The Bare Minimum Game

Horizon Perfekt, Kodak Portra 400 35mm filmI'm always a fan of games, and this one in particular is a strong guide for me.  More and more lately, I'm playing the Bare Minimum Game, asking all the time--what's the bare minimum that must get done today?  What's the bare minimum that I need to clean, to pack, to straighten up, to say, to write, to think about?  I like to run to-do lists through the bare minimum mill not once, but twice, to see what's still left.  I feel my hypervigilance lift and I rest more, I play more with my children and I practice a certain kind of grace with myself.  With my limits and my frailty.

I do not have to always be so strong. So in order.  So "on top of" anything, as if such a thing existed.  I can do the bare minimum and watch the world keep turning and life continually unfolding without my compulsion and striving.

What if life is beautiful, just as it is in this moment?  It's a revolutionary thought for an idealist, I promise.  But it's a thought that allows me to let the kids go through a whole roll of tape in a weekend, making their own fun with an explosion of paper and cardboard.  It scoots me off to bed when my head is pounding, and lets me choose only the things that are rooted in love as I cast off the ones mired in obligation.

It could take me a lifetime to master, but it's healing me bit by bit, every time I play the game.