Have you watched the Netflix film, My Octopus Teacher? This remarkable documentary is a story of one man’s adventure into curiosity, creativity, focus and analysis. The photography is amazing and the journey into curiosity is inspiring. One can’t help but ponder how did the filmmaker learn to be so curious?
This film captures the story of Craig Foster observing one octopus, in one cove in South Africa and the friendship that unfolds. Foster’s daily free dives led him on journey of observing the octopus hunt for prey and evade her predators.
“But Foster is no detached observer. He also documents his own efforts to understand her world and how that quest led to emotional and intellectual growth. “She taught me humility… She taught me compassion.. She opened my mind to just how complex and precious wild creatures are.””
How did Foster learn to be so curious? Where did he learn to focus his curiosity and analysis skills so intentionally? What motivated him? What can we learn from Foster about the motivators of curiosity?
I reflected on this question for several days and one possible answer emerged in John O’Donohue’s book Beauty: Rediscovering True Sources of Compassion, Serenity and Hope. O’Donohue writes “beauty does not linger, it only visits. Yet, beauty’s visitation affects us and invites us into its rhythm, it calls us to feel, think and act beautifully in the world…Even amidst chaos and disorder, something in the human mind continues still to seek beauty. ”
What object or place calls you from a place of beauty? How could curiosity of beauty open your heart to healing? “When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us and difficulty can begin to seem like an invitation to new growth.”
Perhaps Foster’s motivation for such deep, intense curiosity was the call to beauty. Foster experienced healing and with it, as ODonohue writes “an invitation to new growth”. His curiosity in one beautiful, amazing octopus led him to a place of new growth.
What aspect of nature will invite you into new growth?