There Can Always Be Curiosity

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Pink Dogwood, processed with PhotoToaster and Tangled FX

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. –  Maya Angelou

And since creativity is still the most effective way for me to access wonder, I choose it.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

I don’t go out into the back yard much, now that our Spring break visit with grand-puppy Bear is over. We used to get up early in the morning for Bear to do his business. I would be barely awake, hair all askew, with a shawl wrapped around me, while Bear sniffed his way across the yard and flower beds for that perfect place to make his deposit.

It was a wonderful way to start the morning. The dew was still fresh on the grass. The birds flitted peacefully around the feeder, accepting of my presence, as long as Bear was far away, barreling through the back bushes that line the fence.

I even saw the sun rise a few times.

I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk since Bear left, missing him and our daily ‘non-working’ life together – our early morning sun salutations, our daily walks on the Greenway, the sound of his collar tinkling as he followed me around the house, his warm presence at the foot of my bed each night. Since he left, I haven’t written much, nor picked up my camera to take a view on the new spring world in full blown action outside my porch.

I’ve been kind of bored and slow and sluggish. And completely uncreative. A most incongruous feeling, as spring takes flight in the Carolinas.

This morning, Easter morning, I stepped outside with my camera, after two weeks away from our backyard oasis. No furry companion this time, but, nevertheless, a long overdue visit.

The verbena Bear and I planted one sunny afternoon was going strong.

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The mint was ramping up for its invasive summer takeover mission.

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Our new pink dogwood tree, which Andrew had carefully nurtured throughout the hot late summer, was finally blooming.

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The peonies were on their last hurrah, but the irises were close to showing their faces.

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The rose buds were coming out, and the Japanese maple leaves were presenting their colors.

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Elizabeth Gilbert says that even when there is no passion, when boredom reigns, there can always be curiosity. Curiosity is the low bar, always something you can grab, even when passion seems to have left you. It’s the “tiny tap on the shoulder”, versus passion’s big tower of flame. Curiosity doesn’t take a lot of effort – just a slight turn of the head and a small response to what has caught your attention.

Like the action of grabbing the camera and walking outside your back door. So simple, but so important.

A simple, single step to come back in to wonder and creativity.

If you can take the slightest effort to respond to curiosity, it will eventually lead you back to passion. And that might just be the end of boredom.

2 thoughts on “There Can Always Be Curiosity

  1. Have you ever taken the Gallup “Strengthfinders” test? I did and I’m guessing you and I have some similar “strengths”. My second highest is “achiever” — which is defined as

    “Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day — workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to get you started on new tasks, new challenges. It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your work group. It is the theme that keeps you moving.”

    Every day starts at zero. It can be hell on creativity and a personal life — but corporations love it. Learning to adapt this — to allow yourself a day off (really off — a pajama day where you lay around reading books like “Outlander”, etc. topped by a good meal and a Cosmos) can do wonders. As does curiosity. And letting go of those expectations. But especially curiosity — particularly when it’s about something completely new.

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