Solving new puzzles together without a box cover for reference
It’s April 8, and I’m taking big, deep breaths as I write this from my car on the East End in Portland, Maine. It’s a favorite peaceful spot of mine where I’ve written a few of these letters.
Over the past month, it’s felt like my life, once a complete picture that I could see, love and appreciate, has become like a big puzzle out of its box – all 1,000 pieces strewn about with the cover missing. So I can’t see the big picture to start putting the frame together.
With each passing week, I’ve reached varying levels of acceptance about reality and have adjusted as needed. Don’t go into the offi ce. Don’t go to gatherings. Don’t go to (in-person) meetings. Don’t touch things without wearing gloves. Don’t go out without a mask.
Not just to keep myself healthy but to keep from potentially harming other people.
With each week, I’ve ultimately gotten to a place where I’m looking at the pieces of my life I can control and can start putting that frame together. I can work from home. I can attend online gatherings and meetings with technology. I can buy masks for myself and others.
Today, I can appreciate that the puzzle I need to put together is really just each 24-hour period in three chunks: 5 a.m. to noon, noon to 5 p.m., and after 5 p.m. For me, it works to keep things that simple and clear.
What I can control:
• My physical space – Optimizing the space in our home and making it as comfortable as possible.
• Taking a breather – I visit East End Beach every single day. It’s 10 minutes away. I just stay in my car and breathe, and it helps enormously.
• Connecting with others – Either over the phone or laptop/tablet. Hearing people’s voices and seeing faces matters more than ever. Reaching out to say hi to people is as important to me as I hear it is for them.
Only by identifying what I need for myself can I succeed in putting together each day’s puzzle. And that creates the foundation for me to be of service other people.
Speaking of which … in this great issue, Sarah Siegel explains how taking care of the basics during this pandemic allows us to be of service to ourselves, our family and our community (Simplifying Self Care, page 38). And Sarah Kelly reminds us that from small moments to large actions, there is great joy in helping someone else (How Service Work Leads to Self-Esteem, page 30).
With immense gratitude,