Restless Curiosity

Tarantula Nebula
Tarantula Nebula

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” ~ Albert Einstein

“As children, our imaginations are vibrant, and our hearts are open. We believe that the bad guy always loses and that the tooth fairy sneaks into our rooms at night to put money under our pillow. Everything amazes us, and we think everything is possible. We continuously experience life with a sense of newness and unbridled curiosity.” ~ Yehuda Berg

For the last week or so I’ve been getting ready for a new semester, while at the same time doing a long overdue clearing, and reorganizing of my office. I thought I’d feel better getting these tasks done, but I don’t. I feel anxious and restless as evidenced by the fact that I’m having a difficult time meditating, not able to concentrate on my Tai Chi, and on top of it all, reading at night has become a chore. All of this is not like me at all. Finally this morning I understood what’s going on. It’s because I’m not making time to write. My mind is filled with all kinds of ideas for the projects I’m working on, but I haven’t taken the time to put them into the computer. The only writing I’ve done is to keep up with these weekly blog posts.

This break in my creative expression has caused a great deal of tension between what needs to be done, and what I long to be doing. The tension is getting so bad that I’m feeling shaky, muddled, and irritated.

My sister and I were talking on the phone about this very thing the other day – we talk almost every day – and she was saying that her back has been bothering her, she’s having trouble sleeping, and her job has become extremely boring. The reason she is experiencing these irritations is because she’s planning a new venture but there have been irritating little things holding up the process. However, instead of waiting for the perfect time to get started, she’s just going to begin. I’m excited for her and I completely understand what she’s experiencing. I’m feeling like that too. So I’m going to follow her example and go back to making writing my top priority again, even though I’m not quite finished with my other tasks. I know doing this will restore the balance in my well-being.

Recently I’ve written about how I’m working on changing my thoughts so I can create a new life, and during that process it has been driven home in a bigger way than ever before that our health and happiness depend on being able to do what we love. Yes, we may have to hold down that job to be able to write or paint, or garden, but making as much time to do what we love best in the world is extremely important. I feel sad for people who don’t know what it is they love doing above all else.

Some advice I picked up from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, is just what I need to be concentrating on right now. Perhaps it will help you too. The advice is this, if you want to live a creative life, you need to follow your curiosity. I love doing this. It’s something I learned from my dad. He would watch something on television, or get an idea from something he read and then he’d follow the thread to learn more about the subject. His curiosity knew no bounds. Often when we were taking family trips, he’d look for fun detours so we could learn something new and interesting. I loved those side trips.

My recent descent into restlessness just points out the fact that I’ve let myself get into a rut. It’s time to shake up my life and try some new activities. Which is why I’ll go back to writing the fantasy story I began this summer about a girl and a dragon. To that end I’ve been reading lots of young adult fiction, fantasy and medieval historical books. Though I love reading these types of stories, I’ve never tried to write one before. These books have given me an education about how to turn a known genre on it’s head and make it new and exciting. That’s what I’d like to do. It’s a fun challenge. But just recently I tripped myself up when I made the decision to read a mystery. While I love a good mystery, reading one now doesn’t help my process of writing a fantasy story, which is why I’ll go back to learning as much as I can from the genre I’m now working on.

As the summer is winding down and we’re getting back into fall and winter routines, I will look for other interesting opportunities and activities to help feed my creativity. I hope you’ll join me in trying something new. Who knows where our curiosity will lead us.

Thanks for following. I hope you share this with your friends and family.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016

What If … Mary Wasn’t A Virgin?

Working Mom
Working Mom

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.” ~ Victor Hugo

“So curiosity, I think, is a really important aspect of staying young or youthful.” ~ Goldie Hawn

Do you ever wonder what if thus and so were true about situations, belief systems, or circumstances? I do all the time. I wonder about all kinds of things from what we’re taught about history to religion to politics. Some of the things I wonder about are rather trivial, others can be controversial or upsetting. They are just my musings but my goal for asking such questions is to make myself, and hopefully you, take a fresh look at our belief systems.

One of my earliest what ifs I had as a child, was why was it so important for Mary to have been a virgin when she became pregnant with Jesus? I was raised in the church that Joseph Smith Jr. founded in 1830. A side note, in the late 1800’s the Supreme Court ruled that the church I grew up in was the original church and the Mormon church was an off-shoot.

Anyway, having written that, the doctrine of the church I grew up in was very much like Protestant Christian doctrine. The virgin birth was one of the tenants in our belief system. I have no idea why I questioned the whole virgin birth idea. It just didn’t make sense to me, even though as a child I didn’t have a full understanding about sex. I didn’t understand why Mary had to be a virgin to be the mother of Jesus. Why did that make a difference in who Jesus was? I didn’t come to a conclusion about that until many years later.

When I was a religious studies student, I learned that the word that was translated as “virgin” in the Bible, really should have been translated as “maiden”, which meant an unmarried woman. As far as I remember from my Old Testament class, the custom of the Jewish culture was for a couple to become betrothed, and have a kind of trial marriage. Sex in that culture was looked at very differently than in ours. It was possible for a betrothed couple to have sexual relations and not have any stigma attached to them. So, it could have been entirely possible that Mary and Joseph had made love and Jesus was the result. For some reason, I liked that idea.

If God is all powerful couldn’t he have brought the two people together who would produce the amazing miracle of Jesus? In my way of thinking, that’s just as much a miracle as if Mary were a “pure” virgin and God was Jesus only father. From there my thinking goes to my belief that each new life is a miracle and we are all created in the image of God. It’s just that we each have different “contracts”, as Caroline Myss calls them, for our time here on this earth. Just like puzzle pieces, we each have our part to play in the great pattern that is this life we’re living. And as humans we can’t possibly fathom what the big picture will be when the puzzle is finished, if it ever is.

From those ideas, my thoughts branch off to a theme that irritated the heck out of me while studying various religious doctrines, and still does to this day. Most doctrines were created by religious leaders to control their congregants. The male leaders wanted to keep their thumb on women in particular for reasons we could speculate about from now until dooms day. In any case, that was most likely the true origin of the story of the virgin birth. Sex makes women impure, or diminishes their spirituality in some way, even within the sanctity of marriage. (I’d like to slap the person who came up with that idea.) While within most religions, men, aren’t diminished in any way by sex, even if they participate in it before marriage, or any other act that would condemn a woman. How unfair is that!?

I could write volumes more, but I like to keep my posts short. My purpose for this essay was to express my belief that Jesus was a miracle no matter whether Mary was impregnated by God, or by Joseph. And I could go on to argue that he is a much more interesting figure to me as an historical person who became enlightened rather than a divine being that is too far above me to be able to emulate. I like the idea that he showed us how to become enlightened ourselves if we so choose to do so. But that’s a post for another time.

I had fun expressing ideas that have been rattling around in my head for many years. I don’t get to have many deep discussions on religious topics anymore. Sometimes I miss the flurry of ideas expressed passionately and the new patterns of thinking I develop as a result. So, from time to time I’ll be writing more “What If” posts and hoping that you will participate in the discussion.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share any of my posts with friends. I’m going back to revisions of my novel The Space Between Time now. Until next week …

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016

Curiosity and Wonder

Taj Mahal at sunset
Taj Mahal at sunset

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

“Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.” –Linus Pauling

“Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.” –Victor Hugo

Wonder and curiosity have been a part of my life since I was very young. I remember as a girl sitting for a very long time looking at what I thought were Fairy footprints in the dirt in the empty lot across from our house. The other kids poo pooed my assertion that the marks were indeed made by Fairies and ran off to play war. But I saw Fairy prints because my parents had been reading us stories from a volume of Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and I was convinced they really existed.

Because of my parents, I grew up with a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world around me. I came by it naturally. Both mom and dad believed in the unseen world. But my father particularly wanted to know about everything. Even though he dropped out of school he read voraciously, and paid attention to current events. That’s why we were watching as the first man stepped foot on the moon, and saw the horrors of war, and all the assassinations that took place during the 60s. When you’re curious, you have to take the good with the bad.

To me curiosity and wonder are a major component of creativity. Maybe I think that because of my parents, but just think of it, would humans be where we are today without curiosity? Would there be art, science, music, social structures, civilizations, religions, philosophies, or technology without wonder and curiosity? There are always more things to learn, more things to create and discover. There are always deeper interactions between humans that can be achieved if we use our curiosity.

One of the most profound experiences of my life was a trip my husband and I took circumnavigating the globe. It was 1996, before all the fear about traveling abroad. That experience changed my life. It was the result of our burning curiosity to immerse ourselves in other cultures around the world. We accomplished this amazing trip by following our unseen guides, or intuition, or if you prefer, messages from God.

It all started when we hosted an acquaintance we’d met at a Reiki gathering in Oregon. She was from Germany but was going to New Zealand a week after the Gathering. So, we offered our guest room to her so she wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel. Each night she would regale us with tales of her travels to different places around the world. And each night Barry and I would go to bed talking about our desire to do the same. As we talked, we decided we wanted to visit several friends and family around the world, which would mean we’d need to circumnavigate the globe. It seemed impossible. Then on the last night of our friend’s visit we told her what we wanted to do and she said, “You can get an around the world trip ticket for about $3,000.” All of sudden the trip seemed possible, even though we didn’t have that amount at the time.

The next day it happened to be Barry’s birthday. We were going to have a birthday party for him at the Sophia Center where he worked, and then I was going to take him on a weekend trip to the Oregon Coast. On our way to the party, I took our friend to a bank where she could exchange some money before flying to New Zealand. While she was in the bank, I said casually to Divine Oneness, as I call God, “I wonder how we can pay for our trip around the world?” Immediately I heard a voice in my head say, You could sell your house. I waited for that sinking feeling I get when I know I’m about to make the wrong decision, but it never came. Instead I felt elated. I couldn’t wait to tell Barry.

After the party as we were driving to the Coast, I said as casually as I possibly could, “I have an idea how we can fund our trip around the world.”

Barry said, “Oh really, I have one too. Let’s see if they’re the same idea.”

My heart started pounding as I said, “We could sell our house.”

Barry turned and looked at me and said, “That’s exactly what I was thinking.”

From that moment on, we knew that’s what we were going to do. While we were on our romantic weekend, we began making plans for selling our house to take the most amazing trip of our entire lives. Everyone we told about our plans from the real estate agent, to the travel agent said, “That’s so fantastic. You’ll never regret it.” And we never have. We got to see more wonders than we could ever have imagined we’d experience in one life time.

That trip has been a source of great wonder, curiosity and creativity for me. And I’ll never regret selling our house, which after all is just a thing, to see the amazing sites I saw in various places around the world.

Contemplate what life would be like if we weren’t curious about how things worked, or weren’t filled with wonder when we looked up at the night sky filled with stars. What would happen if we felt no wonder when we fell in love, or when a friend stood by us no matter what was happening? Worst of all, what if we woke up every day feeling sure that this day was going to be just like the next? Just thinking of living without curiosity gives me the willies. What about you?

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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