Lessons from a Puzzle

One of my favorite holiday traditions is piecing together jigsaw puzzles! From Thanksgiving until around the first week in Jan, my dad always had an extra table setup with a jigsaw puzzle on it. I have carried on this tradition in my own family. Although my “tidy” husband doesn’t like having my puzzle-table in the middle of our library (visible     from the front door), he is learning what an asset it can be for a family.

It is not often that teenage sons will hang out with their mother for over an hour and just talk, but with a great puzzle, it is a common occurrence in our home. As we work together trying to find the right pieces for the right places, we can talk about all sorts of things going on in their lives that they may not have otherwise shared with me. Or we can just enjoy being together with no pressure to talk at all.

It’s also great for a marriage. It gives us a chance to sit down in the evening, put on some great music, and talk and relax with no TV! Also, when friends or neighbors come over for a short visit, it’s fun for them to find a few pieces while they are there. In fact, this is such a good thing, I am seriously considering keeping my puzzle table up year round!

I suggest getting at least a 1,000-piece puzzle. Depending on the difficulty, and how often we sit down to play with it, we can go through several puzzles during the holiday season. (Of course young children can have their own kid’s puzzle nearby). I must admit, puzzle making is a bit addicting for me. Once I sit down and get into it, I have a hard time leaving the table to get other things done. After all, I am the “Puzzlemiester!”

My kids tease me about finding metaphors for life in any situation. (If you’ve taken a Tai Chi class from me, you know that I love finding life-lessons in the movements). The nature of putting a puzzle together incorporates SO many metaphors for life, I just had to write a list, so here it is:

~Everything I need to know I learned from a jigsaw puzzle~

Slow down

Take your time

Don’t force things into place

Look closely to see what shape things are really in

Trust your intuition

Share your joy with friends

Breathe

You must stand back to see the big picture

Have patience

Follow good examples (picture on box)

Keep track of all your parts

Allow others to help you

Its easier to see solutions with a fresh pair of eyes

Things are not always what they seem

Sometimes you just need to walk away

Often, the piece you are seeking is right in front of you but your perception is off.

and finally…

Sometimes you search for a long time finding only what doesn’t fit, then the insight comes, allowing you to connect many pieces at once.  Don’t you love when that happens?

Get yourself a puzzle and enjoy the season!