In every mountain cabin, there is that cabinet full of puzzles. You stumble upon the cabinet and quickly try and close it before the one puzzle lover notices and says, “Let’s do one!” Oh, the slow-paced problem-solving and daunting creative task of getting all those pieces to match that damn picture. There are two types of people who stick it out until the end, the real tried and true puzzle person and someone like me who lives their life at one hundred miles an hour and is in desperate need of a problem-solving fix that can also bring the pace of their life to a crawl. Perhaps the difficulty I feel with the patience required to put a puzzle together is due to the overwhelming nature of piecing together my own life puzzle to have it look like the image in my head. All the more reason to take the time to try.
I imagine the events, meaningful experiences, beliefs and influential people of my life as the pieces of a puzzle. It is helpful to lay them all out before piecing it together and see how each one fits with another to create the image of who I am. Have you ever tried to put a puzzle together without the cover image? Near impossible, however, to discover that image of who we are, we are tasked with doing just that.
There is beauty in the challenge because the pieces are all there and the image is a masterpiece for all of us, but I struggle with connecting the pieces to have them all make anything other than a messy pile of emotional cardboard.
Here is how I tackle it:
There are two types of questions to answers: the edges and the middle. I’ve learned when putting a puzzle together you always start with the edges. If you can provide that structure it helps with filling in the messy middle.
What do I enjoy?
What is my name?
What are my siblings like? What are my parents like?
Where do I live?
What do I enjoy doing?
What do I do for work?
The basic structure for your puzzle.
Once the edges are set, you start filling in the middle. Creating clarity in that depth and mess of color takes time. We fail more often than we succeed to find a match, but the match is there and it is a wonderful step towards that clarity when we find it.
Where do I find meaning?
What are my habits and tendencies?
What do I believe?
What are my fears?
Do I struggle with addictions?
What am I pretending not to know?
How did that unexpected death of a family member impact my subconscious?
Loving the image we eventually discover is tough to do but we must learn to because it is an illustration of the power of our unique advantage. There are so many more pieces to go collect in the future that will reconstruct the puzzle to change that image into exactly what you want it to be. Just don’t ever lose sight of the image on the cover of the box of your life puzzle.