Curiosity on the Beach
By Dr. Nancy Levine-Jordano
I find myself curious about curiosity. Curious about when and why my curiosity got shut down, and life turned to the pursuit of certainty, knowing and mastery. I feel a new sadness for what I have foreclosed in my life, and an immense appreciation for this process of Opening. This process: this process of psychoanalysis, of imagining, of belief in unforeseen possibilities. This process of the unconscious, the surprise of discovery, the exploration of ineffable dark currents within. My curiosity is awakening. I wander into familiar spaces with questions, finding new thoughts, feelings, awareness.
I have always loved the ocean. While sitting on a Mexican beach with my friend, in deep conversation of our emotional struggles, we watched the vast and ever changing ocean. We listened to the waves crashing, irregular, without definable patterns. The power of the ocean seemed to mock our struggles for control and confirm our vulnerabilities. My friend was pre-occupied with finding a magic pill to relieve a life-long obsession with his health. I was caught in my ambivalent relationship with the ocean. I imagined the joy of running headlong into the surf, experiencing pleasure in the lightness of my body floating in the deep blue water. At the same time I remained convinced of the lurking shark hungry for my leg, or the rip tide waiting to carry me off to nowhere. Curiosity in that moment was abandoned, there was only the certainty of dread and catastrophe. Later that evening, listening to the changing music of the surf, staring at the infinite, starry sky, my friend and I laughed at our self- absorption.
Perhaps we brood and suffer to assert our existence, feeling more substantial under the weight of anxieties, making life more predictable with fears. Perhaps the ocean called me with a welcoming voice and I only heard the voice of disaster. Perhaps my mother’s lullaby was a joyful song of comfort and I only heard the melody of loss. That is a curious thought.