How curious are you?

I like to think of curiosity as a friend to empathy. And, if I go back to the root meaning of the word – the Latin curiosus – I arrive right beside the word care.

Curiosity can be a form of compassion. Done right, it’s a posture of love.

This spring, it feels more important than ever for me to stand in this posture of curiosity – to welcome curiosity as a guide as I look toward my upcoming retirement in June, asking it to help me be a better listener, friend, family member, citizen. How can I practice my curiosity in a season of transition?

I find our Courage & Renewal Touchstones to be a helpful guide to learning how to welcome – and make a home for – curiosity, the kind that is careful and empathetic, that learns “to respond to others with honest, open questions instead of counsel or corrections.”

By holding this space of curious questioning, which is ultimately empathetic and careful, we can “hear each other into speech” rather than pushing an agenda or trying to force an easy fix.

Denise Levertov’s poem “A Gift” gestures at the kind of compassionate curiosity I want to live. She writes:

Just when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm…

I trust that we will all hold our questions with the care they deserve, protecting and warming these “songbird eggs,” hearing each other into our lives.

What questions are you holding in your hands, yours or others?

What does curiosity look like in your life?


Terry Chadsey
Executive Director

P.S.Make space for your curiosity and ask your own open, honest questions at a Courage & Renewal program. Find a program near you.

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