Whenever I open a door in the kitchen my cat Mirabel instantly wants to dive in. She does the same thing every time I open my wardrobe door. Suddenly she’s right beside me and, if I’m not quick, she dives in to explore and her cheeky, jaunty tail disappears into the depths.
She is fearless in her exploration and her curiosity seems boundless. She sat on the windowsill this morning watching with rapt attention as the council truck rumbled along the street, picking up the bins and banging them down again. And whenever the printer starts up in my office, she’s suddenly sitting beside it, listening carefully to the whirrings and paying close attention as the paper moves in and then out again.
Is this why they say curiosity killed the cat, because they are so curious? I daresay Mirabel would be far too clever for that outcome.
But her mischievous exploration of unknown frontiers, unexpected opportunities and new activities got me thinking. Mirabel is so very willing to dive through an open door to see what’s on the other side. She simply rocks up and jumps in, without hesitation it seems.
Perhaps we could learn something from that?
So often it feels like we prevaricate about the right thing to do and the sensible thing to do. We are so very cautious when faced with new and unexpected experiences and we seek guarantees before we cross the threshold. We want to know how it will work out later.
‘Will I make a fool of myself?
‘Will I stuff it up?
‘Will he/she/they reject me?
‘What if it doesn’t last?
‘What if I get hurt?
‘What if I’m not good enough?
‘What if I make the wrong choice?
‘What if they laugh at me?’
The questions will scuttle mercilessly through our brains as we (figuratively speaking) hop from one foot to another, trying to make the ‘right’ decision.
Meanwhile, someone like Mirabel has stepped through the open door, explored the interior, learned some stuff, met some people, fallen in love/got a new job/started their dream business/moved to another country, and then found another door to step through.
Yet still you stand in the same place, hoping for something better yet afraid to shift in case you make the ‘wrong move’. You continue to peer through the door, trying desperately to see through the murky darkness to what lies beyond. But you can’t, so you stay where you are.
Needless to say, I like Mirabel’s approach. But it’s sometimes hard to emulate it. Fear frequently grinds my own feet to a halt on the threshold of many doorways. It’s at those moments that I need to remind myself that the greatest changes and achievements in my life have come when I stepped fearlessly forward, despite not knowing where I might end up.
It’s can be a challenge to live fearlessly, to take chances and explore the unknown pathways that beckon us onwards. Some people never attempt it and instead will be content to stay on the safe and well-known side of the doorway.
But I think Mirabel’s approach, with its accompanying adventure, knowledge and curiosity, is the one for me. I just need to master it.