Uncle John & Polly putting the pieces in place.

Uncle John & Polly putting the pieces in place.

I happen to be a fan of puzzles. There is a methodical and meditative quality about them. I recall being young and my step-mom Millie often had one going on a table out of the way that would allow her from time to time to pause whatever was filling her days and she would sit and search for the place where each piece belonged. Often I would wander in her direction, and without knowing it was happening, would began talking and listening and sharing whatever needed to be expressed while our shoulders humped toward the table and our eyes sought out the matching curves and shapes of each individual piece to create the whole picture.

There’s a way to complete a puzzle I was taught: empty all the pieces out, place the box with the photo up and in plain site, search for and identify all the pieces with hard, straight edges that will form the boundary of the puzzle and connect those first. From there search for and group together similar-colored or patterned pieces and put them together in easy to identify groupings and then it is a simple repetition of action. Find the pieces that fit one another, put them together, and place them where they might belong in the big picture. Repeat.

The hardest puzzles to complete are those where there is no photo on the box. Or, ones that have so many similar colors and design only the shapes of the pieces give any clue how they fit together. I arrived into this world more the former than the latter and in my attempts to fit in, survive, and succeed I have often, in a chameleon-like fashion shifted colors to match everyone else in hopes of fitting in. But what I have learned is that my shape, much like the pieces in the box of a puzzle, can only fit together with what I was designed to fit together with, it doesn’t matter that there was no picture to follow or the number of attempts I made to be a colorless piece of cardboard for the sake of feeling like I fit somewhere.

The past few weeks in New York have been a wonderful time of expansion for me. I have had the opportunity to reflect and review so much of where I am at this point in my life and in addition to that, I have been looking forward and expecting some great things that will be coming my way. All this time I have felt like the various pieces of who I am, both personally and professionally, have begun to make sense. It’s true what they say that so often we cannot know why something is happening in the moment it is happening, but the more open and accepting we can be, the better the odds are whatever it is will affect us in the way we need and will eventually, if not immediately, make sense in the big picture.

This life of mine that got dumped out on the table in all shapes and sizes of interlocking pieces is starting to make sense to me. I realize that is the gift of paying attention and honoring the evolution of self. But on a more practical, day-to-day experience, I am able to see the various pieces: skills of play, the joy of storytelling, strength for teaching, the balance of yoga, quality of voice and so many other big and small pieces coming together to form a picture that is my life. Spread out before me and not complete just yet, but in process and beginning to show the most beautiful picture that can only come together one piece at a time.