This one amazing item is the stuff of legend. Didn’t know that? It is humble and plain, but ever so powerful. Quarried from underground in Louisiana, picked up on the scorching dried lakebeds of the Sahara it is still the same. Essential. Salt is an amazing ingredient in your cooking, a preservative for your next meal, and a nice touch on the rim of your summer beverage. It is actually so important that the French people rose up in rebellion when the tax on it was increased and it threatened their very survival by being too expensive to preserve their food. It was the common commodity of trade, same as gold and slaves, in the historic caravans of the middle east.
It is an interesting thing to note about salt, it never stops being salty. Ever. When salt has “lost its savor” it has become diluted by impurities. Dirt, dust and fillers have caused it to lose its concentration. The only way to “clean” it then is to add water and as it becomes a solution then let evaporation take the salt as part of the vapor, capture it, then let it dry and become clean salt again. Leave the impurity behind and become free to be the salt that it always was. This is called a distilling process.
So too is this, curiosity. There is a sting in our life that starts before birth and continues to our death. The need and desire to explore. To be curious is to live, and to not be curious is to begin to die. There is no cure for curiosity. The cure for boredom is to be curious. You cannot cure curiosity, but you can dilute it. You can squelch it and you can put it on the shelf and never use it. But it is always there. Sometimes when it is seen in others it reminds you of the taste of it in your past, and you feel that twinge of realization that it is gone. This reminds you of how little it is present in your current days. Then enters the troupe of dark feelings of regret, shame, guilt, and anger. But only if you let them. What do they do? They do what you let them do, and they grow as they are fed.
How does curiosity get diluted? It is a million ways and starts with those closest to you. It is most powerful when squelched by those you respect most, need most, and count on most. Colored over, dismissed, rejected, punished for, controlled and ridiculed. The curious are made to conform, comply and stop asking questions. Questions are dangerous and disruptive. You ask them at your own peril and are shamed in school for derailing the class. Your own story is filled with messages of compliance and conformity and you are probably sending those same messages as well. How did all of this take place? How do I know how filled with it I am? How do I get it back?
Here is a third, Freedom. You know it when you taste it. You stand next to someone and it radiates around them and suddenly you are free… You didn’t even know you weren’t, until you tasted it. So, it becomes the litmus test of creativity. How free am I to speak an idea, cut or color my hair, wear some non-compliant outfit, buy a different car or paint the house a different color? How much am I controlled by the opinion of my friends, people of influence and people I don’t even know? These are the measurements of my creative limitations. How free am I to be wrong? Among those I respect, or need to be seen as “valued”? We are all in different places in our lives and different places in our security levels, financially, respectability, peer reviews, and our goals drive much of this, but so does our pain and our “story” and those that allow us to tell it. Much of that which confines and constrains our creativity is able to be left behind, if we will go through the process of distillation. The weeping of the tears will dissolve the ingredients and the heat of the pain will evaporate the vapors of our memories of suppression. And the peace and solitude will allow the salts to become solid, clean and pure again. We become free again.
Lastly, resolve. It is a harsh resolution to stay the course. Either way. To resolve to comply and conform is to grind and dissolve your creativity away and be committed to the path you are taking. To resolve to be free and do the work of creating your own distillery is also a commitment. A commitment to your true self and all that is of merit and value. This is not the rebel freedom of the angry, but the freedom to enjoy the fellowship of the different, the ones that are on the outside of your norm, and yet you are free with them. And they with you. Like magnets you are drawn to them and they respond with a smile of awareness. Your resolve to stay free is emboldened and affirmed and you are buoyed by the “chance” encounter that in reality isn’t chance at all. You were free to engage, and you did.
It is a thing of great work to test your freedom. It is good to have a friend when you do. It may be revealing when you discover with whom you are not free, and why you are committed to staying connected so firmly to them. It can be work, friends, a place, a person of close history or value. The knowledge of their confining, crushing, freedom killing power you have given them can be debilitating to know. It is a sobering realization of time spent, and effort expended. It can be scary to remove yourself, or it can be sad and it will certainly be wrought with pain. It is then that the tears will come. Let them come, it is part of the dissolving that needs to happen. And if I am close, I will taste salt.
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