Jigsaws and how do you know its the right part?

I’m full of how? How do you know if something is right? How do you know if the piece fits? How do you make a choice, and not just any old choice, but the right choice? The best choice? The good choice? So, the box I’m thrusting my hand into in order to choose the new parts for my life; how do I know its the right part?

Trust your gut? Trust that hidden, internal feeling? That instinct? How can you trust your gut when the only good decision it’s made recently is whether or not chocolate counts as dinner; and even that was a bit of a questionable one. Apparently chocolate isn’t a sensible, nutritious, filling dinner option. Who knew?? My gut thought it was. My gut enjoyed it actually. Is enjoyment enough to make it a good choice, though?

Joking aside, I’ve heard most of my adult life, that the way forward is to trust your gut. Listen to that small, internal voice that gives you a direction. In hindsight, I’ve often wished I’d listened to my quiet little communicator, the one that’s tucked away in a part of me that isn’t yet tainted by that thing we call life. Sometimes, it’s hard to hear, though, don’t you think? There is so much white noise in this life, that it’s not always immediately easy to close that off and tune into instinct. Or maybe we can actually always hear our own vibe, but don’t trust it. Rather we question it and find ways to negate the suggestions. Sometimes, we find it easier to listen to others and their opinions, rather than take full responsibility for our own desires. I think it makes it easier to accept when it doesn’t work. There is someone else to blame. “Well xyz told me to do it this way…, I thought it was a bad idea and it turns out I was right!”. We then relieve ourselves of the responsibility. It’s a bit of a cop-out, but we’ve all done it to a lesser or greater degree.

For me, all the how questions feed my procrastination habit. I know that I should have done things differently a long time ago, my gut told me that (through bellyful of chocolate)! Yet, I got bogged down with all the how?, what?, why? and when? that meant that instead of listening and acting; I sort of heard and found excuses not to. The only question I chose to answer faithfully, was the who?. It has to be me. I’ve palmed many parts of my jigsaw off onto others. I’ve given endless advice on what someone else should do with their particular issue, problem, windfall or situation. But I have not taken full advantage of my glorious insights into the workings of the world and pointed them at myself. Oh hell no. I’m quite happy to tell you how you should live your life but I’m sure as sh*t not going to apply all that common sense and wisdom to my own! Actually, that’s not strictly true. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone how to live their life, although I have thought it on multiple occasions, but I’ve never shied away from giving my thoughts/opinions when asked for them.

So why is it easier to fix someone else’s issues, than it is to deal with your own? Well, that’s easy. You don’t have the responsibility of action and consequence. If you offer advice, the recipient has the choice to act upon it or not. At that point, you are absolved of guilt, erm, responsibility. “On your own head be it”. I’m self-aware enough to know that, on occasion, when I ask my friends “what would you do?”, I’m hoping they don’t come up with a totally tangible action that any argument against would make me seem more ridiculous than I am. If I get an awesome response, I like to pretend I didn’t hear it, in order to continue with my procrastination. And yes, I’m perfectly well aware that this is daft. So, my way around that little pebble on the path is to not ask for help. I stick to asking the really important questions that involve billions of dollars to fix (I don’t have that therefore I can’t fix it), billions of people to fix (ok, slight exaggeration, but you get my drift) or existential questions to which there is no right or wrong answer. See, no flies on me!

Yet, this cunning little plan of mine hasn’t got me far. This not asking for help malarkey has seen my drugged up to the eyeballs on anti-depressants, terrified of any questions (actually answers) that relate to “me” and stressed to high heaven and back. If I don’t ask the questions, I don’t have to hear the answers, so I don’t have to change anything and so my comfort zone isn’t breached. Yet, I will quite happily jump out of a plane at 12,000 feet or cage dive with apex predators in murky waters. I’m very proud of these achievements. My gut demanded I did them, demanded that I followed through and swore blind I would enjoy them. My gut was spot on. When I get to the jumping off point that marks the switch from conscious living to whatever comes next, those experiences will be on the 7-minute highlight reel, that apparently plays.

So, how do we choose those pieces and how do we know they are the right pieces. There is the don’t pick any new pieces and change nothing road to the left; then there is the don’t know, don’t care, just grab the first piece you can road to the right; or the tune into your own vibe, allow your own instincts to flourish and sing and go with them road that lies straight ahead. Easy right?

Of course it’s not!! When has anything worthwhile ever been easy?! I know you’ve heard that said a million times before (yes, as well as a procrastinator I also tend toward exaggeration). It boils down to allowing yourself to trust yourself. Why should the advice you would give to the one you love most in the world, be any different to the advice you would give yourself? Get your best friend, your parent, your lover, your partner, your lawyer(!), your pet (I talk to mine, I’m certain they give awesome advice) to turn your what if back on you. Answer the question as if it’s not your life and your responsibility but a desperate plea from a friend. See what answers that gives you.

While you turn that little nugget over in your mind, think about this. There is an infinite number of jigsaw pieces in the box. Don’t overthink it. Pick it up, turn it over and around quickly and tune in. You do know what’s right. If you aren’t ready to dive in head first, then hold on to the piece for a while until you are ready to make the changes. Just don’t hold on to it too long. If you do, you may crush it and what could have been perfect will become an “I wish I’d…”. Then guess what, you go back into the box and you pick another piece. At least you will know you’ve tried.

I had that conversation with a very dear friend just last night. It revolved around simply knowing that neither of us wants to get to that 7-minute playlist and find something missing because we didn’t have the courage to try it. Another friend commented today that you don’t need to have all the pieces so to see the big picture. How very true. Do you like what you see in your evolving picture?

Fear of the consequences or of failure are a natural part of life, I think. Was it Edison that said he hadn’t failed, rather he’d found a thousand ways not to create a lightbulb. Or words to that effect. The point is, not to give up. We aren’t all meant to run at the same speed, some of us are better at being a tortoise than a hare. Who gives a rats ass if you don’t want to jump out of a plane? That was my dream. It doesn’t have to be yours. If you want to be the person who designs knickers that don’t ride up your bum, have seams in uncomfortable positions and actually do feel like you are going commando – please do! Undergarment design is not on my list of talents, but I sure as hell know the benefit of a comfy pair of pants!

Explore your talents (pieces); practice what gives you pleasure and eat chocolate in the knowledge that it doesn’t hinder the ability of your gut to steer you right.

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