Today I tried something I’ve been curious about, but a bit wary of, for a number of years now–I went for a session of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). I don’t know if practicing curiosity for almost ten months helped me overcome the wariness, but overcome it I did.
I’m still making sense of what we worked on and how we worked on it. One thing I would like to say is that I’m very glad I did overcome my wariness and tried it out. It was refreshing and helpful. The other thing is that it has elements of River curiosity–you start out with one topic, but you don’t really know where you will end up. You are carried along by the flow of the session.
Our morning walk seems to be becoming a good place for me to practice curiosity. I should perhaps first mention that my dog has the ability to express more nuanced feelings than any of the animals I have had in my life before. When he is outdoors he often has a macho walk that is quite impressive in such a small dog (he weighs only 5 kgs or 11 lbs) and also is almost funny to watch. At home he can look like a complete cupcake. In the kitchen he does the best imitation of a dog who never gets anything to eat I have ever seen.
This morning I suddenly wondered what it would be like to be him, with his little macho walk. Now, I’ve tried out exploring the way he sniffs and checks things out and written about that here, but I’ve never really thought about how he experiences our walks and his world. Today I wanted to get a sense of that by trying to copy his strut.
There were a few moments when I thought I was getting it right, and it was really fun to feel that masculine pride and confidence. It will need some practice, though. The moments were very brief.
I couldn’t resist telling that anti-curiosity joke yesterday, but then I started wondering why I connected it with curiosity, or rather an absence of curiosity. Quite quickly I realized that learning a new language, while perhaps not requiring curiosity, is greatly helped by curiosity, partly because when you learn a new language you are opening yourself up to a new world.
This afternoon I caught myself accepting an answer from a student that was rather superficial. I backed up and asked a few questions to understand better what he meant. The interesting thing is that I think we both benefited from going deeper. He had to clarify his thinking and I understood better what he meant.
Like many before and after me, I came to Vienna to study singing. Now I pretty much only sing when I am out walking with my dog. Today I was reminded of how curiosity can help with singing. I was walking down the street singing a bit–don’t much care anymore what other people think of me–and moved my tongue a tiny bit. Suddenly my voice was resonating in an entirely different and better place and my diaphragm was supporting the tone much better. I carried on experimenting with my tongue and jaw and had a grand old time.
Of course there are times when you aim to do something specific, but playing around with your voice can be a really good way to sing better. Curiosity in action.
I’m trying to decide if spending way too much time and energy trying to improve the way I do class contribution grades counts as curiosity practice. I certainly demonstrated persistence. But does that count?
My definition of curiosity is: a state of experiencing a situation, with any or all of one’s senses, with openness and a desire to see what happens and without feeling the need to influence the outcome.
Ultimately, I was interested in having an outcome, but I was pretty open to what that outcome might be. That’s worth some curiosity points, isn’t it?
… I must excuse myself. Ten o’clock at night and I have just finished work.
Just a quick report: I did practice interest today, which I consider a first cousin of curiosity. I met a colleague I hadn’t spoken to in several years and we had a great catch up over coffee. Something at least.