Curious

Truth - Curiosity is what keeps us exploring. There is this human need to learn more, try new things, and grow. Stagnancy is the antithesis of the human experience, and yet so often we find ourselves clinging to tradition, procedure, and the past. That internal struggle is a challenge for all of us to wrestle with constantly. Lose our inhibitions, be bold, and ask questions or to stick with what we know, remain comfortable, and secure our safety - those are our options. But aren't we meant to be curious?
 
"When you meet people, show real appreciation, then genuine curiosity" Martha Beck
 


What prevents us from talking to people we don't know? Is the fact that we don't know them that hinders us, or are there other reasons for our apprehension. Thinking of all the times we strike up conversations with random people - what is the common denominator in all those conversations? We share an experience. It's those moments when something outrageous happens and we look around to seek validation that it really just went down. It's that look of bewilderment and nervous laughter that immediately allows us to forge a bond. We all just went through the same thing ... right? Instantaneously, there's something for us to talk about even if it is a whole lot of off the rails. That commonality is what we seek. Once we have found it, the possibilities are endless. It's funny how we can have extensive conversations with people but completely forgot to introduce ourselves. We're talking for hours on end about anything and everything after one small anecdote, and next thing we know time has flown by. There's something truly profound about those conversations. Where our commonality and curious combine for us to commune with another person so casually and yet so deeply. Those are the conversations that stick with us
 
There are ways in which we think ourselves to be drastically different, and also there are ways that our experiences truly are significantly different. That's the beauty of personhood though. We can be unique and yet find some common ground on which to build a firm foundation. It's that duality that encourages our curiosity. Children get it, sometimes too well, in that their curiosity runs wild (i.e. let's touch and taste everything/everyone). What if we as "adults" sought to retain more of our child-like curiosity? Being brave in making friends with others we didn't know, complimenting people left and right, and offering up what we have without a second thought. I think our days would be brighter, we would be kinder, and most importantly we would make more connections and learn more. Our individualism is both the best and worst part of us. Being independent is powerful but if the cost is missing out on potential relationships with people from a diverse range of backgrounds, beliefs, and life experiences ... is it worth it? There must be ways that we balance our need to be self-sufficient with valuing the interdependence of humxnkind. Curiosity is a gift, and a wondrous one that we could all stand to take advantage of more often.
 


This week I spent time with one of my friends and so much about him struck me as a awe-inspiring. The way he moved through the world was similar to how I strive to, and at the same time oh so very different. His curiosity was so ... pure. I don't really know how to describe it. He just had this outlook on life that was courageous, reflective, and humble. He asked questions constantly and just was so comfortable in learning. He was constantly taking in information, processing it, and tucking it away to be used. His gratitude for where he was, how he was, and what he was experiencing was impressive. I found myself just observing him, taking in how he made other people feel (warm, valued, and affirmed), and appreciating the light he radiated. I just saw how intentional he was in trying to learn more about other people, the world around us, and how much his curiosity guided him. I just found him to carry himself with this confidence that wasn't boastful but more at peace with life, comfortable, and content. There are so many things that converged to allow him to be that way but that freedom to question, to inquire genuinely, and to wholeheartedly be invested in the teacher in all of us is something I found deeply moving.
 
It is immensely important to take it there. I mean all the way there. I can think of way too many instances where I let the opportunity to dive deeper, to give more of myself, and to come away being truly changed by a conversation, go by. It's the times that we shy away from asking more intentional questions, following up, and prioritizing listening more than speaking that stick with us. It's swallowing the fear, that may or may not be real, and asking other people to say more. It's being vulnerable and going to that raw place of humanity with them. It's bearing one's soul, speaking one's truth, and being bold in doing it all. It's respect, truth, and purpose. It's messy, it's unruly, and it's scary. It's something that does not get enough practice. It's what the human is all about though. It's embracing the uncertainty of where the conversation will go and enjoying the adventure anyway. It's letting go, being enthralled in the experience, and taking it for what it is - curious. Here's to reclaiming our curiosity, letting it take over more often, and being pleasantly surprised with the results. X

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