One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
Each month, we share insights, inspiration, and all the ways the cycles of the Great Mandala uplift and support you. We draw upon the metaphors and messages of each season to explore and celebrate our individual and collective personal growth journeys.
Life goes in circles...all aspects of life...expansion, contraction, every part is equal, valued, necessary to be in balance...
The seasonal cycles play a significant role in our daily lives, influencing our moods, energy levels, and overall well-being. The annual and monthly Co-Creative Mandalas have a vibration that anchors, activates specific qualities, and represents something about the natural world and the energy in the universe at a particular time. The mandalas support aligning ourselves with the natural rhythms of the Great Mandala and enhance our sense of connection--within, with each other, and the world.
This time of year marks the opportunity for envisioning the future and for opening to how we want to feel throughout 2024--whatever our goals and intentions are.
This month's mandala is Curiosity.
I trust that 2024 is off to a good start!
Do you remember growing up hearing that ‘curiosity killed the cat’? The saying originated in the 1500's in a play written by Ben Johnson as ‘care killed the cat’. It was later adapted by William Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing in an attempt to stop someone asking unwanted questions.
I frequently heard that phrase, along with "little pitchers have big ears"--which confused me for many years because I thought they said little "pictures". But I digress. My parents and other caregivers probably recognized that I was curious by nature (as kids are--it's one of our developmental tasks)--I often wondered off on my own and I asked way too many questions. Their generation was unfamiliar with child development and the importance of kids being curious as a way to make sense of the world. For them, instilling the belief that being curious is dangerous was their way of keeping me safe. And, in all honesty, a way to keep me in line. After all, what kid wants to be responsible for killing cats?
Even so, instilling beliefs about curiosity that kept me quietly in line would prove to be a daunting task for them.
Case in point. I lived on or frequently visited my grandparents' farm when I was growing up. I loved the animals, all the places to explore, following my grandmother around as she completed her chores, and learning about growing things--particularly flowers. There were also other ways to keep me engaged when the grownups were otherwise occupied with farm life. I don't have total recall about the details surrounding the events of one particular day. I likely was exploring all the wonders the farm presented. I do remember I saw quite a stir as I looked on while the grown-ups searched for me, hearing them frantically calling my name. From my vantage point--a few feet above them, perched on the rungs of the windmill ladder--I could see the fear in their eyes when they looked up, hearing my quiet, small voice (imagine a Southern accent) ask: "Ya'll lookin' for somebody?" The expression on their faces conveyed fear, concern, relief...and ultimately, anger. My curiosity may not have killed me (or the cat) that day, but the look in their eyes and their responses put a damper on it--at least temporarily. Thank goodness that constraint wouldn't last long.
And, thank goodness I didn't get hurt that day. Their need to keep me safe was totally understandable. At the same time their responses conveyed subtle, and not so subtle, messages that helped shape my beliefs (both expansive and constricted) about myself and about the world.
Many of us were trained by our family and society to override our feelings and to override our curiosity. Because conditioning is strong, we forget our Wholeness, our intuition, our divine inspiration to learn and grow. And, it's also safer. Even though curiosity continues to add vibrancy to my life there are times I lean into being safe, to "staying in line", to not asking questions, to seeking approval, and forgetting my Wholeness. At the same time, as I've gotten older I sometimes feel like that little girl. I have a hunch that when I climbed up the windmill ladder I had a strong desire to see the world from a new perspective, too see what was "out there". Which I couldn't discover with my feet on the ground.
Fortunately, Wholeness is never completely overshadowed. It's always with us, and always gently calling us to remember. Curiosity reminds us that we can always begin again in any moment. In a way, we're always curious, even if we're not intentionally practicing curiosity. The present moment is always leading us toward stepping into the unknown. Like my child self, I believe the world still seems like a big adventure that offers opportunities for seeing myself, others, and the world through the lens of wonder.
As the world continues to shift and change around us at a rapid rate, helping our children and ourselves foster curiosity opens our mind, opens our heart, and is the first rung on the ladder of activating Wholeness. The power of curiosity gives us access to that innate, insatiable desire to learn more, spark the passion for discovery, be present in the moment, and take risks.
I like that term – "holy curiosity". Wonder comes from our natural curiosity about the grand adventure of life--inner and outer. It's a concept that is connected to our spiritual lives!
As a practice, holy curiosity can lead us to love and accept ourselves, even when our critical voice is louder than self-compassion. I think practicing holy curiosity leads to remembering who we are, the truth of our being. The more we embrace this practice, the more it becomes a way of being in the world that challenges the status quo and opens us to learning--about ourselves, each other, and the world. With deep listening and genuine inquiry we can revive and keep curiosity alive by being present, asking questions about ourselves and each other, and by giving others' questions the respect they deserve.
As Jean Wise says (I wonder if that's her given name or did she adopt it?)
Don’t be judgmental. We tend to criticize ourselves so easily. We get upset that we continue to do what we don’t want to do. Overeat. Gossip. Allow self-doubt, fear, and disappointment to overtake our hearts.
Don’t judge yourself so harshly. Be curious, instead.
When we learn to observe ourselves with compassion – we become more childlike, we cultivate a "beginner's mind", and see our self with wonder and awe. What a wonderful trait/skill to develop. I would rather respond with curiosity, then with shame, guilt, or anger any day!
Being curious also creates more peace and harmony with each other. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, when we encounter people who are different from us, whose words and actions fly in the face of our values and beliefs, we listen, we ask questions, we learn from them, and get to know them instead of quickly rushing to judgment? I'm still working on that!
Curiosity is your super power.
1. Is a wonder-full twist on how we see ourselves, each other, and the world.
3. Gives us the space to step back study, learn, and grow.
4. Reveals options we never realized before.
5. Opens our heart and mind and increases wisdom.
5. Gives us hope.
Every spiritual person I’ve ever known is curious.
Quaker pastor and author.
In case you need more reasons to cultivate curiosity, here are a few from this Deepak Chopra article: Curious people report higher levels of life satisfaction, are more creative, more resilient, have healthier relationships, and are better at remaining calm when life happens.
Contemporary human potential thought leader & author, Bryant McGill says: Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.
Curiosity might not come to us as naturally now as it once did, so we may have to schedule time to be curious. The more you take time to be curious, the easier it becomes. You’ll start to re-awaken and relearn that curiosity from your childhood and start looking at yourself, others, and the world from a new point of view.
I want to remember this:
Curiosity is such a great way to unlearn what we were taught as kids, "re-see" ourselves, each other, and life. And equally important...Re-imagine a life of possibility, of peace, and potential.
How can you open to more wonder, awe, and appreciation for your marvelous, precious life? How can you make curiosity a regular practice in your daily life?
Here are some curiosity activities for organizational coach to get your started:
So, back to the beginning of this blog: To complete the phrase, “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back…”
… Satisfy your heart and mind...step into the unknown, look for windmills to climb--even if you're a little nervous!
This Co-Creative Mandala, "Curiosity" from photo of ice crystals (symbolizes innocence) and blue sky (symbolizes trust) is associated with the root, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown chakras. It reminds us that the capacity to be curious, delighted, and experience wonder is a gift that enriches life. Just let go. Let go of how you think your life should be. Something incredible is brewing behind the scenes.
Keep some space in your heart for the unimaginable.