What is it to be Curious?

This post is part of a series on 12 Words. Curiosity is my word for January.

How do I start to explore the word for the month?

A logical place to start seems to be the dictionary.

The first dictionary definition of Curious that I came across surprised me, in its negative connotation: “Interested in what is not one’s own business.” That was enough to make me give up dictionaries as a starting place in this process.

Curiosity has always been a very positive concept for me.

There we other definitions of course, but I realized that what matters with the 12 Words is that I cultivate my own understanding of the word, and what it means to “be” that energy in the world.

So I thanked the dictionary and went on my way, committed to discovering my own personal meaning and value of Curiosity.

For me, Curiosity is opening myself to wonder. It is an invitation to clear decks and look at something in a completely new way.

It’s also with a positive expectation that I look at something with Curiosity. I’m expecting to find something surprising and wonderful.

Curiosity is about being alive and awake, so there’s a vitality about it, a new-ness of life.

But most of all it is about presence: attention and eager anticipation. It is welcoming of life.

What is Curiosity for you?

My 12 Words for 2018

There are a lot of people who find value in having a word (or words) to guide them throughout the year. They see it as a guiding light, or an intention, or a mantra to help them stay focused on what matters.

They discover their word by remaining open and listening to their inner guidance. It is something that comes to them, rather than something that they figure out.

In November, when I opened to the possibility of a word or words for 2018, twelve words flowed out from within. This has never happened to me, so I paid attention to it.

What came to me about this was that these words are qualities of being that I would like to embody. They are how I want to be in the world, the spirit or energy that I want to bring through my presence, or how I want to “show up,” during the next phase of my life.

As I explored this possibility, I felt as if a gift had been bestowed upon me. What a fun thing to explore in 2018!

Throughout November and December, my understanding of this idea deepened.

These are the questions I would hold as I explored each word:

  • What is it, for me?
  • How do I embody the energy of it?
  • How do I live it, in the world?
  • How will I keep it alive, in my life?

It was certainly convenient that there were 12 words, one for each month of the year.

The words changed during December. Four words “left” and four new ones came in.

They spread themselves into the months, and their order changed three times before January.

Here are the words and how they have now settled into the months (subject to change, of course):

  • January: Curiosity
  • February: Vitality
  • March: Eagerness
  • April: Receptivity
  • May: Engagement
  • June: Expansion
  • July: Flow
  • August: Intention
  • September: Generosity
  • October: Renewal
  • November: Whole-heartedness
  • December: Love

I’m really excited about this idea. It feels like a delightful adventure.

What is your word (or words) for 2018?

Enter

Last week, I ventured out to my outdoor altar, to refresh it for the Spring.

As I returned to the house, I picked up this crumpled, muddy bit of yellow tape. Curious about what it was, I opened it up and this is what I saw: just the one word, Enter.

This is unusual, because our house is in a woods, about 400 feet from the road, out in farm country. Who knows how far this traveled to get here, over the Winter, so I feel like I have been handed a gift.

I post it here as an inquiry for you: Where, or what, are you called to enter?

Sunset

Every day we have a sunset.

I think of sunsets as a kind of completion.

Sunsets are an opportunity and an invitation to pause and reflect about what is completing in our lives.

What is completing for you today?

Sunrise

As I took my morning walk, the Eastern sky lit up in a tapestry of yellow, orange, and blue.

Every day, we are blessed with a sunrise, a new awakening, that is calling us to new potential.

It occurred to me one day that sunrise is a thing worth celebrating and worth pausing and taking a breath.

It is an invitation, every day, to welcome what is awakening in our lives.

How can you celebrate what is awakening within you?

Waiting Again

Nature has been showing me a lot of examples of Waiting lately.

This wren house is waiting for the wrens to return from their warmer winter grounds.

The cycles of nature comfort me, and they invite me to relax into patience, and into waiting with equanimity.

These rhythms of nature reassure me that they is a time for every thing and that my life has momentum, and that I will benefit from moving with that momentum, rather than pushing on it.

How would you like to be with the Waiting, in your life?

 

The Rhythm of Gray

I sketched this view out our front window on a dense, gray day.

I find it hard to love gray. I prefer sunlight, no way around it.

But gray is an invitation. For me, it is an invitation to retreat, rest, reflect, and rejuvenate.

Gray days are “cave days”.

What is the invitation of a gray day, for you?

Totem

There’s a tree that stands midway up our driveway. It’s been dead for several years, but it is still beautiful, and still standing tall. It feels like a totem to me.

It is a sacred presence that welcomes us home.

What are the things that are a sacred presence in your life?

The Wild Places Beyond

This is the view outside of my office window. It is an east view, so I often see the rising sun from here.

This morning my eye was drawn to the hills beyond that fence.

I was asking myself: What are the Wild Places, towards that horizon, that are waiting to be explored?

I can feel the beginnings of a need to explore some new territories.

What are the wild places that are calling to you?

The Gift of Fog

I woke up to fog today. The earth is cold and the air is warm, and that is when we are socked in with fog.

Whenever I walk out into fog, I am reminded of so many times in my life when I feel like I am in a fog. These are times when the next step may be clear, but the whole path is not.

Fog also reminds me that it will lift eventually, and then I will be able to see the way ahead.

I feel like fog is an invitation to trust that the way will be revealed in good time, and that I am still on my path, even though I can’t see it.

What is foggy in your life, and what would it be like if you relaxed into it?

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