You Cannot Put Your King Into Check
Today I was at my therapist appointment feeling rather anxious and a little depressed about an impending change in my workplace that will directly affect me. When I sat down I didn't know what I needed, but it’s my good fortune that Beverly has been at this counseling thing for a while. She handed me a set of papers with a series of questions about things that make me feel positive. One of the questions asked “think of a time where you laughed so hard tears came to your eyes” and I recalled my sister an I on an old PC which booted up with DOS (see? OLD) and a CD rom with a chess game on it. The computer helped us learn the game with an AI tutor. We obeyed well enough, but being beginners, we soon ran out of pieces and moves. We were backed into a corner, but we were not in check or checkmate. We moved the king. Over the speakers we hear, “you cannot put your king into check”. We move it another place and hear the same warning, “you cannot put your king into check”. Move it to another square and the warning sounds again. We don’t get frustrated...we laugh and laugh and click and hear the warning and laugh. Even now as I write this I hear the voice of the AI tutor clear as the night we booted that machine up. That’s what came to my mind today.
Beverly asked me about that this way “what comes to your mind when you hear the words ‘you cannot put your king into check”. It took me a while to come up with something and even when I did it was a bit of a throwaway comment “pfft I mean, you can’t put your king into check. You can’t surrender the game.”
“Putting your king into check is a bit like putting yourself into check, isn’t it?” said Beverly
And I replied “Well yeah but there is no AI voice telling….oh. I guess there could be, like your conscious, or God or the Holy Spirit, or the Force saying “you can’t put your king into check, you can’t surrender the game”
Human beings have an uncanny ability of self sabotage. Sometimes we don’t just give up, we don’t...stop and throw our hands in the air. We actively create our own worst nightmare, our own toxic environment, our own worst fears with our thoughts and words and actions. Is it any wonder we fail if we create conditions for failure?
It’s fine if you are like my sister and I and you don’t know the rules of the game, but I have a feeling that we have been around long enough to know what we do to sabotage ourselves and our growth and development.
I am a chronic procrastinator, but I hate stress, and yet, I procrastinate and then I feel stress. I hate feeling judged and yet I constantly compare and wonder why I feel lousy and inadequate. I hate toxic environments and yet sometimes I bring them with me. Then I’m tired, then I’m stressed, then I want to give up. If I move here, I’ll hear the voice of the AI say “you cannot put your king into check”. You cannot surrender the game. What is the game? The here and now of life. You cannot go where your issues and weaknesses will not follow you. So work here and now, with the pieces that you have, No one has a full set or perfect conditions. But you weren’t created for failure either. Play your game, not someone else's, not the best game, not the game of high pressure, high stakes. If we start playing that game, that’s a quick road to sabotage.
If you are feeling down or discouraged and feeling like you want to give up, you’re not alone, but you’re not alone either.
Hear now the words of the Mythologist Joseph Campbell
“We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. And where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."
May the Force Be With You All