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Curiosity Killed The Catastrophe

Curiosity Killed The Catastrophe



My first, post-prison, mandated drug counselor was a seven foot tall man who wore sandals without socks and spoke to me in the third person.

He asked about Meg’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

When I cried exhausted, existential tears of angst, he asked what was hurting Meg’s heart.

The unprofessionalism of bare toenails in a therapeutic setting, these unending blocks of additional wasted time away from my son, I didn’t say.

I was reassigned to Sybil Trelawney, the divination teacher from Harry Potter. She was short with thick glasses and wore a legit chenille throw with a hole cut out for her head, the fringe brushing the ground around her Birkenstocks as she led me to the bathroom to watch me pee in a cup.

Her tiny office was a dark, hot mess of dander and dust. Three lamps with silk boudoir shades illuminated her shadow-box collection of tiny sleeping kittens made of rabbit fur. A real toy poodle slept at her feet. She launched immediately into the indigo of my aura and her failing immune system. She detailed the efficacy of her restorative yoga class and told me she would probably need to retire.

When I brought this scenario to my own therapist, the one I had actually chosen because of her brilliance to keep me grounded and sane, she said a thing so powerful it became part of my foundation.

She told me to take on a journalistic perspective.

She told me to imagine that I had gotten a press-pass into prison, and now, into this weird world. She suggested I take objective notes, gather data. Like a journalist.

So instead of the deafening noise of value judgements obscuring the facts — Unfair! Ugly! Poor me! I’m better than this! Stupid me! I deserve this! – there were just statements.

I went to prison.

Now I’m out.

I have to satisfy some requirements.

Those requirements might not be enjoyable or useful.

They might even be annoying.

I saw a chenille throw like that at TJ Maxx the other day.

This won’t be forever.

The cool thing about gathering data without judgement is (besides being able to replace exclamation points with periods) that it clears the heavy emotions that come after a statement. The remaining space is quiet, uncharged. For a journalist, facts lead to curiosity, to questions. If there is nothing I can do to change this situation right now:

What can I do to survive this?

How can I thrive despite this?

Is it possible to replace hubris with compassion?

From judgement, through curiosity, to grace.

Shifting my perspective shifted the whole experience. It didn’t make Ms. Trelawny a better counselor, or liberate the justice system from its self-perpetuating blindness. But it did give me the space to answer some of those questions with unexpected solutions, to weather the uncertainty of the situation with less intensity.

I got clear on my expectations rather than irate about my entitlement.

I didn’t have to be such a spaz about it.  And that changed everything.

Uncertainty masquerades as catastrophe.

Catastrophe is unmasked by curiosity.

There are so many non-negotiable things in life that, as much as we want to, we can’t get around. We have go through. Everything from loss, illness, or heartbreak, to traffic, scheduling conflicts, saying no, or taking the leap into yes.

You don’t get choices about many things, but you do get to choose how you respond.

You can continue to show up to the practice of embodiment, self care, and an internal storyline that is fact-based and curious, rather than judgemental and victimizing.

At the very least, you will find levity.

At the very best, you will find levity, hilarity, tenacity, strength you didn’t know you had, a great story, and a more polychromatic set of possibilities.

What’s going on for you in your life, business or art that feels insurmountable or impassable? Would a shift of perspective be helpful? What gets you through? Are you taking the kind of care of yourself that you need, in order to maintain the focus and stamina your good work requires?

Polychromatic possibilities!

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Free Your Mind. Your Ass Will Follow.

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12 Responses to Curiosity Killed The Catastrophe

  1. Mike Richeson says:

    This was brilliant, Meg. I love knowing rad people.

  2. The title alone is awesome enough to get me through the rest of the week. And yes, I can totally relate to the ‘get curious’ journalistic role-playing process. One of the jokes I often use to diffuse a difficult situation is to pretend I’ve been sent here to this planet to make observations about humans. As if I’m an alien anthropologist on a mission to better understand this species and its culture. It always makes me feel lighter about the drama.

    • mworden says:

      We are the weirdest tribe of aliens. Sometimes, I actually wish my mothership would show up and take me back to my home planet. Oh, humans.

  3. Natasha Wright says:

    Love this Meg, Mindfulness and being the observer in your life. Love Tea Silvestre’s response too. So true Tea – I like to pretend that I’m a shrink to analyse the situation from a removed perspective – it helps what ever we choose to do to take a step back and look at it without emotion just long enough to decide on the best course of action at that time. Acknowledge the emotion when it is safe to do so.

    • mworden says:

      Yes yes yes! It’s really good practice to remember that we have feelings and are not our feelings. Access to that higher self, that observer, is such a big deal. Thank you so much for being here and commenting, Natasha.

  4. Sas says:

    Brilliant. You are heart balm in a person.

  5. “I didn’t have to be such a spaz about it.” Exactly I say to the mirror. Thank you.

  6. Laura says:

    I like the questions you offer. I am sharing your blog with my internet support group. This is an interesting twist, a great way to work things out in a practice we call ‘medium chill.’ I also think the idea of inability to change factors, people, etc BUT the power to change the way oneself reacts is an amazing, life changing realization. And it works! Thanks!
    ps. found you thru Renegade Mothering.

    • mworden says:

      Hi Laura! Welcome! And thank you so much for sharing. Love “medium chill”. Looking forward to more from you. xm

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