Too often we approach life as if it were a chess game.
Our second mistake occurs when it’s our move. We try to anticipate a whole string of moves. I’ll do this, and then life will do this, and then I’ll do that, and life will respond by doing that. We create a mental map which ends in our winning — winning being defined as we get the outcome we desire.
But then life doesn’t respond the way we expected. And that leaves us frustrated and disappointed. And exhausted, mentally and emotionally. Now we need a new strategy.
What if we give up on the chess game altogether and just danced with life?
We listen for the music. Feel the beat. Life takes a step — we take a step. Life twirls us, and our task is to twirl as gracefully as possible. We are not trying to outsmart life . . . we are trying to be a good partner. Sometimes we lead, sometimes life leads. We try not to step on anyone’s toes. But if we trip over our own feet, we laugh at ourselves and get up.
Chess is a game of intensity, of competition, of thinking and more thinking.
Dancing is movement — movement without thought. Surrender to the music — whatever happens to be playing at the moment. When you imagine life as a dance, you may think of a tango or a waltz. I think of Peanuts. The funny, awkward, chaotic Peanuts characters throwing their arms and bodies around in ways that make absolutely no sense. That’s the dance that awaits us, once we stop playing a chess game.
Gregg Krech Author, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-reflection (2002)| Author, A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness (2004, 2011)| Author, A Finger Pointing to the Moon (2000)| Editor, Thirty Thousand Days: A Journal for Purposeful Living (1993-Present)| Director, ToDo Institute (Vermont) (1992-Pr......