The Game Plays Me
Today an old friend reached out to play a game of chess over the interwebs. I used to play chess often. It is one of my fondest memories, living with a bunch of friends in the inner city of Winnipeg. We ate the best meals and ate on the cheap. We were a house of tree planters, dreamers and intellectuals. We loved to play and to astonish our guests with our epic dinners. The house was put together by my friend Josiah and I. We handpicked the other three men, and set the vision. We also held the vision together until I left Winnipeg to move back to Vancouver.
Anyways, Josiah and I loved to play chess. Every time I play chess, the sense of adventure kicks in. It is an unknown because what comes next can not be predicted. It has been ages since I’ve played. Frankly, I was shocked when a different friend reached out to play. He learned three days ago, and nearly beat me every time. I am so rusty, I could feel my head exploding. Old neural networks were reconnecting. Old pipes turning on. I nearly got beat each game we played. While we played, I observed the most interesting thing. I wasn’t enjoying the game. I was obsessing. Focused on the outcome, judging the moves. His and mine. I drove myself crazy, had to remind myself the game is supposed to be fun.
I started tuning in to the pleasure of the utter randomness of the situation. I began to draw parallels. In my current situation, I am paralyzed. Overwhelmed with the sheer volume of moves on the board. Write a blog post, facebook live. Messaging new and interesting business connections. Setting up meetings. Paying rent. Cleaning my room. Opening to love, running from love. So many things.
As I write, I imagine a minor sense of anxiety arising within you. I know that I am not alone. Your inner world and my inner world share much in common. How often do we stress about making the right move? In love, business and the kitchen!?
Why!!! Why do we stress? Where is the joy and the pleasure?
Who can relate? Everyone reading this obviously. So what happens, why do we stress ourselves out? It’s a simple decision, simple but not easy. I am going to love my life. Every minute of it. Simple to make the decision and difficult to execute. To love every move, to not stress about whether it is right or wrong. By definition, this is mastery. It is the relaxed state of joy and pleasure that comes from complete detachment to the outcome of a situation or set of circumstances. This is the moment when we settle into our genius. When our souls are free to express themselves in the world. The moment when our soul is revealed and we are able to connect as a fully realized, genuine human. We chase mountains, intimate experiences, success and material things to get a false sense of high. Why is it so hard to enjoy the moment? To be immersed in the present moment. Is it because we are lost in thought, or to insecure to be able to enjoy it?
For me, I become anxious about getting it right and getting it wrong. It’s so easy to get swept up in that old game.
The next time I step up to the chess board, I am going to practice loving every move. Immersing myself in the joy and privilege of being human. On this planet. At this time.
And playing a game. Right now, I’m listening to an 80’s playlist and just thought I’d rant a bit. I am signing off and heading to bed. Thanks for playing, and whatever you do next, take a moment to love your next move. I know I will.