The Gift of Curiosity When Things Do Not Go as Planned

We have all been there. Planning something and expecting it to go, for the most part, as planned. Yet it doesn’t. This is a universal human experience. It is how we react when things are not going as planned that determines how we experience what is happening.

As John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”

Seeing through the lens of curiosity can allow for a positive shift in perspective and often generates surprising and effective outcomes.

It has been a privilege for me to work for so many years with homeless shelters, schools, treatment programs and community centers in the Baltimore area. They are places of healing and learning.They are also places where last minute things occur and plans can change quickly.

I recently prepared for two mindfulness workshops for a community center, one for children ages 5-8 and one for older children. I spent considerable time crafting two different workshops, selecting content and materials that I felt would successfully capture the attention of each age group.

The night before the program, I learned that there was going to be not two but only one combined workshop for both age groups.There was no time to re-craft the workshop. The next morning, when I arrived, I went to a place of curiosity, saying to myself, “Okay, this is what is happening. How might I make this work best?”

I chose to let go of my plans in favor of responding in the present moment. Taking a breath and holding the intention to work from presence, I began engaging the children, tuning into their reactions to see what was working and what wasn’t. Rather than being upset with the circumstances, I chose the perspective of curiosity, which gave me room to play with what was unfolding, then and there.

The latin root of the word curiosity is cura, which means “care.” When things do not go as planned, the idea of caring for the situation and for ourselves in the face of the situation, is a noble practice.  Curiosity allows us to release the negative energies of blame, frustration, disappointment, and think more clearly about how to move forward.

For me, curiosity has been a wonderful way to embrace whatever challenge is before me. It has helped me both in my work and in my personal life, allowing me to experience openness, playfulness and creativity in responding to events as they unfold.

How might you embrace curiosity when things do not go according to plan? I guarantee there will be plenty of opportunities to practice!

To what one breath can do,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Bloom Connolly, Founder

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