The message I got from my brain yesterday (my post-flailing newly-descrambled charged-up brain) was as follows:
To which I said, huh?
And then I got this:
Replace worry with 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.
Play? Comment zen for today. In the giant blanket fort!
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!
This is brilliant. I think I can do this. At least, I can begin.
Incidentally, I rocked one of my monsters to sleep last night. She was the No-One-Will-Love-You-If-You-Don’t-Do-Everything-Right Monster, and oh, did she ever need sleep, the poor dear hypervigilant critter!
So many things for me to be curious about, but I think that here and now, I’ll focus my lens (magnifying glass! Habits Detective!) on my doctoral work. How can I make more progress? How can I feel more connected to the process? How can I uncover more fun and more flow?
(And here’s one answer that’s whispering in my consciousness: I need to write a new story. Not “once upon a time there was a woman who tried and tried and was always either struggling or hiding,” but instead…?)
.-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … Fifteen minutes- dammit =-.
Once again, you have gently hit the nail right on the head for me. (And I so often need a little clunk on the noggin.)
I always feel better when I’m thinking about solutions, even if the IF never happens (it usually doesn’t). But I never thought of replacing the worry with curiosity.
Just yesterday I was telling my husband that it helps me not worry (which I’ve been doing a lot) if I’m figuring out how I would deal with the awful things that might happen. He admonished me a little for thinking too much about crazy stuff but now I can wave Havi in his face. (Not literally. Although that would be interesting.)
Now I’m laughing about waving Havi around and neither worrying or curious! Thanks, Havi!
My husband and I have been poking around this idea lately.
I feel like most of my worries are mundane (and then I worry that I should be worrying about more interesting problems). Everyone worries about money, and time, and space, right? Ugh.
I needed to read this; thank you.
So now instead I’m renewing my curiosity around how I can put structures in place to support my needs around money, time, and space… I wonder how my needs are different from other people’s? What exactly is it that I need anyway? Hmm…
.-= Shannon´s last post … Elmo is an Aquarius =-.
I lurk here on your site each day absorbing these thoughts that seem composed for the anxiety lodged in my present existence. Each day I contemplate and at times compose a thank you…an ah-ha…a right-there-with-ya statement. Each day I skip the submit button. But today…today I must say thank you. As I read the post, I could feel the tension lessening. Of course…replace the worry with curiosity. And be intentionally curious…as I am about so much. The worry is going to be there, but being curious about it and all the possible answers at least gives me permission to take it apart to look at it without feeling guilty about thinking about my worry.
Thank you. I truly appreciate that you write this blog each day.
I *just* finished writing out my post-Shiva-Nata brain-dump about my wedding plans and the accompanying feeling like my heart is going to explode, and this so perfectly fits with where I got to — which is to PLAY!
What I love most about my relationship with my darling is how playful it is. We play together at home. So why was I feeling like this has to be BIG and SIGNIFICANT? Okay, because everything says it does, but that’s just “What will the neighbours think?” comparison bunkum, which I honestly don’t care about. If this event is going to be true to us, it should just be us playing.
Ahh, much easier. There’s nothing to worry about here, because there’s no “out there”. It’s us and our thing and people who already love us.
So the curiosity here can just be about what would make this fun. Just more questions about us and our hearts, rather than trying to cover all kinds of external requirements. (It sounds obvious, saying it, but it’s subtle and pernicious in my head.)
Thanks for a helpful extra angle.
Since reading this, Certain Things In My Head are peering at this idea, and, oddly? Tasting it. They’re curious about it; not convinced, but curious. They think it needs more tasting before they can decide if they approve.
In the meantime, they have found themselves a Very Large magnifying glass, and are having great fun taking turns with it, showing each other and me their GIANT EYEBALL!! through the glass.
One has a Sherlock Holmes style hat on, and they’ve all taken to calling me Watson.
As for the tasting? There seems to be some debate over whether it needs more salt or just added chocolate.
They have also revealed what they *actually* are most worried about, and so far, I’ve no idea what to do about it. So maybe that’s a curious place to start.
.-= Tori Deaux´s last post … Business Models WTF Is Mine- anyway =-.
Yes! You know, I’ve made this connection before but, somehow, completely lost sight of it recently. SO happy you wrote about it today. Thank you!
.-= Larisa´s last post … One Year =-.
My writing over the weekend was focused on how fretting doesn’t change the thing I think is worrisome, and it usually renders me low on the energy totem pole, so I don’t do anything about the thing either. Working it through in the writing I was realizing the lack of self trust wrapped up in the fretting.
And along comes curiosity! So much more fun. More focused on the faith that I am always moving forward, even if I find myself fretting about the pace, and being curious and playful about the thing…
Thanks a bunch.
.-= Christi´s last post … This Not That =-.
Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou. Just the idea of curiosity brings space, the luxury of time, some breathing, flexibility to look around even while inside the worry, exploring smelltastefeelvisionsound of the worry. Dare I say it brings the tiniest hint of humor? I’m seeing how being curious might be a Way In as well as one possible Way Out.
with love to all from one of the Beloved Lurkers playing with being a Commenter Mouse!
OMG. This is so timely.
I’m worried to death now because yesterday I had an accident where I rear-ended someones car because I wasn’t 100% focused in a traffic light. It was done relatively slowly so there is very little damage involved and it looked like no one was seriously hurt.
But I’m worried because I’ve heard rumors that in this great country people can dishonestly sue you for everything you got when you rear-end their car by claiming back issues and no one can know for sure if you really caused their back issues or not. Obviously I don’t have any control over whether the lady whose car I damaged is honest or greedy. I don’t have much control over whether a future jury will decide to give her all my money. So I worry.
I can be curious about how people choose to act in this situation and what is the insurance and justice process in California are really like. I can also be curious about myself – how much do I fight to protect my property and my concept of justice? how do I deal with an unexpected financial blow?
Also, I find it amusing how everyone’s reaction is “so timely”. Looks like we just worry about different things all the time.
“And — and this is important — curiosity is one of the fastest ways to exit the middle.”
I thought about this and realized that curiosity is the hallmark of the Beginner’s Mind, resulting *poof* in advanced study.
Curiosity as Worry’s Stand-in –or even Understudy.
You’re not taking away Worry’s legitimacy, you’re just giving her the night (or week, or whatever) off.
Then Curiosity is such a huge hit with audiences…and Worry IS a little tired from so many performances…Curiosity accepts the role full-time.
A very smooth transition. 🙂
As always, Havi, thank you for sharing your playful genius!
.-= Rupa´s last post … A Butterfly and a Bird =-.
“Curiosity as Worry’s Stand-In — or even Understudy.”
Hey, I love that! “Oh, no! Worry just collapsed backstage and can’t go on! What’ll we do?” “Curiosity knows the script backwards and forwards! Hey, Curiosity — what do you say? Are you ready for your big break? The show must go on!”
I’m also chuckling inside at the thought of Curiosity as Worry’s stunt double, taking on all the extra challenging scenes that Worry was never trained to handle…
.-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … Fifteen minutes- dammit =-.
This makes SO MUCH SENSE to me today. Lately I’ve been worried about not being able to make enough money with my business in order to quit my job and that I’ll be stuck there forever and ever and AHHH it’ll be awful!
Whew. Curiosity, why don’t you let Worry take some time backstage while you come out and do your thing? Rupa, I love that image!
I think curiosity will serve me much better than worry in this instance.
Thank you thank you thank you for this post!!
i’m getting freaked about about not having enough ‘time’ – thanks I’ll try and become more curious about this
.-= creativevoyage´s last post … Pantiles =-.
I’m writing the site content for Strategy 42 and have to poke my head in to say
AND… you can’t satisfy worry…
Even excellent worrying is still unsatisfying.
But curiosity is designed to be satisfied.
.-= Elissa´s last post … Wake up calls =-.
Curiosity is one of my favorite things. It inspires and drives a great deal of the photography that I do, if not all of it.
I admit I wasn’t entirely down with your ‘exiting the middle’ post, but it did one thing for me which has been very cool. I have a yoga video that I like that I’ve had for years and done off and on to varying degrees. It’s short and not overly difficult, so I always felt like I needed to move to longer, harder yoga. But I’m really not that flexible and I tend to put off doing longer sessions. That post gave me permission to do my beginner’s video over and over even though I know other poses, but to approach it with attention to detail, improving my postures, flexibility, and even a smidge of meditativeness. So thanks for that.
Curiosity, it’s a great default state.
.-= claire´s last post … What serves me =-.
Thank you for providing this insight. It really skews things in the favour of discovery, spacious discovery, rather than blindly fumbling in the dark. Fretting. Awesome perspective changer upper.
I am curious about when my 2-year-old is going to toilet train. And I am curious about how I am going to respect his pace. Which isn’t so easy for me, at this point, I’m kind of tired of the bodily fluids.
But I can be curious for both of us. Not worried. Not anxious, just curious.
And I am also pretty curious about how I am going to build systems to get the stuff done that I need to get done, including allowing said toilet training to unfold. Let’s see how it works out!
.-= Amber´s last post … A Date with Hannah =-.
Being curious instead of worried is also a way to detach a little bit and be more objective. You’re not as emotionally invested when you’re curious. I think that’s usually a good thing.
I’m curious to know whether my new web host is going to be nice and reliable. I had to switch from my old host – which is still very nice but maybe stretched a little thin these days, or something. They’re not as responsive as they used to be. My site has been down since Saturday. I’m curious to know whether my backups are going to work and whether my customers will still be there when I have everything up and running again. Curious about what I will learn from this experience.
Wow. I think Worry just sounded the alarms at the mere thought of being replaced. She’s hysterically yelling, “What would you do without ME?!?” I’m trying to hand her a martini to calm her the hell down, but it’s not really working. I think I need to call a negotiator.
I guess being curious implies a certain detachment from the outcome. Now that I type that, as someone who’s done enough reading on the folly of attachment, it’s odd how much I contradict myself. Oy to the Vey.
*continues making cocktails to the tune of shattering glass*
.-= Kaleena´s last post … Rabbiting =-.
Off the top of my head – things that could do with curiostiy – finding a new job by the summer, one that doesn’t suck; my relationship with money; my relationship with wanting; the part of me that is afraid of myself. I feel that this is one of your ideas that is going to perculate slowly until I realise that I’m looking at things differently – like the fox. (In certain situation I know find myself thinking – am I being the fox? am I hitting my head against the wall again and again and again?)
.-= Jane´s last post … Self-portrait- Lace and Shadow =-.
So Much Wise and Awesome
I heart reframing!!
Good one Hav-star!