My Dad has always lived his life in a constant state of curiosity. I am sure it is one of the single most important reasons why he has lived his life with a sense of calm and patience…something I seem to have failed to inherit.
I am not sure that I appreciated Dad’s curiosity when I was younger. His persistent desire to figure out how things work, to check out the dirt path …just to see where it went, to read my text book so he could help me properly with my homework and to think about everything in great detail…really drove me insane. I just wanted to get to where I was going faster, just get the answer to my homework not figure it all out properly and I didn’t care how things work as long as they were working…my impatience head butting with his never ending patience.
It is only recently I have come to realise how amazing it is to live your live in a constant state of curiosity. To explore everything with a sense of wonder, and even when “bad” things happen, to consider it as an interesting challenge, rather than a dire state of affairs.
I remember going camping last year and being stuck in a storm. The rain was pouring and my husband was anxiously fretting about whether the tent would hold up. He was incessantly checking his mobile to get the latest weather forecast, trying to determine if we were better to simply pack up and go, or to stick it out. Pacing back and forth, not able to sit down and relax with us to play our card game. He was remembering a disaster camping trip we had been on before, where a storm blew down the tent and we had a flood going through all our things. We had had to pack up all our stuff with rain beating down, which in hindsight was a pretty funny experience, but at the time…not so much. And so…not surprisingly, on this occasion, it wasn’t long before little drops of water started to seep into the tent and slide down the poles. Which, of course, set my husband into whirl. Was a wet weather disaster going to happen all over again?
As I sat watching and pondering the dilemma (Ok..perhaps I was being a tad unhelpful), it made me think of Dad. I imagined he would not be disturbed by the storm, infact, he might even be a little bit excited. He wouldn’t be checking the weather to see what would happen next. He would be exploring all the crevasses of the tent and considering our structure. As the water started to slide down the poles, he would be fascinated about why it was happening and thus, maybe what we could construct to stop it. All the while feeling calm and intrigued rather than anxious and worried.
I wish I could be more like that…
Today I was listening to my audio version of Elizabeth Gilberts, Big Magic book on my way into work. Some of the things in it are a little bit “woo woo” for me…but there are definitely lots of little spots of wisdom for anyone thinking about their creativity (for the record, I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person…in the slightest whatsoever…so it has been a little bit enlighting to realise maybe there in some in me…but that’s a story for another day).
The chapter I was listening to today was about curiosity. She talks about the importance of living your life with a sense of curiosity and following all the little things that spark your interest. I love the concept she talks about that finding ideas is like a scavenger hunt. That if you follow your curiosity like clues in a hunt, not knowing where they are all leading you but following each one as it pops up. I love this idea. I can see how thinking about the things in your life this way, makes it all less stressful and frantic. Because there is no need to go places in a hurry. You can be patient, because the important piece is the exploring and following.
This is what Dad seems to do so naturally. And, maybe, it is not something I simply inherit, but that I can learn. Maybe if I practice a bit more, I can learn to be more calm and curious too…
And, for the record, our little foray into the storm… well, on that particular occasion it simply passed. The next day we had blue skies, sunshine and even a rainbow. My husband patched up some holes we found near the poles which were to blame for the leak…and we spent the next few days continuing our blissful holiday.
How could you live your life more curiously?