We live in a paralysed world of conflicting energies these days, overloaded by everything we're exposed to, in mental straightjackets, both isolated and strung out without privacy. Its difficult to separate ourselves from the chaos of information on our phones and computer screens, there are so many answers to the same question and so many variables on what truth really is that we feel like we don't know anything, how is someone who knows nothing supposed to make a decision?
Nearly everyone in my friendship and family circles, and beyond, is suffering from a cocktail of anxiety and depression currently, even pre Covid-19, a lot of these people are lost, stuck in a mental quicksand which they can't break free from.
So then where do we go from here?
What we need are tools that can help us to digest our emotions and decisions. With accessible tools we can really interrogate how we are living our lives and then organise parts of our attitudes which might not be aligned with what we really want. This tidying up can bestow a strong wave of confidence from a greater knowledge of who we are, a confidence that will be of great benefit as we step into an uncertain future.
The Transformation Game is one of these tools, I found it boundlessly useful. Its a fantastic way to investigate something in your personal life which you'd like to improve or develop, it helps you to understand what the problem is and then sensibly consider how to tackle it. I'm very grateful to have been introduced to the game by my friend Karen.
On Saturday, February 2nd 2020 I sat down with Karen and another pal, in front of the beautifully designed board that is 'The Transformation Game.' Karen was kindly hosting us and made us feel extremely welcome in her home.
What is 'The Transformation Game?'...
I shall attempt to go through how it functions, this might seem complicated, but honestly, when you're playing it; it's not, it's very intuitive. But, to be thorough and understandable, I've broken it down into the instructions and then detailed my personal experience with the game. So you get a strong insight into how it applies when played.
Before you start.
Before you start the game it is good to do some ground work, having some understanding and familiarity with signs and symbols is a big help, it is not necessary though if you play with a guide, in this case that was Karen for me.
as I've now mentioned it, it might be a good time to have a think about your life in this context.
* Do you often see the same numbers?
* Do you come across certain types of animals all the time in inexplicable ways?
* Do you feel any particular attachment to events in your past which might have had a significance that is not readily identifiable?
* Are there patterns, images or something that repeats in your life which you've noticed?
Our days are rife with symbolism and often it pays to give this a little attention, as it helps you see
how you feel about things in a deeper light.
These kinds of observations will also help you find what it is that you want to ask the game, discovering this is the first step in healing whatever the underlying issues are because it requires that you identify things in your life that need problem solving.
I asked a big question:
“How do I become a performer?”
I was keen to know how to move my performing career along so I could be less nervous about acting in public. What I wanted from the game was to understand spiritually how to embrace my exhibitionist tendencies and nurture them, how to not be afraid of myself or the audience and how to become someone that I could be proud of.
Playing the game...
Have your question ready..
Initially you sit down to play with a maximum of 4 players, in this case there was 3 of us; Karen, me and another pal. We chose our crystal angel (Karen's personal stash) to play with and received all the accompanying materials, these were:
• 4 scorecards, which represent your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual states in relation to your question and are where you place the cards you receive through the game.
• An unconscious envelope, which you place setback, insight and angel cards into, the numbers of which are determined by rolling the dice.
• A form with takeaway questions for after the game has finished.
With a focus on your question you then roll the dice to see when your turn will be.
Throughout the game you receive 3 types of cards, alongside awareness tokens, for the boards you are playing with. The types of cards are as follows:
• Feedback cards: Things that are holding you back, generally
• Insight cards: Things that give you further understanding of what you're doing, your good
qualities, things you've done well, generally.
• Angelcards: Single words meant as guidance.
* Universal feedback cards, which feature in the game sporadically and don't go in your unconscious pack. These are often used to question something you have asked from the game.
* Awareness tokens, small tokens you place on your personal boards which are single words designed as prompts and guidance.
Once you're set up, and the order of play has been decided, then you place your figurine on the inner circle of the board and start to roll the dice and move accordingly. At first you must escape the inner circle, this can be done by landing on an angel square, which are distributed every 3 squares or so. If you are still in the inner circle after 3 throws you will be forced out.
From here you then travel on a looped road (much like an infinity symbol) alone, which has different pictures on each step of the journey with corresponding instructions that ask you to pick out cards from your unconscious pack / the board, help other players, or ask yourself questions.
The aim of the game becomes to pass each level you have a scorecard for, again these are:
The Physical Level scorecard.
The Emotional Level scorecard.
The Mental Level scorecard.
The Spiritual Level scorecard.
Most squares you land on grant you awareness tokens, you can swap these or use them to further understand your scorecard level regarding the question.
You also receive service tokens, there are certain squares you land on that require you to help another player, once you have done this you receive a service token, if you have 6 awareness tokens and one service token you can move to your next scorecard.
This works the same way with angel cards, you have space for 3 on each board, if you have 3 angel cards you can also move on to your next scorecard.
If you get a setback/negative feedback card which is directed at you personally (they can also be group cards which are rolled for) then often it will tell you to take pain tokens, these you place next to your crystal angel (or whatever the keeper of the board has), you have to subtract these from any dice roll, for example if you roll 2 but have 2 pain tokens, then you cannot move. You can pay off pain tokens with awareness tokens (2 will pay off 2).
Once you are on the final scorecard, 'The Spiritual Level scorecard' you have to make sure that all the cards in your unconscious pack have been used by continuing to land on squares and following the instructions.
Before you begin the game you can set an intention for how long the game will last, I have now played it twice at 4 hours a piece and this seems like an adequate amount of time to complete all your boards. The relatively long play time (you can play this game up to a week if you want to) is one of its strong points; very rarely do we spend 4 straight hours thinking about one problem in our own lives. If you're in good company 4 hours will fly by.
So, what happened to me? What did I receive from this experience?
Before play began I picked an angel card which was the token card of my game, it was 'Surrender' (every player picks one in the beginning and places it on a empty square in the area they are playing in), this immediately highlighted that one of the key faults I need to overcome is my tendency to attempt to control everything.
Then I started the game running, it was almost like it was expecting me because I got off the inner circle in my first roll and zoomed through the physical level.
My physical level awareness tokens were:
Opportunity / Growth / Naturalness / Prosperity / Willingness / Potency
They were very very positive and I felt a strong sense that I was being shown by the game that I'm competent and that I have reason to be confident and proud of my abilities.
I received no Angel Cards.
It didn't seem like much thinking needed to be done here because I quickly levelled up to the emotional level. I managed this by collecting one service card and 6+ awareness tokens.
On the emotional level it seemed like friendship was important, I received a lot of insight cards around this subject, this made me feel like the key to being a good performer lies in having a network. In order to have the support around you; you need to be looking after others as much as you want them to look after you. The game seemed to confirm this which made me feel safe (and quite proud) and as I looked inside myself to see if it had any relevance I realised I have been attempting to develop into a more caring person and it has been showing positive results in terms of establishing healthy relationships with people.
I got up to the next level, the Mental Level, by getting 3 angel cards this time, which were as follows:
Synthesis / Flexibility / Willingness
These really cemented the theme that my emotional level was about receiving fulfilment from others and being very open to letting people have influence on my life.
￼My awareness tokens demonstrated this as well: Happiness / Fun / Interdependence / Risk
The Mental Level was my achilles heal, suddenly my pace slowed right down and lots of nagging issues started to present themselves. I kept receiving awareness tokens, so so many, but nothing concrete that could help me pass, I realised this must have meant that there was a lot of uncovering I needed to do.
My Awareness Tokens:
(A selection, I traded a lot when I ascended in the game)
Meaning / Concepts / Resourcefulness / Innovation / Ideas / Focus
My Angel Cards: Release / Trust
This was a large part of the reason I got so stuck on this level I think, because I find it very difficult to let go and it kept being reiterated.
So far through the game I'd barely received any insight or feedback cards but on this level I had a lot on my scoreboard with messages as follows:
* You do whats needed.
* My personality is radiant with humour.
* You exercise regularly and nourish your body with wholesome foods (This is very true).
* You ate to gratify your emotional needs rather than nourish your physical body. - This was a feedback card and it required I take 2 pain tokens and then consider how this applied to me in this context.
I will take this feedback card as an example of what happens with the Transformation Game, because it's perfect, it's always with the setbacks that you really learn I think and thats why you shouldn't shy away from the idea of digging into yourself and not always finding good things:
You ate to gratify your emotional needs rather than nourish your physical body.
What does this mean? It means I didn't eat because I was hungry and so it could never of filled me up and created true satisfaction.
I have been performing for years but have failed to move forward with it in a healthy and long term way because I have been performing to try and fix my life, which is a very big ask from anything. The truth is my need to perform comes from a tribal, physical desire, it is built into me and I am naturally talented at it, I should let it fill up this part of me and then forgive it for not being able to solve all the other problems in my life.
In a nutshell, I was being instructed to separate the personal and the artistic a little more and to understand that the need to do the artistic is still a hunger and deserves satisfaction.
Once I understood this, and I mean really understood this, I landed on a square that asked me to perform a service for another player, received a service card and climbed up to the last level:
The Spiritual Level
This also took a long time to pass, due to my overflow of Awareness tokens from the previous level, which I traded up for awareness tokens on this level (you can do this, the payment is 2 old tokens for 1 new awareness token), I ended up with a lot:
Vision / Actualisation / Value / Transformation / Reality / Grace / Life / Progress / Abilities / Obedience / Warrior-ship / Perspective
I received no Angel Cards this time.
There are 2 things you need to do on the Spiritual Level, you need to either get a Service token + adequate Awareness Tokens or 3x Angel Cards, and you need to empty your unconscious envelope of all the cards still left in it.
I didn't have a huge amount of insight and feedback cards left in my pack, in the end I only drew 2 on this round:
* You live life to the fullest, enjoying each creative moment.
* You are set back by control on your present level.
And that was it again, control, the overriding issue that had been present throughout the game was making yet another appearance on the last level and seemingly not letting me pass until I fully acknowledged it. I got frustrated and felt like I was going round and round in circles for a while, but this was useful, because it was so demanding, it was not letting go of what it was trying to tell me, which was to immerse, surrender and just let myself be swept away by the current of creativity and drive which lives inside me.
Basically to surrender to the chaos and not be afraid.
Once I felt this, at the bottom of my heart, and accepted it, then I finished the game. - SURRENDER.
After you've finished you get a piece of printed paper which details the next 4 steps you need to take after leaving the game, for each of these you take a card:
(1) Insight Card for next Steps -
Mine was: 'I did what I said I was going to do.'
￼(2) A Setback card to check for possible limitations which might set you back on your path- Mine was: 'Set back by your control' (I'm not making this up, really it was)
(3) Insight Card for use as an inner resource to dissolve and clear this barrier - Mine was: 'The more I share myself, the more of me there is to love.'
(4) An Angel card, for support - Gratitude.
By now I don't need to explain the control thing, but it made me feel very pleased that 'I did what I said I was going to do' and it was true. We often forget our achievements and only see our errors, but up until this point in Berlin I'd been doing good. I had been brave enough to move alone, I'd chosen to focus on music and performance and have made big steps in what I create since I got to Berlin.
Clearly the game was asking me to be open and free with others to counteract my controlling tendencies
I have a lot to be thankful for, my gifts, the abundance in my situation, the people around me.
I left the Transformation Game at Karen's house in a very positive frame of mind, I suddenly understood my strengths and was very aware of what to watch out for in the future and what has been holding me back. It didn't transform my life overnight, I didn't wake up in the body of Beyonce the next morning.
What it did do was give me a really strong direction, ever since the game I have been working on letting go, on trying to diminish this overarching sense of control, which isn't just affecting my artistic life negatively but manifests as tension throughout my body as well and has led to some health problems in the past. I'm succeeding, it's a slow process but I've found a type of yoga which is really working for me and has helped a lot during the Covid-19 Crisis as well.
I deeply and genuinely recommend playing this game to each and every person that reads this, just make sure you go in with an open mind and are willing to do the work it requires afterwards to really help yourself.
Thanks so much if you read to the end, take care and give yourself a hug tonight. x