If there is one thing I have learned in the last year, it’s the value of being curiously engaged in life unfolding around you. But what does that mean? What does it look like to be “curiously engaged”? It’s the way we viewed the world as children and for me what that looks like is not making anything wrong and not taking anything for granted.
Since I was little, I loved to look at the old run-down farms and buildings scattered along the highways of Eastern Montana. Some will see these building and think “somebody should take those eyesores down”, “don’t those buildings look depressing” or perhaps “well, that’s the state of small farms in America for you, what a shame” and still many others, accustomed to this sight, take no notice at all. Yet those thoughts are built on a premise that something is wrong or shouldn’t be the way it is, and not to notice at all is akin to saying “nothing interesting there” or “well, that’s just the way the world is.” For me, looking at these buildings is like turning on my own silent film projector: I imagine who lived there and when and what they looked like and why they left and where they went – and let me tell you, when you’re driving 200+ miles, being curious and having an active imagination makes a big difference in the enjoyability of the drive.
I mention all this because I believe life is the same way. Being curious about the world around us, without passing judgement, may not alter the length of our lives and it may do little to change our immediate circumstances but I find it keeps life interesting and it has the potential for opening our eyes to new territory. Food for thought. Observe something, or someone, you’ve previously taken for granted: a homeless person on the street, your neighborhood, even your own loved ones – notice something new. Also take note of your thoughts (especially thoughts that carry a judgement). What new things can you discover about this person or thing that you are sure you already know very well?