Somewhere in a blog, either this one or a previous, I’ve mentioned that I am a jig-saw puzzle fanatic.
Give me a thousand or fifteen-hundred tiny knobbed-bits that insert into other tiny knobbed-bits, and I am good for a few days of studying, comparing, assessing, and inserting them into some semblance of intended unity.
(Bare with me please, there is a philosophical point I will eventually make here.)
Once the straight-edged pieces which represent the framework of the intended picture, are separated from the mass and put into one pile, the re-joining process begins.
With a framework soon established, the rest of the prospective pieces rely on color, tint, and hue for possible frame connection.
So with that basic info in mind, today I am now down to the last unattached, hundred pieces of a particularly difficult puzzle that has taken me well over a week of serious concentration. And whenever I reach this point in a puzzle completion, it is usually a piece of cake to wrap it in an hour or two.
But as I was automatically sorting the last pieces into separate piles per their knob locations and particular shapes for easy selection and insertion attempt, I realized that I had changed my initial puzzle focus and strategy. I was simply filling open holes now in the puzzle and was making remaining-piece determination more so by the negative spaces left to fill rather than color similarities of the pictured image.
When I recognized my focus shift into the-last-hundred-pieces-strategy that I tend to resort to for completing any puzzle image, it dawned on me that there was something deeper to consider here than pitting positive images against negative spaces.
As we move throughout our lives from childhood onwards, we focus on building an early life framework for ourselves to help us determine who we are as individual beings, and to ferret out what we truly want from our lives. We often paint pictures in our minds to use as blueprints for creating those future realities from our fantasies; and then we go about amassing and inserting the assorted puzzle pieces necessary to get us to that completed ideal-life image we hold so dear.
For those of us who have been around quite a few decades, we may have tried to fit many random pieces into our life-puzzle depending on the positive image we always maintained of how we wanted our life to look at completion.
Sometimes those knobby pieces fit into proper place just like we wanted them to do. And sometimes they didn’t. But that didn’t deter us, because we just kept working on our incomplete “life puzzle” trying to make something cohesive and beautiful from our unification attempts at life’s seemingly random events.
But similar to the nearly completed puzzle on my card-table at present, when we get down to the last hundred pieces left to complete the pretty picture of our lives—it is similar to the latter decades of our lives, where we are basically shifting strategy to fill in the negative spaces left for us rather than building an expansive future image centered between the framework of four established sides.
And to fill in that remaining negative space in our lives, we look for shapes that fit the holes that are left to fill. In effect, we likely change our life focus. We now focus on the details of filling in holes still left to complete our life picture that we had originally envisioned.
I also notice that with my puzzle completion so near, I tend to slow down and savor the remaining piece possibilities, because once that puzzle is done, it is DONE! Nothing more will need my attention there. At that point there is simply acceptance of the puzzle’s ending, my appreciation of the actual effort in that process, and allowing a day or two for simply admiring the completed image that had been so carefully reconstructed from all those random “life” pieces.
Then after the admiration stage, I just crumple the completed puzzle into random pieces once again, put it in the bag/box with the pretty picture on the front, and stash it away until next year. (I actually have about 25 puzzle boxes I work through every winter. I know—obsessive.)
But wait a minute, one might think that if you have already put a puzzle together once that the second or third attempt to do so again is so much easier—right? Well,….not so much.
Just like with having lived so many previous lives in so many different contexts and conditions, every present-life puzzle is just as difficult to complete as the one before it had been to construct. Our only advantage to recognizing that we have had many attempts at defining our life’s framework and completing our desired future image is that at some point in our spiritual progress, we stop and assess where those negative spaces are left in our soul’s evolution. We do this so we can determine what is necessary to complete the total picture of reconstructing our Wholeness—perfecting our reunification with the ONE.
And guess what?
THAT is the very puzzle we ALL are working on right now.