Puzzling

A mystic is someone who has the suspicion that the brokenness, discord & discontinuities of everyday life conceal a hidden unity.”

~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

What do you do when you have no roadmap to follow as you’re puzzling?

Friends posted this photo on Facebook, showing how far they’d gotten on a puzzle created from a map of the old homeplace. The box had no picture to guide their efforts.

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A puzzle made from a map of home.

At the same time, Judy and I were working on this “jigsaw puzzle mystery” that came with a story and a mystery to solve. We didn’t realize until we began that the photograph on the box didn’t match the puzzle itself.

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A mystery puzzle. (Spoiler: the solution to the  mystery is an anachronistic cat in the cave painting.)

At first the mismatch was disorienting, then frustrating, then a good challenge. Looking at shapes and colors and piecing the thing together was a great exercise for my sometimes-too-wordy brain.

In Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, Martha Beck reframes problem-solving as “puzzle-cracking.” Conceiving of something as a serious problem immediately brings up rigidity and judgement—which shut down the imaginative flow needed to arrive at creative solutions.

Whether we’re looking at big societal problems (er, puzzles!) or humble homey ones, it’s the same: Play, not work, is key to the process, she says.

Also, a sense of the bigger picture that we may not see, but that we know we can add to, piece by piece, by aligning ourselves with what wants to be born into the world.

In a world of brokenness and discord, how do we map our way home before we can see “the big picture?” I think it comes down to trust that a picture will emerge.

2 thoughts on “Puzzling

  1. I totally identify with this post! I recently posted something on my blog similar to this about the Hermetic Significance of Donald Trump. I feel like a lot of what’s lacking today is the ability for people to see the patterns and the bigger picture in society, as opposed to only looking for the small stuff.
    Great Post!

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