When Awareness Becomes Curiosity

“What you do with your attention is in the end what you do with your life.”
― John Green

How many times do you have to notice something before you become aware of it? And then, how long does it take for your awareness to become curiosity? I suppose it depends on whether denial is involved – and if this is the case, it can take a long time.

That’s what happened to me. I lived in denial for years and then it shifted to awareness contained by the barriers of fear – the fear of being found out – the fear of being anything less than perfect. Containing the awareness of my need to change and the awareness that I needed help to change was painful and self-destructive. This awareness fueled my alcoholism, anxiety and depression to the point where I was facing a choice to live or die as a miserable, unfulfilled person.

That’s when my curiosity kicked in. I began asking myself questions like this: “What would my life be like if I changed?”; “What would my children and other family members think of me?” “How would I manage?” “Would it be possible to feel happiness again?”; “What would my life be like without alcohol?”

Ultimately, some inner source of strength said, “Enough of this! You’re wasting time with all your fear-based questions – we’re doing this.” I’m still not sure where that voice came from but I suspect it was my healthy self that had been cowering in the deep recesses of my soul – overpowered by my louder, unhealthier self – and in that moment of grace, that healthy self said yes to life and the unknown.

My curious questions became infused with small glimmers of hope. I knew that as I stepped into the unknown, I was already changing unhealthy familial patterns and more would follow – much more.

Curiosity is a strong desire to learn and learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes and preferences. My awareness, which became curiosity, led to learning opportunities that amazed and elated me. Ultimately, this led to the growth of my healthy self as my unhealthy self simultaneously began to shrink. I could actually feel this shift in my body and in my spirit. It felt good. I felt strong and solid. I could feel. For this, I am grateful.


Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.

~ James Cash Penney

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