The Game of Life
When I was a child, some friends had The Game of Life. I never had that game, but I played with my childhood friends a few times. As far as memory allows me to recall, the player would receive a profession and had to travel through the board, where they gained children, received money, spent money, among other "life" things.
In my memory, the game viewed life from its most utilitarian point of view.
What profession will I have?
How many children will I have?
And how much money will I have?
Forgive me if I left out something important in the dynamics of the game, but I played it only a few times, and that was a long time ago. And the game itself doesn't matter in this reflection; what matters is its name: The Game of Life.
It was only after my stroke when I was forced to step off the train of life and watch life pass by from the outside for two years that I understood life is not utilitarian. Despite the need to fulfill life's utilitarian protocols, life is an emotional journey.
The Game of Life is the Game of Emotions.
What matters are the emotions we feel in each moment. In every situation. With every person.
What matters in the profession we choose are the emotions that this occupation will provide us with in our day-to-day lives.
What matters if we will have one, two, three, or no children are the emotions that this adventure will provide us with in our day-to-day lives.
What matters in how much money we will or will not have are the emotions that this lifestyle will provide us with in our day-to-day lives.
It is also important to understand that, in the Game of Emotions, all types of emotions are present. The positive and the negative. The extreme and the subtle. All of them. Without exception.
Playing the Game of Emotions (or Life) means navigating through the entire spectrum of human emotions. Like any game, the more you play, the better you become as a player. But feeling is natural. Automatic. Just feeling does not enhance the player's skills. It requires a lot of practice.
And how do you train Emotion?
How do you learn to play the Game of Emotions (or Life)?
I only know one way. And I started learning it at 42 years old after my stroke. Since then, I have been practicing.
I call it Emotional Awareness.
You need to stay alert all the time. In each situation, we need to look inward and try to understand which emotion was evoked and why it surfaced. It is not so simple at the beginning. But with practice, it becomes easier.
When we try to understand the Situation x Emotion dynamic, we start to understand what we feel and why we feel it. Only then do we begin to understand who we are and why we are. And only then do we begin to understand what we want, in other words, which emotions we want to cultivate. We also understand the meaning of unpleasant emotions, why they exist, and what to do with them.
But playing this game well requires a lot of practice. The bad news is that we need to train every day, all the time. The good news is that life gets better. The more we practice, the better life becomes.
In this case, practice doesn't lead to perfection. It leads to evolution.
And life gets better.