Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stay Curious

The words came to me from the television and stuck to me like the bubble gum my daughter had been making.
Stay curious.
I spent this afternoon at my brother and sister-in-law's house, and watched my one-year-old nephew exist in a constant state of curiousness. He wanted to know what was going on everywhere, and be a part of everything. He crawled over to the end table and pulling himself up, he was curious as to what had been placed upon the table since he had last been there. He picked up play-doh his sister had been playing with and put it to his mouth, curious as to the taste. He was curious about the wheels on the bottom of a toy and turned it over to spin them with his hand, round and round. Then he was under the diningroom table, trying to find his way around. It's amazing to watch children being naturally curious.
When did we stop being curious?
I put the question out on Facebook and the answers that came back were good. Curiousity stops when we are told to sit still in school and when we are told to stop asking so many questions by adults who don't have the answers. I guess we learn that it's not socially acceptable and a bit annoying to those around us. We learn, we conform, we grow up. We fit in, but we stop being curious.
Maybe curiousity stops when we reach that age when we think we have all of the answers (wouldn't it be great if we outgrew that stage instead?). We know what we like and what we don't like. Everything has been decided.
I remember visiting Las Vegas with a friend a couple of years ago and he wanted to show me the fountains at the Bellagio hotel. We were standing just inside the hotel, and my friend wanted me to go outside with him to watch the show. It was a bit chilly so I said I preferred to watch the fountain show from inside. He insisted we go outside so I eventually gave in and followed him. That fountain show was one of the most amazing moments of that trip and would not have been the same experience if I had watched from inside. We danced together to the music, right there on the sidewalk in front of the fountains, with not a care in the world for that moment. He had pushed me to be curious.
What does it mean to be curious?
Obviously we can't go back to our childhood (now wouldn't that be amazing!) but we can do some things to foster more of a curious existence. We can begin by challenging ourselves in those things we assume we know. What if we tried something new to eat that we were sure we wouldn't enjoy? What if we visited a place we never thought of going to or picked up a book completely different from what we usually read and become curious about what it's all about? Is there something you always wondered about or were interested in but it was never a convenient time or very practical to persue? Be curious! Start challenging the status quo.
For me, being curious will mean I will try to be more open to new people, new ideas and new adventures. I will be conscious to not make assumptions based on past experiences and I will endeavor to not make judgements about things so quickly. I want to question and challenge everything now.
What about you? What can you do to be more curious?
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up." ~Picasso

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mr. Cohen

The first time I heard about Leonard Cohen, I was in university - believe it or not, he was a part of the curriculum of my first university course on contemporary Canada. A Canadian legend, my professor explained how Mr. Cohen was also known to be quite the "ladies man" and how, on a flight to one of his homes in the Greek islands, a flight attendant he had become chatty with, had decided to leave with him by the end of the flight.
Leonard Cohen is known for his poetry and song, but what made me fall in love with him was the way in which he tells a story. There's something magical about him, I of course not being the first (or last) woman to see that in him.
A little while ago I came across this video from George Stroumboulopoulos' site on Mr. Cohen and thought I'd share the link here. Be inspired by the story he tells and don't be surprised if you too fall in love. Click here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Start Your Journey

Dare to live. Start your journey by walking down that road (you know the one), if only because it feels right. Period. Begin because you can't not begin. Something is driving you to go.

There have been a few distinct paths I have taken throughout my life - the last couple have been conscious choices (always good to be awake when making life-defining changes!). What is most importat to me is that I am on the path I am supposed to be on. And in fact, my path may never make me millions of dollars and I may not even succeed in what I hope to accomplish, but that's okay. I started some things I'm passionate about, I took the chance and did something. That's what life is all about for me and I am fueled by a desire to live life to the fullest, go after what I want, live large and have fun! I've decided I'm going to dare to live. Will you?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's the Good?

Yesterday at work, I got a call from my doctor. He was calling to report on the results of some tests I had done a couple of weeks ago at my annual physical examination. It is the first time he has ever called me. Doctors only call if there is something wrong.

Thankfully, it wasn't really bad news, there was a bit of concern over one of the tests and I will have to get checked out again next spring. But still, it freaked me out a little. I've always been really healthy, so I didn't know what to do with this.

I hung up the phone and sat and stared at my computer. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. Then I told myself that everything was going to be just fine. I couldn't do anything until the spring anyway, so there was no use in worrying. I breathed. I told a friend. I called my mom, but she wasn't home. I worried again, then felt okay. I panicked for a bit, then settled. I went for a walk. I talked it out. And I asked myself, "What's the good?"

That was the turning point.

You see, in the midst of bad news, or what looks to be a bad situation, there is usually a good side to it.. usually. I mean, on any given day I have the opportunity to look at quite a few things in either a positive or a negative light- every day!

So the good- there is actually so much good in this. The good is that it wasn't really bad news, it could have been so much worse. And it sort of gave me a kick in the pants to remember again not to take life for granted. Dreams are for persuing and life is for living to the max. I remembered how much I wanted to travel with my daughter and experience things with her. This was all good.

The other good thing is that life seems to be teaching me lately that I can't control everything, so the best way to deal with uncertainty is to make room for it and be okay with it. I realized I was being taught this lesson again and know that when I remember to make room for uncertainty, it brings a feeling of peace and contentment.

So what about you? Finding the good can apply to so many situations- job loss, break down of a relationship and so many others. In your situation, right here, right now.. what's the good?