I wanted to do something fresh for the year 2017. I decided to pick a word to focus on, to live into and frame my life around. I can’t take credit for the idea. I read it somewhere and it intrigued me.
On January 2017, I chose the word “curious”. Just the sound of it made my optimism perk up. I was inquisitive about what discoveries I’d make. It felt good and new to look into 2017 through the lens of a curious explorer.
I have to say the experiment started out well. From the start I dissected things around me and forced curiosity into the equation. I began questioning, “What if I…”? What if I decided to go back to school? What if I chose to have a sunny disposition in the winter? What if I decided to not make dinner for a month? What if I confronted the person who disrespected me? What if I dedicated myself to a new spiritual practice? I just kept formulating new ideas or things to try. I was determined to learn.
Consequently, I tried new recipes with food I never knew about, attempted yoga and yoga poses that seemed gravitationally impossible (and they were), researched history and read about people who live and think differently than I do. The year started out with promise. And, as with all new habits, dedication began to wane.
So I revisited my original reason for the word experiment in order to re-energize my dedication. Back in January, I wrote the word, “curious”, three times on a piece of paper and taped it on the wall in front of my desk. I wanted to gain new perspectives on life, to shake up the status quo and to develop a spirit of exploration. I wanted to be more inspired. Being curious took more energy than I expected. I’ll be honest it did not go as I thought. Trying new things and learning new information can be interesting and even entertaining but it didn’t sustain anything new inside me.
That’s when things shifted. I recognized I wasn’t growing. I decided to ask bigger and broader questions. Questions that made me consider different outcomes, responses or life changing revelations. I let curiosity move me deeper. What would happen inside me if I committed to a new spiritual practice? What would I learn about myself and God? How would that shape my spiritual life? What would change if I decided to adjust my winter attitude? Would I have more energy? Would I experience a lite-ness during winter that I normally miss? I was moving from curiosity to wonder. This changed everything.
I became hungry for more. I shifted from gathering information to wondering how possibility can bring sustainable change:
Why is beauty transforming me? What causes my heart to pause with amazement? What is life giving and fluid for my heart?
The process proved to be slow. Wondering goes deeper than merely being inquisitive. It moves the concept of possibility from an idea to a quest. It was a good start to begin my journey. Curiosity gave way to wonder to awe, to desire and longing. My soul was opening and yearning for connection, inspiration and love.
Wonder is a road map leading to God.
Wonder grows wisdom.
So here I’m in the 4th quarter of 2017. This word experiment has been enriching and difficult. I’ve intentionally exposed myself to new thoughts. I’ve had to confront my undisciplined self. I’ve discovered something deeper and more intriguing in this process. Wonder? I’m more curious than ever. I hope you are as well.
Randi Perez Helm has found that when she writes what matters to her most she makes new friends. People want to connect through love and encouragement. Randi is happy to try to make that happen through her work as a writer, ministry coach or friend. (Randi’s blog’s about everyday things at www.randiperezhelm.wordpress.com.)