Plans are overrated, but I know what I’m making for dinner. ~ Melissa Monforti
As a recovering perfectionist, I’m very excited to announce my Word of the Year for 2018. It’s a departure from my recent, more overtly deep words of the year: Stay, Give, and Open. It may not seem like much, but it’s a word that, when I hear it, I get that mixed and twisted pleasure of eating a raw jalapeño. It hurts, but just a little, and when it’s over, I feel brave.
The word is CURIOUS.
What does that word feel like for you? Playful? Childlike? Hopeful?
For me, it’s bold. I’m not talking about the general state of being curious. Not wondering “who wrote this song?” or “what’s the best way to get home from here?” If your curiosity can be quenched by asking your phone for an answer, that’s not the kind of curious I mean.
I’m going for the big CURIOUS, (adj., eager to learn; strange, unusual.) The CURIOUS that doesn’t have any answer at all. The open-ended CURIOUS that might – no, certainly will – have you end up nowhere you thought to consider.
I’ve spent a lifetime taking careful, well-planned steps. Of course, life is life, and not all the plans I’ve made worked out as I intended, but rarely have I moved in any direction I wasn’t at least confident about.
Recently, I’ve had a great awakening, in part because of last year’s word of the year, STAY, that makes my old ways of cautious planning seem like a story from the Great Depression. By “staying with,” as opposed to “hiding from,” my innate inner wisdom emerged. That inner knowing has revealed all fear as what it is – fallacy. I trust that whatever happens, wherever the adventure leads, I will not only survive, but be thoroughly changed and enriched, and I welcome it all. I’m realizing the badass I’ve been all along.
So why not be curious?
However powerful my awakening, old habits die hard. Being a planner has many times saved the day. Luckily, careful planning is not a skill I want to lose altogether. I just don’t want my old habit to be driving the bus.
When I get that itch to fix things? Curious! I wonder what’s really wrong here? Oh, nothing? Great!
When I notice injustice, personal or not? Curious! Where does it hurt? Who is involved? What voices are not present? What are they saying from the margins? Is it my voice that’s not present? Hmmm…
When I am called to do something hard, scary, new? Curious! What messages am I receiving and from where? What is the state of my heart?
When I screw up? Curious! How does this experience serve awakening? Is it appropriate to make amends? How creatively can I weave this mistake into the tapestry of my being?
When I meet new, interesting people? Curious! Who are you? What brings you joy? Where have you been hurt? What of myself can serve us now?
I predict a superb bonus side to having an intention of CURIOUS. Besides perhaps loosening my past rigidities around right and wrong, I suspect embodying CURIOUS will draw me toward fabulous characters, stories, creative ideas, and yes, songs. Who can write who is not at heart a curious soul?
I’ve already started. I spent time researching other songwriters, and found a few cool websites and books. I include a shot of CURIOUS in my morning routine, sort of a charge – “don’t forget to be curious today!” I have a section of my calendar dedicated to CURIOUS.
The other part of the definition for curious is “strange, unusual,” as in “what a curious lyric she wrote into this song!” I’m ready for a year of surpises. What might happen if I actively seek out rare and bizarre experiences? Maybe I’ll start with shoes. Or neckties.
Where will it all lead? What insights might emerge? What might I have been missing? What strangeness awaits? I don’t know yet, but I’m curious to find out.
I’m curious about you! What are you curious about this year?
Shoot me a great idea of something to be curious about!
Please comment below.