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Life: Puzzling Pieces of Love

Michael A. Hinz, PhD
May 09, 2001

A Different Picture of Life:

      Imagery is a powerful tool that we use to describe and understand things. So picture Life as a puzzle. You have probably seen those puzzles that are white and you color them in after you put them together. We have a puzzle of cats like that. It is all white with black outlines of hundreds of cats. I found it quite difficult to identify a piece and put it into place. There was no color or patterns to help me identify the pieces and I found it all to be a confusing mess. And yet my wife and 8-year-old daughter sat there and slowly filled the puzzle in piece by piece. It was amazing to see my wife search the tabletop for a specific piece, pick it up, look closely at it, and then casually place it into the slowly emerging puzzle. And after the puzzle was all together, it took on new dimensions as they colored it.

      Picture your life as one of those white puzzles, except this one does not even have the black outlines painted on it. It is just a heap of white puzzle pieces of varying shapes and sizes that you have to figure out how it all goes together. Now with this puzzle, you have an additional hurdle in that you don't even have a picture on a box lid to help you know what the final product is supposed to look like. Perhaps at times throughout your life, you have felt some of the confusion and frustration about your life that I spoke of earlier with the Cat puzzle.

Puzzle Pieces:

      Each puzzle piece represents a unique aspect of who you are as a person. As you go through life, you are constantly developing and emerging as a special and unique person. Someone watching you will see you slowly emerge and change over time, much as a puzzle does as it is assembled piece by piece. As each piece of your puzzle is assembled, you could color in that piece, and when the puzzle is finally completed, it would look like you.

      Let's take a moment to look more closely at some of those individual puzzle pieces. At first they will probably all look alike. Sure they might be different shapes and sizes, but basically with nothing to make them stand out as unique from each other. So how do you recognize them and identify their differences? How well you know yourself will determine the answer to that question.

Pieces of Love:

      Love and Life are two 4-letter words that it is safe to say in any company. Life is all about loving and loving is all about living. So if you had to choose but one principle by which you would live your life, than it should be to love life. We all know that to love something means that we feel an attraction, affection, admiration, respect, endearment or devotion for the loved item or person. To be in love means inspired with affection. Simply stated, to love life, means that we feel a sense of deep attraction, affection, admiration, endearment and devotion for life. In fact, our life will be inspired with affection. I call this, living life Full of Spirit. You might say that you are having a love affair with life, that is, if you are truly living your life Full of Spirit.

      You are a loving being and your uniqueness is identifiable and recognizable by the things you value, the things in life that you care most deeply about, or in other words, by the things that you love. So what are they? What are those guiding forces in your life that you live by? Since we are using the imagery of puzzle pieces, view each piece as a piece of love. You will find many different forms of love in your life: love for a boyfriend or girlfriend, a spouse, parents, friends, a child, a son or daughter, a pet, a work of art or of music, for something you have created, of work, of play, of yourself, and so on. Each of these loves is somewhat different and has it own depth of feeling attached to it. Each of them plays a special role in the uniqueness that lies within you.

      When putting a puzzle together, we get excited in anticipation of completing the puzzle. The picture becomes clearer and more complete as each piece is placed. We long to find each missing piece and place it into the puzzle. We hunger for completeness, we desire to see the final picture, and we want to see how it turns out. Doesn't that sound a bit like life? Except maybe for that ending part? We usually don't want life to end, but we are frequently curious about how it is progressing and how it will turn out.

Coloring in the Pieces:

      Let's take a moment to look at the different pieces of your life. What are the things you value most? What things are most important to you? What things if they were missing from your Life, would you really miss and long for?

      For me personally, some of these would be: companionship, friendship, family, accomplishment, fulfillment, spiritual direction, integrity, humor, solitude, idealism, creativity, possibilities and centeredness. Does a picture begin to form in your mind about who I am as a person?

      Take some time to begin to examine your own life and identify those loves that are the highlights of who you are as a person. You might ask some of those people who know you best; they will be able to identify many of them for you.

      Remember, that like with any puzzle, until it is completed, the puzzle is constantly emerging. Never in your own life, are all of your pieces in place. Some will always be missing, some will have been placed but then later seem to get lost, some will still be in the box waiting to be discovered, some you will see but not know how they fit, and some you just haven't gotten to yet. Throughout your journey in life, you will constantly be putting pieces into place as the total picture of your life continues to develop, take shape and to unfold. There will always be a sense of incompleteness that will draw you onward.

A Process of Creation:

      For your own personal journey of Life, you have been given certain talents, abilities, skills and knowledge with which to work. With these, you create and build your own life. Yes, you have certain limitations to work within, but you also have a wonderful freedom to create a Life of your own making. You make choices each and every day that impact your life in different ways. That is part of the creation process.

      So take your own puzzle pieces and create for yourself a Life you can be proud of, a Life of fulfillment and satisfaction. It is within your power to do so. Take all those things and people that you value, that you care deeply about, that you feel attracted to, admire, respect and so forth. Take those different little pieces of “love” and assemble them into a life worth living. They are a part of you. They make you truly a unique and special individual. So take those pieces of Love and start really living your life to its fullest and best. Live it Full of Spirit.

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