Cultivating Curiosity: January 12 Tiny Things

In January over at 12 Tiny Things, we cultivated curiosity together. I absolutely loved this focus for my month. I noticed how the posturing of my curiosity felt warm and open. It was seeking but not lunging, reaching but not clinging. I felt grounded and growing simultaneously. It felt playful, tender, exciting and good. What are you curious about these days? 

Below are a few ways my curiosity played out in January (in no particular order):

  1. Being Tender to my Body: 

For a writing project I am working on, I interviewed a woman who talked about how cruel she used to be to her body. It made me get curious take stock. As I explore living more mindfully, doing one thing at a time, I have noticed how that also invites me to be more tender with my body. Take my morning routine, for example. If I am in a hurry, they way I shampoo my head, dry off with my towel, brush my teeth, and comb my hair is noticeably more rough than when I am moving through my routine mindfully and intentionally. This month I have been trying to be more tender with my very ordinary movements everyday. The affection changes my spirit in a tiny way. 

2. Social Media

I got curious and joined Instagram (@ellieroscher). I tend to be skeptical and cautious with social media, and I joined with a fair share of reservation. It took me awhile to decide how I was going to engage with this community online. Over the month, I have come to enjoy it without it consuming me. I approached Instagram as a writer, sharing how I see stories in objects all around me. I don’t move through my day looking for something to post, but posting stories has invited me to see the ordinary in a new and deeper way. It has become a positive part of my writing practice, inviting me to share a slice of beauty. 

3. Playing

My boys are 3 and 5. They love wrestling and Legos. I recently noticed myself opting out of their play to do household work or simply observe them. I was hiding behind limiting stereotypes about my age and maybe my gender. This month I challenged myself to meet them at eye level and play. Wrestling has been joyful and energizing. Building Legos has been relaxing and imaginative. I feel a little vulnerable, like it would be easier to do other things, but the delight of my little ones invites to be curious about cultivating my own playfulness. 

4. The Ground on Which We Stand

My friend Caren Stelson and I started writing a monthly column on Peace Literacy for a children’s book magazine called Bookology. Next month’s topic is knowing where you came from and the history of the land. We explored the importance of having Native books by Native authors around the house. My boys are curious about their ancestors and the stories of this place where we live. My favorite podcast, Scene on Radio, is exploring the history of democracy in Season 4. Episode 1 starts with the Cherokee, and arguably how democratic they are, yet how little European Settlers learned from them. I am humbled by how much I don’t know and am excited to keep learning.

5. Teaching to Learn

Photo by Emily Winters

For 15 years, yoga class was the place I could just show up on my mat and be told what to do. I loved being a student. Recently, out of the blue, curiosity crept in. I wanted to know more, to deepen my practice, to expand my why and learn how to teach so that in teaching I could learn. In January, I started teacher training, which exceeded my expectations. I already feel so refreshed on my mat, with a fuller sense of community and a richer appreciate of what my body can do. Even with long days, rigorous practice and extensive reading to do, I am energized, blissed out, and abounding with curiosity like a giddy school kid again. 

6. Unlikely Conversations

Through my work at The Collegeville Institute, I am collaborating on a podcast that is planned to be released in April. It’s called Unlikely Conversations. We ask two leaders from different faith backgrounds to sit and talk to each other about a shared passion. They have been layered, beautiful conversations that are exciting to listen to. Multi-Religious dialogue requires courage and curiosity. We must ask hard questions and really listen. And I believe, now more than ever, they are essential in our world moving toward peace. 

In February, we are cultivating beauty, which I am equally excited about. Join us!