Tag Archives: curiosity

What to Think

Things to Think

Think in ways you’ve never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you’ve never seen.

When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

Robert Bly, Morning Poems (1998).

The first stanza of this poem appeared in a March 20 post, Not Running Short of Small Change. Yet, a single stanza is but one piece of the pie when the poet has meant for us to have the whole. To deny, is to shortchange.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Staying with the Small Stuff

I find solace in curiosity, in knowing each moment is unique. No matter how many times I perform a certain task, in this moment the experience is new.

Who knows how it may all turn out.

What I’m discovering is that if I stay curious, equanimity is not as difficult–even in the really hard moments, perhaps especially then.

Equanimity may be most evident in the small stuff, the routine of daily life. Here, my chronic illness is an advantage for my time is mine.  My day opens with meditation and yoga but when that day begins may be at 4 AM or 10 AM or noon.

I live a “routine of no routine” routinely.

This seems small stuff because it is. Yet, there was a time–even after the day job ended–that if I did not rise by a certain time, the day was over before it began. Now, I aim for even, and see where that takes me.

The result is I think less and accomplish so much more.

I immerse myself in the task at hand such as the slicing of a Pink Lady apple for my breakfast. The world around me expands. Occasionally, there is revelation. At first, that took me out of my moment but now—with all the other thoughts–it rolls on by. My mind evens out.

I think less and discover more. Once, my pursuit of the impossible blinded me to the details of what is possible. Why pursue the future when so much awaits me now?

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Framing the Day

I confine myself to the canvas of the day I have. It is not without a frame but I don’t feel constricted. Just the opposite.

I look out on a field of possibilities. Some I will know this day–others maybe never–yet what any other day holds does not occupy my mind.

My curiosity is only for this day–not what is beyond its frame. Nor do I have an interest in framed days already hung on memory’s wall.st-marks-sunset-0216

If there are “best” days they are when I meet the energy of my day, open to its colors sorting themselves. After all the experience is for me.  

Stephen King said, “it’s best to have your tools with you. If you don’t, you’re apt to find something you don’t expect and get discouraged.”

If I stray outside the frame of my day, I am blindsided by the unexpected. I have a single tool–equanimity–its versatility never fails. Whatever shape or size I need is at my fingertips. 

Equanimity opens me to the colors of the day.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

“All That I Never Thought of….”

On days I that am a bit bemused, as I often am, I look to the beauty of a map, not so much for what it defines but for the life and lands outside its purview.

More than once, a map has shown me possibilities, if not a direct route.

I still prefer paper maps to GPS, which is not to say I don’t appreciate the expediency of GPS. I do, as well, its quickness in devising alternative routes. GPS gets me to Earth Fare, no matter how many turns I ignore.

GPS still allows me choice but it is one confined. In the folding and unfolding of a paper map, there is always the possibility of some new route revealing itself.  

I like the edge of uncertainty; it fuels my curiosity. still-a-path-080416

Yet, all maps have boundaries, best served by respect and with regard for exasperation. To balance both is to know the freedom of living within boundaries.

But when more bemused than balanced, all maps seem too… well, directional. After all, life turns on a dime.

What was once a thoughtfully planned—even reasoned–route may be a road without a bridge, closed off from all other routes.

That is the beauty of mapping, however, whether with paper or digitally. Either provides the known but curiosity takes us to the unknown, to the edge of uncertainty.

We are like Randall Jarrell’s “Sick Child” who implores existence, “all that I never thought of–think of me,” mixing the mystery of grace with the hope that is eternity.

It is the stuff of bridges.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page. 

Curiosity Makes Sure No Door is Locked Long

Curiosity is the key that opens the life experience for us. The path is the obstacle; the obstacle is the path. Either way, curiosity unlocks doors.

Every time we enter, we change. We face transformation, accepting who and what we are. Transformation is a lifetime practice, and it is never too late to be who you are.

I know. I’m 64. I did not begin until six years ago but I am in it for the duration.

Change is scary but strip away the fear I must in order to go through another door. After all, this is my life experience. Why resist? Curiosity’s spark, an urging to discover, will not let me rest.

in-the-midst-of-112113

It is the stuff of transformation, this leap of faith, so basic to understanding the ever-evolving self. I look in every nook and cranny of my heart–especially the wounds–where I find yet another facet of the obstacle that is my path.

In practicing self-compassion, I open myself to the life experience with an evenness of mind. In transformation, no door is locked long. Curiosity sees to that. The practice is to accept impermanence, knowing mayhem will pass and come again.

I learn so much from my body’s physiology. It has one mission: live. In orchestrated acceptance, every cell adapts to an ever-changing environment. No cell is excepted. The body meets what comes next–rather fearlessly, I think.

I take a deep breath and sidestep my fear and begin

speaking from the place where beauty and bravery meet—

within the chambers of a quivering heart.  

Terry Tempest Williams

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page. 

Turning Down a Day of Chase with Gratitude

I woke up weary. It happens. If I’m not mindful, the day will get lost in “if only”–escape scenarios–unsettled energy, swirling first in one direction then another, a day of chase.

I am reminded of Pema Chodron’s observation regarding Buddhist teachings: they keep telling us we “don’t have a lot of time to waste.”

That we create scenarios of escape–the if only–Chodron says is “the greatest poison.” After all, in escape we exit the life we’ve been given for one we think we can create.

The teachings try to scare us into waking up to how

little time there is and to the preciousness of human birth.

Pema Chodron

hawk-3“If only” does have some merit; it is capable of scaring us. And often does. All we need to do is create a scenario—Chodron gives examples of losing one or more of our senses—where life as we knew it is completely and irreparably changed.

Within this context, waking up weary seems a mere wallowing. There is a softening of my heart. Gratitude streams in, so much brighter than any scenario I was creating.

Gratitude pushes open the door of equanimity when a closed mind would rather wrap itself around its own creations. The atmosphere is charged with curiosity. Despair deflates.

Rumi reminds us that expressing gratitude in our lowest moments allows us to discover a “secret path” known to no other.

You can’t see it yet but so many paradises

are at the end of this path.

Rumi

Curiosity immerses us in the day we have, no longer a captive of “if only.” Escape cannot withstand the light.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page. 

 

Birthday: You, Me, Star Dust

Birthday. For so many years it has been an accounting, a reckoning, always a measurement. Not this year.

I am reminded of Georgia O’Keeffe’s “to see takes time.” So many gifts are given and received in a lifetime, which lasts no longer than a single moment.

Existence is energy animating you, me, a blade of grass, an ocean– everything. All of it and all of us, star dust.where now 0425

It has taken me some time to “see” life as pure energy. It’s more a feeling, really, but in my mind’s eye there is such sight, one perspective after another on the star dust that is everywhere.

Each particle, each experience is unique, similar to the Hindu Upanishads–Tat Tvam Asi– “you are that” or “that you are.” You in all this oneness.

My birth day is celebrating my being as “living energy” (Mark Nepo). No need to measure up or take an accounting of one year or 64. I am aging.

I am wild with wonder–constantly curious–to age is to live. Wonder shows me more rather than less.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.