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What is The Transformation Game®?
Sometimes life is filled with blessings, insights, and a heart-felt sense of connection with people around us. Other times we stumble through a series of setbacks, accumulating pain, even falling into depression; and nothing we try seems to help us get out of it. Sometimes someone unexpectedly appreciates us or offers to serve us -- or we reach out to help another. Sometimes miracles happen, pain is lifted, new directions open up, and the seemingly impossible occurs.
Just as life is filled with this rich variety of experience, so is the Transformation GameR, a fun and complex board game developed originally by Joy Drake and Kathy Tyler at the Findhorn Foundation. Since the first Game workshop was offered there in 1978, thousands of people have played the Game in its various forms.
The original version, an indepth experience for five players facilitated by two trained guides, is offered either as a three-day intensive or as a weeklong programme. The Planetary Game involves 20 - 120 people in a life-sized format where players have a unique opportunity to explore the interconnectedness of all aspects of life, and to work creatively with areas of planetary and personal concern.
1987 saw the launch of the Transformation box Game, a distillation of the original workshop into a board game which can be played at varying levels of intensity. It can be played by 2-4 people in as little time as an evening, as a light-hearted way of gaining insight into themselves; or it can be used, with or without a facilitator, as a tool to help solve problems, clarify important personal issues, or change unproductive behaviour.
Since then InnerLinks, a company formed to research and develop Transformation Game programmes and products, has developed other versions of the Game, as well trainings for facilitators. A specialised version of the Game, Frameworks for Change, has been designed for use in organisational and business settings, while the Frameworks Coaching Process provides a stand-alone coaching tool for use in the workplace.
The Game offers a playful yet substantial way of understanding and gracefully transforming the way you play your life. One way of viewing it is that it aims to recreate in miniature the soul's journey through life, providing a context where people can look at the kinds of experiences they create, and assess the value of their particular patterns and of their attitudes and responses to life. It highlights strengths, identifies blind spots and limitations, and brings fresh perspectives to current challenges.
In the Transformation GameR version, you start by creating a focus or purpose to keep in mind as you roll the die and move along your life path. Before being 'born', you fill your 'Unconscious Envelope' with a set of cards which indicate the strengths, challenges and inner qualities that have a bearing on your purpose. You choose a guardian angel and then move along your life path, taking cards from the Unconscious and playing them on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Some of the cards bring awareness, others bring pain -- and you can use awareness to clear pain. You also have opportunities to exercise free will and intuition, to connect with angels, and to share appreciations and feedback.
Although players move their 'personalities' from square to square at the throw of a die, you are by no means a passive participant in the process. Many of the squares and cards require you to exercise initiative and imagination, to share on a deeply personal level and to make your own choices and decisions. It is a game that comes alive through personal sharing and interaction, and it has a definite therapeutic value, although it was not designed as a therapy. It is up to the players to decide how deeply to participate, and to make what you choose of the experiences that come to you.
There are two main card decks in the Game: Insights and Setbacks. The Insight deck contains cards like: "An unexpected crisis provided an opportunity for you to actualise your inner strength and power" -- "I'm willing to undo my belief system to accelerate change" -- "You hold a positive outlook". Players receiving these cards will share about how they assist with their purpose, or give an example of a time when the card applied. Other Insight cards require more involvement: "An opportunity to give truthful feedback to another player who is born" -- "If you could change one aspect of yourself right now, what would it be and why?" -- "Take personal responsibility; choose where you move next."
Setback cards highlight behaviour and attitudes that cause difficulty in our lives. Examples include: "You are setback by your avoidance" -- "You constantly look outside yourself for sources of direction rather than following your own inner truth" -- "Preaching instead of practising". These cards provide players with the opportunity to look at areas of difficulty in their lives and to explore ways of changing them.
The original version of the Game was developed by Joy Drake , who lived at the Findhorn Foundation for 15 years. "I wanted to recreate the 'Findhorn experience' in a way that would allow people to learn the lessons and receive the insights that that environment provides without having to go and live there for three years," she says. "It was a way of distilling the essence of the educational process that happens as we begin to view the whole of life as a learning arena."
Although the original idea for the Game came from Joy, many people were involved in developing and refining it. Principle among these was Kathy Tyler, who with Joy developed the commercially available Transformation box Game. But there were also many hours of playing with 'Game devotees' on makeshift Game boards, intense brainstorming and feedback sessions, and long philosophical discussions on the nature of pain, creativity, God, spirituality, the personality, wholeness, how the world works, and a variety of other topics.
There is now a network of Game facilitators in different parts of the world, trained in different versions of the Game. Joy and Kathy now live in Asheville, North Carolina, USA, where they research, develop and market a range of innovative transformational tools through InnerLinks Associates, a consulting and training company which supports the outreach of the various forms of the Transformation Game. InnerLinks continues to be affiliated with the Findhorn Foundation and maintains an office there. Mary Inglis, who has also been involved with the Game since its early beginnings, is a partner with them in InnerLinks UK, which organises programmes not only at the Foundation but also throughout Europe, as well as Japan, South Africa and South America.
Several programmes and products now make up the Game 'family' and are available world-wide through InnerLinks. The Findhorn Foundation, where the Game was originally developed, is the centre for Game programmes in Europe.
Different forms of the Game include the commercially available Transformation Game, which can be played at varying levels of intensity, with or without a facilitator; a more indepth intensive 4-day Game of Transformation workshop; various team versions applicable to particular situations and groups; and the Planetary Game, a life-sized version of the Game which works with collective as well as personal issues. There is also an organisational version, Frameworks for Change, a self-directed learning programme which provides a creative space for teams and organisations to examine their responses to their own working environments and team challenges. InnerLinks trains facilitators for the various versions of the Game.
For information about programmes at Findhorn, see the Foundation website: www.findhorn.org or contact InnerLinks Game Office, Findhorn Foundation, The Park, Forres IV36 3TZ, Scotland. Tel: +44 (1309) 690992. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For information about programmes in the USA contact email@example.com Website: www.innerlinks.com