Inventing new games. Playing “with” the Universe

Jack's school picture, 45 years ago

I came home Wednesday to find this photograph of Jack on my desk.  He was 16 at the time it was taken. I couldn’t stop looking at it. I’ve never seen him smile that way before…so relaxed, so happy looking, so fresh. He seems to be thinking, “Don’t worry about anything, life is really good!”

I didn’t know Jack in his teens, or twenties, or thirties or forties…I met him the year he turned 50. I was 45 at the time. We had both lived a lot; many struggles, many good things.  When people say to me that we are a “good couple” it always make me wonder what they see. We have a tendency to bicker …a lot. He thinks that it is “playful”. I think it’s just a bad habit. We both like things our own way, but have built a life that mostly works for us.We didn’t have children together, but he adores my sons. I never knew his parents, but my parents love him.
Lately we’ve been contemplating a big change in our lives; thinking about moving to the seacoast of Maine. The idea of moving has been around for a while. At one point, we looked at houses in Cambridge, but everything seemed wrong about that direction so we dropped the idea (or I should say, I dropped it…Jack never wanted to move into town). On my trip to New Castle, NH a month ago, the thought that we could live by the ocean sprung into my mind.  When I presented it to Jack, he said he liked the idea too, but I know him well enough to realize that I will have to be the one who keeps the idea alive for this to happen. Moving is fairly easy for me. My family moved at least 10 times before I was 13. Jack lived in the same house until he left for college.

Yesterday, I found myself talking to this picture of Jack about the move. I have never done this before. I’ve imagined having conversations with people; seeing them in my mind, as relaxed and receptive, and have  recommended this to friends and clients as a way to get positive energy moving in a difficult situation, but I have never talked to a photograph and felt such “openness”. Every idea I proposed to this 16-year-old version of Jack, he seemed to reply, “Great, love it!” What I really liked about doing this was it felt like a game. I heard a spiritual teacher once say that the more you play with life, the more it plays back and the easier it gets.

12 thoughts on “Inventing new games. Playing “with” the Universe

  1. Transitions in the air…big/exciting stuff…you guys will process this and make the correct decision for you, I love the idea of using Jack’s picture….

    “the more you play with life, the more it plays back and the easier it gets”…
    this is very powerful for me I “work” at making space for playful moments…

  2. Thank you, thank you for the message to “play with life”. You have changed my perspective this morning, as you often do.

  3. A subject close to my heart! We’ve been trying to sell our home and I’ve kept my thoughts and prayers very positive, (thank you Mary). No offers yet but I am sitting in my favorite room this morning and a feeling comes over me,” we will not be in this house next spring!” So…I’ll trust the feeling and myself and make my way. Mary, I wish you and Jack, 16 and now The very best “feelings” towards your goal of relocation.

  4. Fun picture of Jack — he was a handsome dude, still is for that matter! I love moving, new places, new friends. I always enjoyed going somewhere new. Choices, isn’t that what our life is all about? Thanks for sharing the image of the youthful Jack and I like it that you can chat with him!

  5. transparent, as ever; i appreciate you putting out your thoughts this morning. seems like speaking from the heart connects us to others in profound, sometimes unspeakable ways. i like getting to know who you are. thanks again.

    so be it as we play with life

  6. exactly! this morning I was avoiding a “conversation” – that I thought wouldn’t go in my favor (what’s really so bad about that….) but I had a great morning with a lot of play and by the time I brought it up it was, “oh that sounds great!” a few more words and we were done. what a blessing is play, I’m so glad we can all remind ourselves and each other about it.

  7. As ever, a terrific post and a worthy reminder. Mary, sending you and Jack fruitful, easy, oceanside-living vibes…

  8. Love this, play! Let’s all make sure we have some quality play time today! Years ago, in a restaurant with our two young sons, the waitress came by to clear the plates, though my younger son was not yet finished. She asked him, “Are you still working on that?” and in an innocent way, not meaning to be disrespectful, he answered, “Oh, I’m not working, I’m having fun!” Isn’t it odd that when we choose to dine out, it should be labeled “working”? And who works the piano or the guitar? You play! So yesterday we shared what we love to do for fun, for ourselves or others – come back tomorrow and let’s share how we played today! Love to all! (I already know I’m going to have fun really playing today with a little 8 year old boy – down on the floor, whatever he wants, we will do it!)

  9. My blog moniker divulges my bias of living on the coast; there is something exhilarating about the tidal actions, even when sitting perfectly still, breathing in the ocean air. My sweet dog ‘takes’ me to the beach every day where the only agenda is play, run, play! So your post today makes perfect sense to me. Of course, if I was a current neighbor in your town, I’d be selfishly trying to convince you that all that salt air rusts your car and inundates you with tourists!
    Good luck with making the decision; I know it will be the right one for you both.

  10. This actually has nothing to do with your post (I did comment above) but I wanted to share with someone. Today, Sunday, in Kansas City, firemen were standing in intersections collecting for “Jerry’s kids” and my husband asked one of them how his day was going, and he looked up in the sky and back down and smiled and said, “Really good. We saved a life today.” My husband said, “Wonderful!” I saw that this big strapping guy was glowing. It made me happy on so many levels – that’s why I wanted to share.

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