Unpacking a puzzle

We are back. After a relaxing retreat at home doing holiday type things the new year opened up to much the same, but not “just” the same. Puzzling and puzzles frames the theme for the entry into 2023.

And just like that we are back! The breathless build up to the holiday season, the planning and purchasing for festive feasts and gifts of gratitude or obligation, and the noisy gathering of friends and family are all a faint and distant echo in a kaleidoscope of memories.

Linden is a lovely place in December. It is a lovely place every other time of the year, but with many of its residents splayed across the far reaches of the country at this particular time of year, it is a great deal quieter. The weather is amazing in this part of the world too. Although it has seemed wetter over the last few years, we are not complaining. Water is life, after all. The jungle-looking grass of the garden was testimony to the frequent rain and yo-yo power outages but no-one noticed as no-one was around to see!


Gossamer like, the stream in one of our local parks

Slowing down and spreading out

We chose to RemainHere. Although Matthew embarked on an ambitious case study programme to test the framework and process we developed and how it positively impacts anxiety, a conscious effort was made to slow down our pace. We spread ourselves over the house and did holiday kinds of things. We swam on the hot days and made popcorn and watched movies on the overcast rainy days.

We completed two puzzles. 1000 pieces each, built on a repurposed fingerboard (thank you for the idea, Monika). We enjoyed the concerted process of dividing up the colours into heaps with little understanding of where they would go eventually. Of course the next task was to find the edges and produce a frame, the boundary within which the rest of the work took place. We became aware of how we gradually began to recognise the patterns, lines and forms that made up the elements of each scene. It can be both meditative and obsessive, the pull and focus of puzzle making.

Consistency is the keyword but much more difficult when the routines of work and “normal” life are lost in long days of languish and leisure. Chantal pivoted her practice to include online yoga and pilates. Some of us need to move more than others. Matthew nursed a sore shoulder, a delicious excuse to lie with the cats listening to the instructions for another downward dog, warrior pose or sun salutation. The Spotify soundtrack was all Lo-Fi and Chill, smoothing any edges off the meandering days.


Shiny jewels of raindrops in our veggie patch

A large and luminous wardrobe

The new year crept up on us looking like a large and luminous wardrobe. A portend of possibilities or calamities? These days who knows what lurks around the bend of time? Wanting to be hopeful but recovering from consecutive years of societal upheaval, the impending approach of 2023 was faced a bit like having our hands covering our eyes with a cautious peek through our fingers.

Then in a tick, the door to the new year opened and we fell through, not into Narnia, but into the reality of just another day. Just another month. Just another year. The sun shone or it didn’t. The birds sang or they didn’t. There was power or there was not. The garage door opened or it did not. A new year, just the same stuff.


Puzzles can be a beautiful metaphor for living life

Unpacking a puzzle

Maybe not “just”. To live a life of fullness even in the face of uncertainty and loss requires that it is not “just” another moment, “just” another hour, “just” another day, week, month, or year. Embracing what is, accepting each moment as it comes is an opportunity for renewal, redoing, reworking and re-being who we are.

Like unpacking a puzzle, allowing the unfolding of each experience to be met with anticipation, curiosity and care. Putting boundaries in place to hold and support while delighting in what appears. Life can be a puzzle as much as it can be puzzling. Sometimes it is not delightful, sometimes it is infuriating and difficult.

If what comes is disappointing, frustrating or unpleasant are we able to ride the experience, as bumpy as it is? Can we be available to the hurtful and sore as well as the joyful and full? This is life. This is what allows for growth. It is not always fun or easy, but it can be so worth it.

Until next time.

Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew

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