This one time my husband bought a puzzle from the National Parks and all the pieces were oddly shaped and it was super challenging puzzle. Our family worked weeks on this puzzle with small pieces and sections being built and carefully placed somewhere on the table to be later connected to something else. It was a big deal as we started to see the frame take shape and then some of the sections representing each national park. Weeks started to pass with fewer and fewer dedicated sessions to working on this puzzle though. We started to lose interest because it was time consuming and hard. A great challenge in deed but one that we eventually put back in the box to try again at another time.
We started out so excited to build this puzzle. Our family had been to a few of these places and we talked about the times were were there while working on this puzzle. There were other places we talked about how cool it would be to visit one of the parks and when we should go. It is a puzzle that generated a lot of conversation and time together as a family in a time when we had some free evenings and were looking for something different to do. Yet we didn’t complete it. Maybe we will some day when we’re hunting for something different besides watching movies or playing a board game. Maybe we won’t and the puzzle will remain in the box unconnected.
The funny thing I thought about this particular puzzle while working on it was how much it represented in my life. Not just the fact it was challenging or seemed impossible at times though life sometimes does have things that feel that way. It was the idea that adventure, new places, growth and oddly shaped pieces really do make up the fabric of our lives. There are no perfect pieces and yet some go together easily while others you spend a lot of time hunting. You have to try several things before finding the right one and then you have to figure out where to put this section you just built. Sometimes you build something that can’t be used just yet so it waits off to the side for the perfect opportunity. Yeah that truly does sound like life doesn’t it?
As I reflect back on these last couple years writing this blog about natural living I am reminded of this puzzle. I’m reflective of the time I spent looking at my own life for what I learned that was worthy of sharing with you. Some of it was great advice and will definitely save you time and money while giving you incredible benefits living naturally. Other content was me still exploring how it fits in and where to make life better for my own family. That’s the challenge and beauty of though, it truly becomes a continual journey of learning, trying different things and seeing your own landscape transform into something you’re proud. In this case it also offers the benefits of supporting your health, home, family and budget which in my mind are just icing on the cake.
The truth is living naturally is one of the best ways to connect with yourself on what is really important to you. It is shedding the expectations we often don’t even realize we have on us for what is the right way to live, how we should raise our children, what’s the best diet and workout program, what we should spend our money on. These expectations come through feeling like we should want something in our life that we see others super excited about or achieving and thinking we should want that too. We should want a big house in a pretty neighborhood, in a good school district and new cars in the driveway. We should get married before age 35 and have kids and a minivan. We should go to the best college we can get into because that’s how you get good jobs to pay for this lifestyle we are supposed to want. If that is what you really, truly want in your life then way to go! That’s impressive and you deserve every bit of it. However, most of us realize sooner or later that there really is more to life.
I think too often we get caught up in the swirl of other people’s achievements and what we hear others working towards. We feel this tinge of questioning ourselves about why we don’t want that too. Our families and friends will even tell us this is what success looks like. Celebrity lifestyles let us know that once we have money we too can have this incredibly posh life where everything is easy. Who doesn’t want easy? Wouldn’t it be nice not to worry about how the bills get paid? How cool would it be to walk into a store and not look at the price tags on things you like? No doubt it is dazzling but it is also distracting from what is in our own hearts. We hear over and over that material things don’t matter and yet we find ourselves sucked into contrary messages about that all the time! There is a disconnection of what life really is about that brings true happiness, fulfillment and even success. Again, though I see the word easy come to mind.
It is not that life should be hard or even difficult all the time but that we crave easier. As I’ve grown on my own living naturally journey I have come to realize often the challenges are of our own making. Life really isn’t that hard but rather the things we’re pursuing are because they’re not right for us. They don’t fit in our puzzle and connect with things that really fill us with the joy of living. It is not that we don’t want a nice home or secure funds in our bank account but how we get those things and what we do for them is sucking the very life out of us. There is nothing left to enjoy those things once we get them. We find ourselves living under mountains of debt and constantly seeking relief from it or escape from a life that truly doesn’t serve us. Again, if these things are what make your heart sing all the more power to you but I believe it is one of the major reasons we suffer from so many things in our lifestyle from depression, lack of sleep, obesity and more.
What I realize is when we find the right pieces and connect them, most things to get easier and even money becomes easier too. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect and easy all the time but it feels different. You see the picture different and know there is a better way and working for that becomes less of a burden and more of a reward. We crave different things and move in a way that generates energy that feels good to us. Our hearts feel lighter from the burden of what it takes to survive in the modern world. We connect with those we love and start to see our world take on a brighter hue that gives us hope that we can figure things out and are headed the right way.
All of this doesn’t mean there are not times I still don’t worry about something or nothing will go wrong. Things do go wrong, as I’m still learning which pieces go together and sometimes the pieces need to change. The beauty of it though is even when it is hard I can take a moment to appreciate the pieces being built sitting off to the side to one day go exactly where I want them. Some I’ve been able to put in place now and other sections will come later but I have them ready. I know what feels good and what I want it to look like. It is distinctly and uniquely my own puzzle picture showing adventurous places I have been, more I want to go to and a lifelong path of how I’m getting there one piece at a time. It requires however that I shed any expectation of what the picture on the box says it should look like and instead draw my own version of oddly shaped pieces that are of my own design.
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