“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” -Bryant H. McGill
The other day, as I walking to the activities center in my apartment community to write, I saw a team of men cutting down dead tree branches using truck-mounted lifts. They were tossing them into a wood chipper which shred each one in a matter of seconds.
I’m sure this is a common practice, but it was the first time I’d ever seen this, so I decided to sit on the sidewalk and watch, even though I was on a tight schedule.
I felt mesmerized by this mass-pruning, preparing the area surrounding me for new life; and in that moment, my interest trumped my need to get things done.
I used to do this all the time as a kid—see something fascinating and get lost in an audience of one, preparing an array of questions to launch at the next adult I encountered. Every day there was something new to learn, and accordingly, something to get excited about.
We now live in a world where information is far more easily accessible, but amassing knowledge through the web is not the same as opening ourselves up to discovery in the world. One is the intellectual pursuit of facts; the other is the natural consequence of presence and curiosity.
One requires us to be searching; the other only requires us to be open.
It’s all too easy to live our days with a tight grip on our schedules—thrusting ourselves from commitment to commitment and in the process, stifling possibilities for spontaneity and awe.
When we live our lives in the zone of doing, we miss out on the many details we only notice through the act of being.
We miss out on the tiny nuances of our environment changing around us. We miss out on the tiny gestures of kindness from the people we love. And we miss out on opportunities to see the world through the eyes of childlike wonder.
I have found that the most exciting form of learning is the kind that comes from experience. The beauty is that we don’t need to plan for this. We just need to live in the moment and see what we discover.
Photo by quinn.anya