Reclaiming Our Curiosity

Little BoysThis week the portable nature of my work found me parked next to a city park while talking on the phone with a colleague . As I sat there, a little boy approached, maybe four years old, his mom a few steps behind. They were on their way into the playground. When he got to the door of my car, he stopped suddenly, turned toward me and stared. I waved. He waved. And his embarrassed mom ushered him on.

It was a beautifully spontaneous and natural reaction on his part. He spotted something that interested him and stopped to investigate. Absent all the social conditioning that causes adults to pass by all sorts of unusual things, this little boy acted on an innate and priceless wisdom. 

I’m guessing you, like me and that mom, have probably lived through social training that, while well intended, served to impair your curiosity. Many of us get to adulthood with a vibrant curiosity in tact, but many more learn along the way that curiosity is worth sacrificing. We give it up in favor of being polite, fitting in, appearing knowledgeable – you name it, the list goes on and on. 

But there’s a danger in surrendering our curiosity. With it we come into direct interaction with our world, with our community, with ourselves. Without it we loose the richest, most fulfilling experiences this life has to offer. Our minds become more rigid and finding our way through the ever-changing process of life becomes harder – more work, less play.

When we act on our curiosity we feel engaged, interested, open-minded, a sense of possibilities. From this place we experience a feeling of expansion and it’s fun, light, joyful. Try it out – what happens for you when you allow yourself to be curious?

The biggest problem with sacrificing our curiosity is that most of us don’t even know it’s stunted. We’ve lived so long in it’s absence that we’ve forgotten how much freedom and energy it brings to our lives. 

Today, instead of looking for clarity in your life, try infusing it with some curiosity. But how to get back to the wisdom of a 4-year-old? Try ignoring the clock, releasing pressure and expectation and exploring without judgement. Ask questions. Surround yourself with colors, toys, and puzzles. Spend time outside. Spend time with a child. Watch the birds and the trees. Go to a museum or an art gallery. Just like our reasons for sidelining our curiosity, the ways to access it are endless. Find what works best for you.

Wishing you all the delight and freedom that a curious heart can bring!

 

 

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  1. Grace Mendez November 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for the reminder to go to that curious playful state that makes life not so serious and dreary.

    • Kelly November 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

      Thanks Grace. I love learning and practicing the value of play so much that I talk about it often! A skill you have a natural knack for!

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