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Gameful Mind: Solve the Puzzle of Your Enigmatic Subconscious: Gameful Life
Gameful Mind: Solve the Puzzle of Your Enigmatic Subconscious: Gameful Life
Gameful Mind: Solve the Puzzle of Your Enigmatic Subconscious: Gameful Life
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Gameful Mind: Solve the Puzzle of Your Enigmatic Subconscious: Gameful Life

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Despite extensive study, the human brain and mind will always remain a mystery. Or rather, a puzzle each of us needs to solve for ourselves, continually in our lives, as we evolve and grow.

Born in 1972, Victoria, by complete coincidence, created seventy-two puzzle pieces in her attempt to grasp an image of our enigmatic subconscious biological minds.

She invites you to explore the gameful and playful nature of your mind and support it in exploring the world's magic maze, outside and inside yourself.

Discover each of the puzzle pieces and arrange them to create a personal, sparkling, and ever-changing picture of your own enigmatic mind.

Release dateJan 13, 2021
Gameful Mind: Solve the Puzzle of Your Enigmatic Subconscious: Gameful Life
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    Book preview

    Gameful Mind - Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

    Two Quotes

    Self-discovery isn’t meant to be painful. If it is, then you’re working on yourself, lost in the story of your life, or simply resisting what is. — Ariel & Shya Kane, Practical Enlightenment

    We have come to realize if we are not having fun, we are moving in the wrong direction. — Ariel & Shya Kane

    1. Beginning

    The first words we hear in this life are those we cannot understand: ones to facilitate our birth; our parents’ ecstatic greetings; the time of our emergence; our bodies’ measurements, our weight called out by midwives.

    We didn’t understand a word being said, but we appreciated the cozy feeling of each cooing sound, the warmth of the arms that held us, the smell of our mother’s skin, and the big new world that so suddenly surrounded us.

    The first words for this little book, Gameful Mind: Solve the Puzzle of Your Enigmatic Subconscious, came stumbling onto the screen, and I realized that they were as chaotic and undefinable as those we heard at birth. To be honest, I didn’t know where I was going with it.

    All I knew was that a couple of weeks before, I had been writing articles and essays on Medium (Medium.com¹) about the mysterious power of the subconscious mind. And as I was writing those pieces, my subconscious was not only keeping me company on this adventure but providing all the inspiring nudges to do it. The positive feedback from Medium readers kept both the conscious and subconscious parts of me going and creating.

    A couple of weeks into the process of writing those essays, it dawned on me. I wanted to take all those pieces, add some more, and create a book on this fantastic, sparkling, sometimes utterly annoying and headache-inducing entity inside me — my mind. Specifically, the part responsible for those unspoken nudges, which the conscious part of me must interpret.

    The ever gameful and playful subconscious mind.

    Just like life itself, it will never stop surprising the analytical and rational part of us.

    Studying my subconscious mind as a scientist, an anthropologist, would — with interest and without judgment — helped not only to enrich my conscious mind and put into words things I hadn’t realized before, but also to get that conscious part of me to relax and become playful and gameful as well.

    2. Length

    Some of the pieces in this book are very short. An observation about our subconscious inspired me to do this.

    Although the ideas that spark from our subconscious minds might seem like giant leaps coming from nowhere, our minds, often along with our bodies, never stop absorbing, processing and analyzing each tiny bit of information filtering in through all of our senses, as well as the thought processes and feelings generated by each of them.

    The input we get from our subconscious also comes in tiny portions. We forget to consume them that way and be attentive or just look. So those signals, which we receive from our subconscious but leave unheard and unappreciated, accumulate in big piles of information that, at some point, shock and overwhelm us like a hurricane.

    The more attentive I became to my emotions, thought processes, and reactions toward the world outside and inside me, the easier the process of interaction was between my subconscious and conscious.

    Thus, yes. This is the reason for the brevity of many of the essays in this book — because they were written as they occurred to me. Considering the average reading rate of about two hundred and fifty words per minute, most should be just a two or three minute read.

    Some others are longer, however. I attempted to break them into shorter pieces, but it didn’t always work.

    I realized that I shouldn’t try to mold this book into a specific and rigid shape. Our minds revolt when forced to do something they are not inclined to do. They might be inspired by an idea and follow it, but it rarely occurs exactly as planned. They might refer to our hearts’ desires to support their point.

    Since I am here on a journey of exploration, I decided to let each story develop and tell itself when the words flowed. To do so while listening intently to all parts of me, as I absorb what draws my attention like a sponge, and let other things that don’t resonate pass through me like a sieve.

    So, you’ll encounter some longer pieces. However, most of those longer pieces are still readable within five minutes.

    Although I have never been surfing, writing the stories in this book felt like it. Sometimes the wave finished abruptly, and I had to dive in, get a grip on my board again, and start a new story, and sometimes the wave let me balance on my writing board for several more minutes.

    Here is another analogy that occurred just now, seemingly by itself. I thought of those puzzles with parts of varying sizes and shapes, where you need to create either a picture or a shape. I think Gameful Mind could be considered as such a puzzle.

    I loved discovering this little book’s shape and letting myself be guided by fun and intuition on this amazing journey of self-discovery. Like the quotes at the beginning of this book suggest, I realized it could be effortless and joyful. And that I can use fun as my compass for this journey.

    I hope each piece of this book delights you, and it sparks ideas on your journey of self-discovery, wherever it might take you.

    3. Reading

    When we pick up a book to read, we often open it with certain expectations, especially when it’s a non-fiction book on how to do or achieve something.

    But even a fiction book gets challenged with things like, Okay, surprise and entertain me. Or, Make me forget the crazy day I just had!.

    Non-fiction and how-to books, in particular, get even more loaded requests: to answer a specific question; to solve a problem; or even to change our whole lives.

    In many of my non-fiction books, and my latest books on turning our lives into games, I suggest reading these books like novels, without expecting or trying to apply anything you find in the books to yourself.

    The inspiration for this came from a foreword to one of my favorite books on living in the moment, Practical Enlightenment, written by the award-winning authors, radio show hosts, and seminar leaders Ariel and Shya Kane, who I quoted at the beginning of and throughout this book.

    My writing teacher and bestselling author, Menna van Praag wrote the foreword to their utterly inspiring book. Menna describes how the Kanes’ anthropological approach to self-discovery and well-being helped to center her and allowed her to find the joy in life.

    Menna suggests the following:

    "I recommend that you read Practical Enlightenment in the same way you would read a fairy tale. Simply immerse yourself in the story." — Menna van Praag in the foreword to Practical Enlightenment by Ariel and Shya Kane

    I found this advice truly inspiring, and have tried to read every book I open this way, ever since.

    Of course, it is hard to forget one’s intention of changing something or ourselves partially or entirely.

    Self-improvement has been a slogan and goal of many books, courses, films, and articles.

    However, this need to grow and become better can be draining and stressful because it suggests that the way we are now is not good enough.

    Thus, when you open a non-fiction book, you might ask yourself questions like, Will this book help me find something that will make me enough? What if what I read is just a waste of time, a waste of my life?

    But what if nothing is a waste of our time? What if our lives never stop while we live, and we don’t need to take them back from anyone or anything? What if the way they unfold is perfect as they are, regardless of our preferences?

    The idea that any moment in our lives is perfect and that there is nothing wrong with us at any point in our lives is liberating and enlightening.

    Those who say wholeheartedly, You are enough, and demonstrate this through their own examples and those of others they encounter might not know what a tremendous gift they give to the world. But they do.

    By letting myself be as I am without changing anything about those around me or myself, I discover more and more books and articles with this encouraging message, be it fiction or non-fiction, as if I was attracting them like a magnet.

    At the same time, I find myself growing and learning while not forcing the process and trying to learn. Being open to enjoying whatever comes my way turned out to be the best way to learn and have fun learning.

    Turning my life into games and tapping into game analogies helped me see the possibility of both having and letting go of expectations when I read something.

    Many people play games because they make them happy. But when they start playing a favorite game, they often forget the expectation of being joyful and happy. Instead, they accept the game’s goal and are eager to win it by following the specific rules of the game.

    If you try to evaluate and analyze each element of the game with how it makes you feel — or in comparison with other things that made you happy in the past — then the chances are excellent that you won’t enjoy the game and will label it as dull and not worth your time.

    But if you dive in with the curiosity of a scientist or a game designer looking at the world with a child’s eyes full of awe and wonder, then even a game you have played a thousand times before becomes an exciting adventure.

    And so it is with both

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