Well, it’s official. The Pokémon Go craze has hit our household in full effect. Both boys are now begging to be taken to the local parks, beaches, churches, and more, in an attempt to catch Pokémon to add to their respective collections.
I missed out on the Pokémon craze in the 90s, so this is a whole new world to me. I’m enjoying their enthusiasm as they explain to me what the various Pokémon can do, what the different types are, how they evolve, etc.
As I’ve been pulled along into this Poké-life, learning as I go, I can’t help but muse about the parallels to regular, walking around life.
- You aren’t going to get very far by staying still.
Let’s start with the obvious first. If you’re not familiar with the game, it involves trying to catch Pokémon creatures that appear at various locations in the real world. It’s this crossover with the real world that makes it so intriguing, as it means that you have to move around in the real world in order to find much of anything.
Similarly, if we want to create something new in our lives we need to get out there and explore. Staying stuck in the same place, doing the same things, will yield us more of the same. Like the old adage goes, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” If you want something new in your life, get out there and do something. It’s that simple.
- Sometimes slower is better.
One facet of the game is the collection of eggs, which can be incubated to reveal new Pokémon and other prizes. Each incubation requires a certain amount of movement, so you must literally move around in order to reveal the prize. (This is one of my favorite parts of the game, as I’m always in favor of things that get kids moving.) However, the game designers built in logic that turns off the process when the movement reaches a certain speed. (This means you can’t simply hop in the car and drive to complete the incubation.)
I love this as it is a good reminder that sometimes going slower is the best (and only) way to achieve the desired results. Life moves at a breakneck pace, and if we’re not careful, we can be swept along in an never ending quest to do more, faster. However, some of the best things in life cannot be rushed. By requiring us to slow down, they have the potential remind us that life is not meant to be rushed through, but savored.
- When you want something, think about where you might find it, and go there first.
Water types hang out near the water. Fire types hang out where it’s warmer. Grass types hang out near grassy areas. By simply thinking for a moment where a certain Pokémon might logically hang out, and going there first, you greatly increase your chances of finding it. Seems obvious right?
Life is the same, but perhaps not in the way we might think. I believe that what we all want, the core of our desires, are deeply connected with freedom, peace, and love. Contrary to popular belief, these things are not found in circumstances outside of us. Instead, we need to go inside first, deep into our hearts, and find the desired feeling there. (And once we find it within, we automatically begin the process of aligning our outsides to match our insides.)
- Evolution is a process, one requiring time, intention, and effort.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the game is the evolution process. In a time where instant (or close to instant) gratification is available in so many ways, the evolution process in Pokémon Go is laborious, requiring you to collect numerous characters in order to “level up”. (Don’t believe me? The Magikarp evolution requires 400 Magikarp candies, each of which have to be painstakingly collected by catching individual Magikarps out in the real world. The fact that I even know this is making my head spin a little bit.) There is a whole layer of complexity to evolving Pokémon that I haven’t quite caught up to yet, one requiring very intentional decisions regarding skill levels and timing.
And yet, this is exactly how life works. We don’t evolve to our next level without investing the time and effort necessary to do so. And if we aren’t intentional about our evolution, we may find ourselves somewhere we didn’t expect (and don’t want to be).
- Frequently, we need to stop, take a break, and recharge our batteries.
We’ll end this with another obvious one. Not only is Pokémon Go a bit of a battery hog, but spending too much time hunched over a tiny screen can’t be good for anyone. That’s why, in our household, we’re encouraging frequent breaks, taking the opportunity to recharge our batteries (our physical and mental batteries, in addition to the phone ones.)
It goes without saying that this is a good practice in life too. We hear over and over again how good unplugging is for our minds, bodies, and souls. However we can’t simply think about resting and recharging, we must actually stop and do it. By honoring that part of ourselves that knows when we need replenishment, we set ourselves up to achieve much, much greater things than we could by simply plodding on.
These are just a few of the observations I’ve gleaned in the 24 hours since Pokémon Go entered our household. I may be posting another round soon, but for now I’m headed outside. There’s a Jigglypuff in the yard, and I intend to catch it.
Invitation: I believe that everything entering our lives has something to teach us, if we’re open and willing to learn it. My invitation is to think about something that’s entered your life recently, even something seemingly random, then go inside and ask your heart, “What is the lesson for me here?” And, if you feel so inclined, share your experience below.
P.S. I have to give a shout out to my sister, who gave me a crash course in Pokémon yesterday, and is now my go-to source for Poké-dom (my label for Pokémon wisdom.) Thanks kiddo, you rock my socks!