I found myself recently sitting in a waiting room. I was nervous and a little upset and I grabbed a puzzle from the ‘kids’ corner’ to distract myself. It was a magnetic 3D puzzle; all the pieces were the same shape and the pattern was made up of lots of different coloured ladybirds. I flipped through the pieces for a while and put the odd 2 or 3 pieces together. It seemed impossible without a picture to follow but I knew that my mind was a little uptight. I tried to concentrate harder in order to block out those thoughts that like to think themselves and it started coming together slowly but surely. Or so I thought. I suddenly came up against a real block and couldn’t find any way forwards. The puzzle looked as if it was all in place but I had a handful of pieces that just wouldn’t fit, no matter what I did. The rest of the puzzle was so obviously right that I didn’t want to break it up. I was stuck.
I had to leave and return later so I went out for a walk, I called my most positive friends, found a quiet spot to practice Autogenic Training and headed back to the waiting room again.
I picked up the same puzzle in the same environment and in the same situation, but this time I brought peace and clarity with me, not fear and uncertainty. At first glance, the answer to the puzzle seemed embarrassingly simple. I’d started in the wrong place (with the second row first) and, even though things fitted snugly for the first 10 or 12 pieces, I’d soon become confused. Why was it going so well up until now? What was wrong with the pieces? The others were so clearly fitting neatly together, what was wrong with me?
A little embarrassing perhaps that all that came from a children’s puzzle but a lesson for the bigger picture nevertheless. Looking at any puzzle or problems in life can benefit from a different view point; a paradigm shift. In our jobs, relationships, friendships and even hobbies, things that have previously been running- and fitting together so smoothly can hit seemingly illogical or unexpected problems. Generally, it isn’t the thing or event that stumps us, but rather the place we find ourselves in that changes the lens on our reality perception.
Seeing something from another perspective sounds much easier than the reality, but if we are actively aware of both the logical and emotional sides to our minds and really understand what our life values are then this can help us to realign ourselves and gain the confidence to try things from a different direction.
Sometimes we get so busy joining the dots and connecting individual pieces that we forget to step back and look at the picture on the box. My puzzle was the even trickier variety that had nothing to refer to and it was only a puzzle, but I became protective of those parts that seemed to work even at the expense of the others that obviously did not. Imagine this metaphor on a grander, life scale. Are all your pieces working well together? Are you clinging to the parts that do work at the expense of others? Do you have a clear vision of the bigger picture?
Joining the dots or connecting the pieces can sometimes be enough to keep us in our comfort zone. We go to work, we look after our families, we pay the bills, we do the tasks we have to do and then we go home, content in a job well done, two dots connected and another day over and closer to retirement. The question is;
Is this enough for you?
Would you like to make a difference?
Do you have a life goal?
Do you get up excited in the morning?
Do you feel fully motivated and dedicated to your goal?
Are you squeezing all the living out of your life?
Sometimes, we only have to view a puzzle from the other side of the table. Sometimes, we have to find that one false piece but sometimes we just have to accept that we have to break up the pieces, zoom out on our own realities and core belief systems, focus on the right picture for us, choose only the pieces that fit with that image and start again. We all have our puzzles broken now and then, but the difference lies in how you pick up the pieces and start afresh. Do you learn from past mistakes, cling to small areas that don’t work for us anymore or try to hide the pieces that don’t fit?
Are you wasting time trying to fit people, things or beliefs into your puzzle where they don’t fit?
Having a clear vision in mind, based on personal values, and setting clear goals to complete the puzzle is a positive start. Creating action steps to break these goals into manageable chunks makes the task even easier. So, just as you would prepare for a jigsaw puzzle by having the picture lid visible, separating the pieces into edges, corners and colours, the answer to our own life puzzles can be found; Step by step.
A coach can help with every step until your puzzle fits together as the fun and rewarding pass-time that it was designed to be.