One of the altars at which I worship when I am distracting myself from life is an online game of Backgammon. I love Backgammon for its perfect mix of random luck in the throw of a pair of dice, and the strategic skill needed to use that dice roll to best effect, in the context of the whole game and the current status of the game board. I've noticed lately that how I define a "great" game determines how much I enjoy myself, even in the solitary version of this game where interaction is only with a set of algorithms.
Here's what I've learned: every roll of the dice is a great roll...and I feel confident that I know the exact best way to use that roll on the current game board, IF (and only if) I define a "great game" as something other than a game that I win. If I think that a "great" game is one that makes me think, or one in which luck and skill on both sides are well-balanced and the competition is VERY close, then "great" happens a lot more often. Interestingly, it feels as if I win more often, too!
Games with an element of chance are hard to win more than 50% of the time, so if I only have a great game when I win, then half the time I'm having a lousy game. In other words, if I accept the arbitrary definition of a "good" experience as one in which I win, then I'd be miserable about 50% of the time when playing this game.
What a lesson for the rest of my life! What if, in my life, I simply assumed that every roll of the daily or minute-by-minute dice is not random but perfect for me, even if I can't see why? What if I also assume that I am divinely guided in my choice of strategies for how to implement that dice roll on the current game board? I still might appear to be losing the game a great deal of the time, so how do I define a "great" life, versus a lousy one?
How would this work? If life is a game I am playing for the purpose of learning and evolving, then I can enjoy the game as a whole, no matter what happens. One circumstance in my life was a childhood of sexual abuse. I implemented a lot of strategies to integrate that circumstance; in fact, the 7 Childhood Treasures evolved as one of those strategies, and I now enjoy my sharing of that strategy a great deal. Other rolls have included: scary medical diagnoses and surgeries, marriages, divorces, fun jobs and brutal jobs, deaths of loved ones, others' generosity in times of my need, loving friends.... Each circumstance has been integrated; each has, ultimately, increased my enjoyment of my life...maybe not right away, but eventually.
If I see EACH of these life's circumstances as an opportunity, divinely provided and uniquely designed just for me, to impel my growth and evolve my spirit, then I can see that I have had a great life, all the time...and still am having a great life, even as my mother dies, my new business start-up struggles, and loved ones betray and hurt me.
Even when a life circumstance forces me to make a move that leaves me vulnerable or in pain, when I assume that it is not just a chance roll of the dice, but a perfect window of opportunity for me, and that I'm using it as strategically as I can in the existing set of other circumstances I call life...well, that assumption changes everything! Even when, roll after roll and strategy after strategy, I am getting pounded by more and more circumstances that leave me vulnerable, hurt, betrayed, or without resources, I am able to relax and graciously surrender, assuming that god knows what it's doing.
As soon as I allow my joy, my sense of being okay, to rise and fall with apparent "chance" rises and falls in circumstances then -- you guessed it -- I'll be miserable at least 50% of the time. Frankly, I will be miserable a lot more than half the time, because I'll fail to enjoy most of the apparently "good" circumstance that come along, certain that I am "losing" and those good circumstances are too little or too late to save me...or just irrelevant. In fact, I may fail to notice them at all. What help is a smile on the face of a passing stranger, when I'm in such pain? What use is a prayer for someone's life when her body is clearly shutting down for good?
My frame of reference -- every roll a great roll, and I use it to its best effect -- guarantees me a great experience as I play, whether I play the game board of my life alone or with you. But it only works because I'm open to a different definition of what makes a great game of life. There's no way to win, of course, because we all die in the end. But as soon as I define my game's success as continuous learning and evolving -- rather than as being comfortable in body, owning lots of resources, being intelligent or well-educated, having lots of friends or followers -- then I win all the time. As long as I keep accepting each of life's circumstances as being for my highest and greatest good, no matter what it looks like, then I am winning.
I believe that my ability to define my experience as good -- dare I say perfect? -- and my embrace of my experience as divinely guided for my greatest good, is an integration of the first three of the 7 Childhood Treasures.
If your first seven years of life left you feeling "at effect" -- buffeted by painful and erratic rolls of life's dice -- then this is where we begin your mining of your Childhood Treasures. It's time for you to change this "losing" frame of reference and realize that your life circumstances do not dictate your happiness or your ultimate success.
Remember, it's never too late to claim a productive life full of purpose and joy! Release the struggle and embrace your potential today.
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