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.
It’s funny. I’ve written fairly often about how work pressure and to-do lists make it harder for me to be curious. Now I’m on vacation and I find I’m almost too relaxed to be curious. I am re-reading one of my favorite books, ate something for dinner I know I like, swam at a place I’ve swum countless times. It’s all great, but none of it is new, and I find I’m not even moved to practice curiosity by comparison. Perhaps tomorrow …
The course I’m teaching this week is being visited by members of the human resources department. That is not an entirely stress-free proposition, and I wasn’t sure what to make of the decision on the side of the project sponsor. I’m proud of myself that I remained open, didn’t jump to any conclusions, and I feel that helped me be constructive. It also helps that they themselves are constructive participants, but I’m still proud of myself.
This evening I went to a panel discussion on the EU called something like “What if Europe succeeded”. It was a fairly cerebral event, and if anyone in the audience felt the EU is a bad thing, they didn’t feel free to say it. So we were all in our bubbles with people who thought the same as we do. Plenty of opportunity to practice desire-to-learn curiosity. Less opportunity to practice interpersonal curiosity, trying genuinely to understand different points of view.
Day 300 already! Only 65 days left. I must start pulling up my socks and really practicing curiosity. Less thinking and writing about it.
Today I actually did just that. I was browsing through Facebook and saw a post from a friend of mine asking, “Are peanut butter and mayo really as good together as everyone says?” I found myself thinking first “Who on earth says that? I’ve never heard it before” and then “Sounds gross” and then “There’s only one way to find out.”
Immediately following those thoughts came “It is my Year of Living Curiously. Maybe I should just be brave and test it.” I even had mayo in the house, which I usually don’t. (I always have peanut butter.) So in the name of curiosity, I had a piece of toast for lunch with peanut butter and mayo on it.
Was it as good as “everyone says”? I couldn’t say. I don’t know how good it is supposed to be. What I can say is that it is not as gross as it sounds. I found it kind of nondescript, the mayo kind of diluting the distinctive flavor of the peanut butter. One thing, though, the mayo, being slippery, did make the peanut butter stick less to the roof of my mouth. That’s something, I suppose.
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.
This morning on our dogwalk I saw another dog person whom I hadn’t seen in ages. From across the park she started waving her arms at me. I waved back. Then she became more agitated and was clearly trying to communicate something more to me than a simple “Good morning!” I was–with great curiosity ;-)–trying to figure out what she was trying to say and was focused on her to the extent that I did not see the police officer hiding in the bushes, waiting apparently for dog walkers who did not have their dogs on the leash.
Luckily, I did figure out in time that what she was mouthing was “Police!” and I was able to get my dog onto the leash before there was a fine to pay. What I discovered this morning was that when you focus all your curiosity on one point, it is easy to overlook something else.