March 17th, 2021

Episode #15 of the psychedelic leadership podcast

{Solo} Cultivating Mindsets for Heart-Centered Leadership | Curiosity as a Catalyst for Awakening & Perceiving Possibility

Listen

In this solo episode, Laura Dawn explores the path of the Creative Visionary Bodhisattva and how we can learn to cultivate leadership mindsets that foster resilience, catalyze awakening, perceive possibility where we previously saw limitations, and build bridges between people who stand divided, so we can create a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

If you want to uplevel your life, you need to uplevel your mind and your mindset.

As Einstein says, we can’t solve our problems at the same level of thinking that created them.
And as we face a time of crisis, we are being called to radically uplevel the way we think.

In this solo episode, Laura Dawn explores how you can cultivate mindsets that are critically valuable for leading through this time of change and expanding the boundaries of what you believe is possible.

Laura Dawn shares the narrative of how humanity is in the gap between two worlds and how we can learn to foster resilience through cultivating mindsets like curiosity to catalyze awakening, creative thinking, and heart-centered leadership.

Mindsets like curiosity allow us to perceive possibility where we previously saw limitations, and build bridges between the riffs that keep us divided.

Laura Dawn describes these mindsets within a powerful framework she’s developed called the path of the Creative Visionary Bodhisattva that can act like a companion guide for those on the plant medicine path.

In this episode, Laura Dawn shares powerful questions that you can draw upon to help you cultivate a curiosity mindset, not just for your benefit, but for the healing of humanity.

Full Transcript for Episode #15 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast: Cultivating Mindsets for Heart-Centered Leadership | Curiosity as a Catalyst for Awakening & Perceiving Possibility with Laura Dawn

Intro: My name is Laura Dawn, and you’re listening to episode #15 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast..because what the world needs, is a new kind of leader.

If you want to uplevel your life, you need to uplevel your mind and your mindset.

And we are being called to radically uplevel the way we think right now. We know we are facing crisis on so many fronts, and as Einstein says, we can’t solve our problems at the same level of thinking that created them.

We are being called to think bigger, to expand the boundaries of what we believe is possible. And in order to do that, we need to learn how to fundamentally shift our perception of reality.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this episode, and future solo episodes, tools that you can learn to draw upon so that when you’re facing challenges, you can learn to train your mind to perceive possibility where you previously saw limitation.

And in this way, we teach ourselves how to leverage our challenges, road blocks, and difficulties we encounter in our daily lives, and we have no shortage of those, and we learn to transmute them into stepping stones towards our awakening.

Sure, we can toss around this word awakening, especially in the spiritual communities, but awakening is simply the process of thinking bigger.

That’s what the definition of awakening is: it’s defined as:

To make someone aware of (something) for the first time.

And so from my perspective, the process of awakening is inherently creative, we’re connecting dots in a new way to reveal novel insights that prove to be valuable and useful.

So this process of training our minds, high level mindset training, this is the kind of work I do with my one-on-one clients, at my retreats and this is the kind of content I teach in my 3-month Microdosing Mastermind programs, next one is coming up June, July and August and I’ll share more about that program at the very end of this episode before I leave you with a song from Yaima, musicians that I love that I also include in my free 8-hour playlist for psychedelic journeys and beyond, and you can swipe that on my website at livefreelaurad.com where you can also swipe my free 8-day microdosing course.

And so this is what I consider to be like Legit, advanced Jedi training for the 21st century, especially for people who feel the call to cultivate heart-centered leadership and influence real change.

In this and the next few solo episodes, we’re going to talk mindset, because as I said, up-leveling your life is a mindset and you can learn to cultivate it.

And so I want to talk about mindset within a framework I’ve created called the path of the Creative Visionary Bodhisattva. And actually it’s not so much that I developed this as this framework has developed and shaped me. And although I find it to be like a companion guide for people on the plant medicine path, I think anyone can benefit from it.

So before we talk mindset, let’s just briefly touch on what this mean? What is the path of the Creative Visionary Bodhisattva?

I’ll start with Bodhisattva.

There are a large body of teachings that originate from the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, that offer wisdom surrounding the path of the bodhisattva, which can loosely be translated to the way of the compassionate warrior.

It’s a path that inspires us to awaken to help others awaken on the planet and to heal our own suffering with the intention of relieving the suffering of others.

And there’s so much I could say about these teachings that have profoundly touched my life, and I’ve been studying this path for about 15 years now, primarily through Pema Chodron’s work and her Teacher Chogyam Trungpa and these teachings have offered me an incredibly valuable psychedelic roadmap not only for psychedelic journeys but for the space in between, primarily for integration.

But what I will say is that it takes a lot of courage to walk this path. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart.

So this is a path for warriors of the heart. And this is exactly the kind of leadership I’m pointing to and these teachings can also help us embody a mindset that allows us to lead with our hearts.

And so we’re talking about the path of the creative visionary bodhisattva.

So the path of the visionary is someone who trains in understanding the power of their own mind. Essentially, a visionary is someone who can think bigger than what we see in this 3D reality, we think bigger than our circumstances and bigger than ourselves.

And this in a way, is really an essential component of codifying breakthrough, because we have to reach for and move beyond who we believe ourselves to be. And we’ll talk more about that.

And then why creative? Why Creative Visionary Bodhisattva?

As I like to say, keep your eye to the sky, but give it birth to the earth.

Creativity is our capacity to transmute our ideas into reality.

As Chase Jarvis says, founder of Creative Live: “Creativity is the ability to make your ideas
manifest in the world” and I already linked this to the path of awakening which is the path towards thinking bigger.

And as some of you already know, I’m really passionate about shifting the cultural narrative around creativity, and I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now, but I’ll say that we are creative by definition of being alive. And to me, there’s nothing more mystical and awe-inspiring than holding a vision of what’s possible and then transmuting that vision into reality.

And when you hold a vision that truly expands the boundaries of what you believe is possible, then guess what, you embark on the journey of becoming the person who can make that vision a reality.

And I mean that literally, you need to train your body, your nervous system, your heart and your mind, your biology and physiology to become the person who can step out and lead the retreat you’ve been dreaming about, write the book, build the home, launch the business.
And I’m going to expand on this specific topic in my next solo episode.

But this is the kind of advanced Jedi training I’m talking about.

And our bodies are a conduit, a channel that allows us to make our visions a reality, and to take it one step further, you can create your entire life to be a launchpad for inspired creation that contributes in some shape or form to humanity’s awakening.

Ok so why do I think it’s imperative to be learning and teaching about the path of the Creative Visionary Boddhisattva?

Well, I really set the stage for this is my first solo episode, which was episode #4, so if you haven’t yet listened to it, I encourage you to go back and tune in, although it’s not necessary to receive benefit through what I’m sharing here.

And that episode certainly has some threads of influence from thought-leader Charles Eisenstein who I had the honor of interviewing for this podcast that I released last week, which was episode #14.

And because we learn through story, through metaphors and analogies. I’ll just paint a brief picture. And if you want to skip ahead to get to mindset, coming up soon, go for it, but I encourage you to really listen and pay attention to the narratives being shared here, because stories influence our reality and if we want to live in a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible, as Charles Eisenstein would say, we need to become the story tellers of a better future.

So imagine a massive canyon with a wide valley bottom floor. And this is no longer that moment of standing on the precipice, humanity was on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the expanse of the Great Unknown, but then the earth began to shake under our feet and we were thrust down a narrow pathway, and we have now almost hit rock bottom.

And you can see the other side of the canyon, but it’s way off in the distance.

Some people will spend the rest of their lives desperately trying to climb back up the side, but it will prove to be futile.

The rest of us know the only way out is through. And this place we find ourselves in, is the gap between two worlds. And this gap is our training ground.

Because there are tsunamis that flood this valley, and other extreme weather patterns, and the path ahead of us will be long and challenging, so we need to learn how to surf these tidal waves of change and we need to equip ourselves with the right tools, as I mentioned in episode #4,
We need to pack light, so in addition to plant medicines, some of these tools include mindsets, heartsets and skillsets to help us make it through.

And there are many paths people will take to the other side, but the path of the creative visionary bodhisattva is the path of heart-centered leadership, it’s the path of supporting, inspiring and encouraging others to make it through this time of upheaval so we can birth a more harmonious chapter of human history.

So for the rest of this episode, let’s talk about one powerful mindset we can all learn to cultivate.

And that’s the mindset of curiosity.

Now before you discount curiosity as insignificant, trivial or unimportant, or if you’re thinking to yourself “I’m already a curious person, I don’t think I need to hear this” then you just might need to cultivate a curious mindset more than you realize.

If you’re someone who wants to influence real change, then stick with me here, because curiosity is a powerful leadership mindset, and it’s indispensable mindset for navigating through these incredibly rapid times of change.

Curiosity also plays a large role in what’s defined as a creative mindset. And just as a side note, creative thinking is being called the #1 most important skillset ––which it’s actually really a mindset–– we can learn to cultivate for the 21st century, according to 1500 of the world’s top CEO’s.

So just briefly, let’s define mindset. Think of a mindset as a mental lens. And this lens dictates what information you take in and use to navigate the situations you encounter, and this lens influences our attitude towards life, towards others other people, and ourselves.

So for many people, that lens is fixed, and so the training becomes learning how to become more fluid and flexible with our thinking, our perceptions and state of mind.

So think of curiosity as a mindset, that’s like a tool, a cognitive tool, and you train yourself to reach for it, you approach a new situation and it’s boom, you know you can grab that particular lens which can help shift your perceptual frame of reference.

And I spoke about this in the last solo episode #8, where I shared a little bit more about how we tend to habitually pay attention to the same data or information over and over again.

So in any given moment, we’re exposed to about a billion bits of information and we only process a small fraction of that, and so what determines what we process? We look for information that’s going to confirm what we already know to be true. From a neuroscience perspective, this is how we stay stuck, repeating old behavioral patterns, thought patterns, behavioral patterns, and otherwise.

But when you understand the way your mind works and its limitations, then you can also leverage this self-knowledge and self-awareness to get unstuck, to reach for a new thought, to think differently.

So when we are on the precipice of the Great Unknown, whether we are facing a time of upheaval or big transition in our personal or professional lives, or whether we’re facing the expanse of the great unknown in a psychedelic journey, or a state of mind that can feel suffocating like depression, curiosity is a kind friend and supportive ally.

As Pema Chodron says: “A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.”

So there’s a couple of things I’ll say about this. When we choose curiosity over fear, we’re training our nervous systems to relax and stay calm in the face of change. And this is like the advanced Jedi training I’m talking about. And it’s how we cultivate resilience.

So we train ourselves to choose curiosity over fear. And it’s not that we don’t acknowledge the fear or allow space for fear to be present with us, we just allow curiosity to be the greater driving force.

And so instead of contracting and cutting ourselves off from other people or retracting from living our lives because we’re afraid, we’re maintaining an open attitude to whatever arises. And this is the path of the Creative Visionary Bodhisattva. And in this way, curiosity softens the heart and also relaxes the mind, and teaches our body how to upgrade our nervous systems.

Pema also has this quote that says “the spiritual path is a path of going from a narrow way of viewing reality, to a more open, flexible way of viewing reality.”

Which is similar to what I said earlier about awakening being inherently creative. And of course what I find so interesting that the personality trait known as openness lends itself to creative thinking and, research now shows that one journey with psilocybin can shift our personality towards a greater sense of openness to experience, which, just to come full circle, the spiritual path is a path of going from a narrow way of viewing reality to a more open, flexible way of viewing reality.

There are so many dots to connect here, and of course I go much deeper into all of this in my programs, but essentially curiosity is the doorway into new possibilities.
It’s reaching out a hand inviting us to expand what we believe is possible.

Curiosity allows something that was hidden, invisible or outside of our perceptual field of awareness to step into the light, to reveal itself, and that is the definition of awakening.

Curiosity can also be an ally for illuminating darker spaces within ourselves. Curiosity allows us to stay open in the face of suffering. I mentioned depression earlier. We can learn to reach for curiosity to help us get out from under the weight of self shame. And it was actually through a depression that I was going through that I found Pema and her teachings. And I’ll never forget the moment I heard her talk about her teacher, Choyum Trungpa who is no longer alive, so she was relaying the story of a conversation she had with him. And Chogyum was listening to someone talk about their experience with depression and they were describing how it felt, like being in a small dark room that felt suffocating, where it’s your just going round and round with Self, with your own mind, and he was listening to them speak, and then said, oh yes, I know that place, and then he paused, and then he said, oh it’s so alive, it’s so juicy, there’s so much there to explore. And he encouraged the person to get curious about what’s there and try to have a direct experience of it, without calling it bad.

As Krishnamurti says: “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence”

And it was in that moment that my relationship with depression forever changed. And it’s not to say I don’t experience depression anymore, but I choose curiosity of shame, shaming myself for feeling bad.

Curiosity creates space. Space to breath, space to explore, open and expand.
There’s more freedom to move in those spaces, rather than contracting and shutting down and feeling suffocated by our grip over reality.

And so in all of these situations, we can learn to lean into curiosity by asking what I call higher reaching questions.

And as we know, words create our reality. Start weaving it into your vocabulary.

I’m curious what you’re here to show me?
I’m curious what you’re here to offer me in terms of wisdom?
What can I receive from this experience that will allow me to help someone else?
I’m curious what would happen if…that’s a great question starter.
I’m curious what would happen if I opened to this feeling right now?
I’m curious what would happen if I let go of the story of fear and connected to the underlying energy in my body.

I’m curious what would happen if I allowed my body to relax into this feeling right now?

Another favorite question that I ask every day is:
What else is possible here?

Another one is:
Who would I be without this thought? Of course, this comes from another favorite spiritual teacher Byron Katie.

I wonder who I would be if I let go of my fear of failure, fear of not being good enough?
I wonder who I would be without my story?
Or I wonder who I would be if I felt the fear and did it anyways?

These are all great questions you can draw upon that help you pick up the mental lens, the mindset of curiosity.

And this is not about adopting mindsets that just serve us, serve our benefit or gain.

And another area I think is so important to speak to is that curiosity builds bridges between people, it breaks down walls and barriers that keeps people divided.

Just consider what kind of reality we’d be living in if everyone really embodied the mindset of curiosity. I mean, we absolutely wouldn’t be witnessing the level of division and polarization between the left and the right, this side and that side, that is tearing apart families and friends, communities and cultures.

Curiosity is the bridge that allows us to find the common ground we all stand on.
It allows us to reach out our hands to make a connection with someone rather than push them away. Curiosity creates space for differences to be OK.

And this is the foundation of the kind of heart-centered leadership we need right now.

So again, when you find yourself in challenging situations, start weaving it into your vocabulary:

I’m curious about..
How you feel about this?
I’m curious what led you to this conclusion?
Tell me more about that?
I’m curious how we can find resolution here?
I’m curious how we can find healing here?
What would kindness do here? How would love lead?

I’m curious if you’re open to explore this possibility with me?
I’m curious what would happen if I put down the armor? And the defenses?
Who would I be then? (Helps us let go of our solid sense of self)

Like curiosity, questions are also the gateway into possibility.
And I believe a future built on the foundation of sustainability and equality and connection is possible.

So get out and go out of your way to talk to different people. When you walk into a room, the person you have that knee-jerk reaction to avoid, go talk to them. If you get triggered, pay attention to that, get curious about what’s triggering you, and maybe go back and listening to episode #8 titled truth, triggers and getting right with yourself. Just sayin’.

Other suggestions to foster curiosity: Read broadly, start paying attention to the subtlety of where curiosity is opening a door, inviting you in. Pay attention to that.

And it’s always good to shake things up a bit, do things differently. Go to new places if you can, and ask lots of questions.

I love this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert that says: “I’ve never met an interesting person who wasn’t an interested person.”

Get interested in the people and world around you.”

And actually a great podcast episode that I highly recommend, that would be such a great compliment to this episode is an interview that Elizabeth Gilbert did with Krista Tippet called Choosing Curiosity over Fear on the On Being podcast, which is a favorite. And I’ll include that in the shownotes.

And if you’re interested in my next 3-month group coaching program called Microdosing Mastermind for entrepreneurs, thought leaders, creators, pro-athlete and executives who want to cultivate, embody and walk the path heart-centered leadership to influence change, next one is happening June, July and August.

And it’s learning how to leverage a mindful microdosing practice, as one tool amongst many to learn how to cultivate an inner vision and become the person who can transmute that vision into reality. And this program weaves together a variety of modalities, including mindset coaching, somatic coaching, resilience training, creative problem solving which is an incredibly valuable skillset to cultivate for navigating the volatility and complexity of our times, neuroscience, psychedelic research, the science of flow states, with the wisdom of eastern philosophy. And this program will help you cultivate daily practices, like meditation and movement, breath work and cold pluges, that help you get out of your own way, tap into flow, and literally design and construct your life to become a launchpad for inspired action.

And I’m weaving in some phenomenal guest speakers into this program as well as weekly integration calls where we can all be supporting and learning from each other. And so this program is for advanced microdosing practitioners, and if you’d like to join, but are new to microdosing, you will need to complete a pre-requisite course to apply for the microdosing mastermind.

May we learn to befriend curiosity as an ally on our paths of transformation. And may it catalyze our healing, growth and awakening.

Full Transcript for Episode #15 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast: Cultivating Mindsets for Heart-Centered Leadership | Curiosity as a Catalyst for Awakening & Perceiving Possibility with Laura Dawn

Intro: My name is Laura Dawn, and you’re listening to episode #15 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast..because what the world needs, is a new kind of leader.

If you want to uplevel your life, you need to uplevel your mind and your mindset.

And we are being called to radically uplevel the way we think right now. We know we are facing crisis on so many fronts, and as Einstein says, we can’t solve our problems at the same level of thinking that created them.

We are being called to think bigger, to expand the boundaries of what we believe is possible. And in order to do that, we need to learn how to fundamentally shift our perception of reality.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this episode, and future solo episodes, tools that you can learn to draw upon so that when you’re facing challenges, you can learn to train your mind to perceive possibility where you previously saw limitation.

And in this way, we teach ourselves how to leverage our challenges, road blocks, and difficulties we encounter in our daily lives, and we have no shortage of those, and we learn to transmute them into stepping stones towards our awakening.

Sure, we can toss around this word awakening, especially in the spiritual communities, but awakening is simply the process of thinking bigger.

That’s what the definition of awakening is: it’s defined as:

To make someone aware of (something) for the first time.

And so from my perspective, the process of awakening is inherently creative, we’re connecting dots in a new way to reveal novel insights that prove to be valuable and useful.

So this process of training our minds, high level mindset training, this is the kind of work I do with my one-on-one clients, at my retreats and this is the kind of content I teach in my 3-month Microdosing Mastermind programs, next one is coming up June, July and August and I’ll share more about that program at the very end of this episode before I leave you with a song from Yaima, musicians that I love that I also include in my free 8-hour playlist for psychedelic journeys and beyond, and you can swipe that on my website at livefreelaurad.com where you can also swipe my free 8-day microdosing course.

And so this is what I consider to be like Legit, advanced Jedi training for the 21st century, especially for people who feel the call to cultivate heart-centered leadership and influence real change.

In this and the next few solo episodes, we’re going to talk mindset, because as I said, up-leveling your life is a mindset and you can learn to cultivate it.

And so I want to talk about mindset within a framework I’ve created called the path of the Creative Visionary Bodhisattva. And actually it’s not so much that I developed this as this framework has developed and shaped me. And although I find it to be like a companion guide for people on the plant medicine path, I think anyone can benefit from it.

So before we talk mindset, let’s just briefly touch on what this mean? What is the path of the Creative Visionary Bodhisattva?

I’ll start with Bodhisattva.

There are a large body of teachings that originate from the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, that offer wisdom surrounding the path of the bodhisattva, which can loosely be translated to the way of the compassionate warrior.

It’s a path that inspires us to awaken to help others awaken on the planet and to heal our own suffering with the intention of relieving the suffering of others.

And there’s so much I could say about these teachings that have profoundly touched my life, and I’ve been studying this path for about 15 years now, primarily through Pema Chodron’s work and her Teacher Chogyam Trungpa and these teachings have offered me an incredibly valuable psychedelic roadmap not only for psychedelic journeys but for the space in between, primarily for integration.

But what I will say is that it takes a lot of courage to walk this path. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart.

So this is a path for warriors of the heart. And this is exactly the kind of leadership I’m pointing to and these teachings can also help us embody a mindset that allows us to lead with our hearts.

And so we’re talking about the path of the creative visionary bodhisattva.

So the path of the visionary is someone who trains in understanding the power of their own mind. Essentially, a visionary is someone who can think bigger than what we see in this 3D reality, we think bigger than our circumstances and bigger than ourselves.

And this in a way, is really an essential component of codifying breakthrough, because we have to reach for and move beyond who we believe ourselves to be. And we’ll talk more about that.

And then why creative? Why Creative Visionary Bodhisattva?

As I like to say, keep your eye to the sky, but give it birth to the earth.

Creativity is our capacity to transmute our ideas into reality.

As Chase Jarvis says, founder of Creative Live: “Creativity is the ability to make your ideas
manifest in the world” and I already linked this to the path of awakening which is the path towards thinking bigger.

And as some of you already know, I’m really passionate about shifting the cultural narrative around creativity, and I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now, but I’ll say that we are creative by definition of being alive. And to me, there’s nothing more mystical and awe-inspiring than holding a vision of what’s possible and then transmuting that vision into reality.

And when you hold a vision that truly expands the boundaries of what you believe is possible, then guess what, you embark on the journey of becoming the person who can make that vision a reality.

And I mean that literally, you need to train your body, your nervous system, your heart and your mind, your biology and physiology to become the person who can step out and lead the retreat you’ve been dreaming about, write the book, build the home, launch the business.
And I’m going to expand on this specific topic in my next solo episode.

But this is the kind of advanced Jedi training I’m talking about.

And our bodies are a conduit, a channel that allows us to make our visions a reality, and to take it one step further, you can create your entire life to be a launchpad for inspired creation that contributes in some shape or form to humanity’s awakening.

Ok so why do I think it’s imperative to be learning and teaching about the path of the Creative Visionary Boddhisattva?

Well, I really set the stage for this is my first solo episode, which was episode #4, so if you haven’t yet listened to it, I encourage you to go back and tune in, although it’s not necessary to receive benefit through what I’m sharing here.

And that episode certainly has some threads of influence from thought-leader Charles Eisenstein who I had the honor of interviewing for this podcast that I released last week, which was episode #14.

And because we learn through story, through metaphors and analogies. I’ll just paint a brief picture. And if you want to skip ahead to get to mindset, coming up soon, go for it, but I encourage you to really listen and pay attention to the narratives being shared here, because stories influence our reality and if we want to live in a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible, as Charles Eisenstein would say, we need to become the story tellers of a better future.

So imagine a massive canyon with a wide valley bottom floor. And this is no longer that moment of standing on the precipice, humanity was on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the expanse of the Great Unknown, but then the earth began to shake under our feet and we were thrust down a narrow pathway, and we have now almost hit rock bottom.

And you can see the other side of the canyon, but it’s way off in the distance.

Some people will spend the rest of their lives desperately trying to climb back up the side, but it will prove to be futile.

The rest of us know the only way out is through. And this place we find ourselves in, is the gap between two worlds. And this gap is our training ground.

Because there are tsunamis that flood this valley, and other extreme weather patterns, and the path ahead of us will be long and challenging, so we need to learn how to surf these tidal waves of change and we need to equip ourselves with the right tools, as I mentioned in episode #4,
We need to pack light, so in addition to plant medicines, some of these tools include mindsets, heartsets and skillsets to help us make it through.

And there are many paths people will take to the other side, but the path of the creative visionary bodhisattva is the path of heart-centered leadership, it’s the path of supporting, inspiring and encouraging others to make it through this time of upheaval so we can birth a more harmonious chapter of human history.

So for the rest of this episode, let’s talk about one powerful mindset we can all learn to cultivate.

And that’s the mindset of curiosity.

Now before you discount curiosity as insignificant, trivial or unimportant, or if you’re thinking to yourself “I’m already a curious person, I don’t think I need to hear this” then you just might need to cultivate a curious mindset more than you realize.

If you’re someone who wants to influence real change, then stick with me here, because curiosity is a powerful leadership mindset, and it’s indispensable mindset for navigating through these incredibly rapid times of change.

Curiosity also plays a large role in what’s defined as a creative mindset. And just as a side note, creative thinking is being called the #1 most important skillset ––which it’s actually really a mindset–– we can learn to cultivate for the 21st century, according to 1500 of the world’s top CEO’s.

So just briefly, let’s define mindset. Think of a mindset as a mental lens. And this lens dictates what information you take in and use to navigate the situations you encounter, and this lens influences our attitude towards life, towards others other people, and ourselves.

So for many people, that lens is fixed, and so the training becomes learning how to become more fluid and flexible with our thinking, our perceptions and state of mind.

So think of curiosity as a mindset, that’s like a tool, a cognitive tool, and you train yourself to reach for it, you approach a new situation and it’s boom, you know you can grab that particular lens which can help shift your perceptual frame of reference.

And I spoke about this in the last solo episode #8, where I shared a little bit more about how we tend to habitually pay attention to the same data or information over and over again.

So in any given moment, we’re exposed to about a billion bits of information and we only process a small fraction of that, and so what determines what we process? We look for information that’s going to confirm what we already know to be true. From a neuroscience perspective, this is how we stay stuck, repeating old behavioral patterns, thought patterns, behavioral patterns, and otherwise.

But when you understand the way your mind works and its limitations, then you can also leverage this self-knowledge and self-awareness to get unstuck, to reach for a new thought, to think differently.

So when we are on the precipice of the Great Unknown, whether we are facing a time of upheaval or big transition in our personal or professional lives, or whether we’re facing the expanse of the great unknown in a psychedelic journey, or a state of mind that can feel suffocating like depression, curiosity is a kind friend and supportive ally.

As Pema Chodron says: “A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.”

So there’s a couple of things I’ll say about this. When we choose curiosity over fear, we’re training our nervous systems to relax and stay calm in the face of change. And this is like the advanced Jedi training I’m talking about. And it’s how we cultivate resilience.

So we train ourselves to choose curiosity over fear. And it’s not that we don’t acknowledge the fear or allow space for fear to be present with us, we just allow curiosity to be the greater driving force.

And so instead of contracting and cutting ourselves off from other people or retracting from living our lives because we’re afraid, we’re maintaining an open attitude to whatever arises. And this is the path of the Creative Visionary Bodhisattva. And in this way, curiosity softens the heart and also relaxes the mind, and teaches our body how to upgrade our nervous systems.

Pema also has this quote that says “the spiritual path is a path of going from a narrow way of viewing reality, to a more open, flexible way of viewing reality.”

Which is similar to what I said earlier about awakening being inherently creative. And of course what I find so interesting that the personality trait known as openness lends itself to creative thinking and, research now shows that one journey with psilocybin can shift our personality towards a greater sense of openness to experience, which, just to come full circle, the spiritual path is a path of going from a narrow way of viewing reality to a more open, flexible way of viewing reality.

There are so many dots to connect here, and of course I go much deeper into all of this in my programs, but essentially curiosity is the doorway into new possibilities.
It’s reaching out a hand inviting us to expand what we believe is possible.

Curiosity allows something that was hidden, invisible or outside of our perceptual field of awareness to step into the light, to reveal itself, and that is the definition of awakening.

Curiosity can also be an ally for illuminating darker spaces within ourselves. Curiosity allows us to stay open in the face of suffering. I mentioned depression earlier. We can learn to reach for curiosity to help us get out from under the weight of self shame. And it was actually through a depression that I was going through that I found Pema and her teachings. And I’ll never forget the moment I heard her talk about her teacher, Choyum Trungpa who is no longer alive, so she was relaying the story of a conversation she had with him. And Chogyum was listening to someone talk about their experience with depression and they were describing how it felt, like being in a small dark room that felt suffocating, where it’s your just going round and round with Self, with your own mind, and he was listening to them speak, and then said, oh yes, I know that place, and then he paused, and then he said, oh it’s so alive, it’s so juicy, there’s so much there to explore. And he encouraged the person to get curious about what’s there and try to have a direct experience of it, without calling it bad.

As Krishnamurti says: “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence”

And it was in that moment that my relationship with depression forever changed. And it’s not to say I don’t experience depression anymore, but I choose curiosity of shame, shaming myself for feeling bad.

Curiosity creates space. Space to breath, space to explore, open and expand.
There’s more freedom to move in those spaces, rather than contracting and shutting down and feeling suffocated by our grip over reality.

And so in all of these situations, we can learn to lean into curiosity by asking what I call higher reaching questions.

And as we know, words create our reality. Start weaving it into your vocabulary.

I’m curious what you’re here to show me?
I’m curious what you’re here to offer me in terms of wisdom?
What can I receive from this experience that will allow me to help someone else?
I’m curious what would happen if…that’s a great question starter.
I’m curious what would happen if I opened to this feeling right now?
I’m curious what would happen if I let go of the story of fear and connected to the underlying energy in my body.

I’m curious what would happen if I allowed my body to relax into this feeling right now?

Another favorite question that I ask every day is:
What else is possible here?

Another one is:
Who would I be without this thought? Of course, this comes from another favorite spiritual teacher Byron Katie.

I wonder who I would be if I let go of my fear of failure, fear of not being good enough?
I wonder who I would be without my story?
Or I wonder who I would be if I felt the fear and did it anyways?

These are all great questions you can draw upon that help you pick up the mental lens, the mindset of curiosity.

And this is not about adopting mindsets that just serve us, serve our benefit or gain.

And another area I think is so important to speak to is that curiosity builds bridges between people, it breaks down walls and barriers that keeps people divided.

Just consider what kind of reality we’d be living in if everyone really embodied the mindset of curiosity. I mean, we absolutely wouldn’t be witnessing the level of division and polarization between the left and the right, this side and that side, that is tearing apart families and friends, communities and cultures.

Curiosity is the bridge that allows us to find the common ground we all stand on.
It allows us to reach out our hands to make a connection with someone rather than push them away. Curiosity creates space for differences to be OK.

And this is the foundation of the kind of heart-centered leadership we need right now.

So again, when you find yourself in challenging situations, start weaving it into your vocabulary:

I’m curious about..
How you feel about this?
I’m curious what led you to this conclusion?
Tell me more about that?
I’m curious how we can find resolution here?
I’m curious how we can find healing here?
What would kindness do here? How would love lead?

I’m curious if you’re open to explore this possibility with me?
I’m curious what would happen if I put down the armor? And the defenses?
Who would I be then? (Helps us let go of our solid sense of self)

Like curiosity, questions are also the gateway into possibility.
And I believe a future built on the foundation of sustainability and equality and connection is possible.

So get out and go out of your way to talk to different people. When you walk into a room, the person you have that knee-jerk reaction to avoid, go talk to them. If you get triggered, pay attention to that, get curious about what’s triggering you, and maybe go back and listening to episode #8 titled truth, triggers and getting right with yourself. Just sayin’.

Other suggestions to foster curiosity: Read broadly, start paying attention to the subtlety of where curiosity is opening a door, inviting you in. Pay attention to that.

And it’s always good to shake things up a bit, do things differently. Go to new places if you can, and ask lots of questions.

I love this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert that says: “I’ve never met an interesting person who wasn’t an interested person.”

Get interested in the people and world around you.”

And actually a great podcast episode that I highly recommend, that would be such a great compliment to this episode is an interview that Elizabeth Gilbert did with Krista Tippet called Choosing Curiosity over Fear on the On Being podcast, which is a favorite. And I’ll include that in the shownotes.

And if you’re interested in my next 3-month group coaching program called Microdosing Mastermind for entrepreneurs, thought leaders, creators, pro-athlete and executives who want to cultivate, embody and walk the path heart-centered leadership to influence change, next one is happening June, July and August.

And it’s learning how to leverage a mindful microdosing practice, as one tool amongst many to learn how to cultivate an inner vision and become the person who can transmute that vision into reality. And this program weaves together a variety of modalities, including mindset coaching, somatic coaching, resilience training, creative problem solving which is an incredibly valuable skillset to cultivate for navigating the volatility and complexity of our times, neuroscience, psychedelic research, the science of flow states, with the wisdom of eastern philosophy. And this program will help you cultivate daily practices, like meditation and movement, breath work and cold pluges, that help you get out of your own way, tap into flow, and literally design and construct your life to become a launchpad for inspired action.

And I’m weaving in some phenomenal guest speakers into this program as well as weekly integration calls where we can all be supporting and learning from each other. And so this program is for advanced microdosing practitioners, and if you’d like to join, but are new to microdosing, you will need to complete a pre-requisite course to apply for the microdosing mastermind.

May we learn to befriend curiosity as an ally on our paths of transformation. And may it catalyze our healing, growth and awakening.

Laura Dawn Biography

Microdosing mentor, visionary life coach and business consultant, author, and international speaker, Laura Dawn has been leading transformational retreats for over 10 years. She teaches business leaders, entrepreneurs, and change-makers how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation and creative manifestation, inspiring you to embark on the path of heart-centered leadership to influence real change. LD is pursuing a Masters in Science specializing in Creativity Studies & Change Leadership, exploring the intersection between psychedelics and creative problem-solving to unlock innovative solutions to the complex challenges we collectively face.

Links

Featured Music

Episode #15 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called Open by Mary Isis.

Useful Resources

Quotes Referenced

  • “We can’t solve our problems at the same level of thinking that created them.” ~ Einstein 
  • “Creativity is the ability to make your ideas manifest in the world.” ~ Chase Jarvis says, founder of Creative Live
  • “A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.” ~ Pema Chödrön
  • “The spiritual path is a path of going from a narrow way of viewing reality, to a more open, flexible way of viewing reality.”  ~Pema Chödrön
  • “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence” ~ Krishnamurti
  • I’ve never met an interesting person who wasn’t an interested person.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert 

Other Resources Mentioned

Listen to “Choosing Curiosity Over Fear” from the On Being Podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert and Krista Tippet

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