Puzzling Life

My grand-daughter had had a melt down and now was sitting quietly working on a non-interlocking wooden puzzle. I watched her try to make the sky pieces fit in the sky space. After she left for school, I put the puzzle together so I could put it away. Unlike her, I did not assume all the puzzle pieces were there so I was able to put in place the pieces I had, and soon the puzzle was done.

I reflected that her melt-downs, and mine are kind of like that. We can’t put the puzzle together because we don’t know that there are pieces missing. So often the real causes of emotional outbursts are not what erupts to the surface as anger or pettiness or a desire to indulge or a desire to run-away. Perhaps beneath my grand-daughter’s anger was confusion, loss, insecurity and a myriad of emotions surrounding the passing of her great-grand-father. Because of her age and Covid number restrictions she was left home from this funeral to go to school and continue with life as usual.

Whether earlier or later, in a grieving experience there will be emotions that we don’t understand. We don’t recognize ourselves and ask, “who is she? Where did that come from?”.  We can derive some comfort in knowing that in times of loss others have also experienced a wide range of emotions while going through the transition of living without a loved one. It’s painful but it’s “normal”.

For me it is good news that the puzzle that is me can somehow be whole again, even though it is missing pieces.  In fact, no one gets through life without missing some pieces, but as the puzzle stays together because it has a frame, so we are held together in the frame of Love.

Philosophia – Loving Kindness towards Self

The Canadian Virtual Hospice has some excellent information on handling emotions that are often experienced in the grieving journey. (Read more on Resources Page).

Putting together a puzzle with a missing piece needs patience and loving-kindness towards ourselves.

One way of practicing self-care is to direct loving-kindness towards oneself. Here is an example of Metta, a loving-kindness meditation developed in the Buddhist tradition. The loving-kindness phrases below can be adapted to resonate best with your situation. Choose your phrases before you start or the meditation will turn into a head exercise.

Find a comfortable, quiet place. Assume a comfortable position and relax.  Focus on something to quiet your mind. (This could be “white noise”, warmth of sun on eyelids, breath…)

Then gently say these words to yourself, or make a recording of these words and play them back:
May I dwell in the heart.
May my heart’s tears be heard.
May I be cradled in tenderness.
May I be healed.
May I be filled with love.
May I be free from suffering.
May I be happy.
May I be peaceful.

Allow yourself to receive the nurture and warmth of loving kindness. Cradle yourself in your own care, you may whisper these phrases again and again until you begin to feel a genuine sense of loving kindness for yourself.