The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Albert Einstein
One absolute, fundamental characteristic of consciousness is curiosity. Gregge Tiffen
Curiosity, I discovered this week, is a powerful antidote to stress. That’s reason enough for its existence. Of course, in hindsight, my discovery seems obvious. Questioning almost always serves in some way. Yet, I don’t recall ever invoking curiosity as I did this week: as a conscious choice to move through and beyond a situation which I found myself overly stressed about.
In the midst of a jackhammer breaking up concrete outside my front door (a most unnatural sound here in the quiet of the Sangre de Cristo mountains), I found myself worrying about the operator (a valid concern – though he was most careful) and about whether the removal was a good idea and if he could create a good clean line where the existing concrete was to remain. Then, I piled on a few more concerns: would the pavers I selected work, would the workers show up, how much would it cost … and the list goes on.
After a short attempt without success to concentrate on something else, I realized that I needed to address my self-induced stress head on. I needed to choose differently. Enter curiosity, that innate sense that lives in consciousness. I invoked my belief that life is a series of events and experiments from which I learn. And, I simply decided to be curious with all of the questions.
Which ones could I answer now? Ah, those that were about me and about the stress: what’s the source, what do I need, what actions will serve me. The brief time reflecting restored my grounding, and from that stability, I was able to sort out what I have some measure of control over (you guessed it: ‘me’) and what I needed to trust (right again: everyone else and how it was going to turn out).
There’s a saying that “curiosity killed the cat”. Misplaced or idle curiosity perhaps doesn’t serve or can even work against us. But, for me, embracing curiosity proved to be an insightful and powerful antidote to an afternoon where stress wanted to take over for an extended stay. Remembering that I’m in charge of me, I ordered stress to leave with the gentleness that curiosity brought forward.
Stress flies away on the wings of curiosity.