Love Letter #58: For the Love of Curiosity

I’ve been thinking about curiosity this morning. 

It’s been a month long discussion in a Monday morning women’s group I participate in. This week we touched on the old idiom, “curiosity killed the cat”. It’s so often used as a warning that curiosity can get you into trouble. Maybe.  

But, did you know that’s only half the story? 

“Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back”, is the full saying. It’s curious to me why we only focus on the first half. I’m also curious about this cat and how it may serve as a metaphor for life. 

My curiosity about curiosity and this idiom brought me to the question, “am I the cat in this metaphor, and is part of me killed when I follow my curiosity”? Stay with me here…

Curiosity is a step into the unknown, and that changes who we are in different ways. 

Curiosity brings us to know something we didn’t before. That can be uncomfortable because it can challenge our current beliefs – so who we were up until that moment is no longer.

We are continually, through our curiosity, shedding old ideas and ways of being – killing off something about ourselves. So I wonder, is this where satisfaction brings us back…does this shifting through curiosity bring us a deeper self-understanding and closer to our true nature? 

Sometimes, curiosity can be exciting, other times a bit frightening. No matter what, curiosity is a leap into the unknown and this is always life changing even if only in small, seemingly innocuous ways.

Curiosity is also part of the cycle of change. When we go through change, we reach a place of dreaming and scheming about something new. We begin to imagine “what if”…and too often we turn our what if’s towards catastrophizing. 

But, if we recognize and claim our divine nature and the nature of a benevolent Universe, then it’s all for our highest good. So, what if…we err on the side of everything working out? And why not? Wouldn’t it be deeply satisfying to know and trust that life is always working out for me?

And, isn’t curiosity the genesis of evolution? 

Think about the invention of fire. The wheel. The pyramids. Electricity. The airplane. Isn’t curiosity the catalyst for expansion and growth? Imagine the curiosity when fire was discovered, then the satisfaction of its warmth, and now how it has changed human life. 

Curiosity is the artist with their colors and clay, the writer’s dance with language; the musician composing notes and words into harmonies, the cook mixing and tasting to her delight and the delight of others. All begin with curiosity…what if?

Aren’t we humans curious by nature? Imagination brings us new ideas, but curiosity is how we bring them to life, isn’t it? It takes curiosity to take the first step towards any idea. 

As children we are wildly curious, until someone or something changes that. I know for many women in our curiosity conversations, it wasn’t safe to be curious with the adults in their lives. I can relate to that too. Our curiosity may have been silenced by others who were themselves silenced…but that doesn’t make curiosity bad. 

And, we are immersed in a performative system that can scare the curiosity right out of us. We are rewarded for knowing and punished for not knowing. Consider how, collectively, we view good grades and the “right” answers in school. Failure is viewed as bad and the one who fails is deficient. So much of this carries into our workplaces.

This is such a narrow view of self-expression. We are all made of divine stuff so can any one of us ever be deficient? I think not. But in this performative system, there’s little room for this concept. 

If you ask me now what curiosity means to me, I’d say, “it means staying open to the messy, beautiful, wondrous, and ever expanding nature of life in all its forms and flavors, its colors and textures, and continually being amazed by it.”

Now, what I think about curiosity could change over time because I am, by nature, curious. So are you.

My invitation in today’s love letter is to get curious about your own curiosity.

How open are you to being curious about your own thoughts and beliefs? Are you willing to kill a cat – by that I mean letting old beliefs or versions of yourself die off – in order to step into greater expansion, possibilities and satisfaction with life?

What if…

I’d love to know.

With love,

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