Focus, Action … Checkmate

Life is like a game of chess. Changing with every move.
Chinese proverb

Ain’t that the truth.

When was the last time you played Chess? I had a game with my 17yo son on the weekend at his suggestion. It’s been years since we’d last played.

He set the chess board up, an elaborate wooden set I bought in Ubud, Bali many years ago before we had the kids.

The pieces are chunky and beautifully hand crafted, and it took me a while to reacquaint myself with the ‘royal cast’ after such a long time.

It was a competitive, fun game and we both played with enthusiasm and intense concentration till the very end.

As anyone who’s ever played chess knows, it takes a certain mindset to plan every move.


It took lots of focus and effort to think about where to place each piece and to be forward thinking and strategise, in order to make the best possible moves.

I thought he would win so I surprised myself with the end result.

Every pawn is a potential Queen. James Mason

Afterwards, it made me think about life. (That’s what blogging does to you!)

We talk so often about living in the moment, which is what we were doing as we were playing, but it’s also good to be forward thinking.

If we only ever think about where we are right now, we never get ahead, especially if we’re in a place of lack or a state of limbo.

So often we get caught up in old habits of thinking, instead of trying to work out what we want to achieve and where we want to be.


That’s when we have to remember our goals and intentions and what we need to do to achieve them. We need a plan.

Then we have to take steps to head us in the right direction. Small decisions and actions that can lead to big shifts.

Sometimes these shifts mean we have to move backwards in order to be in a better place to move forwards. It’s all in the momentum.

Action is sometimes sacrifice

I lost my Queen mid match but regained her through a pawn. Yes, we often sacrifice and lose something along the way but that’s how we grow.

We make a calculated move, take a risk and mistakes happen, but we continue. We learn how we can move differently next time.

There were times during the game when I got distracted and lost my focus.

Yet there’s always another way to approach something. So I looked at the pieces from a different angle, worked out a different way to move them.

Trust in the process and hold the vision in your mind of what you want to achieve.

The path eventually reveals itself, especially when we surround ourselves with the right people (knights, bishops, queens!) That’s what makes the journey so much fun.

It’s the same with life. I’m learning that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. The key is to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing and to have people around us that are supportive.

It’s not just to win the battle, it’s to enjoy the whole process and to learn along the way.

Check Mate

Daniel said to me afterwards. “How do I get better at chess?”

“Practice” I said.

“It’s all about practice.”

Getting good at anything in life is about practising and being resourceful. It’s about doing what we can with what we have.

And it’s about being committed. When we commit to something those small steps can yield big results. And even though some days we might feel like we’re moving backwards, just like in chess, we eventually move forward again.

If we’re not making mistakes we’re not learning.

I know, I’m living it. I have so much to learn and I’m sure I’m going to have heaps of up and down days. But I’m also excited at what lies ahead.

We all have success within us. Believe it.

At the end of the day the pawn and the king go back in the same box.
Italian proverb

[For the record, these photos were taken in a subsequent mock game. While we played we were focused entirely on the game.]

Whether your goal is saving for a trip to Bali or Hawaii, finishing that languishing book or achieving success in a training course, I wish you well in your steps to get there.

Find that excitement and passion and let it propel you forwards.

Let your focus, action and determination get you to where you want to go.

And then, the journey will continue and it will never be the same. I can feel it.

It will be even better.

Have fun as you follow your bliss into March.

In light and love.

Stay in touch and connect with me on Facebook.

Come check out my new group for like minded travelers
Outanabout YOLO “You only live once”

114 thoughts on “Focus, Action … Checkmate

  1. Oh what a beautiful post and what an exquisite chest set, such beautiful wood carvings each piece its own magnificent creation.
    I so loved you line, from the Italian Proverb ”
    At the end of the day the pawn and the king go back in the same box.” So True

    And yes we each are held within the game of life, each move we make affecting another’s choice in life as well as our own.

    I only ever tried to learn computer chess back in the days my Son had an Atari Computer LOL.. We thought it magical back in its day. But boy oh boy has time evolved with the technological advancements :-). And I never really understood the rules. I was a drafts or people call it checkers, person taught by my granddad.

    Such brilliant analogies Miriam. Beautifully scripted and teamed with fantastic photos.. And my daughter has been out to Bali on a spiritual journey of their temples. So I know how beautiful a place it is.
    Thank you for your wisdom Miriam, and for guiding us through your words, that we need patience and practice, but also focus and intent.

    Love and Blessings my friend .. You set me up for the day xx ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Sue, I always love your thoughtful comments. Must admit that growing up I was a draughts girl myself too. I only learnt chess scantily but it’s amazing how some things just come back to you. 😏
      It had been ages since I’d played a board game so it was a lot of fun. Yes, Bali is very special. I’d go back tomorrow if I could. Thanks again Sue. Glad if I was able to start your day well. Hope it continues to be wonderful. xx ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sumith. By the way, I just left a comment on your lovely radish flower but it seemed to have disappeared. Perhaps check your spam folder. Apparently a lot of my comments have been ending up there.


  2. Chess is truly a lesson in problem solving. I’m so glad I learned to play chess with my father, an avid and skilled competitor. I live your post. We can compare life to chess, it’s takes time to get it right.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautiful chess set, Miriam!! I used to LOVE to play chess but today find myself without anyone to play with. (pout)

    I’m in a phase of life that I must continue to the very end. I’m beginning to have small urges within about the dreams I’ve yet to see. I’m not sure if I will be able to do all I dream of doing, yet, the only way to find out is to start. One move at a time. 😉 Have a great day!! 🌸

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Follow those urges Amy. One day, one step at a time, you’ll find that place of bliss and happiness again. It’s never too late to follow those dreams. I wish you all the very best my friend. xo 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the analogy between life and a game of chess. Of course we have the Chinese proverb, but I like how you transfer your experience from a game of chess to values we can bring with us into our lives. Unfortunately, I haven’t plaid chess for at least 10 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Miriam, truely brillant post. You have such a fabulous writing style and the way you used the chess game to expand thoughts on life, truly wounderful. You are a great writter , i wish i could be like that with my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw Bella, you’ve really touched me with your words. Thank you so much. We all have our own unique voice and style of writing, you included my dear. Thank you for making my morning. x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Miriam, kudos to you for capturing such a beautiful and insightful piece! There were so many takeaways one could apply to one’s life. Here’s the point that stood out to me. “The path eventually reveals itself.” Indeed it will!!😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, and what a fabulous chess set. I hope your son wants to play again, learn through practice and play – fine brain development and maintenance. Sometimes, my life has been less like a game of chess, and more like Ker-Plunk. I’m a grand master…
    Thanks, Miriam!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks PC, yeah I think we’ll most likely play again. Your comment made me smile. Here’s to enjoying life, whatever game we’re playing. 🙂


  8. Firstly, what a magnificent chess set! 🤩

    I haven’t played in years. I tried to teach the missus how to play, some years back (on a Simpson’s set) and we had some fun. But it kind of faded away. I’m sure I’m pretty damn terrible at it now, but I ought to pick it back up. You’re right, it’s an entirely different way to think, and different thinking builds the brain.

    Lastly, you’re amazing. Your posts are so inspirational and, from what I can see half a world away, straight from the heart. You are unapologetically, purely Miriam. And that’s a pretty damn awesome thing to be.

    Thank you for so routinely brightening my path, M!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tom, thinking differently definitely challenges the brain. I know, I’ve spent all day in the city stepping out of my comfort zone as part of my new training (hence the late reply to your comment).
      Thank you so much for your lovely words Tom. It’s comments like yours that make me love what I do. Warmest wishes to you my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello dear Miriam,
    What a stunning post. I so agree with you about the other side of just living in the moment.
    There is time for that, and time for planning and looking for what I call ‘the breadcrumbs’ to show you where to head next.
    I’m having one of ‘those’ weeks again so your lovely analogy was very timely.
    We all need to support each other in where we wish to head, or at the very least, to empower each other that it’s ok where we are right now too.
    Strong people support others.
    And I have to admit I’ve never learnt Chess but the way you explained the reasons behind the pieces it all made sense.
    I loved your insertion that ‘being a blogger, that’s what we do’ when finding meaning and teaching in everything!
    Thank you for being you, on this International Women’s day and spreading your kind wisdom for us all.
    Much love,
    Didi 💐🙋🏻😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your beautiful reply my dear friend. I’m writing this on the train returning after an intensive day of marketing training in the city. Yes, definitely stepping way out of my comfort zone. Warmest wishes and hugs to you Di xo 🙂💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello dear Miriam,
        You’re very welcome. And how exciting for you. Things are moving in the direction you are aiming for then. I’ll look forward to learning more as you share your new knowledge.
        Wishing you a peaceful and restful weekend and thank you for my hugs. Sending them in return…🌎🌈💕

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been able to play chess since I was a child, but I’ve never been able to play it that well. My youngest son can beat me and I don’t know how becasue is game is very unusual.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. While my mom taught me how to play many games, my dad is the one who taught me how to play chess. I haven’t played in many years, but the lessons remained. I love the beautiful way that you have explained the game of chess and the pathway of life. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Well, dang, I hit the enter key too soon. I meant to add that I like the way you compared life to a game of chess…I don’t play chess very well, but it is still a wonderful analogy. We have to have goals, to keep trying, and stay focused on our goals, while at the same time remembering to enjoy the “game” as it plays out. Thanks, Miriam!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks Ann, that’s something I often do, ie press the reply button too soon! I do appreciate your comment. Enjoy the game of life as well my friend. It’s our only shot. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ahh.!!
    I m outdoor games lover. And my younger brother loves to play chess (board games, especially)…
    You are so right!!
    Just like a chess board teaches us so much about our life. Every object around us teaches us something.
    The proverbs you have put in are awesome.
    Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved the analogy between life and the game of chess! And i liked to find an italian quote in the post! In Italy we say: ‘Alla fine del gioco re e pedone finiscono nella stessa scatola’ which means that we are all equal! But we don’t use it very much, we usually say ‘A’ morte é ‘na livella’ It’s a quote that comes from a poem in napoletean dialect by Antonio De Curtis (Do you know ‘Totó’? from Naples)
    In the poem there are two ghosts (one of them was rich in the life and an another was poor) the rich one is disappointed becouse his tomb is near the tomb of the poor one. And the ghost of the poor man says ‘La vita é ‘na livella’ that means that at the end of our life, with death, we are all equal! It’s look a lot like ‘A Christmas Carol’, do you ever see it?
    by amazedtraveller07

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Molto grazie for your Bellissimo comment. I appreciate it. My mother used to sometimes say these words so your lovely comment brought back memories for me. It not sure if I’ve seen that movie. Have a great day. 🙂


  15. Miriam, what a fabulous and ornate chess set!! It’s a work of art and I just love the carvings of the figures. Congratulations on your win – and what a special time with your son. How wonderful that you can reflect together about life and this is a fantastic post drawing a connection between your game and how life is lived! Thought-provoking and reassuring in a certain way. I’ve played chess since young and taught my son too – we played last in the summer and the intensity was felt by all.Happy Sunday! hugs xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Annika, thank you for your lovely comment. Must admit it was a lot of fun, win or lose it had been a long time since my son and I had engaged in chess and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Hugs back xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m doing well for now. I’ve received 3 offers for the house; cleaning and clearing out while working 6 days. Ugh. Can’t wait for it to be over. And a little girl trying to get my attention at night. 🤫 Ha. Hope you’re doing well. Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Three offers is great! Well, all the best with everything, it sounds like you’ve got your hands full but you’ll be fine. I’m doing well too, thanks. Hugs back 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Awe I love how you intertwined chess and life, they are very similar indeed. I used to play chess many many years ago, my father had a chess board. Yours is gorgeous, love the pieces. Well I certainly have been focused for days and days…trying to get my microphone to work…I kid you not. I have spent hours and hours and hours and I think I may have fixed it, but it will be working one moment and not the next. There were some not so pretty moments of frustration too!! So I’ll see who has checkmate in the end…I’m determined for it to be me!!! Wishing you every success in your training course…and thanks for the reminders of life as usual dear one!! Big focused hugs my lovely lady xo ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello beautiful Debs, you’re a determined one indeed! I’ve been thinking of you, wondering how you are. I’ve also had my head down immersed in my studies. What a full on three days it was! Thoroughly rewarding but very exhausting and it’s just the beginning! I’m very excited at all that lies ahead.
      Sounds like you’ve got that mic issue fixed, good on you for persevering. We’ll have to test it out, maybe tomorrow. I feel a checkmate coming!! Thank you for your lovely words and wishes my friend. Let’s talk soon. xo❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been thinking about you too and wondering how your 3 days went. I can’t talk for a few days I have some accounting work to do but once I’m done with it we will have some catching up to do!! I haven’t tested my mic tonight to see if it’s still working, hopefully it is…wow was that frustrating and time consuming. Talk soon Big hugs xo ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I never learned to play chess – but backgammon, lol, now that’s one I love! Your set is gorgeous!

    Yes, practice and commitment, they go hand in hand. Sometimes you just have to keep maintaining until you get through to the other side. Ir’s a process. 🙂

    *hugs* ❤


  18. Hello again dear!!!
    As I am 10 years away from my work retirement, me and Sophie begin to make some plans…Travelling, making photos and, yes…why not? Travelling for photography!!!

    Practice comes very useful when you are like me, an autodidact…Mistakes are part of the process and should never be a source of anger and frustration…

    So, keep on playing chess (which I love playing too!) and thanks for that really encouraging blog Miriam!!
    Cheers!! XXX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Frankie, it sounds as though you’re at about the same stage in life as I am. Yes, thoughts do turn to retirement but, even more importantly, doing what we love now. Here’s to continuing to love and perfect our photography and enjoying all those wonderful joys (and challenges) along the way.
      Thanks for your great comment Frankie, it’s always a pleasure to see you here. xx 🙂


  19. I loved reading this post! You’re right about so many things about life can be learned by the game of chess. Your pieces are very unique & i do love sets that stand apart from others. A good chess set can, and some should be displayed as art. ~amy

    Liked by 1 person

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