curiosity cure

I am the girl who sits in the front row. I am the one who raises her hand, even interrupting the teacher to get my answer.

Yes, they will be impatient sometimes. But more often the teachers say “I’m glad you asked that question. If you thought of it, that means  other people thought of it too, but didn’t have the courage to ask.”

Believe me, I know I am providing a public service by asking the question. I can feel a wall of impatience and disapproval from the student body in the classes when I bother to break up the rhythm of the teacher’s presentation. I also know how people will come up to me after class and thank me privately.

I know.

I also know it’s who I am. I can’t not ask the question. It’s my mutant super power. And it’s often lonely in the front row.

This question-asking impulse doesn’t stop after I leave the classroom. I carry around this curiosity. My desire to poke the dark thing, or turn over the rock is not something I can turn off.

I’m always learning more, reading more books, listening to experts give talks on their expertise.

And this week, one of those books (Rising Strong by Brene Brown) named the pooch, my particular pooch:

“The brain’s chemistry changes when we become curious, helping us better learn and retain information.”

Yes! It is a public service! I have proof!

She goes on to say:  “But curiosity is uncomfortable because it involves uncertainty and vulnerability.”

That’s what is is. It takes courage to raise my hand, and admit I don’t know something. But that drive to know–to wonder–overrides the fear.

So this, this Weekly Wonder, is my current manifestation of the hand-raising habit. I have often wondered what I’m doing with this effort. Why do feel the need to write this every week? I do. It’s important to me, and I won’t give up on it. I started it seven years ago, like a blind worm grousing toward a shady destination.

I grew my list of readers, grateful for their indulgent consumption of my little art project. Even when they would reach out–thank you so much for reaching out!–to tell me they loved it.

But as Brene Brown explains it, curiosity is a basic function of humanity. And when we give up on curiosity, we lose the flavor of life and are poorer for it. It is a higher human need than I had recognized.

My wonder, and the sharing of it, give my readers a chance to remember their better selves.

My words, strung together in an email, gives perspective on our lives. When I write them, and you all read it, we see more than the little circumscribed box we grind away in. There is a wonder in the world.

This writing lifts our heads and broadens horizons, even if only a moment, and breathes fresh air into our thoughts.

Even more, it helps all of us to remember we are not alone.

This little project is valuable. It’s a small cure for the doldrums and the grind.

Wonder is worth it. You are worth it.


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