I went looking for a thick book to put underneath my computer monitor, to elevate it to a more ergonomic position. I found a ~4-year old yoga manual that I hadn’t used because it was unsuitable for my sporadic practice. As I flipped through the pages however, I sank into the couch savoring the creative ways to sequence postures. I now had a container in which to apply this practical wisdom. “I’ll use this one”, I thought as I put it aside. I then moved on to an academic text that had felt overwhelming because of the dense content and small print. I opened it for a quick glance and was astounded by how much of it made sense and was now within grasp. “Ok, so not this one either”. Then I saw a random coffee table book of maps but found myself enjoying it given my interest in different cultures and people. This happened repeatedly, book after thick book. I would pick up my thickest oddball books only to realize that books that seemed peripheral or aspirational a few years ago genuinely pulled me in now.
I wondered how my past self had managed to surround me with material that my present self found compelling…almost felt like a gift from the past. How did she know?! It seems that something in her was drawn to a kernel of interest and she picked up these books with open-hearted curiosity and without an ounce of agenda. She didn’t push herself or try to impress others. She was attracted to certain ideas and created space for them even when she wasn’t completely ready to absorb their depth. These are the things that I surrounded myself with even before I completely knew why I was drawn to them and what to do with them.
You’ll likely have your own unique and varied collection of things that interest you. These interests may seem disparate, of little practical use, and you might even feel that you are extending into too many things. But we find ourselves like a hog searches for precious and fragrant truffles. We go sniffing on our internal trails of natural curiosity next to our trees of interests, we breathe in the fresh air of freedom and get stamina to keep going through non-attachment. This journey can take time, sometimes a process of years. Quieter patches of life interspersed with bouts of intense activity and at some point, ideas and inspiration start firing like they never did before. No matter where we are in the journey though, every time we spar with one of our genuine interests, we come back to the world renewed and refreshed. Also, no matter where we are in our journey, we have to practice patience. Anything worthwhile takes time to mature and bear fruit…and finding and living out our unique selfhood is one of the most worthwhile tasks of a human.
“Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologizing for my wild” ― Nikita Gill