Your Life is a Beautiful Game

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I played the board game ‘Life’ for the first time last year.

I didn’t think about it again until last month.

It was lovely night, while I was laying in bed with the windows open, the breeze blowing in, about to fall asleep.

For some reason, I thought about the board game again, about the rules, about the object of it and how you win.  During the game, you decide whether or not to go to college.  You decide what kind of career path you want to be on, if you want to get married and have a family or not.  There are choices to be made.

You continue the game until the end, which is the culmination of the life you built during the playing of this game.  Here is the goal:

 “After all have players have retired, all players at Millionaire Estates count their money.  All players then count up their money, and add the two figures together. The player with the highest dollar amount wins!”

 

It was so interesting how all of us played the game differently.  A couple of us were focused on winning the game, one of us just did what felt best and made her/him happy (trying to keep it anonymous:)), and another one just didn’t like any of the options and wanted to write in their own life, saying they didn’t fit in the parameters given in this game.  We are a family of variety to say the least.

I didn’t think much of it at the time.  My family was sitting around the kitchen table.  We were laughing at each other’s choices of which turn to take, which way each person at the table chose for their life to go.  As we finished and the girls got up and got ready for bed, I continued to sit at the table for a few moments afterwards, looking at the cars full of pegs that represented each player and the family they built as they played the game.  I thought for a moment about how much fun we had, about how it had been a night well-spent with the girls, then cleaned up, tucked the girls in and went to bed.

Then last month, laying in bed.

I’m about to get really honest with you.

I went through a lot of change this past year.  Owning a business, having a family, being ‘busy’ to the point of having very little free time will make one go through a lot of questioning about life, about what is important.

It made me ask questions about what kind of life I wanted to build for myself.  And I knew one thing was important that I have already written about here – connection.  Connection with others, connection with God/Spirit/Soul, and connection with myself.

And last month, I had a realization that changed everything –

I wasn’t playing anymore.  And that was a source of my disconnection.

In living the life of a woman, I had lost connection with the playful girl within.

I have a friend in my life – a wise, older friend who has many more experiences and about forty additional years than me and she said something to me, asked me a question more accurately.  I was expressing to her what I was going through and she looked at me and smiled and said, “Seja, why so fucking serious all the time?”

And I stopped.  And I laughed.

I was thinking about this friend and this game while laying in bed and in that moment, everything changed.

I was living my life like it wasn’t the beautiful game that it is.  I had become an adult to the nth degree, running a business, being a spouse, being a mother.  I was looking for productivity, for efficiency, for accomplishment – I wasn’t looking for the fun anymore. I was looking at the end goal, instead of the joy in playing the game everyday I am alive.

I was laying in bed thinking about the pegs in the cars, and realized I am the peg in real life – but instead of a plastic peg, I am flesh, heart, soul.  I am on this earth, my soul incarnated for the point of enjoyment, for experience, for love, and for fun.

There were times at night I would lay in bed and fear and/or worry would come over me.  In the quiet when my mind had time to talk to me, it would tell me the bad things that could happen, the things I needed to worry about.

But this night was different – in that moment, I had a tremendous sense of joy, of wonder, of excitement for the next morning.  The fear and worry disappeared.  Any ‘bad’ things that could happen, they were now all a part of the game of life.

I’m going to take the risks I am pulled to take, not only when it’s on a pretend board game.  And if I have a goal, will it be fun working to get towards that end goal?  Will the time spent be time spent in joy?  If not, then a reworking of what I am wanting to accomplish.

I could live my life like I am playing a game everyday.  I can look at my run as a chore, as a part of my day I have to get through -or I can be excited!  I get to run!  I have these amazing legs with muscles that carry me – what?!  How does that even happen? Maybe I’ll try to learn a handstand again today! That conversation I am afraid to have – I don’t know how it will go, but I know I will learn from it, I will feel the emotion that goes with it – another chance to be fully myself.  I get to go to a grocery store and they have food that is delicious! I get to see these children wake up every morning, growing and sometimes grumpy and feeling all of the emotions of life – I get to share it with them! My husband and I love and argue and love again – what a beautiful glorious ride.

Of course there are aspects of life that we don’t enjoy, that are hard –  we will have loss and we will go through trials. We will cry and then laugh in remembrance.  And then comes the love and beauty and victory and goosebump moments.

The beautiful emotion of life – it is what we are here to experience.  It is all on our colorful board game – the living of it day to day is what makes it beautiful and fun.

And in the end?  Who is the winner?  Is it the person with the most in the bank in Millionaire Estates?  Or is it instead the person who can wake up everyday, put their feet on the ground and say, what adventures am I going to live today?  Which choices will I make?  Where will I go?  What people will I meet, what will I learn, what will I experience? My work, my conversations, my relationships – it is all to be a part of this life to be enjoyed.   If we can do that, then we will all be winners in the end.

Go, live your life like the adventure it is.  Love and cry and talk to people you don’t know and grow in who you are.  Live this life so much that you wear yourself out.  This day really is a gift – go have fun.

 

Photo credit: http://go-exxplore.tumblr.com/post/117350739490/columbia-river-gorge

 

 

What a Bike Ride Taught Me (or How I Am Learning To Stop Making Excuses and Live the Life I Want)

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I rode my daughter’s bike to the post office today.

Why is this even a big deal, you might ask?

Okay, it’s not a big deal.  It’s actually a really small act.  I will share with you why I am so pumped up about it, though.

When we moved to our small farm, we moved a ten minute drive from town.  This may not seem long to some, but it’s long enough that if you leave the grocery store having forgotten something, you’re not going back to get it.  The road into town is an actual ten-curvy-road miles, with cars and trucks going 50-60mph, so cycling this road is really left to cyclists, with the gear and the tight shorts and you know what I mean – not for kids and moms going on a leisurely bike ride together.

And this trek into town has been somewhat of a big deal to me because of my business.  I make jewelry and jewelry supplies.  There are several days that it is imperative that I ship -that day-.  Designers needing their supplies, customers needing their pieces for an event, a variety of reasons.  What this means is that most days I am hustling out of my shop at 4:45pm to make it to the post office in time for their 5pm cut off.   I am driving ten miles into town, dropping off packages at the post office, and then driving right back home.

I have never loved this.

When I talk about living a connected life, I am finding that questions start to arise.  Questions such as, if I don’t love that I rush to the post office everyday at 5pm, what else can I do that would be more in line with how I want to live?  What else can I do that would feel in alignment with what my spirit wants, instead of what doesn’t feel good?

I know we don’t always have flexibility here.  I know there are times that we have to do what we have to do for the time being.  But there are times when we can make an effort to make changes.  There are instances when I have alternatives that feel better, but I easily talk myself out of them.

Here is the thing – there is a post office less than 2 miles from my house.

Not kidding.  Literally less than two miles.  It is just the sweetest little post office with the sweetest postal person (hi Becky!).  The hours of this post office have consistently been reduced because the government doesn’t like to pay to keep this post office open longer since it is in such a small area of town.  It now closes at 2:30 in the afternoon.

I love going to this post office for several reasons, but one important reason is that I want it to stay open.  It is a place where people know each other, where people aren’t in a rush, where some get the only interaction with other humans they will have all day.  The more business they see, the more likely they will stay open.  I know bringing some of my large shipments may make a difference to this office.  But I could never make it by 2:30pm.  I always was too busy, too many orders, excuse, excuse, excuse.

I am trying to live differently now.  I am asking myself the hard questions.

“What don’t I like about hustling into town just for a post office run?”

Two answers – I want to give the small post office my business because I want them to stay open.  And then a larger scale reason: I get a little nauseous when I read about efforts to open up more US land for oil drilling.  I am heartbroken when pipelines are put in despite peoples’ efforts to protest.

But I still drove anyway.

I made no effort to reduce my consumption, my reliance on the oil that I was against drilling.

My actions were not in line with the way I felt, the way I wanted to live.

So what actions can I take that will feel more connected to who I am, to my true self?

Well, I figure the best way to start, the best way to protest something, is to just not give them my money.

Today was a day I made one decision that put me more in line with the life I want to live. I would be done by 2pm and ride my daughter’s bike to the post office to deliver packages.

I was nervous, because busy road.  I was excited, because I can take a bike to where I need to be!  I don’t have to drive!

So off I went.  And it was exhilarating.

I wasn’t afraid anymore.  I didn’t have a child with me to set the pace.  I went as hard as I could uphill, then coasted downhill, breeze blowing. (I actually laughed at one point!  I couldn’t hold it in)  I noticed flower boxes on houses that I drive by every day but hadn’t noticed before.  I smelled the lilac bush I drive by everyday but hadn’t smelled before.  I was living.

I dropped my packages off and rode home with a smile on my face.

I wasn’t rushed.  I wasn’t using fuel for one quick trip into town.

Connection.

Now, let me say this…I am giving myself grace.  There are days when I am going to have a rush order and have to get to UPS by 6pm to get it out.  But now, I am asking the questions.  I am asking myself what kind of life I want to live.  I am figuring out how I want to feel during my days and then taking action based on that, not living in reaction to the circumstances of the day instead.

It is so empowering, so fun to really think about your life, to reclaim your power, to make decisions based on how you want to live.

As always, thank you for being here.  Thank you for sharing in this journey to reconnect to the lives we want to truly live.

Are there details about your day you would like to change to be more in line with who you are?  It can be the smallest thing!  I would love to hear.

Blessings

Seja