The message I got from my brain yesterday (my post-flailing newly-descrambled charged-up brain) was as follows:

Replace worry.

To which I said, huh?

And then I got this:

Replace worry with curiosity.

Curiosity.

I like this so much.

And here’s why.

  • It’s easier to access elegant and unlikely solutions while wondering what might be possible. Instead of agonizing over the stuck and why the stuck is so stuck.
  • Worry drags me down. Curiosity lifts me up.
  • Curiosity brings my attention to the gaps and the spaces, instead of to the walls. This is exactly what happens in Shiva Nata.
  • Worry is clenched. Curiosity is receptive.
  • Invoking curiosity actively challenges me to think creatively, and to anticipate creative solutions.
  • It lets me give legitimacy to spending time and energy mulling over a problem or a challenge.
  • Curiosity is balanced: it’s where you aren’t ignoring the things that need attention, but you aren’t in the pain of them either.
  • Curiosity allows for unlimited options.

And I especially like this because I still get to be in a relationship with worry.

Normally when people say things like “just stop worrying about it” or “don’t worry so much”, I feel frustrated.

Because it’s not that simple. Definitely not for me. I can’t do it. I don’t know how. And it generally seems kind of violent.

Because the traditional ways of “DON’T WORRY!” tend to involve repressing or delegitimizing all the internal stuff that comes together to create anxiety.

It’s like fighting your monsters. Not recommended.

But when I bring in curiosity, I still get to interact with my small, scared, anxious parts. In fact, I get to interact with them even more.

Only now it’s in a way that’s receptive, non-judgmental, inquisitive, and caring. I’m not pushing the worry away. Just extracting its essence.

How I’m going to make use of this today.

1. With an unresolved conflict in my business.

I am going to try to be curious about this person’s motivation instead of worried about what it could mean.

Curious about perfect, simple solutions and where they might be hiding.

Curious about what I need to feel safe.

2. Preparing for my trip to Asheville.

Instead of going gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah about all the stuff that needs to be sorted for that …. curious.

I am curious about what systems and sequences will bring ease and a sense of order to this project.

That’s the question I will ask. And then I’ll write down everything that comes up.

3. Messing around with scheduling the second half of 2011.

Curious about where my time for me will be. Instead of anxious that it won’t happen.

Curious about the different ways a small Skabbatical could find its way in there. Instead of worrying about all the reasons this couldn’t ever work.

Curious about how I can deconstruct some of my programs and do them differently. Instead of trying to just make things fit.

And the main point.

This is not about not worrying. Some things in life are worrisome. They just are.

We still get to give legitimacy to everything that’s hard. We’re totally allowed to have worry. It’s part of being human.

And we get to be curious about what help us get a little breathing room. Moving from tension into possibility.

We get to be curious about perspective — where we’re standing in relation to the worry. So useful.

(And the advanced practice.)

As with most of my posts, this is being written on parallel tracks. There’s the surface teaching and then there’s the other good stuff, for people who are interested in going deeper.

Curious is one of the things we practice with monsters.

Curiosity is part of playing. It’s also a way of making space and expanding the canopy.

And — and this is important — curiosity is one of the fastest ways to exit the middle.

What else?

Play? Comment zen for today. In the giant blanket fort!

Play!

If you have worrisome things you’d like to be curious about, bring them here and we can have a practice space for wondering out loud about what is possible.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a practice. It takes time.

And we try to meet ourselves and our stuff with as much patience as we can muster.

We let people have their own experience. So we can be curious and ask each other questions, and still avoid unsolicited advice-giving in the blanket fort.

Kisses to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads!