March is unpredictable. It’s a month of change in nature, when Mother Nature throws us curve balls. We may be savoring the sweet smell of cherry blossoms one day and shoveling snow the next. Such rapid changes can push and pull us in a lot of different directions mentally, emotionally and physically.
We can let the unpredictability of this month frustrate us, or we can choose to meet each day with a sense of CURIOSITY.
As the Northern winter twists and turns its way into spring, it’s a perfect time to practice Shoshin, “beginner’s mind.” Our character strength of curiosity can help us get there by putting us in a frame of mind that can let go of old patterns and expectations. By wondering and asking questions, we open ourselves to new perspectives.
Children do this naturally because they are constantly experiencing life anew, without the expectations based on how things have happened in the past. So how can we cultivate curiosity in this month of change and unpredictability?
Instead of immediately reacting to what’s happening around us, allowing ourselves to be curious about why something is the way it is – from the shifting weather to the shifting moods of coworkers – opens us to new ways of seeing the world. Likewise, approaching our own emotions with curiosity can help us put the brakes on a negative spiral of frustration or anger, giving us the opportunity to shift and take another path. Indulging our curiosity with research can further broaden our knowledge and understanding.
In these ways, curiosity helps us continue to grow as adult people. It’s the mental and emotional equivalent of taking a drink from the fountain of youth. But none of this happens unless we can hit pause on our knee-jerk reactions and give ourselves the mindful space to be curious.
So take advantage of this ever-changing season to check your automatic reactions and instead approach situations with curiosity. How do the trees know it’s time to push out little buds, even if it’s cold? What made the daffodils decide it’s time to come up? What causes a freak snowstorm? How does water-repellent fabric work? Why does gusting wind make people act kind of crazy? Does switching to daylight savings time give people a bit of jet lag?
Yes, March is the perfect month to cultivate a beginner’s mind and stoke your sense of curiosity. Now I have a bunch of things to look up…