The many-headed monster at the end of the level

Bad dream

Somewhere recently – can’t remember where, exactly – I read something to the effect that if your deepest dream comes true, that can turn into your greatest nightmare, because suddenly there’s no hiding place.

How very true that is.

There’s nothing quite as scary as getting exactly what you asked for!

Why is that?  Maybe because there’s no one and nothing to resent or blame, no excuses, no ‘if onlys’ to hide behind.  There is just this exciting but terrifying knowledge that NOTHING is holding you back, and you’re free to fulfil your dreams.

That’s about where I was for the past week or so. Having got past the euphoria of realising that my dream of owning an ancient English cottage with a garden in a beautiful town was coming true,  I descended deep in the mire of conveyancers and planning authorities and environmental searches.

That’s not to say it won’t all turn out fine in the end.  It will.  I know that.  It’s just that right at that moment, everything felt stressful and difficult and frightening and there were nasty little snags and problems sticking up all over the place.

The knee-jerk reaction was to hunt around for someone to blame, but I knew I could do better than that.

The next (slightly more mature?) step was to ask why all these problems were being dropped in my path.

Once I asked the right question, the answer appeared instantly.  In fact, I’d written it myself in my book LIFE: A PLAYER’S GUIDE.  I remembered the analogy I’d used of life being like a role-player video game, set up quite intentionally by our higher – or god – self in order to gain experience (EXP as it’s known to gamers).  Here’s the extract I was drawn to:

Be on the lookout for times when the odds seem truly stacked against you.

I’m reminded of a computer game my sons used to play some years ago.  They would move through each level, ducking and diving and successfully zapping all the little problems that came their way.  Suddenly, they’d turn a corner and some huge, many-headed monster would be blocking the path in front of them, breathing fire and attacking on all fronts.  None of their weapons or manoeuvres seemed to have any effect on this creature.  Laser rays bounced off it; firebombs fizzled and died.  It seemed quite invincible.  It always amazed me that they kept going, doggedly using the same – apparently useless – arsenal of weapons and refusing to give up.  Their energy levels were fading and all seemed lost until, quite suddenly, they won through.  The creature was finally weakened and vanished in a great explosion and they moved on to the next level.


In the Virtual Game, the ‘end-of-level monster’ is often many-headed.  Friends you’ve always relied on seem unaccountably inaccessible; aspects of life that have served you well suddenly turn and challenge you; finances that have seemed stable and predictable rear up and attack.  You find yourself floundering out of your depth and with no apparent support.  Just as you begin throwing up your hands in horror and wondering what life is going to hurl at you next, stop and remember what you’ve read here.  Recognise this for what it is.  You/God have brought yourself to a huge end-of-level crisis to test whether you have the skills and resolve to get through it.  You do.  You wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t already gained all the necessary tools and EXP to defeat the monster.  All you have to do is to keep on working through each problem – slicing off each of the creature’s heads – in the certain knowledge that if you keep at it, you will win through to the next level.

So here I stand, buoyed up by the advice I wrote then – so that I could rediscover it now – and ready to deal with each new problem as it arises.

Sooner or later, the many heads will all be gone and the final few fears will have receded.  Yes, it’s frightening to get exactly what you’d dreamed of, but it’s also profoundly invigorating.

Available in paperback and Kindle editions

Available in paperback and Kindle editions

If you could do with a bit of help with the Game called Life we are all playing, take a look through LIFE: A PLAYER’S GUIDE by Jan Stone, if you haven’t already.  It’s available from Amazon throughout the world or to order from your local bookshop.

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2 comments on “The many-headed monster at the end of the level

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