The Tuesday Night Game
The Tuesday Night Game
By Robert Foote
The A.L.M. Community
December 30, 1996
The origins of our Tuesday Night Game date back to when Lauren was a little tyke, probably at least 10 years ago. There was a deck of index cards hanging around, composed of quotes from one of the Seth/Jane Roberts books, “The Nature of Personal Reality.” Lauren, on a whim, picked up the deck, shuffled it, and asked the several of us who were around to “pick a card, any card.”
We obliged. When we each read our cards aloud, we were all struck by how strangely appropriate they were for each of us. They furthermore seemed to form a coherent pattern that related to the growing edges of the group as a whole.
The next morning I took this seed experience with me on my long pre-dawn run. (That was in the days before my right knee started to let me know that it would prefer than I walked rather than ran in the mornings.) During the course of that run, the image of the game unfolded, as though it had a life of its own. I had been feeling increasingly dissatisfied with the form of the weekly “study group” that we’d all been participating in for many years — it had become too cerebral; a few people always seemed to claim the lion’s share of the “talking space”; and the single focus (be it Seth, or the ALM Readings or whatever) didn’t seem sufficiently inclusive to incorporate all our various interests and orientations.
By the time I had reached the furthest limit of my run that morning, I paused and reviewed the image that had just coalesced around Lauren’s spontaneous gesture of the day before. As I did so, a red fox crossed the road ten or fifteen feet in front of me. Having never seen a fox here before (or since), I took that synchronicity as a magical confirmation of the the impulse to introduce this new game to the group.
The game as we play it now has changed very little over the years. We gather around 7:00 on Tuesday evenings — those of us who live here plus several other close friends from the neighborhood. After chatting for a while, we begin the game at 7:30. First we pass around a wooden bowl with two dice in it. Everyone shakes the dice. Whoever shakes low begins the game. Whoever shakes high is the timekeeper. His or her responsibility is to bring the game to a close after an hour, and to give all the participants the same amount of time (more or less) to draw their card and share their associations with it.
If, during this initial round of dice-throwing, anyone shakes doubles, they are “fools” for the evening. The fool doesn’t talk or interact with the group until the very end of the meeting. They are to remain mute and to attempt to open themselves to feelings, insights, observations and/or patterns that might be less apparent to the others who are busy wagging their tongues. After this initial round, the timekeeper claims his or her “instrument” (a hand-held music box that plays a pleasant harp-like melody), the wooden bowl with a single die is passed to the person who shook low, and we then move into a few opening minutes of silent meditation.
After the timekeeper brings us out of the silence, we move around the circle, each of us having 5-10 minutes (depending on the number of people playing the game that evening) to draw a card from whichever deck the toss of the die leads us to.
The original 6 decks were as follows:
1) the pack of Seth quotes which Lauren initially used to give us the idea for the game;
2) a deck of evocative mounted pictures culled from old National Geographic magazines;
3) a “touchy-feely” deck that includes cards instructing us to receive a 5-minute full-body massage from everyone else in the group, or exchange hand or face rubs with the person sitting next to you, or run around the building three times, or whatever;
4) a deck of Tarot cards;
5) a deck of miscellaneous quotes that we all contribute to whenever we feel moved to do so; and
6) the notebook containing the unpublished manuscript for The ALM Work Readings.
Those six “decks” are still in use, and have been augmented over the years with several others — a pack of quotes from the Abraham material; one from the Don Juan/Carlos Castaneda material; a second deck of pictures; a second miscellaneous deck; a second pack of cards from The Nature of Personal Reality; and whatever else comes and goes according to personal inclination. These more recent decks are called “the new 5 pile” or “the alternate 4 pile”. When someone shakes a 4, for example, they are free to chose a card from either the old or the new 4 pile.
The fools (if there are any) don’t throw the die as the bowl passes around the circle. Only after everyone else has had their turns are the fools “released” from their vows of silence. They share whatever impressions or insights they may have received and then shake and draw as the others have done. The game closes with another few minutes of silence and then treats are served. (Ron once had a dream that said that the true meaning of Tuesday nights shall be learned through cookies. In other words, the casual sharings that occur during treats are often as significant as the game itself.)
After treats, and before we all disperse, the bowl (once more with two dice) is passed around a final time. Whoever shakes high this time brings the treats for the following week. The person who brought the treats that night is exempt from the roll–this corrective measure was taken after someone (Douglas, I believe) shook high 4 or 5 weeks in a row.
The “flavor” or “feeling-tone” or “quality” of the game varies from week to week, and is probably closely related to the energy level of the room on any particular Tuesday. At one extreme it is dry and boring and seemingly irrelevant. At the other extreme it is stunningly on-target both for the individuals and for the group. Ideally, each draw is both meaningful for that particular person and is also part of a larger pattern of guidance woven for the group as a whole. This happens frequently enough to keep us engaged in the game after all these years.
The game (like any form) didn’t completely resolve all the problems that we used to have with Tuesday nights. It can still slide into abstract speculations, and some people still talk more than others. And the thick film of familiarity builds up around it as it does around any repetitive action. Yet there are still nights of magical choreography that leave us awestruck and filled with appreciation.