I’ve been focused on two concepts for the past several weeks and today as I did my morning pages, I found myself writing about what a difference this focus has made.
Curiosity, not judgment.
I’ve had a longstanding, automatic habit of feeling discomfort or dissatisfaction about some area of my life and immediately jumping to judging myself for feeling that way. Then my mind dives into the past and starts finding evidence for all the ways I’ve made poor choices to get me to where I am today. So not helpful.
Over the past several years (particularly since going through coach training with Martha Beck), I’ve learned more and more how just getting really curious about what’s going on for me is WAY more effective than judging it.
When I judge myself (or some part of my life), I create a war. The judging voice says, “How could you have created this situation? What were you thinking?” And another part of me shouts back, “Hey! Stop judging me! I hate you!“
Curiosity shifts that. Curiosity is neutral. Actually — curiosity is playful.
I love the curiosity my cat exhibits on a daily basis. It’s so much a part of him. He’s curious about his surroundings, checking them out literally every day as though they are completely new to him, even though he never leaves the same 900 or so square feet. Hey, what’s in this corner over here? Holy field mouse, it’s a dust bunny! How did this get here? How fun is this? I’m playing with it, now!
I like to take that kind of playful curiosity and apply it to the places I’m feeling stuck. Hmm … what’s going on here? What’s really going on here? Is this situation really like that one ten years ago? Or am I actually a different person than I was then, who has a larger range of choices? Hmm …
And so on. Curiosity takes the charge out of judgment and allows me to breathe, reframe, and see all my options.
The second thing I’m focused on lately is decluttering.
I have a deep, deep fear of loss of any kind. And I tend to get attached to objects, very attached. So for the past few weeks, I’ve committed to putting a bag of stuff together to donate every Sunday. I drop it into a donation box on my way to the grocery on Sunday mornings.
This has felt so good. I started small with this — one or two items — and it felt so amazing to let go of things that I’ve worked my way up to lots and lots of stuff.
My only rule has been that if I’m really hesitant to let go of something, I’m not yet ready to let go of it.
Frequently, what I’m not ready to let go of one week, I’m ready to let go of the next week. Fascinating, right? I can let go more quickly by not forcing myself to let go. Good to know!
And that’s it for today. Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend full of curiosity and play.
Speaking of which, I have a guest blog post on Jenna Avery’s wonderful site this week, about how I’m learning to finish my novel drafts, after years of getting stuck, and how awareness and curiosity figured into that process. If you struggle to finish any project, I hope you’ll head over and take a look!