Popular garden-authors remind us about "weird, wild, & wonderful," and it ties into how we love our lives and our relationships. If I didn't get this reminder a year ago (and I did), then I got it (again) last week.
Amy might not even recall…
WHERE DOES PASSION HIDE?
While Gilbert shared how her newest novel’s heroine loves moss, Stewart mused about a cocktail garden to go with the boozy recipes in her book The Drunken Botanist. Then, Gilbert made a sassy remark, "Everyone seems bent on finding and living their passion. I don’t know where passions hide, live, or went. So, how about we just start with curiosity first?"
A big "aha!" by the audience alighted on a golden nugget found in interpersonal psychology, a nugget my clients and I hold together: that is, few people are willing to be curious about what’s right in front of them. We sit back and wait for the big "wow-zaa!" to hit us up. But, as Gilbert said, "We rarely turn our heads five inches left or right to see something new."
Just when we’ve automatically decided something's boring, we need to instead listen, look, and then listen, look again. Until we start poking around with the boring stuff, we won’t arrive at a passion. Just the opposite, life stalls out.
And, if you don’t ever find your passion before your last day's breath, well then, you will have at least been dancing with life, which seems a whole lot better than sitting it out, bored and disappointed.
CURIOSITY IS A LEARNED COURAGE.
To be fascinated with life, we have to free fall into the unknown. This takes courage, because we have to give up our viewpoints and our cool-factor. We have to be "weird" and vulnerable. (A nifty book and TED Talk on vulnerability is Daring Greatly, written by researcher Brene' Brown, PhD, LMSW.
The book's common advice might underwhelm you a wee bit:
(1) let go of comparing yourself to others, and
(2) let go of "suppose to."
But, Brene' is at least reminding us to go after this way of living.
TICKLE YOUR INNER ROOKIE.
So, we have to be clueless, curious rookies. This, of course, brings on undesirable feelings, the ones that come with any learning curve. No one likes being the freshman. Everyone wants to be the senior. So, most of us sit it out altogether. It's the ole "No, thanks. You go on ahead without me."
DARLING, YOU BORE ME
And, wow, how we uncannily do this in our relationships, too. Plainly put: we want to be understood, but we seldom seek to understand first. We just aren’t wired to want to be influenced by others. Admit it or not, consciously or unconsciously, we reach for being right and certain about matters ~ and about others. It's too scary to even think that the other may have a point. So, we rarely say, "Hmm, What else might there be to this?" We ignore curiosity; we miss out on being fascinated.
Enter boredom. Ever hear someone mention how they are bored with their relationship or job? One could wonder, when was it that curiosity departed? Was the person five years' old when they became so subtly defended? Twenty? Fifty? When?
With so many thumbprints all different, what’s not to discover? What would it be like if we were more courageously curious about our worlds and other people's worlds?
NOT JUST A HO-HUM LEAF
Back at the New York Botanical Garden's auditorium, Amy Stewart and Melissa Gilbert laughed at their mishaps with curiosity. Waiting to do a book-signing event near the Puget Sound, Amy sat on a damp bench alone in the fog, to find out why the bench was put in a seemingly dull spot.
"I'm not much interested," Amy thought. "But, I'll give it go." Oh, and then!
But, this article isn't about what Amy Stewart discovered on that bench. It's about how she didn't bow to boredom. She let her clueless inner rookie take a romp.
The NYBG titled the event with Stewart & Gilbert "Weird, Wild, & Wonderful: An Evening of Art, Women, & Botany." Up close, plants are weird and wonderful. It’s not “Ho hum, that plant has green leaves.” It's "Whoa! Check this leaf out!"
And, our lives and our partners aren’t just boring green leaves either. Stop, look, listen. Then, look again. Up close, we are weird and wonderful. If only we had the courage to be curious. Now that is wild.