Accepting My Current Reality To Accept Who I Am

In vertical development, there is this reoccurring theme about accepting your current reality. In effect, you can have the greatest visions of where you want to go in the future but if you don’t accept the current reality before you, you’ll find yourself having a difficult time navigating your way to that vision because you’re not using real bearings that you can work off to chart your course.

It would be like a small forest fire causing a light to appear within a foggy night as though it was a nearby lighthouse and causing a ship’s captain to navigate incorrectly and run aground. You have to know if what you’re seeing is actually there or just something you believe is there.

More and more, I keep coming back to this feeling that I’m not accepting my current reality. And more and more, this avoidance of not accepting my current reality has to do with with the fact that I’m not accepting who I truly am, to the point that I feel like I’m avoiding who I am, almost as though I’m embarrassed of who I am.

The ways this feels is like I’m encountering something that I can’t fully make sense of, so I navigate away from it, exploring other options or potential paths, but they only waste my time, efforts, and energy as I eventually end back up at the same spot as earlier, facing this larger unknown thing which is actually me and what I’m becoming. Or more aptly, what life (or my soul) wants and needs me to become.

The mystery of the psyche is that we are haunted not by what we want out of life, but by what life wants out of us

D. Stephenson Bond, Living Myth

These patterns are self-evident and irrefutable at this point in my life, usually taking one of two forms. While researching vertical development, creativity, social innovation, and The Future of Work over the past two decades, I’ve noticed how similar they are to experiences I’ve had in MMORPGs or how they are similar to MMORPG elements in a metaphorical sense. And at the same time, while playing MMORPGs, I’ve noticed how game experiences are similar to life itself, almost being a microcosm of it.

So there is this convergence of two worlds occurring within my life, struggling to come into alignment, but I’m standing at the midway point between them, trying my best to prevent it from happening, even though I’m not exactly sure why. As I noted above, it feels like there is this embarrassment or disbelief at what I am becoming. Almost as though it is something that I need to hide or cover up the truth about.

Wait a minute. I think this feeling is arising because of the perceived contradiction of these two worlds by others and thus I’m afraid and fearful of what others might think about me because of this. In effect, what I’m talking about here is a “world of work” and a “world of play” coming together and trying to align. From a business person’s perspective, this would probably seem absurd and ridiculous, that play and work would have anything in common with each other.

And actually when I think about it, this is probably the number one thing that has prevented me from sharing with others the depth of what I’ve been learning because it seems out of alignment with the people I’m trying to communicate it with. So when I’m talking to business-minded people, the gaming metaphors I utilize often seem out of place to them, thus making them question the seriousness of my “work”. And when I’m talking to gamers, sharing how a game experience is remarkably similar to vertical (psychological) development, it’s like “Whoa dude! That’s way over my head! It’s just a game.”

In other words, I’m in this liminal space between worlds, trying to bridge and bring them together, yet I’ve got no one to share this space with who can actually understand where I’m coming from. But at the same time, perhaps that because I’m not fully understanding where I’m coming from and where I’m trying to go.

At the same time though, in trying to express this seemingly inconceivable vision to people, I think my avoidance, frustration, and endless looping ruminating over it is caused by my frustration with the uncertainty of not understanding and making sense of it all as I’m mapping it out to try to make sense of it all.

This may seem absurd but this is the exactly the same behaviour I mentioned people at earlier stages of development experience when trying to understand something. They try to shortcut making sense of something because it’s taking too long and the uncertainty of not understanding it makes them feel fearful and uneasy. So they just shortcut, jump to a conclusion, and often end up misinterpreting what they trying to make sense of.

In my case, I’m experiencing the same phenomenon but just at a latter stage of development. In effect, the complexity of what I’m trying to comprehend is even surpassing my current perceptual capacity, thus I just end up trying to shortcut things, avoiding them in the process. I think what I need to do here is to try to not force the comprehension and sense-making resolution but let it be open ended. In effect, like an explorer mapping out a new world, I need to let go and be comfortable with the unknown and mapping it out bit by bit.

Reflecting upon this all, it seems like I need to do a few things to progress forward.

  1. I need to create a bio that open accepts who I truly am and what I’m doing (rather than hiding it), explaining how my life’s work is a convergence and integration of the world of work and the world of play.
  2. I need to create a space and seek out people who have an affinity and attraction for being within this convergent liminal space as well.
  3. I need to create posts within this space that share how these two worlds are more alike than they seem, thus helping myself and others to step into this new integrated world and make it a reality for all, even if it is done just one step and one piece at a time.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for the roleplaying game called Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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