Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.
I don’t have much to write about this week. Instead, I decided to let quotes speak for me instead.
Lin Yutang is a Chinese-born writer and philosopher whose work speaks to me deeply. I read The Importance of Living early in my recovery journey and experienced a life-changing moment that continues to positively influence my life now.
This week, all of us in the system have been reflecting on the word “Curiosity”.
It’s come up in a lot of conversations and flashbacks.
And it is the one-word answer to many of the recent guest comments or questions.
So what does this photo collage mean?
I am insatiably curious about everything even if that curiosity does not show in my facial expression or body language. Answers are useful, but not always good at satisfying my curiosity.
You know the expression “curiosity killed the cat”? This got me so scared I stopped letting my curiosity lead me on adventures for many years. I felt like the cat with a mark on her back. Soon as I let my curiosity out, I’d be “killed” in some way – i.e. brushed off, stopped, blocked – and unable to learn.
I prefer the expression “curiosity sparked my imagination” and “imagination flew me out of the box”. The final part? “Discovery led me to my joy”
Yup. That’s it. That is what the photo collage means –
live, think, and learn as you discover different avenues to love, peace, and joy.
Curiosity and Writing
Curiosity keeps me at the blank screen or notebook, typing out words and writing down phrases or sketching doodles until my imagination takes over. The first draft never looks like the finished one. Out of 1000 words, I make keep 3 or 4 words/phrases and start again until it feels right. By the third draft, most of the content is there to be polished (aka editing and proofreading).
My routine is not consistent though. As much as I love structure, I also require flexibility in my routines. So I have time blocked off every week to write drafts and generate ideas for this blog and my aromatherapy work. Sometimes I write or type. Other times I sketch or listen so music while reading about related topics. When I can’t sleep, it’s often because different alters are busy writing drafts in my head.
That is true – for me not all of my writing is done in the physical world because not all of my alters can use our physical body for writing.
But…And this is a BIG BUT…I also write as part of my day job and send email or text to keep in touch with friends and family. That requires writing too.
No matter what anyone says, any and all writing you do counts as learning. The more you write, the more you improve. The more you read/watch/listen to learn about topics of interest, the more inspiration you have for writing.
If you are like me, then writing is a pleasure and a tool to help me share what I learn with others. If not, writing fulfills another purpose in your life. Whatever writing does for you, I hope it also brings you joy.
And why is the text not in a logical order?
Right…logical order. I am illogical at the best of times. Honest. If I ever had to share my learning process with you, I’d confuse even myself.
Way back in elementary school, I had trouble following instructions. Straight lines became slanted and wiggly even using rulers. I liked to do my class assignments and take tests backwards – I mean start at the end and work my way to the beginning of the test. Once in a while, I’d start with the questions in the middle instead.
Back then, all I could tell my teachers is “this feels right to me” or “it just makes sense”.
Now, though, I can tell you that starting in the middle or at the end eased my fear and anxiety of the unknown. I could focus on finishing the assignment, quiz, or test on time because I knew how many questions there were and could estimate how long I needed to finish on time.
Plus, I was curious about all the other questions. It didn’t make sense (to me at least) to leave the questions I read unanswered and start from the beginning after I just spent time reading through it all.
As I got older, frustration settled deep inside me. I asked questions and was told the standard answers. But the standard answers didn’t satisfy my curiosity. So I did what the teachers told me to do…think outside the box. The answers I came up with didn’t make sense or were not what they wanted to hear…so back inside the box I went. Again.
Until I was old enough to learn, explore, get answers and remember not to share them with anyone else…I mean who wants to constantly be made fun of, insulted, or told they are wrong because the answers contradict or open up avenues outside the standard and “correct” paths we’re taught to follow?
To Sum It Up
I’ve been getting a lot of questions and comments about where I get my information, how I learn all of this, if I have tips for aspiring or beginner writers, etc. or survivors starting their journeys.
And as much as I want to give you something concrete:
a) I hate giving advice and will not do so unless backed into a corner
b) All I can and will do is share stories about what inspires me or others I consider role models to keep moving forward to live and thrive on our own terms
Curiosity is what makes the wheels in my mind churn. It connects Spirit with Mind and Body in unexpected ways.
My counselors teach me how to help myself by sharing knowledge, tools, and resources. Then I follow up on my own through self-study or self-learning and hands-on experience (i.e. mistakes, experiences).
You don’t have to be book smart or street smart; a genius or savant; talented or special in any way to learn, explore or live like this.
You do have to be curious, inspired, willing to change, open to discovery, and able to cope with the challenges blocking your path outside the box.
No matter what you choose or how you go about it, please remember I am silently cheering you on wherever we are.
Another LinkedIn find, and one that I want to share ASAP: the CEO of a communications company talks about his experiences and struggles with mental illness here
I listened to his video and could only say “thank you” as a comment on his post. It’s touching and profound. But more important, he shares a message of hope and support for everyone with mental illness.
It’s my first time, so please bear with me: #StopTheStigma is the hasthag going around.
This video offers insight, not just for graduating seniors, but also anyone going through a life/career/job/personal transition. I found it on LinkedIn, and Melinda Gates discusses how she feels about having two kids graduate this year too.