Have you ever found yourself so fascinated with an idea, a book, a craft, or a hobby that you find yourself feeling compelled to learn everything that you can about it? There is a sense of excitement and wonder when we get engaged in such things. When we feel this sense of wonder we're not busy thinking about all the other things that might be going wrong in our lives or that we don't like about ourselves. When we exercise curiosity we are participating in a sense of purpose and a sense of fulfillment. These sensations typically come more easily to us when we are not too hyper-focused on ourselves, but searching to discover things we don't know, be it about ourselves or about our world around us.
Most of us can identify becoming enraptured by the excitement of learning a new idea or a new skill. Many of us, however, have not learned or been taught to apply this same level of curiosity and wonder about ourselves. Because we live with ourselves each and every day, we take it for granted that we know everything there is to know about ourselves. Exercising curiosity about ourselves can become even more difficult when dealing with the parts of ourselves that we don't like, what I call our "inner dragons." Our first impulse is not usually to become curious about our dragons, because we experience them as causing us pain.
In learning the art of personal healing for myself and in teaching it to others, however, I've stumbled upon what I believe to be an important truth, which is that curiosity is the antidote to shame and fear. We cannot experience and practice those things at the same time. Curiosity is what allows us to begin to heal our relationship with those dragon-like parts of ourselves. When we apply the same kind of curiosity about ourselves as we do pet projects that bring us great joy, we begin to experience healing because we stop fighting ourselves.
I encourage you to begin thinking of yourself as a country in the process of discovering. You've mapped some of your own territory fairly well, no doubt. There's much more for you to discover. It's important that you know how to tame dragons when entering into the wild. Curiosity, courage and compassion are the guides that will help you along the way. Go learn about the undiscovered country of yourselves and be blessed in the journey!