What Katy Louise Did...

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Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Is life just a game?

Do you take life too seriously? I know I do sometimes. I really need to incorporate more fun activities – especially dancing as I always love a good salsa! – and start watching more comedy and reading light-hearted books instead of the huge pile of heavy-going spiritual and self-help books with which I become surrounded, not only at work but at home.
If you find yourself also taking life too seriously, then Taoist master Barefoot Doctor has some great words of advice in our magazine this month. He says: “There’s no doubt that unless you do embark on the spiritual journey – the adventure that leads you to oneness with the Great Presence, the Tao or what we might call God in the West – you’re fundamentally wasting your time. But most people assume this has to be a serious business, like going to church and sitting all po-faced, renouncing your desires and generally having a rather stiff and miserable time of it. But according to my approach, that would merely slow it down or prevent it altogether… To fully enter the flow of spiritual awakening, you have to access the playful spirit within you. Start seeing the game of everyday life as an opportunity to exercise and express your innermost childlike glee and curiosity, simply about being alive.”

His point about treating life as a game is an interesting one, for when something is a game, you don’t tend to take it so seriously, or rather, you are less concerned with the outcome. If you lose at Monopoly you might be a bit cheesed off for a while, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? (Although you argue that sometimes it really DOES seem to matter, as is the case with football and any other competitive sport, where thousands of people let themselves get angry and upset when ‘their’ team loses).

Down to ‘luck’?
But what I’m trying to say is that perhaps we could all benefit from looking at life as more of a game? In the actual board game called The Game of Life, which I played endlessly as a child, it comes down to the spin of the wheel to determine how many spaces to move forward, and what fate awaits you on that square. There are some choices along the way, such as whether to go the work or university route (and if you go the uni route, it still comes down to luck as to whether you land on the £20,000 a year salary of the of the lawyer – remember this is an OLD game! – or whether you ‘luck out’ and end up on a mere £6K a year); you can also choose other things such as whether or not to buy shares, depending on whether you are aiming to end up at the mansion or the humble cottage at the end of the game. But the thing is, if you do buy shares and then end up last on the board, you don’t get to benefit from them as only the people who get to the winner’s mansion first get to speculate and accumulate.
Anyway, the point is that this is just a game. I must admit I did often win this particular board game and then feel rather smug for the rest of the day that I had beaten my family (and would feel terribly pissed off when my brother always used to win the game Hotel, which is a glitzier version of Monopoly); but did it matter? Only to my mental state at the time. Why did I take it so seriously? (And perhaps this is why I take my ‘real’ life so seriously at times.)

Learn to lighten up
But what is the point in getting frustrated at losing a board game? Seems pretty futile. So if you look at life the same way, which invariably does come down to a spin of the wheel (the wheel of life card in tarot and the dharma wheel in Buddhism spring to mind) as to what happens to and around you, then it will be easier to get over things and take it all less seriously. OK, we all can and do make plans to try and steer in a particular direction in life, to go for the things we want, but ultimately, the control is often out of our hands.
So lighten up, learn to let go a bit more, have fun with life, take a few chances if you want to, and go out there and have fun!!!

Read Barefoot Doctor's exercise on how to lighten up and have more fun, in the September issue of Soul&Spirit magazine - on sale now! Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com for stockists.


  1. I was only thinking about this the other day, Katy. Life is a lot like a board game: some play by the rules, others don't (yes, I had a brother like yours who always, always won Monopoly, Risk, Cluedo...)But I think if you make sure you have lots of laughter in your life and don't take it so seriously, you have a far better journey. I have two little mottos I live by: 'What's the worse that can happen?' And 'Is anyone going to die because of this?' If I'm prepared for the very possible worse outcome and am sure no one is going to get maimed or die as a result, then the problem/situation is probably nothing to get too stressed about:)

  2. Hindus talk about "Lila", the divine game played by the Gods. In Lila, we are not in control of the board, we are pieces on the board, being moved around by the Universe. We can't control this divine game, so it is best to just accept whatever position we are on the board at this moment...then life will flow better for us.

    Loving the blog Katy! Please keep it up..