One of the essentials, when camping with us, is a deck of cards. Kerry and I love playing games, all sorts of games…whilst we are happy to play just the two of us, I do get quite excited when there are other willing participants…for many reasons, I have come to realise. The mere fact that there are a gazillion apps available these days for every tablet and phone, indicates that many of us ‘adults’ experience some sort of feeling when we play. Ever investigated what motivates you to play and reflected on what you “get out of it”? It’s an experiment worth perusing, and can be confrontingly revealing (certainly was for me). Even examining why you DON’T like playing games, for those who avoid them, is worth uncovering.
We often play backgammon, and have experimented with playing lovingly, ethically- it doesn’t always pan out that way mind you, as sometimes we realise we don’t WANT to play lovingly…interesting huh. By this I mean, a majority of games are about attack and defense- strategy to be victorious. So rather than playing an attacking, defensive game, we attempt to just play the game, roll by roll, without targeting the other person in our attempt to move all pieces to home. When I say it doesn’t always work, move by move, roll by roll, sometimes the desire to attack and get ahead by disadvantaging the other player is overwhelming (mmm…that concept seems somewhat familiar in days gone by). The law of attraction plays out, and all these emotions come to the fore: being powerful, superior, successful, vengeful, better than, self gratification, good enough, approved of, clever, out of control, disadvantaged, limited, restricted, attacked, unfair, rebellious, spiteful, unworthy, stupid, inferior…the list goes on. Even playing ethically, you find yourself unable to continue because your stuck off the board and haven’t thrown the correct number that allows you back on, meanwhile the other player keeps rolling doubles and moving, moving closer to the desired goal. Metaphor after metaphor. Insight after insight. If your self reflective, and humble during this, you can discover so much about yourself, that you didn’t even realise was possible. Just by playing a game.
Over the holiday period, I had the opportunity to rifle through the games draw at my parents, and pull out a few old favourites. Mmm a few mixed emotions there, clearly I still don’t like being told what to do, as “Simon Says” went back in the draw. My sister, keenly awaited to see the ‘goodies’ I would bring to the table: junior pictionary; balderdash; cards for ‘frustration’, Panic and one of my all time favorites, Dr. Snuggles Bingo. I loved this cartoon as a kid. I recently discovered it was the first non-violent animation TV series for Children produced in the UK. The optimistic inventor Dr. Snuggles and his animal friends didn’t last long as unfortunately it only ran from 1979-1980.
Now you might be thinking I’ve gone slightly bonkers, playing a simple game for 4 yr old, that requires you to take turns choosing a picture card from the deck, and matching it to one of the 9 picture possibilities on your players board. It’s simplicity was the appeal (and the cool art work from the cartoon). The key with this game is that if you pick up a card, and match it- you continue your turn until no more cards you select match your board. So effectively, based on their law of attraction, a player could reach BINGO, before anyone else gets to have a turn. Wowsers, did that little detail bring up a whole host of “that’s not fair, missing out, I don’t like this game anymore, cos I’m not getting what I want or expect” type feelings in all of us.
Then we played Panic, which involves selecting a card of various categories, where by in a 30 sec time slot, you need to name 3 items. For example: name three things that begin with the letter “H”, or name three cold things, name three things that are associated with beach…you get the idea. Each round the number of items required to name increases by 1 up to a max of 10. This is a kids game. And it’s called panic for a reason! Talk about fear, logic, reason and memory not co-existing at the same time!!!! Hoolidooli- the things that came out of our mouths in response to these questions were hilarious, and bizarre to say the least. I think we all timed out at least once- completely frozen mentally and physically by fear, and then sitting in the pool of ‘stupid’, inadequate, and humiliation. Hearts racing, palms sweating, legs shaking…this kids game brought us to our knees, a few bowing out due to “this is too stressful, I’m getting a headache!”…mmm.
Keen to expose more of the ‘unmasked me’, we carried on with Pictionary- hoping the drawing skills and right brain inclusion might even up the score. Nup! Do you know how hard it is to draw when under the pump of the time clock, and anticipation of the guessing partner??? Well- for a start your hands don’t work very well when stricken with fear; fear of failure, performance anxiety, and potential humiliation and ridicule, if I bomb out and come up with illegible, indecipherable squat! It sounded as though the local footy match was being played in the lounge room.
Next was Balderdash, a bluffing game. There are 5 categories to choose from. A word, A date, A movie title, A person etc. All of which do exist, are true and have occurred sometime in history. Each player is required to create or describe a meaning, plot, or what occurred on that date. Then all the responses are read aloud, including the true one, and everyone chooses the response they feel is the real answer. Many many laughs are to be had, with this game. I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time. Mostly, at myself, when I got called on altering the descriptions as I read them aloud (thinking it would sound more plausible, and less obvious which ones were false) and realized how my “good intentions”, meant I totally disregarded each person and their choice to write what they wrote, and there by potentially altering the outcome ( what if no one chooses their description as ‘real’- because I did not think it sounded real) and I was manipulating the game to what I thought would be “better”. How arrogant is that!! It took kerry pointing it out to me, that I was being totally unloving, not honoring free will of every person playing, not allowing consequences, what ever they may be, for each person, attempting to manage the game, and ‘protect’ the other players chances of a good score ( based on my assessment of what would be good, or fair or even), all under the guise of ‘good intentions’. Wow! How often do I do this in real life?! It hit me like a brick- how did I not see this before!
So, What’s in a game? A LOT!!!! I know it sounds like it was grueling, but actually, it was so much fun! One of the softest ways I’ve found to trigger fear and inadequacy. Exposing all these feelings in me, whilst gobsmacking, was strangely enjoyable. It’s a hard one to describe- so if you wanna know, you’ll have to give it a go, and experience for yourself.
I am in awe of how our soul condition drives our intellect and behavior, especially noticeable when under pressure. A very simple game, can trigger a truck load of addictions, expectations, demands, needs, and emotions- both painful and immensely pleasurable. If we are open to it, through the desire to have fun, and experience joy and pleasure, a revelation can occur. Our version of ‘joy’ and what we are willing to do to feel that feeling, versus God’s version of Joy. I personally feel that games are a doorway to expose the multitude of core emotions we attempt to deny in our adult life everyday, even the pleasurable ones.
There’s a kid in all of us, I reckon- waiting to burst out and express how we are really feeling. And I have just now illustrated what many of us feel- that exuberant joy is reserved only for kids. Not so! I am reminded of a chat with some friends in the spirit world from the other day- they love playing games. And they play often- simply for the indescribable joy that results from playing games. There is no winner, no loser, no competition. So many wonderful games. We are excited for them to share these in the future. They wanted us to be reminded that by nature we are designed to experience and express, though many avenues, infinite amounts of joy. There are no limits to the magnitude of joy and pleasure our Father wishes us to feel- the lack of it, sits solely (souly…he he), with us.
So, just like the sheer joy and excitement, and shrill laughter pouring out of my two year old nephew Cody, as he jumps on the trampoline singing ‘bounce, bounce, bounce’, whilst beckoning with his waving hand for me to come and “bounce bounce” with him- there is an overwhelming joy available to all of us, along with loads of self discovery along the Way.
Up for a game anyone??????