Curiosity that Lifts Contentment

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Each moment we’re interested in the process of breathing we’re training ourselves in curiosity. (Ed Halliwell)

At their best, our brains bring us an authentic awareness. They come brimming over with a zest for wonder and a curiosity that awaits our cultivation.

Curiosity teaches my two grandchildren and me to remain present to those magical moments we access through simple acts of mindfulness and contemplation of awe.

Last week, I found intense contentment with my two grandchildren during our delightful discoveries together. We decided to get a head start on our first day’s wonder by passing along SERO sunshine messages that would cheer up strangers’ day with serotonin splashes.

We painted rocks with favorite images and hid them around my neighborhood for lucky finders to enjoy. It was the children’s idea to spread some SERO around on rocks. We decided to check back later to see which rocks were discovered.

The children wondered if I was curious to hear their musical compositions, and my interest sparked their melodies.

We’re curious until we’re bored. And each moment of a day offers another chance to choose explore-new-fun over tedium or tired-traditions.

Maybe that’s why we decided to build a cardboard aquarium together on day two of our visit. We all imagined what marine life would live there. The children lost themselves in artistic marine life drawn onto the aquarium sides.

They shaped, rolled and molded clay marine figures in replicas that swam with researched sea creatures and our inquisitive imaginations.  Did you know that dolphins sleep with only half their brain at a time, so their awake brains prevent them from drowning? Our marine life shapes an sizzling stories kept us endlessly fascinated for days.

What is it really that keeps curious people happier? In our case, we hung new questions on adventures we enjoyed together. All week, we kept activities alive through curiosity rolled into wonder that delighted us all.

Daily, we let go of the mundane in favor of chasing curiosity about what we could dive into together next.  We even hit the bowling alley and then wondered about juicy rewards we’d assign to everybody on our team for any strike one of us landed. Our days leapt back and forth from wondering what it would be like to swim with sharks or dolphins to remarkable stories about activities and curiosity worth chasing together.

Sure, we’ll sometimes smack headlong into our own regrets. We’ll feel the odd pang that follows unattainable ambitions.  And we’ll likely surf a few self-imposed limitations. We cannot claim everyday will stay completely free of monotony, even when we spend our much-loved days together.

But we plan to hold onto curiosity, because we often find ourselves even getting better at it.  Rather than wait for others to make us content. or look for other ways to experience adventure, we keep curiosity as a driver in our lives.

Contentment itself make be a bit over-rated. Some of what we choose and do in a day may require us to let go of happiness and simply settle for what is.


Whenever my grandchildren and I get together though, we’re neither bored nor surprised. We’re simply alive, and looking to the next minute, much like the chef tossed cooking tools and dinner into the air for our teppenyaki dinner. Even an ordinary day finds us tossing in a new question, or leaping to a challenge that amps up our curiosity and reshapes our choices.