Life is a puzzle

I am participating in the online course “A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery” to stir up my creativity since the end of April 2013. It is my intention to get back to my creative life, to learn focusing also on myself now and then, to make time for self-care and self-growth. The exercises I need to be doing range from writing, reflecting, to creative tasks such as painting, doodling, collage making etc. Here goes the first one.

The task is to grab any art medium and feel free to get messy. As Shannon from free spirit says, “Remember, there isn’t a right or wrong way, you are just being daring by facing the blank page.  Mess it up.  Play with color.  Doodle away.  Simply…begin.

And so I follow her direction. It takes me a total of 2 weeks to get this simple task done. Good that free spirit is a course I can do at my own pace, being flexible with the few time I have as a new mom of an 8 months old. The good thing about needing so much time to get started, though, was the chance to let my mind wander and let my inspiration flower. When I finally sit down to do the task I have a clear idea of what I will be doing.

During my world hitch-hiking journey I spend some time in the Atacama Desert in the North of Chile. While staying at a local horse farm, a Swiss friend shared what the farm owner had once stated about life: “Life is a puzzle. When you die you are fitting the last piece. For those, that haven’t lived life fully and followed their path throughout, the puzzle won’t be completed upon death.”

This statement is my inspiration for this task. And so begin. I draw a puzzle with a pencil. I take my oil pastels (crayons), filling each piece of the puzzle with one of those 25 colors in the box. Naturally, I feel like picking only certain colors and repeating them endlessly. But my mind plays a role in this task. I am reminded that life is full of different experiences. Things happen that we often wouldn’t anticipate in our wildest dreams or imaginations. Good things, bad things, positive, negative, black, white and WAY MORE in between. So how on Earth could I just use a handful of colors when life is so varied, so colorful, so unexpected in many ways? Therefore, I choose to give every color a chance, but I have to say that red and black are my least favorite; they feel somewhat aggressive and negative to me, I use them only once each.

Once the pieces in the puzzle are all filled with color I begin spreading the oil pastel with a tissue. That doesn’t work well, so I am taking my fingers and begin rubbing and smearing along the paper. And Wow! I finally figure how to work with oil pastels! I have them for AGES, years, and they have even traveled with me through the world in an attempt to use them. But only now in this simple exercise I finally understand how to use them properly. This discovery delights my first artistic experience in the free spirit e-course.

As final touch I begin marking the edges of each puzzle piece with a black pencil, simply because I like clear lines. At some point I run out of color. I buy another black pencil, which unfortunately isn’t the same width and is darker than the one I had previously used. So I decide to leave the painting at the uncompleted stage, reasoning that this way it demonstrates my own life puzzle. Some parts are done and fit, others are still unclear and need to be found and fit in the right place. According to this puzzle, I happily have plenty of way to go in my life ;D

On top, I am making up my own statement, or let’s say quote: “Life is a puzzle. May You complete it in this lifetime.” And last but not least, I am adding the statement Shannon recommends to put somewhere into the drawing to remind myself of my intentions:

“I agree to consciously set an intention to become a BOLD explorer of my life, to listen more intently to my inner voice, to honor my unique brilliance and celebrate THE REAL ME.”

Life is a Puzzle

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