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Life as a Puzzle

I was recently musing through the iconic work of EE Cummings, and stumbled upon his poem, "You Are Tired (I Think)." The imagery and connection that one single stanza provided me with was layers deep and heart-stoppingly relatable.

EE Cummings' work was so innovative and mysterious at the time of it's conception. He did something many other poets never did: he created prose in such a way that the read had to open their mind to discover the less obvious interpretations. He had faith in the readers ability; but also believed that discovery was essential in any type of evolution or growth. The particular stanza goes as follows:


You are tired,

(I think)

Of the always puzzle of living and doing;

And so am I.


The part, which struck me was this idea of living and doing being a puzzle. How true... each and every experience we have is slowly being put together, piece by piece, over time. You see, the putting together of the puzzle is the "doing" in life -- it's the living part. It's looking at what you have before you, what you want, what you don't want, and making moves toward creating change.

The pieces themselves represent the growth and loss (but always evolution) that happens DURING the process. As each piece is connected, the hope is that insight is gained. And as each insight is gain, a pattern is recognized, and the viewer/puzzle maker, decides what to do once the outcome is viewed from their own vantage point. But, you see, each piece is also it's own image, it's own experience - dethatched from the assumed "bigger picture" or end result; and is beautiful all on it's own. We live in a society where we tend to only want to see the BIG PICTURE (the finished puzzle). However, we neglect to recognize the beauty in each and every little piece that goes into that big picture moment -- i.e. the abundance that is already before you.

Not too mention, that once we've attained that of which we desired; or overcame what we feared; it is fleeting. You see, because once you've got the treasure, it's less important than going on the journey to acquire it. Because once it's reach, it's the start of another journey. Ditto to puzzles - start one, finish one, admire and bask in it, start another; or morbidly stare at your single puzzle for the rest of your life (if that is what you choose to do).

I should also point out that completed pictures, i.e. experiences, will not always showcase a beautiful whimsical moment. Some of the pictures are tragic -- and purely growth experiences. Not every experience is meant to be beautiful; it's meant to be lived; therefore, some are frightening discoveries of self, of realizations of the constructs society has attempted to build around you or deeply sorrowful. But again, they're one of many, if we choose to engage in all life's experiences. There is not some magical reason tragic things happen - they just happen - and they come along with living; but so do the blissfully breathing beautiful moments.

One final point, and probably the most important of any aforementioned, is that fact that there will be tons and tons and tons of puzzles you never finish - puzzles you abandon, because what you saw along the way was not shaping up to be the picture you wanted it to be, or you weren't ready -- or you realized you've been trying to fit the wrong piece into the wrong opening for too long -- or maybe you just changed your mind, and realized that starting over is just starting. Period. Unfinished works are sometimes the moments where the most is discovered, because personal power comes to the forefront (unless you continually abandon your puzzle making; that's a different problem) and you become the central force in your decision making.

In ending, don't frame your puzzles - your accomplishments, achievements, tragedies, but rather integrate them into who you are. They are not meant to be worn as gold medals (because those are for others to see) but rather blended into your being, providing you with beautiful reference points, personal growth and moments of pure beauty.

Below you'll find the poem in it's entirety :)

You are tired, (I think) Of the always puzzle of living and doing; And so am I.

Come with me, then, And we’ll leave it far and far away — (Only you and I, understand!)

You have played, (I think) And broke the toys you were fondest of, And are a little tired now; Tired of things that break, and — Just tired. So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight, And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart — Open to me! For I will show you the places Nobody knows, And, if you like, The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me! I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon, That floats forever and a day; I’ll sing you the jacinth song Of the probable stars; I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream, Until I find the Only Flower, Which shall keep (I think) your little heart While the moon comes out of the sea.

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