“I don’t know how you’re doing on the inside, honey, but your hair’s just holding up beautiful.”
- Dolly Parton as Truvy, Steel Magnolias
I took some time off from my Journal. Between needing a writing break and channeling my inner Frenchman, I gave myself an end-of-summer respite. Since I’m American, though, I paid the price of admission for vacation with low-grade, nagging guilt. C’est la vie.
I hope you found a way to getaway as well. Heavens know we’ve all needed a break.
I’m guessing your summer didn’t feel much like one, though. Even if you got creative and made the best of it, you couldn’t fully retreat from the profound energy drain of Covid, disturbing political climate, raging wildfires, and challenge of grappling with our collective traumas.
That’s not even considering your personal life and what you’ve been working through in your own mind, heart and body.
I know I’ve said it before, but this shit’s a lot. If you’re entering Fall feeling weary, leery and fear-y, you’re not alone. If you’re not feeling your usual post-Summer eagerness, and your tank’s running a little – or a lot – low, I’m send you a knowing, masked up “smize.”
Maybe you’re getting a hang of this weirdo world, though. Maybe you’re excited that, global pandemic or not, you know you’ll hear 24/7 Christmas music on the radio in about two weeks. I can’t feel you on that, but I do love a holiday baking show moment so I’m with you there.
Whether you’re running low on dopamine or feeling “I’ve got this,” this week’s letter is for you. It’s about you, actually. About how you’re doing, what you’re feeling, what’s on your heart and mind, and what you’re up to.
I’m genuinely curious and want to know more about you and your world. I’m curious about who you are and what you’re dreaming of these days. You are still dreaming, right?
So how are you doing? How is everything affecting you? What’s life like for you these days?
I love being curious. I don’t have to work hard at it. It doesn’t require a reaction or a solution. Curiosity just asks me to be present. To be here and to be with.
I’m geeking out on curiosity this week because we’re learning so much right now. It gets overwhelming, exhausting and discouraging. Life is complex and complicated AF so simple, effective and easy-to-reach-for tools are needed.
Hence, curiosity. It’s our doorway to learning about ourselves and each other, and it’s an act of caring and connection. It’s listening, paying attention and showing genuine interest.
Curiosity is responding not reacting. It’s high value in the classroom, meeting room and bedroom and works equally well to manage intense emotion, develop a skill, drive innovation, and create art. It’s good with couples, colleagues, communities, and kids. And us.
It sounds like “tell me more about that” and “what else is there?” and “I’d like to know more so I can help.” It says “I care about this; I care about you.”
Curiosity is courageous because it requires openness, flexibility and not knowing. It requires putting aside what we think we know, dropping our defenses and asking our inner protectors to stand down. It calls us to consider new perspectives to stand beside and to possibly replace our well-rehearsed and often outdated, inaccurate stories.
In that sense, it’s a must in our relationships. Those with ourselves and those with others. Genuine interest in, openness to and wonder about our loved one’s inner world (including our own) is a fast track to connection, conflict resolution and restored intimacy.
Curiosity is my go-to for understanding my clients’ worlds as well as a core skill I teach. Whether I’m guiding a couple through infidelity, coaching a client to build her business or counseling a man through his childhood trauma, I invite people to look inside themselves in a more curious, compassionate way to see what they find.
95% of my work is being curious. I’m in the curiosity business.
Whether you’re in pain, struggling with love, swimming in shame, or drowning in grief, I want to hear about it. If you’re flying high, loving life and head over heels, I’m here for that too.
I’m here to listen to your story and bear witness to your experience. I’m here to be curious about how and who you are.
We all want to be known. We need that. You need that. The people close to you need it.
This week, I invite you to be curious about yourself, others and what you care about. Try opening the door with a “how are you? or “what’s on your mind?” Or use my favorite from Janet, my BFF of thirty years…”how’s your heart?”
Start there and see what happens. Loving attention and curiosity will take it from there.
A curious cat,