The weekend. I could have been curious as I went shopping and had to figure out where to find certain things on my list. I could have been curious as I tried to replace the washer in my bathroom faucet. I could have been curious as I prepared a new recipe with an ingredient, quinoa, I have only used once before. I could have been, and I might have enjoyed the day more. Sadly, I wasn’t and didn’t. I was too intent in each case on achieving a certain goal in as short a time as possible. Ah, well.
As we approach the wire I am, to my surprise, still discovering new aspects of practicing curiosity. Today it was the realization that social norms can act as a powerful hindrance. I was walking past a house this afternoon and could hear the family talking and laughing in the garden behind the trees that protected their privacy. It sounded lively and like a great deal of fun. I would have loved to observe for a bit–my natural curiosity was piqued–but I realized that would make me something of a Peeping Tom and moved on with a bit of regret.
This morning out of nowhere I experienced again something I’ve written about before–a softening of my face, especially around the eyes, that feels like openness. I first experienced it in Tai Chi and knew (but had forgotten) that I could open my mind and awareness by relaxing the muscles around my eyes. It was nice to be reminded.
Why am I stressing out on vacation? Because I am experiencing a number of technical uncertainties at the moment (too long to go into). My great fear (a big curiosity killer) is damaging my computer irreparably and losing all my data. At the same time, everything seems to be working so slowly while we finally have perfect summer weather and I want to be outdoors (so performance and time pressure, also curiosity killers). Why am I even on my computer on my vacation? Because a client sent something back for revisions the day I was leaving. We agreed on an August 14 deadline, but I decided to get it done now so that I can stop thinking about it. Ick! Still, I have now sent it off and shall hope for better conditions and more curiosity tomorrow.
This morning, with my to-do list more or less done, I took a closer look at the signs I’ve been seeing all week. They’re for The 5th Annual Conference of Nitrification and Related Processes (link below). My natural curiosity, freed from the tyranny of my to-do list, inspired me to look into that a bit.
I found out that nitrification is “the biological oxidation of ammonia or ammonium to nitrite followed by the oxidation of the nitrite to nitrate” and that it is not to be confused with nitration (thank you, Wikipedia).
Upon checking the conference website, I was amused to see an improbably beautiful photo of the Belvedere (the Belvedere is beautiful but not THAT beautiful) with the disclaimer “Not the conference venue.” I was further interested to see that the program listed names and university affiliations, but I couldn’t find the titles of the presentations.
It’s nice to know that my curiosity can recover so quickly.
A very long to-do list has got to be one of the biggest curiosity killers of all time. The very idea of it–you live and act to check off one thing after another without thinking (most of the time). Ah, well.
I had a really good week but now have to work over the weekend on things for other people. I’m not feeling very curious, just put out that after two weeks of long days and good results I can’t stop and enjoy life. Ah, well.