An Inventory of Curiosities

An Inventory of Curiosities

“Have you started your inventory of curiosities?”

My what? I thought. “Uuuuhh, no? Please say more about what you mean.”

This concept—an ‘inventory of curiosities’—was new to me, mentioned in the context of a conversation about vocational transitions and future possibilities.

It’s essentially a journaling prompt, an intentional recording of those things that capture one’s attention, even fleetingly. A curiosity may become the subject of more intense exploration. It may not.

A couple days later I started the list. It’s still quite short—fewer than a dozen curiosities so far. But it’s right there on the last page of the journal, easily accessible when something springs to mind.

And already I’m noticing a different quality of relationship with things that come to mind. By putting pen to paper, giving this tangible attention what I might otherwise dismiss as inconsequential or unimportant, my body and my psyche are reminded that there are choices about where I invest myself, my time, my passion, my skills, my body, my energy. From the vocational and potentially sublime, to the potentially ridiculous and/or delicious, curiosities abound…

End-of-life doula certification.

The city of Baltimore.

Rum cake.

I value order, routine, and tidiness in my life, and sometimes I’m so singularly focused on proceeding according to plan that I fail to notice the myriad delights and possibilities around me. Keeping this inventory of curiosities is a way to remind myself of where I have choices and agency in my life.

As with so many practices—whether we characterize them as spiritual or not—setting an intention and showing up for it brings significant value, even if the subjective quality of the outcome is unremarkable. Even if I can’t hold a yoga posture, or don’t craft eloquent and profound journal entries, or don’t experience the endorphin rush that others report from fitness activities. The intention—and attention—matters.

My inventory of curiosities may continue to exist only as a list in the back of a journal. And yet, each time I visit it, I feel a stronger pull toward exploration. Who knows what might lie ahead? Curious, indeed.


One Comment

  1. John Guy

    Thank yo Reverend for acknowledging that curiosity is such high value to you . I too thrive on it in the form of what is called intellectual curiosity ,since I started reading before I entered public schools. It’s been my thriver throughout life into my nineties . It is probably why I joined UU-ism ,as a key factor in UU-ism is the freedom to ask the question Why? Over the years especially now at my age I find my pile of printed essays from the web about any topic of curiosity is just higher than my budgeted hours of follow through . And that’s OK because there is always enough topics of curiosity that I do follow through on that keeps me intellectually alert . Long live curiosity . John Guy PS I now know why we have too many conspiracy theories floating around : they are designed to suppress intellectual curiosity and thus intellectually scam the observer .

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