Life is a Video Game!
learning valuable life lessons while playing with my teenage son

Seems kind of silly to say 'Life is a Video Game', but...

(Note: When I first wrote this a number of years ago, our family was going through a challenging time financially...)

We flip houses, and the most recent has languished on the market without any action for almost three months. Needless to say, our funds are depleted.

However, even though this is very trying, there is a sense that a purpose is being served--we're trying to get it.  We are holding onto our faith in Divine Order and affirming the outcome is for our highest good.

In keeping with my intention to reap the good, I have been engaged with a lot of soul searching.  Today, I recognized that I tend to move away from uncomfortable feelings and sensations attempting to replace them with an affirmation, ignoring them, or distracting myself with coffee, or...

This morning, I was reading Anodea Judith's book 'Creating On Purpose', and very close to the beginning of the book she (with her co-writer) has a discussion about feeling your feelings deeply and in the present.  I was tempted to skip ahead to the 'good part' about creating--I want to learn how to make my dreams come true.  I guess the bit I read about how 'discipline' is needed in order to have the manifestation of what we intend--got its hook into me.  I decided to exercise a little discipline and read the next page and the next... my meditation I had a little visit with my feelings about our current situation.  I recognized shame, failure, despair, overwhelm, and way down deep I saw my little sweet self barricaded in with all sorts of coping mechanisms I have used to not feel what I am really feeling.  I want to manifest a big juicy life so I fear that if I entertain these so-called 'negative' emotions then I will attract more of the same.  Don't want that, so plaster another coating of denial over them, say a little affirmation, and get back to attracting what I want.  But those emotions gotta move.  Just because I don't invite them to dinner doesn't mean that they aren't hanging around.  They are sitting there festering away waiting for some attention so they can get a move-on.

Life is a Video Game - Learned from my Teenager

My middle child, my 17-year-old son, has recently talked me into playing video games with him a little bit each day.  I don't recall how he ever got me to commit to this this time around, because he has asked me so many times before.  I was always too busy, and to be frank I just didn't get it.  This time however, I agreed.  Maybe because he will be headed off to college under a year from now, maybe because I have been shucking a bunch of obligations that had me way too over-extended, and maybe it was just time to say ok to a half-hour a day playing.  Well, was I ever in for a surprise!  I am having a blast.

One of the games we are playing is Mine Craft.  You create a virtual world.  You can cut down trees (and replant), build a house, you can decorate, you can grow a flourishing garden, raise cows and chickens, all with a click of your mouse and manipulation of keys on the keyboard.  My kind of world!!

Life is a Video Game - You Can Make Choices

You can also decide whether you want a world that is completely peaceful, or moderately adversarial, or way more intense.  In order to have it be engaging for my son who is an expert game-player and tame enough for his newbie mom, the setting we play is the moderate version in 'easy' mode.

Life is a Video Game - Acquiring Self-Knowledge

I have learned a lot about myself playing these games.  I used to give my kids a hard time when I would listen to them lament about the disasters that befell them when they were playing these games.  I would say, 'Holy cow, you guys, it's just a game!' Yeah, easy for me to say.  Now I know that you become so immersed in the first, when creepers and zombies would come, I would hide my character behind my son's character and let him 'protect me'! As time went on and I became more  proficient with playing I have gotten to the point where I can whack them myself and actually find that it makes the game more exciting. (I also was shocked and bemused to discover that I took my fear of heights into the game with me and would creep at a snail's pace anywhere I felt threatened by high places.  I was more afraid in the game than I was when I was on an actual rope's course a couple of years ago! Talk about the blur between fantasy and reality!)

Anyways, back to my I met up with these emotions buried under layers of muck, I would try to give them names.  This took me away from actually experiencing them, back to my head and thoughts--a powerful denial mechanism. 

Life is a Video Game - Life Lessons Learned

Eventually, I began to sense my exploration take on the feel of the mining excursions I would take with my son in the game world of mine craft.  We'd tunnel down deep, exploring, collecting gems and cobblestone, and discovering treasures.  As we went along, we would place torches along the way that brought instant light and relief from the darkness.  And occasionally, sometimes frequently, we'd meet up with unfriendly creatures.  They were usually dispatched with a bunch of whacks, but if we were unsuccessful, we 'died' and ended up back in our beds. Dying meant that the goodies we had in our inventories were dropped at the location of our last encounter and we had to go back to retrieve them.

Life is a Video Game - I am going to Have a Blast!!

Silly? Maybe, but now I had and have a whole new perspective.  I can engage these little monsters deep in my psyche without naming them, dispatch them, or, if unsuccessful, go back and try again.  No longer will they be ignored to continue spawning and gaining strength and number.  I will continue my exploration within and bring my torches along to bring light to these dark places deep within.  Life is a video game and I am going to have a blast playing! 

I feel very fortunate that my teenage son wants me to play video games with him.  My life's calling as a mom is to raise 'connected children'.  Who knew that I'd be taught that 'life is a video game'?!

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Site updated  February 25, 2024

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