Ripples #1088: Curious Minds
March 30, 2020
Wisdom isn’t about accumulating more facts, it’s about understanding big truths in a deeper way. -Melinda Gates, shared by Sr. Miriam in St. Louis, MO
Of course, life does not unfold according to our desires or even according to our beliefs. We are part of life unfolding and teaching us all the time.
-Michael Ketterhagen, shared by Kelsey in Fond du Lac, WI
We revealed last week the idea of our WE GOT THIS stickers to cultivate curious minds, open hearts, and calm spirits while we nurture our health. (Cool news: we’ve since distributed over 1,000 stickers and just ordered another batch! If you’d like a free sticker for yourself OR perhaps order some colleagues and loved ones, please visit this Google Doc for details: https://bit.ly/WGT-Doc)
I thought we’d spend the next few weeks unpacking these four Covid Coping strategies, and it makes sense to start with the first one: Curious Minds. My intention in leading with this one is to remind us that there are choices about how to respond to things even when we don’t have a choice about the thing happening. Leaning into these questions can help: How can I learn from this? Who do I want to be on the other side of this? Is it possible to grow through this even if I’m not pleased that I have to go through this?
I had a great exchange with someone last week who messaged me after watching one of the videos I whipped up to help talk us all through this weirdness. She wrote, “Thanks Paul! I hear and appreciate everything you’re saying – but I am struggling with the curious minds part. I don’t want to do this! It’s too big and too overwhelming. I am hanging in there but not liking it one bit.”
I fully agreed that this is indeed really big, and many of us are experiencing daily doses of overwhelm. I asked her to imagine a teacher on the first day of school thinking it would be a good idea to give the class an overview of everything they’d learn for the entire year. My thought is that would probably make you think or even scream something very similar to: “It’s too big and too overwhelming!” Instead of grappling with the whole big mess and how we’re going to get through this, an alternative might be to notice one thing you’ve done in the past couple of weeks that has helped you grow personally or professionally.
Another small way to help activate your curious mind is to pivot from judging people who are handling this differently than you are and instead get curious about what might cause someone to think, say, and do the things that seem at first glance to be irrational or unhelpful in some way.
As for the part about not liking this one bit, I shared that it sounded to me like a part of her is feeling fed up and frustrated with this whole mess. If there is a part of you that feels the same way, it might be useful to acknowledge loudly and plainly: YES! THIS IS INDEED YUCKY AND EXHAUSTING AND ANNOYING! It is like a vegetable that you don’t like one bit but is probably something you should eat at least once in a while. We don’t have to LIKE something to tolerate it and get through it and maybe even eventually get something good out of it.
The Ripples Guy
P.S. A few of us are reimagining April 1st as “All 4/1” to #ReplacePranksWithPeace. You can join our efforts online at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/639505516827070/