Wordle to the Wise: A Valentine in 5 Letters
MindLetter post written by Dr Kitty Wheater.
The lunchtime mindfulness drop-in continues today in the Chaplaincy in Bristo Square, 1.10-1.50pm. Feel free to come along for some grounding and replenishment at the end of your busy week. If you can't make it today, you might like to try this Grounding and Releasing practice, from our library of Guided Practices. These are available to stream and download, and there are more on their way.
For this week's MindLetter, my reflections on something that matters to us all - and yes, I am talking about Wordle.
Wordle to the Wise: A Valentine in 5 Letters
Look at this: there is a game you can play that is on your side. Where you have to work for the win, and it’s a bit of an effort, but the satisfaction is as pure and sweet as bright Edinburgh morning sunshine. It’s a game that loves you, but it has boundaries. It wants you to be able to step away; you get one shot each day, and you can’t buy your way out of it. It’s a game that no matter how badly you play, with your well-intentioned efforts, it’s still there the next day; where the rules never change; and where, even when you get it wrong, you learn something. It’s a game where, just occasionally, something dire happens, but it’s only as awful as an unexpected American spelling.
Open your eyes: Wordle is the grownup relationship after years of Candy Crushes. The ones that hooked us mercilessly, and let us down with careless triumph, with bright colours and cute emojis. They bombarded us with dopamine. They drip-fed addiction into our helpless human veins. You were a good person, and it didn’t matter, because our care and attention can be hijacked, and they knew how to do it. They were a player, and you loved the game, but it made you a walking blank space of empty hopes and dreams. At first your friends laughed, and you had many happy hours of mutual efforts and commiserations; but then they grew frustrated with you. You stopped submitting your essays on time. It’s not that you didn’t know, somehow, that friends and essays were still important. It’s more that something had hold of you, and you couldn’t let it go.
Valiantly you persisted in your pursuit of joy. You watched others for clues about how to play; you picked up tips on the internet. You tried to game the game. But however smart you got, it was never enough. And you began to wonder: should it be this hard? Should it take this much from me? Your attention span was wrecked and ragged. In spare moments you thought about when you could get back to it. Your fingers and thumbs ached. You longed for your phone, and spent too much time on it in the middle of the night, when you should have been sleeping. Rest, day or night, was no longer possible. As you tossed and turned, your mind was like a broken cinema reel, fragments of images peeling through at breakneck speed. If you just thought about it enough, you would get it right.
Eventually, you went cold turkey for a while, to tend your wounds. You unfollowed, and you deleted. At first you were wracked with doubt. Maybe you were a bit twitchy; when your phone pinged, you jumped. But then, slowly, it happened: something in you began to return. You caught yourself enjoying a moment without them. Then you stopped catching yourself, because this was simply a moment, living itself, and it was no longer anything to do with their presence, or absence, or them at all, really. They had floated away. You forgot that they existed. And you – you! – were still here, and there was a whole world around you, and you got to go into it and see what was waiting.
Diary entries show how you became curious. You’d seen others doing it; at first you thought, I can’t be bothered, or, I don’t do that anymore. But then one day you ventured in, just to see, and – how extraordinary, what a sweet relief – it was rather lovely. There was challenge, of course, and sometimes you ground your teeth a little, but you never, not for a moment, felt like you were being played. And the ease of it! The way you could put it down, because you have a life to live, and it didn’t chase you (well. Not too much). The way that, although you didn’t know exactly how it would play out, you trusted its fabric, its basics. It was solid and reliable, you were in it together, and, day by day, you were growing. You learned some things about peace. You learned how to pause. You learned that what we need, all of us, alone and together, is a sense of humour. (Yes. It stumped me, too.)
Here, finally, was a new way to love and be loved.
Warm wishes, and happy Wordling, this chilly weekend.