A lot of the early stages of a painting come from the question, "what would happen if...?" When this question gets ignited, it feels like a surge of life-force, of excitement, joy, and presence. It is the food that art thrives on, and without it, inspiration dries up. It seems endless curiosity is a prerequisite for being an artist - and for a creative life in general. But curiosity confers other gifts as well. It is incredible medicine. It is one of the hallmarks of trauma recovery, a sign of a regulated nervous system. It lifts depression and soothes anxiety. It is indeed a mental health adaptogen. And it leads to profound life satisfaction. So I have become a student of curiosity - letting it loosen the threads of my stories about being sick, letting it draw me out when anxiety wants to keep me small, and letting me see the magic of being alive even in a world that is deeply troubling. Elizabeth Gilbert advises that we follow our curiosity rather than our passion. It is a forgiving, steady, healing, life-giving energy that is deceptively potent. Becoming a curiosity devotee has changed my life. And painting has become my form of worship. But there are a million ways to invite curiosity into your life. And now, 2+ years into this pandemic, we need the medicine of curiosity more than ever. How can you use curiosity to renew and revitalize yourself? What would happen if you made cultivating curiosity a priority? Read Julia Cameron's "The Artist Way" or Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic" or just find tiny ways to wonder about our awe-inspiring world. Not only will you feel more alive, you will also inoculate yourself against the calcification of believing you know so much, and the oxidative stress of shrinking our sense of possibilities.
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