It’s winter in Canada and for the northern hemisphere. Here the days are shorter, cold winds blow and the ground is covered in snow. And spring seems a long way away…
I’ll often spend some quiet moments with a jigsaw puzzle this time of year. I like a challenging puzzle, a beautiful picture, and one that is good quality—some lesser quality puzzles can have more than one piece that fits into the place you are searching for.
One day it occurred to me that life has a few things in common with a jigsaw puzzle, and some inherent wisdom for us all.
Some things a jigsaw puzzle can teach you…
1. Everything you need is in the box. The same can be said of life. You are the container that holds all the pieces. You came hardwired for your purpose and everything you need is within you.
What if your experience of life was just like the picture on the outside of the box? And all the pieces to create the finished product come with the box? I believe that we come here with a plan, that we have a goal for what our life will be, what we will accomplish and learn, whether we are conscious of it or not. You have access to everything you need to complete the picture of the life you have designed.
2. If you are going to spend all that time, make sure it is beautiful for you and those you share it with. Imagine spending huge amounts of time working at putting together a picture that is boring, dull or depressing?
Same goes for your life experience. You are here to create your life so why not make it beautiful and inspiring? Especially to you. You are the one living it, the one it matters the most to. It is too easy to spend your time creating something that in the end you will find mundane. If you are going to spend the time, make it beautiful!
3. When you start a puzzle, many people start on the outside and work inward. Somehow it’s easier that way. You find the corner and edge pieces and create the outside boundary. The rest of the pieces are contained within.
In life, that outside edge helps you have a good sense of self. It’s good to have strong, healthy boundaries, and the ability to discern what fits in your life, what brings you joy and purpose and what doesn’t belong.
4. You can really only build your puzzle one piece at a time. Focusing on too many possibilities is overwhelming and you won’t be able to tell what fits in where.
Although it may sound ideal to have all the pieces of your life set in place, or to get everything set up all at once, life isn’t like that. You’ll become confused if you focus on too many things at once. Focus on one piece at a time and that will lead to the next piece. Let things fall in place.
5. You might have to turn the piece around or change your perspective to see where it fits. Sometimes you just don’t have the clarity to see what is right before your eyes.
When you are feeling confused or you’re not sure what to do, try shifting your perspective to see what circumstances look like from another point of view. You might be surprised at the insights and wisdom you’ll find.
6. The more challenging the puzzle, the more rewarding it feels when you’re finished. The joy is in feeling the success of our creation, being able to focus to create the desired end result. Too easy with no challenge, and you’ll lose interest fast.
In life, you grow and develop through your challenges. Challenges don’t necessarily mean trauma or hardship; it could simply be trying something new, expanding your horizons or stepping out of your comfort zone. When you challenge yourselves, you can see how resourceful and how resilient you are. You can feel a sense of inner pride and you’ll develop more self confidence.
7. Don’t do the same puzzle over and over again. When it’s done, it’s done. You can feel good and admire it, and look back with fond memories, but at some point you need to move on to the next adventure.
If you keep repeating the same patterns, ask yourself why? Are you repeating things because you are stuck in a rut? Because you’ve created a comfort zone and it’s a bit scary to step out of it? Or maybe you still have something to learn in these circumstances? If you do, it means you’ve either got a piece of your puzzle in the wrong place, or there’s a piece that doesn’t belong in your puzzle.
8. If it doesn’t fit in the place you want it to go, it doesn’t belong there. You can try to jam a puzzle piece where it doesn’t belong but ultimately it will just mess up the whole finished picture. It won’t fit properly where you want it to go, the place where it is supposed to be will be empty, and it will take up the space that belongs to something else. To top it off, that out-of-place piece might start looking a little rough around the edges because it is somewhere where it doesn’t fit in.
Some things just don’t belong in your life, no matter how much you want them to. Trying to make the space for them, hold on tight to them, or make it work no matter what disrupts the perfect plan for your life.
9. Listen to your gut. Sometimes you can pick up a piece and instinctively and immediately know exactly where it goes.—without thinking about it. You just somehow know.
We all have gut reactions and intuitive hits. How many times have you ignored your inner promptings, and later regretted it? Imagine if you would have listened? That piece of your life puzzle could have fallen perfectly in place without struggle.
Follow these simple guidelines and by the time you’re finished with the puzzle of your life, you will have created a beautiful picture for everyone to behold.