Welcome a Quality of Curiosity.
I have just very recently, and for the very first time, dipped my toes into the strange land called online dating.
This experience brought up all kinds of questions and very few answers, which, I’ve come to realize, for me, is a happy place. It was illuminating for me as a writer when I was asked to describe myself, and found a stream of wild contrasts slipping glibly onto the screen. The more I tried to pin myself down, the more it began to feel as though I was trying to force a wild mustang into a bridle.
I ended up describing myself as consistently inconsistent, irreverent and devotional, sarcastic and tender, iconoclastic and enthusiastic, etc. Unable to do anything other than be honest in the moment, I was still left feeling slightly concerned that I didn’t fit somehow. Surprise, surprise!
There are ways that you can cage yourself from the inside with even more vigor than your supposed critics, the ones who live outside in the big world. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Sometimes it is great to take a big step away from who you think you are and stand in the deep waters of curiosity.
Park yourself in the field of inquiry for some moments, then look around and notice whether there are some parts of you that you’ve been claiming intractably as irrevocable, and feel into those new parts of you that you may like to invite in for a trial run, just for the sheer pleasure of it.
If you are on the other side of this conversation, and find that you stubbornly resist any kind of consistency, and are unable to allow yourself an opinion or a strongly held perspective for fear of being labeled, you may want to allow yourself to truly claim something as very dear to you.
Take a breath and look inside, and decide whether there is something that you will stand for, no matter what, and see if you can stake a claim on behalf of this part. There can be something very relaxing about simply giving up the wibble-wobble and straightening your spine on behalf of conviction and commitment.
Loosen the tight bindings of long-held beliefs about who and what you are, and make some room for playful potential. Experiment with something small, like choosing to wear a color that you rejected when you were a little girl, one you never revisited because you have said that you hate it so many times since then that you now believe it!
Eat something unusual with curiosity, allowing your body to lead rather than your mind. Read a book or a magazine or a blog that you have never before considered looking at. Engage someone whose opinions make you bristle in a thoughtful conversation, lead with curiosity, ask more questions than you normally would, and really listen deeply and quietly to their answers.
Leading with curiosity is, and should be, pleasurable and playful, and at the same time, I am completely earnest when I say that it might literally be the quality, if adopted by as many of us as possible, that will keep us from hurtling headfirst into the abyss of intolerance and fear that is playing out on the big screen these days.
I realize that I’ve just made a big leap from online dating to How to save the world, and I want to add that I don’t believe that there is just one answer as to how to work with the state of the world right now, or for that matter, the state of your personal life.
I can say that welcoming a quality of curiosity about yourself, about others, about life, can invite in a sense of spaciousness, can soften any contraction or calcification that may have set in. As Don Miguel Ruiz shared with us in his wonderful book, The Four Agreements, don’t make assumptions, about yourself or about others. Soften into curiosity, allow inconsistency alongside of conviction.
Take a risk, taste something new.
Magdalena Curtis is a catalyst and a cultivator of the deep wisdom of women’s radical embodiment. As a woman committed to all women’s authentic voices, she finds massive joy in supporting women of all ages toward unleashing their own version of imperfect perfection. Wordsmith and poet, Magdalena graduated from Mills College in Oakland with a degree in Liberal Arts/Poetry, thus effectively rendering her unemployable. As she prefers being her own ‘boss’, this has worked to her advantage. Magdalena is a writer who once built a cob house, dancer, singer/songwriter, spoken and written word poet, Kundalini Yoga teacher, mother to a fierce and brilliant 25-year-old daughter, and is trained in massage, reiki, clinical hypnotherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, and Western herbalism. She is a recent transplant to Brooklyn, N.Y. and is in love the way only a convert can be. She is devoted to assisting women in diving deep and excavating their gems using her Radical Embodiment Catalyst Coaching. You could contact her via her website, Instagram or Facebook.