Plucking at the corner of a box’s cellophane wrapping, trying to find that small weakness to make some tiny hole to tear the rest off–it is a lovely little puzzle, a tease of the excitement waiting within the board game I’m about to open.
I slide the cover off, anticipating, What did the designers place up front? What did they want me to see first? Aha!
Then there are the multiple pieces to poke out of their cardboard homes. The sensation of the components, their look, their feel, their weight, and more all contribute to a welcoming experience.
Oh, now I get to organize this bit and that bit!
I peek into the instructions. A whole story, in fact a set of stories, are all waiting. Some offer a flavor text of concepts and metaphors while others present an introduction to the gameplay itself.
But as I read the manual, the feeling of the novel, once in full force, begins to fade. Questions come to mind,
> Wait? What happens first? When does that happen? What pieces are they referring to here? And what the heck is a samoflange?
Rapidly, I sink into confusion. Disconnected concepts seem to layer, none of which appear to connect.
And it is here, as the confusion climbs towards some unknown height, when my eyes begin to grow heavy and I wonder,
“What’s the point of any of this?”
It’s this delicate moment in time where I can drop what I’m doing and head off to something else, something unrelated that I might hope to complete–a snack, an email, a new cup of tea…
But when I can remain, simply being, I continue to climb that mountain of understanding.
And the questions keep me alive.
I go through the setup, poking at pieces, fumbling with one question after the next, all the while using them to *gently move through the frustration*.
And at some point, something “clicks”. I get it. Or at least I get something. The cycle of the turn, the text in the cards, the ideas, all start falling into place. What makes for the central spirit and how it relates to the details begin lining up.
It’s a familiar sensation, something of course not unique to board games.
From excitement to disillusionment and confusion, peaks and plateaus, the process of learning is universal.
The practice of being and allowing questions to bloom, almost whether we can answer them or not, keeps us alive in the process forward.
Too often, we seek and even praise the “click”. As we increasingly find ways to make things happen faster and faster. It can be far too easy to drop things if that click doesn’t come quickly.
Certainly, it is nice to understand something. But to even have a chance at getting there, we must first remain alive through the frustration.
PS. Waves of Focus is moving on to the next stage. I’m now starting to build out *Module 6 – Staying on Course*, in which we get into dealing with the distractions that happen within ourselves. After all, distractions don’t just come from tweets and messy environments. For instance, how do you handle a daydream?