Have you ever noticed the same situations and the same kinds of people have a tendency to show up in our lives? Have you also noticed that we tend to react the same way, creating the same outcome? We repeat patterns in our lives, and those patterns produce pieces that we diligently and work to fit together to complete a picture. Another way to look at this is as puzzle pieces locking together to form a picture in our lives. These pictures are much like completed puzzles, and these are the finished products of the pieces we have collected.
When looking at a completed puzzle, it is easier to see all of the pieces that formed together to create the finished puzzle. If you look at each individual piece of that same puzzle, it is not so easy to see what the end result will be; at least not unless you have seen the finished product. When we put together a jigsaw puzzle, we usually have a picture of the completed design on the front of the box to reference. If only life made it that easy! Sometimes the finished product is not indicative of the individual pieces that created it, and it is only after taking a step back and noticing how all the of puzzles are related that we start to be able to identify the pieces that created the puzzle.
Puzzles find the pieces they need to finish the picture that they know, and that is why the same “puzzle pieces” keep showing up in our lives. At least until we put them away, or until we no longer need them. Patterns manifest themselves in so many areas of our lives. Things are presented to us in subtle ways, and many times we don’t even see the pattern or the connection until we look at it in retrospect. And even then sometimes it takes a keen eye to notice the correlations and the similarities. Too often patterns repeat themselves as metaphors, so we have to be observant. When we are looking at something that has manifested in our lives, we have to remember that we cannot be too literal, or we might miss the pattern that has given birth to the manifestation we are observing. Once we can “see” a pattern, we can start the inner reflection we need to stop reliving patterns that do not produce the results we want in our lives. Unexamined and unresolved patterns can lead us into bad relationships; to making bad decisions; to self-sabotage. When we can “see” the patterns and understand the paths we unconsciously and repeatedly take, we can start to avoid the path that leads us to the inevitable outcomes we work so hard to overcome. I had an experience recently that highlighted one of my patterns to me. A seemingly independent, real and concrete thing in my life was in truth a manifestation of a pattern I keep repeating. The result had manifested a different way each time, but it was born from the same pattern. This particular event was one of many forms this pattern has manifested in my life. Without taking too much time to dwell on the particulars of the incident that opened my eyes, I was presented with a concrete example of a completed puzzle in my life. A completed puzzle that was looking me straight in the face, and I realized that I had put together this event in my life using the pieces my patterns created for me. My repeated pattern appeared in my life as a finished picture, and I was suddenly able to see it! I was able to look at the completed picture and see how, while it looked different than it had looked in other moments in my life, it was created by the same patterns which manifested the pieces of the puzzle. This has been presented to me over and over again, it may look different, it may feel different, but it is the same puzzle being shown to me again and again. I had a moment, a tap on the back, a realization; I had what Cheryl Richardson would call an “Unmistakable Touch of Grace” (which is the title of her aptly titled book). Whatever you want to call it, it all became so clear to me.
It is only after painstakingly observing my own patterns for a while, that I have suddenly been able to see a pattern as it emerges, I am seeing the pieces all lining up. The pieces are different and the picture on the box is not the same picture as the last puzzle, but the pattern is identical. It is just manifesting itself as another picture. We unconsciously continue to seek the pieces to complete yet another puzzle, so that we can “see” the pattern in another way. Until we are able to look at the collection of our finished puzzles and see the pattern that created them, we will continue to attract new puzzle pieces in our lives. This is perhaps one of the benefits of experience; we can see that there are actually gifts hidden in all of those puzzles we have been putting together – even the ones we didn’t like so much once we had then all put together.
Look at your life. Step outside of your head for a minute and look around you at all of the completed puzzles lying around in your world. Think in terms of a metaphor and see how they all can be related? These metaphors are all just different ways the pattern has manifested in your life, and they are all showing up to tell you something. It becomes easier to see the picture when it is presented in different ways, and that’s why sometimes there are so many pieces! Once we can see the pattern, we can address whatever is creating it and learn to stop repeating it…which makes it all worthwhile.