Don’t Solve the Jigsaw Puzzle Alone

Life is always full of change. Those who know me well are aware of how difficult it is for me to deal with lots of change at once. Over the years, I have learned to solve problems and issues one step at a time – after all, it is the easiest way to figure things out or at least that’s how it seems to me. Even within a magickal aspect of life, it is easier to figure out the lay of the land and then go from there. Sometimes, it means starting over – even when you didn’t intend for that to happen.

For me, the first place to start in working through change is to get everything laid out before you. Not solving it but trying to figure out what needs to be taken care of first and what depends on something else to be done before it can be tackled. A lot of this process means bringing things to a complete stop and setting everything out in front of you. Kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. The way I tend to approach that is to find all the border pieces first, and then build that. After that, I try to sort the rest of the pieces into colors and details that I can figure out on the box until I have distinct piles for each area. Typically, I also have a pile of “unknown” pieces, which could fit anywhere in the puzzle. Then I pick a section and work on that from the border towards the inside until I get stuck. Then I move to a different area and keep working through things until I get it put together. I use a very similar approach to dealing with many changes all at once.

Here’s the bad part to all that process. In doing all of that, I have a great tendency to draw into myself. Trying to figure things out the best that I can, so I can move forward. I have been working this process for so long, I am used to relying on myself to get things figured out. Very rarely do I go to others for help. And that’s a problem. See, it winds up pushing people away when they want to help the most. Many people do not always understand when that happens, and they only see you withdrawing into yourself. What makes it even worse, is that it is also a self-defense mechanism of mine, so I am quite used to the idea of utilizing it when I feel I need to protect myself. It is a definite habit. And one that I was not really all that aware of until a few days ago.

There has been a lot of change in my life over the last few weeks. Enough that I don’t feel as protected and sure of the ground beneath my feet, as I should. That’s not saying that there is not a solid foundation beneath me or that I am not at all protected, because both of those are true. There is a solid foundation, there is protection….it is just not the same as what I have been used to. Trying to get myself accustomed to this different feeling is rough at times because it is not familiar to me, yet. Plus, there are quite a few other issues that are making me feel vulnerable and weak – which also make me feel that things are unstable and unsure.

So, it became time to set all the pieces out before me and look through them one by one. I needed to determine which pieces could be dealt with right away and which were dependent on others. After that, came the need to prioritize what needed to be done against what could be done, as well as figuring out where I needed to ask for help. Then there were the things that had dependencies laid upon them. After figuring that out, it was a matter of where and when to start…the answer was…today (Monday as I write this).

Now, there are parts of all this that look nothing like I wanted Life to be. In a manner of speaking, it felt like a hard, driving rain had fallen over me and I could see no further than a foot in front of my face. What this perspective really is, is my brain looking for the absolutely worst possible scenario to whatever I am trying to do. Just looking for the other shoe to drop. Except there never was a first shoe. Much of this type of thinking was reinforced during my days working in Risk Mitigation and Disaster Recovery. Always look for the worst possible thing to happen. When it doesn’t, everything is better than you thought. That works in the Risk Mitigation perspective, but it is a horrible way to go through Life. You wind up seeing the worst in everything and you miss the beauty of the moment. I know, I’ve been there very, very recently.

Remember the jigsaw puzzle? Well, realize this – once you finish putting all the pieces together, you’ll have a beautiful picture that you worked hard to assemble. There’s beauty in what you are seeing. There’s beauty and accomplishment in putting it together. Yes, it was in pieces in front of you before you started. But you got organized, got it together, worked hard on it, and put it back together. Look through that process and you will see where joy and beauty can be found throughout. That’s the secret to getting things done. Sure, some of it is unpleasant, difficult, and just not what you would like to do. But you managed to get through it and come out the other side with that feeling of accomplishment and joy.

One last thought. When you are trying to put all of this together….avoid the trap that I climb into all the time: thinking you have to do it all by yourself. Even if all the work must be done by you, there are those in your Life who want to be standing by your side throughout all of it. They want to be there to offer you advice, encouragement, and support. Don’t curl up inside of yourself and cut them off, just to spare them some concept of difficulty. Don’t assume that you know how they are going to react to anything. Let them in. Let them be a part of all of it, even if all they can do is cheer you on. Remember, these people love you. They wouldn’t be a part of your life otherwise.

–T /|\

Photo by Sharon Snider on

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