My favorite place to be in the whole world is on this big rock surrounded by trees and rhododendrons right on the edge of a river not far from a bed and breakfast where I stay in Douglas, WV. I go there every chance I can to pray, to meditate, to listen to the river flowing, to watch the butterflies floating, to empty myself out and then fill myself back up again. It is my safe place, the place I visualize in my mind when I am seeking calm. This spot is sacred to me, my rock altar, my sanctuary.
Whenever possible, I take friends to this secluded spot to share it with them. I don’t know if it has the same powerful effect on other people as it does on me, but I take them anyway because it is so much a part of who I am.
One friend I took asked me how I ever managed to find it. You cannot see it from the path. I had to climb down the side of a bridge and walk around exploring the riverbank before I ran into that exact spot. She wondered how I was not afraid of snakes or getting hurt while being alone. I told her, “Well, I guess my curiosity was bigger than my fear”.
How often do we let our fear stop us from exploring, from trying new things, from having adventures? I am no self-destructive risk-taker. I wear my seatbelt. I use sunscreen when needed. I drive the speed limit (or close enough). None of these things keep me from living my life. But many of our fears hold us back from truly experiencing the life we are intended to live.
This evening I will begin facilitating an Artist’s Way Group in my community based on Julia Cameron’s book. Eight years ago I was a beginner in this process myself. One of the best messages I received from the book was to “allow yourself to be a beginner”. I think we are often more afraid of looking silly or not being good enough or being compared to others than we are of snakes. How often does that hold us back from exploring our curiosities?
I believe God places curiosity in us to draw us closer and closer to our true self, to our true purpose. If we follow our curiosity, we never know what might be around the corner, a fun adventure for the day, a great story to tell others later, or maybe a complete shift in our life path. Who knows? And there’s only one way to find out.
This year I pray you will choose curiosity over fear. I would have never found my favorite spot in the world if I had ignored my curiosity. I pray you will choose to be a beginner in something exciting and scary over doing the same old thing that is expected of you. You never know what’s waiting around the corner. I pray you’ll choose adventure over safety. Your spirit will know when the adventure is worth the risk. But please, for heaven’s sake, wear your seat belt.