When January 1st rolls around, it can be easy to make grand resolutions for the new year. While I don’t do so well with such things, I have found that goal setting helps me to live my life with intentionality. Without it I’m swept along by the urgent and never have space for the important things that will add value to my life and the lives of those around me.
As I enter 2016, I’ve been greatly inspired by Issue 27 of Uppercase magazine. My favorite article in this issue is The School of Wonder: Why We Need to Keep Feeding Our Curiosity by Christina Crook. Crook makes the case for continually feeding the curiosity we each have, arguing that many adults have exchanged the pursuit of wonder for a life dictated by the urgent. How true this is! Crook says: “Many of us know the thing we ought to do, but don’t do it. We feel the pull of our curiosities and the quiet call of wonder, but like with much of life the urgent wins out.” Indeed this often becomes an either/or situation: “I can try to learn __________, or I can keep responding to what I already know.” But pursuing the “quiet call of wonder”, as Crook calls it, is not an impossible goal. It simply requires deliberate planning and intentional living so we are not driven by the urgent.
It occurs to me as I meditate on this idea that feeding my curiosity needs to be my deliberate and intentional goal.
Where does your curiosity lie? As I’ve asked myself this same question, I certainly feel the tension between indulging and exploring my curiosities and being “practical”, dealing with the urgent. But I know in my heart that following the pull of curiosity is incredibly important and I need to make space for it, even prioritize it. Even now I’m wrestling to delve into a new realm of embroidery and mixed media where I know there will be a lot of trial and error and I won’t feel especially “productive”, yet I believe this is a critical step for the direction my art needs to take in 2016. I need to be curious about techniques I’ve wanted to try, even if I botch the work initially. I need to experiment with various media that wouldn’t normally be paired together and just see what happens. And I need to be willing to learn something new without being afraid of failing or “wasting time”. I need to make my work more about the process if I want to remember what I value, remember why I started doing this work in the first place, remember who I’m serving, and truly have success as an artist.
Can you relate to these sentiments? Where are you being challenged with this tension between the urgent and the important in your life? It’s certainly not only limited to art, but can be found in all areas of creative discovery, innovation and learning. How can you create space to be curious and make time to wonder and discover? For me, I believe this needs to be my number one goal for 2016. I don’t want to miss the quiet call of wonder, but I know I will if I’m not intentional about making time and space for such discoveries. I can’t wait to see what I learn and where it takes me.