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Cathleen Hulbert

Cathleen Hulbert
Location
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Birthday
April 23
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Author
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Cosmic Pelican, LLC
Bio
Cathleen Hulbert, LCSW, is a clinical social worker and a free-lance journalist with a background in newspaper reporting. She is the author of "The First Lamp -- A Story of Cosmic Illumination," a time-travel tale of redemption and forgiveness. For more information about the author and the book, go to www.cathleenhulbert.com.

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OCTOBER 7, 2009 8:15PM

How FarmVille Changed My Luck

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Or -- How I Used FarmVille to Change My Mind 

There's nothing magic about it. What is magical is that I found a way to change my way of thinking with a simple little game. I must have been ready.

little piglet 

(Shades of Green Acres. Can you name the TV show pig?)

For those of you who use Facebook, it might interest you to know that FarmVille is now the most popular application on this social networking site. A million people use it. Some pay real money to get things for their farms. But you don't have to.

I do love Facebook but I resisted this game for a time. Aferall, I am busy with "important things" (or Important Things as it would be spelled in the books of Pooh). I am a healthcare social worker, a slayer of dragons and a writer. No time to waste, says the serious adult side of me. But I do have a lively inner child. And there is a very bright, active 9-year-old, my nephew, who shares my home. Games are played with relish. Fun is an absolute requirement before bedtime, particularly on stressful days. My nephew and I became neighbors on FarmVille. We exchange tips and stories about how things are going on our farms. It is fun chewing the fat with this kid I adore and sharing our thoughts about farming. That is how all of this began for me. 

So this is a typical FarmVille spread:

  farmville5

Horses, cows, chickens, goats, pigs and maybe a circus elephant thrown in for fun. Crops are a staple. That's the main point of the game, the planting and harvesting of crops. Farm bling and buildings are present on the typical virtual farm. They include toys such as benches, hay, wheelbarrows, a toolshed, a workshop, a covered rest tent with a little drink inside, wagons and even houses, all of which can be bought at the marketplace with points that you earn for being a good farmer. When it's time to do something farm-like to one of the cute animals, say milking it or collecting its eggs, the animals actually get a little halo to tell you that they need some attention.

It's sweet, really. Can you imagine your spouse, your children or your parents getting a halo when they needed some attention? It sure beats sprouting horns.  

Anyway, the point of this blog is that I have noticed a highly positive shift in my life experiences since I started playing FarmVille. No, I have not lost my mind. 

farmville2 

And no, I'm not being paid by the FarmVille designers to say this. If I knew how to actually reach them I would complain about the fact that there are no Farmville cats and dogs. Why are there elephants, but not dogs? But I digress.

farmville1 

As you can see from the above photos, there are different types of crops from which to choose. You can create your own crop shapes (not necessarily crop circles, but something like it), choosing symbols that mean something to you. This T-shape is the Mayan symbol for spirit.

So I started thinking.

What if playing FarmVille could play into my not-evil plan to change my negative thoughts into positive ones? And what if my time management skills came into play, allowing me to accomplish "meditate daily," "radically change your outlook on life" and "have some good, clean fun" all in one simple little game? The wheels started to turn as I calculated the time-saving benefits of playing FarmVille.

Soon I had jotted down some little mantras to go with each crop that I planted and harvested. I now say them to myself while I work on the farm a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes in the evening.

Most of my mantras are applied to planting and harvesting, but when I'm tending to the animals I see them as book agents producing fantastic results for me. Eggs are contract offers in this little mind game. Milking hasn't been assigned a mantra yet, but I'm still thinking about it. FarmVille trees get fruit that has to be harvested, and while I'm working on the trees I repeat to myself that I am standing tall in the world. I feel taller. 

Pumpkins equal "abundance of good things."

The grapes are "grapes of laugh."

When I plant cotton I'm thinking about "cotton-pickin' fun with all of the success in my life."

When I'm harvesting those cute purple eggplants I'm thinking about "egg-citing things coming my way!"

Pineapples allow me to say over and over, "Hawaii, here I come." This is relevant because my novel takes place in Hawaii. While I'm thinking positively, I see myself spending more time in that lovely place when my book becomes a screenplay then becomes a movie. "Hay," it's going to happen. 

pineapple 

When I'm harvesting those strawberries, I know that I will be berry happy when I realize how blessed I am. (I have not yet reached the mastery level that allows me to plant corn, but you probably are thinking that there's plenty of corn in this exercise already. It's okay. I have to be this way sometimes. It restores balance to my universe.) 

When the aloe vera blossoms show up, I say over and over that all is very well, or "aloe vera well" if I feel resistance and want to sneak one past my subconscious. If you do this enough, your subconscious mind resists less and less and actually seems to get into it. At least mine has.

Therefore, I just know it, deep in my heart, that FarmVille is one of the reasons that I have started experiencing incredibly wonderful things. In fact, wonderful things seem to be lining up, like rows and rows of crops, to manifest in my life. (No agents are waiting to be milked, but I'm still working on that one.)

Still, I plant water-millions:

water million 

There's nothing magic about it. What is magical is that I found a way to change my way of thinking with a simple little game. I must have been ready.

Skeptical? Squash those thoughts and have fun. Don't make whine, make wine. Feel the grapes of laugh between your toes.

farmville4    

Pig out on joy. Horse around for the heck of it. And plant your dreams in fertile ground: the happy playground of the mind.   

 house

   

 

 

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Arnold Ziffel

First!!!!
Hey Cathleen, great positive post- I also feel pretty good after playing Farmville, and I don't even know why... I guess real life has become too stressed out and the simplicity of farming is just medicine for the soul... keep up the good vibes!
Nice post. I had a similar expereience with farmville. Its funny how much you resist it at first and then find it so much fun later.

I even made my own farmville site (http://automatethegame.com) I liked it so much.