Infinite Game

now what?

 

You’re all dressed up with no-where to go.

So, now what?

You did everything right.

You worked hard. You showed them what you can do. You demonstrated your confidence and vision. You prepared the way you were supposed to. You even received timely reassurance from all the people in the know, that you’ve got this.

You dreamed about it. You kept your mouth shut about it. You patiently waited and waited.

Then you heard.

You’re not it.

You’ve been passed over.

You’re all dressed up with no-where to go.

So, now what?

Everything.

Stand still. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t doubt. Don’t buckle. Don’t despair. 

Realize, once and for all, that someone else’s decision doesn’t change who you are, or where you want to be. All it means is that you are not for them.

For better or for worse. Time will tell. But you are not for them.

They rejected what they believed you to be, but they don’t really know you. They couldn’t possibly understand who you really are. They cannot really see what your presence and energy would have brought into their life.

They will never know.

As much as it stings right now. As much as you’re disappointed. Take heart in the fact that this won’t last long.

They didn’t want to dance with you. True. But that’s because they didn’t know you. But if you are honest with yourself, you don’t really know them either. Just because they were there, seemingly available and you wanted a dance partner, doesn’t mean that you were right about them either.

You might have an unrealistic vision of them, just as they had a distorted vision of you.  

So, I think you should go out and celebrate.

You’re all dressed up anyhow.

Not in a bitter, supersensitive, antisocial, passive-aggressive kind of way.

Go and celebrate the beginning of a new direction.

Remember that you are playing in an infinite universe, playing an infinite game, with an abundance of resources and possibilities.

This is not the end, it’s simply a pivot. A change of wind. A new weather pattern.

This is the moment that is trying to show you who you’re becoming and how much you’ve changed.

Life is not a test. It is not a series of right and wrong turns. Or a set of misguided or misdirected decisions.

The object of living isn’t to reach a particular end, with this or that under your arm, or with this or that crowning achievement. Living isn’t about being where you’re not wanted.

Life is not a test, and it’s not an intense game either.

Life is an infinite contest.

A game we play, so we can play again.

Take heart in who you are. Take heart in where you have been, who you’ve become, and who where you’re going.

Nothing has changed.

Just the direction.

So, take heart and continue to look forward.

Don’t look back.

Go out and find a new dance partner.

 


the problem with the future

 

We think we know who we are, but we don’t.

We also have the creepy ability to rewrite our own history to suit our desires.

But the future.

The glorious future is what causes us some real concerns.

Dr. Daniel Gilbert wrote Stumbling on Happiness. It is a funny and brilliant book on how the mind works and how it shapes who we are.

One of the thoughts that has become my own is how our mind projects itself into the future.

Our vision of the future seems to be nothing more than our perceived reality of the present, except better, or worse, depending on how you woke up this morning.

As obvious as all of this seems, we cannot see the future.

We cannot really imagine what is coming because we don’t have the architectural plans, nor all the building blocks. Our mind is deficient. Not really deficient, that’s not really fair. Our mind is simply not designed to be a holistic mystic seer. But because we ask, our mind does what it can. It predicts, for better or worse, what our life will look like, with what limited information we have provided.

This is why we have problems with our future.

We are either ecstatic about what is to come, and then are left feeling disappointed. Or we brace ourselves for the worse, and are pleasantly surprised, and feel somewhat guilty.

My mom and dad made the decision to come to Canada and we arrived in the winter of 1985, because the prospect of remaining in Poland was dire. My father was a political prisoner, and an active member of the Solidarity movement in the city of Bydgoszcz.

He could not stop being an agitator, even if he tried. So, facing further persecution, or worse, being taken away in the middle of the night, to be never heard from again, he projected his future and made a hard decision. After some deep soul searching, my mom and dad looked for a way out, and I find myself here, writing far away from home.

After being carved up by the Russian, Prussian, and Hungarian empires, Poland gained its independence on November 11, 1918, to would lose it once again in 1939, and again in 1945. After sixty or so years of totalitarian oppression, my parents projected a future that looked bleak and unforgiving.

And then, just like that, on June 4th, 1989, it was all over.

Communism was dead. Poland was once again a free country.

My mom and dad, who have known oppression their entire life, were unable to see a different future. It is no surprise that they could not see the end of the Red dragon, in just four and a half years.

But it was too late.

The return back to Poland was almost impossible. They did not want to uproot me once again from the Canadian soil, I was beginning to call home, so they embraced the possibilities of the moment.

The problem of predicting the future can be devastating sometimes, because many of us give up on ourselves and our dreams, simply because we are certain we know what is to come.

But we can’t divine anything.

The world didn’t know Communism would fall in Europe. That spandex and hairspray would dominate the music scene in the 1980’s. That the internet would revolutionize how we connect and interact with each other.

There is much we don’t know about the future.

Quite frankly. We know nothing at all.

The only thing we can do is prepare.

But how do we prepare for something we can’t see?

We get to work, we embrace failure, and remain open to any and all possibilities.

That is the key to happiness.

Get to work.

Paint. Draw. Make Music. Plan your garden. Quit smoking. Lose a bit of weight. Ask for forgiveness. Offer absolution. Get a new wardrobe. Try new things. Meet new people. Revisit old things. Get over yourself.

Fail.

Try new things and be horrible at them. Keep failing and falling until it becomes as easy as breathing. Become fascinated with your own ability to play the fool. It’s hard at first, but if you do it often, people are funny creatures, often distracted by bright shiny objects, and so they will eventually fail to notice you.

Accept all possibilities.

We are not in control. Control leads to ruin.

We don’t ask life questions, she asks us.

It’s important to be open to all possibilities.

To be able to return or accept a compliment. To be able to earn a living doing something we thought would remain a hobby. To be able to go back and be a child again. Not childish. We have enough old men with small idea. But a child. A little you, with unbridled energy, and a tenacity of living life to the fullest.

You cannot run toward the future.

You have to stay right here.

Get to work. Don’t chide yourself when you fail. Embrace possibilities.

If you do.

You won’t regret the future.

You will have stumbled upon happiness.

 


grind it out

 

You need to grind it out.

Don’t look for a magic formula, a secret recipe, or something that you forgot or mysteriously overlooked.

I know grinding it out is not an easy proposition, and it’s not what you want to hear at this moment, but the only way out, is to grind your way through. It is exactly the kind of short cut you seek. The only true and tested way. The shortest approach to where you want to be. A breath away from the person you wish to be.

We are not talking about being involved in something toxic or grinding yourself stupid against a dead end. We are talking about your dreams. About your purpose in life.

We are talking about staying motivated when everyone who was cheering you on found something else to do. We are talking about the time when you are left alone, without any real sense of purpose or where you are, or what motivated you to be here, in the first place.

Zig Ziglar, the mystical sage of Yazoo City, Mississippi, reminds us that motivation is like bathing. It is a very good idea to do it well and to do it often.

The rest of the time you just have to grind it out.

Don’t look back at where you’ve been or the life you’ve lived. Don’t look ahead either and get discouraged by all the things still left undone.

Don’t focus on anyone who seems to be competing against you. They have their own journey. They have their own struggles. Their own challenges. So never compare yourself to anyone, and fight your feeling to quit.

Grind it out.

You’re not being asked to be successful. To win. You’re not being asked to know why and where you are going. You’re not being asked anything, except to honour your commitment to yourself, and keep digging your ditch.

Grind it out.

Don’t ask how it is going to get done. Believe that it will be done, and work so that it can get done.

Don’t measure. Don’t count. Don’t change lanes. Don’t chase butterflies or bright shiny objects. Don’t get down on yourself. Don’t scream at people. Don’t get discouraged.

Above all else, don’t give up.

Grind it out.

You see. Grinding it out means that the game is not over. Hope is not dead. Faith still contains within itself a myriad of possibilities.

Today, you feel tired and lonely. Today, you feel dejected and defeated.

You’re not wrong, that is exactly how you feel, but don’t project your feelings into the future. What you are today is not an indication of who you’re planning on becoming tomorrow.

So, grind it out.   

Pick up your pen and continue writing. Turn on your digital recorded and continue recording your song. Ask forgiveness again. Yes, again. Put down your cigarette. Stay sober for the next twenty-four hours. Go for a walk. Get back in the weight room. Leave your abusive relationship. Leave your stuff. Just go.

Grind it out.

It feels oppressive. It feels tedious. There doesn’t seem to be an end.

But there is.

You will be free. You will be stronger. You’ll reach your summit and begin the climb of another.

But not, if you don’t grind this out.

 


the infinite game

 

Life is not a test.

But we often treat as one. We live our lives like a set of hurdles to overcome or a predetermined set of instructions to follow.

We are always at the ready, to study or to cheat someone or something, in order to achieve better results. We embrace the process of measurement. The feel the need to define, judge and be judged by others. We hate the very idea of infinity and more specifically, not knowing how we measure out against those we’re competing against. 

We want to win.

We want to nothing more than to declare ourselves Champions. Champions of the game of life.  Yet we are always stuck in a self-absorbed, mindless, results driven, data centered life, that all too often, leads to a burden which often consumes and makes us sick.

Life is not a test.

Life is a game.

An infinite game.

If there is a God, or even if there isn’t, all of existence and all the natural laws point to the fact that we were born to take part in everything. To do it with gusto. To live our lives and not merely exist. To become who we know we are meant to be. To be happy.

Such is goal of the infinite game.

A game we have always played, but sometimes forget that we play.

In the infinite game, there are no winners or losers, because the point of the game isn’t to separate the strong from the weak, but to spend some meaningful time together. To celebrate. To relish. To cherish. To find meaning and purpose in our lives.

You might be tired and frustrated this morning, probably because you are playing a finite game.

You’ve decided, on the advice of your guidance counsellor, that you must be someone or have something in order to be worthy, or belong.

You exist in the realm of doing, but you need to shift your energy leap into the universe of being.

The infinite game is pretty simple, although the rules themselves can become quite complex at times. But that doesn’t even matter because mistakes aren’t disastrous roadblocks, like they are in the other contest, they are simply fascinating lessons, to carry with you, in order to sharpen your skill, and become a better player.

Life is a game to be played with friends and strangers alike.

It is an infinite game precisely because it never ends. It can be played anywhere and everywhere. In all seasons, and on all budgets.

When you go to dinner with your dearest friend, for example, you certainly won’t go out, so you can become less hungry, and to continue your noble quest not to die. I think you’ll go out to share a meal together, to experience each other’s company, to laugh, or perhaps to cry, but the meal, the meal itself, is an inconsequential part of the equation.

We are funny creatures.

As finite beings who need to face our own mortality we become quite miserable when we engage in finite tasks and limited adventures. We are only happy, truly happy, when we participate in things that stretch beyond the temporal world. When we enter the real of faith, hope, and love. We are happy, when we don’t know why we are happy.

I encourage you to take a stand and decide which game you are going to play.

I strongly recommend investing more time in an infinite contest. The finite one has too many cranky, bitchy people in it, who are fighting over a very small square of space, while you have the opportunity to walk anywhere and be anything, surrounded by the luscious infinity of space.

Go out and play.

Never stop playing.

Enjoy the rehearsal.

Performance is a finite trap.