Getting Curious

It is often said that curiosity killed the cat, but what fate awaits those with a lack of curiosity? As a therapist, my own curiosity is a powerful tool. When discussing cases with my supervisor, she often will tell me, "get curious". When I'm sitting with a client, it's essential that I pay attention not only to what they are saying, but how they are saying it, and what else is going on. If they tear up, if their facial expression changes, if their body language shifts, I will often ask "what just happened there?". It's an opportunity for us both to get curious. What did we touch on? What's going on with your body? Something shifted.

Outside the office, My curiosity tends to have more of an inward focus. If, as Plato said, the unexamined life is not worth living, I'm safe, at least for a while. It's become a large part of who I am, curious about myself, questioning my reactions to other people and environments.

I tend to surround myself with others who value this kind of curiosity. For me, it's one of the ways we care for one another.

How are you? What's important? What's hard? Who are you in this place, in this moment?

My wife's parents are good at this. They ask good questions, and listen to the answers. Perhaps it's due to their Quaker background. They know how to sit in a moment. I've always been grateful to them for that.

A dear friend from high school came for a visit last night. I hadn't seen him in 26 years. Within minutes we settled, we listened. We got curious about each other.

Where have you been? What have you experienced? How does that inform who you are now?

Curiosity is a gift, it's what keeps us moving forward, as species, as a community, as two old friends on the couch.