I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long time since I’ve known thefreedom of being four years old and fully engrossed in whatever it is that I was doing.Remember those days? Not a care, running wildly through…the yard, the field, acrossthe beach… focused completely on every sensory response in my body. Feeling the windmove across my face, the heat of the sun on my arms and the sound of my footsteps as theyhit the ground. Laughter…being chased and chasing… fully engaged in the momentof the experience…fully knowing that I was the experience… unable to separateone from the other.
Not a moment of my awareness was lost to analysing myself; figuringanything out; judging or assessing; or obsessing about the rules. Just me and the momentof my experience. Such vitality! Such energy! Such joy!
When was the last time you felt like that about your experience? How longhas it been since you’ve been fully connected to anything that you do – work or play?And who said they had to be different things?
There are the games we play on the soccer field, at the beach or in ourown backyards. And then, there are the games we play in the boardroom, at our desks andover lunch. It’s not about whether or not it’s the right game, it’s about whether or notyou’re fully engaged in it – or an observer to your own experience. One will give youdata – the other, a sense of being alive!
Sometimes, play hurts. We fall down, scrape things, break things, tearthings…and know, in the end, that it has all been worth it. To be fully engaged inthe game….to become a living expression of it in the moment of it…is to reachout and wrap your hand firmly around your life…and then, re-open your hand todiscover that you have become more than you were before.. To do less will cheat you out ofyour own destiny.
The games we play as we grow up are not always the ones that make us feelalive. Sometimes, they are the games that get us approval; or keep us unseen and, we hope,unharmed; or even allow us to believe that we are in the right game and all who don’t playwith us are doing it wrong. Whatever our reasons, the power of the passion of fullengagement eludes us and we wander around, wondering what’s wrong with the game – orall the other players.
Think of the great players in the world, whether their game is sports,science, spirituality… or any other area that comes to mind for you. What do they allhave in common? Passion! And where does it come from? They have become the game!They don’t just talk about it; or analyse it; or examine it…they live it!They open themselves to the possibility of being ridiculed or dismissed or worse. They arenot always without scrapes and bruises – and sometimes, their clothes get torn. Butthey stay in the game – fully engaged and connected – because it is who theyhave become. To be otherwise would be a betrayal of their nature…the veryessence of their being.
Live! Get on the field! Don’t just talk about it or plan it orphilosophize about it. Do it! Play the game of living at your peak performance! Get yourknees scraped and bloody your nose from time to time. Let the passion and the flow ofwhat’s inside you move through you and into the sound of your voice. Laugh! Speak up! And,more importantly than anything else, tell your truth about you – and let your truthabout everyone else simply fall away. It’s not that truth that will change your life.
If I were to offer you a roadmap for engaging life, it would read asfollows:
Give generously – of your time, your thoughts, your ideas and your feelings. Take the time to really look into someone’s eyes – it may be your last visit.
Love shamelessly! Give it away – frequently and easily – unearned, unsolicited and undeserved…to the people in your home, your office and your grocery store. You’ll never know how many lives you’ve touched simply by your willingness to take the first step.
Laugh out loud at least once a day! Never mind how people look at you – it will fill your soul and raise your spirits to places most people never get to go. And remember to make room for your friends; and finally..
Allow yourself to receive generously. Open your eyes, your ears, your arms and your heart and allow others to pass to you; to share their thoughts with you; to invite the birth of a new idea. Sometimes we forget that fully engaging the game also requires time on the bench – and under the wing of a coach. Let yourself be nurtured and protected.
Your life is your Starship. Don’t leave it parked when its magic is inbeing in full flight. Where its destiny lies is entirely up to you and yet, we all knowthat it doesn’t move until we give the command: Engage!