Did curiosity really kill the cat?

Did curiosity really kill the cat?

Do you have an aversion to being curious?  Or try to ignore the calling for discovery in an attempt to keep yourself safe from life. Does the idea of being curious make you feel insecure, taking you out of your comfy familiar cocoon?

Read about beautiful Jennifer who was taught to avoid being curious by her loving protective mum.

We’re sitting in my therapy room on a warm sunny afternoon right at the bay window which looks out onto our huge tree with autumn gold, ruddy, rustic leaves crisply twitching in the breeze.

The Blue Tits are squabbling away in the branches, in a nice way, and the crystals hanging from the side window captures the sun’s rays. Blessing us with refracted, dancing  prisms of rainbow light, splashed across the room.

The lilies are wafting soft, sweet, fragrant particles into the room and Chloe, a songwriter, tells me she is unable to feel joy in her work and relationship.

There’s a long pause, which happens sometimes.  So after a while I mention something about Curiosity, enquiring if she felt it was something that featured in her life.

 

“No way!!” she gasps ‘Curiosity killed the cat’!! My mother taught me not to be curious because it was dangerous.”

 

You may be interested to know that in the UK in 1598 a play write by the name of Ben Johnson wrote a piece called “Every Man in his Humour“. And who was the first to perform it?

No other than William Shakespeare.  Turns out, Johnson’s play was the 1st time this phrase “Curiosity killed the cat” came into print. This may well have given rise to the superstition from fearful mother’s who told their kids it wasn’t safe to be curiose for their own preservation.

Jennifer and I explored her upbringing where we un-packed various golden strands of her childhood.  She realised she had been instructed to stick to the tried and tested.  The straight and narrow, in such a way that she clipped her wings to please her mum.  After all her mum was only trying to protect her from harm’s way.

As the Autumns rolled by, squeezing Curiosity out of the picture became a habit and a lifestyle for Jennifer.  This need to reach for safety and familiarity, meant she had swaddled herself in an energetic cocoon that left her feeling like she had a sweetie in her mouth but the wrapper was still on.

 

Jennifer realised Curiosity is her heroine exposing her to the spirit of enquiry for exploration and to discovery. Giving her the freedom to feel joy, excitement and enthusiasm for life again. Opening her creative expression.

 

Without the encouragement from her mother to foster the capacity to be curious, Jennifer realised she’d have no inclination to try new things or explore her world.  This created stagnancy and inertia.  She had been a dutiful daughter and reached for comfort and familiarity avoiding anything that didn’t fit her prosaic world.

Jennifer also realised she couldn’t possibly be motivated to create anything worthwhile, or strive to better herself.  She felt only half alive and viewed life as something to fear. All because she was subconsciously suppressing the penetrating and life enhancing trait of Curiosity.

 

Points to Ponder:

How do you wrap your life into a bubble-like-experience which leaves you feeling like you’re sucking on a sweetie with the wrapper still on?

 

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How to see “perfection” in the blink of an eye

How to see “perfection” in the blink of an eye

Do you ever feel you’re going round in circles when it come to dating? You get bored easily and loose interest. Do you tell yourself you just can’t find THE ONE?

If this is so, read about the talented, wonderful young man who got distracted by perfectionism.

 

Two weeks ago I was working with a talented young photographer, whose burning desire is to find The One.  He’s working diligently on improving his virtues and ironing out the wrinkles. Making sure he leaves no stone unturned should he sabotage his mission.

He tells me he’s distracting from his work because he’s focussing on finding the love of his life. It’s affecting his creativity while he grapples with obsessive thoughts and fears of being alone.   We get to a profound point in the session when he describes this quirky little thing that happens again and again when he dates women.

 

First thing: When the chemistry is high on the first date, he only sees her as beauty and perfection personified. Here he finds himself falling into what he describes as an entranced and enchanted state of being, which heralds in feelings of bliss and security.

Second thing: A few weeks along, he and his Enchanted Beauty take it to the next level. They create a boudoir and everything expands into divine union, going exceptionally well.

Third thing: By week 3 our talented young man begins to feel a bit bored and starts nit picking. He’s noticed hair around her navel and her middle toe is longer than the others.

Fourth thing: His litany of imperfection continues for a while, but then he notices himself, pauses and asks beseechingly  “Why can’t I meet the perfect woman?” “Is there something wrong with me?”

 

How you use your eyes when it comes to relationships

Our eyes are complicated mechanisms, and after everything is said and done about the mechanics sight on the physiological level, what really matters is the WAY in which we USE them to LOOK and SEE.

Take for instance our young man.   When he focuses through the lens of his eyes, his brain will perceive the incoming image of her long middle toe.  He’ll combine this with a particular judgement, most likely linked to the past, which will distort his perception and inevitably the outcome of what he thinks he’s seeing.

His judgement is to have a longer middle toe is a form of physical imperfection.  His perception of what is perfect is distorted. Locking in an unattainable ideal that is in fact quite meaningless when it comes to love and relationships.

He begins to realise this judgement keeps him separate from his longing to be with someone.  We list a number of assumption that arise from the thought “if I can/t find the perfect person to love, there must be something wrong with me”.  Of course this is totally untrue and he admitted a bit daft to think like that.

 

Looking and Seeing with your Heart and Your mind.

We all evaluate and judge on a day-to-day basis until we start to notice what it is we are actually judging and it is useful.  Our brain is hard wired to do this.  But there is a much more inclusive way of seeing the world which involves engaging with the heart.

If you have perfection issues with a belief that you can only accept if things are just as you want them to be, Over time, our talented, wonderful young man realises the difference between looking with his mind and seeing with his heart.

Focused Looking

He explores and discovers that focused looking is a combination of mind + eyes which puts his poor innocent Enchanted Beauty is under the microscope.   This combination of looking will bring in a large element of evaluating and checking things out in detail, because that is the mind doing its job.

Yes we need our mind’s ability to discern and evaluate, except for the area of loving and accepting ourselves with compassion. (And others too of course)

 

Soft Seeing

In contrast to eyes and mind, our young man begins to understand he can change gear and use his eyes with soft seeing.  This is combining his heart and eyes to receive images.  It’s the way of the heart to engage inclusively so from this place perfection is easy to embrace.

Truth is, everyone and everything is an enchanted beauty from this perspective.  And what a blessed relief!!

 

Lack of self-acceptance

Now our talented young man is free like an eagle hitching a ride on the warm thermals a mile above the green patchwork landscape in blissful peace and nurturing silence.    Here he can freely engage with his Enchanted Beauty and allow his relationship to blossom and thrive.  In doing so he releases his need to hold onto his ideal.  Besides it was just keeping him away from what he longed for.

Not only that, but during the sessions as we continue to unpack and explore his lack of self-acceptance, our young man begins to see a new version of himself.  He sees the truth that he is loveable and acceptable just as he is.

 

4 interesting points to help you adjust your perspective of primarily your self and others.

  • Pondering involves letting ideas percolate and settle like a kind of meditative action which will help you feel into situations from your heart instead of your head.

 

  • Consider if nit picking imperfections is an avoidance of accepting your own lack of self love and acceptance.

 

  • Deep down we all know only too well, not one human being is perfect, or ever could be, even if the glossy magazines mesmerise us into thinking so.

 

  • The notion of perfection and imperfection has not place in life.

 

Points to Ponder:

Does striving for perfection on every level mean you’ll be loved, and is this approach a possible form of insanity?

What is you could simply be loved for yourself, without even striving for approval or earning love points to feel worthy.

How I ditched Perfectionism for Perfect Evolution

How I ditched Perfectionism for Perfect Evolution

As a child I lived in colonial style Rhodesia and was tutored in a convent by German Dominican nuns on how to be perfect in mind and body.  So if there was ever a person working the dark art of perfectionism and self-criticism it’s me.

So it’s 3am – I’ve been tweaking my website for hours while climbing a steep 90 degree learning curve. I’d taken 2 weeks off work to complete the site and am feverishly trying to get it out into the world.  Pausing for thought, I wonder if it’ll ever get to the point when it’s happily completed.

Problem is, it’s not perfectly perfect and I’m going round in mental circles with a kind of niggling impatience that becomes really exhausting and unproductive after a while?

Perfection will absolutely strangle self expression and keep me, and you too, from EXPRESSING our unique gifts which are waiting inside us to be excavated and released into the world.

Although I’m trying hard to get my unique message out to people who may want my services my Inner Critic is having field day.  Her soft patronising, overly smug voice in my head is pointing out how useless I am. It seems impossible to appease her.  Words like “not good enough, you’ll never get it right!! You could have done better more quickly!!” or “Don’t get complacent and arrogant now, you’ll just mess it up if you do.”

 

I realise this is insanity, me helplessly listening to an insatiable inner voice of perfection like a slave to a master.

 

Do find yourself avoiding tasks due to fear of failure?

 

As a result of the ICs persistent voice on perfection, nine times out of ten the demand to do something perfectly is so strong that I begin to avoid the task at hand because I am fearful of failure and the consequences. Going round in circles is avoidance from moving forward for fear of getting it wrong.  However, truth is I can never fulfil the IC’s unattainable, unrealistic demands.

 

So, I decide to take a risk by asking myself if I could do things differently this time, even though the attempt may feel too simple and ineffective in the face of the looming Critic in my head.

How can you make a start to ditch those incessant whispers that prevent you from feeling an authentic and honest satisfaction with your creative expression and achievements?

 

1.

ACCEPT THAT YOUR INNER CRITIC IS INCAPABLE OF APPEASEMENT

 

Regardless of how amazing, talented and successful you may be, your Inner Critic is hard wired to find fault with you.  And so, he/she has this uncanny knack of always raising the bar just when you thought you’d nailed it.  Stop trying so hard. When we try too hard we induce a state of contraction which stifles the creative juices.

The process of creativity requires an inspiring environment with which to immerse and relax yourself.  Making you receptive to receiving inspiration.

 

2.

DEVELOP THE REVOLUTIONARY IN YOU

 

Take Perfectionism by the scruff of the neck and make a stand for yourself in spite of the harsh voice of your Inner Critic. This is the time when the revolutionary in you is useful for the sake of self preservation and to build self confidence.  You could try a little experiment by breaking out of the constraints of this inner voice by “get mud on your boots” to prove a point that you’re in charge after all.

Don’t forget to look around and notice that nothing much has changed in the world after you did your dirty deed.   Show your IC that you make the choices here.  We want to use hard love with zero tolerance toward the IC.  Then lo-and-behold, without even trying, self-respect will enter into the mix.

 

3.

SELF-RESPECT AND INNER-CONVICTION ARE BUDDIES

 

Yes it’s true it may take a while to connect firmly to your self-respect and build upon it.  Once you get a taste of how it feels to take care of yourself, instead of relying on others for approval, you’ll feel a sense of empowerment and self-reliance rise up inside as you craft a pathway to free ourself from the constraints of the IC.

Remember, self-respect is a form of loving.  Not in a narccistic way which stems from vanity and arrogance, but with a humble approach combined with gratitude that you have a right and responsibility to express your gifts to the world.

 

4.

ADOPTING THE PATH OF PERFECT EVOLUTION

 

Meaning of evolution – EV.OL.U.TION

Dic. meaning: the gradual development of something, esp. from a simple to a more complex form.

 

One approach could be to mimic nature.  You could allow each conscious little contribution toward your creative projects be like an unfolding and an accumulation that will grow into something bigger and better, just like the process of evolution in nature – slow and easy.”

Embracing perfect evolution will allow you to feel an kind of internal space to think clearly, feel passionately and relax physically.   Let go of the demand of trying to be, say or do something impossible and focus on nature’s precious lesson – one step at a time.

 

5.

BREATHE

By relaxing with rhythmic slow paced breathing you’ll foster expansion in your being. Focus on the moment until an inspired answer comes flying into your heart on the wings of truth and feelings of relief.

 

6.

THINK, “IT’S GOOD ENOUGH AS IT IS”, SO LONG AS YOU DO THE BEST YOU POSSIBLY CAN GIVEN WHAT YOU HAD AT THE TIME.

Doing your best is much much better than trying to be perfect.  Why is this?  Because doing your best is attainable, while being perfect is not.  Of course the idea of perfection will try to nibble away at your achievments, but stay with the light.

Bear in mind that when we talk about doing your best, I’m not referring to a state of inertia, where you give up caring by adopting a coasting approach.  This is a form of opt out.  Remember this is a building bit-by-bit approach which will herald in a lot more progress in a shorter space of time.

A process of getting out of the ego’s way, being patience and letting your creativity have a life of its own to unravel exactly as it needs to.  This requires a certain level of trust combine this with making up your mind to feel content with what you’ve already achieved will help a lot. At the same time, be aware of the voice of the Inner Critic without taking it on board.