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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Gift of...


Re-examine all that you have been told...dismiss that which insults your soul.”
Walt Whitman

Curiosity is a mammalian trait. My little dog Liza pokes her nose into everything. Her curiosity drives her, and her sense of smell, a thousand times more sensitive than mine, informs her. I only wish she could speak so I would know what information she derives from a pile of wet leaves at the curb. Barley, the hound that comes to my house most days, will stand at the base of a tree and watch squirrel antics for hours. When she's inside, she stands at the window to watch them. I have it in mind that she wonders how on earth they run up and down trees, when she is stuck on the ground.

We humans are curious beings, too. Curious in our ways, and in our minds. We wonder about all sorts of things, but mostly about one another. Walt Whitman was an advocate for having a curious mind. He said, for instance, “Be curious, not judgmental.” I haven't mastered that judgmental part yet! Being curious involves informing oneself first hand rather than accepting as gospel the truths of another. It involves pulling apart our own foundation of beliefs and dissecting them for value. Some of the things I was taught as a child, when observed close up, are insults to my soul. All the “isms” for instance—racism, sexism, anti-antisemitism, nationalism, communism—all of which, had I continued to subscribe to my childhood teachings, would have made for a very fearful life. Fear is the one emotion that can cancel our curiosity.

e.e. cummings wrote, “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” Becoming strong in one's sense of self is foundational for a lifetime of curiosity. I can't imagine living any other way.

                                                           In the Spirit,


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