Okay – I’ll confess. I’m addicted to Bookworm! It’s a word game I downloaded onto my Kindle a few weeks ago and – surprisingly – can’t put down. Well……it’s not THAT bad. But when I’m stressed, bored, or simply have a few free moments, Bookworm is my meditation, my therapy, my activity of choice during this hot, muggy Florida summer. I’ve rationalized that I’m exercising my brain. I’m sure that’s true to some extent – I AM getting better at making words out of the jumble of letter boxes while being frantically pursued by burning boxes. But during the course of my play, certain behaviors began showing up. I started to view Bookworm less as a game and more as a mirror reflecting certain ways I operate in the world. Bookworm, a new coaching tool? Hhhmm….
At first, it was a thrill to accumulate points and I relished in the fact that I was accummulating higher scores each time: 4500, 29,000, then 50,000+. The ocasional quick loss was seen only as an irritating setback that spurred me on to try even harder to best my previous highest score. Losing was not to be tolerated! Winning was my goal!
But as I continued to play, I started to experience an almost palpable dislike of failure. I started having flashbacks of times in my life when I REFUSED to fail (falling off a horse? Never!) rather than accept failure as part of the learning process. Interesting.
I kept playing.
Then it happened. I was on a roll. Words kept pouring out of my mind and the points kept accumulating. 99,000, then 150,000, then 500,000, then 1,000,000, then……well, almost 2,000,000! Success! There were feelings of amazement, accomplishment, and deep satisfaction.
I’ve continued to play – possibly in the hopes of bettering my score someday or simply to discover the limits of the game, and it’s still hot and muggy in Florida! No matter, because something shifted after that big win. I no longer feel compelled to win or to avoid failure. I now view Bookworm as a playing field to experiment with some new behaviors. Since there’s no more perceived pressure to win, I find myself more at ease, more accepting of “what is”, and more willing to take chances, i.e. “If I don’t use this letter now it might work better later.” Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. But it doesn’t matter, because the thrill is now in the playing not in the winning. It’s fun to practice thinking creatively and taking risks, and – oh yes – being OK with the failure.
Who would have thought that Bookworm is really a practice field for the Game of Life.