The Incredible Force and Other Childhood Games
By Jill MacGregor
I need some glorious.
Shove me into spectacular.
And genius—dip me in some genius.
Smack me with astonishing.
Elbow me into marvelous.
More can mean a lot of different things especially when it meets the fork in the road known as Quantity and Quality.
Maybe you’ve realized a dream only to understand that now you see more, you need more, you can do more.
Life is funny that way. You climb to what you think is the highest peak only to be met with an even more expansive vista at the summit. You realize how much more there is out there.
You thought this would be a place to rest and catch your breath… Your muscles are stronger now—the mountain you just climbed—that enormous challenge you just mastered—it now looks a bit easy-peasy, doesn’t it? And let’s face it; you’d feel a bit like a puss climbing the same mountain over and over again, wouldn’t you.
That’s because every challenge makes you more capable—and forces you to constantly redefine what more means in your life.
And what means more.
Easy—the four letter word.
Whoever got anywhere by doing something because it was easy? I totally get the difference between easy and natural, though—I always try to get to natural. It’s where I keep my best stuff.
But easy…whoever inspired others to do great things because they had accomplished something that was easy?
Maybe your dream should feel just a little bit dangerous and slightly out of control. As if you are trying to drive on ice.
It is now time for a story.
Please, Jill, please.
The benefits of willy nilly risk
You know, when you spend your high school years in the booming metropolis of Austin, MN—Home of Hormel—you learn quickly that danger is not around every corner.
So, you have to create it.
And not like *danger*…and then we died—more like *danger* …and then we screamed and laughed at the same time.
In High School, before my girlfriends and I grew out of our braces and glasses and developed our look, we were just funny and kind of smart. Possibly quirky and interesting, in the right circles.
Special activity: we would conjure The Incredible Force.
Although my friends would attempt it, they could never fully give over to it. They were a little too restrained for The Incredible Force.
Sidebar: We also played Inertia and Centrifugal Force. Those two games were very predictable and short lived and mainly happened on rides at the Fair. Additional note: I was a Friend of the Band…the Marching Band…don’t judge.
We might have been a little weird. Small town. Cranky Norwegians. Many months of snow and ice. Falling down and losing control were regular themes from October through March.
Best location for the Incredible Force: A deserted, darkened hallway in our high school.
It’s a very simple thing. The goal was to lose all balance. In a moment of extreme silliness, someone yells “It’s the Incredible Force!” and as if someone had shoved you from behind, propel yourself—hurl yourself–out of control. Imagine spinning and running at the same time. Anything that would set you off balance the fastest.
As you did that, you would pick up speed with each out of control step, bouncing off of whatever surrounded you until you struggled for your footing, spinning and straining to stay upright as you tripped repeatedly over your own feet– fighting falling down and staying upright at the same time.
I loved its contradictions: I must hurl myself and relinquish all control while I fight to maintain by balance and stay on my feet. I delighted in not knowing how I’d end up. How long I’d stay on my feet, if I’d fall or just run out of hallway.
So where the hell am I going with this one?
As adults, we have reasons for doing things. Lists of pros and cons. We think and think and think about why and how and what, carefully plotting our course.
We give ourselves permission based on strange criteria: Things like: I should—because it’s my turn– or a good/strong/ ambitious/person would do this. None of that seems to be driven by joy.
What if we decided to do more things because they were pleasurable, they fed us—and they were their own reward?
I’m afraid we multi-task our *reasons why*.
What if there’s something to conjuring The Incredible Force at this moment—in all of its uncontrolled, bull in a china shop fashion—making your gut your truest method for ballast, making each step—unplanned and unsure as it may feel—an opportunity to right yourself.
Perhaps every step forward is an opportunity to locate and harness your Incredible Force—even if you feel off balance in the process.
My mind goes to memories like this when I find myself alone in my emotional dark hallway, over thinking the next step. Forgetting about the joy in not knowing—wondering if I will fall or go further but understanding that I will laugh all the way.
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