Stay relentlessly curious.

What would life without curiosity be like?

I know, weird, right? We wouldn’t learn anything. We’d be a bunch of know-it-alls walking around in an apathetic stupor with no joy.

Curiosity makes life so dang interesting. Because it is interesting. We’re interesting. And curiosity lets us see that.

And not just that, curiosity is a tool we can use to mine everything that happens to us for what it can teach us. It helps us see and live life’s guidance.

With all that power, curiosity is our 5th agreement for expanding into our sparkly wholeness:

  • Hold yourself with fierce compassion and safety.
  • Keep things simple, small, and slow.
  • Release what you think you know.
  • Practice and commit.
  • Stay relentlessly curious.

These are the agreements we make with ourselves to remember who we are, already whole. They’re your sneak peek into my new book, Unbroken: Remember Your Wholeness, a manifesto to healing in a world that keeps us sick, suffering, and stuck, available in 2023.

Stay relentlessly curious.

Our final agreement is to stay curious. Relentlessly curious.


Curiosity immediately releases us from all preconceived outcomes because it anchors us to present time. And it’s always asking questions, “what is this, how can I know it better, what does it need, what’s possible here?”

Without curiosity, our stories run the show. “This is my pain, it’s this thing, it’s mine, it’s never going to end, there’s no hope for me.”

Stories are always about the past—what we’ve learned, what we ‘know for sure’—or about the future—what will happen, what is inevitable.

Curiosity transcends all that. It opens us to our unknown possibilities.

Curiosity is such a relief as it releases us from having to know everything. It looks at the same pain and refuses to name it anything at all. When pain becomes a curiosity it’s “oh my, that’s so interesting, feel how it’s kind of pinchy and it comes and goes, I wonder why that is, I wonder what would happen if I …”

See, with curiosity running the show instead of our stories and preconceived notions, there’s an opening for new ways of seeing things.

Curiosity looks at suffering with wonder and openness. It asks, “what are you and what do you need?” Rather than the reductive, “what do we call you, what’s your name, what’s the diagnosis, how do they fix you?”

Beyond all the possibilities that curiosity opens us to, it also creates space between us and everything we notice, even our thoughts. Curiosity shifts us into the position of the observer. As the observer, we get to witness and see things in whole different ways, closer to what they are, and never locked in. We get to see what we may have never seen before. The curious observer is positioned to learn and imagine possibilities. When we already know for sure, we can’t learn, we can’t imagine.

Curiosity gives us immediate agency. Because we’re controlling the narrative. Not only are we not locking into our own narrative, but we’re also not carte blanche accepting ‘theirs.’ We’re always asking questions. Curiosity keeps us running our own show.

So, let’s be curious.

We’ll shift from identifying with our suffering to observing it. Once we can observe it, we can learn and feel other things, like joy. One of my teachers says, “Joy is not the absence of suffering. Joy is the presence of curiosity. It is the presence of discovery.”[1] Discovery is why we’re here. It’s the only path to healing. Relentless curiosity lets us live our healing.



p.s. Here are links to the other 4 agreements:

Hold yourself with fierce compassion and safety.

Keep things simple, small, and slow.

Release what you think you know.

Practice and commit.

p.p.s. Thanks so much for reading! I’ll let you know when Unbroken: Remember Your Wholeness is ready for pre-order!

[1] AH Almaas. Diamond Heart: Elements of the Real in Man, second edition. 2000.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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