning" action as a measure of the blast of my curiosity, that it is so close to "full blast" that I end up "churning."
It makes for a nice shift in language. Being curious has all kinds of positive connotations, excepting what happened to that poor cat, whereas failed experiments and the continuous monotonous motion of churning come off rather poorly.
The only problem with shifting to a curious-based frame from an experimental or churning frame is results. Satisfying curiosity doesn't tend to imply any kind of result other than a bit of knowledge gained, whereas experiments create tangible results and churning makes for either butter or very frothy oceans and/or hurricanes.
So then really the full blast curiosity is what I have been exercising, gaining bits of knowledge and experience as I go. I can't say that I have butter or a hurricane yet, though. Would like them, but I haven't managed to produce them yet. I guess I will just keep sticking my whiskered nose into interesting new places and see if I find the secret passage to the Underbed (unfamiliar with the mystical magical realm of Underbed? Ask your cat.) or at least the magical formula for seeding hurricanes lost under the couch.