By Colleen-Joy Page
"We were like interlocking pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of life..." –Kate McGarrigle
This lesson is a one of the most important of my teachings. Students who work with this teaching benefit because they find a deep understanding of what true fulfillment means and are greatly empowered by consciously working towards their wholeness.
Three important questions to ask yourself before you read this lesson:
- How much of you is missing from your life?
- Does it feel like you are fully present, powerful and whole?
- Does your life feel fulfilling or do you feel like something is missing?
The following lesson directly addresses these important life questions. I do hope that you gain much from these insights...
Loss, pain, stress and life's hardships can result in you feeling like a piece of yourself has been carved out, leaving a gaping hole of emptiness behind. We all know what it feels like to feel empty, to feel like we have less of ourselves present in our lives. Some people live with this feeling for a few days, some for years.
Imagine that we begin as a perfect circle.
That circle is wholeness. Complete in every way. We come to experience physical living in order to gain wisdom and to learn to be whole while in the context of physical life. We soon feel pain, powerlessness and loss in some form. Our bodies are afraid of pain and so we cut out the parts of ourselves that we believe the pain comes from. The parts of ourselves that we associate pain with become like the indentations of a jigsaw piece. Indents holding raw open wounds that we would rather keep from the world and hide. We hide the wounds with masks. The masks are the projections of the jigsaw. The parts of ourselves that we believe will keep us emotionally and physically safe in the world, safe from pain.
For example, in childhood if you associated your pain or loss with the part of yourself that knew of showing affection, you may have actually cut that part of you out to avoid further pain. You did what you had to do. Know that you did the best you could with the tools that you had. We all do. The mask and indents served you then, but now you may feel that they no longer serve you. You ache for a new you, a truer you, a you that is whole. This is your birthright and your destiny. Wholeness is never lost - it is only hidden, waiting to be reclaimed! All paths of healing, all paths of enlightenment, all paths of personal growth have one goal – wholeness. Wholeness is the full presence of you in your life and relationships. It is feeling empowered and free to be your true self without holding parts of you back or exaggerating other parts for effect.
Your circle self becomes like a jigsaw piece with indentations and projections.
The indentations represent the lacks that we feel in us, for example a lack of worth, love, approval, joy, peace, control, beauty, freedom, respect, purpose, security, etc. They also represent every time we feel less than others in any way. There are usually many indents.
The projections represent the parts of us that we decide (usually unconsciously) will keep the pain from happening again. This is the mask we create to hide our indents and project into the world what we believe will keep us pain free. A person will usually project the opposite of what they feel pain about. The projections also represent every time we feel better than others in any way.
The indent is a minus (withdrawn, less than, lack) and the projection is a plus (exaggerated, shown, bigger than).
We see this all the time without recognizing it for what it is. Let's meet Jack. Jack protects his lack of confidence (which he feels in his indented pain), with a projection, (a plus) of arrogance. In order to fill the emptiness he feels inside, he seeks externals (people and things) to make him feel confident. He seeks other jigsaws to fill his holes. But even when he finds a perfect fit through a relationship, activity or thing, they may only serve to keep his mask intact and his holes as deep as they were to start with. His other choice, as an adult, is to use the opportunity of a lack of fulfillment and the gift of relationships, to begin taking responsibility for his holes and to seek wholeness from within. The externals will never do what he hopes they will do. They will never replace authentic wholeness.
Holes are not bad or wrong, and neither is wholeness right or good. Wholeness is what we strive for as incarnating souls - however, we desire to experience holes for our growing wisdom and learning.
Once we have learned, we start to remember that there is another way to feel complete while still in the physical world and then we begin our journey home, back to the authentic self, to the perfect circle that we are, as soul.
The irony of the jigsaw metaphor, is that we also attract into our lives the equal opposite of our indent - i.e. the indent brings in a projection from an external source (a plus for our minus, or a minus for our plus). For example, a person who has decided that trying to be in control brings pain may evict the part of herself that knows control. She then projects an exaggerated plus mask of being out of control to hide the part of her that wants control. She will attract into her life people and things that represent, in the mirror of life, the opposite extreme of what she has not healed in herself. She will attract people and situations that exaggerate control issues. She may feel anger towards people in control - which is a response to her own unexpressed knowing of control. If not anger then she may idealize those who seem to have control of their lives - another response to an unexpressed aspect of self.
How do you know when you are dealing with a jigsaw plus and minus fit?
- If you judge a quality in another and feel emotionally reactive towards what you believe they lack or have an excess of, your own lack or excess is being triggered within you.
In that moment you can ask yourself, "what quality is that person being the plus or minus for, that I have an unhealed opposite of in me?" Remember that the plus and minus represents the unbalanced extreme. So an aggressive person is not upsetting because we need to be aggressive! What would the healthy, balanced expression of aggression be? The wholeness in you would not be "aggression" it would be "confidence".
- We judge from holes, we discern from wholeness.
- Holes bring pain, discord and dependency.
Wholeness brings healing, peace and independence. Ironically holes create the illusion of separation and wholeness creates truth of unity.
Here are some ways to work on your wholeness - make lists and meditate/contemplate the following:
You are already all that you would be; now it is up to you to be it.
- Bring what you find to your inner life and then take this learning and healing into your outer life a step at a time.
- Identify the lacks you feel in yourself.
- Identify the fears that lie at the core of the lacks and the beliefs that keep the indents (lacks) there.
- Identify what of your lacks result in reacting to the equal opposite quality in others.
- Learn to express the parts of yourself that are hidden behind a mask in a balanced way.
- Add a little plus to every minus of yours and a little minus to your plus.
- Identify what you wish others would be for you and be it for yourself.
- Face the fears and beliefs within your holes that you know no longer serve you and replace them with beliefs that serve your wholeness.
- Find ways to give yourself what you seek from others emotionally.
- Practice feeling and knowing that you are worthy and whole.
- Get to know yourself, your fears and pain and imagine what the whole 'circle' you would say, think, feel and act. Let the whole you be and grow in you - feel it there and give it expression.
- Remember that others are also feeling the pain of living with holes. Understand that they are also operating in the best way they know how. They also have fears and unhealed pain but that it's not your soul's job to fill their holes, just like its not their job to fill yours.
- Discern what is truth for your whole self and practice being the truth of wholeness whenever you can, with whomever you are with.
Your jigsaw self may be afraid of your whole self because it does not want to face the holes or give up what it gets from other jigsaws. Be loving and gentle, but firm with yourself about waking the whole you to life and integrating the evicted parts of yourself. The whole you existed before you were born; it exists now and will exist for ever more. A hole that still aches to be filled with love, worth and affection.
We cannot use someone else to make us whole and when we try to, it never feels authentic or enough. Only by giving ourselves that which we ache for can we know true love, worth and peace. True love, worth and peace cannot be found, they can only be known and can only come from within. The source of all is within. All feelings, all knowing and all reality. Anything we attempt to find, earn, win, seduce, gain or steal from the outside world will only reinforce our pain and remind us daily of our holes.
Once you find wholeness from within, you may choose to share it with others but even the sharing is simply showing them what wholeness looks like so that they can find it themselves, inside of themselves. Wholeness can never be bought, stolen, broken or lost because it is who you are in truth… soul. Wholeness can only be denied or shut out, through pain and fear. Wholeness is maintained by our own beliefs, the beliefs that seek to reinforce our fears and keep us from pain. These beliefs have good intentions but they also keep us from wholeness.
Copyright © Colleen-Joy Page 2006
From the office of Colleen-Joy Page, The Academy of Metaphysics. Colleen specializes in training others in powerful tools like intuition and dream work. To find out about her InnerLifeSkills interactive CD and workbook home study course, visit Inner Life Skills