Friday, April 16, 2010

Don’t Paint Yourself into a Corner

In my post, Don’t Undervalue Overdo, I freely admit I have a compulsive personality. One of my favorite compulsions is playing my electronic game, Scrabble Journey. It was a birthday present from my BFF. My best forever friend knows and shares my love of language. For me there’s no greater relaxation than turning around some e-tiles and connecting words. Supposedly, these kinds of mental gymnastics are going to help my boomer brain stay sharp as a tack … or at least sharper than a dull knife.

Scrabble Journey has more than the normal, straightforward playing surface of a traditional Scrabble game; it has mazes and obstacles, paths to the only squares you must play on to end the round and continue its theme, a trip around the world. The paths are often circuitous, treacherous, and tricky.

Sometimes I don’t pay good attention to how I box myself in or paint myself into a corner. Usually, I’m having so much fun trying to score as many points as possible along the way; I lose track of the path and the goal—to end the round and get onto the next destination.

This pattern is so illustrative of my life as a person who sometimes get caught in the details and won’t let them go for the greater goal. It was an eye-opener to me, recently, when Scrabble Journey gave me only two difficult paths to the “end zone,” and I had created a high score that left me with words I couldn’t build on in order to finish. It also happened to be on the very last leg of the entire globe trot.

Looking at it further, I saw the lesson even more clearly when I observed my stuck word and how I built on it. The word was poon, an East Indian hardwood used for masts and durable structures. (Only a Scrabble buff learns words like this—and all the two-letter words in the dictionary like xi, the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet, and other oddities that are Get Out of a Jam Free Cards.)

I built poon to spoon. Then I saw I needed four more letters to get across to a point where I could pass a barrier that would enable me to build upwards toward the finish line. Scrabble Journey allows up to eight letter exchanges, where you can trade in some or all of your letter tiles. It took me six trades to build to spooning. I had to get an S in order to have the path to the finish line.

But no spoonings were to be had in my eight attempts. I had to abandon the round unfinished, pouting.

I contemplated the message. Do I have to be hit upside the head with the East Indian equivalent of a hickory stick to learn? Did I have to go back to the one-room schoolhouse and the early days of corporal punishment to “get it?”

Spooning is also a name for a #3-wood in golf, perhaps another wooden implement the universe was using to pound some sense in me. Or was it was trying to spoon-feed me what I refused to act on? And there would be no spoonings (kiss fests) for reaching my goals until I learned to keep my eye on the ball and the target in sight.

I exited the game, but it saves automatically. What good luck when I reopened the game! I got back a new set of eight tile exchanges. I used them till I got the coveted S, only for the cartoon game monitor to tell me there’s no such word as spoonings. (What, you can’t pluralize gerunds?) I couldn’t get myself out of the jam I created, even with a break from the Goddess of Eight Extra Chances.

Thank heaven for my open eye to the teachings of spirit in everyday life. My stymied game comes at a time when I have to lower my blog frequency to meet my writing and publishing goals of producing at least two books this year.

For whose of you who may ask why I’m blogging less in months to come, I hope this post punctuates what is clear. I have to keep the goal in sight … and I hope you’ll keep reading and enjoying every post, maybe even more because there will be fewer for now ... till there's a book full.


Photo Credit: Scrabble Game © Aimee Eisaman |

1 comment:

Eileen Williams said...

Congratulations, Joyce, on your new direction and your upcoming books. Most of all, congratulations for having the presence of mind to realize you can't do it all!
It's sometimes hard, but necessary, to shift the energy when you realize you'll need to bypass things you love doing. However, you'll be freed up to allow all your marvelous creativity to flow in new directions. Knowing you, I'm certain the outcome will be well worth the sacrifice!