Posted by on Mar 21, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments


“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso


I hate to admit it, but I like rules. They make me feel safe and in control. Yet, I know that if I want to consciously play the Gamemaster of my own life, there’s a lot of unlearning to do. A lot of “rule breaking,” you might say. Because in the world of gaming, skillful play is like defying gravity.


Imagine this: you are walking down a dark street in at eleven pm. You are slightly lost, but you know the general vicinity of your destination. Fear begins to creep in. Will I make it there? What unknown evils await me in the dark?


You have learned that it isn’t safe for a woman to be walking around in this kind of neighborhood alone at night. Your body knows tension. Your mind knows vigilance. It tells you that you made a series of poor decisions to arrive in this location. You feel frustration. You wish things could be different.


Then, you enter the Matrix.


Your vision widens and your heartbeat slows down. As in a video game, the people and objects around you become part of the scene. Your aching ankle, the product of a day’s wearing of uncomfortable shoes, is just another part of the story. The goal is clear: make it out of this situation alive. Bonus points if you do it with grace and ease. You relax your shoulders, adjust your gait and look up. You smile at the homeless man huddled under blankets in the doorway of the corner shop as you walk by. Perhaps you even offer him the other half of the chocolate chip cookie you saved from lunch. There’ll be another chance to fill up, once you’ve made it home.


As you walk you gain confidence. With eyes looking alertly out, you allow a small part of your mind to wander back through the earlier events of the day. You briefly take stock: how did I land myself here?


And then… the more magical question… Why?


Let’s just say, for a moment, I created this whole scene – either from habit, or to serve a desire I’m not yet fully aware of. If that were true, what am I doing here? Why have I chosen to feel, see, hear, taste, live, experience THIS version of reality RIGHT NOW?


This transformation is a kind of magic that only the Gamemaster can wield. I’m not talking about stage magic, that can be easily unraveled like a party trick. But the real deal yes-I-had-to-bring-all-of-me-to-the-table kind of magic. The kind that’s so simple yet so potent we can practice it every day of our lives and never get bored.


If your life were a game, how would you choose to play?


I’m not asking this question to make light of your life. You may be facing problems or challenges that are very real. Even terrifying. On one hand, I have the utmost respect for you, for your challenges, and your life-as-written. I have no desire to mock you.  What I am asking is for you to consider a way of thinking that could open doors that appear to be closed.


The fact is, you get to choose your thoughts. The way you look at things is entirely in your control. In moments when life is great, it’s easy. And in moments when everything’s a mess… well it may be the only thing you really can control.  In my experience, we are more willing to keep moving forward with courage when we face our challenges with a spirit of play.


What are some qualities of life-as-play? What characteristics does the Gamemaster embody?


  • Boldness. Willing to take risks in order to stay true to her desire.


  • Flexibility. Letting go of hard & fast rules like “I should NEVER …”


  • Curiosity. Creatively looking for another move, rather than end the game, when all hope appears to be lost.


  • Audacity. Unafraid to propose an action or idea that others might consider crazy.


  • Openness. Willing to consider that a person or situation may be entirely different than first imagined.


  • Suppleness. A relaxed body posture, rather than tightness and holding.


  • Leaning in. Facing challenges rather than hiding or running away.

This week I encourage you to take on the role of Gamemaster in your own life. If you dare, play with the qualities above, like jackets that you try on to see how they feel. Take them out on a stroll around your neighborhood and notice how people react to you. You can always take them off later if you don’t like it.


In your movement practice, challenge yourself to let go of the inner rules that dictate your usual moves. I’m not good at dancing. I don’t have enough flow. Its not safe to go fast. Slow is boring. Move your awareness one level deeper and check in with your body: what is your desire? You just might be surprised at what is has to say. And, if you are, say “thank you” and give it a go.

In life, take stock of the places you typically get rigid, stubborn or fearful. Notice what they have in common. Then, ask yourself “if these places were in fact my own creation, what did I create them in order to learn?” Can you hold them, like a level in a video game, as the perfect test for a part of you that wants to beat the game and graduate to the next level? If you can see the doorway, try leaning in to the challenge with boldness, flexibility and curiosity. And if you feel your entire body starting to clench again, take a deep breath…




and lean in 5% more.


As for me, I am writing the end of this blog from a hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. In a few hours I will re-enter the Matrix and deliver a training on Ego to a group of young Mandarin speaking architects with little Western education. Truth be told I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next 24 hours. But I trust that my Gamemaster bag of tricks (which, of course, aren’t “tricks” at all) will get me through, moment by moment by moment.


And what else can we hope for, really?


Staying in the game,






  1. Feeling grateful to be playing with you LeAnn!

  2. That’s a smart answer to a tricky qusotien

  3. Feel free to surf to my blog webpage [Audrey]

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