Curiosity is Key to Wellness
Back in January, I set an intention to be curious this year. I’ve noticed lately that this is quite a challenge for me, yet my son lives his little life as one big inquisitive journey. He’s got so many questions to ask and experiments to conduct. I, on the other hand, fear that questions show weakness – that I’m not as smart as I should be, I forgot something important, I’m out of the loop – and on and on. Ego gets in the way, wanting to project the image that I’ve got everything under control. We lose curiosity when we assume we know and we forget our humility.
Just last night I taught a yoga class with a new student in it. She introduced herself and I promptly forgot her name. I rather than just admit I couldn’t remember, I muddled through the class trying to communicate with all the students and yet not draw attention to what was likely quite obvious by the end - I didn’t know this one woman’s name. It was a small class, and I already knew the other two ladies quite well, so this became awkward. I’d have had a much easier time teaching, and she’d likely have felt more welcome, if I’d just taken a moment to admit I hadn’t paid attention when she’d introduced herself.
My other curiosity related fear is that I’ll be bothering someone if I pepper them with questions. Certainly I can get annoyed with the barrage of inquiry from my son. His curiosity, while a delight, tests my patience. But really, don’t most of us want attention and interest from others? Community is hard to build without curiosity. We become better listeners when we bring childlike attentiveness to our relationships.
We thrive when we’re curious. We learn more about ourselves and others. As I explore my own intention to renew intrigue in my life, I find the topic everywhere I look. Huffington Post has a great piece on the 5 Benefits of Being a Curious Person. Elizabeth Gilbert, on of my favorite authors, speaks of “the virtue of inquisitiveness” and it’s link to creativity.
I think curiosity is our friend that teaches us how to become ourselves. And it's a very gentle friend, and a very forgiving friend, and a very constant one.
Rebekah Papé is a writer, food and wellness consultant, and The Riveter member. She teaches breath, meditation, and yoga asana on Fridays at 11:30am and noon at Capitol Hill.