Life is Like a Super-Size Jigsaw Puzzle

Who doesn’t love a good jigsaw puzzle?

As a kid, my family pored over puzzles in the basement of our house as a way to pass the heat and humidity of Midwest summers.

Taking time out to work a jigsaw puzzle as an adult is a meditative luxury, a time to escape from life details by focusing on uneven edges and color schemes.

I don’t open a puzzle box often enough, though.

Life is like a humungous jigsaw puzzle.

Alan Cohen writes that every endeavor is ultimately a spiritual experience.  While spiritual experiences fill our lives, our endeavors don’t necessarily belong in our puzzles.  You get to choose whether the experience is a good fit for your puzzle.

No two pieces are alike, because like our life experiences, each has a bit of a different edge or is colored somewhat differently.  Sometimes, you may think a piece might fit into your puzzle, but it’s actually just a little off.

It’s the same with your perception.  Sometimes you may think a person or a situation is a perfect match only to realize there’s something that isn’t quite right.  The piece doesn’t fit.

When life is not like a jigsaw puzzle

The difference between working a jigsaw puzzle and life experiences is that when a puzzle piece doesn’t fit, I lay it down and search for another.  My blood pressure stays the same, my jaw remains unclenched and I don’t feel the need to punch someone.

With the situations of life that don’t quite fit, I’m seldom as calm.  I tend to berate myself for the mistake in judgment or the misperception of a circumstance.  In reality, the life situation is only more important than the puzzle piece because of the meaning I assign it.

What if everything in life was a jigsaw puzzle piece?

You could lighten up considerably because all you would need do is lay down your thoughts and attitudes about something.  There would be no need for judgment or criticism. You just pick up the next piece.

I think that’s how I interpret Cohen’s words.  Each of my experiences is a holy one regardless of whether it’s perfect or a mistake.  The holiness lies in my awareness that I can simply set the mistake down and choose another option.

Ultimately, my completed puzzle–it’s a beauty, by the way–is a reflection not only of the individual pieces locked into place, but also of the pieces that did not fit.  Those pieces had to be set aside so that the right piece could slip into place.

Sometimes, there is a piece that I put aside that fits in your puzzle.

I’ll happily share my pieces.  Why waste a perfectly good puzzle piece, or the energy of a life experience, just because it doesn’t work for me?

Let’s share our puzzles!  Can you visualize the image of yours glazed into place with mine and with all of humanity?

What an incredible and fun mosaic!

Does that bring a smile?

It sure does for me.

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